Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Saviour Like A Shepherd Lead Us"1 (Lyrics)
Leading up to and during the Christmas season, we read how the angel of the Lord told Zacharias that he and Elizabeth were to have a child who would be the forerunner of the coming Messiah, how the angel told Mary that she would be the mother of God's Son, and how the angel told the shepherds in the fields near Bethlehem where they would find the newborn Son of God. In each instance, the Bible tells us that they were afraid and that the angel told them, "Do not be afraid." (Luke 1:13; 1:30; 2:10, NKJV)
During most of December and on into January, my wife and I have been in isolation and mostly hibernating, not because we had to, but rather because we felt that we needed to. On January 17th, I am facing a serious operation to remove a kidney with a slow-growing tumour. Around Christmastime, some of our children, their spouses, their children, and little grandchildren had colds, and the Omicron variant was rampant in our area. We were afraid to mingle with people for fear of jeopardizing my operation date, an operation which must take place.
So, the two of us spent our time together every day, and for several days before and after Christmas, we listened to various YouTube services and a lot of wonderful Christmas music. This made us very aware that we are so blessed with the technology and the people who make these programs and services in different places and languages. The words of some of the carols and hymns, the words of some of the speakers, the expressions of faith by some of the singers, and the inspiring music made us aware that even though we were not around people, we are never alone. Then, I remembered the following verse:
Isaiah 41:10 – Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. (NKJV)
There are times in the lives of all of us when we just don't know how to carry on. Sometimes, we are too weak to reach out our hand. Sometimes, we are paralyzed by fear, anxiety, or loneliness. Sometimes, our lives are threatened by illness. Sometimes, we are shattered by death.
In spite of all the problems that we might be facing, through all of the loneliness that we might be experiencing, we are assured that God is with us. He will uphold us and support us and give us the peace that we need in our hearts. He will help us indeed.
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, there are times when we are worried, times when we fear what is happening to us and what might be ahead of us. We thank You for the assurance that Jesus is always with us to hold our hand and support us. This we pray in His name. Amen.
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Prayers for you, Joel.
You are in my prayers, Joel.
Praying for you and your wife.
Be assured of our prayers Joel. Blessings.
Wise words Joel. God’s blessings on your operation.
Well written. I will remember you in prayer on the 17th.
All the best, Joel, I’m praying. I really enjoy your writing.
We will be praying that all goes well with your surgery.
Exactly what I needed.
I will pray for you. God Bless!
We will be thinking of you and praying for you. Hope all goes well.
All good wishes for a successful operation and a speedy recovery.
All the very best on January 17th!!
May God be with you (and your family) all the way!!
Prayers for your upcoming surgery. May it be successful and may God give you peace and comfort
Happy New Year! I wish you success in your upcoming operation with many healthy years to follow.
Thanks for the encouragement, Joel. I continue to pray for you and this surgery. You are in God’s hands.
I pray that your surgery is a success and that we will continue to receive your wonderful writings in the near future.
Prayers are with you. My mother is going through the same thing. However we still wait for a surgical date. God be with you.
Dear Joel, I am sorry I thought it was your wife having surgery, it is you. Keeping you in my prayers, and also your wife and family.
Thank you for a great reminder to us all, Joel. Praying your operation will be a complete success and that you will recover quickly. God bless you and your family!
Another great devotional, Joel. Thank-you. I will be praying for you on the 17th. God bless you and your surgeon and everyone else involved.
I would be pleased to help any way I can.
I hope your operation proceeds and it is successful and you recover quickly. I have much appreciated your devotionals.
Thank you for this powerful reassurance! It is overwhelming to me to the point of crying just how much He loves us, Praying for a successful operation and healing. God bless you and your family
Thank you for sharing your situation to open our eyes to these words from Scripture. I will join my prayers with others who are holding you in prayer.
Thank you, Joel, for sharing your life with us. My husband had the same operation in 2013, so I know what you are facing.
Lord, I pray for healing and your peace and comfort for Joel and his family. Amen.
Hi Joel. Thanks for your message today, as usual I enjoy them.
I had a kidney removed 7 years ago and all is well. You are in my prayers.
I have enjoyed your messages over the years very much.
I pray that your surgery goes ahead and is successful.
