AWAITING NEW PROMISES

I was almost horrified this morning when while talking to a dear friend, I realized that tomorrow is September 1st.
Not that September 1 is a bad day, it is just that it crept up on me without even thinking about what that day signifies for me.

Twenty years ago ( or maybe it was 19 and this will be my 20th year), the pastor of the church we attended, informed us that he prays a particular verse for each of his family members.
I was so impressed with this idea, that I began searching for a verse for each different family member. I believe he told us about this endeavor the first weekend in September.

So now for the 20th time, I will begin to look for verses for our family members. When I started it was just the six of us. Now with spouses for each child and three adorable grandsons, I will be finding 13 different verses for each member of my immediate family.

I can almost guarantee you that it will take me the entire month to find them; unless by some “miracle”, the LORD gives me these verses more quickly.
Truly it is an amazing time searching through the Bible looking, wondering, deciding (with the Holy Spirit’s guidance) which verse is for which person. This allows me to see Scripture in a whole new light as I get to review verses from the past that have ministered to me when I deeply needed them, see verses that I had chosen for family members at different times in their lives, and be grateful again that the Word of God is still so relevant for today.
I often have wondered why the LORD would lead me to a specific verse for someone, but have believed that this indeed was THE right verse, even when I didn’t understand; only to be amazed and grateful as the year went on and the reason was made clear.

This year will be the 20th year I have prayed verses for my family; specific verses for each particular member. It has been an honor and a joy to do this. It has helped me memorize Scripture; although I must admit that I can’t always tell you where it came from (book and verse), I do remember the actual words of the verse.

Yes, I was taken aback this morning that today was the last day of August. On the other hand, I am totally excited and looking forward to the month of September ( I always love this month because it is my birthday month!) because I am awaiting the new promises God will give me to pray for my family members.

When my kids were in school, they always started in September, that doesn’t happen much these days, when so many schools begin in August, which is why I always pick my verses in September. It was the beginning of a new school year and a perfect time for me to reflect on challenges they might face, milestones that could occur, and wait for God to reveal His particular word, for each of those that I love the most in this world.

It is a beautiful thing to see how God works through the years. It is an even more splendid thing to see God work in the lives of your family and watch them become who He has envisioned them to be.

My encouragement for you today is to find verses for your family. It may take awhile. You may not be able to do it now for the season of life you are in. But if you can do this, not only will your family be blessed, you will be blessed as you watch God’s Word come alive.

A very special thank you to Dave Sawkins for this wonderful idea!!

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totally Out Of Sorts

I used to believe that Following Jesus meant being conservative, embracing conservative values and philosophies and being involved in my church, was all I needed to be who God wanted me to be.
But now I believe that the most important thing I can do in my life, for me, for my family and those friends I love dearly, and everyone else is quite simple: Follow Jesus.

So many times in the Bible, Jesus calls others to “Follow Me”.
And isn’t that exactly what He is calling me (and quite possibly you) to do as well?

It is not about being conservative; I don’t think I ever really embraced that. Although I was never hurt by the church, I know many who were. Perhaps being involved in a para church ministry my entire adult life precluded me from believing that the church was the end all, be all.
Quite possibly, we seemed to pick churches where we had friends and because of our own all encompassing ministry, we were not that involved in many church activities, except for me attending women’s bible studies for years and years.

For many, the church (and what exactly is “the church”?) has hurt -hopefully unintentionally-their members, whether it be for what they say is the “gospel truth”, or for the values they impose (ie we don’t drink, dance, swear or go with those who do). Maybe as you went for advice about doubts or why God says this in the Bible, you were told something that made you feel belittled, or that you weren’t the “christian” you were supposed to be.

Sarah Bessey(author of Jesus Feminist) has written another book, called “Out of Sorts: making Peace with an Evolving Faith.

This book is truly a gem. I have underlined and highlighted so much, that well, you might think I am a bit pen happy. BUT REALLY.
I have been on this faith journey for 44 years now and from the 19 year old college sophomore to the 63 year old Grammy, my faith has changed, shifted, grown and become much more compassionate, realizing much much more that I don’t always know the answers, and that GOD IS THE ULTIMATE GIVER OF ANSWERS AND JUDGE.

