Overshadowed by a Shadow


I decided to go for walk as it was a beautiful sunny morning. Since it was early, all was quiet and peaceful. I had time to notice what often goes unnoticed – like my shadow. My shadow was always before me. I could not catch up with it. My shadow was not behind me because of my position in relation to the sun. I thought about shadows. I thought about the shadow of the Lord. I thought about what it means to be overshadowed by the Lord.

According to Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, overshadowed means to have a shadow over; to be surpassed; to be covered with a superior influence. A short definition is simply to be covered. I decided to search the scriptures for examples of people who were overshadowed or covered by the Lord.

MOSES

Moses was covered by God.

In Exodus 33, Moses and the Lord have a conversation about the Lord being with Moses while he led the Israelites towards the Promised land. In verse 18, Moses said, “Now show me Your glory.” The Lord responded in verses 18-20, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim My name, the Lord, in your presence.” However, God also told Moses, you cannot see My face, for no one may see Me and live.” What happened? Exodus 33:21-23 says, There is a place near Me where you may stand on a rock. When My glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove My hand and you will see My back; but My face must not be seen.” During this time, Moses was overshadowed by the Lord.

Being overshadowed by the Lord assured Moses of God’s presence. Moses needed this confirmation before he led the Israelites to the Promised Land. We, too, must be overshadowed by the Holy Spirit to become confident of the Lord’s presence. Having this assurance, we will be able to lead others to a personal relationship with Jesus. We will have the privilege of leading people into the Land of Promises. The Promised Land of the Old Testament is a picture of the Land of Promises where believers live today.

Mary

Mary was covered by God.

In Luke 1, Mary has a conversation with an angel telling her that she would conceive a baby who would be called the Son of the Most High. In verse 34 Mary asks, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel responds in Luke 1:35, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.”

Being overshadowed by the Holy Spirit made it possible for Mary to become pregnant with new life. Today, God desires to impregnate us with His plans and purposes. When we allow the Holy Spirit to overshadow us, He reveals His divine purposes and enlarges us with the gifts necessary to give birth to His plans for our lives.

Peter, James and John

Peter, James and John were covered by God.

In Matthew 17, Jesus and these 3 men climbed a mountain. While praying, Jesus’ appearance changed and they saw Moses and Elijah talking with Jesus about His fulfillment of prophecy in the coming days. Matthew 17:24-25 says, “While He was speaking, a cloud appeared and covered them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. A voice came from the cloud, saying, ‘This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to Him.’’

This scriptural account is known as the Transfiguration. It involves spiritual overshadowing. First, the appearance of Jesus was transfigured, or changed. Then, the minds of these 3 men were transfigured, or transformed. Their minds were transformed and renewed with a new way of thinking. We also need a transfiguration experience to transform our way of thinking. Bill Johnson says in When Heaven Invades Earth that a renewing of the mind is needed for more miracles to occur. We need a new mind, a transfigured mind, to be able to think and expect God to move through miracles today. We must change our way of thinking. This is only possible when we are overshadowed by the Holy Spirit.

Having unpacked the experiences of these people who were overshadowed by the Lord, I desire the same privilege. I want to cry out as David did in Psalm 57:1, “Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in You I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of Your wings.” Psalm 91:4 says, “He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”

Being overshadowed by the Lord means I am covered by the Lord. Jesus says in John 14:16-17, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” This is the anointing of the Holy Spirit. What a privilege for us to be overshadowed by the Lord!

I close with the words of Psalm 63:7, “Because You are my help, I sing in the shadow of Your wings.

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Homeless and Bread and Fish

 

homelessbreadThe other evening while the wind was blowing and the snow was flying and the temperature was going below zero, I snuggled in a chair with a warm fleece blanket. I was cozy even though it was frigid outside. The winter of 2014 has been extremely harsh and I have often thought about and prayed for the homeless. Where would they find a warm place to sleep at night?  Would they have a hot meal to eat?  Did they have coats or gloves or boots to wear? I pray for these destitute people as a group rather than mentioning specific people by name. I wonder how God feels about my lumping all these homeless humans into one group. Maybe scripture can help me.

