3/10/2014

LISTEN CAREFULLY

Why Listening Carefully to God’s Voice Could Save Your Life
An elderly saint who was a student of mine in Bible school shared how “listening carefully” to the voice of the Lord saved her life one day. As she was dressing one particular morning and preparing to go out, she put on a pair of high heels. Immediately she experienced a strong sense inside that she should wear flat shoes, not high heels. She tried to ignore it but that strong inner urge would not go away so she relented and changed into a pair of flat loafers.
Later in the day as she stood at the checkout in a department store, a bank robbery ensued across the street with shots being fired. One bullet came through the store and grazed the top of her head, leaving a slight scratch as it whizzed through her hair. If she had been wearing high heels the bullet would have penetrated her skull and probably killed her. Her life was saved because she “listened carefully” to the voice of the Lord that day.
Listening with Both Ears
Exodus 15:26 is a wonderful promise of healing with the condition attached, If you listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God. The words “listen carefully” are translated from Hebrew words that literally say “listening listen.” A Hebrew scholar told of being in the hospital and reading this verse to build his faith. Noting the unique wording, He asked the Lord, “Why did you say ‘listening listen?’” He said the Holy Spirit spoke in his heart, saying, “Because I want you to listen to Me with both ears.” In other words, God wants our undivided attention. He wants us to “listen carefully.”
Our God, who is both infinitely wise and infinitely good, wants the very best for us His children, and that is why it is necessary that we listen carefully to Him. Listen to His lament in Isaiah 48:18 over the fact that His people had not listened to Him. Oh, that you had heeded My commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, And your righteousness like the waves of the sea.
Blessings Come as We “Carefully Listen”
How God’s blessings will come when we carefully listen to Him was borne out to me many years ago in an experience with a co-worker in ministry. Shortly after our marriage, Sue and I planted a new congregation and Bible school in eastern Canada. In the midst of our busy activities, I had a conflict with a member of the congregation who was also part of the leadership team. She felt that I had wronged her, but it was clear to me that she was the one at fault; and I had my case ready to lay out to her and show her where she was wrong.
But during prayer before meeting with her, Paul’s words in I Cor. 4:12-13 were strongly impressed on my heart. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; being defamed, we entreat. I knew God was speaking to my heart that I was to treat this woman the very opposite of how I felt she had treated me. When we met, therefore, I did not lay out my argument against her. Instead, I reached out to her in humility and entreated her to forgive my weaknesses and shortcomings in the relationship. All animosity melted and the relationship was healed and restored.
Interestingly, she became the most faithful supporter of our ministry and continued to support us for many years, even after we departed that area. When we did depart a few years later and returned to the U.S., she bought our home, which had some equity in it. She then went a step further and gave us the money she had left over from the sale of her mobile home after she made the down payment on the purchase of our home. This amounted to around $5,000.00 and was very helpful for us in getting settled in a new home in a new country. And years later when I needed money to publish my first book, she sent a $5,000.00 gift. She is still a dear friend today and I am glad that I listened closely to the voice of the LORD in my heart that day.
We Suffer Loss When We Don’t “Carefully Listen”
I recall an incident where I did not “carefully listen” and suffered loss. Sue and I were travelling from Texas to Canada and we stopped late at night at a hotel near St. Louis, MO. We obtained the last room and proceeded to look for a parking place. The parking area was full and I finally found a place away from the normal parking and shrouded in darkness. As I pulled into that spot it was like flashing red lights going off in my spirit. The Holy Spirit was warning me that there was danger in parking there. Because it was late and we were tired, I did not “listen carefully.” In fact I ignored that inner warning. The next morning when we came out, our vehicle had been broken into and my prized Fender Telecaster guitar and case were gone along with some valuable electronics. I could have avoided that loss if I had “carefully listened.”
Our God is Infinitely Wise & Knows How to Bring You Through

Yes, our God is infinitely good and He desires to bless you and help you. He is also infinitely wise and He knows how to bring you into that place of blessing, healing and peace. He is limitless in knowledge and wisdom and He knows how to bring you through whatever challenges you are facing today. Our part is to “listen carefully” to His voice in both Scripture and those promptings of His Holy Spirit in our hearts.