Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Hearing His voice and being known by Him

I have had several inquire as to whether I had taken them off of my little email list. I have taken no one (who has not requested it) off my list. I have been very busy. . . too busy over the past several months. I have not done very much writing for several months. I am back. I am not going to get that busy again. I suffer for my busy-ness in many ways. . .

John 10:27
My sheep hear my voice and I know them, and they follow me. . .

Jesus' sheep hear His voice and merely from their hearing He knows them. . .What is the meaning of this mystery? How does He know them from their hearing? He knows them in that they react. . . they look up. . . they respond to the sound of his words. Imagine a pasture of sheep all feeding and minding their own business. The shepherd calls to them. The ones who know Him stop what they are doing, lift their heads and turn to Him. The rest of the sheep ignore Him. . . continue on with their own concerns. . . ignoring the unfamiliar voice. . . thereby the shepherd knows who are his!!! He speaks. . . they hear. . . they respond. . . they follow. . .

How does he speak to His sheep? Surely through His written Word. . . can you? Do you read His Word and not have it effect you? Do you continue on your way without being changed by His Word? You are in danger of not being recognized by Him. Preaching is another way He speaks to His sheep. He gives words to a man of God to give to his sheep. There is one Shepherd above all. Below Him Pastors, also meaning shepherds who speak the mind and intent of the Shepherd above all others. Have you lost your ability to be moved by preaching? Have you heard it all before? Is your heart hardened and no longer able to respond to the sound of the Shepherd's voice? Is the preacher's message always for someone else? Be ware, we need to find meaning and be effected by all of God's words to us. His Words, His wisdom have layers and layers upon more layers of meaning.

The outer layers are easily accessible and easily digestible, but we are not only to be sustained by milk and sodden bread. The meat is deeper, more difficult still there within the same pages, contained within the same sermons as the milk and bread, but requiring greater effort to procure and a more mature digestive system for break down and use in the body. The infant needs the spoon of softened sop lifted to his lips and gently trickled down their throat so as to not choke them. The eating of meat requires teeth and strength of jaw to tear off from the bone and to gain benefit from.

In what other ways does He speak to us. . . through brothers and sisters. . . through strangers unaware of what they are saying. . . unaware of the significance of their meaning. . . .He speaks to me through many natural events. Literally He speaks to me by sunsets and clouds in the sky. . . snowflakes dancing before my eyes. . . I cannot count the times that a hawk, an owl, a dove has swooped low over my car or spilled the air from his wings and hovered right in front of my passing. I weep. . . I give thanks for these little hugs that God gives me every day. If I were only more in tune with His messages I am sure I would find endless delight and encouragement in His messages to me. . .

It is my responsibility as a sheep to come to know His voice in all its tones and manner of reaching out to me. I must always be aware of His calling and be ready to respond so that He might know that I am His sheep and He my shepherd. . . I must be ready at a moment to follow him. In this same vein and on the flip side, it is very much also our responsibility as sheep to recognize the voice of impostors and not to be led astray by a false shepherd's voice.

Yesterday I had a tremendous day of worship of God. I've driven over 1100 miles in three days, spending very much the most of my time in the car praying and worshipping Him. I got to my hotel room Monday night and I was just overwhelmed at His goodness. His presence just washed over me. I fell to my knees and began weeping and praising Him in gratefulness at what He has done for me. . . completely overcome. . . a voice in my head said, "Would you feel this same way if things weren't going so well for you?". . . I was taken aback, stung by this question for a moment. My worship and praise stopped.

Suddenly I was filled with doubts about myself and the sincerity of my worship. Am I only happy because things are going well in my life. . . .Questions arose. . . doubts. . . confusion. . . . . AND I KNEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This was not the voice of my shepherd. My shepherd's voice does not cause doubt and confusion. My shepherd's voice brings peace and joy and comfort. That voice, the voice of that impostor quieted my worship and troubled my heart. I rebuke that voice!!! That is not the voice of God, but of the one who wants to disrupt the honor and praise of God. It is my. . . It is our responsibility to close our ears to any shepherd, but the one true Shepherd!!! We must follow His voice and His voice only!!!

I worship you my God. . .
I love you with everything within me. . .
I desire more than anything else to live in eternity with You. . .

Please Lord, help me know your voice ever more clearly. . .

I love you Lord. . .
I love you all. . .

Dave Stokely

1 comment:

Shane said...

Dave,

Very true what you said there! Thanks for the email.