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Devotions for Life

God Himself Will Seek His Children

“I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will cause them to lie down, says the Lord God” (Ezekiel 34:15). 

God’s constant worry, His mission and His goal, is saving His people. It is the theme of the Bible. It is the reason Jesus left heaven and died at the hands of cruel people.

However, God’s love for His people is evident long before Jesus died on the cross. Our Father had some very strong words for the teachers of Israel. He said, “The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought back that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost…” (Ezekiel 34:4). 

Look at those for whom God worried. They are the diseased, the sick, the broken, the driven away, the lost. They are all of us. We are all these things because of what sin is doing to us. Sin has made our souls and bodies sick and driven us away from God so that we are lost. But God did not intend for us to be wandering and lost. “I myself, even I, will search for my sheep, and will seek them out,” He said. Although God spoke this about the Israelites, He meant it for all mankind. He sent us Jesus, who said, “I am the good shepherd; and I know mine own, and mine own know me, … and I lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10: 14, 15). 

Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost. That is every one of us. Without God’s Son dying on the cross as our sacrifice, we would remain in our terrible state of sin and alienation from God. But God loved us so much that He Himself came to save us.

Hymn: “He Loved Me So” 

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we praise You for loving us enough to send Jesus, our Good Shepherd who died for us. In Jesus’ name. Amen. 

Donna Wittlif, Denver, Colorado

donnarichmond93455@yahoo.com

www.donnarwittlif.com

 



I Will Carry It For You

“For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth. . . ” (2 Chron. 16:9). 

The following story about a young Christian on a rock climbing excursion with friends came to my attention, particularly since she was engaging in an exercise which frightened her greatly. For a rest period. Though scared, she walked out on a shelf of granite that had a safety rope handing over it.


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Which Cross Are You Bearing?

“And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me” (Matt 10:38 NASU). 

How often we misuse the words of Jesus. Cross bearing is more than a hangnail.  

There are some situations where we have no choice in in the matter of carry crosses. It is thrust on us. When Jesus fell under the weight of His cross, there was a man, Simon, who happened to be there for the Passover who was thrust into service by the Romans. He was forced to carry Jesus’ cross. He had no choice or suffer the same fate as Jesus. So He picked up Jesus’ cross and carried it the rest of the way (LK. 23:26). He did not pick up his own cross, but the cross of the Lord. He was an innocent bystander who happened to be there. We may be called upon to carry one another’s burdens, and fulfill the law of Christ (Gal.6:2). Also. often, sickness, physical challenges or limitations, financial problems, loss of children, loved ones or friends, and a host of other things are thrust upon us without any personal responsibility other than “time and chance” happens to us all (Ecc. 9:11). We must take up our cross, deny ourselves, and follow Jesus. 

There are also crosses of our own doing. The two robbers, (incorrectly called thieves), who were crucified with Jesus, carried their crosses like every condemned man in those days. They didn’t volunteer to carry their crosses; it was thrust upon them for their own evil deeds. Many people, because of foolish living, and sinful choices, are forced to carry the burden of guilt, a damaged body, and a shortened life, or even loss of job, family, respect, and even incarceration and death. They sowed to the flesh and reaped corruption (Gal. 6:7-8). They “sow the wind and reap a whirlwind” (Hos 8:7). Peter wrote, “For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience?” (1 Peter 2:20). 

Finally, there is a cross we “pick up” ourselves, because we are Christians. Jesus bore the cross for you and me. The second part of 2 Pet. 2:20 is “But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.” Peter also said, “For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly” (v. 19).  

A cross is an emblem of execution. It can kill you. We should be careful not to describe small matters as our cross. It trivializes what Jesus meant. Real hardships (our own or others), and injustices are crosses.  

It is interesting that Mark mentions the names of the sons of Simon, the man who carried Jesus’ cross (Mk. 15:21). What’s the significance of that? Certainly, someone became interested in Simon enough to obtain his name and the name of his sons. To include them in Mark’s gospel account suggests that not only did Simon become a believer, but also his two sons. Cross bearing just might lead others to Christ! 

Hymn: “Send The Light”

Our God in heaven, give us a willing heart to carry our crosses so that others may give you glory through our humble obedience. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

Rob Redden, Arroyo Grande, CA (rredden604@aol.com)