There are so many quotes I want you to see, but also realize that might take up another book in itself.
It would be hard to pick a favorite, but one that really captured me was:
” If our theology doesn’t shift and change over our lifetimes, then I have to wonder if we’re paying attention. The Spirit is often breathing in the very changes or shifts that used to terrify us.”

Looking back over forty plus years of walking with Christ, I realize it is really a journey. A journey that has its ups and downs. Those straight aways when you see clearly and are sailing ahead smoothly. Those windy mountains with the curves that can scare us and bring forth our fears, the ones that you don’t expect and blurs your vision for a time, and then there is the valleys. Those places where you have been blind-sided, where your hope might vanish, the doubts are debilitating, the grief unending. It could be from an unexpected loss; a death of a loved one, a spouse leaving, a pink slip, a broken relationship. It can be from lingering and unrelenting mental illness. In the valley, you just want a break. A brief respite from the deep pain and often there is nothing. God’s silence is LOUD.
And finally there is a break, you begin to trust God again, you make some forward motion steps, and you can see a road-any road, that might lead you out of the valley.

How I have viewed God for now going on five decades has shifted and changed. Some things have remained constant: I know He loves me. I know He is there, even in the deafening silence. I know He cares. But have I doubted? Yes. Plenty of times. Do I wonder if He hears my cries for help. I know He does, but His answers often take forever in coming (or so it seems).
I have seen His hand of protection over a loved one’s life when He spared them from a suicide attempt, but I wonder, why some others succeed.
I have wondered if God slept when atrocities are being committed all over and throughout history.
I have many questions that are unanswered.

What I have learned is that God doesn’t change. I do.
As the years go by, I have known Him better. Been the recipient of multiple and multiple graces.
I realize that I don’t have the answers. That only God does. And well meaning pastors have told me things that aren’t true, and then I wonder why God would place them over people.
My faith has changed; I have become more compassionate and way less judging of others.
I want to love and show Christ’s love. I don’t want to condemn, but I want to accept others and pray that they too will come to know the ONE who gave them life.

This is basically what the book, Out of Sorts is about. Navigating your faith through your lifetime.
Sarah Bessey gives us her reasons for choosing to follow Jesus day in and day out. In spite of the messiness. In spite of being hurt and lonely. Cheering us on to be what Jesus envisions us to be.
She considers the Church as a whole and reminds us that we are the church. We are Christ’s ambassadors here and now. Are we representing Him accurately?
She writes about the Bible, what we think and believe, how to ponder the questions we have freely and without guilt. She writes about the people in our lives, our community.
What she writes about is FAITH.
http://www.amazon.com/Out-Sorts-Making

Sarah Bessey is real and authentic. She is honest with her questions and how she has been hurt.
She is so genuine in her love for Jesus and others; this fact leaks out page after page.
If you have never heard of her, you need to.
She writes with honesty and conviction. And she blesses the socks out of me. I read her words with a pen in hand. I take notes and ponder her words.
What she expresses over and over again is Jesus’s words: FOLLOW ME. And invites and encourages us to do the same. Sarah isn’t perfect; none of us are. But she longs for Jesus with a heart that seeks Him diligently. And isn’t that what we all should be desiring.
Oh IF ONLY, I had this book at her age!!

DOUBT. LAMENT. and learning to SURRENDER

If you are a follower of Jesus, know that it is ok to doubt.

I have walked with Jesus for almost 44 years. I would venture that 42 of those were very consistent. Honestly, it was hard to figure what I could and shouldn’t do for a few years.

Less than two years after I began a relationship with Jesus, my mother died unexpectedly in the middle of the night. Not only was I devastated and shocked, I wondered if God cared. Looking back, I remember for about two weeks before she died that I had this real certain feeling, maybe it was assurance, that God was about to do something BIG in my life. Like bring the guy who was to be “the One”.
His big thing appeared to be taking my mom. I was confused and hurt and doubtful. I look back in hindsight (oh if we could just do that while we are going through trials) and see that because my mother was no longer around, I learned very very early in my walk with Jesus, that HE was the only ONE who would always be around. I leaned into Him because I didn’t know where else to go.

The next 40 or so years, I had plenty of times when I doubted Jesus. When my anger was the reason that my sons ran away; from me and from the LORD. When my teenage daughter developed anorexia and was hospitalized for 2 months. When another of my children was dishonest about a relationship that ending up causing them tremendous pain.

