Little Lost Sheep

March 20, 2021 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Susan Dollyhigh –

The blonde curls bounced as the small girl pranced down the aisle. The pastor had called for the boys and girls to join him for the children’s message. The blonde-haired girl wiggled her way into the circle of children sitting on the floor.

The pastor sat down, smiled, and said, “Good morning, boys and girls.”

“Good morning!” they called back to him.

“Boys and Girls, I’ve lost one of my stuffed toys.” The pastor’s expression changed and his eyes became downcast. “I know I had it when I got here this morning. I have lots of other toys, but every one of them is very important to me. I will be upset if my little sheep is lost. Have any of you seen it? It’s white and fuzzy…”

The blonde-haired girl spotted it first, pointed to the podium, and said, “There it is!”

The pastor looked up, and his mouth fell open. He stood, ran over, and picked up the toy. He hugged it to himself, and then placed it on his shoulders. “Thank you so much for helping me find my lost sheep. Will you rejoice with me? “

The pastor smiled and clapped his hands, and the children joined in.

“The Bible teaches us that we are like sheep and sometimes stray away from God. That makes God very sad, but He never gives up on us. He keeps searching for us and calling to us. He wants to draw us back into His arms. He even sent Jesus, His Son, to save those who are lost. Aren’t you glad that God doesn’t give up on His lost sheep? I am, because “I once was lost, but now I’m found!” The pastor prayed, “Dear Jesus, you are the Good Shepherd. Thank you for coming to save those who are lost. Amen.”

I thought that was the end of the children’s message, but there was more to come.

The children began to find the way back to their seats, but the blonde-haired girl just stood there. Her eyes grew wide and she scanned an endless sea of faces.

“Jenny,” someone called as he quickly made his way down the aisle.

“Daddy! Jenny smiled with relief, and ran towards her daddy.

Jenny’s daddy picked her up, and held her close. Jenny looked into her daddy’s eyes, and said, “I was just like the little lost sheep, Daddy, and you found me.”

“Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent” (Luke 15:3 – 7 NIV).

Volunteer of the Year

December 26, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Life Topics

By Susan Dollyhigh –

Serving at the homeless shelter has given me the opportunity to work with many wonderful people.

Ms. Pam makes crafts with the children on Tuesday night, so the mothers can enjoy spending time in God’s Word.

Ms. Carole and her husband, Jim, have Sunday school around the kitchen table every Sunday morning. The residents learn about Christ through their ministry.

Mary Z. serves as a Spanish interpreter and drives residents to doctor’s appointments, work, and helps with miscellaneous chores at the shelter.

Jake has been visiting the shelter since it opened. He lives close by so it’s just a short walk for him, and he visits at least twice a day.

I lead a Bible study on Tuesday evenings. During the summer we sit on the back porch and Jake usually joins us. Sometimes Jake arrives late, but he quietly finds a seat without being disruptive. Even so, when he arrives, all eyes turn to him, all faces grow soft, and all mouths turn up in a smile.

When Bible study is over, Jake jumps up, and wastes no time greeting each resident. Everyone, from toddlers to grandmothers, quickly comes to love Jake. For this reason, Jake is definitely the volunteer of the year.

Jake has that quality we all strive for – unconditional love. There’s not one ounce of prejudice in him. He doesn’t care about anyone’s past. He’s glad to get to know everyone, and gives them love, comfort, and companionship.

I’m sure Jake doesn’t brag about his “volunteer work.” Jake’s own family may not be aware of his frequent visits to the shelter. But they should be proud of him. They must have modeled kindness and shown him a lot of love. They also taught him some other really neat tricks – like how to sit, how to shake hands, how to roll over.

Yes, Jake is a four-legged volunteer, and we don’t know his real name. Someone started calling him Jake and the name stuck.

I’m thankful God planted the seed for a homeless shelter in the hearts of those who worked to make The Shepherd’s House a reality. I’m thankful God provides board members, staff, and volunteers who have a heart for homeless people.

I’m also thankful God sent a big, ol’ yellow lab who touches the hearts and lifts the spirits of all of us at the shelter.

QUOTE: A pet is someone who listens with their heart, speaks with a look, and teaches with love (Seen in vet’s office).

“Ask the animals, and they will teach you…In God’s hand is the life of every creature, and the breath of all mankind.” (Job 12:7 & 10 NIV)

Katelyn’s Cross

November 22, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Susan Dollyhigh –

Instead of her usual style of bouncing, running, or skipping, six=year-old Katelyn walked into the house after church with her head lowered and forehead furrowed.

“What’s wrong, Katelyn?” I asked.

She looked up at me. The frown remained.

“My teacher told me something sad. Let me show you.”

She placed a white sheet of paper and a box of markers on the coffee table, got down on her knees, and went to work. I squinted, confused as Katelyn pulled a brown marker from the box.

“Don’t watch, Nana. I’ll show you when I’m finished.”

“Okay,” I said, and went into the kitchen to prepare lunch. Within a few minutes, Katelyn appeared.

“Here, Nana. This is what’s wrong.” She handed me her drawing; a yellow sun in one corner, grass sprouted from the bottom of the page, and a big brown cross reached to the sky. Scrawled in childish handwriting were these words: “Jesus died here. So sad.”

I looked at Katelyn and our eyes met. “He died, Nana. Jesus died on the cross, and I am sad. Does that make you sad, too?” She tried to choke back the sadness.

