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Posted: January 6, 2012 12:00 a.m.

McCoy: Are you listening?

"The LORD's voice is over the waters; the glorious God thunders; the LORD is over the mighty waters. The LORD's voice is strong; the LORD's voice is majestic."

Psalm 29:3-4 (New Revised Standard Version)

You can tell a lot about people just by listening to their voices. A person's voice is as personal as a name or a fingerprint. Although some people try to imitate voices, vocal patterns, structure, inflection and tonal quality are often hard to imitate. Some security systems even use a voice print as a security key because voices are difficult to duplicate.

Voices linger in our memory long after a person is gone. It's amazing that we can hear the voices of our loved ones when they are no longer around. Sometimes we think we hear people talking to us, and we may even answer out loud before we realize it was just our memory playing tricks on us.

Voices can tell us a lot about people - if they are happy, sad, or angry. Voices can tell us if a person sounds strong or weak. The Psalmist talks about the voice of the Lord as being mighty, powerful, raging like the waters, strong enough to break trees in half. Sometimes we hear God's voice as thunderous and loud, as in this Psalm. Sometimes we hear God's voice as a still small whisper, as Elijah did in the wilderness. God spoke to people in many different ways in Bible times. Because God is the same yesterday, today and forever, God still speaks, sometimes in thunderous ways and sometimes in quiet ways.

One way that God speaks to us is through God's word, the Bible, but unless we read it, we may not hear God's voice speaking to us. When we read the Bible, God's love letter to us, we can be sure that we will hear God speak to our hearts in holy ways that are unexplainable, but very meaningful. Through Scripture, God teaches us, guides us, encourages us and challenges us. Spending time with God every day by reading and thinking about Scripture and by praying are great ways to ensure that our relationship with the Lord remains strong. Then, we can say with confidence as Samuel did when he was a young lad in the temple, "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening."

Have you read the Bible today? Have you heard God's voice in what you read? How is God speaking to you today?

Jan McCoy is associate pastor of First United Methodist Church of Covington. She may be reached at jan.mccoy@ngumc.net.

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