Do you ever have thoughts that surprise you? Do you ever feel a slight "nudge" inside the pit of your stomach when you are doing something and all of a sudden you get a "feeling" you shouldn't? Or, maybe a nudge that you should do something and you don't?
Thoughts run rampant in and out of our heads all the time. How can we know where it all comes from? I wish I had the ability to put into words how important it is for each of us to spend time getting to know God intimately. Just because we may be advanced in years, or really, really smart, doesn't mean we are hearing God speak to us. Nor, does it mean we are hearing correctly from within.
Think about it. Meditate on it. So many different events in our lives have molded and shaped our attitudes and our beliefs. Whether we intend to or not, we have mind-sets and preconceived ideas. In other words, our minds are "made up" about certain things. We have no intention of listening to anyone tell us anything different. Besides, we don't have time to slow down!
We are creatures of habit. We like having our own way. We certainly don't like anyone else telling us anything that goes against what we already know and believe to be true. Seems like today that our patience wears thinner and thinner. Our world moves faster, time is of the essence. We have appointment books that tell us where we're going next or what we're going to do in the next hour. We just don't want that messed with!
Frankly, not listening to what I call "that red flag" inside of us - in the pit of our stomach, can be really bad. I'll give you an example. A few days ago I was on a trip in an area I was unfamiliar with. I was driving a car I was unfamiliar with. I was far away from home and having a great time. I was sight-seeing along the coast and happened to see a sign stating that there were no more gas stations for the next 30 miles. I looked at my gas gauge and saw that it appeared to be okay. But inside, I "had a feeling" that I should probably stop and get gas. (Wait for it . . .)
It was getting late, and based on the mileage I had gotten so far, I was really sure I would be okay in waiting to get gas. Oops! should have listened to that small voice inside. The dreaded warning light popped up on the gas gauge and I had more that 33 miles to go. Don't know how that happened, but that's not the issue. The issue is that I should have listened to that very still voice inside trying to warn me of danger ahead. Obviously, I couldn't have a "do-over".
I was on a virtual roller coaster along the mountains and coast of California. It was getting late - would be dark soon. The gauge was fine when I started the journey. What I didn't count on (and wasn't familiar with) were the mountains using more gas.
I'm normally calm and at peace. I've been down this path so many times you would think by now I would pay attention. It happens - I just didn't want to take the time to stop if I didn't have to and it appeared to me I didn't have to. What frustrated me eventually was that I knew better. I had done it before - ignore the warnings, I mean. I didn't really realize they were warnings at the time. But, we can always look back and see where we've been - think about it.
Anyway, I literally had a panic attack. I kept watching the gas gauge. I tried to read the manual to see how much gas I actually had left - no clue in the book. I wondered if a light would come on to warn me when the gas was getting lower. Got my answer right away - the warning light came on. At that time I had about 20 miles to go. At a red light in the middle of nowhere - don't ask me - I jumped out of my car and ran to the car behind me. I told them my story and asked them to please keep an eye on us and told them why. I'm not sure what I expected them to do, I just felt like I had to do something. But, they didn't even respond to me. They just looked at me like I was crazy. I guess I was at that stage.
I jumped back in the car and the light turned green - still don't know why that light was there. Anyway, while I was stopped at the light I re-set my trip gauge so I could count down the 14 miles I had left to go. One mile down, now five - okay now we've gone nine - just maybe we'll make it. By now it's getting darker. I see transients along the road. The people I stunned when I jumped out of my car on the mountain top were still behind me. I coasted down the hills, hoping that would help.
My personal vehicle only has eight miles left after the light comes on - my book says so. So, I had no idea what await me. Alas, I began to see houses and lights and we had just about reached civilization. So, at least there was life close by if we did run out of gas. But, we didn't. We actually made it to the gas station on time. I waved to the lady behind me as if to say "Thank you, I'm okay now". I'm sure she really didn't care at all. But, I felt as though I had imposed on her and should at least thank her for keeping an eye on me - even though she had no choice at all since I was in front of her. She was probably more concerned that I not run out of gas and cause her to run into me.
Can you see my point? Had I only listened to that small voice inside warning me. I could have actually enjoyed my sight-seeing trip. But, all I saw was that blazing yellow light calling me a dummy all the way. Just imagine what would have happened had I actually run out of gas - how much fear, frustration, time, trouble I would have had to endure, all because I did not listen to God's Holy Spirit warn me.
You ask me how I know it was God's Holy Spirit? Because I know God looks out after me and he warns me of things like that. Why didn't I listen? The same reason you don't. I thought I knew better based on what I already knew about the car. And, yes, even though I know God and listen for His voice all the time, I'm not perfect. I get in a hurry. I think it's my own inner voice speaking and I ignore it. I was talking to my sister, we were laughing and having fun. The voice was small, I even considered it my own imagination because the car appeared to have plenty of gas.
Are you getting the picture? I'm no super human - I love God, I talk to Him and I listen to Him. I should know better because I've made enough mistakes in my life. So, why am I telling you all this if I don't have the right answer? Because it takes a lifetime of training - you won't "arrive" until you are in heaven at the feet of the Master. We must continually be aware of God - acknowledge Him - as the Scripture tells us. Keep our minds on Him and He will keep us in peace - again a quote from the Bible.
We always need God. We have to listen all the time. We can't just assume we have all the right answers and we don't need to stop and ask Him. When, in truth, many of our mistakes are made because we do just that. We are the ones to blame. God tries to warn us. We have to listen and then - yep, obey.
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