Thursday, June 1, 2017

Lighthouse or Foghorn? The Christian Relies on Both!

Lighthouse and Foghorn - Dreamstime


  Your word is a lamp to my feet
    And a light to my path.

Psa. 119:105.



Fog horn or lighthouse, which is best? Both are used to warn of craggy rocks, beaches, and coral reefs, all dangerous areas for the mariner. These two warning systems have been used for ages and despite GPS, are still used today.

In her article, Who Blows A Lighthouse's Foghorn? Melissa Kline informs us that it is, for the most part, automated. She writes: "It (a Fog Detector) uses a projector to shine light across a given optical path, then measures and interprets the backscattered light. When the detector senses a drop in visibility, the unit sends a signal to the lighthouse’s electronic equipment, which then signals the foghorn to blow."1

She continues the article telling us how even this technology is aging (misfiring) and being replaced with " a Mariner Radio Activated Signal System, which allows boaters to activate foghorns themselves when they need help navigating during inclement weather."2 In other words, the need for assistance in navigating during times of poor visibility is being placed solely in the ship captain's hands. He can choose to sail on with or without receiving help from the ominous sound of a foghorn.

In the believers life, there are times when we need the illumination of the lighthouse and others, when we need the low and blaring blast of a foghorn. Unlike the aging and changing technology of the fog detector, God never ages nor changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). The lighthouse of God's word is the illuminating work of the Holy Spirit, who in times of spiritual discernment guides us along the right path bringing to our remembrance the promises Jesus spoke (John 16:13). The foghorn is needed during the foggy and unclear times of lifethe times when we know the light exists but the static in our lives, like the fog, seems to drown the ever burning lamp of illumination. It is then we need to hear from God.

Are you in need to hear from God?
Where are you traveling today? this week? this month? this year? Do you need illumination and discernment to make a choice? Ask the Lord, and turn to the lamp of His word. He often speaks to us through His word or uses it to point us in a direction where we will see His unfolding will. He will never fail you.

Maybe, your traveling through the rough seas and the storms around you seem to be suppressing the light. This is when you need the voice of the Spirityou need to hear from God. The Bible refers to His witnessing work as the still small voice of God. It is God's foghorn. It may not blare as disturbingly loud, but it is still audible. Jesus said, "My sheep hear my voice" (John 10:27). When He said this, He did not mean just sometimes or even just for some people. If you are a child of God, you can hear His voice. The question is how? In my life, I have to say there have been times when I distinctly heard the voice of God softly speaking and prompting me, especially through the Bible. At others, I have heard him through a filling of the Spirit or even in the witness of a cool refreshing breeze. There are many ways God speaks to us. But, they all have a common denominator, His peace accompanying His witness. Hear this my friend, "God is not the author of confusion but of peace" (1 Cor. 14:33). Also, "And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" ((Phil. 4:7).

But God also warns us through the foghorn of dread. Even in dread there can be peace when it comes from God. When we are going through changing times or dark circumstances, we are prone to mistake our emotions for God's peace. If a door or a window shines a crack of light, we think "Wow! This is good news. This must be where God is leading. I feel so confident." It is good to remember that during these times, we are vulnerable and susceptible to emotional swings. The uplift we experience can be easily mistaken for God's will because we are apt to jump at anything that will bring relief. The smart thing to do when experiencing this is to give some time to prayer and waiting upon the Lord to make sure it is from Him. In other words, do not act hastily.

An amazing experience that taught me how to wait upon God
There was a time when I was facing a change in ministry. I knew the time had come for me to move into a new pastorate. God's peace had left me in my current position filling the vacuum with unrest. The Holy Spirit was witnessing to my spirit that it was time to move on. He had another place for me. I prayed of course and sought God for where that new place may be. A few days later, I was asked by a pastoral search committee if I would come and visit their church. This was quick and exciting response. Also, it was in an area that seemed to be a dream come true. I continued my usual studies and interactions with other pastors while I waited. Soon the day came. I grabbed my Bible, my sermon notes, and an over night bag and was off. I was so excited. But soon the raging excitement turned to dread. As I approached the quaint village, the peace I thought I had in my spirit quickly turned to sour grapes. I was only about a mile from the town when my high expectations were doused with uncertainty. It wasn't the town, the beautiful church, the village, or the people of the church; I hadn't even made it into the city or seen any of that. It was simply God saying, "You will not take the pastorate of this church." Knowing this, I decided I needed to fulfill my commitment to bring a message to them but wondered why God had led me this far only to turn me around.

I pulled into the church parking lot and was met by several people with hospitality and goodwill. The church building was beautiful and set in a great neighborhood. They gave me some time to relax, some refreshments, and some quiet time to prepare for worship. What they did not know, is that God had had already closed this door to me. What I did not know, was why? That morning, I brought a gospel centered message that was well received and the church was quietly dismissed. Those who made up the search committee and the leadership stayed in the sanctuary preparing for a Q & A to find out more about me. The usual doctrinal questions were asked, and I told them more about me and how God had been working in my past. This was all well and good, then the hammer dropped. A woman stood and asked if I would be willing to lead their men and the community in a leadership role that involved a now nearly defunct Men's ministry organization. Just days before, I had learned this ministry was very ecumenical and forbade any teaching that was not one-hundred percent accepted by all denominations. This meant I would be limited on what I could teach. I certainly could not join a group that would put a muzzle on God's word. But more than that, through the harangue that fired back in response to my simple answer concerning why I would not fulfill this request with this organization, I found out that it was the women who ran the church. They were desperate for a pastor to lead the men of the church into submission to what they thought a man should be, not what God desired a man to be. To make a long story short, by their own admission, they were not looking for male leadership in the home or even in the church (which would be admirable), but acquiescence to their desires. The direction they were headed was wrong because the motive was wrong. Now I knew why God said no.

Since that learning experience, I have set it in my mind to not trust my emotional response, but to seek God's face, pray, use the discernment of His word, and to wait patiently for His direction which would always come with His peace. Whether it was the illumination from His word, His lighthouse, or the foghorn of the Spirit, the still small voice which stirs the believers heart, I would wait upon Him.

Sometimes life takes us into dark and clear places where we need the lighthouse of God's illumination and sometimes it takes us into fierce storms and driving rain or simply, thick fog. It is then we need to listen for the foghorn of the Spirit that will stop us in our tracks to seek His divine will. Remember what Jesus said, "My sheep hear my voice and they follow me." Follow Him, won't you?

God Bless

     1 - Melissa Klein, "Who Blows a Lighthouse's Foghorn?" 2016, accessed June 1, 2017, http://www.popsci.com/who-blows-foghorn

     2 - Ibid.

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