Daily Devotion

7 Questions to Help You Recognize the Voice of the Shepherd

  • Victoria Riollano
  • It’s been said that God’s voice, your own voice, and the enemy’s voice sound very similar in our heads. However, when we look throughout the Bible, we see the Lord asking His people to listen to His voice.

    It’s fair to assume that the Lord wouldn’t ask us to listen if it was impossible to hear. Indeed, the Lord speaks often; we must have the “ears to hear.” In other words, our level of attentiveness and choice to spend time with Him will put us in the best position to hear His voice clearly.

    When we follow any other voice, we are certain to set ourselves up for defeat and become prisoners to our own thoughts and the schemes of the enemy.

    The Lord calls himself the Shepherd throughout the Scriptures. This metaphor is intentional, as a shepherd is serious about his job. With great care, he watches over His flock, ensuring that all are well taken care of, accounted for, and protected from things that would bring them harm.

    Though the shepherd cares for many, he is intentional about each one. His job is to never lead them astray, and their response is to simply listen and follow. When we know that God has our best interests at heart, we can trust His leading and follow His voice wholeheartedly.

    With this in mind, over the next several days we will bring you seven questions that you can ask yourself to determine if God is speaking to you.

    Reprint from “I Believe Daily” post by Victoria Riollano

    Daily Devotion

    “The Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad.” — Psa 126:3

    Some Christians are sadly prone to look on the dark side of everything, and to dwell more upon what they have gone through than upon what God has done for them. Ask for their impression of the Christian life, and they will describe their continual conflicts, their deep afflictions, their sad adversities, and the sinfulness of their hearts, yet with scarcely any allusion to the mercy and help which God has vouchsafed them. But a Christian whose soul is in a healthy state, will come forward joyously, and say, “I will speak, not about myself, but to the honour of my God. He hath brought me up out of an horrible pit, and out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings: and he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God. The Lord hath done great things for me, whereof I am glad.”

    Such an abstract of experience as this is the very best that any child of God can present. It is true that we endure trials, but it is just as true that we are delivered out of them. It is true that we have our corruptions, and mournfully do we know this, but it is quite as true that we have an all-sufficient Saviour, who overcomes these corruptions, and delivers us from their dominion.

    In looking back, it would be wrong to deny that we have been in the Slough of Despond, and have crept along the Valley of Humiliation, but it would be equally wicked to forget that we have been through them safely and profitably; we have not remained in them, thanks to our Almighty Helper and Leader, who has brought us “out into a wealthy place.” The deeper our troubles, the louder our thanks to God, who has led us through all, and preserved us until now. Our griefs cannot mar the melody of our praise, we reckon them to be the bass part of our life’s song, “He hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad.”

    (From Charles Spurgeon’s “Morning and Evening”)

    Daily Devotion

    Forever O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89

    How I love this verse. It gives me confidence because what God has said that He will do, He will do; it’s settled. It gives me assurance, because unlike me, God doesn’t change His mind; it’s settled. It gives me strength and courage, because I know that just as His word is settled for me, it is settled against my enemies.

    In these nine words, every promise is fulfilled, every hope is affirmed.

    It is no wonder that Paul could ask “what can separate us from the love of Christ?” and then answer his question with a resounding “NOTHING!” Paul knew, it’s settled.

    Jesus told us, not to worry.

    “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on.” “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12:22, 25, 32)

    Do you wonder how Jesus could say these things when there is so much wrong in this life? I’ll tell you how. It’s because God’s word says that He has a plan for us, for our good and not for harm. A plan to give us a hope and a future. And we can know, just as David knew, His word is forever settled.

    If there is something you’re dealing with, something that has you feeling unsettled, turn it over to the Lord. You can trust Him to give you peace and understanding. He said it. You can believe it. It’s true. It’s settled.

    ©️2019 Sandra Bivens Smith

    Daily Devotion

    Lately I’ve been heavily burdened for loved ones who have made and are making some really bad choices.  They’ve been prayed for, encouraged, supported and counseled, but continue to go down the wrong road.

    As I was praying about this situation, I thought about a television show I like to watch. Having a competitive nature, I enjoy the cooking competition shows on Food Network. In every challenge there is a time limit; when the time is up, the hosts calls “hands up”.  Even though the contestants may not have completed the challenge, or the result is not what they had hoped for, they must stop, step back and put their hands up. Only the one judged to have made the best cake, meal, pie, etc. is awarded the prize.

    As Christian wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, friends, there comes a time in our lives when, like the competitors on Food Network, we must stop, step back, and put our hands up. It’s not easy because we want to finish the challenge. We want the final result to meet our level of satisfaction (any OCDs out there?). We don’t want to feel like we’ve failed. We want the prize.

    Here, the analogy ends.  In the cooking challenge, “hands up” means it’s all over.  

    Not so with the matters of God. Hands up means I surrender it to Christ.

    • Hands up means knees bent – pray without ceasing.

    • Hands up means watch and wait – expect God to act.

    • Hands up means live as Christ – give testimony to His glory.

    Is surrender easy?  No.  Our love for the one who is struggling, the one who is lost or has strayed, makes us  want to snatch them out of the jaws of the lion and set them down in a safe place. But we know that doesn’t work. We may be able to change the landscape, but we can’t change the heart – only The Holy Spirit can do that.

