Pray, a lot; Listen, (wait); God leads: We follow; God blesses.
This is the last of a five part series about leading a lifestyle that is focused on paying attention to what God wants from us. This month ~ God Blesses.
We followed God to my being at a church missions conference in Florida and I really did not want to go, to go alone and without Sharon. God had other plans for us and following His leading was critical for what is proving to be a blessing for millions of radio listeners across south Africa countries.
What is now formed as Radio Africa Network (RAN), started as a single Christian Radio station in Fish Hoek, South Africa.
From this single single Christian Radio station in Fish Hoek, South Africa now encompasses Christian radio stations in Lesotho, Rwanda, Tanzania, Madagascar, Gabon, Botswana, Burundi, Mali, Burkina Faso and Tanzania.
Thousands of people listen daily to Christian radio programs on these stations. Untold millions of people have heard about the love of God, many for the first time while listening to their radio. And untold thousands will enjoy eternity with God because they accepted Jesus as their Savior.
One of my all time favorite Bible passages is about God leading his people, the Israelites from their 40 years in the desert, into the land promised to them years earlier. It is one of the most powerful lessons about following God’s leading and experiencing his BLESSING.
God chose Joshua to lead them in to the land he had promised to them. Following in the footsteps of Moses as the leader of God’s chosen people Joshua directed the Levitical priests to carry the ark of the covenant of the Lord and cross the Jordan river.
It is an example of God continuing to direct but an incredible focus on the resulting blessing when Joshua follows God’s specific instructions as he leads his people.
Israel Crosses the Jordan
Then Joshua rose early in the morning and they set out from Shittim. And they came to the Jordan, he and all the people of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over. At the end of three days the officers went through the camp and commanded the people, “As soon as you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God being carried by the Levitical priests, then you shall set out from your place and follow it. Yet there shall be a distance between you and it, about 2,000 cubits in length. Do not come near it, in order that you may know the way you shall go, for you have not passed this way before.” Then Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” And Joshua said to the priests, “Take up the ark of the covenant and pass on before the people.” So they took up the ark of the covenant and went before the people.
The Lord said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. And as for you, command the priests who bear the ark of the covenant, ‘When you come to the brink of the waters of the Jordan, you shall stand still in the Jordan.’” And Joshua said to the people of Israel, “Come here and listen to the words of the Lord your God.” And Joshua said, “Here is how you shall know that the living God is among you and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Hivites, the Parities, the Girgashites, the Amorites, and the Jebusites. Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth is passing over before you into the Jordan. Now therefore take twelve men from the tribes of Israel, from each tribe a man. And when the soles of the feet of the priests bearing the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan shall be cut off from flowing, and the waters coming down from above shall stand in one heap.”
So when the people set out from their tents to pass over the Jordan with the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people, and as soon as those bearing the ark had come as far as the Jordan, and the feet of the priests bearing the ark were dipped in the brink of the water (now the Jordan overflows all its banks throughout the time of harvest), the waters coming down from above stood and rose up in a heap very far away, at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan, and those flowing down toward the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. And the people passed over opposite Jericho. Now the priests bearing the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firmly on dry ground in the midst of the Jordan, and all Israel was passing over on dry ground until all the nation finished passing over the Jordan. Joshua 3:1-17 NIV
Over the past 30 years of praying for God to lead us and our commitment to follow his leading has resulted in hundreds and hundreds of stories about how God has blessed. He has blessed time and time again our humble following the leading of the Holy Spirit. Yes, we believe in the trinity; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Jesus Promised the Holy Spirit
“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” John 14:15-31
When we were led by the LORD to follow his leading us to serve him full time as missionaries we were encouraged by the verse found in the book of Proverbs.
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do,
and he will establish your plans." Proverbs 16:3
This verse set the course for us to make plans consistent with following his leading. That we have done for over 30 years now.
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit."
“Blessed are those who keep his statutes
and seek him with all their heart."
Pray, a lot; Listen, (wait); God leads: We follow; God blesses.
“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” John 8:12
Here I am walking in the light in Liberia, West Africa:
It’s an example how you can walk in the light of Jesus day-by-day.
This is part four of a five part series about leading a lifestyle that is focused on paying attention to what God wants from us. This month ~ We follow.
We followed God to my being at a church missions conference in Florida and I really did not want to go; to go alone without Sharon. God had other plans for us stressing the importance of following when he leads.
Because I was alone and not a missionary couple attending the Missions Conference at a supporting church in South Florida, I was housed in a local hotel, not in a private home that was more traditional. After registering and going to my room I met a man in the elevator going to his room. He was a pastor from South Africa attending the same conference. My ministry assignment was helping to establish locally owned and operated Christian format community fm radio stations in developing countries. He was at the conference seeking help to set up a station in Fish Hoek, South Africa.
