2nd July 2016

Is God Calling You?

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for the sheep…My sheep hear My voice, and I know them and they follow Me.”
John 10:11, 27 (NKJV)

A shepherd has a very special relationship with his sheep. They get to know his voice, to trust him or her to find them good pasture and to protect them from their enemies. In our comparatively wealthy western world we are divorced from the land and so the lesson of the relationship between a shepherd and his sheep easily gets lost. It’s important because in the Bible Jesus tells us that He is the Good Shepherd and His sheep know His voice and follow Him.

So how does God call us and how do we hear His voice?

In this life people suffer spiritually, emotionally and physically; and often all three are connected.

Spiritually, people suffer when they feel life has no meaning or purpose, that death is the end and there is no God.

Emotionally people suffer from a difficult childhood, a bad marriage or divorce; a feeling of being drained by others for whatever reason; the grinding down caused by financial problems or the demands made by others.

Physically people suffer because of an accident, an illness, a feeling of being a burden themselves to others or of others being a burden to them; of abusing alcohol or drugs, perhaps feeling tired and lethargic all the time.

Let me give you an example: Many years ago I spent time with someone who had problems in every area of his life—stress in his marriage, financial pressure because his business had failed, and a feeling of being worthless. He was even contemplating suicide. However, the person did not want to share his troubles with me, but rather to tell me how it had all changed for him and his family.

One night, sitting in his chair feeling very depressed around 1a.m., when the family had long gone to bed, he got down on his knees and asked God for help. He challenged God to show him He was there, told Him he was desperate, which indeed was the situation. Then he went to bed. The next morning nothing had changed, his debts were the same, the pressures all the same, but he knew that he was no longer alone. He was confident that he and his family would come through this difficult trial. While they continued to struggle and it took ten years to repay all his debts, the man had hope for the future, faith that God was real and with him. About six months after his first prayer he felt a growing urge to go to church and was led to our denomination.

I left that area 25 years ago, and so lost regular contact with him. But I know he is happy, his marriage is strong, his children have all turned out well—despite not having as much materially as their friends. He did not hear the sound of God’s voice in the same way we hear someone talking to us, but is in no doubt that God heard that prayer, responded by giving him peace of mind in all his troubles, and was with him in his daily life.

Whatever your troubles, are you open to hearing God, to asking for help? Read Matthew 11:28-30 and ask yourself, do I need this kind of help and relationship?

Prayer
Father, give us the courage and faith to surrender our will and our lives to you; to place ourselves in the care of the Good Shepherd.
Amen
 

Study by Keith Hartrick

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keithhartrickAbout the Author:
Keith Hartrick is an Elder in Grace Communion Church – Leeds, and serves on the Church Council there.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion – Leeds
Garden Village
Welfare Association Community Centre
Pendas Way
LEEDS LS15 8LE

Meeting Time:
Saturday 2PM

Local Congregational Contact:
Malcolm Arnold
Phone: 01484-312347
Email: malcolm701@googlemail.com

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