Saturday, December 13, 2008

Small, Still Voice

Our quest to be directed and guided by God is filled

Our quest to be directed and guided by God is filled with passion, questions, confusion and even anger. When you discuss the fact that God does speak to people and if you ever claimed to have heard from Him, most people think you're crazy. Lily Tomlin once said, "Why is it when we talk to God, we're said to be praying, but when God talks to us, we're schizophrenic?" Maybe we're so desperate to hear God's voice, that we've established in our minds how and in what shape He should appear. God is candid, humorous, mysterious and oftentimes blatantly mischievous.

Using a burning bush to capture Moses; frogs, lice, flies and locusts to speak to the stubborn Egyptians; or speaking through a donkey to capture the stubborn prophet, is typical of something I would do if I were God. Yes, He's serious about the people on this Earth, and especially His people, but if you lock into that one aspect of His character and personality, you're lost, because when He does appear in these various other forms, we are blind to the fact that it could be God. God said it well when He vindicated His servant Moses in the presence of Miriam and Aaron after their accusation; Numbers 12:4-8 "...with My servant Moses...I speak with him face to face, even plainly, and not in dark sayings...and he sees the FORM OF THE LORD."

In other words, Moses knows the various forms of God and recognizes them. God appears in various forms and it's delightful to discover Him speaking to you through a bird, a billboard or a cloud formation. Read on and enjoy your journey.

When Elijah the prophet wanted God to speak to him regarding his crisis, we are told that God passed by in an earthquake, whirlwind and fire, but that God was not in these various elements. Elijah hid himself and then there it was... a small, still voice.

What is a small still voice? Small things. Ever heard the saying "stop and smell the roses"? God validates His presence in our lives through small, extraordinary events. The greatest problem in hearing God's voice is busyness. To be busy is simply to be occupied with one particular activity. In the case of Elijah, he had hastily retreated upon hearing Jezebel's order that she was going to see to it that he was destroyed within a 24-hour period. This will surely preoccupy your mind. When this happens, we tend to focus all of our attention on the issue(s) at hand, and our perception and awareness of anything outside of this matter is either distorted or completely redundant. "Seek me and you shall find me. Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears me, I will enter in." Our problem is that we're constantly looking for a quick solution, and we have already given the prerequisite for the solution. What we call a coincident may actually be God appearing to us and mysteriously sending a message. Why not?

Most people expect God's communication to be highly spiritual and on a level that only very few can comprehend, when in fact, He is closer to you than you think. Why wouldn't He use the common things around you to communicate with you? How fun! Instead of God appearing to Abraham in a glorious form, He comes to his front door as three people. These three men look like common, ordinary men, but Abraham immediately realizes that this is God hidden in one of these men. In the end, the Bible says that Abraham stood before God and spoke to Him. Two of the men (angels) went on to Sodom and Gomorrah and God stayed with Abraham. When Jesus was born in a manger, no one was there to greet Him but a few animals. Later on, a number of stargazers see a star in the sky that is shining brightly and they decide to follow it until it places them immediately within reach of the newborn King.


In Anaheim, California, Mavis Jackson drove past the Crystal Cathedral. For twenty years, she said the same thing: "Someday I'm going to go there." One Sunday morning, she did. Putting on her best outfit, she simply decided, "Today is the day." Getting there early, Mavis took a seat in the middle and watched the huge 3000-seat mega-church fill with people. She was awed, as the majestic voices of the choir seemed to encircle her. She marveled at the manner in which a huge section of the glass ceiling slid open at the start of the service as if to invite even the birds to worship.

At the end of the service, Mavis stood up and waited for the aisle to clear. Trying not to sound too excited, she said to the young lady who'd been next to her, "I am so glad I came today. Wasn't it wonderful?" The young woman nodded. "Are you from here?" asked Mavis. "No, I'm from the Midwest," said the young woman, adding, "I'm actually here on a mission. To find my birth mother." There was a pause. "I know how you must feel," said Mavis, "A long time ago, I had to give up a little girl for adoption. I didn't want to.... but..." Another pause. The young woman looked deeply into Mavis' eyes. "Do you...remember her birthday?" "Yes," said Mavis cautiously. "October 30th." "That's MY birthday," gasped the young woman. What are the odds of that?

They sat down. The young woman introduced herself as Cheryl Wallace. Cheryl explained that for years she had been haunted by the lingering uncertainty of not knowing who her birth mother was and, more important, why her mother had given her up. In her small Midwest town, everyone was discouraging. "You're looking for a needle in a haystack," counseled the town clerk. "There's no trace of her."

Eventually, a suggestion from someone who thought she'd once heard that Cheryl's birth mother had moved to Orange County, California, led her to this time and place. Even on her most optimistic days, Cheryl never could have forecast such a remarkable outcome - that such uncertainty would end with such certainty, in a manner that only God could have made happen. And when they confirmed that their wonderful miracle was true - that they were long lost mother and daughter - they knew that Mother's day would never be the same again. When God Winks at You — by Squire Rushnell


''Small' denotes something quite insignificant and of restricted dimensions. ‘Still' represents something motionless, stationary and subdued. Once you realize that when God speaks to us, it could be so insignificant to us that we basically ignore it. Did Moses ignore the bush that burnt? Yes, he almost did. In Exodus it says that he walked by and said, "I will now turn back and see this great sight and why the bush does not burn up." Even more importantly, the Bible says, "So when the Lord saw that he turned back to look, God called to him." I often wonder how it would've turned out if Moses had not turned back. He was continuing on his journey and could quite easily have continued without ‘turning back' to SEE (perceive spiritually).

Had Moses not turned back, would God have called out to Moses? You have to understand that when God hides in something small and still, unless you turn back to make a more serious observation, you may never hear the Voice that is in that insignificance. To me, the greatest reward is the journey I am on and the people God has given to me on this journey. While Jesus was on His journey to accomplish His mission, He found people on the way that journeyed with Him. Finally, at the end of His life, as He was about to accomplish the greatest sacrifice ever and become the reward for humankind, He was alone and on a cross.

The closest voice to Him was the most unexpected. Jesus cried out, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" Silence. Suddenly, He hears someone a few feet from Him whispering in agony, 'LORD, remember me when you come into YOUR KINGDOM." The words alone were the voice of God, affirming that He was indeed still Lord and that He had a KINGDOM. When we feel forsaken by God simply because in our battle we don't hear Him bellowing from open Heavens, just stop and listen to something or someone very close to you, even a child, and you may hear Him affirming your destiny.

Christ was born with insignificant animals around him and died with insignificant animals around him - different kinds of animals, but certainly not the cream of the crop. Look around you and look past what you deem insignificant and ... listen. He's everywhere and longing to speak to you.

Where else can peace be found, but in the message of Jesus? You can work for peace with toil and pain and you shall never find it. Some try to be silent while others need company, hoping that it will bring them peace. Peace is nowhere to be found, but in Him, of whom it is said, "This man shall be peace." And what a peace it is, warriors and lovers of God. It is peace like a river, and righteousness like the waves of the sea. It is the peace of God that passes all understanding, which keeps our hearts and minds through Jesus Christ our Lord. This sacred peace between the pardoned soul and God the pardoner; this marvelous unity between the sinner and his judge, this was it that the angels sung when they said, "Peace on earth." No greater proof of kindness, between the Creator and His subjects, can possibly be afforded, than when He gives His only begotten and well beloved Son to die.

I would like to wish you peace that passes all understanding this Christmas from Jane and I, our family, and our team. We pray what the angels sang, "Good will to man," for you and your beloved family.

Merry Christmas,

Kim Clement


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