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Daily Encounter: A Week-day Devotional by Richard (Dick) Innes of ACTS International.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Shepherd's Voice

"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me."1

I read about a shepherd from the Scottish highlands who, whenever he went out to take care of his sheep, would take his young daughter with him. The thing she enjoyed most of all was hearing her father call the sheep who always came to him. As the years passed she became a beautiful young woman and went to live in one of Scotland's great cities—Edinburg or Glasgow—to make a life of her own. At first she wrote home to her parents every week, but in time her letters dropped off and soon she stopped writing.

Rumors filtered back that somehow she became involved with some unsavory characters. On one occasion when one of the boys from her hometown ran into her by accident, she totally ignored him. When her father heard this, he went to the city to look for her.

For days on end he looked for her. He looked in the slums, rows of houses, markets, taverns, and everywhere in between to no avail. After all of this searching he became very discouraged with the thought that he had lost his daughter to the evil city.

When leaving to return home, he remembered how his daughter always loved to hear the voice of the shepherd calling out to the sheep. "So he turned around and on this quest motivated by his sorrow and his love, he began to stalk the streets. His voice rang out the shepherds call. The citizens of the city all looked at him as if he had lost his wits. It wasn't too long as he walked the streets of one of the degraded neighborhoods that inside one of those houses, his daughter sitting among the vermin who had led her astray heard his voice. With great astonishment on her face, she heard that call of the voice of the shepherd, the voice of her father calling out to her. She leaped up and rushed out to the street and ran into the arms of that old shepherd, her father. It was then that he took her back home to the highlands of Scotland and brought her back to God and to decency and modesty."2

I wonder if any of our readers today can identify with this farm girl in that you have wandered away from God. If so, I urge you to stand still long enough to examine your life and listen with your heart to the call of Jesus, God's Shepherd Son, who is lovingly calling you to return home to him and again follow in his way.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to slow down, stop, and listen so that I will hear your shepherd call to me whatever that may be. If I have wandered away from you, I choose to come back to you today. If there is sin in my life, I confess it and ask for your forgiveness and for strength to overcome. No matter what, I choose to always follow you, the Good Shepherd, and rededicate my life afresh to you. I also ask that you will help me always to be 'as Jesus' in some way to every life with whom I have contact. So help me God. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus' name, amen."

NOTE: If you are renewing your commitment to Jesus Christ today, please let us know by filling in the brief form at: http://www.actsweb.org/decision.php, and we will send you the web address for additional helpful articles—all without charge. Be assured that we have a strict privacy policy and will never share any of your information with anyone ever. 

FURTHERMORE: If you have never received Jesus, the Good Shepherd, as your Lord and Savior and asked God for his forgiveness for all your sins, please read "How to Be Sure You're a Real Christian" at: www.actsweb.org/christian.

1. John 10:27 (NKJV).
2. Adapted from a sermon by Philip Harrelson, "The Voice of the Shepherd." Cited on SermonCentral.


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