No devotional for today - We're celebrating Memorial Day!
≈ Devotional for Tuesday, May 27, 2008
"The Lord is MY Shepherd"
"The Lord is My Shepherd;
I shall not want."
The mother of a young boy who was dying of cancer taught him the Twenty-third Psalm, having him repeat "the Lord is my shepherd" by counting these five words with his fingers starting with the thumb.His ring finger was the word "my."When he got to that word, his mother taught him to hold that finger in his fist, symbolizing the personal relationship which Jesus had for him.When the boy died, he was found holding his ring finger.He died in the Shepherd's arms.(The Communicator's Commentary, Psalms 1-71, Donald M. Williams, p. 183)
The God of David is the God of Israel, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.He is the God of all Christians everywhere.We should carefully note the word "my."He is not our God by some tribal or communal designation, but the God of the Bible is known in His personal relationship.All of us must come to the place that we can say the Lord is "my Shepherd."David's Shepherd provides rest, direction, protection and restoration."Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil," because MY Shepherd is with me.
GospeLines Prayer:Everlasting Shepherd, when I stray, correct me with your rod of discipline; when danger crosses my path, guard me with your staff of protection.Feed me when I hunger, lift me up when I fall, refresh me when I faint.And I shall abide in your presence forever and ever.Amen and amen.
The transition from high school graduate to college freshman was a mischievous journey of youthful blunders and academic laziness.In the Fall of 1962, thankfully, there wasn't a lot of trouble for an eighteen year old to get into in Brownwood, TX, especially at a Baptist College.By the time they let the freshmen on campus the first football game was history.There were rumors that some of our upper-classmen spent the night in an Abilene jail because they were caught "painting campus."The tradition was, to travel to the opposing team's campus the night before the game, paint our school's initials on everything you could, and return home without getting caught.It wasn't as malicious as it sounds - we used whitewash which could be easily removed.
A knock came on my dormitory door the night before our second game, which was against Abilene Christian College.As a part of freshman initiation, I was expected to obey my upper-classmen (within reason)."Let's go, Freshman!" they barked in mock anger.So we piled in a car and headed north.After about 45 minutes I asked where we were going."Abilene," was the response."Why?" I queried."We're going to Abilene Christian College to paint campus."I had never spent the night in jail before, so I began to wonder how I would explain to my parents that on my second night away from home, at a Baptist college, I was arrested.
Our first stop was the football stadium which was surrounded by a seven foot chain-link fence with barbed wire on top.It took awhile to hurdle it but soon we were at the fifty yard line inscribing our initials with 50 pound bags of dry lime on the wet grass. About ten minutes into our work I looked across the campus where I saw the men's dormitory a hundred yards away.It was well after midnight, and there were students running out of the dormitory toward their cars.We had been caught!Instead of trying to hide we decided to make a run for it.We dropped everything and sprinted toward the fence (It didn't taken nearly as long to get over the second time).When we reached the Brownwood highway we were sure we were safe, until two cars suddenly came upon us from behind.The first one passed… IT WAS SOME OF OUR CLASSMATES.Later we learned that it was they who were running out of the dormitory where they had been painting on doors, walls, etc. etc.The second car had red lights on top and pulled us both over.The officer shined his flashlight inside and asked what we were doing.It wasn't like it was a secret anymore, we were covered with whitewash.So I spoke up and said that we had been painting campus.
What that Abilene police officer said next shocked me, but I will remember it as long as I live.He said, "Well, like my Daddy always said, if you are going to do something, do a good job, so good luck!"We made a U-turn, retrieved our whitewash and finished the job!
That night I learned about mercy, but those words also remind me that any task worth doing is worth doing right!Whether it is in relationships, work, or play, we have a responsibility to give it our very best effort.Whatever God has placed before you, He has enabled you to perform the task.Call upon His unlimited resources and invest yourself in a way that would honor your Father.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, keep me from becoming slothful in my commitments.Instill in my soul the importance of behaving as though You are the audience, when I am on the job, in my sanctuary of worship, or when I am a father and a husband.In every part of my life, give me the desire to offer the best I can give.Amen and amen.
Innocently nestled in the sixth chapter of Mark's gospel, verse 56, are these unforgettable words:"...And as many as touched Him were made well."
First, healing is not selective.Jesus does not sort out the easy diseases or respond only to the desirable people.He cannot be criticized for sexual, racial, age, or religious bias.
Second, some show of faith is required on the part of those who are sick.God does not force healing upon us nor does He reward those who play games.We must be determined.
Third, the result of faithful touching is freedom from the disease and wholeness from the fragmented life we had lived previously.Jesus is more ready to receive our touch than we are willing to reach out by faith and receive His blessing.
GospeLines Prayer:Father, I reach out to you in my broken state, and beseech you to accept my touch of faith.Heal me of everything that hinders my daily walk with you.Amen and amen.
It was my first year to teach, during the days when all the "dumb" kids were put in the same class together.As a rookie teacher, I was given the assignment of teaching remedial English.The school didn't call them dumb, but the children figured it out pretty quickly.Most of the students in that 8th grade English class were incapable of meeting minimum academic standards.Robert was different.Oh, his grades were low, but he was anything but incapable.And, he was willing to work hard and listen.
By the end of the first semester, I recommended that he be placed in the regular English class.On his last day in my class, his mother visited the school. She shared her joy and enthusiasm that her son was being "promoted."Tearfully, she told me that she had always known that Robert was capable but had never been given the opportunity.Due to personal illness, his absenteeism caused him to fail the first grade, and the system labeled him as "dumb" for so long that he had begun to believe it himself.
Failure is never final.God has placed in His children the spirit of victory to overcome fear.He has enabled us to rise above our defeats, and see them as stepping stones to success.The apostle Paul warned us about the negative principles of this world:"These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings" (Col. 2:22).
GospeLines Prayer:Father, give me strength to get up when I am knocked down.Teach me that You are able to overcome, even when I am NOT.Thank you that success is not measured by how often I fail, and that starting over is not a mark of weakness, but of wisdom.Amen and amen.