First of all, just so you know, this is NOT a dissertation on the pros and cons of alcohol, though I can certainly understand why you might think it is. I will tell you what it IS about as we proceed, mostly because I want you to enjoy a little anticipation along the way!
Many years ago … and I do mean MANY years ago, I used to frequent a restaurant at 40th Street and Thunderbird known as THE PARADISE PINATA. They used to put together a pretty good meal of vittles, and each time we went I would treat to myself to a Margarita. Now, in retrospect, I realize the thing that I liked best about it was the salt around the rim, but that is neither here nor there (If it’s neither here nor there, where is it, then?).
Anyway, all was well and good. Then, one Sunday, my pastor asked me to teach his Sunday School Class for a week or two (It ended up being 33 years … but who’s counting!) Soon after that we went to THE PINATA again, and, after I ordered my Margarita, God spoke to me and said, “That’s your last one.”
To say I was surprised would be an understatement. As you may already know, my beverage of choice has always been PEPSI, which is, of course, alcohol free. Because of it I was a cola-holic, though, and would have understood had He told me to give THAT up. But a Margarita every three months or so? As usual, when confused with something God has told me, I asked Him about it.
“Floyd,” He explained patiently, and I’m SURE with a knowing smile on His face, “when you agreed to teach Sunday School you put yourself in a new position in My Kingdom. You see, you are now going to be even MORE scrutinized, and, as a result, there are new things that have to be taken into consideration regarding the way you lead your life.
“Now, Floyd, let me give you a hypothetical situation. Let’s say that in your Sunday School Class there is an individual who is battling alcoholism. One day, they come to THE PINATA and, lo and behold, they see you enjoying your Margarita. It is possible, and probably probable, that their thought will be, ‘Well, if my SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHER can drink, surely I can as well.’”
I didn’t even have to ponder the situation – I simply have never ordered an alcoholic beverage with a meal since. And that FINALLY brings us to what this Blog is all about: Hearing from, and listening to, God!
John 10:27 tells us, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:”
When we have a deep, personal relationship with God He WILL speak to us. When He does, we have two responsibilities – – to hear Him, AND to do what He tells us. Now, and this is REALLY important, what I have discovered, down through the eons of my Christian Life, is the more I DO what He tells me, regardless of how menial or risky the task He gives me is, the more I hear from Him!
If you are hearing from God but, for some reason, are unwilling to take the risk of doing what He is telling you, do I have GOOD NEWS for you!!! Our Pastor, Pastor Rowdy Van Horn of ONE CHURCH SCOTTSDALE, summed up the situation this way in one of his recent sermons, “If God tells us to do something, there really ISN’T any risk!”
And there you have it! If you want to hear from God on a regular basis, do what He tells you to when you DO hear from Him!