June 19

1 Kings 17:2-4 (NIV) 2Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah: 3"Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. 4You will drink from the brook, and I have ordered the ravens to feed you there."

Elijah had just predicted that until he prayed for rain there would be no rain on the land. Then God sent Elijah to a hide from the king and provided for him in a rather unusual way. The ravens brought him the ingredients for sandwiches. If you've ever watched ravens eat, you know they do not like to share. That's quite a miracle. God is Lord over His creation.

I once read a story of a Chinese brother who was imprisoned for his faith. The guards withheld his food because he would not renounce Christ, so the LORD ordered mice to bring him food. He probably ate better on what the mice brought than if the prison had served him his meals.

Jesus told us not to worry about what we will eat or wear because we have a Father in heaven that knows we are in need. If He feeds the sparrows he will feed us, for He values us more than the sparrows. The psalmist said, from his youth to his old age, he had never seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread.

If we are obedient to the LORD, we will not starve. We may not always have the abundance we might prefer, but God will care for us. Having food and clothing, we should be content. If we can learn to be content with the few necessities of life, the many things that distract us will lose their power of influence over us. We can then give our attention to the LORD and His instruction to us. He didn't promise us luxury in this life, in fact, he promised tribulation. But we have the assurance that He will care for us as a Father cares for his children.

Meditation: Rest assured, the LORD will care for you.

June 19

John 10:9-11 (NIV) 9I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. 10The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. 11"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

Shepherds in ancient Israel built makeshift pens out of rock and briars. There was only one opening into the pen. As dusk began to settle in, the shepherd would call his sheep into the pen and then lay across the entrance. Any predator would make a lot of noise trying to get into the pen and thus wake the shepherd. Jesus said He is the gate or door to the sheep pen.

There is a predator that would love to tear you from limb to limb, because he hates your Father. He has these objectives bound in his heart: murder, theft, and destruction. That is why the good Shepherd is the gate to the pen. If that predator gets in, He knows what will become of you, so He puts Himself in harms way. If you go through the good Shepherd into the pen, you are saved from the Destroyer. Jesus will let you out when it is safe and lead you to good pasture. He has a very different objective. Love binds it to His heart. It is to give you life to the full.

The Destroyer will lie through his teeth to get you away from the Shepherd. He will promise you all kinds of things, but none of it is true. The Shepherd never lies. He loves you so much that He gave His life protecting you. You have read the history of these two. Jesus outlined their very different desires toward you. Which will you believe today? ...and in the future? Why even listen to the one who has evil intentions toward you? Instead, listen to the Shepherd's voice. That is one way of knowing whose sheep you are. The Shepherd's sheep hear His voice and follow Him. Go in and out through Him today and find pasture.

Meditation: He came to give us life to the fullest!