Doubting if Jesus was watching or even cared, came when my husband was laid off from a job he loved. And when mental illness was having its way in our family. When one family member became so depressed and despondent that they tried to end their life.
Yes, following Jesus has caused me quite a few doubts.

My brain knows that He says: “I will never leave you or forsake you.”, but my heart questions if God even sees the anguish, the tears, the fears that have enveloped my life at times.

And yet, I know He loves me, I know He loves you. That’s the cerebral part of me working. I have spent years in His Word. I believe it all to be true. I love the Bible because it comforts me when I need it. But sometimes I need proof; I want to see visibly that God cares. I don’t always get what I want from God. I imagine that most of us feel that way at sometime and it is in those times, that the doubt comes.

This summer has been one of those times for me.
I have been confused. I have doubted. I have been so angry at God that I have yelled at Him numerous times.

“Don’t you see we can’t take this?”
“Why don’t YOU do something?”
“How much more can she endure?”
“Don’t you care?”

Almost 44 years of walking with Jesus and this has been one of the most difficult spiritual crises’ I have experienced.
A dear friend sent me a paper on having Hope in Lament.
She too, is having a rough time of it.
I always knew that there were a number of Psalms that we called “psalms of Lament”, and this summer I have truly experienced lament.

According to Dan Allender,
“To lament-that is to cry out to God with our doubts, our incriminations of him and others, to bring a complaint against Him-is the context of surrender. Surrender, the turning of our heart over to Him, asking for mercy and receiving His terms for restoration is- impossible without battle. To put it simply, it is inconceivable to surrender to God unless there is a prior declared war against Him.”
That pretty much summed up in a nutshell what has been going on in my life. Have I waged war with God? Partly yes and partly no.
I have had active hostility in my anger. I have been in conflict with Him. I have contested His ways.
Oh I have been angry; so angry that my tears spill all too frequently out of my eyes.
I think I have surrendered to His will and then when things appear worse in this situation, I get mad all over again and my doubts are full blown.

The one advantage I have in walking with Jesus through all my adult years is that even though I don’t “feel” it now, I know He cares. I have experienced His faithfulness. I have relished His Grace. I have known His forgiveness in sweet sweet ways. And I know that in the end, His way is always the best way.
It’s just that now, I don’t see it.
I am confused. I am hurt by what seems His lack of involvement.
I know I am impatient, but I also know how very long (18 years) this struggle, this pain, this un-ending trial has gone on, and I just want to see some answers. I want to see His Hope again.

Yet through this hard time, I remember.
I remember through all the other very difficult times, I have known more of Jesus, I have been swept into intimacy with Him like never before. And so I wait. I wait for that to come.

In the meantime, I struggle. I doubt. I still get angry. I still confess my sin (over and over and over again).
And I know that God’s love for me has not changed. He loves me as much this minute as He always has. I have not fallen from His graces. He is still here. And He isn’t going anywhere.

So when your doubts come, please oh please, do not despair. Don’t give up. Get mad, tell God you are confused and frightened and angry. He can take it.
And then breathe in and wait.
Soon you will know more of Him than you ever have.

With Job, I agree:
“Though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him” (Job 13:15)

Where else could I possibly go?

What a Way to End

Summer is officially over at Woodleaf. Our camping season ended Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, the last group of our campers and leaders left; and Sunday saw the goodbye of the third session Assignment Team and the Summer Staff and the WorkCrew.

I am so grateful for all who came to Woodleaf this summer and gave of their time, their service, all for the purpose of bringing high schoolers (and one 5 day session of Middle Schoolers) to the feet of Jesus.

EVERYTHING that is done at camp, from the program team entertaining our campers, the leaders who counsel their high school friends, the speaker who has the privilege of telling campers the greatest love story ever told, to the people who spend hours in the kitchen preparing the meals, those who keep you safe on the ropes course and tower, the lifeguards who watch you closely, the boys who empty the garbage, the gals who clean the toilets, the wranglers who keep you safe at the track and on the rides, the doctors and paramedics who are here to help you when you are sick or injured, to the crew that manages the sound system, the girls that served you delicious whirleys, or who helped you make a craft or sold you special merchandise at the store, along with the one who recorded your week to view again and again; EVERYTHING is done with the purpose of allowing our friends to hear the Good News of how much Jesus Christ loves them.

