A Christian’s Voice From Raymore – September 30, 2009

A Christian’s Voice From Raymore – September 30, 2009

Listening to God’s Voice

I have been thinking a great deal lately about the voice of God and how he speaks to Christians in our day. Sometimes I yearn for the type of guidance that he provided to many of his great leaders of the past. I have studied the lives of great men like Moses (Exodus 3) and Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1) who were hesitant to heed the clear call of God. There was Joshua who did not seem to bat an eye when called to take up the challenge of leadership with God’s tremendous encouragement (Joshua 1). And then there were men like Gideon (Judges 6:36-40) who were not quite sure and asked God for a series of signs that he was indeed calling them for a specific mission. I am a believer! I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God! I believe that my faith has increased in the past 4-5 years and has increased my desire for ministry and outreach. This increased faith and recent circumstances in my professional life, have brought me to a decision point where I am earnestly seeking and listening for God’s voice. I am passionately pursuing his will for my life and I have reached a decision point. I have just finished reading Lloyd Reeb’s book Success to Significance and definitely am a proponent of the “halftime” philosophy. Through suggestions offered by Mr. Reeb, I hope to find my place to serve. The key questions I must answer are: 1) Will I serve in the marketplace, in the church, in the community or internationally? 2) What are my gifts and talents and how will I carve out a ministry assignment that matches who I am and what God is calling me to do? 3) What model for serving best fits (how much time will I work on it and will my ministry be paid or unpaid)? Knowing that God does not speak to me directly and orally as he did with Moses, Jeremiah, Joshua and Gideon, I look for his providence in the happenings of my life. I spend time with him early in the morning and throughout the day to seek his guidance in the decisions I make. I listen for his voice, speaking through wise counsel offered by godly men and women. I look for guidance from spiritual mentors and leaders. If you would like to leave your comments, feel free to do so. If you would prefer to respond to me privately, e-mail at randy.sexton@achristiansvoice.com. May God bless you in your walk with Him, as you seek to listen to His voice and to find his direction for your life! –Randy Sexton

A Christian’s Voice From Raymore, Volume 1, Number 3: September 15, 2009

Musings from My Journal

I went to work yesterday as I had for the last ten years and seven months. But today was different. Today I was to begin day 1 of a new phase of my life. My company had completed a merger on July 1st and the integration process, which had been slowly grinding on, today impacted me in a special way. Today I learned that there would not be a place for me in the new organization.

Now understand that in my 35+ years I had been through similar circumstances, so I was not “blown away” by the news. In 1988 when I experienced it for the first time, I needed the help of my main confidant (my dad) to help get through the next week.

I left work and drove home and while my boys, ages 8 and 11, were outside playing with their friends, I shared the news with my wife. She was immediately concerned about how I was taking the news. I assured that I was doing ok and we agreed that we would not stress over the situation but would continue to explore our options.

As I awoke this morning, I was at peace with the approaching end of my career with my current company. I prayed about our situation and as I left home to take the kids to school, I was more excited than I have been in a while about the future. My thoughts immediately turned to entertain the idea of transforming A Christian’s Voice (ACV) into a ministry and outreach and to be a voice for advancing causes such as Sacred Selections (www.scredselections.org), Youth Friends (www.youthfriends.org), etc. My vision for ACV would involve me in such activities as: consulting, counseling, writing, public speaking and perhaps teaching in a public or private capacity. These are all works in progress. They are presently my ideas and I am listening for God’s voice to discern whether they are His plans for me too. (I will have more reflections on this in the next issue of my blog.)

As I opened Facebook this morning, in my inbox was the most recent issue of Spiritual Manna, an e-newsletter published by Ethan R. Longhenry. That issue began,

“Then Mordecai bade them return answer unto Esther, “Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews. For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then will relief and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place, but thou and thy father’s house will perish: and who knoweth whether thou art not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13-14).

Ethan goes on to make application of the principles here,
“The example of Mordecai and Esther ought to be quite encouraging for us. After all, we are living in the days when we do not get the word from God regarding our specific situations. It may seem many times that God is not there in the midst of our trials and difficulties, and it can be hard to know what to do.

Just as with Esther, so it may be with us. God’s will has been functioning and continues to function in this world (Ephesians 1:3-14, 3:10-11). We may find ourselves in unique situations that allow us to be an encouragement to someone, or perhaps we are put in a position where we can make a great demonstration of the love of God for all men (cf. Matthew 5:13-16, 1 John 4). When we find ourselves in a difficult position, and when we wonder how we shall act in the face of challenging options, we might do well to ask Mordecai’s question: perhaps we were put in the situation we are in for some divine reason!

Far be it from anyone to presume to know for certainty the ways of God and His providence; that is not necessarily for humans to know (cf. Isaiah 55:8-9). Nevertheless, we must at least be open to the possibility that God is providing us with opportunities to accomplish His will and lead people to His relief and deliverance (Matthew 11:28-30, Romans 1:16).

But it is not enough to just be in the right place at the right time: one must take advantage of those opportunities. Esther only acts after Mordecai’s encouragement to recognize the value of the opportunity she has. Perhaps it will be, as Mordecai firmly believed, that deliverance may come from another source. Perhaps someone else will be able to accomplish the Lord’s will if you decide against it. But how tragic it is when someone is in the right place at the right time and yet is unprepared or unwilling to do what the Lord would have them to do (cf. Matthew 21:28-29, 25:14-30)!

Mordecai and Esther lived in dark times and were faced with difficult decisions and no specific and direct word from God. Nevertheless, they held fast to their faith in God as their deliverer and were not disappointed. They recognized the possibility that God’s providence had led Esther to her position, and she was willing to do what was necessary to accomplish what was ultimately manifest as God’s purpose.

It may be 2400 or so years later, but we can easily identify with Mordecai and Esther. Let us also be open to God’s providence, have faith in God and His providence even if He does not directly speak to us today, and take advantage of the opportunities we have been given. After all, who knows whether we have been placed where we are for such a time as this?” — Ethan R. Longhenry

This is great food for thought as I go about my activities today! As you read these musings, please pray that God’s will be done in my life and that I listen to the admonition of the Lord, “Listen, and be still for I have plans for you.”

Thanks for reading with me dear friends.

Revised 9-22-09

–Randy Sexton