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Message of the Month
Hearing from God in Your Time of Personal Need
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Volume 6   No. 2                                                                                                                     September 7, 2003
This message was first written  by Samuel M. Smith  September 7, 2003 and preached at New Creations in Christ Fellowship Church, Kaneohe, HI.
©2003 Up Way Publications.
September 7, 2003 - New Creations in Christ Fellowship How many of you have ever prayed for God to meet a need or fulfill a want in your life and it seemed that the heavens were brass and God was totally deaf to your cry?  Any of you ever experienced that? 

And how many of you who are parents - and consider yourself to be a good parent - have heard the first time your child asked you for something and you did not immediately do what the child wanted or give the child what he or she asked for?  Why? Was it because you didn't hear your child? Was it because your child always has so many "wants" that it would take a multi-millionaire to buy everything - and you are not a multi-millionaire?  Or was it because you knew that to give your child what he or she asked for at that particular time would not be good for the child? 

I am sure many of us know parents who are selfish and uncaring about their children and consider them to be nuisances and brats, but that is not the role model I want you to consider now.  Think of a lloving Father who knows everything and makes no mistakes.  No, your big ears are not a mistake or your ugly nose nor your big feet or even your speech impediment. Each of those can be a blessing to you if you will trust the Lord to use what you think of as a flaw to be a blessing to others. 

Your big ears may enable you to hear better and hear something important that will save your life or the lives of others. That nose you think is a mistake may be sensitive to certain smells that others miss and you may be able to avoid a fire or dangerous gasses and to save others at the same time. Your big feet may give you added stability to stand firm and pull someone to safety from danger.  Or there really have been cases in which a physical object of ridicule such as a big or flat or pointed nose or big ears or big feet have caused such mirth among guards that the person with these laughable body parts actually was spared when others were killed in wartime situations.

Do you think God has to answer you audibly? Does He have to dump a bucket of money in front of your door to make you know He cares?  That beautiful new car you want so badly may not protect you from the accident God knows is going to happen when a drunk driver runs through a stop sign or stop light and hits your car, but your old car will bring you safely through and you wnated to get rid of it anyway and the insurance money you get for your old car may be more than the actual trade value the dealer would have given and the whole thing will help you buy that new car! 

Have you stood for the Lord when things were rough and seen Him perform  great victory and then become discouraged when the victory was followed by another attack from Satan?  Let's look at Elijah, one of the greatest Old Testament prophets. He had enjoyed the choicest steaks and best pandesal brought to

him by the Brook Kidron perhaps from King Ahab's own table for a considerable period of time by ravens while he hid from King Ahab and those seeking to kill him for having spoken out for the Lord and against the current false god of the heathen and Israel, the "Lord of the Flies," Baal.

Then the Lord has had him appear before King Ahab and challenge the priests of Baal to see who the real God is. We all know the story of how the challenge went on Mount Carmel when the priests of Baal spent most of the day doing all sorts of things in a vain attempt to get Baal to send a fire on their offering and how then Elijah had water brought and dumped over his simple altar and offering to make it even less combustible, then prayed a simple prayer to the real Jehovah God Almighty and immediately had a fire so intense that it butned not only the sacrifice, but the stones and the water in the trench around the altar.  Then, because the result is obvious, King Ahab permits Elijah to slay over 400 of the priests and prophets of Baal.  Wow! What a great victory! From being hunted for speaking out for God, he is in a position of power and victory.  How proud of his God and of his own faithfulness to God he must have been. But wait! Let's read directly from the Bible what happens next. 

1 Kings 19
 1   And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword.
 2   Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time.
3   And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there.
4   But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.

Oh, wow! He runs for his life, then complains to God that he wants to die when Jezebel threatens him?  What about his great display of Almighty God's power?  Why not just trust God to take care of Jezebel?  Let's read on.

5   And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat.
6   And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again.
7   And the angel of the LORD came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee.
8   And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.
 

(Continued on Page 2)

Hearing from God in Your Time of Personal Need
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9   And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?
10   And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.

But what about the great demonstration of God's power he has just shown to the King and the people on Mount Carmel? Can't God protect him now?  Let's read on.

11   And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake:

Wow! What power, what Might, Oh Lord! A wind strong enough to break rocks? And what about that earthquake. Surely this is it, Lord. But wait!

12   And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

A still, small voice?  How could Elijah have recognized a still, small voice as being the voice of God?  Do you recognize the whisper of your spouse even though others are also whispering?

13   And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?
14   And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.