But there is a very special group of people who came for 13 weeks to help the property staff accomplish all that is needed to be done in order to have a fun and successful camping season.

This year we were privileged to have 17 young adults from all over the country serving here to make this place ” the best week of your life” to thousands of high school kids.

This group is called Interns, as they are here to learn what it looks like to work and live on a Young Life Property. Every Young Life camp has interns that come and serve for the entire summer.

This year at Woodleaf, Our Interns (affectionately dubbed “Winterns” by themselves) was THE MOST EXCEPTIONAL group I have ever gotten to be involved with.         IMG_0339

The entire group had such incredible hearts to serve Jesus wholeheartedly.  They always had a smile on their face, they worked ridiculously long hours without complaining and loved each other so well.

It was not a summer without difficulties. They endured tragedy and sorrow and comforted and encouraged each other thru some really hard times. But they also had FUN. They thoroughly enjoyed each others company, they developed deep and lasting friendships and experienced community like never before. They lived in crammed and tight quarters, but they cooked for each other and served each other. There was MANY late night discussions (and you think we didn’t know!) that were real, honest and vulnerable.

These Winterns worked tirelessly and they were playful too. They loved each other with abandon.

For eight different summers, I have had the immense privilege and opportunity to lead the amazing and talented interns. Each summer has been unique. Each group different but all here to serve Jesus. Each and every intern at each and every camp deserves our appreciation.

Thank you doesn’t seem to be adequate, but the gratefulness I feel, is one that words can’t fully express.

This will be my last time to be an Intern boss, and what a gift this group of 17 has been to me. Going out with the BEST.

WINTERNS FOR THE WIN!!

JESUS…WHERE ARE YOU?

THE NEWS OF LATE.

Hateful. Sad. Not comforting at all.

I still can not wrap my head around the immense hateful act that happened in Charleston.

I still can not believe that this country is racist. But it is.

The Civil War has been over for over 150 years and yet many states in the South still fly the confederate flag. Absolutely mind boggling to this California native. I am sickened, horrified and appalled at what happened to the nine people. But it just wasn’t those nine whose lives were cut short. It was their families, the members of the church and in reality our whole country. We grieve and mourn and lament. It is time to do something.

It is time to do something to end the atrocities we have committed agains African Americans. BLACK LIVES DO MATTER.

It is especially hard for me to comprehend the racism that exists. Having grown up in the 60’s where my father built low cost housing for the (then Negro) population of East Palo Alto. I didn’t know  there was a color difference. My dad’s foreman for his construction was a Black man who was part of our family.

And hearing the news of two Black churches set on fire by arson this week. Racism begets racism. Where do people become bigots? Doesn’t it usually start at home? And how is it possible that followers of Jesus can be racist? I don’t understand this at all.

The remaining brother of the Boston marathon killings issues an apology statement yesterday.

REALLY? 14 months after it happens? When you are hearing your sentence. This is hard for me to believe his apology is  sincere. But also, who am I to cast judgement?

This week also brought news of a fairly famous pastor admitting to an affair and then resigning from his church. It was unfortunate that he gave the reason that he was “caught” in this discretion, because his wife had an affair first.
This pastor has a very famous grandfather who has literally brought millions to Christ and yet he too, is capable of placing the blame of his sin on someone else.

For me, when I sin, I too, can try and rationalize and place the blame on anyone or anything but me. But when I stop and think about it, the reason I choose to sin is because I want to be the god of my life. I want to do what I want to do, when I want to do it. And screw the consequences.
Where do we come up with the idea that our sin hurts no one but us? Our sin, my sin, most of all hurts GOD who loves us so deeply. Who pursues us because He longs for us to know Him and His love. But always our sin hurts more than just us.

I can only begin to imagine how much just this weeks news has hurt Our Father. How He grieves and cries over what has transpired.
Will it get worse? I bet it will.
Can we do anything? I would like to believe so.
But what is one person to do?
Anything that you can think of to do will help.

LOVE PEOPLE.
Serve them.
Ask what you can do to help.
Give your time. Give your money. Give your talents.
Ask God for guidance, for wisdom, to do what you can.

Oh JESUS, where are you?
Show up in your people.
Give us the ability to do what YOU want us to do.

