I don't know where you live, but where I live it is hot. We are in the middle of summer and the temperatures are staying in the mid to upper 90's. With the breathing problem I have had the past few years, I have a hard time in the heat and high humidity, so I try to do any outside work early or late in the day, or in short spurts of time. I see all the posts of friends on vacation and I miss the fun. I have always enjoyed the beach, but I am afraid to venture too far from home in this heat. Several members of our church are going through physical problems, and some may be experiencing financial or family problems, all which can sometimes make us feel forsaken. We may ask, "Does Jesus Care?" "Yes, He cares!" Pastor Jack Tripp preached a sermon from I Peter 5:1-7 last Sunday on "He Cares For You". I want to use notes from his message for the next couple of weeks and encourage you with the promise and assurance that Jesus cares for you. "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." (I Peter 5:7)
"Does Jesus Care?"
In 1901 this question was asked in a song written by Frank E. Graeff. I want us to begin our new devotional theme with the words to this great old song. I can say with Mr. Graeff, "Oh, yes, He cares, I know He cares, His heart is touched with my grief; When the days are weary, the long nights dreary, I know my Savior cares."
"Does Jesus Care?"
Does Jesus care when my heart is pained
Too deeply for mirth or song,
As the burdens press, and the cares distress,
And the way grows weary and long?
Oh, yes, He cares, I know He cares,
His heart is touched with my grief;
When the days are weary, the long nights dreary,
I know my Savior cares.
Does Jesus care when my way is dark
With a nameless dread and fear?
As the daylight fades into deep night shades,
Does He care enough to be near?
Does Jesus care when I’ve tried and failed
To resist some temptation strong;
When for my deep grief there is no relief,
Though my tears flow all the night long?
Does Jesus care when I’ve said “goodbye”
To the dearest on earth to me,
And my sad heart aches till it nearly breaks—
Is it aught to Him? Does He see?
God Comforts As A Mother Does
We are beginning our Daily Devotions on "He Cares For You" with illustrations of God's love. The first is found in Isaiah 66:13. "As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem." I recently saw a post about a new dad who was taking care of a little baby and she was crying. After several failed attempts of finding what was wrong, he took a blouse that belonged to her mother and laid it with the baby and she stopped crying. Many times babies and children want to be comforted by their mothers. They enjoy playing with Dad, but when they get hurt they call out for Mom. My children are all grown, but I still remember the days and nights I spent feeding and rocking my babies. My life was forever changed with the birth of my first son and my love grew more and more with each new addition to our family. When we look at God's care for us, we can see His love through the comfort He brings. Many times we go through valleys and storms that no one else understands. It is a great comfort to know that even when we can't talk to anyone else about our problems, we can tell it all to Jesus. He sees our tears and hears our cries and He can put His arms around us and bring comfort, just as a mother lifts a toddler up into her arms and dries the tears and gives comfort with her gentle touch.
God Cares For Us As A Shepherd Looking For Lost Sheep
Our next illustration of God's love is found in Ezekiel 34:11-16. God cares for us as a shepherd looking for His lost sheep.
"11 For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out.
12 As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.
13 And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country.
14 I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel.
15 I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD.
16 I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick:..."
God is our Good Shepherd. "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep." (John 10:11)
God is the Great Shepherd. "Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant," (Hebrews 13:20)
And God is the Chief Shepherd. "And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away." (I Peter 5:4)
I am so glad that the Shepherd found me!
God Cares For Us As An Eagle Cares For Her Young
I was cleaning a porch area and as I went to move a bird's nest, two small birds flew from the nest. Another bird lifted his little wings, but could not leave the nest. I carefully pushed the nest to the ground with my broom and discovered that the nest had been made with a sticky substance of some sort and the little bird's foot was stuck between some twigs. The hold was very strong, but I carefully worked to free the little bird and after a short while, off he flew. Today I want us to think about eagles. Look at Deuteronomy 32:11-12, "As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: So the LORD alone did lead him,..." I heard a sermon once about eagles and the preacher said that sometimes the mother has to push the eagles from the nest, but she will fly down under them and catch them on her wings if they don't fly. Our verses in Deuteronomy tell us that God cares for us as an eagle cares for her young. We may feel comfortable and get all settled in our litte nest and not want to venture out. I think about Jeremiah 48:11 where God said, "Moab hath been at ease from his youth, and he hath settled on his lees,..." God went on to say that judgment would come. We need to grow up and do the work God has called us to do. We might be afraid to venture out of our nest, but God will be there to catch us if we fall. The little bird I found would have died if he had not been set free to fly from his nest. Don't be afraid to take your wings and fly where the Lord leads, for He will always be with you.
God Cares For Us As A Father Cares For His Children
We go to the book of Psalms for our verse today. "Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him." (Psalm 103:13) My Dad was a faithful Christian man and he had a great testimony that he loved the Lord. He raised me in a Christian home for which I am ever thankful. The thought that God is my heavenly Father brings comfort to my soul. "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not." (I John 3:1) We are sons of God. And as His children, God watches over us and provides our needs.
