Tag Archives: devotional writers

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.

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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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.

 

God’s Word for Today

I am the featured writer for all the Sunday devotionals in March, April, and May for God’s Word for Today, a devotional magazine put out by Gospel Publishing House.

Here’s the link in case you want to read them online: http://ag.org/top/devotional/

Or click on the magazine cover.

Be Encouraged!

Of Course He Can

 

blind eyes healedOf Course He Can

Read Matthew 21:12–27

Bev slipped in during the worship service and sat quietly in her pew. She enjoyed attending Calvary Temple in Portland, Oregon. She loved the joyful worship and hardly missed a Sunday. During the final song, she stood and raised her hands, but inside, her heart was crying.

She had trouble concentrating on the pastor’s sermon. Thoughts about Monday’s appointment preoccupied her mind. When the altar call came, she wiped away the tears and went forward. Little did anyone know she was going blind.

The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them (Matthew 21:14).

I can see nowNext week, Bev came early to church, with two sets of test results tucked into her Bible. After the service, she told Pastor Chuck 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. Although the eye doctor was pleased, he had no explanation for her sudden improvement in vision.

Challenge for Today: God still heals at the church altar—go forward and believe.

Quicklook:  Matthew 21:12–17

—Charles Earl Harrel (Pastor Chuck)

God’s Word for Today © 2007 Gospel Publishing House. Used by permission.

Order God’s Word for Today devotional guides.
Visit Gospel Publishing House.

Don’t Act That Way

You DecideDon’t Act That Way

Read Matthew 23:1–22

In biblical times, the Pharisees were devoted extremists who believed in a strict and limited interpretation of Scripture, especially when it came to the Law of Moses.

The scribes, also known as lawyers, defended the Scriptures. They taught from the Law, helped with religious duties, and served as judges in the Sanhedrin. Many of the scribes were also Pharisees. Jesus often referred to both groups as hypocrites because of their one-sided beliefs and actions.

“So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach” (Matthew 23:3).

Most societies have laws and leaders who enforce them. Their authority is necessary, their rules needful. However, certain officials, supervisors at work, even some religious leaders can become legalistic, their judgments unfair. Jesus still has the same advice: We should respect all positions of authority, even corrupt ones. Respect their positions, but do not act like them.  

Prayer Suggestion: When you encounter hypocrisy, don’t duplicate it, pray for wisdom.

Quicklook: Matthew 23:1–4

—Charles Earl Harrel

God’s Word for Today © 2007 Gospel Publishing House. Used by permission.

Order God’s Word for Today devotional guides.
Visit Gospel Publishing House.