I don’t know who wrote this, but people often hear me talk about hearing from our Lord; seeking guidance and direction; and following that “voice” of our Father. Well, here is a perfect example of how this may look:
A young man had been to Wednesday night Bible Study. The Pastor had shared about listening to God and obeying the Lord’s voice. The young man couldn’t help but wonder, “Does God still speak to people?” After service he went out with some friends for coffee and pie and they discussed the message. Several different ones talked about how God had led them in different ways. It was about ten o’clock when the young man started driving home.
Sitting in his car, he just began to pray, “God…If you still speak to people speak to me. I will listen. I will do my best to obey.” As he drove down the main street of his town, he had the strangest thought to stop and buy a gallon of milk. He shook his head and said out loud, God is that you?” He didn’t get a reply and started on toward home. But again, the thought, buy a gallon of milk. The young man thought about Samuel and how he didn’t recognize the voice of God, and how little Samuel ran to Eli. “Okay, God, in case that is you, I will buy the milk.” It didn’t seem like too hard a test of obedience.
He could always use the milk. He stopped and purchased the gallon of milk and started off toward home. As he passed Seventh Street, he again felt the urge, “Turn down that street. This is crazy he thought and drove on past the intersection. Again, he felt that he should turn down Seventh Street. At the next intersection, he turned back and headed down Seventh. Half jokingly, he said out loud, “Okay, God, I will”.
He drove several blocks, when suddenly, he felt like he should stop. He pulled over to the curb and looked around. He was in semi commercial area of town. It wasn’t the best but it wasn’t the worst of neighborhoods either the businesses were closed and most of the houses looked dark like the people were already in bed. Again, he sensed something, “Go and give the milk to the people in the house across the street.” The young man looked at the house. It was dark and it looked like the people were either gone or they were already asleep. He started to open the door and then sat back in the car seat.
“Lord, this is insane. Those people are asleep and if I wake them up, they are going to be mad and I will look stupid.” Again, he felt like he should go and give the milk. Finally, he opened the door, “Okay God, if this is you, I will go to the door and I will give them the milk If you want me to look like a crazy person, okay. I want to be obedient. I guess that will count for something but if they don’t answer right away, I am out of here. “He walked across the street and rang the bell. He could hear some noise inside.
A man’s voice yelled out, “Who is it? What do you want?” Then the door opened before the young man could get away. The man was standing there in his jeans and T-shirt. He looked like he just got out of bed. He had a strange look on his face and he didn’t seem too happy to have some stranger standing on his doorstep.
“What is it?” The young man thrust out the gallon of milk , “Here, I brought this to you. “The man took the milk and rushed down a hallway speaking loudly in Spanish. Then from down the hall came a woman carrying the milk toward the kitchen. The man was following her holding a baby. The baby was crying. The man had tears streaming down his face. The man began speaking and half crying, “We were just praying. We had some big bills this month and we ran out of money.
We didn’t have any milk for our baby. I was just praying and asking God to show me how to get some milk.” His wife in the kitchen yelled out, “I asked Him to send an Angel with some. Are you an Angel?”
The young man reached into his wallet and pulled out all the money he had on him and put in the man’s hand. He turned and walked back toward his car and the tears were streaming down his face. He knew that God still answers prayers.
Folks, this is something ALL of us need to discover. I could share with you many stories where the Lord has led me and my wife to be “angels of mercy.” Like the time we were downtown in my hometown and saw a man asleep on a park bench. As we approached him we could smell the alcohol, as if he had taken a bath in it.
When we got closer, he opened his eyes and groggily said, “Hey!” So we sat down on the bench and asked if we could pray for him. He could barely keep his eyes open, but said, “Sure.”
So we prayed for him and suddenly, as if a light had been flipped on, he was as sober as a preacher on Sunday morning! We took him to Wendy’s and bought him some food and shared the Gospel with him. Yes, he had heard the message many times before from the shelter he slept in, but for the first time in his life, it struck his heart and he asked us to pray for him. We did, and he began to attend our church.
