Greetings again my Brethren.  Last month we looked at how God expects a prompt and speedy execution on our behalf when He speaks to us.  It is the first time God speaks He is looking for our response.  We would expect no less from our children.  When our kids were growing up and we spoke to them as little babies we had to speak time and time again, but as they grew in stature and intellect we expected and even demanded at times speaking once is enough.  At time their obedience to our speaking could mean life or death as they were crossing the road; come or not come or not to play with certain items they may find.  So too with God, He desires to speak to us one time because having to speak again and again only means we have not learned the lesson God is trying to teach us.  Now God is longsuffering and will speak again, again, and again, but why should we try His patience and  disappoint God in our not hearing and learning?  Let us strive to listen closely to His call and move as His word moves us. This month we will continue looking at the Call of the Apostles by ever being watchful for any divine communication. What is the value of hearing from God?  Just one word from God can change the course of lives. This was the case in my life.  While I was stationed in the Germany and pastoring a growing church God spoke one word to me, “retire.”  Now God did not say what to do next just “retire.”  God is not a chatter box He does not do a lot of talking His words give much guidance and direction, even one word. I retired from the US Military and continued pastoring while adding two teaching jobs; one as a substitute teacher at the American High School and another working as a teacher for a German company teaching business English to German executives to supplement our income.  No word from God to do all of this I just knew to do this as His will to pay the bills.  God speaking to us lets us know many things, but one and probably the most important is His seal of approval in our life.  Read the Bible, God speaks to His children and when He spoke His children knew what to do and how to do it. Another reason for God to speak to us and probably the second most important reason is for correction.  Direction and correction what God speaks to us.  Now we like the pats on the back and the well done my son or daughter, okay they happen, but we will never hear these words until we get the direction and correction down in our heart, mind, and lives.  In Psalms David heard from God (a divine word of communication) and replied back to God, Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. 7Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, 8 I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.”  (Psalms 40:6-8) David was telling God something He already knew and David knew God knew. God knows all things. This knowing gave David boldness to kill a bear, lion, and a giant with a sling.  Run for his life time and time again from King Saul. Become King commit adultery and assist in a murder and yet God loved him and David learned from His mistakes and failures. Yes it is direction and correction this is the call from God for His children and out from that is the wherewith all to do all that God requires of us. How important is hearing? It is everything in our walk with God. As I said earlier often our obedience to God can mean survival or death, both physically and spiritually.  So many times in my travels just one word of warning or confirmation enabled me to move correctly even in the face of danger and certain defeat.  Peter shares, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”  (1 Peter 5:8)  1 Peter was written to encourage the believers to endure the intense persecution that was prevalent in the area and to prepare the readers for the difficult times ahead of them between 112 (under Trajan) and 249 (under Decius) AD.  The first time I went to Africa this verse was really opened to my understanding.   Now the devil is compared to “a roaring lion.” Now the devil is not a lion, oh no Peter said the devil is “as” a roaring lion.  The first time I went to Africa I was taken out in the bush and we came across a pride of lions which had a big old male man did he roar and show his teeth, oh how he scared me until it dawned on me that was all he had a roar and big teeth.  He roared and roared and acted like he was chasing the prey, but stopped short of the attack. It was the smaller, quiet, female lions lurking in the bushes that the prey did not see which took the attack and took down the prey. As I look at this verse yes the devil is there we cannot deny that, but we must put him in the place he is, an old roaring lion whose roar is worse than his bite. Paul tells us Jesus through His death, “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” (Colossians 2:15)  The only power the devil has in our lives is the power we give him. Before we tackle the devil we first must allow God to kill our love for the world and our self.  This is why the devil has a field day in most Christians lives there is a hook for the love of the world and our self that the devil can exploit in us.

Next month we will continue looking at the Call of the Apostles by continuing to look at the divine “Principles of Service” as we look at surrendering our personal choice.  Can you hear Him now?