Tuesday, November 21, 2023
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Jesus Christ Is Risen Today"1 (Lyrics)

Jeremiah 1:6-8a – "Ah, Sovereign Lord," I said, "I don't know how to speak; I am only a child." But the Lord said to me, "Do not say, 'I am only a child.' … Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you." (NIV)

I was always very apprehensive about speaking — in school, for instance, in front of the class, and in public. Later, as a young lad at the youth group or at catechism class at the church, I was always afraid that the leader would ask me a question. During my working career on big pipeline projects, I quite often had to give verbal financial reports. It really worried me, and I was always very nervous. It took me a very long time even partially to get over it. During our years in Europe, I became quite involved in the activities of the international churches that we attended, but having to give a speech was always a strain.

When we returned to our home town many years ago, we attended a Bible study on the fruit of the Spirit, led by the minister of the church, the Reverend Ian Raeburn-Gibson. During these studies, it was determined that I should be able to lead a worship service, which I did. I was nervous, but it went well, and consequently, I was asked to lead services in different churches. I also got involved in services and Bible studies at the local long-term care centre. Thinking back, I remember how nervous I was, and how surprised I was that I was able to do this. I still am!

There were several people in the Bible who were also loath to speak for various reasons. Jeremiah was one of them, and Moses was another. He had been looking after his father-in-law's sheep in the wilderness of Horeb. At the burning bush, the Lord told him to go to Egypt to negotiate the release of the Hebrew slaves, but he had all kinds of reasons why he could not do that. Finally, when he had run out of excuses, in desperation, he made his final plea:

Exodus 4:10b – O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue. (NIV)

But the Lord told him that he was to go and that his brother Aaron could do the talking for him. Later, we read about Moses quite often speaking himself to the people on their way to the Promised Land. Apparently, he got over his anxiety; he must have been really surprised!

Do you feel inadequate or insecure about doing some of the things that are asked of you to do in church and to help spread the gospel? Perhaps, God might find a way for you to do it, and you, too, might be surprised. After all, do not be afraid, for God is with you.

Prayer: Our Father in heaven, there are times when we are afraid to speak to others about faith in You and what that means in our lives. We ask for guidance during those difficult times. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.

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About the author:

Joel Jongkind <>
Meaford, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thanks for sharing, Joel.

    We all have gifts we can share.

    Oh Joel I know the feelings. Blessings.

    It is amazing what the Lord can do!

    Thank you for sharing through your writing. God bless your words.

    Joel, what an encouraging devotional this is for “timid souls”! God can use — and equip — unlikely vessels for His work.

    Joel, thank you for reminding me that God always gives what I need to do difficult things He’s asked me to do. You have encouraged me.

    Thank you for this devotion, Joel. I too was terrified when God called me to step forward and boldly speak His Word, but with each step forward in faith, God has given me voice and confidence.
    May God bless you abundantly.

    Thanks, Joel, for another of your very special devotionals. I am always very nervous if called to give a report or speak publicly and it is amazing how our loving Lord helps us through situations. He truly is always there to guide us along in His caring ways. Blessings for these writings you prepare.

    Hi Joel,
    Thanks for today’s Devotional, it was another inspiring one. Thanks for sharing your talents with us and others, writing and speaking and leading.
    Blessings always,

    Thanks Joel. Like you, I never thought I could speak in public but do so now at church events. It is so comforting knowing that I have fellow Christians with me.
    Do take care and have a great day.

    Hi Joel,
    This reminds me of me although I am getting better. I’m fine when doing things with children but with adults I freeze up. This was a good lesson for me. I’ll have to try harder. I can write a meditation for a message but when it come to doing without preparation, I’m at a loss.

    Good morning, Joel,
    This is a good message which a lot of us have experienced also over our lifetime.
    When I hear of famous singers or comedians who are very anxious before they begin their performances, I understand in a small way because I am doing it on a much smaller scale. It always helps us to know that others experience similar feelings and then are surprised when it turns out well. Thanks for always being willing to share from the heart to encourage others. Blessings.

    Dear Joel,
    Thank you for your testimony and how the Lord has strengthened you. I am thankful for you and the many devotionals that you have shared on PresbyCan. Have a meaningful time of thanksgiving even though you may not have some of the emphasis we have for this week. I am so thankful for God’s grace through the years of serving as a pastor in several churches and as a part time chaplain for several years. I’m so thankful that I have a special friend-prayer-warrior whom I’ve known for over 50 years.

    Thank you, Joel, for your devotion today.
    It reminds me of when I was first asked to speak in front of strangers and also pray, but not offend anyone.
    I moved along since then too, but I never compared myself with any of these great men of the past.
    Today I still encourage the youth to get up in front of the community and read, speak, or sing.
    And the younger Elders, I keep asking them to try to give the message at some of the lesser occasions of the community.
    Yes, it is tough to grow and speak or mention God to the community.
    That’s part of our Christian life.
    Thanks and many blessings,

    Thank you for sharing your struggle to speak openly about your faith.

    Christ the Lord is Risen Today – the hymn and the time, beginning of Advent mark the beginning and end of Jesus life and mission – Praise God.

    Joel – Because your writing speaks so clearly to me, I expected your public speaking to be comparable. What a surprise to find this did not come easily. Thanks for sharing how God helped your confidence grow in that department.

    Great devotion. I certainly can relate. Thank you.

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