My precious granddaughter had learned what Jesus endured to be our Savior, and the awful truth broke her sweet heart.

“Oh Katelyn, yes, it makes me sad, but I need to tell you the rest of the story. Jesus died on the cross because He loves us so much. He died on the cross for you and for me and for everyone in the world so that we can be forgiven when we sin, or do something bad. Jesus died so that someday we can go to Heaven and live forever with all the people we love. And do you want to know the best part of the story, Katelyn? Jesus came back to life – did you know that? God raised Him from the dead and took Him to Heaven where He still lives today. We can talk to Him anytime we want by praying.”

“Oh,” she said. The sorrow melted from her face. “That’s good, Nana. Okay, I’m going to play.”

Katelyn heard the news, and joy returned to her heart. She bounced down the hallway to her room, all the while singing, “Jesus loves me, this I know….”

Katelyn’s reaction to hearing that Jesus died on the cross caused my heart to ache, and I experienced anew the sorrow of my Savior’s torturous death. But then I remembered the rest of the story, and like Katelyn, joy flooded my soul.

PRAYER: Thank you, Jesus – for the rest of the story.

“The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay” (Matthew 28:5-6 NIV).

Thank Goodness for Mercy

October 3, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Susan Dollyhigh –

Moca, my miniature dachshund, spent a week in the animal hospital recovering from pancreatitis. Afterwards, when I took Moca to the vet for a check-up, Dr. Brinegar asked,
“What’s going on with Moca?”

“Moca ate a baby bird,” I said.

Dr. Brinegar looked first at Moca and then at me. “I am an avian veterinarian, and I love birds,” he said.

I looked at Moca and thought; Puppy, you could be in big trouble. The man who holds your life in his hands loves birds. And he knows you ate one.

The vet’s knowing that Moca brought this illness upon herself by ending the life of an innocent baby bird could have impacted Dr. Brinegar’s compassion for my poor puppy. His mercy level could have plummeted upon hearing the dreadful news.

But it didn’t.

Dr. Brinegar spoke tenderly to the guilty puppy. He gently examined her belly. I think he cared…but he just didn’t judge what sin had gotten Moca into her predicament; he wanted to heal her and restore her to her loved ones.

Thank goodness for mercy.

Aren’t we glad that the One who holds our life in His hands has mercy on us?

King David, whom God referred to as a man after His own heart, cried out to God for mercy after a time of great sin in his life. King David committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband killed in battle. The child born of this affair died, and King David was a heartbroken man for a time.

But King David knew his healing could only come from God and he cried, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion, blot out my transgressions.”

When we, like King David, go to God and confess whatever sin has gotten us into a predicament, thankfully, the details do not affect the amount of compassion God has for us. His mercy level does not plummet upon hearing the dreadful news.

God speaks tenderly to our guilty spirit. He gently examines our heart. Regardless of the sin that has gotten us into our predicament, Our Father wants to heal us and restore us to a right relationship with Him.

Thank goodness for mercy.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for mercy, and unfailing love that You have for us.

I said, “O LORD, have mercy on me; heal me, for I have sinned against you” (Psalm 41:4 NIV).

I Wuv You Berry Much

August 7, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Family

By Susan Dollyhigh –

Pulling out of the parking lot of the church, I earnestly thanked God for ‘Mothers Morning Out’- in my case ‘Grandmothers Morning Out’ – and drove away to enjoy three blissful hours all alone in my quiet house.

I loved having the opportunity to care for Katelyn, my two-year-old granddaughter, during the day, but that little blessing of mine was a handful, and could zap every ounce of energy from her Nana’s body.

Some days when my daughter, Emily, came by to pick up Katelyn she would say, “Wow, Mom! You really look tired.”

I have to admit, there were days I could have collapsed as the door closed behind them.

Katelyn was funny, sweet and loving, and wide-open at this stage of her life. One day while chasing her to change her diaper, I stopped and said, “Katelyn, I’m not chasing you anymore.”

After that, Katelyn’s new favorite saying became, “I not chase you anymore, Nana.”

Sometimes it was hard to keep a straight face around that little girl.

Katelyn was perceptive for her young age. She could tell when Nana was at the end of her rope, and she learned just how to handle the situation. One day as we were driving to the store, I looked back to see ten wiggling little toes. I had just put socks and shoes on those feet and asked Katelyn to please leave them on.

Just as I thought, this child is going to get the best of me yet, she said, “Nana?”

“Yes, Katelyn?” I replied in a weary voice.

“I wuv you berry much.”

I glanced in the rearview mirror and couldn’t help but smile.

“I love you very much too, Katelyn”, as my heart grew warm with love — Nana’s hearts are just like that.

I know there has to have been days that if God ever did get tired, I would have exhausted Him; days when He might have felt He was at the end of His rope with me.

Yet, God’s Word tells me He is forgiving, gracious, compassionate, slow to anger, and abounding in love.”

Katelyn has taught me to remember to say, “Father, I love you very much.”

I believe His heart grows warm with love when I say so, same as ours – Father’s hearts are just like that.

PRAYER: Father in Heaven, thank You that Your Word tells us that we are Your children. Thank You for being slow to anger and abounding in love. Thank you for lavishing us with great love. Help us to lavish others with that same great love. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are” (1 John 3:1 NIV).

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