We had lost track of him, but I saw him years later as he shared his testimony at a breakfast of the Full Gospel Businessman’s Fellowship. He did not know that I was there, but during his testimony he shared the story about the day he had passed out on a park-bench and someone prayed and suddenly he was awake and listened to every word they said. Amazing!
Many years before that, when the Spirit of God was just beginning to teach me how to listen his voice, his guidance, and on a cold winter night, I was driving to a friend’s home and I felt “impressed” to turn down a hidden road I had never seen before. It seemed odd, but I obeyed and as I was driving I found a former classmate who I had not seen since we had graduated. He was out of money and had run out of gas and had no idea what he would do.
So I let him in my car to warm up as I drove him to the nearest gas station. I bought him a gas can and filled it with gas, As I was driving him back to his car, he asked me how I happened to be driving down that road. Well . . . I told him and he was shocked and amazed, as you can imagine, and asked me if he could tap into that kind of guidance . . . which allowed me to lead him to the Lord. Cool!
Another time I had driven several hours to Indianapolis for a week-long “camp meeting.” I had borrowed a friend’s custom van, so I didn’t have to get a room in a hotel. But the first night in the van, I kept “sensing” that I should be home.
As the “sense” became more intense, I left Indianapolis and drove home. Once I returned home, I began calling different friends to see if anything was going on. Finally, I reached one sister and she immediately said, “Oh dear God, I am so glad you called! You have to come over now.”
I got over to her home and found someone who desperately needed prayer. Jan, my friend who asked me to come over, had called one of the elders of our church, and that night, I had my first (but not my last) experience of casting out spirits. Had I not listened to the voice of the Lord, I would have missed my first lesson in deliverance ministry.
I could go on and tell you about being “led” to pick up a hitchhiker on the highway, and another time Patrice and I bought groceries for a couple in our church. But you get my point. If we are going to be disciples of our Lord, we need to learn to discern the voice of our Lord, we must discover how He will guide and direct us for His work in the world. Paul introduced us to this, and we can read about it in Romans 8:8-18:
Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God — those who are living the life of the flesh—catering to the appetites and impulses of their carnal nature — cannot please or satisfy God, or be acceptable to Him.
You, however (oh, I love that word). You however, are not controlled by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you — if he directs and controls you — you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him . . . And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ — anyone who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won’t know what we are talking about . . .
Reverse that, read: “If the Spirit of God lives in you — if he directs and controls you . . . you are not (will not be; can not be) controlled by the sinful nature. How can that be? Real simple, if the Spirit of God is in control— then you are not.
I have continually taught and shouted from the rooftops that when you surrender your life to Jesus and choose to follow him as a disciple, there is a new-birth where the very life and nature of God takes residence in you. The old things pass away and a new life enters into your being! It means that you are no longer a slave to your body! As Paul writes, “If the Spirit of God lives in you, you are not controlled by the sinful nature — but by the spirit . . .” That is a message of victory!
Think about this, Paul wrote, “You are to be no longer controlled by the sinful nature but by the Spirit . . .” And you are standing there thinking, “Oh, really? I feel like I’m controlled by the sinful nature . . .” Well, read verse 9 again . . . Paul said, “You are not controlled . . . IF . . .” if is a conditional clause . . . You are not controlled — IF — the Spirit of God lives in you and IF he directs and controls you. What that is telling us is that as long as we insist in controlling your own life, you will be controlled by the sinful nature . . .
“. . . if Christ lives in you, then although your natural body is dead by reason of sin and guilt — even though you still experience all the limitations of sin — your spirit is alive because of the righteousness that He imputes to you — you experience life on God’s terms . . . (Romans 8:9-11)
Get that? Despite the fact that you still live in this physical body and exist in the physical world, you are not a slave to it any more. You can be if you choose to! You can live a voluntary servitude to your carnal nature if you wish, or you can choose to live a life of victory. I love that! I reminds of when Yahweh told His people, “I am setting before you to options. You can have life, or you can have death; blessings or curses. But just in case you are confused, choose life, so you and your children can live.” Yes, I paraphrased that some, but you get my point, go read Deuteronomy 30:15-20, for yourself.
