Last fall during a late afternoon, I stood at my kitchen counter admiring my two freshly baked loaves of banana bread. They were cooling down to be sliced and served with a freshly brewed pot of coffee.
Just then I heard the humming sound of yard equipment. Two yard workers had been outside cleaning up for several hours all the fallen leaves around the property. Then, in my spirit, I heard God whisper, "Give them some bread."
"No," I said, "I didn't bake this bread for them."
But I knew that it was God's voice speaking to me. In obedience, I cut two large slices off one of the loaves and took it out to them.
When one yard worker saw me coming with goodies, he said, "I am so hungry. Thank you." And the other guy graciously said, "Thank you."
Coming back into the house, I again heard God whisper to me, "That is who I am."
I recognized his voice and obeyed his command.
This event brought to mind the verse in John 10:27 where Jesus, the shepherd, said, "My sheep hear my voice, I know them, and they follow me." And in John 10, Jesus calls those who follow him his sheep.
Jesus' voice can be a gentle whisper in our ear, or it can be words spoken to us by a friend, a sermon, a song, a scripture, but many times, he speaks right into our own heart. The Bible calls it a "still small voice" (I Kings 19:12).
God's sheep, those who are true believers, recognize his voice because of time spent with him in prayer, reading, and meditating upon his word. This time opens the door for him to speak and to give us his direction for our good and for his glory.
In obedience, sheep act upon hearing the shepherd's voice to help someone, to tell someone about Jesus or to even be careful as to what words to speak.
And Jesus speaks at the appropriate time and his sheep are on the ready to hear and obey him. Tune out the noise and the busyness of life and tune into him. "Be still and know that I am God" (Psalms 46:10).
You may be saying to yourself right now, "I don't hear God's voice, never have."
In John 8:47, Jesus said, "He who belongs to God hears what God says." The reason you do not hear is that you do not walk closely to God to hear him speak to you.
Ask yourself: Do I hear the voice of God speaking to me? Do I desire to hear his voice? Then tell him. Say: I want to be so close to you, Lord, that I, too, can hear you speak to me.
He longs and waits to hear from you and to answer you. Listen up!
Even through freshly baked banana bread God speaks. Absolutely nothing is too small, too ordinary, too unusual for Jesus who leads and guides his sheep.
-- Donna Hubbard is Small Group Leader at Life Church Tri-Cities in Richland. Questions and comments should be directed to editor Lucy Luginbill in care of the Tri-City Herald newsroom, 333 W. Canal Drive, Kennewick, WA 99336. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org.