"27 Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
28 If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?
29 And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.
30 For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.
31 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Luke 12:27-31)
God Cares For Us As A Bridegroom Cares For His Bride
It has been almost 40 years since I walked down the aisle of the church in my long white wedding gown, but I can still see the look of love in Michael's eyes. One of our favorite songs to sing is "God's Been Good" and I can surely say that He has! "I feel blessed beyond my wildest dreams when I go to sleep each night. And though I've had my share of hard times, I wouldn't change them if I could, 'Cause through it all, God's been good." (I think the song was written by Sue and Belinda Smith.) Our caring attribute of God today is that of a Bridegroom over His bride. We see this in the Old Testament in verses like Isaiah 61:10. "I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels." And also Isaiah 62:5, "...and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee."
Just as we spend time in preparation of our weddings here on earth, God is preparing for the great marriage supper of the Lamb.
"7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God." (Revelation 19:7-9)
What a great marriage that will be! Can you see the love God has for His bride?
"1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." (Revelation 21:1-4)
God Cares For Us As A Hen That Cares For Her Chicks
The story is told of a farmer walking through his barnyard after a destructive fire. He saw the lifeless body of one of his hens and he kicked it over. He was surprised to see the little chicks run out from under the mother hen, who gave her life to save her chicks. As we complete our list of illustrations of God's care we see that He cares for us as a mother hen cares for her chicks. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!" (Matthew 23:37) I can imagine the pain Jesus felt as He cried out these words. John relayed it in the opening chapter of his gospel, "He came unto his own, and his own received him not." (John 1:11) It would be disastrous to stop there. Let's continue with John...
"12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth."
"No Man Cared For My Soul"
As I was thinking about our devotions on "He Cares For You", the Lord brought a verse to my mind that may bring conviction to our hearts. I am taking a pause from Preacher Tripp's sermon to look at these sad words of David. We usually think of the book of Psalms as being songs of praise, but look at the sorrow in Psalm 142:4. "I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul." How many people do we come in contact with every day that could say, "No man cared for my soul"? When we stand before God among our family and friends, will they be able to point a finger at us and say, "No man cared for my soul"? I believe that we are living in the last days as we see prophecy fulfilled before our eyes. We need to do all we can for the cause of Christ and be witnesses for His holy name. But, it must be done in love. Theodore Roosevelt once said, "No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care." I don't want to be accused of not caring for the souls of men and women. What a sad fate that would be!
He Knows Us By Name
Last week we saw The Illustrations Of God's Care, and today we move to the next section of the outline, The Indications Of God's Care. First of all, He knows us by name. John tells us that He is our Good Shepherd and He calls us by name. "To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out." (John 10:3) Timothy also assures us that God knows us by name. "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity." (II Timothy 2:19) There are many well-known people and celebrities that I could look at a picture of them and know their names, but not a single one of them would know my name. If I went to visit one of them, I could not get in to see him/her because he/she would not know me by name. I can see the names of God all through my Bible, such as those found in Isaiah 9:6. "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." God's Word tells us the names of our God, and that is amazing. But, even more amazing is that this Wonderful, Mighty God, and Prince of Peace knows my name! And I can go to Him at His throne of grace in prayer any time, night or day!
He Numbers The Hairs On Our Head
Three years ago I had a breathing episode that seemed like an asthma attack. After two hospital stays and visits with several specialists, it was decided that it could have been caused by allergies, acid reflux, asthma, or anxiety. I still have problems from time to time, and am constantly trying to pin-point the causes. One problem about seeing so many specialists was that each new one I saw put me on several new medications. I think I was taking 15 different ones when I checked out of the hospital. I noticed that my hair began falling out and I looked online to see which of the medicines could cause hair loss, and I think all of them did. Working with the doctors, I began to wean myself off the medicines that seemed to make me feel worse. Over time I was able to stop all of those medications and my hair has come back healthy and strong. I did not know what was going on with my health during that two-year time period, but I knew that God knew! He increased my faith which gave me new strength and helped me recover. I thought about this verse when my hair was falling out, "But the very hairs of your head are all numbered." (Matthew 10:30) It encouraged me that God not only cared for my health, but He knew so much about it that He knew the number of hairs on my head. I am so thankful for His loving care.
He Counts The Steps Of Our Feet
Several years ago when I was trying to get more exercise I tried wearing a pedometer to count my daily steps. I wore it all day at work, and watched it go up a little when we took our afternoon break, walking a mile around the hospital and back. But since I spent most of the day sitting at a desk, it was discouraging to hear the recommendations that we should take 10,000 steps each day. I don't think I even came close the day we spent at the zoo. So, I don't count my steps, but my God knows every step I take. Listen to what Job said, "For now thou numberest my steps..." (Job 14:16) and again in Job 31:4, "Doth not he see my ways, and count all my steps?" God not only counts our steps, but He also directs our steps. "A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps." (Proverbs 16:9) He walks with us and He is there when we fall. "The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand." (Psalm 37:23-24) Oh, how great is the loving care of our heavenly Father for His children!