OPEN OUR EYES

What happens when you don’t recognize someone that you should?
Are you embarrassed? Taken by surprise? Bewildered?
Does it happen to you? It has happened to me and I think all three of those adjectives have described how I felt at that moment.

I remember looking at wedding pictures of one of my daughter’s friends. She was stunning and breath-taking beautiful. But I didn’t recognize her. She did not look a thing like herself. This bride was beautiful in her “normal” self, but with her hair and makeup done professionally, I did not recognize her at all.

There are those moments too, when you meet up with a friend that you haven’t seen in a long time, and they have either lost or gained weight, or their chemo treatments have re-shaped their looks and you are silenced by your lack of knowing them.

If you are my age, or if you know an incredible amount of people, you might see someone that you know, but for the life of you, you can’t remember their name or where you know them from, and quite embarrassingly they remember you. (best tip I ever received in dealing with this type of situation is saying something like I forgot your last name! and then hopefully, that will help you remember their first name!! and please God, don’t let it be somebody I really should know).

But don’t worry; you are certainly not the only one who has not recognized someone. Fear not, there is actually an example or two from the bible of this.
In John chapter 21, (this is after Jesus has died and been resurrected) a number of the disciples had joined Peter to go fishing. They had fished all night and not caught a thing. Meanwhile the sun comes up, and on the beach is Jesus. And these guys did not recognize Jesus.

Here is the story from the Message Translation:
1-3 After this, Jesus appeared again to the disciples, this time at the Tiberias Sea (the Sea of Galilee). This is how he did it: Simon Peter, Thomas (nicknamed “Twin”), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the brothers Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. Simon Peter announced, “I’m going fishing.”
3-4 The rest of them replied, “We’re going with you.” They went out and got in the boat. They caught nothing that night. When the sun came up, Jesus was standing on the beach, but they didn’t recognize him.
5 Jesus spoke to them: “Good morning! Did you catch anything for breakfast?”
They answered, “No.
6 He said, “Throw the net off the right side of the boat and see what happens.”
They did what he said. All of a sudden there were so many fish in it, they weren’t strong enough to pull it in.
7 Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Master!”

So I read this and have questions.
1. Was Jesus’ resurrected body completely different from the body He had while living?
I assume that it must be different. Otherwise, Mary Magdalene would have recognized Him by the tomb. And these disciples, the ones who walked with Him for 3 years, day in and day out, they didn’t recognize Him.
2. Does that mean I often fail to recognize Jesus too?
Obviously yes, and you probably do as well.

Obviously, Jesus doesn’t appear in bodily form here on earth presently, (although someday soon He will!), but I wondered how often do I miss seeing Him in people, in situations?

We have a “thing” in Young Life that we call, “Jesus sightings”. These are the examples that we see Jesus in our daily lives, that normally we might miss or quite possibly never even thought that Jesus was in that situation.

Do I see Jesus in the homeless person I see on the street? That needs my help and more often than not, I ashamedly turn away from looking at them.
Do I see Jesus in those who might suffer from mental illness? Or do I view them as crazy and mixed up? Do I ever wonder what I would be like having that form of disease? Do I ever seek to understand them?
Do I see Jesus in the impoverished people of the world? Do I help clothe them or feed them as He has asked us to do?
Do I see Jesus in the members of my family? The ones who might need my help or support? Or am I bothered by them?
Do I see Jesus in the young mother, with screaming toddlers, seeming overwhelmed? Do I ask her if I can help? Or do I criticize her in my mind for not having children who behave?

Do these type of questions make you wonder how I could possibly link them to Jesus?
It is because this is what Jesus has told us we must do. In Matthew 25, Jesus told us:

34-36 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:

I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’

37-40 “Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’

So I don’t want to miss Jesus.
I want to recognize Him in the faces of people I encounter everyday. I want to meet their needs if I can.
I believe that in doing so, I will see Jesus.
I will see how He has done similar things in my own life.
He wants me and you to be looking for Him throughout our days.
Ask Jesus to give you the vision to see Him each day, to recognize Him, to open our hearts to those we might normally not.

We might not see Jesus physically, but we can see Him everyday if we just keep our eyes and our hearts open to His leading.

