What’s Running in The Background by Larry W. Peebles

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“What’s running in the background?” is the question I most often get to answer my complaint that my smartphone or tablet is running too slowly or is using up the battery life too rapidly.  My tech friends remind me that my electronic device has limited memory, operating capacity, and battery life.  They say it is smart to turn off or close out certain apps or programs running in the background (or behind the scenes).  Doing so allows the device to function quickly and more efficiently on the main program—the one before me on the screen. This is good tech advice.

Fortunately, God has no such limitations.  In life, the events we see “on the screen” are those things we can see, touch, feel, taste and smell with our natural senses.  This is life as we know and experience it most of the time.  I know that God is working supernaturally behind those same scenes with another set of objectives, and a totally different perspective on the outcome.  Something that we experienced that did not feel good at all, that had a negative perception, might be the very valuable hard lesson we needed to avoid a worse outcome down the road.  What we thought was bad was actually for our good.  God had another outcome running in the background.  Often He has more than one good outcome running.  He can do that.  He has no memory, operating capacity or battery life problems.

I was recently and vividly reminded of this on a trip to India.  The stated purpose of the mission trip-what was to unfold on the screen so to speak-was a three day crusade to conduct gospel revival meetings in a region of India with a known history of severe Christian persecution.  In this particular town, no outdoor crusade meetings had ever been conducted.  Previous attempts had been denied permits.  Christians and Christian churches were heavily outnumbered and persecuted.  Yet our small team, with the invaluable help of locals, and the fervent prayers of many back home, was able to hold these crusade meetings.  The people were precious, and the meetings were joyous.  The good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ was preached in an area of the world that had never heard it before.  Thousands of lives were changed, and many miracles occurred.  Many were touched by God, and gave their hearts to Jesus.  This was the stated purpose of the trip.  The main objective was accomplished.  What was running in the background was equally impressive.  God’s hand could be seen in those crusade meetings, but what He was doing at the same time behind the scenes was also truly remarkable.

I am sure I do not realize everything He was doing in the background, but here are four things I sensed were going on in the supernatural realm at the same time we were holding crusade meetings:

  1. God sent us as messengers to encourage the local pastors.  He wanted to lift up those who lived everyday with the persecution and rejection that comes with being a part of a group of believers that represent only 2% of the population of the nation.  He wanted to lift the feeling of loneliness and isolation.  God sent a small team from the U.S. and a team of locals from another region of the country to say in effect “God has not forgotten you.  He sees you and wants to encourage you. He wants to break your isolation, oppression and persecution.”
  2. God wanted to take the ground in this region.  The revival was held in the center of town in a cricket stadium adjacent to existing temples of idol worship.  The stadium was important ground previously off-limits to Christians for purposes of gathering and meeting.  Because it was a high profile meeting place, Christians were encouraged to “come out of the closet” and stand on the field to celebrate their God.  Previous attempts to hold meetings here had been denied permits.  God used a man of the majority religion, described as a militant, to not only back the crusade meeting, but also to make the arrangements for the sound system, the lights, and decorations for the stage.  He did not just do a minimal job with this responsibility.  He did an excellent job with all these arrangements.  This man was politically powerful, having been active in denying the previous attempts to hold Christian meetings in the town.  After the crusade meetings, he was going to get the meetings shown on local television.  Militant opposition was turned to vital support.  New ground was plowed with the Gospel.  I could sense that something very significant had happened spiritually, that change was in the air.  This region would never be the same.  Only God can do that.
  3. God wanted us to reach other social outcasts with a message of hope and encouragement.  Before and after the crusade meetings, we were able to visit several groups that society had forgotten.  We distributed food to and laid hands on and prayed with a group of lepers from the leper colony.  I will never forget the moment.  Tears welled in my eyes, and a lump formed in my throat.  It was so very humbling to pray for the same people for which Jesus had such compassion.  They were missing fingers and toes from this horrible disease, yet they were smiling and grateful to receive the food and our love and prayers.  Although the disease is treatable and much more is known about how to prevent its spread, the fear and social stigma attached to this disease is still prevalent.  No one visits the lepers, except the local Christian ministry we connected with.  They visit weekly, and bring a doctor to help with treatment.  We were privileged to go with them to bring food and greetings in the name of Jesus.    We also visited a shelter for the elderly and the orphans with a similar message.  The elderly were mainly women who had worked all their lives in the rice fields, and when they were no longer able to work, they were abandoned to fend for themselves.  Were it not for the shelter, many of the orphans would be sold in the human trafficking trade.  Except for the shelter, they had no one, no food, and no place to belong.  God wanted them all to know they were important to Him and not forgotten.
  4. For me personally, God wanted me to see first-hand the spiritual dark side of idol worship, and its effect on a nation.  He wanted me to deal with the fear of being in such an oppressive and persecuted environment.  During the trip, each time I heard another story of past atrocious persecution in the region, my sleep would be interrupted with a dream containing that story, magnified into the worst possible outcome for our team.  I was not so afraid that I could not complete the assignment, but my sleep was being interrupted.  After two days of this, the team prayed with me, we took authority over my sleep.  The spiritual torment stopped, and sweet sleep was restored.

