I read The Shepherd’s Voice, Robin Lee Hatcher’s 1934 depression era novel set in Ransom, Idaho. The heroine’s name is Akira, Scottish for anchor. Her grandfather wanted her to have a powerful name to make her not be afraid of life; he put a lot of stock in meaningful names. The man with a past’s name is Gabriel, which means a strong man of God. Akira has kept the sheep farm her grandfather left when he died, never thinking about marriage, satisfied with life on her grandfather’s farm. Gabe has come back from prison to see his Lumber Baron father, who not only put him in prison, but owns most of the town… except Akira’s farm! Akira is of strong faith, but can even her faith stand up to what’s ahead with this waif of a man whom she found unconscious from hunger under her thinking tree and his blood-thirsty, manipulative father? As usual, Robin has woven an exciting, thought-provoking story with many surprising twists, much history, and faith! I highly recommend this book.
Robin begins with the following dedication:
“To the Good Shepherd, My Lord and King, Who took me from where I was, brought me to where I am, and, praise the Lord, isn’t finished with me yet. May the stories I write please You, Jesus, for if they don’t. they are without merit of any kind.”
The gist of the story is redemption. Has anyone fallen so far that God, in His mercy, cannot save them? Gabe is not the only character in this story that has a past, has a future, and has a choice to make. It makes me think about some people in my own life. Have I got hope for their future to put before them?
I am also reading a new book from The Voice of the Martyrs called When Faith Is Forbidden Forty Days On The Front Lines With Persecuted Christians by Todd Nettleton.
Today I read Day 2 titled, “I Used To Beat Him”. The Scripture was 1 Timothy 1: 12-15
Glory to God for His Grace
12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, 13 although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14 And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.
What Todd shared on page 25 truly hit home for me, putting Paul’s story in a new setting. A VOM contact in Colombia has a saying: “‘A race horse can run just as fast in either direction.’ One who is zealous for sin will often become zealous for Christ. One who beat Christians might eventually accept beatings with joy in service to his king.'”
I am prone to categorize people as soon as I see them. This keeps me from loving them as God does and hinders my prayers for them. I put this problem before the Lord today and heard the Spirit of Jesus say:
Love, love, love – My love through you is the key. Love! Let Me say again – Love! Give thanks with a grateful heart for everyone I’ve put in your life. Stop and let Me show you what I think of them. Speak blessing and not cursing. It only takes a moment’s pause – I will give you time for that if you let Me. Pause, My dear one.
I challenge you today to think of one person in your life who is hard to love. What steps can you take to establish a bridge by which you can share the gospel with that one? Remember, without love, we are nothing. Love is of God and everyone who belongs to God has His love, no excuse. In this I am shamed and challenged. Are you?