Week One

What?  It does all that? 

Acts 9:36-43, Psalm 23, Revelation 7:9-17, John 10:22-30  

Why bother?  I mean, we get along well enough with our worship and our daily lives don’t we?  Why all this interest in hearing God speak? 

This wasn’t the first of these reflections that I wrote.  It is the first here because it sums up, in a straightforward way, why you might want to read and use the rest of the book.  It doesn’t cover every benefit to be had, but it sure does offer a bunch.  It is based on the appointed Gospel text for the week. 

“My sheep hear my voice.  I know them, they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish.  No one will snatch them out of my hand.  What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand.  The Father and I are one.”  


Okay.  Let’s look at this.  Here are the benefits of hearing His voice, as laid out in this one short passage (I’ll elaborate on them after I list them):  

1) Hearing His voice means we get to experience his “knowing” of us.  

2) Hearing His voice enables us to follow him.  

3) Hearing His voice enables us to believe the testimony of Jesus’ works.  

4) Hearing His voice gives us eternal life, now, not later, so that we will not perish.  

5) Hearing His voice gives us the assurance that we can’t be snatched out of His hand (or the Father’s, since He and the Father are one).  

6) Hearing His voice allows us to know ourselves as the very gift that the Father has given to the Son!  We are what the Father has given to the Son!  And we, WE are greater than all else!  

Now, in case that list hasn’t made you hungry enough for the sound of His voice, let me elaborate on the items in the list a bit. 

1)  Hearing his voice enables us to experience His “knowing” of us.   

Tommy Walker, a musician and evangelist who travels the world tells the story of a boy named Jerry, who lived in an orphanage in the Philippines.  One day, while Tommy was staying at the orphanage, this little boy ran up to him and said, “Hi, my name’s Jerry!”  Tommy introduced himself and explained why he was there, and Jerry replied, “We’re friends, right?”   

“Yes, we’re friends!” answered Tommy and Jerry ran off.  

An hour later, Jerry ran up and said, “Hi!  What’s my name??”  

Tommy said, “You’re Jerry!  I know who you are!” and Jerry asked, “We’re friends, right?”  Tommy answered, “Yes, Jerry, we’re friends!”  

And in that moment, Tommy knew that this orphan, who so longed to be known, to be seen, was so much like all of us, who know that, no matter how we’re loved in this world, no one will ever see us completely, love all of us.  

But the Father does.  He knows us, and loves us completely, with all our talents and our faults, He really, really knows us, and being known that way changes everything.  

Hearing His voice, calling us by name as the shepherd called the sheep in those days, makes it palpably real for us, this knowledge He has.  And it changes everything.  

But that’s not the only reason to listen for His voice!  

2)  Hearing His voice enables us to follow Him.  

No matter how you try, if you try to follow Jesus without the daily, hourly guidance of His voice, you won’t have the wisdom or the strength to follow Him.  If you find yourself frustrated because you just can’t seem to do what you ought, don’t fret.  Read Romans 8.  Neither could Paul.   

But the sound of that voice, the realization that we’re truly known, all that causes an infusion of His Spirit that both guides us and makes it possible for us to follow where we’re led.  The World is too much for us on our own, but we aren’t meant to face it alone.  He has overcome the World, and if we’ll allow him to speak His will for us into our hearts and minds and souls, we’ll both know what it is He desires for us and find in Him the strength to act on that desire!  

3) Hearing His voice enables us to believe the testimony of His works.  

This is important.  Jesus says that the unbelievers don’t believe that His works testify to His identity because they aren’t His sheep, because they don’t hear His voice.  It’s not the other way around.  You don’t have to believe to be one of His, to hear Him.  If you listen, you’ll hear the voice of your Shepherd, and that will enable you to believe!  

Isn’t this wonderful?  He doesn’t just give His voice to those who acknowledge Him as Lord, but to everyone, so that this same voice can make it possible for them to believe!  He speaks to every person, man, woman or child!  

4)  Hearing His voice gives us eternal life, now.  

Why wait?  Why not taste the kingdom right now?  Why not step up to the banquet of life that the Father has been holding for you, and dig in?  To hear His voice is to know the reality of that banquet, of that sumptuous feast set for us, and to taste in the present what we will enjoy for eternity.  Not in it’s fullness, I suspect, but enough that death loses its sting forever.   

5)  Hearing His voice gives us the assurance that we can’t be snatched out of Jesus’ (or the Father’s) hand.  

Many times, when things seem to be turning in a good direction, events will come along to shake that sense, to try to convince us that we’re no longer safe, no longer able to trust in the Father’s care for us.  Often, the accusing voice of the Enemy tells us that it is in fact we who have snatched ourselves from His hand by means of our disobedience.  Hearing His voice convinces us that neither the Enemy nor we have the strength to break the Father’s life-grip on us!  When we hear Him speak our names, call to us as Shepherd and Father, we know also His jealous love for us, His unbreakable grasp on our lives.  We may slip, we may fall, but we are covered by His love.  Nothing can take us from Him.  

6) Hearing His voice allows us to know ourselves as the very gift that the Father has given to the Son!  We are what the Father has given to the Son!  And we, WE are greater than all else!  

You and I are the pinnacle of the Father’s Creation, the most beautiful gift He wishes to give to His Son, the bride prepared for her bridegroom!  We are beautiful, made so by His love, not by anything we’ve done or avoided doing.  We are beloved, and worthy of being the Father’s gift!  Spend some time pondering that truth and see if it doesn’t change the way you see yourself! 

I’ll get back to some of the “how’s” of hearing that blessed Voice in the weeks to come, but here we have such an opportunity to hear Jesus explain why we might want to, I couldn’t miss it!  

