Category Archives: Devotionals

When Tomorrow Comes

The Ninth Life

There have been times when I thought I wouldn’t make it. Times when I thought I didn’t have enough strength left within me to take whatever I was going through any longer. Times when life didn’t seem fair. Times when I wanted to throw in the towel, walk out of the door, and give up. Times when all I could do was cry out to my Heavenly Father, “Help me! I need you!”

But as I reflect, it was during the difficult times that God showed me His compassion and wisdom. Although I could not physically see His presence, He dried every one of my tears with the warmth of His Holy Spirit. He listened with open ears when no one else seemed to care or understand. And, He would always ask me the same question, “If you give up now, what will you do when tomorrow comes?”

My heartfelt…

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Keeping Watch

                                              Keeping Watch                                                   

The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it (John 10:12).

Scripture: John 10:11–16
Song: “Jesus Loves Me”

Several years ago, I met a family who owned a small flock of sheep in the Midwest. Their flock numbered about 400. Although they were modern-day shepherds, with fenced pastures and trained sheep dogs, they still assigned family members to watch the flock during the nights.

One weekend, the family hired two men to take care of the flock while they were away on business. Instead of tending to their duties, these hirelings decided to throw a party. After a bout of drinking, they passed out and fell sound asleep.

Around midnight, three barking dogs entered the pasture. The sheep were terrified as they ran for their lives. These were not wild dogs; yet, by the time they finished, half the sheep lay dead. Some were killed in the fences trying to escape. Others died from exhaustion and fear. In the morning, the men awoke, saw the carnage, and fled the county.

Thank goodness, Jesus is not a hireling! He is the true shepherd who keeps watch over His flock. He never sleeps nor will He abandon us. We can always feel secure in Him.

Lord, I’m so glad to be in Your flock. When You came to me as Savior, You also became my faithful shepherd. How blessed I am! In You, I have salvation, protection, and a loving friend. Through Your precious name I pray. Amen.

“Keeping Watch” by Charles Earl Harrel. First published in Devotions® © 2011 Standard Publishing. Reprinted with permission from the publisher.

Purchase current printed issue of Devotions or 365 Devotions.

Hungry and Thirsty

            Hungry and Thirsty                         

Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things (Psalm 107:8, 9).

Scripture: Psalm 107:1–9

Song: “Come and Dine” (by C. B. Widmeyer)

At 19 years old, I was a new convert to Christianity, full of vigor but somewhat naive. One Sunday, after reading about the 40-day fast Jesus accomplished in the wilderness, I decided to try a fast of my own. Like Jesus, I would not eat or drink anything for 40 days. That night, I drank lots of water and consumed a huge meal to prepare myself for Monday.

When I arrived at work, the loading dock at W. T. Grants had two semi-trucks, both doubles, which needed unloading. By noon, my mouth had turned dry, and my stomach ached for anything edible. Our stock room crew usually ate lunch together at the food court. And wouldn’t you know it—that day the menu offered one of my favorites—fried clams, all you could eat, including free refills on soft drinks. I just sat at my table, famished, watching my stockroom buddies chow down. I still remember that hungry feeling.

Hunger and thirst are powerful spiritual motivators. They push us toward God’s kingdom and His righteousness. When we hunger after these things, God fills our lives to overflowing. And like nourishment for the body, the good things of God satisfy the soul.

God, Your unfailing love, divine mercy, and wonderful deeds are like food for a hungry spirit and water for a thirsty soul. Give me these things! In Jesus’ name, amen.

“Hungry and Thirsty” by Charles Earl Harrel. First published in Devotions® © 2011 Standard Publishing. Reprinted with permission from the publisher.

Purchase current printed issue of Devotions or 365 Devotions.

The Healer Still Walks

The Healer Still Walks                            

Jesus went through all the towns and villages . . . healing every disease and sickness (Matthew 9:35).

Scripture: Matthew 9:35–38
Song: “The Healer” (by Lois Irwin)

Bev arrived late for church that morning. She slipped in during the worship service and sat quietly. Bev enjoyed attending church; she loved the joyful worship and hardly missed a Sunday. During the final song, she clapped her hands in joyful rhythm. But inside, her heart cried as she thought about Monday’s doctor appointment. She was slowly going blind.

At the end of service, the minister asked everyone who was sick to stand. He told his congregation that Jesus still walked the aisles with healing in His hands. Bev rose to her feet, closed her eyes, and tried to believe for a miracle.

