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Through the Valley

Hey Relentless Students! This is day 26 of our 30-day Devo. We are continuing in the practice of examen prayer, the guide for this can be found under day 26 of our "30-day Devo" tab.

Our passage today is Psalm 23 which says,

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures.

He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

It's likely you know this Psalm quite well. I remember memorizing this around 2nd grade to score some candy from my Sunday school teacher. Then again, in 6th grade, we were to say this verse as part of our prayer for a month to remind us of God's goodness. The issue was in both scenarios I didn't take time to understand what I was saying/memorizing, I was just guided by the desire for candy and prizes. So, we may all be familiar with the words, but do we grasp the meaning behind them. If we were asked what we thought the passage was about, on a surface level a lot of us would say trusting God; but what about on a deeper level, do we actually understand what is being said? When talking about deeper I'm talking about in a way that inspires us to live differently or change behaviors. You see I think we understand the surface, but live how the song below describes it.

The lyrics look close to what is being said in Psalm 23 but with significant changes,

"I walk through the valley of the shadow of death And I fear no evil because I'm blind to it all And my mind and my gun they comfort me Because I know I'll kill my enemies when they come

Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life And I will dwell on this earth forevermore Said, I walk beside the still waters and they restore my soul But I can't walk on the path of the right because I'm wrong"

In the song, all trust in God is gone. The person instead is trusting in themselves but admits that in the end, it's the wrong path. As I listen to this song, I wonder how many of us will read Psalm 23 but walk away, acting like the song above. We trust in ourselves, even though we know that's not the right way. It is so much easier to say "I will trust in God" than to actually act it out, we all know this, yet how often do we take time to reflect and ask "I am trusting in Him?"

So, how do we change the tune of our hearts to be a song of trust in Him, not I? There are a few ways that come to mind. Take time and revisit passages like Psalm 23 and journal what is going through your mind as you read. Ask someone to keep you accountable, just once a week or so have them ask in what ways you've show trust in God or what areas did you fail to trust Him this week. Finally, talk with God about it; pray and let Him know how you feel and ask Him to work on your heart. Over time, our actions will align with our words and true trust will show itself.

Your challenge for today is to click the "30-day Devo" tab and engage with day 26's examen prayer. Make sure to journal about your engagement with God, writing down questions, thoughts, etc. Also, take the time to write Psalm 23 in your own words, how would it read if it was based on your actions?

Our Prayer today,

God, thank you for being there for us all the time. May we live like the Psalm says above, fearing no evil, walking with you, finding rest in you, trusting in you. God, you are so good to us even though we have done nothing to deserve it, thank you. We feel your love today and every day Father. We love you and we pray all of this in the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

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