Category Archives: God’s Promises

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.

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.

 

Merry Christmas

Wishing Everyone a Merry and Blessed Christmas

Lately, I’ve been on an Immanuel journey of sorts (Matthew 1:21–23; Isaiah 7:14–16). According to Matthew, Immanuel refers to Jesus Christ. The Hebrew, עִמָּנוּאֵל‎, means God with us.

The O Come, O Come Emmanuel music video below is from Anna Hawkins’ latest album, Divine, filmed in the deserts of Israel and the streets of Jerusalem.

Anna Hawkins' Oh Come EmmanuelThis version is solemn, breathtaking, reflective.

Click on the picture to listen and enjoy.

The Difference of His Presence — Cory Lebovitz

An uplifting post by Cory Lebovitz—worth reading—and he’s right. It’s not about our skills, efforts, relationships, or previous experience. The difference maker is the reality of God’s presence among us.

One person can make all the difference. For instance, a quiet night alone at home can be a boring couple of hours trying to find something to do. However if my wife is there suddenly it is a calm and peaceful night with a person I love. Her presence makes the difference. A solo walk […]

via The Difference of His Presence — Cory Lebovitz

But YOU…O Lord

A most encouraging post—and true. Take a read.

Beholding Him Ministries

Psalm 3.3

Psalm 3
Lord, how many are my foes!
    How many rise up against me!
Many are saying of me,
    “God will not deliver him.”
But You, Lord, are a shield around me,

    my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
I call out to the Lord,
    and He answers me from His holy mountain.

It is believed that David wrote this Psalm when on the run from Absalom, his son.

He begins by sharing with the Lord that the number of enemies he is facing is many. We should certainly relate to this because there have been times that life has pressed in on us and it seems like there is trouble on every hand. The trouble becomes our focus. The enemy comes in many shapes and sizes…if it is not this, it is that or perhaps both…

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A Sign from Heaven

bakery storeA Sign from Heaven

Read Isaiah 7–1 through 12:6

homemade breadThe words caught Earl’s attention as he dashed from the plaza toward the parking lot. A sign reading “Homemade Bread” dangled in the bakery window. Smiling, he remembered how his mother’s bread disappeared within hours, while the bread from the grocery store remained in the pantry for ages. The sign reminded him that something homemade is unique because it carries the personal touch of its maker.

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14).

It’s no surprise that God decided to announce a special event with His own personal touch. The sign of Immanuel—God with us—reveals the Lord’s desire for closeness. God established a unique relationship with humanity by placing Immanuel inside a person for the very first time. Jesus’ conception was nothing less than miraculous. This advent was a type and shadow of the inward, salvation experience that would set the divine pattern for all intimacy: God with us, Christ in us.

Thought for Today: The world offers many signs, but the ones from heaven carry the Master’s touch. They point the way to salvation and a closer relationship with God.

Quicklook: Isaiah 7:10–25

—Charles Earl Harrel

God’s Word for Today © 2005 Gospel Publishing House. Used by permission.

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