Thank you for your comforting message. Praying that you will have a good outcome from surgery and that God’s promises to be with you will comfort you and your family. God bless.
Dear Joel. Thank you for sharing your news within the devotion. God will indeed be with you each day as you prepare for surgery. As well, the prayers of the people are for you. Blessings!
Thank you for the time you take to write very inspiring messages for PresbyCan. Today I want you to know I will pray for the most successful results from your upcoming operation. Blessings to you and comfort to your wife as she goes through this along side you.
This is a timely message! (That’s what angels are – messengers) Trusting that you stay safe, and the op is a “go”!
With heartfelt wishes for the health of both of you,
Ah, Joel, now that I read about what you have ahead of you, I apologize for my recent overly light-hearted emails about the perils of aging. This is not the time to make light of such things, and I’m sorry.
I am praying for you right now!
Thank you for the devotionals that you wrote over the last number of years.
I wish you and your family the Lord’s blessing in 2022 and hope that the surgery is successful, and you can enjoy a full recovery.
I’ve always enjoyed reading your devotionals and missed them when you didn’t write the last several months. I am praying that your surgery will be a success and that we may read many more devotionals written by you in the coming years.
May God Bless and Keep You.
I always take comfort from you inspiring messages.
I hope you will find comfort in knowing that I, and many of your readers, will be praying for your safe recovery from your operation.
I will be praying that your surgery this month is successful and that the Lord will guide you through healing.
Thank you for today’s message
I so enjoy your Devotionals. I will keep you and your wife in my prayers daily. Praying that the surgery will go well she has complete healing.
Blessings to you both.
Thank you for today’s devotional with the message of encouragement. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.
The Lord is with you. Your operation on the 17th is in His hands. It is well.
Have a blessed weekend.
Good morning, Joel.
Your devotionals are such a help, I am grateful.
I’m sure many will, like me, pray that your operation will be a success and your recovery will be swift and complete.
Blessings to you and your family.
Thank you, Joel, for the devotion. It is calming to read how you and your wife had such a peaceful, Christmas season. Listening to the Christmas music and services on YouTube and Facebook shows we ae not alone, God is with us. Do take care and you are in my prayers at this time.
I am sorry to read about your health issue. You are on my prayer list, and I was wondering if you would like to be on our prayer group list. There is 5 of us and the list is confidential. Let me know what you would like.
Blessings for good health.
Good morning, Joel,
I thank you for your devotional today and I will pray for you to have a speedy recovery, for the surgeons to be at their best for you. I love your honesty with us about how you feel as it helps us remember we are never alone. During these sad and depressing covid times.
Take care and God Bless you always.
I appreciated your positive message of hope today. And I am sorry to hear that you are facing surgery very soon. I will pray that the surgery does not get cancelled and that everything goes smoothly, and you will be home recovering soon after.
May God be with you, your wife, and the doctors and nurses who are working with you.
Thank you, Joel. Our Lord has given you an amazing gift… the gift of writing and I benefit so much from your devotionals.
I have marked my calendar for January 17th to pray for you, your surgical team, and your family. May our Lord bless and guide the doctors, and may you realize a full recovery.
God Bless you and keep you.
Thanks for a good word today and for sharing your situation, Joel.
A very close and longtime friend had surgery for a tumour on his kidney a year ago. It was discovered by “accident” when he had a kidney stone. He has been doing fine ever since.
I pray that all goes well, and you make a speedy recovery.
Thank you, Joel. For many years I have read your devotionals. I believe you walk with God and He touches hearts through you.
We often pass through Meaford and I think of you as we drive through each and every trip and I am thankful for how you have blessed me and so many others with your writings from Him.
The old hymn, Just A Closer Walk With Thee, comes to mind for you.
I also had a total nephrectomy due to a growing tumor that had attached to the wall of my kidney. We also spent the holidays in isolation but continue to use streaming services to keep the spirit of Christmas alive in our home. Thank you for sharing and our prayers for successful procedure.
Have a Blessed Day.
Good morning, Joel,
Thank you for this very encouraging devotional today. I’m very sorry to hear about the serious surgery that you require and will be praying for you that it will take place as scheduled and that your recovery will go well. Our loving Lord will certainly be with you each step of the way. Blessings for all the writings you do and for sharing your faith and service in our precious Lord.