Brandon Heath wrote a song just about this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5AkNqLuVgY

These words from his song, completely say what I wanted to convey:
Give me Your eyes for just one second
Give me Your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me Your love for humanity
Give me Your arms for the broken-hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach
Give me Your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me Your eyes so I can see

May we each have the eyes of Jesus to see who He wants us to see.

WHOSE VOICE ARE YOU LISTENING TO

There was a time when I could not differentiate between two of my children’s voices. Yes,I said I couldn’t tell my kids voices apart.I think they were about eight and ten years old. I would call home from work to see how they were doing, and would listen to them tell me what they were up to, before I knew if I was talking to Kristi or Todd.
Indeed, it is strange for a mother to not know her own child’s voice, but I really could not tell them apart.
Thankfully, as they grew, it became much easier.

We hear so many voices. We are bombarded with countless voices that come our way. Whether it be on the radio, over the phone, on the TV or even through the internet, we are constantly hearing so many voices.
And what about the voices we hear in our heads. Our minds replay people’s voices over and over again. Some of them are great words to hear. Last night I went to sleep hearing again the voices of our dear friends Jimmy and Sarah. We spent a wonderful evening together, just the four of us for our last time when we live in the same place. There was affirmation and encouragement (and quite a few tears), and I know I must have had a smile on my face as I drifted off to sleep as I recalled things they said to us.

Mostly though, the voices we hear in our heads are not so positive. We tend to replay the negative voices. We remember how we have disappointed or failed someone. And it keeps playing over and over again in our minds. Why do we tend to remember and replay the negative words and don’t remember the positive? Wouldn’t we be so much better off if we concentrated on the good things people have said instead of the bad?

There are other voices we hear.
Often times we don’t know where they come from.
Is it our own thought? Is someone else inside my brain?
And it is in those type of thoughts, and the negative words of others, that we too often stay.
Are they real voices? We seem to believe that they are. Because we concentrate on them, dwell in them, and then fall victim to them, thinking they must be true.

EVERYONE in life fails.
We all make mistakes.
We all have heard negative comments.
But do we need to live in them? Believe them?
Those we view as successful have heard negative things, have doubted themselves, BUT the difference is they start anew, begin fresh and go after what they are pursuing.

The past two mornings, I have been reading in the book of John (chapters 9 and 10) from the Message translation.
In both chapters Jesus asks a question and makes a statement about His voice.
In John 9, Jesus asks:
“Don’t you recognize my voice?”

That is the question I now put to us.
Do you know and recognize the true voice of God in your life?
With so many voices coming at us, in all sorts of directions, do you know the voice of Jesus?
I am confident that if we don’t spend time with Jesus everyday, we may not be able to tell His voice from all the others. If you know me at all, you know that I am a HUGE advocate for reading the Bible daily. For me to know Jesus’ voice, I have to know His Word.
Because it’s in His Word that He most often speaks to us. I am extremely grateful for one woman who emphasized this to me (http://missyscud.blogspot.com/2015/03/a-huge-thank-you.htm)
You could also look at the Archives heading in my blogs and click on God’s Word to see how much it means to me.

But for me, to be in the Bible, to know God’s Word, helps me know the voice of Jesus, helps me discern whether that thought in my mind is actually true and from Him or from any of the many voices I hear.
In John 10, Jesus begins to talk about how sheep know the Shepherd’s voice and then He calls himself, the Good Shepherd.

“and the sheep recognize His voice.
He calls his own sheep by name and he leads them out…He leads them
and they follow because they are
familiar with his voice. They don’t
follow a stranger’s voice but will
scatter because they aren’t used to
the sound of it.”

Do you know the SOUND of your Shepherd’s voice?
Do you have trouble differentiating between His voice and others?
Are you a bit like me, wanting to hear more from my children, so that you can decide if it really is Jesus’ voice?

PLEASE don’t assume the voice you hear inside your head is from Jesus. Check it out. Look at His Word to see if it aligns with what it says.
LISTEN to Him. Spend time with Him, so that you can know His voice.
Don’t you want the true voice be the one you really pay attention to?
I for one, certainly do. And pray that you will too.
Too many voices vie for our attention. Be careful, very very careful. Listen for the Voice of Truth.
As Jesus has said: “I am the way, the truth and the
Life.”

The voice of Jesus will always be life giving.