Daily Devotional for Friday December 7, 2012
Be Like the Shepherds
***ASK BILL: Pastor Bill, since we only have one Holy Bible how can so many denominations claim different meanings? You can take the same verse and each group says it means a different thing.
ANSWER: That is why it is CRITICAL for people to read and study the Bible, so they can spot bad doctrine, or man-made traditions that have no Biblical support. On all of the main issues of faith, who is God, who is Jesus, the Holy Spirit, what is sin, our purpose, and most important, salvation, are not disputed. They are clear enough for a 3rd grader to understand. Sadly, it is on many non-critical issues that men have fallen into satan's trap of division, mainly in order to create their own separate churches. The motivation is usually to have earthly power and wealth. The good news, when a person dies, it won't matter the name of the building you chose to worship in, only if you have accepted Jesus as your Savior by faith or have rejected Him.
Believe it or not, Christmas is only 13 days away! I was taught very early in life that you can learn much by watching people. In the day Jesus was born, a shepherd was the equivalent of a busboy or dishwasher in today's society. It was a very lowly position and these were not the type of people that you would think to look at as role models. Let me remind you that you can never judge a person by the house they live in, the car they drive, or the job they hold. It is our heart God sees and judges.
The shepherds on the night Jesus was born must have been pretty important men in the eyes of God because it was to those men, that He revealed the birth of His son in Bethlehem's manger that night. While there are many great spiritual lessons that you can learn from the shepherds, the one I want to focus on today is their conduct after they had visited the manger and saw with their own eyes the baby Jesus.
The scripture reference today tells us that they left praising God for all they had seen and were shown. Praising God. I have talked about this many times in the past, and will continue to talk about it because it is one element of our faith that we just don't practice enough. So much of our prayer time, so much of our focus is on our problems and circumstances, that we often forget to spend time each day just thanking and praising God for all that He does for us each and every day.
In the past month, a lady in Baltimore, Maryland emailed a request for God to restore her marriage. Her husband had left her for another woman. Within 3 weeks the husband had come home, recommitted his life to Christ, and they were in Christian counseling to work out their problems. For those of you today with marriage problems, God is still in the restoration business. A man in Newark, New Jersey requested prayer the day before open heart surgery. He emailed us a week later telling us all had gone well and the doctors told him he would make a full and complete recovery. For those battling health problems today, God is still in the healing business. A single mother of 4 in St. Louis asked us for prayer after she lost her job. 2 weeks later God had given her a better job, with more money. For those of you in need of a financial blessing today, God is still in the business of providing for His children.
On the 5th day after we started Liveprayer, our prayer partner on the live video feed was praying for a person as they accepted Christ as Savior. The next day an email came in from Hong Kong from a man who had lost his business, was thinking of suicide, and somehow logged on to our site. As the prayer partner was leading the person in the sinner's prayer, this man in Hong Kong prayed to accept Jesus too. God is still in the business of saving souls! Everyday we get incredible praise reports of how God has touched lives and worked miracles in thousands of people who have visited Liveprayer during a time of great need in their life.
I want to encourage you today to learn from the shepherds and never neglect to thank God for all He does for you each and everyday. Blessings that you take for granted. It is through your praise, through you telling others all that God has done for you, that they might increase their faith to allow God to work in their life. Your praise report gives others going through the same situation the hope and strength to go on, trusting God for their miracle.
Hope is the greatest gift you can give to another person, and our hope is in Jesus Christ!!!
I love you and care about you so much. I pray today that you will not forget to give God the praise He deserves each and everyday. I appreciate more than you can know the praise reports that we get everyday because that keeps all of us here at Liveprayer encouraged. God not only hears our prayers, but answers our prayers! My challenge to you today is to be like the shepherds. God blesses you so that you can share His blessings with others, to encourage them! Be like the shepherds and tell those you meet along the path of your life about this wonderful friend you have named Jesus Christ!
In His love and service,
Your friend and brother in Christ,