Thank you again for your message of encouragement, especially when you yourself are facing a major event in your life on Jan. 17th. Be assured that you won’t be alone as you go through this and that the Lord our God is mighty to save. I will be praying for you and your wife in the days ahead asking that your surgery will happen as scheduled and that it will be the means of complete healing for you. May God be with you to strengthen, reassure, encourage you and grant you His deep peace.
We will keep on praying for you and that the Lord will provide!! I always like to claim Isaiah 41:13 too where it says, “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” What wonderful promises and we can claim His mercy and love in those promises, and He is faithful in his promises as stated in 1 Thessalonians 5:24 after those prayer directives.
Gratefully in prayer.
Thank you so much for your devotional. It comes at the very moment we need it! My 92 yr. mother-in-law just found out she has a blood clot in her leg! We are prayerfully considering treatment options. Your devotional has again focused our eyes on Christ!
We are praying for you too as you face kidney removal surgery on the 17th. May God’s healing hand be upon you and His guidance upon the surgeons!
Joel, I have appreciated your devotionals over the years. I do pray that all will go well in getting the surgery and then your recovery. I really like the verse in today’s devotional. My morning verse sort of goes along with your:
on this Saturday before First Sunday after Epiphany or Baptism of the Lord.
Psalm 119:4-6 (The Message). You, GOD, prescribed the right way to live; now you expect us to live it. Oh, that my steps might be steady, keeping to the course you set; Then I’d never have any regrets in comparing my life with your counsel.
I understand that you have kept the course over your life, and God continues to be with you.
As mentioned already to you, the date of your surgery is on our calendar so that we can remember to offer up prayers on your behalf. It would be nice to think I would remember on my own, but ….
Our son-in-law has kidney disease and he would tell you he would wish for one healthy kidney. We are grateful you have that kidney.
Good luck and many prayers on your behalf (and your wife’s) Joel.
Know that you are on my prayer list for your coming surgery and recovery.
He will NEVER leave you, nor forsake you! Not for one milli-second! Satan may try very hard to “get in on this”, but he will not succeed.
At the very beginning of Covid, I had a surgery followed by a nasty intense bout of sciatica. I could not follow-up with the surgeon except by telephone, because of the virus. I could not tolerate the pain meds. Satan tried VERY hard to torment and discourage me. Remembering my mother’s response to my dad’s sudden death, I declared to my Lord Jesus: “Even though You slay me, yet will I trust you! My joy in knowing You will be my strength!” I moved to His Throne of Grace and would NOT leave. I spent all my days and nights there, clinging to the hem of His garment and focusing on His presence. This is still the way I sleep at night, even though I have fully recovered.
He is forever faithful and will see you through, NEVER leaving or forsaking you.
Sincere blessings and prayers,
Thanks so very much for another inspiring devotional. Yes, our technology today has been such a blessing, especially during this pandemic and all that it entails.
I had a friend who was going through some health issues …an elderly friend. So I asked her if she would read Psalm 91. She said to me …. 911 (nine one one) “that’s my emergency number”. I have since told many people that story of Psalm 91 and one. That whole Psalm is such a blessing as we remember God’s promises to us.
I will be remembering you in prayer on the 17th especially…that God will guide the doctors and all those involved, and you will have peace as you trust Him.
May God’s best be yours as you trust Him.
Good morning, Joel,
My prayers will be with you and your family as you face your operation and your fear. A very encouraging devotional showing your gratitude for what you could enjoy at this time and share your worry about the future. Great Bible verses to help us all when we are overcome with what life has to offer us.
A good prayer to help us through some of the difficult parts of our journey. Thank you for honest sharing of your feelings and may you and your wife feel God’s arms around you with his love and comfort. Blessings and best wishes for 2022,
I faithfully read the PresbyCan Daily Devotionals. Your devotional “Fear Not” was particularly touching in so many ways. I am so happy to know that you have a helpmate with you during these difficult days and appreciate your continued faithfulness.
As a recently retired oncology nurse I hope that your surgery happens and is successful. As a member of a Presbyterian Church we are active on ZOOM using telephone and on-line links and I believe this has kept our congregation alive these past 2 years. I agree with everything in your devotional and have depended on God’s care for me and my family for most of my life. I had goosebumps as I read your devotion this morning. It was such a reinforcement and encouragement to my faith and life.
