Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Letting God Lead

God makes each individual unique.  Each person’s face is different so that people who know them can tell even identical twins apart.  Each person’s fingerprints ate different, as is each person’s DNA.  Some are tall and slender while others are more compactly built.  Skin colors vary widely, from a true black to chocolate brown to light tan to the almost colorless albino.  The range is nearly infinite, yet all are humans, with certain typical characteristics such as two arms, two legs, a single head, etc. 

As we saw in the study on the spiritual gifts, God gives each person a unique combination of gifts for the benefit of the church.  A demand that everyone have the same gifts, such as speaking in tongues demonstrates a lack of knowledge about the Holy Spirit.  The same is true when we believe only those who have a particular experience are called or led of God.  Dr. G> B. Vick was never ordained because he had never had the same experience others had and thus felt he was not called to the ministry, yet anyone who studies his life can only conclude he was just as called as any of the others.  We need to understand God is not obligated to do things the way we expect, because he is God.   As we see in scriptures, God reached different men in different ways, and even directed them by different means at different times. 

The apostle Paul’s calling was vastly different than that of Peter, or the other Apostles.  He did not simply come to the Lord after hearing him preach like most of the others.   In fact he openly resisted Christ’s message.  Timothy, on the other hand simply followed God from the time he was a young man. 

In Acts 8:5-8, one of those originally ordained as a deacon felt led to go to Samaria to start a church.  “Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.  And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.  For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.  And there was great joy in that city.”  It was a comparatively large city, and the impact was enormous. 

A little later, God called Philip to a place in Gaza where there was only one man, in Acts 8:26-29.  “And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.  And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.  Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.”   The Coptic Christians of northern Africa claim to be the result of that one man’s teaching when he returned to Ethiopia.  

When my parents first came to Navajo Reservation as missionaries, we were told we should pick a different field because there would never be the large groups that were available on other fields.  Nevertheless, numerous churches were started and the door was opened for other missionaries to come.  God may call a person to big area or a small one. 

In Acts 16:4-11, Paul and his associates set out for Asia toi preach the Gospel.  God simply forbid them to go at that time.  “And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.  And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.  

Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not.  And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas.  And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us.  And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.” 

Paul had started other churches, but this time he was directed in a special place first.  Later they would start churches in Asia, but it was not God’s plan for them to start there first.  God may direct us to a different place than we thought we should go.  As we see, God led in different ways at different times.  We need to learn to allow him to lead us to the proper place at the proper time, remembering what he said in Isaiah 55:8-9.  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”   

We need to understand he has a special plan and allow him to lead as he sees fit.   He may decide to lead us through the most logical plan, or like Philip, he may lead us to place that place that seems totally illogical.  The most important thing is that we be willing to serve him starting just where we are.   If we start with where we are, we can count on him to get us to the proper place, just as he did Abraham’s servant in Genesis 24:7.  “And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of my master Abraham, who hath not left destitute my master of his mercy and his truth: I being in the way, the LORD led me to the house of my master's brethren.”

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