    I know I’m not the only one who struggles with this, I’ve heard from too many of you not to know that every Christian woman, to some degree, has dealt with the heartache of watching someone they love go down a road of potential destruction. So, I leave you to ponder these questions –

    ARE YOU

    strong enough?

    faithful enough?

    trusting enough?

    when all your human efforts have proven to be in vain

    CAN YOU

    put your hands up?

    your knees down?

    your will aside?

    In humble submission

    WILL YOU

    trust God?

    get out of the way?

    wait on the Lord?

    I will lift up my hands toward your commandments, which I love, and I will meditate on your statutes. (Psalms 119:48)

    ©️Sandra Bivens Smith 2015

    Daily Devotion

    “This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.” — Lam 3:21

    Memory is frequently the bond slave of despondency. Dispairing minds call to remembrance every dark foreboding in the past, and dilate upon every gloomy feature in the present; thus memory, clothed in sackcloth, presents to the mind a cup of mingled gall and wormwood. There is, however, no necessity for this. Wisdom can readily transform memory into an angel of comfort. That same recollection which in its left hand brings so many gloomy omens, may be trained to bear in its right a wealth of hopeful signs. She need not wear a crown of iron, she may encircle her brow with a fillet of gold, all spangled with stars.

    Thus it was in Jeremiah’s experience: in the previous verse memory had brought him to deep humiliation of soul: “My soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me;” and now this same memory restored him to life and comfort. “This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.” Like a two-edged sword, his memory first killed his pride with one edge, and then slew his despair with the other.

    As a general principle, if we would exercise our memories more wisely, we might, in our very darkest distress, strike a match which would instantaneously kindle the lamp of comfort. There is no need for God to create a new thing upon the earth in order to restore believers to joy; if they would prayerfully rake the ashes of the past, they would find light for the present; and if they would turn to the book of truth and the throne of grace, their candle would soon shine as aforetime.

    Be it ours to remember the lovingkindness of the Lord, and to rehearse his deeds of grace. Let us open the volume of recollection which is so richly illuminated with memorials of mercy, and we shall soon be happy. Thus memory may be, as Coleridge calls it, “the bosom-spring of joy,” and when the Divine Comforter bends it to his service, it may be chief among earthly comforters.

    (From Morning and Evening” a devotion by Charles Spurgeon)

    Daily Devotion

    “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.” — Gal 5:17

    In every believer’s heart there is a constant struggle between the old nature and the new. The old nature is very active, and loses no opportunity of plying all the weapons of its deadly armoury against newborn grace; while on the other hand, the new nature is ever on the watch to resist and destroy its enemy.

    Grace within us will employ prayer, and faith, and hope, and love, to cast out the evil; it takes unto it the “whole armour of God,” and wrestles earnestly. These two opposing natures will never cease to struggle so long as we are in this world. The battle of “Christian” with “Apollyon” lasted three hours, but the battle of Christian with himself lasted all the way from the Wicket Gate in the river Jordan.

    The enemy is so securely entrenched within us that he can never be driven out while we are in this body: but although we are closely beset, and often in sore conflict, we have an Almighty helper, even Jesus, the Captain of our salvation, who is ever with us, and who assures us that we shall eventually come off more than conquerors through him. With such assistance the new-born nature is more than a match for its foes.

    Are you fighting with the adversary to-day? Are Satan, the world, and the flesh, all against you? Be not discouraged nor dismayed. Fight on! For God himself is with you; Jehovah Nissi is your banner, and Jehovah Rophi is the healer of your wounds. Fear not, you shall overcome, for who can defeat Omnipotence? Fight on, “looking unto Jesus”; and though long and stern be the conflict, sweet will be the victory, and glorious the promised reward.

    “From strength to strength go on;
    Wrestle, and fight, and pray,
    Tread all the powers of darkness down,
    And win the well-fought day.”

    (From Morning and Evening-Charles H. Spurgeon)

    Daily Devotion

    Postscript On Forgiveness

    “‘If you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions’” (Matthew 6:14–15).

    Believers should forgive others because they have received forgiveness from God themselves (cf. Eph. 1:17). We can’t claim to know God’s parental forgiveness—that which keeps our fellowship with the Lord rich and open—apart from forgiving others in heart and word.

    Paul had this in mind when he wrote, “I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost [of sinners], Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience” (1 Tim. 1:16). An unforgiving spirit not only is inconsistent for one who has been totally forgiven by God, but also brings the chastening of God rather than His mercy.

    Jesus states the truth of verse 14 in a negative way when He says, “But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” The sin of an unforgiving heart and a bitter spirit (Heb. 12:15) forfeits blessing and invites judgment.

    We must seek to manifest the forgiving spirit of Joseph (Gen. 50:19–21) and of Stephen (Acts 7:60) as often as needed (Luke 17:3–4). To receive pardon from the perfectly holy God and then refuse to pardon others when we are sinful people is the epitome of abuse of mercy. “Judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:13). So be sure you are practicing forgiveness of others.

    Ask Yourself

    What breaks down in your relationship with God when you withhold forgiveness from those who have wronged or mistreated you? How does it choke out your openness and freedom in the Lord’s presence?

    From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008. Used by permission of Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL 60610