"My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me, and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one."
John 10:27-30

We are going to look at some comforting, defining verses this morning that Jesus spoke to the Jews at the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem. John tells us it was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon. They were gathering around Him, and asking Him how long would He keep them in suspense. They were demanding if You are the Christ tell us plainly. Jesus answered in John 10:25-26:

"I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father’s name, these testify of Me. But you do not believe it because you are not of My sheep."

What keeps us from being His sheep is unbelief. Jesus had spoken to them often and He was performing great works before them, but they chose not to believe He was their Messiah. They had heard the truth. He was before them, but He wasn’t what they wanted. Isn’t that the main problem we all have with God when we reject Him? We want to have it our way, rather than surrendering our ignorance to Him. He is God and far superior to man. Jesus is the true Savior of mankind. God has to save us from ourselves! We are extremely limited in our understanding. Without the Light of the world we will remain in darkness and evil, with each of us being out for ourselves rather than being governed by a perfect power in every way. He is God and we are not! It is an eternal choice we all must make.

We cannot govern ourselves without His laws. Our founding Fathers understood that. A people or nation can rule themselves only when they allow the One who created them to rule them as individuals in their private lives. Man does not possess the wisdom or understanding left to himself apart from a superior being greater than himself to learn to thrive with one another in love perfected. There is only one source to go to which is our Creator, God.

God is love. But we must allow Him to define what love is. His love requires sacrifice. It is not simply an emotional experience that just pleases our flesh for a limited amount of time. We all know that kind of love is fleeting and heartbreaking. God’s loving character is enduring and long suffering. It requires commitment and loyalty eternally.

We have to study the Bible to know God, the Father, and Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. That is why the Bible took prominence in the education of our nation when it was founded. It is what we derived our laws from, our Constitution, Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence from.

America was founded for religious freedom to worship the one true God who is eternal. He does rule the universe whether you believe it or not. The Jews rejecting Jesus did not change the truth. He was their Messiah. He is our Messiah. All their unbelief and rejection did not stop the will of God when He came to earth. All the prophetic prophecies in the Bible were fulfilled perfectly down to the slightest detail. Read it for yourself! The Bible has not expired and will never be outdated. It is not just a book! It holds the eternal truths of God. It reveals to us who He is and His love for us. He has a plan for all who will accept His will. It reveals the eternal will of God for your life and the life of your children.

Returning to our verses in John, chapter ten, Jesus defines to the Jews the ones that belong to Him. They did not qualify because of their own choices. Yet, because of their rejection, it was offered to all the gentiles, which includes us. The true Shepherd of the sheep loves all mankind and it is not His will any should perish.
2 Peter 3:8-10 declares:

"But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not willing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance."

Now let’s sift our lives through the qualifications Jesus gave the Jews concerning His sheep. His sheep hear His voice. Do you hear His voice? It doesn’t have to be audible in order to hear the Holy Spirit speaking to us. If we are His, we have received the Holy Spirit. We are in Him and He is in us. We commune with Him and He discloses Himself to us. (John 16:13-15) Please take the time to look up the verses so you will know the truth of God’s Word.
Jesus said,

"I know them and they follow me."

Knowing someone intimately is determined by how much time is spent together. The more time we spend together the better we know one another. You will only know Him intimately by devoting myou whouch time being with Him alone. Remember in Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus tells those who proclaimed to HIm all their works performed apart from Him,
"I never knew you, depart from me, you who practice lawlessness."

Again, look up the verses, and put them in context to know the truth of God’s Word.

"And they follow me." TheShepherd has to be in front, before us in order to lead. That means we cannot get ahead of the Shepherd. It takes a great deal of discipline and intentional training to live in obedience to Him. It is a very real death to our flesh, including our selfish ambitions and empty conceit. Sheep can’t obey till they hear the voice commands of their Shepherd. They must stay close to the Shepherd and not get lost in the flock, or they will only be hearing the bleating of the other sheep. Selah! Meditate!

The main way I hear His voice is when reading His Word in the spirit. That means I am fully relying on the Holy Spirit to speak to me through the Scripture and to lead me into all truth as promised by Jesus. (John 16:13)
Let us prayerfully meditate on these qualifications taught to us from Jesus, and pray sincerely with all our hearts to truly be called by name, and affirmed by Him we are truly His sheep. And may we honestly call Him our true Shepherd. No man should be allowed to take His place.

Then He promises eternal security! Not just temporal security we all seem to be focusing on during this time of upheaval which is a fulfillment of prophecy, but eternal security. If we are truly His sheep we know eternal peace and security. It cannot be taken from us, no matter our circumstances in this temporary place we call home more often than we claim our eternal home. I deeply grieve over the emphasis we put on things that really don’t matter in the end. It is not reality. Eternity is an eternal reality. Most of us have invested everything in the temporal part of our lives.
Jesus proclaims to us in Matthew 10:28-31:

Therefore, do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows."

How I love the love of God for us! His assurance and promises are true. We put way too much emphasis on our physical life rather than the eternal. Let us wake up to what really matters! We are all destined to physical death at some point and time. Only our spirit man is eternal. That is why we should be focused on our eternal security. It comes from being a sheep of the Great Shepherd! Jesus tells us we will never perish, and no one will snatch us out of His hand. He then tells us the Father has given us to Him and the Father is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. He and the Father are one. I don’t know about you, but that’s good enough for me! There is no power greater than the love of the Trinity. We have the Holy Spirit inside of us forever. We are held in the scarred hands of our Savior and our Fathers hands are over His. There is no power on earth that can take away our salvation in Christ.

We know that dying as martyrs for our faith in this world has always played a vital role for the life of the true bride of Christ. We know what a great honor it would be to be able to give back to Him what He gave for us. It would be the ultimate expression of love to Him.

I read of Stephen’s martyrdom with reverential awe! He was described as a young man full of grace and power performing great wonders and signs among the people. It tells us the men who rose up against him were not able to cope with the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking. Scripture tells us as he sat before the Council they saw his face like the face of an angel. He then delivers a long profound sermon full of the Holy Spirit. The hearers were cut to the quick and they began gnashing their teeth at him. He, being full of the Holy Spirit gazed intently into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; and he said,
"Behold I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God."
But they cried out with loud voices and covered their ears and rushed at him with one impulse. They proceeded to stone him to death.

I hope you see what I see. Jesus gave Stephen a standing ovation welcoming him into heaven! "It will be worth it all when we see Jesus," as an old hymn proclaims!

Stephen’s witness is so strong and powerful! What a wonderful saint to inspire and encourage us to follow the true Shepherd of the Sheep of mankind. Our responsibility is to choose by faith to believe the Word of God and to love according to His will for our lives and to deny ourselves.

Our flesh is our greatest enemy in my humble opinion. We know it wars against the spirit and is at enmity with God. Frankly satan is doing us a favor when he takes our physical lives, because we are set free from our sin nature we battle everyday till the moment we shed the physical , and cross the finish line into the arms of our Savior! It is the moment we all live and die for if we are truly His sheep, and we allow Him His rightful place as our Shepherd.
In His love.

Teresa Roberts

Masterpiece Fitness



I am blessed with the return of this pair of geese each spring to the pond. They build their nest and we excitedly await the birth of the goslings!