Sally Mowbray writes:
It is ten years since Robert’s book The Still Small Voice was launched, and we are continuing to serialise it here. This week’s short but challenging theme explores some of the ways in which we limit God. It chimes with thoughts that have been running through my heart for quite a while about how much we really do believe God, how much we understand about who we are in Him and how willing we are to step out when He calls. We hope it blesses and encourages you to keep pressing on to seek the Lord.
Let’s not limit God
on the slopes of Mount Hermon
You showed the disciples
how much You love Your Son.
We heed the words the Father
spoke from Heaven,
and let the realization
of who You really are
penetrate still deeper in our heart.
|Do not limit God!
‘If we are careful not to limit Him, He shows up as the God who answers by fire. He sends His presence, His healing and His deliverance power.’ (Suzanne Pillans)
Suzanne Pillans is a horse riding instructor who lives in Oxfordshire. Whenever circumstances permit, she responds to the Lord’s call to preach the gospel and journies forth to the ends of the earth.(3)
Her first overseas work was in Malawi. Despite being poorly when she was preaching, she saw many people accept Jesus into their hearts, and receive His healing in their bodies. From there she went to preach the gospel on the Mozambique border. She was somewhat disappointed when fewer than twenty-five people showed up at the meeting.
‘Don’t limit God!’ she reminded herself, for that was the phrase the Lord had been burning on her heart for the past few weeks. She was somewhat prepared, therefore, when the Lord said to her, ‘Invite them to bring the sickest person in the village to the evening meeting. Let them come and watch Jesus heal them.’
That night the church was packed as the villagers brought someone along who had not been out of bed for two years and who could neither stand nor walk. ‘Sickness, leave in Jesus’ Name,’ Suzanne commanded. ‘Body, be healed in Jesus’ Name. Strength, come back in Jesus’ Name. In the Name of Jesus, stand up!’
The lady stood to her feet and walked. ‘Now,’ Suzanne commanded, ‘in the Name of Jesus, run down the aisle and back again!’ The lady looked at Suzanne in horror. ‘In Jesus Name you can do it,’ she reassured her. The lady took off and ran down the aisle and back again.
As a result of seeing this miraculous healing, all the people present became Christians, and continued worshipping the Lord until three o’clock in the morning.
The following day, two deaf and mute girls received Jesus into their lives and were also miraculously healed. They are now learning to speak.
None of these events would have come about had Suzanne settled for the self-evident ‘fact’ that African villagers do not turn out en masse to listen to little known visiting female evangelists. It was because she listened to the Still Small Voice that the Lord Jesus was so immensely glorified.
Imagine how grateful you would be if you had been that sick person, and someone had come along with the spiritual authority to make you better. That is how important the theme of listening to the Lord really is.
Beyond the miracles themselves, God has a message for the Church. The Lord showed Suzanne that we in the West are limiting Him by our unbelief, our lack of prayer and by putting other things before Christ. Since then Suzanne has seen the Lord move massively while ministering in India.
In a vision, she saw Judas Iscariot receiving the thirty pieces of silver. At that moment, he loved the silver more than Jesus. Too many of us today love our money more than Jesus, and our homes, holidays, jobs, promotions, sport and life-styles. Some of us even love our ministries more than Jesus. All of this hinders the Lord from moving in revival power.
The Lord told Suzanne to call God’s people to repentance. Everywhere she goes, she preaches this message. Entire congregations have come to repentance, often with tears.
The depth of our repentance will vitally determine how far the Lord can take us as individuals and as fellowships. As we yield our lives and agendas to Him, the word of the Lord comes and He is free to move in power. With less of us and more of Him, it is so much easier for Him!
For Reflection and Prayer
Pinpoint us some of the ways in which we are limiting You, Lord.
Lead us into a fuller awareness and a deeper repentance so that we can perceive what You are saying, and respond accordingly.
|Determination that defeats distractions
The “romantically-challenged” are never reluctant to spend time together! If Jesus took time to draw His disciples away from the crowds to ‘go on retreat,’ then we ourselves should be looking to follow His example. Who knows what leadings and encounters the Lord will have in store!
It is not only on mountaintops or in special meetings that we hear the Still Small Voice. It often happens when we are at our most relaxed. ‘Fallow’ times are so conducive for promoting intimacy with the Lord, and for receiving His ideas, that there is everything to be said for deliberately setting aside times when we switch off our over-analytical brain and let the Holy Spirit commune with us.
Surprisingly simple steps can make our environment more conducive to discerning the Lord’s leading. For example, dedicating a corner of the house as a place where we seek the Lord regularly will make us want to stay there longer in His presence.
If that means making the sacrifice of staying up late, or rising early in order to obtain the necessary space and seclusion, then we are following in the Master’s footsteps.
It is so precious to spend time with the Lord at an hour when there are fewer distractions around. Other odd moments can surely be found and harnessed during the day to seek His face, and to overcome the limitations we put on God and others.
For Reflection and Prayer
You share the heart-beat of Heaven
with those who hunger and thirst for Your presence.
Come, Light that knows no night,
infuse and quicken our dull and listless minds.
Let love push back the frontiers of our shame,
and trust grow strong where guilt once reigned.
Bid turmoil cease and hope shine through
the clutter of vain and empty thoughts –
for this makes room for You to work
and draws us close to Your heart.
The Proslogion of St Anselm
Turn away from your daily work.
Hide yourself for a little time
from your restless thought;
give yourself a little leisure to talk with God.
and rest awhile with Him.
Enter the secret chamber of your heart,
shutting our everything but God,
and that which may help you in seeking Him.
And when you’ve closed the door, seek Him.
Now, my whole heart, say to God:
‘I seek Your face; Your face, O Lord, do I seek.’
I will seek You by desiring You,
and desire You in seeking You.
I will find You by loving You,
and love You in finding You . . .
I do not seek to understand so that I may believe,
but believe that I may understand.
For this I know to be true,
that unless I first believe
I shall not understand.
3 The material in this section has been used with Suzanne’s permission.
See Dare to Step out in Faith (New Wine, 2006) and Miracles of the Master (Harrison House, 2006)
The Still Small Voice