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Thursday, November 16, 2006

God Is Our Provider! And Post Two on Prayer

Just a quick note tonight, as it's been a long day & I'm a bit tired. Then I'll post the next section in the article on hearing God's voice.

The Lord provided an answer this past week, for two families at a time. We purchased an older 38' 5th wheel, well used but in very sound condition, a few months ago. Our plan? Park it on our new property & move into it as soon as our house we're living in sells.

The second family is one from our church. A man & his wife in their late 60's, with a grown son who is autistic. This couple is one of the most generous, giving couples we know...always doing for others in an unobtrusive, quiet way, not expecting thanks or pay. Recently he had a stroke... his second in two years. As a result, he had to give up his wood cutting business that supplemented their meager retirement income. The result? They had to move out of their modest home & lease it out, as they couldn't afford the payments. We wanted to loan them our 5th wheel, as they'd recently moved into a very old, leaky 20' trailer. (we had no idea how bad it was until today)...but didn't know where we'd live should our house suddenly sell, as our new one won't be ready to move into until sometime in March, at the earliest.

A week or so ago we got word through our daughter that a couple she knows are heading south for the winter. They know we might need a place to live, and offered their home for the winter. We immediately contacted the family from our church & convinced them we needed the trailer moved off our property, as it truly is giving us very limited parking for the construction crew. It went to it's new home this week and we couldn't have been happier to see it in the possession of such deserving people. The Lord knew from the beginning that the 5th wheel belonged to this family! He met our need and theirs, in just the right way. Isn't He awesome!

Our house hasn't sold yet, and the market is very slow, but we're trusting Him to sell it at just the right time.

Now....for the second installment on prayer~

Any time we believe that we've heard from the Lord, whether through someone else’s teaching, a word dropped into our own spirit, or the use of the gifts of the Spirit, it must line up with the Word. A true test for any situation, whether it be a prophetic word that is given, or a personal word from the Lord directed at our heart, is to check it against God’s Word for confirmation and accuracy.

It’s critical we listen to what God’s Word has to say for every situation, rather than depending only on our own reasoning or emotions. These are often influenced by the circumstances and people around us, and can’t be completely trusted. God does give us wisdom and can speak through our mind, intuition, or feelings, but we must never judge solely on those. Our emotions and mind will often lead us apart from God’s will, but choosing to listen to the Word never does.

For example, a young woman is considering marrying a man who professes to be a Christian, but his life doesn’t measure up to his confession. She can listen to her flesh and her emotions, which will try to convince her this man is the best choice for her life. Or she can see what the Word has to say about her situation and use it for the basis of her decision. When she does, she will see a person who is born again has evidence of fruit in their life. If there is no fruit, it’s possible the person is not born again. We are not to join ourselves in an intimate way with an unbeliever. A knowledge of the Word would direct her to make sure of the man’s commitment to the Lord before entering into a life with him.

Another way the Lord speaks to us is through a gentle ‘nudge’ to our spirit. It might be a quiet voice speaking through our conscience, or an impression that comes into our mind while praying, worshiping or considering a problem.

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

It’s important to spend time with the Lord in prayer, opening our hearts and spirits to His voice and waiting on Him for direction. Spend time in worship, give yourself totally to Him, asking that Jesus be in complete control of your mind and heart as you seek Him and listen. As children of God, we can be confident the Holy Spirit will lead us, but as stated in Col. 3:15, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,” and so peace must accompany the leading or direction we receive.

God’s peace is the sure sign that the Holy Spirit is directing us, rather than our own thoughts or desires. The Holy Spirit is quiet and gentle, but persistent, calling us to wait quietly before Him and listen for His voice. He speaks to us when we take the time to wait on Him, not rushing, not feeling we must always be talking, but patiently waiting for Him to speak.

Sometimes He chooses to speak when we’ve opened our hearts to Him in worship and are simply desiring to serve Him. While worshiping during a Wednesday evening service at my church, I strongly sensed the Lord was asking me to kneel during the balance of the worship service. I felt uncomfortable, as the rest of the congregation were on their feet. He impressed on my heart that, if I would be obedient, He was going to show His power before the service ended.

The ‘nudge’ was so strong, I knew I had to obey. I quietly slipped down to my knees and finished the worship service in tears, more moved than I had been in a long time. When the pastor came up to speak, he shared that someone in the congregation was in physical pain and asked that the person come forward for prayer. A woman immediately stepped out, but he didn’t pray for her. Instead, he explained the Lord had shown him someone was present who had been given a gift of faith for this woman’s healing and asked that person to come forward to pray.

I immediately felt faith well up in my spirit and knew this was why the Lord had asked me to be obedient. I walked forward, laying my hand on her back and praying briefly. She testified that the pain left as soon as my hand touched her back. The Lord chose to do a sovereign work, but in this case it was dependant upon my willingness to listen and obey.

The last section will be posted either tomorrow night or some time Saturday. Thanks for joining me & please feel free to post a comment any time!

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