Dear Hillsdale Family and Heart of a Shepherd Followers,
The Scripture reading for this Saturday, December 23, 2017 is the Acts of the Apostles, chapters 25-26. If you are following our “Read-Thru the Bible” in a year schedule, congratulations…you and I are nearing the end of a year-long journey in the Word of God! I trust you sense God has blessed you abundantly for your faithfulness and perseverance in His Word.
On a personal note: I began writing my daily devotional commentary January 1, 2017 and confess, it has been a journey requiring far more of me than I ever intended. Most devotional authors pen what I call a “little ditty” consisting of a scripture assignment, a brief illustration, and a thought for the day.
For me, I set about on a task of writing a layman friendly devotional commentary with application for each day’s Bible reading. I am afraid my zeal sometimes taxed you the reader as much as it did me the author. It may surprise you to know a typical posting of my daily commentary required up to two hours of effort; this included my Bible reading, meditations, deciding on a principle, making an application, and then choosing appropriate pictures to illustrate the devotional.
The demands of ministry, especially on Sundays, meant I was sometimes unable to devote the time necessary for a Sunday devotional. There were also interruptions of travel and illness that took me from posting devotional commentary. However, in spite of those interruptions, this post marks my 1,100th post on “Heart of a Shepherd”. In addition to this past year’s “Read-Thru the Bible” devotionals, I have also catalogued hundreds of devotionals based on the Book of Proverbs.
In my initial devotional commentary last January 1, 2017, I wrote the following: “As a pastor, it is my goal to shepherd the flock God has entrusted to my care and use this “Heart of a Shepherd” blog as a platform to amplify and write a devotional thought or challenge that corresponds to each day’s devotional assignment.”
I will continue to post periodic devotionals in the coming year; however, I will not continue the daily grind and discipline of writing daily Bible commentary. I pray the devotionals posted on this blog have been and will continue being a blessing to believers around the world (estimate around 170 countries are represented in this blog’s readership).
I plan to dedicate my time, energy, and study in God’s Word to the task of writing sermons and ministering to the members of Hillsdale Baptist Church, Tampa, FL, where I have ministered for over 32 years, 22 years as the Senior Pastor.
Should you wish to contact me, you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail at: Hillsdale Baptist Church, 6201 Ehrlich Rd., Tampa, FL 33624.
With the heart of a shepherd,
Pastor Travis D. Smith
Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith