Tag Archives: John 10:27

My sheep know my voice




My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27


I remember many years ago, the State Fair offered free telephone calls to anywhere in the world. This was way before Skype, cell phones, and internet chat. So, I stepped in the booth and called a former co-teacher I used to work with in Australia. I hadn’t thought about the time zone difference nor that I hadn’t spoken to this person in the many years since I lived overseas. I just dialed their number and said, “Hi. How are you doing?” Once I said who I was, my friend was all excited to talk with me, but at first she didn’t recognize my voice. After all, it had been a very long time.


Does it seem like God is quiet sometimes, that you just can’t hear His voice? Maybe you feel He has forgotten and left you. Maybe you think God doesn’t speak to people anymore, that we’re just left on our own to figure life out. Or maybe, just maybe, we don’t hear God’s voice because we don’t listen for it. In fact, maybe like my call to my Aussie coworker, it’s been so long since you’ve had a conversation with Him that you don’t even recognize His voice any more.


We listen to so many things these days. There’s the radio, our favorite CDs, the iPod, the phone, the internet, the TV. There’s Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter to keep up with.  There’s our family and friends who want and need your attention. And your ministry efforts and favorite causes call to you. Then your work shouts, “Pay attention to me,” in a voice so loud as to drown out everything else. And underneath the favorite novels and magazines, maybe there is a bible. No wonder we have a hard time listening to God!


Being likened to sheep is not the highest compliment. Sheep wander and stray. They follow their own way and get into trouble. Typically, we think of sheep as rather helpless and dumb. But smart sheep know the voice of their shepherd. They tune out distractions and pay attention to the voice of the one who protects and provides for them.  They listen to Him and follow Him.


What kind of sheep are you going to be today? One who says, “I’ll have it MY way” or one who listens and follows the voice of the good shepherd? Be still, listen, and follow.





Inclined to wander or to wonder?

I don’t recall many memories from my childhood, but one that brings much pleasure (and tells of my age) is that of the circus TRAIN coming to town. The unloading of the animals and tents and equipment was quite the affair. And that was equaled by the elaborate setup processes. And the show…well before the popularity of TV, the show was quite spectacular! There were clowns and acrobats, trained lions, and elephants and dogs. But there were no trained sheep. Why? It seems that sheep are not the smartest of the animal kingdom and are incapable of much training. Left alone, they tend to go their own way, often getting themselves in troubled situations. They need a good shepherd to protect and guide them. When the bible says “WE are all like sheep,” it is not a compliment to us. And yet it is a fitting description of us in many ways.

We, like sheep, are prone to wander. “All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” – Isaiah 53:6

Aimless in our pursuits and ambitions we, like sheep, easily go astray. We often become lost following our simple appetites rather than pursuing the green pastures to which our shepherd would have us rest.

In old Testament times, perfect, unblemished sheep were also offered as sacrifices, foretelling the sacrifice that Jesus would later make for us as the perfect Lamb of God. Jesus was referred to as the lamb of God, because he willingly became fully man, while he was still fully perfect God.

Are you, like sheep, more inclined to wander aimlessly through life? Or are you at a point in your life where you are more inclined to wonder at the mystery and the magnificence of a shepherd who laid down his life for his sheep? In this sense, it is indeed a compliment that we become like lowly sheep who listen for his voice and follow him! What is he saying to you in this new year?

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27

Hearing and listening to God’s voice

“My sheep listen to my voice. They know me and they follow me.”
Jesus in John 10:27

Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to truly hear another person’s point of view when you are so focused on making your own case? You try so hard to not forget the point you want to make that you fail to focus on what they are saying. We may HEAR their voice but we aren’t LISTENING to it. To be honest, we must admit we are more concerned with what is on our mind than what they have to say.

Are you having trouble hearing God’s voice today? Likely it is because you are not listening closely. ‘Hearing’ God’s voice requires that we have a relationship with him that distinguishes what he says from other competing voices. How else will we know his voice unless we spend time with him and in his Word?

‘Listening’ to his voice as a sheep listens to its shepherd, requires the conviction that his voice brings us protection and offers us provision for what is good. Do you know that God’s voice will always offer you one or both of these gifts? If so, you will be highly motivated to listen closely to and follow his voice. If not, you will think it a chore and more easily seek another voice.

