Today’s Truth

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

John 10:27

Friend to Friend

Dan and I had been married one year when we moved to Fort Worth, Texas, so Dan could attend seminary. I desperately wanted a teaching job, but none was available. Instead I was hired as a secretary in an insurance office. It was definitely not my idea of a dream job, but I had a plan.

Every day, on my lunch hour, I call the school district’s personnel office to ask, “Do you have a job for me yet?” After several weeks, a frustrated voice finally responded with the words I had been longing to hear. “Mary, will you teach anything anywhere?” she asked. Finally! I jumped at the job offer and made an appointment to visit my new classroom that afternoon. The principal escorted me up a flight of stairs, pointed to a door, and said, “That’s your classroom. Good luck!” With a knowing smile, he turned and walked away … quickly. Stepping into the classroom, I froze at the astonishing sight before me.

Some children were jumping on desks while others crawled under tables, all screaming and yelling at the top of their lungs. Paper and food littered the floor. In the corner sat an obviously frazzled substitute teacher, who was desperately trying to gain control of her students … uh, make that my students. The classroom was in total chaos. My first thought was, “What have I gotten myself into?” The next few weeks certainly answered that question.

Each classroom was arranged in learning centers instead of desks. The students moved from center to center as they completed assignments, a plan that naturally invited noise. I learned that because of overcrowding, each teacher had been asked to select two children to form a new classroom – my classroom. Of course, each teacher had chosen his or her two most difficult students.

The first few weeks were a nightmarish battle for control. After losing my voice twice, my sister, Betty, a veteran first grade teacher, gave me some great advice. “The louder you are, the louder the children will be. If you want to get their attention, speak softly so they will have to be quiet in order to hear your voice.” I put her advice into action the very next day.

As the children entered the classroom, I greeted each one with a silent smile. In my hands was a brightly wrapped box. Curious, they asked, “What is that, Mrs. Southerland?” I merely smiled and said nothing until every student was quietly seated.

“I have a new plan,” I softly explained. “Sometime during the day, I will call your name once. If you hear my voice, you may choose one prize from our new prize box. If you don’t hear my voice, you will miss the opportunity to select a prize and I will call another student’s name.” It worked like a charm! In a matter of days, the noise level in our classroom dropped dramatically and my students learned to listen for my voice above all others.

Stress comes when we allow the many voices in life to drown out the only voice that really matters, the voice of God. We can’t obey every voice we hear. If we try, we will end up in total failure, carrying a heavy load we were never created to carry.

Obedience to God is not a heavy load because we don’t have to carry that load alone. God’s strength and power bear the burden of our obedience to Him. The more time we spend in God’s Word and in prayer, the easier it will be to recognize His voice above every other voice we hear. Are you listening?

Let’s Pray

Father, I come to You today, wanting and needing to hear Your voice. I am drowning in the expectations of others and am so confused about the next step I need to take. Please give me Your direction and the strength to follow Your plan for my life.

In Jesus’ name,


Now It’s Your Turn

Read Psalm 32:8 (NLT) “The LORD says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.” What comfort does this verse give you about God’s plan for your life as opposed to your plans or the plans of others?

Read John 10:4 (NLT) “After he has gathered his own flock, he walks ahead of them, and they follow him because they recognize his voice.” Notice that the shepherd walks ahead of his sheep, gently calling them to follow. What change do you need to make in your life so that you can look for God’s hand at work and listen for His voice alone?

By faith, accept the truth that God is always at work in your life and thank Him for His steadfast provision. Look back over the last few days, weeks and months of your life. Now praise Him for the things He has done. Identify the “voices” that you tend to listen to instead of listening for the voice of God.

More from the Girlfriends

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7 Responses to “His Voice Above All Others”

  1. Mary says:

    I enjoyed reading this today because of the reminder that God doesn’t shout at us He speaks softly and we need to be tuned to His voice and remain quiet at times in order to hear Him.

  2. Sue says:

    So needed to hear this. Thank you for hearing God’s voice to post this today. Reminded that God is so near and wants me to be in constant communion with him. He is my constant strength during this time in my life.

  3. April says:

    Thank you for posting this. It did my heart a world of good. God is Great All The Time.

  4. Gina says:

    Thanks, Mary, for a beautiful lesson on how to listen to God’s voice, and the challenge to hear His above all the other noise in my life. The verses you shared are super encouraging. Thank you!

  5. Linda says:

    Oh my goodness for all I have seen teaches me to trust in the Lord for all I have not seen…this is a answer to PRAYER just love it when He talks through his word and others..Thank u for sharing sister..have just retired and trying to find God’s will for this season in my life..have been so concerned about what to do now I truly was not listening to God.the big I got in the picture. So grateful for this at one time with my ear to the Lord’s heart I wrote a song about this listening with kids and us…it brought me back to praise Him for the blessings and direction he always gives when I listen and let him be in charge…the songs title is. Even when I whisper..Thank u and I am praiseing our father for his love mercy and grace..AMEN

  6. Kat says:

    Thank you Mary and Girlfriends in God for such inspiring words. I was sitting here last week looking for a devotional website that spoke to me, make me think, and inspired me as I go through a difficult surgical recover, looking for answers and healing. I found it with, Girlfriends in God! Lord, please help me ignore the confusion, and stress, and focus on you and your voice.

  7. Sue says:

    Thank you so much for speaking Truth through your story of learning to listen to the Lord’s voice. I soooo needed to hear this right now. Bless you!

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