Encouragement for Today - September 13, 2005


September 13

Encouragement for Today


Death Valley

By Susanne Scheppmann, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member, Co-editor of Online Devotions


Key Verse:


Psalm 23:1-4, “God, my shepherd! I don't need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from. True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I'm not afraid when you walk at my side. Your trusty shepherd's crook makes me feel secure. (The Message)




The heat radiated from the pavement through my white athletic shoes.  Although, the summer heat was still months away, the sun blazed down on the Death Valley National Park.  Bright yellow flowers interspersed with white desert buds bloomed along the highway.  The colorful array of desert floral arrangements revealed a testament to the recent spring rains.


Hordes of tourists flock to Death Valley each year.  A few never come out alive because they do not follow the instructions given in the brochure. They wander into Devil’s Gulch.  Many sip the bitter water at Bad Water. They ignore the signs that warn of unforeseen danger. Too little water, no communications, and no one to aid them, they fall prey to the elements of the arid landscape.


Sometimes as believers, we wander into a spiritual desert.  Our path becomes dry and lackluster as we lose our bearings. We feel isolated.  Our prayers seem to bounce back from the heavens.  However, no matter how desolate our spiritual landscape, we must cling to the promises of God.  He says, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5, NIV).  In the familiar passage of Psalm 23:4, the psalmist reminds us, “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.” (NIV)


Do you feel lost in a desert today?  Do you need some direction? Need refreshing? If yes, I have good news for you!   Read the map of life, the Bible, and then follow the directions. Hold to the promise found in Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” (NIV) 


You will not only regain your bearings, but your thirsty soul will find refreshment.


Take a cool drink from the hand of the Shepherd.   Sip the Living Water of Jesus. “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." (John 4:13-14, NIV)


Step out of Death Valley into the green pastures of Jesus, The Shepherd.


My Prayer for Today:


Jesus, remind me today that You are always by my side as my faithful Shepherd, even when I feel like I am crawling through Death Valley.  Open my eyes to the directions You have given me in Your Word.  Oh Lord, refresh my spirit today with your Living Water.  In Your Faithful Name, Amen.


Application Steps:


Read Psalm 23 aloud.  Think how God has been your faithful Shepherd during this week.  Ponder your Death Valley moments, and then your green pasture experiences.  Take time to thank God for His faithfulness in both the good and bad times


  Reflection Points:


When I am in a spiritual desert, do I turn to God and His Word?


Do I read my Bible for direction in my life on a regular basis?


Do I follow the Shepherd or do I go my own direction?


Power Verses: 


Isaiah 40:31, “Yet those who wait for the Lord, Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.” (NASB) 


John 10:14, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me.” (NIV) 


Jeremiah 31:25, “I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint." (NIV) 


Additional Resources:


Living Life on Purpose, by Lysa TerKeurst



Intimate Moments with God, by Sharon Jaynes




Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed, by Lysa TerKeurst



Originally published Tuesday, 13 September 2005.