Our pastor referred to the following passage in his Christmas Eve message:
1[Jesus is speaking] “I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. 3The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”
What struck me about the passage was that the sheep follow the shepherd because they know his voice. It occurred to me that the only way the sheep can know the shepherd’s voice is because he spends the day talking to them. That got me thinking…if that’s true in the natural, it must also be true in the spiritual. The only way I can know my Shepherd’s voice is if he speaks to me throughout the day. And I began to wonder – how much does the Lord say to me that just goes right by me unnoticed? My guess is that the answer is “quite a lot.” I’m guessing that I typically only hear the Lord when He shouts at me or when I intentionally quiet myself to hear Him. Yet if He speaks to me throughout the day, surely I’m meant to be able to hear Him as I live my daily life.
I’ve been thinking about a theme for 2010. Perhaps I’ve found it: Learning to hear God’s Voice more clearly and regularly. Of course that requires listening for His voice, as it says in verse 3 – “…the sheep listen to his voice.” It also carries with it the implication that I will follow His Voice after hearing it.
And that sounds like another adventure to me. 2009 was a tough year for my husband and I, and I know it was a tough year for many others. I have to admit it was an adventure, but not necessarily the kind of adventure I’d choose. Yet, without a doubt, it was an adventure in which God provided all that we needed. It was an adventure of blessings in the midst of trials. And quite frankly, those are the blessings that we tend to appreciate the most.
I am hopeful for a year of adventure with the Lord that has more fun in it than 2009, but it’s years like 2009 that give me confidence that He will be with me whatever the adventure is. I hope you’re approaching 2010 with a spirit of adventure, looking forward with confidence to what God has in store.