John 10:1-10 (NRSV)

 1 “Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit.

2 The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.
3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.
5 They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.”
6 Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
7 So again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep.
8 All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them.
9 I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture.
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
John 10:3-4 (NRSV)

3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.

4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.

DEVOTION -Lin Daniels (Massachusetts)

Early in the morning, when my nephew Joe began to stir, I went to his crib, gathered him up, and carried him downstairs.  My identical twin sister, Joe’s mother was cooking breakfast.  “Hi Joe,” she greeted him.  He looked at her, looked back at me, and yelled, “Mama!” as he held out both arms.  My twin and I laughed as he distinguished his mother from the imposter.

Just as Joe recognized his mother’s voice, we learn to recognize God’s distinct Voice.  Sometimes we hear God’s voice when we pray; someone comes to mind or we feel the need to reach out to help or encourage.  At other times, we hear God’s voice in scripture.  One verse might speak to our particular situation while another offers comfort, strength, or peace.

We also hear God’s voice through the Holy Spirit.  John 16:13 says, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears.”  The Holy Spirit comforts, teaches, and bears witness to the truth.  The Spirit gives us discernment and wisdom to recognize God’s voice and to walk with God.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: When we listen for God’s voice, we will find comfort and truth.

PRAYER: Thank you, dear God, for reaching out to us and calling us to you.  Help us to recognize the ways you speak to us.  Amen.

PRAYER FOCUS: THOSE SEEKING DISCERNMENT

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