FREEDOM TO ROAM -- HE SAID
By: Eddie Jones
"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." - Isaiah 30:20-21
I'm a lawbreaker. In our town there is an ordinance that states all pets must be restrained on a six-foot long, lanyard-type leash but I ignore this law and walk my dog using a remote leash.
My dog's collar has a receiver that responds to a transmitter I carry in my hand. The range is around 100 feet. If Sandy gets too far ahead I'll whistle for her. Usually she comes right back, but if not, I press a button and her collar beeps. She comes slinking back, then. But sometimes even that doesn't work, so I press another button that both beeps AND shocks her. Because of this negative reinforcement my dog has learned to listen for my voice and respond to my commands.
In some ways God does that with us. We can choose to roam, ignore His voice commands and sprint beyond the range of his zapper. We can run from God and go off in the woods, alone. When Sandy does this I call her "lost."
People outside the church think Christianity is about limiting the fun, restricting the passion of life and following a list of "don'ts." Nothing could be further from the truth. Sandy enjoys a world way beyond the six-foot range of the noose-like leashes other dogs wear. But she only gets to keep her freedom when she obeys my voice. When she deliberately disobeys I put her back on the rope. Then we're both in compliance.
When God gave us free will He gave us the freedom to escape the range of his voice and many have. But Christians know the call of love and we respond to it. Perfect freedom is found in perfect obedience.
If you are struggling to hear God's direction in your life slow down, stop and sit. Perhaps you have rushed ahead of his pace. Maybe he said to "wait" or slow down, and you did, but not long enough. If you have a sense of being lost then you should do like Sandy in the picture above, turn around and look back towards Him. For me, this requires that I fall on my knees and open my Bible.
If you want life, true abundant life, then learn to hear His voice and trust his commands. He wants to give you more, not less. For those who follow Christ the best is yet to come.
THAT STILL SMALL VOICE -- SHE SAID
by: Cindy Sproles
I headed out to a 7:00 a.m. class and when I pushed open the huge doors from the dorm I was met by a blinding fog. The Bible college I attended sat along the banks of the French Broad River and early morning fog across the pastures was not uncommon. You couldn't see three feet in front of you.
I stepped off the porch and felt my way down the stairs to the long sidewalk that led to the education building. Heaving my backpack onto my shoulder I inched my way through the thick mist. There was no sound, and the deeper I walked into the mist the more disoriented I became.
Dropping my satchel, I knelt to the ground in hopes to get my bearings. From behind me I heard the voice of an angel ringing through the mist. A clear, a high soprano with perfect pitch and a tender vibrato filled the air.
Spirit of the Living God echoed across the campus. Standing I looked to my left and then to my right and I couldn't see a thing. I was lost, yet the voice behind me spurred me to move forward. Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me floated through the thickness of the morning. Within a matter of moments Rachael, the angel in the mist, stumbled upon me.
"You can't see either?" she asked. "I sing on mornings like this. When I'm close to the building, my voice bounces back. Walk this way." She smiled and slipped her arm through mine. Then she began to sing again.
I'll never forget that morning. The morning an angel came from behind me to lead me to safety. Being lost in the fog doesn't seem like a big deal. We can wait till it lifts and find our way, but to me it was life changing. When I think of the times I look to the left and then to the right and I can't see my way clear. I'm blinded by the fog. Fear rises to the surface and I wonder if I'll find my way back, when from behind me I hear a voice-the voice of a redemptive Savior whispering to walk on.
When you feel disoriented, lost, or confused, listen to the voice that whispers from behind. Listen intently and you will hear that still small voice offering you the direction you need. The Father will say, "Walk this way. Walk in it."