WOW, I started to realize why God wanted me there. I was glad already I was not bullheaded and going my way and not His way.
Pastor John Thomas needed help because they held an annual evangelistic week of meetings each year and had offered to buy time on the local government radio station for several years; and were denied each time. All radio stations at the time were government. There were no private radio stations at all.
Their persistence was rewarded because they had just received an offer to run a one month test radio station for one month, 24 hours a day and they knew nothing about how to actually set up and operate a radio station. They just wanted to provide a one week evening radio program from their church. God certainly had other plans. I introduced John to our Engineering Center in Elkhart, Indiana and he traveled to Colorado to meet with the International Board of our mission that was in session at the time.
We stepped up to help them in 30 short days to put a private test station on the air that had been authorized by Parliament. Following the 30 days a statement in Parliament proceedings indicated the effort was a success; “we should allow private community radio stations and Fish Hoek is the best example to follow.”
What is now formed as Radio Africa Network (RAN) started as this single Christian Radio station in Fish Hoek, South Africa. RAN is a non-denominational, multicultural, Pan African effort with stations across Africa.
RAN has adopted the Lausanne Covenant as its Statement of Faith.
God Leading and our following are intertwined terms.
Following God—two words that sound easy but in actuality can be very difficult to live out. In the Old Testament, God gave the law as a roadmap to help mankind come to Him. His desire was always to show humanity the route to pursue Him.
Why do we follow knowing God leads us? Well, it is because we know that Jesus came to share the incredible love of God his heavenly Father. In case this is news to you consider these verses found in the Bible.
Abram followed God’s leading from Haran when he was seventy-five years old. “Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” Genesis 12:1-4
Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.” Ruth 1:16
“. . . fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14
Jesus said follow me and I will give you rest. The exact verse in Matthew 11:28 is, “Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
The Bible states that God is love (1 John 4:7-11) so when we follow the way of love we are actually choosing God’s laws and ways. Jesus, His son, led by example, and He lived out loud the law that was given by His father. There was the written word before Jesus came, but then He was born and became the living law. Loving and developing a relationship with the triune God, will bring us indescribable joy, blessings and “life” that comes from going where God leads us. Consider what following decisions will you make today?
Pray, a lot; Listen, (wait); God leads: We follow; God blesses.
When we pray for God to lead us as we serve him we Listen and that means we wait for him to Lead.
“But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation My God will hear me." Micah 7:7
The promise is that the God of my salvation will hear me. Although this is not our nature it is much easier because waiting for his Devine leading we know there is a promise in the waiting process. And by faith, we live knowing he hears us while we are listening, yes waiting, and he will answer. He will lead us.
Knowing he hears our prayer must have encouraged Ernest W. Blandy to write the gospel song Where He Leads Me that I sang as a lad and as a young man with a growing family. Blandy, a Salvation Army officer, wrote this song after choosing between a comfortable post at an established church, and an alternate assignment to the New York City waterfront and slum called Hell's Kitchen. He chose the latter.
Where He Leads Me
“I can hear my Savior calling,
Take thy cross and follow, follow me.
Where He leads me I will follow,
I’ll go with Him, with Him all the way.
I’ll go with Him through the waters,
I’ll go with Him through the garden,
I’ll go with Him to dark Calv’ry,
I’ll go with Him to the judgement,
He will give me grace and glory,
And go with me, with me all the way.”
Perhaps one of the most quoted passages of the Bible is the 23rd Psalm. “The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to His name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid . . . . ” Psalms 23:1-6
To follow God’s leading takes faith. Faith that following the paths He creates is worthy of our paying attention and following.
God Leads is the midpoint of this five part series. It is the midpoint yet the first of the final three segments of the series. This example of God leading will conclude with God Blesses after we Follow Him.
My wife Sharon and I were committed to speak at a Reach Beyond mission donor dinner in South Bend, Indiana and she needed to return to Colorado for a week of meetings because she served as a member of the Candidate Orientation Committee of the mission. I was committed to represent our ministry at a missions conference at a supporting church in South Florida and simply did not want to go. The previous year we had been involved in helping move the Reach Beyond headquarters from South Florida to Colorado Springs, Colorado and I thought I needed to get back with her to continue setting up operations. We prayed and felt the Lord wanted me to go to Florida.
What did we do? Sharon went to Colorado, I went to Florida. Sound interesting? Tune in next month for the next step; We Follow.
It is healthy to follow God and not do things in our own way. A note from one of my favorite Bible characters; “Far be it from us that we should rebel against the LORD and turn away this day from following the LORD by building an altar for burnt offering, grain offering, or sacrifice, other than the altar of the LORD our God that stands before his tabernacle!” Joshua 22:29
Pray, (a lot); Listen, (wait); God leads: We follow; God blesses.