A scripture and a story come to mind.  In Luke 10:17, the seventy two sent out by Jesus “returned with joy and said, ‘Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”’  Demonic opposition to His plans, and demonic interruption of sleep must bow to the name of Jesus and His purposes.

In 2 Kings 6:15, Elisha’s servant was troubled when he saw an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city where he and Elisha were staying.  Their capture seemed imminent.  The scene before him did not look good.  Elisha saw this, but he also saw the scene running in the background.  He saw the God- orchestrated supernatural scene behind the natural scene which told a different story.  Elisha prayed that God would open the eyes of his servant to see the hills full of horses and chariots of fire (from God) all around Elisha for his protection.  In verse 16, Elisha told his servant “Don’t be afraid, those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”  When the enemy attacked, they were struck with blindness.  Their plans to capture the man of God were thwarted.

Before the trip, I asked the Lord to keep me continually aware of what He was doing in the spirit realm.  I asked Him to teach me more about prevailing over spiritual opposition.  He did so in an effective yet gentle way.  Remember that what we see or experience is not all that is happening.  Ask God what is running in the background.

Parking on The Other Man’s Quarter by Larry W. Peebles

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There is no telling how many times he drove around the block.  My dad was looking for a parking meter that still had some time remaining.  If he could find one, he could save a nickel or two.  The small town where I was born and started elementary school had a downtown area that consisted of only a few square blocks.  The clothing stores, the department stores, the hardware store, the barber shop, the jewelry store and the movie theatre were all located within those few blocks.  City Hall, the Post Office, the bank, and other city services such as the water department were also located downtown, so it was a busy place.  When I would accompany my dad on trips to town, I would see people taking care of all types of business and shopping.  All of the parking spaces convenient to those stores and places of business were metered.  One car would pull out of a space, and another was waiting to take the spot.  But if there was not enough time left on the meter to take care of dad’s business, he would pass it by and keep circling the block until he found one that did.  Meter attendants walked the sidewalks issuing parking tickets to those cars that went over the time limit, and emptying the coins from the meters into a tall two wheel cart to turn in at the city offices.  Money was tight in those days, and there is certainly nothing wrong with being frugal. There are more cars now than back then, and free parking is much more available.  Merchants are looking for shoppers, and are not interested in locating where there is a charge for parking for their customers.  If one can find a parking meter these days, it takes a quarter to start.  Parking meters are becoming obsolete, but they typify another obstacle we should address.

Aside from being frugal, and working hard to save a nickel or a quarter, there is a larger character issue at stake here.  Taken to the next level, the question becomes one of dodging responsibility to see if someone else will step up to take on the task, pay the bill, provide the help, or make the effort.  If one can procrastinate or ignore the problem, maybe someone else will step forward to fix it.  Maybe they can park on the other man’s quarter.

