by Angie Thomas

I was so, so touched and encouraged as I started to read the passages in our homework about being a sheep.  The passage in John 10 especially stood out to me and encouraged my heart.  What sweet truths to know that Jesus is our Good Shepherd and that the Bible promises us in this passage that as sheep we hear and know His voice!  Not only that but it also says Jesus calls us by name and leads us.  “The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  …and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice” (John 10:3b, 4b).

I don’t know about you all, but I often struggle to know if I am hearing the voice of Jesus.  There is so much in our world(s) shouting at us.  The culture, our friends and family, blogs, and all kinds of stuff we see on the Internet or on television.  It can be overwhelming to discern what is really the voice of Jesus in the midst of the chaos.  But the Scripture promises us that if we listen and seek Him we will hear his voice and know it as being from Him.

How will we know it is His voice whispering to our hearts and not just our own wants, desires, or preconceived notions? Because He will reveal His voice to us in His Word. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” 

Friends, this is why it is so important that we carve out and sacrifice time every day to spend with Jesus, our Shepherd, in His Word and in quiet with Him. Think about sheep again. They have daily been called by name out to pasture and brought back in at night to the safety of the gates and courtyard of their shepherd.

I know the doubts and disbelief that can plague our minds about making the time to be with Jesus.  What if I don’t hear Him?  Is He really going to speak to me personally?  Do I even really know how to listen? Will you place these concerns at the feet of Jesus and trust His love for you and be willing to walk forward by faith, crying out to Jesus to hear His voice? Confess to Him that you don’t know how to do it and that you are scared perhaps even of what He might say. He knows all of your doubts and fears, dear one.  You don’t have to hide them from Him.  He loves you so tenderly.  Will you allow Him the opportunity to show you that love?

If you have truly given your life to Jesus and confessed Him as your Lord and Savior you are one of His beloved sheep–you have already heard His voice and answered His call to follow Him!  And He wants to reveal Himself to you more and more.  If you aren’t sure you have ever fully surrendered your life to Jesus, but hear that still small voice calling to you, will you please talk to your Abigail or myself?  We love you and have been praying for you and want to do whatever we can to help you follow Jesus.

by Susan Sampson

The title of this study is Falling In Love Again with Your Lord.  I desperately want to love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength.  I know I don’t.  I know I can’t — apart from the grace of God.  Not one of us can unless the Lord moves.  This is the cry of my heart.  The Lord is faithful.  He will do it.  He has promised!  It’s written in Deuteronomy 30:6.  “And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.”

When Laurie opened in prayer, I just had to open my eyes so I could record what she said.  She asked the Lord to “lift our eyes upward to gaze at your eyes.”  I want to see the eyes of my Savior because I know they are filled with love and tenderness. I want to gaze at those eyes filled with love.  Just recently I listened to a sermon by Allistair Begg and in his closing prayer he prayed, “Lord, give us soft eyes.”  Jesus has soft eyes.  I thought of all the times I’ve had hard eyes with those I love and it broke my heart.

On Monday, September 16, Laurie sent an eMoment that was titled, “He Never Rolls His Eyes.”  Now that’s a packed sentence!  Jesus never rolls His eyes.  He has unlimited patience.  Listen to Paul describe Christ in 1 Timothy 1:16 (NIV), “But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.”  Again my heart broke as I thought of all the times I have rolled my eyes in pride and arrogance, impatience, and even disgust.

Jesus is our gentle and tender Shepherd.  He loves us.  He wants to be the lifter of our heads and gaze into our eyes and have us see the depth of the amazing love that fills His heart for us.  Is there a greater love anywhere on this earth — that God Himself would die in the place of sinners?  In our place, condemned He stood.

Lord, will you please use this study, this giant binder as your tool to cause us to fall head over heels in love with you?  We want to know your heart, your character, your love.  We want to be filled with your love so that we can love with the love of Christ those whom you have placed in our lives.

Again I had to stop and write when Laurie spoke as though the Lord were speaking directly to each of us.  “I want to spend time with you.  We’re going to do this.”  Recently I wrote in my journal that Jesus is a person not a concept.  He is real and he rewards those who earnestly seek him (Hebrews 11:6).

So will we be like Mary or Martha?  Will we draw near to Him?  “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you” (James 4:8).  Will we sit at His feet and listen?  Will we come each week to class believing we are part of the body of Christ?

He is calling.  “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

Lord, lift our eyes upward to gaze into your eyes and then compel us by your love to come and follow you.

He is faithful.  He will do it.


by Dottie Ryan

Believer, the Lord has called you by name.  Isaiah 43:1 NIV says: I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”  Can you take that in?  To think that each believer has been called by the Lord and that He has your name carved in the palm of His hand!  He knows your name!  I wonder if I might ask you to pause to hear His voice speak your name personally?

He is calling you by name . . .

I love cuddling up in my special corner of the couch in front of the fireplace where wood is burning.  It sooths my soul as I am still able to look outside at the beauty of the fall and winter landscape, yet still be warmed and pampered by the protection of the walls of my living room.  The cool weather recently gave me a glimpse that we are headed into that season shortly.  And when I reflect on the warmth and protection afforded me by my inside surroundings — even the flickering of the light of the fireplace — I think of the warmth and shelter of His wings, the light of Jesus and the Gospel, and just how sweet the season will be to sit at His feet to listen, study, worship, and get to know My Lord a little deeper — a little more personally.  So I trust it is by His design that this particular Discipleship study would come at a time when there are limited ‘outside’ distractions.

I guess I am a romantic at heart.  The thought of spending a special season, just Him and me, sounds . . . really sweet — really comforting.   I long for a deeper, richer, more intimate walk with God.  He is wooing us.  He loves us.  Do you sense that?  Can you hear Him calling you, “Come sit at my feet and let’s get to know each other a little better“?   Those may not be His exact words, but in the Bible He is very deliberate to always invite us to, “Come! . . . Come unto me…Come and drink . . . Come and learn . . . Come just as you are . . . Come away with me!” You are being drawn — by design — for a purpose.  He is so good!  And He loves you more than you can imagine. Believe it!