It was advertised that the devil
was putting his tools up for sale.
When the day of the sale came,
each tool was priced
and laid out for public inspection.
And what a collection it was.
Hatred, envy, jealousy,
deceit or pride...
the inventory was treacherous!
Off to one side
was a harmless-looking tool priced higher
than all the rest, even though it was
obviously more worn
than any other tool the devil owned.
"What's the name of this tool?"
asked one of the customers.
"That," the devil replied,
The customer asked,
"But why have you priced it so high?"
The devil smiled and explained,
"Because discouragement is
more useful to me than all the others.
I can pry open and get
inside a man's heart with that tool
when I can't get near him
with any other.
It's badly worn because
I use it on almost
everyone, since few people know
it belongs to me."
Are you discouraged...afraid...
desperately trying to find enough
energy to simply breathe?
God knows. And He really is your shepherd.
He understands that you may
only be able to take one tiny, almost
imperceptible step of faith.
But He sees you and just like a parent
applauding their child's first stumbling step,
God will honor your step to take it.
From the devotional,
"How's Your Faith?"
By Mary Southerland
Beside Still Waters
A painting by Greg Oleson
The Lord is my Shepherd,
to feed, guide, and shield me.
I shall not lack.
He makes me lie down in fresh,
tender green pastures; He leads me beside
the still and restful waters,
He refreshes and restores my life, my self;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness,
uprightness and right standing with Him
not for my earning it, but, for His name's sake.
Yes, though I walk through the deep, sunless
valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear or dread no evil,
for You are with me;
Your rod to protect and Your staff
to guide, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the
presence of my enemies. You anoint my
head with oil; my brimming cup runs over.
Surely or only goodness, mercy, and
unfailing love shall follow me all the
days of my life, and through
the length of my days the house of
the Lord and His presence shall
be my dwelling place.
The Amplified Bible