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Baa! Baa!


I am the good shepherd;  I know my sheep and my sheep know me


I Know Who You Are!

Article Copyrighted - Debbie Porter (26th July, 2002)



So many voices call to us
In this world today,
Trying to entice us to
A life quite far away.

They often sound appealing,
But we'll resist them all,
If the only time we answer is
Just when our Shepherd calls.


~ Debbie Porter ~



Matt was just being Matt.

He wasn't being naughty or doing anything particularly wrong.  He was just being what he is.  A nearly 15 year old, full of energy, slightly bored, boy.  We love him dearly, but when work needs to be done, a restless adolescent can make things a little difficult.

I could hear him crash into Kylie's room with his usual over the top exuberance, only to be greeted by a fairly cross, "Matthew!  Get out!"

Realising that his sister was otherwise occupied with school work, he decided to withdraw and visit the next family member on his list instead.  Me!

The sound of his footsteps bounding up the hallway alerted me to his impending arrival just seconds before his usual crash into the study door and dramatic entrance into the room.

Turning from the computer in time to see my son explode through the doorway and fall face down onto the carpet (as was his custom), I couldn’t help but make the comment that I’d made so many times in the previous weeks.

"Can't you just walk into a room like a normal person?"

Kylie, who had emerged from her solitude for a moment, heard my complaint and made a typical older sister type of response.

"You just answered your own question Mum."

She paused for effect, then continued.

"He's not normal!"

Matthew chose to ignore his sister's verbal jab, preferring to roll around on the carpet and get under my feet - literally!  As he wriggled and fiddled with everything within sight, the seemingly endless, unanswerable questions began.

Somehow or other, my son seems to have developed the really aggravating knack of asking things that just don't seem to have a point.  Being his Mother, I usually make some attempt to take him seriously and try to answer what I think he's trying to ask.  However, at the end of any explanation I've become quite accustomed to hearing him say the one word that is almost guaranteed to start my blood boiling.

"What?"

From his place under the desk, he did it to me again and this time I just wasn't in the mood for Matthew's version of witty repartee!

"Matthew!  Get out!"

Once again, my son decided that retreat was the wisest course of action, but only long enough for him to devise a new plan of attack.

A few minutes passed, then I heard the soft creak of the door being opened once again.  Even though it wasn't Matt's usual style, I was fairly sure that he was the intruder.  So without turning around I liltingly called over my shoulder, "If that's Matthew Porter, I suggest he finds somewhere else to be!"

The only response I received was the sound of the door closing once more as my son inwardly sounded the trumpet and retreated back to the barracks.

"Hmph!"  A twisted half smile crept onto my face as my attention went back to the office work at hand.

It was a very short reprieve.  Before I knew it, the door opened again, but this time was accompanied by a painfully falsetto announcement.

"Hello Mummy!  It's your daaarling daughter, Kylie, come to visit you!"

Once again, I didn't turn around, but laughter filled my voice as I replied, "Oh no it's not!  Bye Matthew!"

As the office door closed for the third time, I rested my face in my hands and began to chuckle.  What next?

I didn't have long to wait before finding out.

Yet again, the door opened.  This time it wasn't with Matt's explosive "I'm here!" force, and it wasn't with the sneaky creak of his "please don't notice I'm here" attempt either.  It was somewhat like the way he'd entered in his "won't you believe I'm Kylie?" guise, but a little more determined.

I rolled my eyes and waited for the latest manifestation of his presence.

"Hello Deborah Porter," the deep, gruff voice began.  "It is your husband, Stephen Porter here!"

At that, I totally lost control and laughed out loud.

"Oh Matthew!"  Tears started to fill my eyes as I somehow managed to get the words out. "I was born at night, but not last night!"

That was his final attempt and I had to give him points for effort and creativity, although a big zero for credibility.

Perhaps, he may have been able to trick me if he'd pretended to be someone I didn't know very well, but he had absolutely no chance of deceiving me with the two family members he'd chosen.  The problem for him was that I am very familiar with everything about my husband and daughter.  I can recognise their voices, right down to a sneeze, across a crowded room.

Not only are their voices so instantly identifiable, but there's also the matter of the way they do things and, when it comes down to it, the way they don't do things.  For a start, Steve would never call me Deborah and has never found it necessary to remind me of either his position in our marriage or his name before!  Even as newly weds back in 1982, that sort of introduction would have been totally superfluous.

When your heart is intimately linked to someone, it's virtually impossible for anyone else to deceive you into believing that they are that same person.  We may be momentarily bamboozled, but not for long.  Our very close relationship with the genuine would ultimately reveal the truth.

The same is true about our relationship with the Lord.  If our hearts are linked to His, then it should be absolutely impossible for us to ever be lured away by a lie.

In fact, Jesus made this point very clear when He told His disciples the following:

"The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep.  The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice.  He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.  But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice"
~ John 10:2-5 NIV ~

Jesus Christ is the good Shepherd and when we become a part of His flock, our spiritual ears become tuned to recognise the sound of His voice.  We hear His gentle whispers of direction through the Holy Spirit within, and with every passing year in His fold, we become even quicker to respond to His call.  His voice becomes clearer and we're able to recognise Him through the familiarity of His actions in, through and around us.

The only time we'll be led astray, is when we stop listening for the sound of His call and choose to go with the stranger.

So as dearly loved sheep, we can be confident that our Shepherd is always watching over us and calling us to follow.  All we have to do is make sure that we're in the pen with the other sheep, watching for His arrival and listening intently for His wonderfully familiar voice.




"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me"
~ John 10:14 NIV ~




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