Thursday, March 14, 2013

Following His Voice

"He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out. 
After he has gathered his own flock he walks ahead of them,
and they follow him because they know His voice."
John 10: 3,4

Lately this verse from the book of John has been showing up!  I would think about it for a fleeting moment and then move on, not letting it really capture my attention.  Recently it came together for me as I read a guest post by Sheila Walsh over at Ann Voskamp's Blog.  She spoke about the sheep on their place in Scotland where she grew up.  Sheila talked of how the lambs rejected by their mothers are hand fed by the shepherd until they are strong enough to go out on their own.  When a shepherd calls his sheep, it is those orphan lambs that come running first.  Not because the shepherd loves them more, but because they believe they are loved!  They trust the shepherd and dare to believe they are truly loved. 

I have been meditating on Bonnie's word prompt for this week over at Faith Barista Jam.  The word "follow" has had me humming the chorus of a song our family learned at church in 1975 when we were living in The Philippines.

"Follow Jesus, I will follow Jesus
 Anywhere He leads me I will follow
Follow Jesus, I will follow Jesus
Anywhere He leads I will go"
I often take time in the mornings to meditate by visualizing the garden of my heart, where I meet with Father God, Jesus, or Holy Spirit.  It is here that Holy Spirit uses my imagination to speak with me.  Today as I went walking through the garden I had the word "follow" on my mind.  I was carrying a backpack and wearing my hot pink tennies.   Jesus and I took off walking and soon we were in a beautiful meadow filled with wild flowers, tall grasses, butterflies and birds.   As I turned full circle I could see the meadow was surrounded by beautiful mountains and hills.  I asked Jesus if this was heaven and He said, "No, this is your freedom".  We sat down to have a picnic and lunched on fresh fruits.  After we ate we began the journey back.  I looked back wistfully, not wanting to leave such a beautiful serene place, but I knew I needed to be lead by Jesus back to another place that for now makes me feel unsettled. I asked Jesus about following Him and He said, "When you follow Me it is necessary to keep your eyes on me or you will get lost.  You need to keep your focus on Me and not on your problems". 

 Sometimes we find ourselves in places we are not so eager to be.......difficult places.  For a season we may feel lost or confused and just plain overwhelmed by what is going on around us.  Battered, broken, or fearful, we can become distracted and take our eyes off of Jesus our Shepherd.  Like sheep, who have little depth perception, we may loose sight of how much He loves us and we find it harder to hear His voice.  Yet, there He is~~Our Shepherd, who is never far from His sheep.  The Shepherd who offers us peace.  And as one of the Shepherd's flock, we know that we are loved and we listen for His voice so we can follow Him wherever He leads.  Isaiah 26:3 tells us  .....and I paraphrase it here for myself....

"I will be in perfect peace when I keep my eyes on Jesus
 (and listen for His voice)
because I trust Him."
 I am linking up with Bonnie and asking her question here.....
How is Jesus placing the word follow on your heart today?


Cynthia Stevenson said...

Great post! I'm following and in a place of "contentment," on purpose. I'm keeping my eyes on the Prize: Christ.

Carol said...

Oh, you painted a lovely picture of the garden of meditation. Jesus invites us to follow him--and he will shepherd us. A good thought to hold onto.

Thank-you for sharing.

Mia De Vries said...

Dear Renee
Oh yes, keeping our eyes on our Lord Jesus is the most logical thing to do for He truly keeps Ur hearts in perfect peace. But so often we are like Peter who look at the storms
around us and before we know it, we start to sink. But even then we. Only need to cry out and take His hand. Visiting vie Bonnie's.
Much love XX

Gayle said...

I love the sheep story you shared. I find great comfort that I can and will hear the shepherd's voice.

Kim said...

Sheila's post on Ann's blog was one of my favorites. I think of the "bummer lamb" phrase all the time now. I love the image that God blessed you with in your time with Him, and I love that verse from John. I think that will also stick with me for some time. I've been surprised by how Bonnie's prompt has actually opened up a whole lot of memories for me and not only helped me get back on a path that Jesus had laid for me but is helping me remember the ways He asked me to follow Him before. There is so much in that one word, "follow." This is a beautiful post that also speaks to me right where I am.