All good things: wisdom, freedom, patience, power, contentedness, love, grace, joy. . . All these good things come from intentionally listening to and following God’s voice throughout your day. Beyond all your efforts to do great things, be content with being a sheep that recognizes and follows its masters voice.

Path To Peace – Your Agenda

Are you still trying to figure out what is your purpose in life? Or maybe you know this but are struggling to live it out?  You’re likely looking for pieces of your life puzzle that you’ve yet to unearth along your path. Some pieces you will find only through your awareness of the needs of others who hold the pieces to your journey. You’ve made a choice about the path you’re taking:

  • The path of resignation where you’ve given up or postponed trying to live the life of adventure and passion you were meant to live;
  • The path of frantic and often tiresome self-effort where you are determined to control your life and others.
  • The path of peace where day by day -and throughout each day – you seek the One who knows the path and wants to guide you to a life of peace and victorious living, even in the middle of struggles.

Some of the struggles I’ve been dealing with lately involve the manic effects of the temporary steroid induced diabetes. These changed my behaviors and I had created my agenda of self-controlled response to the situation. After all, I had devoted thirty years of my life learning how to make positive change happen in challenging situations. And while God and I talked a lot throughout this new crisis that was pushing me hard against the wall, I had neglected to really put Him FIRST on my daily agenda. Instead, I listened to him and then went my way, allowing my agenda to fill up with whatever new struggle and frustration that popped up and how I was going to solve it, my way. Sound familiar?

It wasn’t until I was reminded to pay attention to God’s Presence in me that I could find the peace that immediately started me down the path of restoration and peace. (It was one of those humbling ‘duh, I already knew that; why aren’t I DOING that revelations!) God broke through my self-control efforts and spoke to me gently to focus on Him.

I’m still dealing with the side effects, but my response is markedly improved and getting better each day. The difference? I’ve asked Marcia and others to speak into my life and give me cues to focus on God’s presence instead of my problems. I’m making sure that my agenda not only includes God somewhere in the day, but I have to hour by hour (and sometimes moment by moment) review my day’s plan to make sure that He is leading it and that my activities haven’t become side-tracked from His plan. This keeps me from drifting in resignation and from the frantic pursuit of my own vain approach to solving problems. The path to peace comes through asking God to show you the way and then checking with Him throughout the day to make sure you are still following Him.

What does your agenda look like this week? It may be a busy one, even on a holiday, but it doesn’t have to be without a sense of peace.

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27

Dinner With Friends

Bryan, Mustafa, Naomi, Lily, Daisy, Marcia, Awatif

Bryan, Mustafa, Naomi, Lily, Daisy, Marcia, Awatif

About three months ago I wrote a post titled “Conversation With A Stranger.” (Click on Previous Months-December in the right column  to read this remarkable encounter.) To summarize, it started with me asking this man waiting by the elevator, “How is your day going?” And about five minutes later it ended with prayer for this Muslim man and his wife, and then him saying, “When you get out of the hospital I want you and your wife to be guests in our home.” Last night, we rewrote the story a bit and had Mustafa and Awatif as dinner guests in our home, along with our common friend Naomi (in orange) who was nurse to both Awatif and me during our cancer treatments at Mercy. Naomi’s husband had to work tonight but their two daughters, Lily and Daisy joined us for the fun.

Mustafa commented how life is short and we all should be able to share God’s love. He also shared his belief that in this cancer situation that his wife and I share, we all have to be strong and keep our faith, because we all depend on God’s grace. Remembering God’s admonition for me to listen more than I speak, I agreed with Mustafa on this very basic truth. It is God’s grace, not our goodness, that bring us closer to Him. I found myself being very thankful for the opportunity to meet these new friends and build a relationship that is strong enough to carry the weight of not only our shared beliefs but also for truths that are best understood by friends who care deeply about each other.

We believe that every day is full of opportunities to meet people that God has put in our path. Sometimes these are only for a moment: the clerk at the store who needs an encouraging smile, the man on the street, the janitor. Sometimes they are for a season and quite out of our normal vision. When I first greeted Mustafa, I did not plan a friendship. I just opened a door and listened to what God had to say. 

Imagine how your day might change if you just ask God to put people in your path, if you give Him permission to interrupt your schedule with His appointments, and then listen and watch for His answer. It’s an adventure you don’t want to miss.

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” – John 10:27