His Word and His Voice

The other day, I saw a video message on YouTube of a sermon by an African-American preacher, Robert Madu. The message was titled “Can You Hear Me Now”
It’s a message about hearing God and I liked a particular illustration he used in driving home the point that a believer must know both THE WORD and THE VOICE of God! To know His Word without knowing His voice is to be another Pharisee…while to know “His Voice” without knowing His Word is to be another spooky Christian that’s always going about telling people “The Lord told me to tell you this and that” (when in fact, hardly is it ever The Lord Who really told you anything).
He illustrated the point thus:
God’s Word is like a road map; God’s Voice is like a GPS (God’s Positioning System).
I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to use Google Maps to navigate your way from one point to another either by walking or driving. There’s always a voice coming from your device telling you which turn to take and on which lane to stay. (If you haven’t, you can give it a try. Even before I traveled to the UK last year, I was able to use it in Nigeria).
While a road map (God’s Word) shows you the entire map including roads and routes that are not even your concern for the particular trip you are on, the GPS concerns itself basically with moving you from your current location to your specific destination.
How does this represent how God’s voice leads us? (I got points 1 and 3 from the message but came up with points 2, 4, 5 and 6 from my personal meditation on the subject).
1. The GPS never tells you all the turns and details of your trip at once. It tells you in bits.
Likewise God! He reveals His counsel to you as He orders your steps bit by bit.
“At the roundabout, take the first exit… After 100 meters, turn right… Your destination is on the left… You have reached your destination” … That’s what it sounds like. Bit by bit. One instruction per time.
2. The GPS respects your personal choices. You absolutely can choose to ignore the voice of the GPS and go in your preferred route rather than follow the prescribed route from the GPS.
Isn’t that what many of us do with God’s voice a times? We ignore…and that’s okay. Why?
3. The GPS incorporates our choices into its program such that at the end of the day, it’s still going to talk us into reaching our intended destination. When you make a wrong turn, the GPS immediately starts recalculating to get you new sets of instructions for an alternative route (based on your wrong choice) that will still get you to your destination.
Isn’t that like God? Our mistakes are never fatal as long as we are alive and Christ is still on the throne. God will still guide you to His intended destination for your life if you will submit to the leading of His voice.
4. The GPS never condemns you for your wrong turns. I remember sometimes in 2015 when I first came to the UK, my wife (then, my fiancée) came to visit over the weekend while I was still at my brother’s place in London. On the day she was to return, my brother decided to drive us to the train station. While trying to meet up with her departure time, we missed our turn following the sat-nav GPS on two different occasions. The GPS never for once condemned the driver, rather it paused in silence immediately after the wrong turn. Then reroutes and gets you back on track with an alternative. Eventually we met the train just at the nick of time.
All that to say this: God’s voice never condemns! He simply guides you from that point onwards to still reach your destination. So GUILT or CONDEMNATION is not the voice of God!
5. The silence of the GPS doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a problem. I drove with my pastor from Cheltenham to Liverpool and back sometimes in July 2016. For a long time while we were on the motorway, the GPS said nothing. It said nothing because we were on the right track and there was no need for a new set of instructions. When we approached our destination and had to branch off the motorway, it resumed dishing out its instructions…
Very much like God! It’s not every time you will feel like You are hearing Him—and that’s okay. As long as you’re still connected, that’s absolutely fine. You only miss the people you love, right? Same thing! You miss His voice because you love Him and that alone should keep you going . (Of course, there are other times when He’s silent because you have been repeatedly disobedient. Come clean with Him and let the journey continue…)
6. For your GPS to keep functioning, you need to TAKE RESPONSIBILITY in some areas. You endeavour to charge your device. You download and install all Google Maps updates to have the latest maps with all the most current details (e.g. of ongoing road construction , accidents , one-ways etc) with which the GPS plans your best routes.
Likewise, to keep hearing the voice of God, you need to also TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for your spirit man. You want to make sure you “guard your heart with all diligence for out of it flows the rivers of life!” (Proverbs 4:23).
I hope that reaches out to one or two of us today.
Here’s today’s #askJesus2day question:
“Jesus, what’s Your next instruction to me ” (He just told me mine and it’s very funny )
Lord, may I never be out of the reach of Your voice IJN.
#iRemember is a daily mentoring retrospective look at Chronicles of our past—my wife and I—drawing life lessons from past experiences. It is exclusive to members of Alive Mentorship Group—an online mentorship platform for young adults across the world that provides an avenue to learn practical life lessons across geographical barriers. If you will like to be a part, just click here and/or get added to the Telegram group here.