Next Sunday, Bev came early to church—two sets of test results were tucked into her Bible. After the service, she told the minister about her failing eyesight, then handed him both reports. He almost fell over. Bev’s updated diagnosis: 20/20 vision, corrective lenses no longer needed, eye surgery unnecessary. The doctor had no explanation for her improvement.

The verse from Matthew holds true today. Jesus still walks through our land with healing hands. If you have a need, trust Him and believe.

Dearest Lord Christ, I believe You are passing by this moment. So, in simple faith, I reach out to You. My family and I need Your help, and I know Your touch will make all the difference. Praise to You, who reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

“The Healer Still Walks” by Charles Earl Harrel. First published in Devotions® © 2011 Standard Publishing. Reprinted with permission from the publisher.

Purchase current printed issue of Devotions or 365 Devotions.

A Mother’s Love

Happy Mother’s Day

Here’s a little thought for all mothers and grandmothers.

FAITH | LOVE | SOUL

images.jpg       Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother.  You see being a mother is so much more than genetic makeup.  And although conceiving a child and all that it entails is truly one of God’s greatest miracles, the journey of being a mother takes much commitment, strength, and LOVE!

It is said that a mother’s love is a reflection of God’s love. A mother’s love is eternal, pure, and unconditional.  She rejoices with her child’s happiness and cries with their disappointments.

A mother’s love never fails or falters. It is deeper than the ocean’s depth and infinitely wider. She is her child’s first friend, and more importantly the most genuine. She instinctively knows when her child feels sad or burdened by struggles, without ever having to exchange a single word.

A mother is the constant and the rock on which her children stand.

When feeling…

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As Long As It Takes

As Long As It Takes                    

As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness (Ezekiel 34:12).

Scripture: Ezekiel 34:11–16

Song: “Rescue the Perishing”

We’d just finished loading the camp gear into the truck when the park ranger approached our now empty campsite. “Have you guys seen a small boy in a blue T-shirt and white shorts?” the ranger asked. “Well, he’s wandered off and his parents are worried.”

Sadly, we all shook our heads “No.” But as the ranger jogged to next campsite, he noticed the L.A. County Fireman’s sticker on my dad’s Chevy Suburban. Even before he returned to ask, Dad had tightened his boots, grabbed a flashlight, and was heading down the canyon.

They both understood the urgency. In a few hours, temperatures would drop to near freezing. In the pitch darkness and rocky terrain, the little boy’s chances of survival were slim. As Dad disappeared into the night, Mom called out, “How long will you be gone?” Dad yelled back, “As long as it takes.”

Likewise, whenever we wander away from the flock, our faithful shepherd, Jesus, will find and rescue us—no matter how long it takes.

Precious Shepherd, sometimes clouds of discouragement sweep over my soul, causing me to feel lost, isolated from the flock. Please rescue me, Lord; bring me back to the fold and into Your loving embrace. In the name of Jesus, I pray.

“As Long As It Takes” by Charles Earl Harrel. First published in Devotions® © 2011 Standard Publishing. Reprinted with permission from the publisher.

Purchase current printed issue of Devotions or 365 Devotions.

 

Follow the Leader

Follow the Leader

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 (Psalm 23:4).

Scripture: Psalm 23
Song: “He Leadeth Me”

Stretching about 140 miles between two mountain ranges—Sylvania in the north and Owlshead in the south—lies a daunting geographical obstacle: California’s legendary Death Valley. Temperatures in this valley can range from 130 degrees in the summer to below freezing in the winter. Water from the salt flats is undrinkable, rainfall uncommon.

When you add the mountain lions, coyotes, bobcats, rattlesnakes, scorpions, tarantulas—it’s easy to see how this valley earned its name. A foot traveler, facing these elements unprepared, would be in danger from the start. Obviously, a seasoned guide, a few maps, and a pathfinder compass would be helpful.

As Christians, we sometimes face daunting circumstances. These spiritual valleys contain perils and pitfalls that we cannot navigate by ourselves. Thankfully, we have an experienced guide who can lead us through these valleys unharmed. He carries the right equipment too: a shepherd’s staff and hobnailed rod. What assurance and comfort!

Dear Shepherd, thanks for guarding my soul as I venture through the valleys. Most of all, thanks for leading me safely to pastures of eternal life. In Jesus’ name, amen.

“Follow the Leader” by Charles Earl Harrel. First published in Devotions® © 2011 Standard Publishing. Reprinted with permission from the publisher.

Purchase current printed issue of Devotions or 365 Devotions.