Moses had his moment to decide to take action, or park on the other man’s quarter.  When speaking directly to God, he had a list of reasons he should not be chosen to lead God’s people out of Egyptian slavery.   In Exodus 3:10 God said “So now, go.  I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”  After receiving that direct commission from God, Moses says (3:11) “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”  In verse 12, Gods says “I will be with you.”  Often in Scripture that phrase is preceded by “Do not be afraid”.  It is certainly implied even if not said.  There is no reason to be afraid of what I have called you to do because I am with you, says the Lord.  Now in spite of that direct call, and God’s direct assurance that He would be with him, read Moses’ list of reasons/excuses to not answer the call:

  1. Exodus 3:13- “What if they ask me “What is His (Your) name?”
  2. Exodus 4:1- “What if they do not believe me?”
  3. Exodus 4:10- Paraphrase-What about my being slow of speech and tongue?
  4. Exodus 4:13- “O Lord, please send someone else.”

God’s anger then burned against Moses (4:14), and He told Moses he could take along his brother Aaron to help speak.  He then told him to pick up his staff and get going, which Moses did.  The rest, as they say, is history.  Moses decided to answer the call.  As the chosen one, he accepted his destiny.  He led God’s people out of slavery by guiding them toward the Promised Land.  God was with him every step of the way.  He became, and still is, one of the great men of faith in the Bible.  He became so close to God he was referred to as “friend.” At the end of his life, God personally buried him (Deuteronomy 34:5, 6).

Gideon also had his moment to decide to answer God’s call, and step into his destiny, or to deny the call and let someone else do the job.  He had to decide if he should park on the other man’s quarter.  His story is remarkably similar to Moses’.  In Judges 6, we find that the Midianites had oppressed the Israelites for seven years, ruining their crops and killing their livestock.  The Israelites were reduced to living in caves for shelter.  In Judges 6:14, God gave a direct call and commission to Gideon “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand.”  In verse 14 God also gave assurance that He would be with him by saying “Am I not sending you?”  After receiving a direct call, with a direct assurance, Gideon still had reasons/excuses to not answer the call:

  1. Judges 6:15- “But Lord, how can I save Israel?”
  2. Judges 6:15- “My clan is the weakest in Manasseh.”
  3. Judges 6:15- “I am the least in my family.”
  4. Judges 6:17- “Give me a sign.”
  5. Judges 6:36-38- Gideon asked for another sign, this time involving a wool fleece.
  6. Judges 6:39- Gideon asked for yet a second sign involving the fleece.

Gideon wisely requested that God not be angry with him.  The Lord was patient with Gideon, worked with him in his insecurities, and ultimately led him into his destiny.  Gideon accepted his call as “mighty warrior” (6:12).  The rest is history.  In Judges Chapter 7, the Lord led Gideon and a relatively small band of men to a smashing defeat of the Midianites.  He caused such confusion in the camp that the Midianites turned their swords on each other.  Israel was saved.  Gideon gave God all the glory, and enjoyed 40 years of peace in the land to the end of his life.

When God calls us to do something, it is almost always something we cannot do on our own.  In fact, if it is something we can do on our own without Him, it is probably not God calling.  When God calls us to do something, it is related to our destiny.  It is important.  He is patient to work with us in our insecurity regarding his call; however, we will never complete what He uniquely created us to accomplish if we park on the other man’s quarter.  When we are called we must say yes in spite of our own misgivings regarding the size of the task, our own human abilities, or the timing–whether now is convenient or not.

Moses and Gideon were normal men.  God gave them a supernatural job to do.  Today it is no different.  He calls us to obey and trust Him and when we do, He will affect others supernaturally through us.

When we are called by God to do something, may we not procrastinate, ignore and/or look around for someone else to answer the call.  May we not park on the other man’s quarter.  May our first response not be “Find someone else—I’m not your man/woman.”  Rather may it be like the one found in Isaiah 6:8- “Here I am.  Send me.”

How God Speaks Part 4 by Kay Keith Peebles

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God Speaks Through Other People

The depth of God’s love amazed me!  My husband and I were driving to the Maximum Security Juvenile Justice Center in east Tampa to minister to the youth incarcerated there, as we had for many years.  The Lord spoke very clearly to me during the 45 minute trip from home to the Center.  He said, “There will be someone in the meeting tonight you must give this message to:  ‘Someone is planning to do something that will either cause you to go to jail for the rest of your life or you will be killed in the process and go to hell!’”  It jarred me; it was so emphatic and abrupt.