Aw! Poor man! He has jealously defended God against all those idol worshippers and now they want to kill him and he's scared and running away.  But wait! what's this? 

15   And the LORD said unto him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when thou comest, anoint Hazael to be king over Syria:
16   And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room.

From running for his life to anointing two future kings of nations and his own successor as a prophet. Ans as you would see if you read on a few chapters, both King Ahab and Queen Jezebel are indeed killed in sad and tragic ways and those Elijah has anointed become rulers.

What about you and your life? What is going on with you now? Someone on the job making things hard? Someone persecuting you? Does it seem like there is no use in trying to keep on for the Lord?

  "Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, He it is that doth go with thee; He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee." (Deuteronomy 31: 6)

 

Consider the following senario. Could this be you? 

The man whispered, "God, speak to me," And a meadowlark sang a beautiful song. But the man did not hear.  He was waiting to hear from God.

So the man yelled "God, speak to me," And the thunder and lightning rolled across the sky.  But the man did not listen.  He was listening for the voice of God to speak to him.

The man looked around and said,  "God, let me see you." And a star many light-years distant shined brightly down on him.  But the man did not see it. He was looking for God on His majestic throne. 

And, the man shouted, "God, show me a miracle" And a new little baby was born in his family. But the man did not notice. Babies are born all the time.

So, the man cried out in despair,  "Touch me, God, and let me know you are here," whereupon, God did reach down and touch the man.  But the man brushed the baby's hand away and walked on. 

Sometimes we are so sure God will do things one way we cannot see how He has already answered oour prayer in another way. 

Another story is told in which a man is caught in a flood. "Oh, God, spare my life and the lives of my family," he cries. As the waters begin to rise into his yard, a rescue team comes by in a big-wheeled four-wheel drive vehicle to take him out, but he is expecting some miracle from God and declines to leave. 

Then, as the water is getting up to his bottom step, he cries out, "Oh, God! What has happened?  The water is getting deeper and is already up to my steps. Why haven't you rescued me and my family?" So a Sheriff's Deputy comes by in a boat and offers to take the family to safety, but the man is expecting God to perform a miracle and declines. 

Before long the water has reached the level of his house floor and started to rise into the furniture. In a panic, they go to the roof and again cry out to God for help. Before long, a Coast Guard helicopter swoops low over them and a voice booms down, "Please let us help you. The flood is rising fast," but the man waves them away when he yells up to them and asks "Did God send you?" But they could not hear his voice. 

Finally, as the water rises above his youngest daughter's knees as they stand on the highest point of the roof, an airboat approaches and cuts its motor. 
"Here,  Let us help you," cries the boat operator. "Did God send you? " the stranded householder yells back. "Because if He didn't, we still have to wait for Him to save us." 

"God must have sent us, because we're the last rescue boat in this area and if you don't come on and climb aboard, you will all drown." 

Because he loved his family, the man helped his daughter, son, wife, dog and cat into the boat, then finally, reluctantly climbed aboard himself as the swift floodwaters began to rock the house off its foundations.  Thankful that his family was finally safe, he prayed again, "Oh God, I wish You had saved us, but bless these people who rescued us, anyway. I just wonder why You didn't save us sooner?"

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Hearing from God in Your Time of Personal Need
(Continued from Page 2)
Having overheard the prayer, the boat operator answered.  "I believe God sent the rescue team to you with the mud buggy, but you refused their aid. I believe the Sheriff's Deputy who came to rescue you was also sent by God and the Emergency Services people.  I am sure the Coast Guard helicopter which was especially dispatched to rescue just you folks was also sent by God.  You are fortunate that I am a praying person, because if God hadn't spoken to me in my heart, I would not have come for you after you turned everyone else away!"
 

So how can you, each one of you, know the voice of God? How do you know your spouse's voice? Would you have recognized it the second time you heard it, or would you have thought, that sort of sounds

like his or her voice, but I'm not sure if it is or not.  No, it was the repeated times that you spoke to your beloved and he or she spoke to you that taught you to know his or her voice and even if he or she was scared or excited or yelling from a distance, you got to know that one voice apart from all others. 

So how do you get to know God's voice? How do you recognize when He is the one speaking and not Satan trying to mimic His voice?  By practice! The more you pray and He responds, the better you come to know His voice, whether in the still small voice or in the earthquake, the touch of a baby's finger or the rod of correction.  Whether He answers "Yes," "No," "Maybe someday but not now," or "Wait, be patient, the time is not yet." 

"Pray without ceasing." (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

--  S. M. S.

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