May 13, 2022

Weekly Devotion

MY SHEPHERD Psalm 23 In 2015 while volunteering in Nazareth, Israel I had the opportunity to be a shepherd for part of a day. Oh, those sheep! There were always one or two in particular that wanted to escape from the flock. So, I would leave the bigger bunch and chase after the escapees. It was not the easiest job by the way!
But this experience reminded me of several things. Amy Peterson (author) had a friend who spent a year as a shepherd in Wyoming. “Sheep are so dumb that they’ll only eat what is right in front of them,” he told her. “Even if they’ve eaten all the grass in front of them, they won’t turn to look for a fresh patch—they’ll just start eating dirt!”
I can’t help but think about how often the Bible compares humans to sheep. No wonder we need a shepherd! But since sheep are so dumb, not just any shepherd will do. Sheep need a shepherd who cares about them. So, what kind of shepherd would you pick if you were a sheep?
We would probably pick one that loves us, protects us, knows what I like to eat, knows where I like to go, cares for me when I am sick, protects me from parasites, predators, & poison weeds, finds me comfortable places to sleep, and if lost would come looking for me.
What if we are wandering in a desert? He has created cool shaded pastures with water. Lost in a dark valley? The Lord created valleys, darkness, but He is not lost (Is. 45:7)
No one knows your troubles? Discouraged? Our Shepherd is omnipresent. Our Shepherd brings you home. He does not leave you to graze outside the door. He loves and cares for you. The Lord loves me when I am good and loves me when I stray. God is love and He will always love me.
The Lord is not “a” shepherd, not “the” shepherd, not “our” shepherd, but He is “MY” Shepherd!
He is my personal shepherd who cares for me and protects me. Sheep do not worry about where its food is for next week, tomorrow or even for the next few minutes. Sheep do not worry about predators, deep water or high places. Sheep rely on the shepherd. Lord, I need you now.
If the Lord is not your Shepherd, then who is? Who or what shepherds you? - Pleasure? 
Money?
Job promotion? 
Fun? 
Sports?
Boss?
Education?
Cell phone?
Knowing the Shepherd gives you satisfaction and contentment. Jesus calls it peace. “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27 NLT) 

May 6, 2022

Weekly Devotion

Things are finally starting to get back to normal. For the fifth time. Is it for real this time? Will things ever be “normal” again? What does normal even mean? It’s easy to keep longing for what used to be. Weren’t things so much better before the pandemic? It’s hard to live in peace with everything that’s happening. Here’s a quote from songwriter Mike Donehey I found impactful: “The secret to peace is to embrace your current circumstance as if you had chosen it”. There are so many things about “normal” that we have no control over. To make a conscious decision to choose your current situation changes everything. We begin to see glory in places that we had blocked out before due to our longing for the past. Jesus is the Prince of Peace. Giving our worries and hopes to Him and embracing the place we are in will give us the peace that isn’t possible without God. So, what should normal mean then? I feel like we talk a lot about “things finally getting back to normal” or maybe about the “new normal”. The thing is circumstances always change. If we constantly live in the past, wishing we could have things like they were in the “good old days”, we will miss so many things flying right past us. I have often found myself wishing things were a certain way, or that I could go back to another place in my life. What I did not realize is that I was in the middle of some great things in the present! There are always good things happening. When we embrace where we are, give our problems to God, and ask Him to open our eye to the glory we couldn’t see, a new perspective is opened, one that allows us to live in and from God’s abundance. So, make the decision to embrace your circumstances as if you had chosen them. Pray that God will open your eyes to the amazing things happening right now. Written by Joe Warkentin 

Weekly Devotion

April 30, 2022 

Needs Maslow’s hierarchy of needs came up during my Bible study discussion this past week. We are studying the book of James, with the help of Francis Chan in RightNow Media, and were looking at chapter 4. Chan spoke from Alcatraz, using the empty prison to highlight our ineffective ways of meeting our God-created needs. What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. James 4:1-3 (NIV) God really has created us with needs that must be filled for us to function as physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually healthy people. Whether we are Christians or not, we recognize these needs, as Maslow did. But as believers in the reality and love of Jesus, we have the ultimate source for ALL these needs. The Bible is FILLED with promises of our Father’s ability and desire to meet our needs. But most often I depend on people and material things to meet these needs. People disappoint and are not perfect; money is fickle and fleeting (especially these days!). I can see the results of depending on these unreliable things: I am heartbroken, anxious, and angry; and so I then disappoint and hurt those around me. As always, I am reminded by scripture and song to depend on the Lord to give me everything I need: You're the way the truth and the life You're the well that never runs dry … Be my all my treasure my prize … Draw me close and teach me to abide. Holy Spirit, remind my wavering heart to reach out to You! You will supply all of my needs according to Your riches in Jesus. You’ve promised me rest when I am weary and burdened. You love me perfectly, even when I do not love you. Your power has given me everything I need to live a godly life. In the storms of life, You are my rock and salvation! You are my treasure. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs:
Written by Naomi

Maslow Hierarchy Link
 Song:  Abide

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