I knew I had to speak it forth and thought of how I would weave it into the end of my ministry talk.  My husband ministered to the youth immediately after our praise and worship time.  I had been praying from the moment I had gotten to the Center.  I was winding down my ministry talk and I said what the Lord had asked me to speak.  “God said to me ‘Someone is planning to do something that will either cause you to go to jail for the rest of your life or you will be killed in the process and go to hell!’”  “He is warning you in advance so that you can abort what you are planning to do.”  All the youth were stunned and exceptionally quiet.  After my announcement, it was time for our one-on-one prayer time and a line formed in front of both my husband and me.  The second person in my line, Danny, was a blonde haired, blue-eyed young man 16-18 years of age.  He had a chunky build and was close to six feet tall, so he had to lean over to whisper to me that he was the one I was speaking of.  He said that one of his friends had been killed a few nights earlier in a gang related shooting.  Danny was in the Juvenile Justice Center at the time as was another friend, Mike, who had just been released the day before.  Danny and Mike were both plotting to kill the young man who had performed the “hit” on their friend after they both got out of detainment.

I was astonished.  My husband and I had both spoken to the group about the love God has for them in spite of what they had done.  His wanting to intervene before a horrific crime was committed that would destroy 3 young men’s lives was truly an act of love.  I sternly assured Danny that God was not playing games.  It became very apparent to me why the Lord had told me the person would “either be apprehended and sent to prison for the rest of his life or he would be killed in the process and his soul would go to hell”.  The fear of God fell upon Danny and he began to weep on my shoulder.  I told Danny he and Mike must abort their plan to kill this young man.  God was clearly warning him there would be no way out for him if he went through with it.

Overnight I tossed and turned with the responsibility of knowing there was a plan to murder someone and I was not completely sure it would be called off.  The next morning I called the night shift manager at the Juvenile Justice Center whom we had worked with for many years.  I asked if we could come back in to counsel with Danny.  He gladly agreed.  The next night my husband and I returned to make sure Danny was going to cancel the planned attack.  We were amazed when we got in the room to speak with him.  Before we could say anything, Danny, looking excited, bounded over to us and told us what had happened the day after I had prayed with him.  His friend Mike, who had been released earlier, called him and told him that his uncle Vic was a Christian, and he had come to visit him.  Uncle Vic had told Mike word-for-word the exact message I delivered to Danny on the same night we had gone to the Juvenile Justice Center.  Mike told Danny he knew they had to cancel their plans.  Danny looked relieved and surprised that the Lord would go to such lengths to protect him and Mike from making a horrible mistake that could affect the rest of their lives and their eternity.  We prayed with Danny again, and left knowing the Lord had given me a Word of Wisdom to spare his life.  I felt deeply humbled and amazed.  I knew I was only a messenger, but what a privilege it was to be a conduit between the Lord and someone else, especially when it draws someone closer to the Lord.

As a review, How God Speaks Part 1 was through His Creation.  Part 2 was through His written Word- the Bible.  Part 3 was through an internal voice and Part 4 through other people.

Many times the Lord has spoken to someone I knew, and they called me to encourage me or sent me a card to let me know they were praying for me.  Early in my Christian walk I did not realize someone encouraging me at just the right time was orchestrated by the Lord.  Since then, I have watched similar things happen with other people I knew.  Many have reported how God touched them through someone else’s obedience.  I have heard testimonies of people praying for a specific need, only to have someone knock on their door within hours of their prayer, giving them the very thing they had prayed for.  The Lord had heard their prayer and answered it through another individual.

There have been times when I was in a church service and the Pastor or Bible Teacher spoke the exact answer to something I had prayed about.  I have also been called forward in a service where a Prophet has spoken a word over my life that confirmed something the Lord was telling me He wanted me to do.  I have known Apostles, who have seen the call of God on people’s lives and led them in the right direction, helping them grow in their Spiritual gifts.  God has also led Evangelists to the right field of harvest with the timely message for the people, so that they can hear the Word of Truth and choose to believe in Jesus Christ and what He did for all mankind.    The Lord loves working through a man or a woman to reach mankind.  The only requirement is being a willing vessel to listen and to obey.

