The Good Shepherd
He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart. Isaiah 40:11
I sat in the hospital room with my husband, waiting anxiously. Our young son was having corrective eye surgery and I felt the butterflies jostle in my stomach as I fretted and worried. I tried to pray, asking God to give me His peace. As I leafed through my Bible, I thought about Isaiah 40, so I turned to the familiar passage, wondering if anything fresh would strike me.
As I read, I caught my breath, for the words from so many years ago reminded me that the Lord “tends his flock like a shepherd” as He “gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart” (v. 11). In that moment my anxiety left me as I realized the Lord was holding us, leading us, and caring for us. That was just what I needed, Lord, I breathed silently. I felt enveloped in God’s peace during and after the surgery (which thankfully went well).
The Lord promised His people through the prophet Isaiah that He would be their shepherd, guiding them in their daily lives and giving them comfort. We too can know His gentle tending as we tell Him our anxious thoughts and seek His love and peace. We know that He is our Good Shepherd, holding us close to His heart and carrying us in His everlasting arms.
Lord Jesus Christ, You are the Good Shepherd who lays down His life for His sheep. Thank You for the gift of Your sacrificial love and for the peace that passes all understanding.
Read Oswald Chamber’s thoughts on worry.
The Good Shepherd cares for His sheep.
Value Wise Counsel
From: Our Daily Journey
I’ve been mentored by some wonderful leaders over the years. Their encouragement, challenges, criticism, and timely discipline have enabled me to grow and mature. From godly parents and inspirational teachers to leaders in church and the workplace, I’m immensely grateful for their wise counsel. It can be easy to criticize those in authority, but a wise friend once challenged me to prioritize learning from and valuing them.
If you could spend a day with a wise person, who would it be and what would you ask? King Solomon’s famous wisdom not only brought honor to God, it also allowed him to influence every nation on earth as kings sent their ambassadors to learn from him (1 Kings 4:29-33). When news of Solomon’s depth of understanding and abundant wealth reached the Queen of Sheba, she traveled a long distance to meet him and see if his wisdom was all she’d heard it was (1 Kings 10:1).
Her journey wasn’t in vain. She spoke with Solomon about many things, and he answered all her questions. Nothing was too difficult for him to explain to her. Overwhelmed (1 Kings 10:2-5), she gushed, “Everything I heard in my country about your achievements and wisdom is true! . . . How happy your people must be! What a privilege for your officials to stand here day after day, listening to your wisdom!” (1 Kings 10:6-8).
What a blessing it is to have access to wise counsel! Just as the Queen of Sheba recognized the value of learning from the wise, may we never take those who challenge and inspire us for granted. God can use wise leaders to help us become who He created us to be. And if you’re in a position of authority but feel that you lack wisdom, then ask God, and He’ll provide what you need (James 1:5).
A Self-Imposed Fog
By: Kathy Cheek, author, CBN
I read a devotional the other day on trusting God through the fog, the writer recounting a difficult drive down a foggy mountain road and trusting God to take her safely home.
I have not had that experience of driving down a foggy mountain road. And yet, recently … I created my own fog on a bright sunny day.
Nothing had changed. A blinding fog did not roll in and obscure my view.
I just took my eyes off what God can do and let circumstances overwhelm me with doubt and fear. I was not a friend to myself. I was a saboteur of my own journey.
For a while I let a thick fog swirl around me and swallow up my hope and faith and pull me into a dark place where discouragement filled my heart.
We all have those days when praying, waiting, and working toward something are met with discouragement. We often find we derail our confidence in the Lord with our own weakness and wrong thinking because for a while we take our eyes off of Him and instead let a fog of doubt and worry surround us. The fog comes rolling in when I take my eyes off of the Lord.
It is a miserable place to be when we feel like we have lost our way and can’t find a clear solution.
There are multiple possibilities for our discouragement. Here are just a few:
- We become impatient because we have already waited a very long time for answers.
- We might convince ourselves we have asked for too much or too big and back down from our asking.
- We don’t see any signs of change in our difficult situation and hopelessness leads to great frustration.
- Our task looks too complicated to complete and we feel like giving up.
We will all go through discouragement when faced with the above type scenarios. But will we let discouragement rule our lives or will we place our trust in God to work those things that we can’t comprehend? Will we remind ourselves how He has worked for our good in other difficult times?
When I realized that all the negativity I was experiencing was a product of my own doing and my reasons for discouragement were based on feelings and emotions run amuck, the fog began to lift and clear thinking prevailed. I stood my ground with faith and trust and let the sun break through all the fog.
When my self-imposed fog lifted and I experienced the fresh air of hope and faith once more, I truly felt a wave of energy surge through my body, heart, and soul. God’s indwelling spirit renewed me and I welcomed His faithfulness to me as His strength overcame my weakness and I felt strong and whole. The sky was blue again, the sun was shining, and all fog had lifted away.
But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 NKJV