Jesus taught, healed, fed and had compassion for the multitudes! Although Jesus cared for people and knew them by name, He did not have to personally meet with someone in order to minister to their needs. Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7 includes such phrases as “when he (Jesus) saw the crowds,” and “he began to teach them” and “the crowds were amazed at his teaching.” Matthew 14:14 says, “Jesus…saw a large crowd, had compassion on them and healed their sick.” However, He did not stop with teaching and healing. He also fed the multitudes. Matthew 14:15-21 tells of His feeding over 5000 people and Matthew 15:29-39 records His feeding  over 4000 people. Jesus sees the multitudes but He also sees the individuals.

Although the account of Jesus feeding the 5000 is found in all four gospels (Matthew 14, Mark 6, Luke 9 and John 6), today I focus upon the words in the fourth gospel. John pointed out that a boy brought Jesus 5 barley loaves and 2 small fish that He then multiplied to feed this multitude. Jesus fed the people but the boy presented what he had to Jesus. Here is where I find an application regarding my accentuated feeling for the homeless during this extremely cold season. Are the loaves of bread and fish symbolic of something I have to offer to these destitute people? I notice that the boy brought two different things – not just bread, not just fish. What are my 5 loaves and 2 fish? First, my loaves may be my prayers. This is what God has asked me to do regarding the homeless during the cold weather. Prayer is powerful and I must not neglect this privilege and responsibility. Second my fish may be my actions. Do I have time to volunteer at a shelter for the underprivileged? Do I have an extra coat in my closet that I can donate? God may not require either my prayers or my actions, but He chooses to use them. Jesus could have performed the miracle of feeding the 5000 people without the boy’s loaves and fish just as easily as when He held these food items in His hands. However, He involved those around Him. Today He still chooses to involve me to help those in need.

I also see that in all four gospels it is recorded that Jesus gave thanks to God for what He had before the miracle of multiplication for the multitude took place. I think Jesus probably told the boy thank you for giving Him his lunch, but He also gave thanks to God. After Jesus gave thanks for the five loaves of bread and the two fish, there was enough to feed over 5000 people. This makes me wonder if God appreciates my prayers to the extent that He thanks me for my prayers so He can multiply them and provide for the needs of those for whom I pray. That is something I really need to think about! I also want to follow Jesus’ example of including thanksgiving as well as requests in my prayers. Jesus gave thanks and then the miracle of the food increase for the hungry took place. My focus must be first upon thanking God before needing to see answers to my prayers.

Jesus was not only able to feed all of those who were hungry, but there were 12 baskets of leftovers! The boy was most likely amazed to see all that transpired through his giving his lunch to Jesus. I do not need to know how the Lord will use whatever I give to Him. I just need to be obedient.  I like the verse of John 6:12 where Jesus says, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” God wastes nothing, so it is never a waste of my time or effort to give to Him. The loaves the boy brought to Jesus were broken. The pieces of my life may be broken, but these pieces are still usable by the Lord.

I now find some solace in scripture where Jesus ministered to the multitudes. I will continue to pray for the pool of people whose faces I see but whose names I do not know. I will not be intimidated by simply seeing these individuals as a great number of needy people for whom I cannot provide. I will present my loaves and fishes of prayers and actions. I present them to Jesus and then wait to see how He is doing to multiply my offering to satisfy the needs. Jesus knows their needs better than I, but I can place what I have into the hands of Jesus with thanksgiving.

My Reader, has the Lord pricked your heart to do something for the homeless? Have you learned anything from the story of a boy’s bread and fish today? According to John, the feeding of the 5000 began with one boy willing to offer his lunch to Jesus. What can you offer to Jesus? You might be surprised how your offering will be multiplied.

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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