The Old and New Testaments of the Bible are filled with many testimonies of those like Moses, Noah, Deborah, Ester, Abraham, David, Joseph, Elijah, Elisha, Elizabeth, John, Peter and Paul who are only a few examples of God speaking through others.  None were qualified except for the fact that God spoke to them and they obeyed.  One of my favorite stories and probably the most profound is when Mary, the sister of Lazarus, anointed Jesus with oil.

Matthew 26:6-13 “Now when Jesus came back to Bethany and was in the house of Simon the leper, A woman came up to Him with an alabaster flask of very precious perfume, and she poured it on His head as He reclined at table.  And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, For what purpose is all this waste?  For this perfume might have been sold for a large sum and the money given to the poor.  But Jesus, fully aware of this, said to them.  Why do you bother the woman?  She has done a noble (praiseworthy) and beautiful thing to Me.  For you always have the poor among you, but you will not always have Me.  In pouring the perfume on My body she has done something to prepare Me for My burial.  Truly I tell you, wherever this good news (the gospel) is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will be told also, in memory of her.” See John 11:2.

This story has a powerful impact when considering the Lord God used someone who was not in the 5-fold ministry, perhaps not well educated, and of no prominence in society.  In addition, she was a woman.  Although Jesus had been preparing his disciples for His coming death on the cross, it was not computing in their brains.  They were only looking through their natural eyes and could not envision a time when He would not be with them.  We do not know if Mary fully understood about Jesus’ coming death, regardless, she ministered to her Lord in a mighty way.  I can’t recall another instance of anyone ministering to Jesus during his ministry.  Her thoughts were not to receive from Him, but to minister to Him and she touched His heart mightily.  I believe the Holy Spirit, through the love of God the Father for His Son, moved on Mary’s heart to anoint Him before His horrible humiliation and death on the cross.  It was Father God reaching out to His Son through a common woman who received no respect for her deed except from Jesus.

His own disciples failed to minister to Him through prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane when He asked them, before His arrest and crucifixion.   Prior to that, they were often concerned about their position of authority in the Kingdom and among each other.  Most of them deserted Him during His trial and crucifixion.  I don’t mention that to demean or dishonor them, because they eventually all gave their lives for the sake of the Gospel of the Kingdom, but at a crucial time, He had a need and it was Mary who met it.

The Bible is not a book of stories about super-heroes.  It is the history of God’s story as He interacts with mankind.  It is the testimony of Who God is, and how His Kingdom operates apart from the natural world we live in.  God is the Super hero, mankind is flawed and incapable unless the hand of God is upon them.  Mary, moved by God, ministered to her Lord just prior to His gruesome death on the cross and God made sure her story would be told throughout the millenniums until the Lord returns.

The Lord would use us all if we would let Him.  It has nothing to do with being more spiritual.  Humility is a willingness to trust the Lord and not our own instincts or thoughts.  If He chooses to use us, humility makes us willing to submit to His direction.  His invitation goes out to all, “For many are called but few are chosen”.    Matthew 20:16.  It is actually pride that prevents us from submitting to and obeying the Lord.  When we no longer care what other people think, and we’re not focused on what would happen if we failed, then we can be used in mighty ways to touch others, and even the Lord Himself.

God speaks through nature, His Word, internally in our hearts and through others.  These are not all the ways He speaks.  Our series will continue.  My question is, are we listening?

How God Speaks Part 3 by Kay Keith Peebles

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God Speaks Internally

“Cuba!  I want you to go to Cuba.”  I knew the “internal” voice was not mine because I had no desire to go to Cuba.  Cuba was not on my radar.  It was a communist country and closed for normal travel by the U.S. authorities.  There were no direct flights from the U.S. to Cuba and all recreational flights there were banned.