He Writes Down Our Thoughts Of Him
I have been in church meetings, and camp-meeting services over the years which were very uplifting and spiritually filling to my soul. I have rejoiced with people and had great fellowship with my Christian brothers and sisters during services. I have blessed memories of worshiping with our youth group when I was younger as we went and sang when our pastor, A. F. Blackburn, preached with that old-time power. I enjoyed these meetings and I grew in the Lord, but the times I felt most blessed were times when I was riding down the road and I thought about how good the Lord had been to me. Just me and the Lord, riding along together, and the tears started rolling down my cheeks. There were other times when I sat in the wee hours of the night, rocking my little baby, and as I sang some of the great old hymns God touched my heart as gently as I touched my sleeping baby, and I cried tears of joy. God knows when we think of Him and He keeps these memories safe in His book of remembrance. "Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him." (Malachi 3:16-17) I am afraid that with all the sources of communication we have today, we are neglecting the main Source of Power in our lives. We need to get back in touch with our Lord and think on Him and the goodness He shares with us daily. One of my favorite verses is found in Psalm 46:10, "Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth." He knows when we think of Him and He cares enough to write it in his book.
He Keeps Our Tears
During my first dozen years I lived next door to my Grandpa. He was such a likable person that every kid in our neighborhood called him, "Grandpa." (I never liked that because he was my Grandpa, not theirs.) I think he was rough growing up, but I never saw that side of him, and remember him as a preacher. In fact, he was preaching the morning I got saved, almost fifty years ago. It has been so long since I heard him tell me, but I think as a young man, he was working on a car motor that blew up in his face. The hospital staff just rolled him out into the hall with a sheet over him. Being left to die, he told the Lord that if he lived, he would stop running from the Lord and become a preacher, as he thought the Lord had called him to do. He never went back on his promise, and preached until he got cancer and could no longer stand behind a pulpit. I remember his last sermon, on Mother's Day, 1992. Even after all these years, I still remember as he spoke this story through tears. He said that he often cried when he preached and it bothered him, so he asked God to take away those tears. And God did. As his heart grew cold, and he started losing his love for the Lord and people, he asked the Lord to give him back his tears. And God did. I am also a very emotional person, and I have often been embarrassed by my tears. But, as I get older I am thankful for my soft heart and I often pray that God will give me more love for people. Don't be embarrassed by your tears. God sees them and He understands. "Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?" (Psalm 56:8)
He Holds Our Right Hand In His
As I write this, Maggie is sitting in here with me, and Micah is in the living room playing a game with Michael. The grandchildren like to come play with MeMaw and PawPaw and we have a good time. Sometimes they spend the night and they are happy until I turn the lights off. The room doesn't look the same as their rooms. They miss their Mom and Dad. They don't like the noise made by the refrigerator. I usually lay down next to the youngest one and hold her hand, and that makes all the difference. There have been times when I held two little hands, one in my right and one in my left. It calms their fears and they soon go off to sleep. We all face fears in our lives from time to time. It brings a calm assurance when we can reach out our hand to the Lord and know that He is reaching out to us, to hold us up with His right hand and take away our fears. "For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee." (Isaiah 41:13) "Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand." (Psalm 73:23)
The Invitations Of His Care
We talked about "The Illustrations of His Care", and also "The Indications of His Care", and today we begin our look at "The Invitations Of His Care". I used to enjoy planning parties, from deciding on a theme and setting up decorations, to preparing the activities and the meal. I worked hard and coordinated everything together and then gave out invitations. I had done all the work and all the guests had to do was come and enjoy the fellowship. But there were always some who could not come. The Lord gave His life to prepare a way to heaven for us. He is preparing us a place to spend eternity. He has done all the work, and He has given us the invitations through His Holy Word. It must break His heart that some refuse His invitations. For the next few days we will look into the scriptures and see some of His invitations. I pray that you have accepted His loving and caring invitations.
God Invites Us To Have Our Sins Cleansed
I was saved at an early age, when my heart was young and tender. That was many years ago, but I can still remember the feeling I had with the heavy burden of my sin lifted. Today I want to encourage you to look back to the time when Holy Spirit conviction filled your mind and heart. Do you remember how the sin weighed you down in sorrow and sadness? Think about how wonderful it felt to be relieved from your heavy burden, and sinful darkness, that kept you bound. It is good for us to look back with thankfulness to our loving Lord and Savior. And if you have never asked the Lord to forgive you of your sin, then I pray that you will ask the Lord for forgiveness and accept His gift of salvation. You don't have to walk in the darkness of sin. The Lord invites you to come to Him and He will take away all your sin and give you peace, sweet peace, deep down in your soul. Jesus will save you when you put your trust in Him. He is just a prayer away. "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." (Isaiah 1:18)