Week 39 Monday


Today’s scripture selection: Numbers 25-29

Key verses: Numbers 27:15-23

Read the Old Testament – especially the passages about the “wilderness wanderings” of the Israelites – and one thing becomes very clear.  They knew all about wandering; not just physically, but spiritually as well.

They frequently wandered off course – turning to other gods; other passions; other loyalties.

And, time and again, Moses or other spiritual leaders would be the ones to call them back again to faithfulness.

Such was the case where it is recorded that Moses appealed to God to appoint another leader, after he was gone, so that the people would not be “like sheep without a shepherd.”

That appointed leader was Joshua who, with divine guidance, became a very good “shepherd” indeed.

We too can easily wander spiritually.

We need to be called back often to prayer; to study; to service.

And God is still faithful – to watch over us and lead us home to Him again and again.

No wonder then Jesus called himself the “good Shepherd.”

Wandering is a serious offense, with very real consequences.

But thankfully, God cares enough to provide shepherds who care and lead us where we should go.

Are they perfect?  No.  But, with God’s help, they lead us home.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for providing spiritual guides for us.  May we be willing to follow those who prove worthy of your calling.  AMEN.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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