Wishing you and your family every blessing, hope and well wishes for the new year.
Your sister in Christ,
I have just read today’s devotional and your situation seems very familiar to me. I had surgery to remove a kidney and a tumour last fall. I am 73 years old. The surgery at the hospital and recovery went well. My church prayer line was definitely a support through all this and I will pray for you to have the same “routine” experience.
I found the unknown part was what worried me. There was a team of surgeons and other specialists.
Recovery involved soreness but very little pain. A few months later I notice no difference between one kidney and two. We will both have checkups and scans for the next few years to make sure no other tumors have appeared, but these “slow growers” don’t usually spread.
Covid certainly makes everything more complicated, especially hospital stays, but I will pray for you and your wife to be stress free and leave everything in the Lord’s hands.
God bless you.
Thank you for the update. I hope that it doesn’t get postponed as the Ont. government has asked hospitals to cancel all not essential surgeries.
I have not been to church since March 2020 when things first closed down. However, like you, I have been “at church” via live-streamed services.
We are fortunate that the Omicron variant is not as prevalent here as in places like Toronto where there is a high density of population. However some of the Team Members here have tested positive.
I will pray for you as God brings you to mind. Let me know when you have a surgery date.
We are not in isolation here, but it seems like it as we have been getting our meals in our suites rather than in the dining room. This is because one of the elevators is broken and it takes too long to get everyone to the dining room with only one elevator.
I have not had any visitors since early November.
I am well and continue to go to the dining room to play the piano, even though there is no audience. The staff who work in the lobby area had said that they appreciate the music.
Good Morning, Joel,
I just wanted to write to you and let you know you will be in my prayers.
I can relate to what you are going through. Just over one year ago, I had a kidney removed due to a tumour that was discovered on a CT scan of my spine. I had no symptoms but was immediately referred to a urologist in BC.
He showed me the detailed scan results and said the tumour was large enough and in an area of the kidney that would impair function as well as had an extremely high risk of malignancy, thus he recommended removal.
I was a little shocked, but I wanted it gone!
Everything about the surgery went well. I returned home, a little sore, but not too bad and only needed help with pain for a couple of days. The pathology report came back and the tumour was benign. I was thrilled. My family and I thanked God for that good news! Another reason I felt especially blessed, was the surgical floor I was on had their first big outbreak of Covid 19 (Delta) discovered the day I was released from hospital.
My single kidney is functioning fairly well, however, it didn’t bounce back as well as I had hoped. I have modified my diet (low potassium and sodium) as well as cut back on coffee. However, life is very good. My husband and I still hibernate and only have seen our family once at Christmas, since the beginning of December. We keep in touch with friends and family and will visit with people in outside settings when the weather gets milder. The isolation gets a little tedious, as there seems no end in sight. However, we are blessed and thankful we were not affected by fires or floods in our area of BC this past year.
I will be thinking of you and praying your surgery goes ahead, is successful, and has as positive an outcome as mine did.
God bless you and your family today and in the days ahead.
Good morning, Joel!
God bless in your situation and fear not, for He does bless! I am isolated also, with flu-rona as a result of mingling with the family over the holidays. It means I don’t work, don’t get paid, but fear not, God has supplied me with what I need these last 3 years since my husband passed away.
I have reminders that He will do more than I can imagine (Eph.3:20), and that He is with me on this journey. Count my many blessings name them one by one.
My first blessing is to know my stressed husband is serving others in heaven. Freely raising his hands to the Savior thanking Him for eternal life.
My second blessing is Emmanuel, God is here, with me. I am not alone.
You, Joel, have your wife alongside. That is huge. Fear not for you are complete.
I have many situations, financially, that would be easier if my husband were by my side to walk through them with me. That was the plan when we married 40 years ago, to grow old together, to spend every day, all day long together.
God is essential. Count your blessings as you walk through this operation with your wife by your side. What a blessing!!
Thank you for your many devotionals. Your operation will be in my prayers.
Fear not, with an outstretched hand and His mighty arm, His love endures forever. He is willing to help each one of us through whatever brings us fear.
Thank you, Joel. Enjoyed your submission as always.
