The Shepherd of Hope blog is here to serve you, to help you know Jesus better and to find hope in Him. This blog relies on the Spirit of God using the word of God to build people of God. All material has been prayerfully submitted for your encouragement and spiritual edification. Your questions and comments are welcome.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Listen to His Voice

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. – Romans 8:14

I’m a pastor and usually try to take Mondays off. It’s a day when I try to not even check my emails. It’s a time to catch up with things around the house. It’s a time to recharge the batteries. For some reason I broke protocol this day and checked my emails. Alex, a friend who attends our Brothers of Calvary men’s group, sent me an email about another friend John (who also attends the group) who had been admitted to a local hospital because of gallbladder pain. I tried to call John but couldn’t get through. I called his wife Dorothy and she said he was scheduled for surgery the next day. She said he didn’t have his phone but she was going to bring it to him later in the day. I said I’d call John later and put him on the prayer chain. I also sent out an email to the Brothers of Calvary group with the information about John.

This particular Monday I had some painting to do around the house. Once that was done I could just relax. My wife Dee had a date with her friend Debbie in the evening. When they left I’d have the house to myself. Debbie came and after some catching up chit-chat the girls went out. Usually when someone comes over to see Dee, she takes the van and drives. This night Debbie drove and that was part of God’s plan.

The painting turned out to be a little more involved than I expected. It was tiring. But when I was done I was pleased with the outcome. I was looking forward to taking it easy once the girls went out. They left and I got to thinking, Okay Lord, what should I do? Stay home? If I stay home I’m going to be tempted to just eat and veg out in front of the TV. Read? Maybe, but what else can I do? I’ve got the van. Why don’t I go workout? Yes, that’s what I’ll do. So I changed and went and worked out. I had a great workout and felt refreshed.

As I drove home the Lord started talking to me. Go visit John in the hospital. I responded, But Lord, it’s kind of late. The Lord impressed on me again, Go see John. I responded further, Lord, it is my day off. I’ll go tomorrow. The Lord persisted, Go see John. This went on a bit until I got home and then said to the Lord, Okay Lord, its 8 o’clock, if I go I have to shower and be out the door by 8:15 otherwise John will probably be sleeping. Funny thing about how when the Lord is in something He gets you where you need to be when you need to be there. By 8:13 pm I was in my van backing out of the driveway.

I made my way to the hospital. On the way I noticed, Wow Lord, I never make this traffic light. I’m making all the lights. Wow Lord, this is great. Maybe you want me to get there, visit and get home quick so I can rest. I got to the hospital in record time (without speeding!). When I got there I found a parking spot, parked and made my way into the hospital and up to John’s room. When I reached John’s room the door was ajar with the curtain drawn. Oh no, is he sleeping? I knocked and poked my head in. “John are you here?” I said. “Yes. Pastor Claude. Oh I’m so glad you came!” John then informed me that instead of doing the surgery the next day they were taking him in for surgery that night; in a few minutes. We agreed this was a divine appointment. I told John how the Lord had told me to come and visit him. The Lord had got me there in time to visit with John and pray with him. I prayed when I first got there and I prayed again when I left. I prayed for God’s grace to be upon John and for God to give the doctors wisdom and the ability to do the surgery. I prayed for God’s protection for John. Having your gallbladder removed is not the biggest or what we would normally consider serious surgery, but the Lord wanted me there to pray with John. I was glad to be there and encourage my brother with some fellowship and prayer. As I left the hospital the Lord reminded me to contact Cathy who oversees the church prayer chain to add John to the requests. He wanted people praying for John. And so, prayers were offered for John.

The next day I didn’t hear from John’s wife Dorothy and I got caught up in the activities of the day and didn’t call her. That night at the Brothers of Calvary group we prayed for John. Wednesday morning Dorothy called. She told me, “Boy pastor did God use you.” What do you mean Dorothy?” She said when she saw the doctor after John’s surgery s noticed he took a sigh of relief but didn’t he tell her anything extraordinary had happened. She suspected there had been some kind of complication but since the doctor didn’t say anything she didn’t know what it was. But later when the doctor met with John to discuss the surgery he sat next to John on his bed and took his hand. That was unusual. The doctor then told John that his gallbladder was gang greenish and that if he hadn’t gone into surgery that night he wouldn’t have survived the next day. The surgery saved his life! John was overcome with this news. Immediately he gave glory to God for getting him through the unforeseen danger. He saw right away the real reason why the Lord had got me to John when He did to pray with him. Dorothy said John is a changed man because of this. She said he wept with tears of joy. “He’s got a testimony he’s sharing with all his friends” she said. Praise Him!

What’s the meaning of this story? Listen to the Lord. Listen to His voice. It would have been easy to simply put off that visit to the next day. I had every reason to do so. But if I had done that, I would have missed out on the blessing of being used by the Lord. It feels good to be used by the Lord. And the Lord worked the details out for His plan to be accomplished. He provided the transportation, the willingness of the vessel and the incredible timing to perform His will. Sons of God are led by the Spirit of God. Don’t ever turn a deaf ear to the Spirit. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” (Rom. 8:14). Cultivate a spirit of readiness, a sensitivity and alertness to the voice of the Spirit.

Also, the Lord wanted John covered in prayer. Prayer is important. This time the Lord didn’t give me a particular scripture to share. He just wanted me to pray. Everyone can pray. We may not completely understand the workings of prayer, but God has ordained it and we need to avail ourselves of it. God works through prayer. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16). The effectual fervent prayers of righteous people avail much. The Holy Spirit helps us to pray (Rom. 8:26-27). The Holy Spirit is described as “the Spirit of grace and supplication” (Zech. 12:10). When He leads us it is often to direct us to where prayer is needed. God works through prayer. God answers prayer. Watch for opportunities to pray. Pray.

So listen to His voice. Be ready to pray when and where He wants you to pray. And then get ready for God to work. Thank You Lord. To You be the glory. God bless you as you pray.

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