A year and a half earlier I had felt “impressed” by God to seek the position as head of the mission’s committee at our church.  Several months into my commitment I heard an internal voice that said, “I want you to plan a mission trip.  Your church has not had an international mission’s trip in years.”  As I prayed into this idea, I felt “led” to begin by starting a weekly prayer group to (1) intercede for the trip and (2) ask the Lord where we were to go.

For six weeks a few interested friends and I met and prayed for the Lord’s direction.  I had placed a world map on the wall of our prayer room and each meeting we faithfully asked where the Lord would lead us to go.  At the end of the six weeks, I placed my hand on the map as I had every week previously, but this time I heard “Cuba, I want you to go to Cuba!”  I knew this was not me, it had to be the Lord because I had absolutely no desire to go to Cuba.  Our denomination had churches in Cuba but the Cuban government would not allow any open evangelism there.  I knew if our pastor agreed to a trip to Cuba the impression I felt had to be the Lord.  He immediately gave me his approval when I asked him if we could plan a mission trip to Cuba.  My heart began to stir with excitement.  I would have felt trepidation had going to Cuba not been the Lord’s will.

We continued praying weekly for the next year as I organized the trip with the Pastor and Bishops in Havana.  We prayed for the Lord to “call” people to go on our trip and secured a charter flight to and from the U.S.  I wondered if we could get even a handful of people willing to go.  I was amazed when the Lord formed our team of 20.  Eleven were from our church and 8 were from another church in the area.  My husband and I had been financially supporting an Apostle missionary who wanted to join our team making us a group of 20.  We then began to plan fundraisers so that we could bring gifts to the Cuban churches.  Through God’s blessing, we were able to purchase 3 video projectors for showing the Jesus films that had been donated.  We gathered 500 pounds of donated medical supplies, and were given 1,200 Bible tracts in Spanish, and 1,200 New Testament Spanish Bibles by the Gideon’s ministry.  We had a garage sale and took in used bicycles which raised the money to purchase 20 new bicycles for the Cuban pastors to travel to their home churches.  Finally, we had a large banquet which raised enough money to enable us to give a large financial gift for the churches in Cuba.

A couple of months before our trip our charter carrier cancelled our flight.  Our missionary Apostle arranged for us to fly by commercial airlines to Costa Rica and minister in his churches for a few days and then travel on to Cuba from there.  The day we were to leave Costa Rica for Cuba, our flight was delayed because of a dense fog over Central America.  Disappointed we had lost a day of our trip, we finally boarded the plane taking us to our destination- Cuba.  A man from our team gave me a handwritten note during our flight from Costa Rica to Cuba.  The Lord had spoken to him overnight about our delay.  The note said, “The Lord spoke to me and told me our delay was so that God could put His man in customs for our arrival.”  My heart leapt because we were carrying Bibles and Bible tracts which were illegal for us to bring into the country.

We had 20 people with 40 pieces of luggage.  One was personal and the other was filled with medical supplies and Bibles.  Being the one who organized the trip, I was led to the customs table and the guard opened one of our bags.  It contained bars of soap, blank cassette tapes and some medical supplies.  I handed him a bar of soap and a cassette tape and said, “Regalo” which meant gift in Spanish.  He nodded, closed the suitcase and waved us all through without looking at another bag.  I had no idea soap was rare in Cuba and that bar of soap was a luxury gift to that customs inspector.

The Cuban church had borrowed a truck to carry our 40 bags of luggage.  They also rented vans for our team to transport us to the church in Havana after our arrival.  The church pastor told us that earlier that morning they had used the truck to deliver a refrigerator to the mother of the man who was head of the customs department.  The customs manager had heard the Cuban church had borrowed a truck to pick up a large group of travelers flying to Havana later that morning.  He needed their help to deliver the refrigerator to his mother.  They gladly accommodated him because they had the time to help him bless his mother.  He was a believer and asked our hosts about the large group of people who would soon arrive at his airport.  They told him we were missionaries from the U.S.  He said he would make sure we got through customs easily and quickly.  He was God’s man in the customs department!

