Life Notes: My Sheep Will Hear My Voice
by Bonnie Gaskins

John 10:3-5 : “To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”

We learn how God is everywhere … and how all creation reveals His Name and sings His Praises. God reveals Himself to us everyday and in all things if only we would recognize His still, small voice. He is so simple and clear yet we tend to make things so difficult at times, His voice is found in the wind and the air, in a mother’s kiss, in the dew of the morning, in the love and laughter of a child, in the birds singing … God has filled the earth with His Praise. These are all ways that God talks to us.

God’s Voice has been clear to me since my arrival to Louisiana and to the Children’s Home a couple months ago. Each year I receive a special gift from God on my birthday. Sometimes it is an extra special taste of His Peace and Love. But this year it was the day of my interview for this job. What a GIFT! I have heard His Voice each day since my arrival. Whether it is in Missy’s compassion, in Debbie’s patience and understanding, in Carol’s grace, in Fred’s easy-going way, or in the laughter Amy brings to each day … All are His Voice to me.

So why is it that there are times when we cannot hear His Voice? I have been asking this lately. For I believe He is always speaking and calling out to us. It struck me one day that it is like a radio playing that gets pushed onto the floor and then gets stuff thrown on top of it. The radio is still on but gets muffled out with the pile of debris that is thrown on top of it. We can no longer hear or recognize what is being said. I realized that when I get trapped in the cares of this world, I can no longer hear or recognize His Voice or give Him praise. When I start to get caught up in what should be a “stranger’s voice”, things like complaining, unforgiveness, pride, resentment, anger, gossip, judgment, and criticism, these are the debris that gets thrown on top and muffle out His Still, Small Voice.

God warns us about these things several times.

“Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God” – Philippians 2:14-15

“Judge not, that you not be judged” (Matthew 7:1) “Jesus’ instructions with regard to judging others is very simply put; He says “Don’t”. The average Christian is the most piercingly critical individual known. Criticism is one of the ordinary activities of people, but in the spiritual realm nothing is accomplished by it. The effect of criticism is the dividing up of the strengths of the one being criticized. The Holy Spirit is the only one in the proper position to criticize, and He alone is able to show what is wrong without hurting and wounding. It is impossible to enter fellowship with God when you are in a critical mood. Criticism serves to make you harsh, vindictive, and cruel. And leaves you with the soothing and flattering idea that you are somehow superior to others. Jesus says that as His disciple you should cultivate a temperament that is never critical. This will not happen quickly but must be developed over a span of time. You must constantly beware of anything that causes you to think of yourself as a superior person.

There is no escaping the penetrating search of my life by Jesus. If I see the little speck in your eye, it means that I have a plank of timber in my own (see Matthew 7:3-5). Every wrong thing that I see in you, God finds in me. Every time I judge, I condemn myself (see Romans 2:17-24). Stop having a measuring stick for other people. There is always at least one more fact, which we know nothing about, in every person’s situation. The first thing God does is to give us a thorough spiritual cleaning. After that, there is no possibility of pride remaining in us. “I have never met a person I could despair of, or lose all hope for, after discerning what lies in me apart from the grace of God.” (Writes Oswald Chambers)

May we always be able to recognize and hear the Voice of God and turn from the “stranger’s voice”.

The Life Notes articles are written by staff of Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home and are published in The Ruston Daily Leader.

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