The Good Shepherd

A random gust of wind, courtesy of Hurricane Delta, blew over a section of our fence. This side of fence borders our neighbors who own two dogs. The friendly dogs loved the new found freedom of exploring our backyard until the fence was repaired.

One day as I sat outside in the early morning silence listening to birds sing and watching flocks fly overhead, Scout and Gadget burst from their backdoor and bolted straight into our yard.

After some time, their owner called for them. Even though she called them by name, they ignored her.

In case you’re wondering, no, I didn’t entice them to stay. I simply sat in my chair and watched what they would do. Scout stood by my chair, looked in the direction of her owner’s voice, then looked at me. Gadget ignored her owner’s voice and continued exploring our yard.

After several more calls, Scout took one final look at me, turned toward her yard, and went home. Gadget looked toward home, yet didn’t budge. Several more calls. Nothing.

I stood, walked toward Gadget, called, clapped my hands, and told her to go on home. She came to me, paused, then walked into her yard.

Again, no. I’m not some irresistible dog whisperer, and our neighbors love and take care of their dog babies. So no reason to avoid going home.

But this interaction between owner and dog got my mind thinking about the interaction between the Good Shepherd and his sheep. When Jesus calls us, who are we more like? Scout or Gadget? Do we recognize our Shepherd’s voice and go to him? Or do we hear his voice but ignore him altogether?

In the tenth chapter of John, Jesus tells us he is the Good Shepherd. He is the Gate through which his sheep are saved. He is the Shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep. He knows his sheep and calls them by name.

When he calls, his sheep recognize his voice and come to him. His sheep follow him because they know his voice and know they can trust him. The sheep won’t follow a stranger, because they don’t know his voice.

Although I could have enticed Scout and Gadget to stay with me instead of going to their owner by offering them treats or belly rubs, I didn’t. Even though they know me, are comfortable with me, and know I won’t hurt them, they aren’t my dogs. They aren’t my sheep. They belong to someone else.

There are those in the world who take advantage of their position. They try to entice Jesus’ followers away from him with falsehoods, offers of influence, power, financial gain, any number of things. They want Christ’s sheep to follow them. They don’t want Christ’s sheep following the only true Good Shepherd.

As sheep who belong to the Good Shepherd, we need to shut our ears to false shepherds and open them to the voice of the One who knows us by name and loves us with an everlasting love. As our Good Shepherd, Jesus’ love for us is so great he willingly laid down his life in death so we would never face separation from him.

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The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice and come to him; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. John 10:3 (TLB)

You can find my October Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Jesus Calls His Own By Name

courtesy pixabayby Sandy Kirby Quandt

If you have ever cared for children, or been cared for as a child, one thing I believe would be safe to say is you recognize their voice. Mothers know when their child cries out among a throng of others on a playground. Children know when the voice calling them belongs to their parent.

During the years I taught students in elementary school I knew for a fact which one of my them called out to me, and they knew for a fact when I called out to them.

courtesy pixabay

Jesus is called the Good Shepherd. He knows us, his sheep, so intimately he hears our faintest cry and immediately puts a name and face to that cry.

As his sheep we in turn can discern his voice and distinguish it from the noise of the world.

I think that’s pretty amazing.

courtesy pixabay

To think the King of kings and Lord of lords can pick out our voice among the multitude of voices and put a name — our name — to it is pretty special. Wouldn’t you say?

God is the one who created us. He is the one who knows us intimately and has a plan for us.

Our value and worth lies in him, the One who knows our name, not in anything we could ever accomplish on our own. His is the voice we need to listen for and long to hear.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep recognize his voice and come to him. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. John 10:3 (NLT)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Whose Voice Do You Listen To?

In March 2005, Pilot and I had the opportunity to volunteer during the Iditarod Sled Dog Race at the checkpoint in Swentna, Alaska. What an adventure, I’m telling you! Best, and only, snow-Tang I’ve ever tasted. The perfect slushy.

One of my tasks at the checkpoint was to wake the mushers at the time they told us they wanted to be woken. Each musher had his/her own strategy to win the nearly 1,000 mile race, and the amount of sleep they allowed themselves at each checkpoint was a vital part of that strategy. I took my job very seriously. Didn’t want anyone losing the Last Great Race because I hadn’t woken them in time.

Four-time Iditarod champion, Martin Buser, was next up on my list, so I quietly stepped across snoring mushers to the spot where he lay sleeping on the floor. I knelt next to him, and spoke his name.

Nothing.

Now, I should probably mention this was the year Martin had an accident with a power saw four days before the race, and amputated part of his fingers. OUCH! Mushing under any circumstance is difficult, but with a throbbing, massively bandaged hand, and the aid of heavy-duty pain meds, it’s near impossible.

So, it was no surprise Martin did not wake when I first called his name. Next, I gently shook his shoulder, and said, “Mr. Buser. It’s time to wake up.”

By now, musher, Charlie Bolden, was propped up on his elbow next to me, to see what was going on.

Panicking that I couldn’t wake Martin, and fearing he’d wake up too late for his running schedule, I knelt down to his chest and said, “Martin, it’s time to wake up.” To which he reached up, wrapped his very strong arm around my shoulders, and pulled me into him. Maybe I sound like his wife?

I was flustered. Charlie was hee-hawing, and Martin was still sound asleep.

After I unwrapped myself from his grasp, I headed back downstairs, and told those in charge I couldn’t wake Mr. Buser. “Let him sleep.” Okay.

This has me thinking about how we respond when Jesus calls our name. Do we hear him? Do we wake up to what he’s telling us? Do we think he’s someone else, altogether?

As I mentioned in my last post, the story about Mary Magdalene recorded in John 20 is one of my favorites.

Because Mary’s ears were tuned to listen to the voice of Jesus, she recognized him once he spoke her name.

It’s the same today for those of us who belong to Jesus. He’s the Good Shepherd who knows us by name. In fact, our names are engraved on the palm of his hand. He’ll never forget, or forsake us. All we need to do is recognize his voice when he speaks to us. And wake up.

What are your thoughts on the subject?

But the gatekeeper opens the gate for the shepherd, and he goes in through it. The sheep know their shepherd’s voice. He calls each of them by name and leads them out. John 10:3 (CEV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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