Through the week we stayed at a large church in Havana where they were hosting a group of 500 people including many pastors from all over the island.  We had an amazing time ministering to the people and we were greatly touched by their dedication to the Lord.  The pastors had a holy fire to see the Gospel preached in their nation.  Although their circumstances were bleak as far as living conditions, the Cuban people had the joy of the Lord.  Several pastors we met had been in prison for preaching and evangelizing on the streets.  They were determined to stay in their country no matter the cost, to lead others to the Lord.  Our lives were changed by their faith and we were privileged to encourage them and share our common love for the Lord, but we were also deeply humbled by their love and faithfulness to God.  Although we were not able to openly evangelize in the streets of Cuba, we were used to provide tools for the pastors to witness the love of God to the Cuban people.  This entire amazing adventure began by the “internal” voice of the Lord.

This story is a perfect example of God’s “internal” voice.  There are situations in which we need wisdom that does not have a specific answer in the Bible, such as a team from Tampa going to Cuba on a mission’s trip.  The Holy Spirit was sent to the children of God for the purpose of guiding and directing us as we surrender our will and lives to the Lord.  His voice can be heard by internal impressions or leadings as well as by circumstances which direct our path.  In Part 1 of “How God Speaks”, I revealed God speaks through Creation.  In Part 2, I showed He speaks through His Word.  In Part 3, God Speaks through an Internal Voice (the Holy Spirit) in our conscience.

“But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.  “To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  “And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him for they know his voice.  “Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”  John 10:2-5 New King James Version.   “I am the Good Shepherd; and I know and recognize My own, and My own know and recognize Me.”  John 10:14 Amplified Version.  (Emphasis mine.)

The internal voice of God is one that leads and guides us to walk on the same path as the Lord walked.  He directs us and brings us out of our natural way of thinking and doing, by leading us into God’s will for our lives.  “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”  Romans 8:14. Amplified Version.  (Emphasis mine).

The word “led” is #71 in the Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible.  It means to lead, to bring along, to carry, to lead gently.  To hear His voice means to understand, while to know His voice means to perceive, understand or be aware of.  To follow Him means we will walk in the same way and on the same path as He walks.  We will accompany Him as His disciples.  These scriptures confirm to us that the Lord leads and guides us by an “internal” voice, the voice of the Holy Spirit.  He directs our path as we “follow” Him.  If we are His sheep and we have received the Holy Spirit, then we should be able to “hear” His voice and follow His lead.

“And when they had come opposite Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia but the Spirit of Jesus did not permit them, So passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas.”  Acts 16:7-8.  (Emphasis mine).  Paul and Silas were disciples of Jesus, Apostles to the nations with the call to make His name known.  They had come into the faith after Jesus’ death and resurrection.  Their leading and direction came from the Holy Spirit via an internal voice.

Jesus promised His disciples when He had to leave them He would send them the Holy Spirit Who would guide and direct them.  “But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things.  And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you. John 14:26 Amplified Version.  (Emphasis mine).

Two thousand years later we, His disciples, still need the Holy Spirit to lead, guide, bring us understanding, and teach us the ways of Christ Jesus.  The Holy Spirit speaks to us by using an internal voice only His sheep can hear.  Many have claimed to have heard God speak to them but they have done wicked things in His name.  The direction of the Holy Spirit will never lead us to do anything to contradict the Biblical Christian teachings of Jesus.  Everything Jesus did was motivated by love and filtered through God’s truth.  Jesus was solely directed by God the Father in all that He did and said while on earth and in the same way, His disciples are to be directed by His Holy Spirit who was promised to lead us into all things (of God).

God speaks to us through His Creation which is alive, and has a silent, yet powerful voice.  God speaks to us through His written Word which is His Eternal Truth.  God speaks to us through a quiet internal voice which is the leading of His Holy Spirit.  But there are still other ways in which the Lord speaks to us.  This series will continue…

The children of God are not left to grope as if blind, trying to find our way to God.  We are not dependent upon man alone to give us our instruction about God.  If we are the sheep of His pasture, we are able to hear, perceive and follow the voice of our Good Shepherd.  God speaks; are we listening?