When praying is followed by waiting on the LORD a healthy lifestyle has occurred. This is the hardest part to accomplish in this five-part series. Be encouraged because there is a lot of reference in the Bible about waiting on God. 700 years before Jesus was born in Bethlehem note what Isaiah wrote.
“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:28-31
This link includes 29 Bible verses about waiting on the LORD:
You might enjoy this specific verse about waiting on the LORD because it includes a promise. “But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation My God will hear me." Micah 7:7
Although after praying to God is followed by listening for wisdom to move forward in the grace of the LORD, waiting is just not our nature. As we observe from Isaiah when we wait for the LORD our strength is renewed. I like this passage for several reasons.
Before starting a consulting business as a father with young children I prayed for wisdom. As I was waiting for an answer to that prayer this passage gave me the direction I needed. From this passage I named the business EAGLE 7. EAGLE represented the fact that as a young man I felt this passage provided the direction from the LORD I needed. My strength was renewed and I proceeded and was not weary but refreshed. And in the Bible is the number 7 is the foundation of God's word.
Now many years later this passage is still a great encouragement to me.
My friend Dr. Harold Sala says in his book AGE is JUST a NUMBER, How to Age Without Growing Old;
Those who wait on the Lord will accomplish three things:
“Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD." Psalm 27:14
“Therefore, return to your God, Observe kindness and justice, And wait for your God continually.” Hosea 12:6
“Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; For You I wait all the day.” Psalm 25:5
After you pray and you listen to the LORD, yes you wait, the next thing that happens is the LORD leads and that is the third part of this five-part series.
This is the first of a five part monthly BLOG series about how to live an effective balanced life. It comes from years of experience and a perspective gained by trial and error. Error you ask? Yes, as we progress through life we make mistakes and if we are paying attention to what is going on in our life, in the life of our loved ones and how we respond to them we hopefully live a more fruitful and joyful life by learning from our mistakes.
The five key words covered in this series are: Pray, a lot; Listen, (wait); God leads: We follow; God blesses. That’s it. Sounds simple enough? Right. Well, not so much. So read on and enjoy the series. The first time in print. Here is what I have learned.
Pray We start with Pray, a lot. When I mention that I pray a lot I guess I am referring to a lifestyle of prayer. Praying is communion with God and I do that throughout the day. My years sitting in the pew at church, listening to preachers and studying the Bible, God’s word, I realize how important it is to pray. To start the day with prayer. To end the day with prayer. To pray before each meal, thanking God for his provision. To pray in time of need. To pray for others. It is a good idea to pray at the start and finish of each day. “In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.” Psalm 5:3
It is pretty easy to realize God wants a relationship with us. I have a friend who prays for a good parking place, for little things throughout the day and is always quick to thank God for that great parking place when it happens.
In 2 Chronicles the dedication of the temple is recorded and King Solomon prayed and gave thanks to the Lord - for his steadfast love endures forever. Solomon consecrated the middle court and a seven day feast followed for all of Israel and the Lord appeared to Solomon in the night and revealed himself in a remarkable way saying, “ . . . if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
Usually we are quick to make requests to God for ourselves. Prayer needs to be full of praise to God for the blessings we receive during the day, every day. Perhaps because we pray like this because we know the following: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” 1 John 5:14
But certainly we need to be careful how we pray when they are focused on just us. It is dangerous to pray requesting wants and not needs. “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” James 4:3
“The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” James 5:16
“The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry.” Psalm 34:15
My wife, Sharon, was not surprised at all when I in Liberia, West Africa wrote and told her the most rewarding Thanksgiving day I could recall was 2017. Thanksgiving for the Kealy family ALWAYS includes being with family. It is truly a time to focus on how thankful we are. This year on assignment putting in a new youth oriented radio station in a shipping container in West Africa led each day to challenges. Challenges that present an opportunity to pray. Prayer for God’s help for solutions. After all this is not about us, it is about God. He created everything including me and I am here for his glory just like all of creation. That is why I do what I do. Read Romans 8:28-35.
We PRAY, we LISTEN, God LEADS, we FOLLOW and He BLESSES. That is a five word process we have recognized in our ministry years. The next five months of my BLOG will cover these five important words that have become key to our lives and ministry.
Reaching People far from God is a ministry with a web portal helping people see how God is at work in the world. The portal seeks gifts to help partner ministries share their faith in culturally relevant ways that we as Americans could never accomplish in a lifetime. Yet, we are able to make an impact by helping others share their faith in God. We do that by keeping our general and administrative costs to just seven percent. Ninety three percent of your designated gifts go to global ministry partners.
In closing think about this, when God provides answers to life’s challenges it is a very good idea to be thankful. Isn’t this what Thanksgiving is all about? Being Thankful! Read Psalms 100.
David M. Kealy
1 Timothy 1:12 is a life verse that led to our creating Reaching People far from God