My Sheep Hear My Voice…

John 10: 27 – 28
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

Take Courage!

 Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Take Courage – easy to say, but hard to do… As I was pondering these words this morning, a memory came to mind of when I lived in Brandon, Suffolk in England – a lifetime ago! I taught ballet and tap classes at the old Church Institute – My classes started around 5pm and it was dark and cold at that time in winter. There were only a few dim lights outside the front of the building, but none at the side or back which was the only way in! The ground was muddy and became narrow as I neared the door at the back. It was pitch black and there were bushes that hid the back entrance. I remember frantically fiddling with the key trying to get it to fit the lock to open a stubborn large wooden door, all the while wondering if someone was watching me and about to pounce! Once I’d accomplished that task, I would march bravely (although terrified) through a dark kitchen and large hall to get to the front of the building to turn on the lights. The doors would creak behind me as they slowly closed and my footsteps would echo loudly throughout the building as I walked across the wooden hall floor – (add some scary music along with my pounding heartbeat and you’d have a cracking Thriller!)

Once I finally reached the front and flicked on the light switches, I’d sigh with relief – I had made it! I wasn’t ambushed, raped or murdered…

But oh, how I hated and dreaded entering that building! I wanted to wait for the parents to go with me, but didn’t because the building would be freezing in the winter. I needed to turn on the gas fires which hung throughout the hall before everyone arrived.

I share this story, because one evening while I was sitting outside in my car giving myself a pep talk with hopes to muster up a little bravery, a small quiet voice inside me spoke the words, “Take courage, do not fear, for I AM with you…”

This voice was familiar to me, it was my Shepherd’s voice…

His Word calmed and washed through me. His Word brought peace, comfort, assurance, and supplied me with the grace to take courage to do what I needed to do. It was a wonderful night! I remember walking slowly as I enjoyed this euphoria of peace that surpassed my understanding… Yes, it was still dark, and I had to walk through that scary creaky old building, but this time, the light within me was brighter than the darkness outside…

Have you ever experienced fear of the “what ifs?” We all have, right? Mine at that time was that someone would try to hurt or threaten me, because I felt alone and vulnerable. But, I was where I was supposed to be at the time, and God gave me His Grace to overcome.

Regardless of what you may be currently facing or fearful about today, may I encourage you to turn your eyes upward. Call out to your Heavenly Father. Prayerfully seek Him. Read and study the Bible. Connect with others for support and encouragement. Life isn’t easy, it’s a difficult journey, a challenging trip with many detours and hard lessons. We have choices to make that can be complicated and sometimes confusing, and fears to overcome during trials and tribulations. But in spite of all this, during those difficult seasons, God is with us, revealing His nature, His divine love and goodness towards us. He provides everything with need for our journey, all provisions provided at the precise moment we need them as we follow Him.

Don’t let the fear of the “what ifs” (the unknowns) keep you from pressing on and fulfilling your purpose in this life. He may redirect your steps or encourage you to press on, either way, if God has called you to it, Take Courage, He will provide His Grace to bring you through it!

Dear Lord,

Thank you for always providing for us… Thank you for Your grace which is sufficient for all things, and for Your peace which surpasses all understanding. May we walk in Your way and be washed by Your word. Help others see Your light and love in our lives as we seek to serve You in all we do. May the words we speak, the thoughts we think and the actions we take be a reflection of You, and may we be found pleasing in your sight. Give us Your grace and courage we pray.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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