Posted by: directortom | January 7, 2009

Directed From Above

When anyone is called by God to service, there are three decisions that can be made. First of all, there is the answer back to God, “No”. With that decision there is the unenviable result of living one’s life outside of God’s covenant of protection, guidance, equipping, enabling, and eternal reward. But there is also added to that decision certain other results, to wit, the knowledge and belief that God does not know what is best for a life. How sad that the person who says “no” to God must also arrange their own life without the best blessing that God had intended? And yet, God, in His divine mercy, often strives to bring that person to a submissive state that will yield a different answer; yes. The justifiable methods of God may include but are not limited to hardship, illness, financial stress, and a general lack of peace in one’s life. The person who continually chooses to ignore God in spite of God’s wooing and calling is destined for an unfulfilled life.

There are two other choices that can be made when God calls. There is the “yes” with limitations. Yes, I’ll follow as long as it is comfortable, non-threatening to family affairs, and limited to certain fields, tasks, and/or locations to which the call might require. This “yes” is not unlike a “no” answer. For all practical and spiritual purposes, this version of yes answer is, in fact, a no.

Finally, there is the absolute “yes”. Yes, I will follow, yes, I will go. This is the most intriguing of any of the answers to God’s call. Why? Simple; it opens Heaven’s bountiful blessing for the person called and begins for that person a journey that will never end. This journey begins in this present life and continues throughout eternity as God directs this life forevermore. It is to this decision that I will speak for it is a decision that I made in 1966. As I write today, it is 2009. Simple math reveals that I have been on this journey for 43 years. And today I am rich beyond belief, full of peace and joy, strength and health, prosperity and fullness, that has continued unabated for more than four decades. Well, almost. I say almost because there have been countless times when I had no idea whatsoever what was coming next. There were many times when finances were strained, peace was a pipe dream, health seemed at an end, and joy seemed to be located on some distant star. Such is the life at times for the called of God.

Volumes could be written and consumed without ever touching all the great reasons why the call of God is often a hard struggle laced with unbelievable pressure to give it all up for a more reasonable, easier lifestyle. Even today as I dropped in to do a bulk mailing for our church, the thought came to my mind; “Look at those postal workers; civil servants who work for the government for perhaps 25 or 30 years, have great benefits all that time and retire with a very nice pension plus social security.” Really? What may appear to me on the surface may not be true in reality. And yet, from time to time, this thought tries hard to be implanted in my mind. It is attempted in most instances by the enemy of my soul who raises the question, “Has it been worth what you have given up?” When my mind clears, I understand and say, “Yes, it has been worth it all and there is more blessing to come.” I will give an example.

When the Lord first called me in 1966, I had not the immediate inclination or motivation to do anything except tell my future wife and my senior pastor, James Hamill. It happened like this. I was singing as part of the 90 voice sanctuary choir at First Assembly of God in Memphis. During a choir festival one Sunday evening, I felt an undeniable presence of God in my spirit. God called me to a life of full time service. Music was to be the concentration. That was it. No when, where, or how. It would take several years to fully understand why God said only that. I would eventually learn that God provides the when, where, and how. What God wanted from me was the answer. My answer was yes. Later in life I would come to know the national anthem for the called of God.

Lead me Lord, I will follow,
Lead me Lord, I will go;
You have called me, I will answer.
Lead me Lord, I will go.

God has guided me for all of my life, not just the four decades of full time ministry. I first began to learn of this “guiding” after completing two and a half years of service as a United States Navy musician. My final year and a half was to be spent at a location of my personal choosing, guaranteed by my previous good service to the Naval Music Department. Being from Texas, I choose the Naval Air Station in Corpus Christi which had a navy band attached. I was assured by my supervisory orders that my assignment was fixed at that location. However, when the final orders came down attached to my travel documents, my new assignment was to be the naval air station in Memphis, Tennessee! How did that happen? God. Why did that happen? Only God knows all the answers but some of the evident factors were that He wanted me to come back closer to Him. The place he chose was Memphis, home of the First Assembly of God. What was there for me? Among many other things were my future wife, Sheila, this great church with a music department that took me in and made use of my talent, and, Paul Ferrin, the Minister of Music who nurtured me, taught me, and loved me back into church life. And it was right in the middle of this church life that God choose to call me to full time service. And still today, I serve gladly this great God Almighty who always makes the heart glad and full in spite of the difficulty of life. In my next blog entry, I will give some great examples of how He has led my family and me to places never imagined. What a miraculous and wonderful life it has been; and it continues to be so. I will also show how that to follow the Lord completely, timely miracles are sent to show the servant that this wonderful journey is a path created by God alone.

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Responses

  1. What a great testimony your life is to following God!


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