As I write, I am praying that this Voice will ignite a hunger in your heart for it’s wonderful sound, for its loving, healing inflection, so that you might set out to hear Him speak your name.  

Daily Thoughts  

Day One  

I talked above about our deep need to be known.  Of course, on an intellectual level, we “know” that God “knows” us, but few of us experience this in all its power on a regular basis.   

Today, allow yourself to remember a time when you felt “like a fish out of water.”  I suspect that there are some of us who feel that way more often than not, but even we (and I’ve been one of them) don’t acknowledge the “wrongness” of this.  I always figured that was how everybody felt, all of the time.  And I thought that was how it always had to be.  With that German philosopher Heidegger, I figured it was just a part of human being, feeling “thrown into the world.”  

I was wrong.  Boy was I wrong.  It’s a common experience, but it isn’t a necessary one.  Everyone will experience it because of the reality of sin, but no one has to stay there.  

So, when were you a fish out of water?  When did you long to look up and find a familiar face, a loving look?  Take a few moments to remember that time, that place, and then hear His Word to you, “My child, look up.  I’m here.”  Just that.  Don’t get all complicated with it.  Just know that in that moment, He was reaching out to you.  And look up into the only Face that knows you completely and loves you unreservedly.  Stay with that Face for a few minutes, and then pray something like this:  

Heavenly Father, I thank You that when I feel unknown, when I do not even know myself, You know me, through and through.  I love knowing that there is nothing in me that causes You to turn away, there is no distance I can travel that will separate me from Your gaze.  Father, let me hear Your call to look up in every moment.  

In Jesus’ Name,  


Day Two 

Just in case there’s anyone out there who still thinks we can be obedient, that we can follow Jesus by means of our own strength, let me remind you of what Paul said about himself in Romans 7 (vv. 14-24)  

For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? (ESV) 

The voice of the Father speaks into being the ability to do that which our heart desires.  Unless and until we hear Him call, we cannot follow.  His voice is so sweet, so powerfully attractive that it causes us to mount up with “hinds feet on high places” in ways that we could never have done before.  The “gravity” of the world’s attractions and attachments is just too powerful for us without His call to us.  

Today, imagine a time when you were confronted with an obstacle to following that you just could not surmount or go around.  Sit with that image of a wall or a boulder in front of you for a few minutes and then pray something like this:  

Heavenly Father, I thank You that You have called me to dwell in new realms of peace and joy.  I see now that I am totally unable to do so in my own strength.  Let me hear Your gentle call to come up, come up.  Let Your voice give me strength I do not have in myself.  

In Jesus’ Name,  


Day Three  

How backwards I’ve always had it!  I always thought that if I could just believe enough in Jesus, I’d be able to know Him in His presence.  But that’s backwards.  All He asks is that I let His voice speak His truth into my heart.  If I hear His voice, the testimony of all his works will acquire a whole new truth for me.  The truth of the way the world really is, of the Father’s will and presence in and for creation, as testified to by the works of Jesus, will become clear and I will believe.  

Take a few minutes today to cry with the father of the possessed boy, “Lord, I believe!  Help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24) Believe only that He will help, that you have nothing to do to grasp this belief for yourself.  Believe that He will speak belief into being in you, and then pray something like this:  

Heavenly Father, I thank You that You do not expect me to come to belief on my own, because I’ve discovered that I can’t.  Father, let me hear Your voice, and let that irresistible love reveal to me a truth I want so much to know.  

In Jesus’ Name,  


Day Four  

We hear His voice, and He gives us eternal life.  Not the promise of eternal life.  Not a ticket we can trade in at the pearly gates.  Eternal life.  At the hearing of His voice.  

This is a reality that frightens institutions, because it creates in us a freedom that we cannot have otherwise.  When you and I hear His voice, we are transported into an eternal reality that cannot be taken away.  We know ourselves in that moment, to be alive in Him in a way that has no end.  Sometimes people even have experiences like Isaiah’s or John’s where they find themselves in the presence of His throne and the heavenly hosts.  It doesn’t matter if you have visions or not, though.  What matters is that the very sound of His voice opens the door to an entirely other reality that is eternal, the one in which you and I live by virtue of Jesus’ self-giving, and which is beyond time.   

Today, take a few minutes to listen to your heart’s desire for a place where there is no pain or grief, and where all tears are wiped away.  Feel your heart leap at the hope that this world of perfect peace and constant worship is a world into which you are invited today, and then pray something like this:  

Heavenly Father, I thank You that You have torn down the curtain that separated me from the Holy of Holies, and that I am invited in by virtue of the Blood of Jesus.  Let me hear Your voice today, so that it might draw me into Your presence, and I might sing “Holy, Holy!” with all Your angels.  Today.  

In Jesus’ Name,  


Day Five  

I’m going to skip over number five in the reflection for this week because there is something we so rarely encounter here that I don’t want to miss out on number six.  

Hearing his voice allows us to know ourselves as the perfect gift of the Father to the Son.  How often do you think of yourself as a gift?  Especially a gift given to Jesus?  Do you think the Father gives His Son crummy presents?  No, I didn’t think you did.  

So, take some time and see the Father and the Son, present to one another in perfect love, as the Father holds out His hands toward His beloved Son.  In those hands is you, and He is beaming as he offers His gift, made perfect by His love, to the Son who weeps for joy.  To receive you.  To receive you.  Spend some time with that, and then pray something like this:  

I don’t get it, Father, but I thank You that I am the gift You have chosen to give to Your Son.  I am in awe that You would look at me this way.  May Your voice always help me to know this truth, and to find rest there.  

In Jesus’ Name,  


If you’d like easier access to Hearing His Voice than looking it up on a webpage, it is now available as both paperback and Kindle book. (But it will always be free here.)

Hearing His Voice

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