During the weekend, as I was in the process of asking Jesus about what He wanted me to share with you, I received this email from a close friend at a public high school where I used to teach. His email is part of a 27 member men’s group email I receive every morning that challenges each man in their walk with Christ. This email group and how it started is a miracle in itself and probably a great topic for a future blog. However, that is a topic for another day.
My friend wrote…
“Friday night two of my female goats had twins. One set was doing well, feeding off the doe and the other set was alive but not eating. Ended up the mother was not taking care of the babies (kids). I milked the mother and fed the colostrum to the kids. This is one of the most important parts in getting kids to survive, real colostrum. This mother is a good one, had several kids in the past but for some reason this was not working. She was not producing much milk and is rather skinny. The kids need to be fed every 2-4 hours for the first few days. I went to milk the mother, whose name is Mule Goat, at 1:00am. I had not seen 1:00 am for several years. Out to the barn I go armed with a baby bottle to collect the milk/colostrum mix. On my way out to the barn I was struck me with how much this was like life. It is written that Jesus is our shepherd. I am now the sole provider for these two girl goats. They are starting to recognize my voice and will respond when I call them. In the past when I have bottle babies it’s amazing the connection they have with me. In a pen full of goats, if I say, “baby goat” the one I raised from a bottle will be the first to cry out and start looking for me. This could be any animal, not necessarily a goat. Think of this in terms of a baby goat. How much are we like a baby goat when it comes to our Heavenly Father? Do we totally rely on Him or do we venture off and get our chunky butts stuck in a ditch or the corner of the fence? Do you cry out when he calls your name? These girl goats are only a few days old yet will settle down when I start talking to them. My voice is soothing to them! Imagine how the voice of the Lord is to us! Many scriptures use the reference to shepherd and tending to the flocks. This is only a small part of it but I wanted to share as it was not as meaningful to me when I didn’t have livestock.”
This description brought a ton of memories to my mind of my childhood of growing up on a farm and spending time with my Grandpa and Dad. We did not have goats but we did raise cattle. I remember the times when a baby calf would have trouble nursing from their mother and my Grandpa or Dad would have to bottle feed them too. As my friend described, the connection that those baby calves had with my Grandpa or Dad when they heard their voice was obvious. They immediately knew and recognized their voices and would come to them regularly.
So my question to each of you is this…are you like the baby goats and baby calves described here when it comes to Jesus and your Heavenly Father? Have you heard His voice recently? Do you seek out His Voice on a daily basis? When was the last time you heard His voice and then did what He said to Do?
If you are like me, the answers to these questions can be difficult to answer. For me, it is very much like a roller coaster for me when hearing the voice of Jesus. Some days I feel really close in my friendship with Him and I can clearly hear His voice and then there are other days where I feel extremely distant from Him as if He can’t hear me and I can’t hear Him. I tell you this that this walk and friendship with Jesus is something we have to fight for and be intentional about. We have to put ourselves in a position to hear His voice and create the needed space in order to have the kind of friendship with Jesus we have always wanted.
With this need to position ourselves and be intentional in hearing the voice of Jesus, I want to offer you a list of suggestions that I have found helpful in my daily walk that allowed me to be in a position and slow the world down around me long enough to allow the communication to flow between me and Jesus, just like you have to do if you want to have a personal conversation with your spouse. In essence, you are creating space for Jesus to be more present with you without the distractions.
Suggestion #1: Before picking up your phone in the morning and immediately looking at the news or email, talk to Jesus immediately and allow yourself to ease into the morning with Him instead jumping right into the headlines. This may be having a cup of coffee and praying or it may be just allowing yourself to say thank you to Jesus for another day to live for Him.
Suggestion #2: Instead of listening to talk radio on your commute to work, turn the radio off and ask Jesus what He wants to say to you today. Sometimes he may want you to turn your radio on to worship music or listen to an encouraging podcast, or even better He may want you to keep the car quiet so He can speak directly to you to encourage you as you start your day.
Suggestion #3: Before walking into work, wait in your car for a couple of minutes and give the day to Jesus. I have started to use the phrase, “I give it all to you Jesus. I give my entire day to you”. This has helped me from jumping right into work and instead has helped me to be more relaxed because I have now asked Jesus to be in control.
Suggestion #4: At some point during the day, take a walk outside, whether it is during your break, your lunch, or just a quick breather. I am fortunate that I work on a beautiful college campus. I have recently began making a point that I walk at least one time across campus during the day, either to get coffee or lunch or just to be outside. This has helped get me away from my computer and allow Jesus to speak to me through His Creation.
Suggestion #5: Before turning the TV on to the news of the day or diving into your phone when you get home from work, take a walk around your block. This allows you to thank Jesus for helping you through the day as well as what He wants you to say to your family tonight. This walk does not have to be alone. If your kids can go with you, think of the opportunity you have to speak into their life about their day. If the weather is too cold (like it has been all Spring), turn on some instrumental music and allow Jesus to commune with you about your day but more importantly for you to say thanks to Him.
Please know that I am far from perfect at doing all of these consistently. I have many days where I am only able to complete one of them. However, I can honestly say that when I am able to do at least one of them, my ability to hear Jesus’s voice is clearer because I have been intentional in creating the space to hear His voice.
My challenge to you is this. Try just ONE of the suggestions this week and attempt to be as consistent with that suggestion as you can. I believe that you will be incredibly blessed by it and your friendship with Jesus will be renewed!
10 “Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 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 listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” 6 Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.