I know I am not alone in lifting your name up to our Lord. So many times sharing your Daily Devotionals has brought comfort to residents in long term care.
Praying that all goes well with your surgery on the 17th.
Dear Joel, I have marked your operation date on my calendar so I remember to pray for you. These are challenging times especially for the medical community. I am praying your operation will happen as scheduled and that your healing will be complete. We are so blest by your devotionals.
May you and all who love you be very conscious of God holding your hands as you prepare for your Jan 17 surgery. May God guide the surgeon’s hands and all who work alongside so that the very best care possible be extended to you. May you experience profound peace throughout this difficult time.
Recently I had wondered if you were ok. I missed your devotionals from time to time.
Sorry to hear you have not been well. I shall pray for you and your wife on Jan. 17.
May the LORD guide the hands of the medical staff. May HE give both you and your wife a peace that only HE can give.
Your devotional on Jan 8 was about “fear not”.
Not sure if you have seen the Charlie Brown Christmas pageant, the cartoon movie.
It is just awesome. Linus, who never lets go of his blanket, his security blanket, recites Luke 2 Christmas story.
“But the angel said to them, ‘do not be afraid.'”
At that moment Linus drops his blanket, something he never lets go of. So powerful for me.
I pray you also may drop your “blanket” and sense God’s hand on you.
God be with you.
An encouraging devotional. Thank you for your inspiring words. My prayers will be with you on the 17th that God will bring you safely through your surgery and give you peace and good health as you recover.
Hello Joel, just to share with you that I too had a cancerous kidney removed this past summer. Although the recovering of strength will take a while, the pain was not nearly as bad as expected. I am over 80 so no longer young and strong physically.
God was my companion as he will be for you as always. May you too find His peace.
Thanks for all the devotionals you have written in the past and I look forward to your future devotionals once your strength returns.
Good Morning Joel:
In regards to your devotional “Fear Not”, I can partially understand your concerns about your upcoming surgery. My husband had his kidney removed four years ago and is doing well. So far all is well. He was over 80 at the time, I don’t know your age but gather you are a senior and age is a concern when you face major surgery.
I will pray that your surgery and recovery will go well, and that the tumour can be removed and that will be the end of it.
Dear Joel, thank you for your devotional.
You are so very right. Four years ago I had a kidney transplant, with my wife being my donor.
I believed that this was part of God’s plan for our lives, to strengthen us and not to bring us harm.
I never worried about myself. My biggest fear was that the donation might harm my wife. God is love, we both soared through it and are doing amazingly well today.
I pray that God will bring you through this surgery. Trust in the Lord and be patient with yourself post-surgery. We all want to be better NOW and sometimes now takes a while.
Blessings dear Joel,
I would say Joel the Lord brought you and your wife a miracle this Christmas and not just the birth of Jesus. It appears to me that He freed you from your fears, panic, and despair regarding your health and He has given you His peace — the peace that surpasses all understanding.
I have been praying for you. You may not have read what I sent but perhaps my prayers along with the many others being lifted up for you helped. I am RELIEVED to hear you are in a much better place spiritually right now. The Lord has lifted you up to face with courage your surgery next Monday. Joshua 1:9 has just come to my mind. I will be praying for a successful surgery and for a smooth recovery and Joel, remember our blessed Hope is coming soon. The Lord appearing to catch us up in the air to Himself to take us Home where He has prepared a place for us. God keeps His promises and let us hang on to all of His promises Joel.
I asked the Holy Spirit yesterday and today how you were and here I open this devotional. The Holy Spirit has shown me you are well as you face this surgery. Praise the Lord. The Holy Spirit is very faithful to reveal to me how someone is that I am concerned about.
I will continue to pray for you.
Thank you for your inspirational devotional “Fear Not”. And indeed, I say Fear Not for the Lord is with you and will be with you and your family during your operation.
Thank you for your sharing your story.
Just read your devotional I will pray your surgery is not postponed and that it goes well.
Our prayers will be lifted up for your upcoming surgery. May God bless you with His peace.
Thank you for your devotionals that continue to inspire.
Thank you for sharing this with us, your family in Christ.
My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family, and it is also my prayer that your operation will not be postponed due to the COVID crisis.
I always enjoy your Today’s Devotionals.