Our Destiny > Our Memories

As I watched the Centenary celebration service of The Apostolic Church held in Penygroes tonight, my heart is full—so full that I could hardly type these words. I type only because I hope that in so doing, I will lighten the burden and give expression to what God is saying primarily to me, and secondarily to whom it may concern. I hope to be able to capture them in 7 bullets:

  1. I HAVE A FAMILY TREE. More than ever, tonight, I felt like I belonged to a family with a history. As I heard again the stories of Pastors D.P. Williams and Andrew Turnbull, as I learnt that the first Missionary Office of TAC was in Bradford (where I now study in a Bible College because The Apostolic Bible College is no longer in existence) I felt like I stumbled on a chest that contained photos that told my family tales from time immemorial. I felt like I’m part of a river winding through a great canyon. How true is the saying that “knowing where you came from says much about where you are going.” Little wonder the Bible started with Genesis… “God wants us to know from where we came, for learning that will teach us much about the place we are going.” (Max Lucado, 2004)
  2. DESPISE NOT THE DAYS OF LITTLE BEGINNINGS. To think that a movement that is now manifestly present in about 100 countries around the world started in a tiny dot on the map spear-headed by a man who was just about 10 years in the faith at the time speaks volumes! Has the Bible not said that “whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world?” (1 John 5:4). “Don’t be afraid to start small”. Those were God’s exact words to me in February 2012 as I stepped out of Gombe State in Nigeria as a young man ready to “start living”. Perhaps, He’s saying the same to you today…
  3. IT’S OKAY TO GO WEARY, BUT DON’T STAY WEARY. To be honest, weariness happens with life. Ask every Pastor called of God—they’ve had moments when they almost gave up. And the same can be said of any genuine child of God. And I think often time, the devil finds us most vulnerable at our moments of weariness such that rather than do what the weary should do, we find ourselves losing our confidence in That which brought us hitherto in the first place. As I stand to look from without (in a manner of speaking) the oriental view of TAC (especially in Nigeria where I come from), I find a picture of a weary congregation and more painfully, weary ministers. The only thing more painful is that many have mistaken their weariness for productivity or efficiency when it is in fact, mere busyness. And this can as well apply to you (as an individual, or an organisation; whatever eyes you might be reading this with). But in all sincerity, (as Pastor Daniel Jenkins read the Scriptures) I felt the Lord saying, “It’s okay to be weary, but don’t stay weary”. Has the prophet not spoken that “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength?” Has Jesus not called in clear language “Come unto Me all ye that labour and are heavy-laden and I will give you rest”? Embrace His restoration. And when He restores, don’t expect Him to give you back what you lost; He restores in dimensions consistent with His limitless creativity. Whatever part of your ministry/business has gone weary, don’t expect Him to restore the modus-operandi. Opening yourself up to God’s strength and rest is positioning yourself for His creative ideas that will revive your viability and vitality and give you more rest and greater impact. I write by the Spirit of God.
  4. REPOSITIONING FOR GREATER IMPACT COMES WITH ITS EMBARRASSMENTS; SHRUG THEM OFF! I could see a form of disappointment on the face of some people in the failed initial attempt to connect live with the Ghana Church while the programme was on. Leveraging on technology for a greater impact is a great thing but the devil wants to discourage the attempt despite the fact that it had been tested to work last night. The good thing is it eventually happened at a later time in the programme. And I think the same is true for all of us in different ways. When Peter stepped out of the waters, that was a repositioning that was to launch him to a whole new level amongst the apostles, but then came the embarrassment that the venture attracted. What I don’t know, however, is if Peter ever tried water-walking again… But for you, this much is sufficient: to walk on the water, you need to get out of the boat!
  5. DON’T JUST “DO” IT, “TEACH” OTHERS TO DO IT AS WELL! Wasn’t that Jesus’ pattern? “…the things which He began both to DO and to TEACH…” Powerful message from Pastor Eric Horley. That was a timely word! And that’s what leadership and discipleship is all about—and that’s, in fact, what our calling is all about. Don’t be so big on “doing” that you forget to teach—you tend to shorten your life span by so doing and lose the coming generation to those who are doing what you fail to do—teach! That’s why, in some parts of the world, The Apostolic Church is tending to become more of a church for the elderly and less a church for the youths… And don’t be so big on “teaching” that you fail to “do”; otherwise you become practically irrelevant to your community and outsiders will label you as being hypocritical—and rightly so!
  6. NEVER LOSE SIGHT OF WHAT YOU BELIEVE! Oh, I also love the “We Believe” song that was rendered during the service. You need to listen to the real song to appreciate it more. You can watch it here. I’m proud to say that the composer of that song is actually one of my lecturers in my Bible College, Matt Hooper.(And on a lighter note, I wondered if the people that picked the song also knew that the composer wears a tattoo and is a pastor…lol). But, hey! That’s all that matters on the long run—what you believe! What do you believe? We believe in God the Father, We believe in Jesus Christ, We believe in the Holy Spirit and He’s given us new life. We believe in the crucifixion, we believe that He’s conquered hell; We believe in His resurrection and He’s coming back again….
  7. YOUR DESTINY IS GREATER THAN YOUR MEMORY. That’s the take home for me tonight. That come what may, my destiny in God is greater than my memory. That my yesterday is incomparable to my tomorrow. That eyes had not seen, ears had not heard, and neither has it gotten to the hearts of men the things God is preparing for me and for you.

These are the things the Spirit of God ministered to me from being a part of this centenary celebration. pray it blesses you, too.

Joseph Kolawole Ola
Life Church College, Bradford