19. Listening to God

Stan began our conversation with, “Something happened to me a long time ago that you may find hard to believe.”

“What was that all about?”

“First, a little background.  When I was in high school I began smoking cigarettes.  Mainly sneaking around at first, but then more seriously until I was fully addicted.”

“In college I switched to smoking a pipe.  Over time, I went from being a ‘puffer’ to fully inhaling all of the pipe smoke.”

“My lungs suffered, but I was unable to break the habit even though I tried many times.”

“One Saturday night I attended a church service at the church we normally attended on Sunday mornings.  That was out of the ordinary, but that is how God works sometimes!”

“The church had a large congregation.  The pastor did not know me personally.”

“At the end of that service, the pastor was announcing that there would be a special prayer service the next night.  It would be for anyone who had a special prayer request, such as marriage, family matters, finances, or whatever was needed.”

“In the congregation of several hundred people, the pastor looked right at me and said, ‘or if you have an addiction you need to give up.’  I noted that with no particular interest.”

“I left the service and went to my car.  I turned on the radio and the first thing I heard was a story about how many people were going to die from heart disease related to smoking.’

“I went home, smoked my pipe, and went to bed about ten o’clock.”

“At three in the morning, I awoke and heard God’s audible voice saying, ‘Stop smoking!’  That sort of thing had never happened before.  I listened.”

“I have not smoked since that encounter with God.  And it is the only time I have heard His audible voice.”

“He speaks through His indwelling Spirit, but that voice is different from His audible voice.”

“Wow, Stan, that is quite a story!”

“Yes, it is,  And it gave me a very valuable lesson in addition to freeing me from an addiction.”

“What’s that?”

“Always, always, be open to listening to the voice of God however it comes to me.  He has something important to say.  If it wasn’t important He probably wouldn’t go out of His way to say it.”

“Hear, listen, and obey.  My life with Him depends on it.”

__________________________________

An angel of the Lord spoke to Phillip.  Acts 8:28.

Prayer:  Lord, thank you for speaking to me in whatever way you want.  Please help me to hear and to listen to your voice so I will know what it is you have for me to obey.  And please move in me in accord with your will for me to want to obey.  Amen.

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