But getting back to what Paul wrote:
“If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you [Okay, so is He?], then he who raised Christ from the dead will also restore to life your mortal, short-lived, perishable bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you! It stands to reason that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he will do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you, you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s! (Romans 8:11 MSG)
I have said it many times before, and I will say it again. When you chose to be a follower, a disciple of a Jesus, it means a radical transformation. It affects your words, your motivations, your conduct, the type of people you hangout with and even the music you listen to! True Christianity is more than a explanation of life. It is more than a philosophical argument and explanation of life. It is a way of life! A twenty-four-hour-a-day, demanding, challenging, courageous way of life.
When you became chose to be a disciple of His Son, Yahweh did something to that old life of yours. He cut you off from that life in Adam. You are no longer joined to fallen Adam, but you are joined to a risen Christ and your life is now linked with him. He is now able to express His life through you in the same natural way as Adam once expressed his life through you!
What I am saying is that it is as easy to live the life of Christ, as it was to live the life of Adam. It is just as natural for you now, and can be done without struggle. YOU HAVE THE VERY LIFE AND NATURE OF GOD LIVING ON THE INSIDE OF YOU! Yes, it will take awhile to learn to put it into practice and you may struggle with it at times. But eventually you need to take hold of what Paul is talking about, and when you do, you will discover that where once sin reigned over you, Christ is now reigning over you. Right now, in this life, you can experience victory in Christ where before you experienced only defeat.
“Therefore, brothers, we do have an obligation — but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it — we are not obligated to our carnal nature — [Read that sentence again: “we are not obligated to our carnal nature . . .” Well then, quit showing allegiance to your carnal nature!] — a life ruled by the standards set up by the dictates of the flesh—we don’t owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent . . .”
“There is nothing in it for us, nothing at all—For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but [BUT! I love that word! When it is used as a conjunction, it introduces something in contrast. “this was true, but now this is true!”] if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; BUT—if through the power of the Holy Spirit you are habitually putting to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live—the best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life” (Romans 8:11-13)
My friend, quit justifying your weaknesses and move into victory with the power of God that lives within you!
“. . . because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again, but you received the Spirit of Son-ship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It is adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike ‘What’s next, Papa?’
“The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children — God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are — we know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children!
“Now if we are children, then we are heirs — heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
“those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God . . .The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children — God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are — we know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children!” (Romans 8:14-17)
Now do you understand why I get so excited about my faith? Now to see why I can read the Scriptures and become so overwhelmed with joy, I will run around my coffee table! Paul wrote, ”those who are led by the Spirit of God . . .” So obviously, we can expect to be led by the Holy Spirit! If we will submit, He will lead and guide us!
The spirit of man [that factor in human personality which proceeds immediately from God] is the lamp of the Lord, searching all his innermost parts (Proverbs 20:27 AMP)
So, our Father will enlighten us, he will guide us, okay, but how? Through our spirits! The problem is we are continually seeking guidance all kinds of ways other than the way we are told He would. When we do that, we get into all kinds of trouble.
Sometimes we spend so much time and energy trying to figure out how He is leading us. We look at all of the circumstance and events in our lives; we look at what our physical senses are telling us; we look to the stars or what just happened in our life. But here is the problem with that. The bible doesn’t say the body of man is the candle of the Lord; it doesn’t say the mind of man is the candle of the Lord; nor does it say that circumstances and events are the candle of the Lord. No, it says that the spirit of man is the candle of the Lord!
Quit looking at all the “other” stuff. Quit looking at the circumstances and events in your life.. Quit consulting the weather or the stars or whether you have any bumps on your head. He will guide and enlighten you through your spirit.
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With these Morning Messages, I take you on guided tours to, as Bunyan described, the Celestial City. At times we linger at corners familiar and unseen. And explore the depths of our faith along the way.
The trail is long, but there’s no hurry. Though we do need to stock up on supplies for the way, and that’s where I need your help. If you enjoy these messages, please consider becoming a contributing member of this tour group. It will be very much appreciated.