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May 20, 2015

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How God Prompts Us to Deliver His Message

by Dave Malnes

A still, small voice beckons our conscience. We have all heard it, haven’t we? Sometimes the voice prompts us to pray. Sometimes the voice prompts us to act — to pick up the phone, send a text, or initiate a conversation.

And sometimes, that still, small voice is prompting us to deliver a very important message – salvation in Christ.

In this noisy world filled with clutter that dominates our attention, we often ignore this voice.

Too busy. Too tired. Too fearful. Or, too lazy.

I am guilty of all them. Wasted opportunities lie at my feet like oily rags. Smelly. Dirty. Painful reminders.

But God takes these oily rags away. He completely removes them.

spark 2The pangs of guilt are absolved in His promises and dissolved in the vast, open sea of His forgiveness. Renewed and refreshed, a thankful heart is transformed into a listening one that is fully attentive to His Words rather than my own.

An attentive heart sparks obedience for it acknowledges the source of its strength in Christ.

Perhaps this is the spark the prompted the obedience of my greatest hero in the Bible.

He receives scant attention, but performs a prominent role. He is not mentioned again in the Bible, but his one act fulfills God’s purpose to help spread the gospel of Christ in ways he may never have imagined. He heard God’s still, small voice and acted upon it. Despite fear, trepidation, and confusion, this man answered God’s call to share the gospel message to a man for whom God set apart to change the world.

I can picture him in his small living quarters. Humble. Prayerful. And then a voice from heaven calls out his name in a vision.

still-small-voice-christopher-grove“Ananias!”

Familiarity reached through the fog of uncertainty that prompted the faith of Ananias to recognize the voice.

“Yes, Lord,” he answered.

The same voice that just called out to a man named Saul from Tarsus was calling out to a humble servant. His hour had come. His appointment was set. Saul had fallen to the ground crying out, “Who are you, Lord?” But not Ananias. He knew the voice.

While Ananias’ faith responded to the Lord’s voice with calm conviction, another man’s religion caused him to respond with sheer terror.

Saul of Tarsus was a devout, religious man. He thought he was doing God a great service by persecuting people who were claiming that Jesus was the Messiah. He had fallen into a man-made trap where the pursuit of righteousness before God could be obtained by doing good works rather than by faith alone. A religious culture prompted a zeal with disastrous effects.

call-to-god-2What must have gone through Paul’s mind when he came to the sudden realization that he had been an enemy of God rather than his friend?  His heart of unbelief had not seen Christ, the Savior, nor was able to recognize His voice. And now, waiting in Damascus with visionless eyes, he pondered his fate, repeatedly asking himself, “What have I done?”

Ananias had questions, too. A divine appointment was scheduled, but he may have thought it was a mistake. To go to a notorious persecutor? To share the message of the gospel and place himself at great personal risk?

Only a select few could obey such a calling. And by faith, Ananias responded. Confused? Probably. Fearful? I would be. Faith responds by taking a first step when questions abound. But isn’t that faith? When a soul rests securely in Christ, it doesn’t need answers. A redeemed souls listens and responds no matter what.

Ananias obeyed. He followed through. He arrived at the house of Judas and he knocked on the door. He proclaimed the gospel of grace to an undeserving Saul, soothing a terror-stricken heart that had mercifully encountered the real presence of God. With his blindness removed, Saul was baptized. He received the eyes of faith. He knew the real Christ.

Does God still encounter us today like He did on the road to Damascus?  Does He still speak to His servants like He did to Ananias?

I think so.

God calls our names and speaks to us through His Word. Our ears of faith responds to His voice. He prompts us to be attentive. He provides opportunities that fall on our laps.  And sometimes He calls us to do the impossible which causes fear, uncertainty, and risk – a task that is contrary to our human nature — to share the message of grace with a lost soul.

STILL_SMALL_VOICE7Unknown to us, a desperate soul has encountered the presence of God. Terror-stricken. Conscience-stricken. There is a soul God is leading to us whose hearts and ears are ready to receive that amazing message of grace. They are waiting for a message, to hear God’s voice through us. A redeemed soul God has set apart – an ambassador who has answered God’s commission to go, teach, and baptize in His name.

Are you that person?  Are you the one whom God is choosing right now?

In this distracted world with many voices beckoning our attention, there still exists that One small, still voice that penetrates hearts and minds – calling us to faith, calling us to serve, reminding us to trust Him in all things.

Ananias listened. Ananias obeyed. And look what God did.

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