Ewe R Blessed Ministries

His Voice, Our Response (by guest C. R. Fulton)

My sheep know my voice and I know them, and another they will not follow” (John 10:27).

I always thought this verse was a nice sentiment, one of those things I sort of glossed over to get to the more important stuff. Until I learned how they actually kept sheep in that time, then the power so thinly veiled within these words, became a driving force in my life. So here’s the thing: shepherds had to live, too. They needed some time at home, occasional shelter from the elements, and opportunities to purchase things at market.

How did they do so when the sheep were always running about loose? They didn’t! Nearly every town had a community corral, or enclosure where the sheep could be turned in for the night, or during heavy storms to keep them safe. Often, there were six or seven different herds in the corral at a time, with one shepherd left to guard the door.

This arrangement worked great for the shepherds, but what about the sheep? Can you imagine the chaos in the corral if each shepherd had to cut his own sheep back out of there without letting someone else’s sheep out into the dangers of the wilderness? If you’ve ever had the chance to work with livestock, this will not be a pretty picture in your imagination.

I remember one time my husband was helping a man who was keeping his herd of cows on our farm. It was time to take a few cows to the market. He handed my husband a thick stick, and said, “The black one is mean.” Oh boy! My husband has worked large animals most of his life and we both knew that could spell trouble. Sure enough, that cow did not want to load onto the trailer. She shook her head at my husband and came on like a freight train. I’m pretty sure I was shouting at him to let her go but in the tumult it’s hard to say for sure. He didn’t hear me at any rate.

He lowered his head back and came back at her. My husband is not a small man, he’s got muscles to spare, and he used them all to break that stick in half over her nose seconds before she flattened him. She turned around and got on the trailer, but then he had me to deal with! I sure didn’t think getting her loaded was worth the risk.

But back to the sheep. There is something about sheep. They really do know their shepherds voice and another they will not follow. “And a stranger they will not follow, but will flee from him, for they know not the voice of strangers” (John 10:5). Each shepherd arrives at the enclosure, the gateman opens the gate, and the shepherd calls to his sheep. An amazing thing happens. Out of the milling mass of wool, dust and bleating, emerge a loyal following. Every single one of this shepherd’s sheep rush towards his familiar call. For, to them, it means everything good. Food, water, safety, freedom.

Do you see it now? When Jesus calls, we run to Him and He leads us into the “all things” (2 Peter 1:3) He has given to us. Isn’t that beautiful? But there is more. When our shepherd steps up to the open gate, all the other sheep are rushing to get away from Him, and sometimes, by sheer weight, one sheep gets pressed against the fence. What now? Will the shepherd come to the rescue? No, it’s the sheep’s responsibility to get to the shepherd. If she doesn’t, she’ll miss out on everything she needs to live.

Remember how God called the Israelites to go into the promised land? They refused. Said they couldn’t do it. So, they wandered in the desert for 40 years. You can do the same thing. It’s your part of the contract to hear and follow when He calls. You have to force your way through the crowd of distractions, cares, and circumstances. You have to do it. It’s the shepherd’s job to call; it’s your job to get right next to His staff and follow Him boldly wherever He takes you. Don’t worry, He’ll watch over you, and stay with you every step of the way. His voice is so unique, like no other, and always lines up with His word. The greatest danger is in hanging back as the Israelites did. You know, they thought they would die if they took that step into the Promised Land. The sad thing is they got exactly what they expected. If they had decided to only think about the things God said would happen, they would have entered as victors! But instead, they believed what their five senses told them (what the Bible calls being carnally minded).

Today is another chance to pick out His precious voice, and boldly run after it so that you have everything He offers you.

C.R. Fulton is an artist residing in the hills of Kentucky with her wonderful husband of 17 years and two beautiful children. If she isn’t cooking up a, from scratch confection, she is probably out for a walk with her 90-pound American Bulldog and kids. Living out in the boondocks has taught her resourcefulness, grit, adoration for God. If it can be done different, backwards, or sideways, this family is probably doing it! Off-grid living, solar and wind power, growing and raising what you eat, making soap and cheese, you just never know what might happen next! This author offers bright, fresh perspectives on faith, life, and being happy. An animal lover to the core, C.R. Fulton has raised and trained horses for years. The Lord has taught her many lessons by working with these incredible equines.

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