Friday, March 23, 2012

Hearing and Heeding the Call of God

Hearing and Heeding the Call of God

Scripture accounts continually reveal God calling out and directing His people.  The Word portrays our sovereign, heavenly Father as purposefully involved in individual, national and eternal ways.  Even while we believe the scripture accounts, we flirt with doubt about His personal involvement in our own lives.  Perhaps a modern-day story of ‘God calling’ will give us insights into the directions He may be calling us!

Reading about the calls of God is a delight.  Our hearts soar over the hardships and rejoice in the victories.  The trials and tribulations of obedience are nothing but a dark background showcasing the glory of God’s plans.  In our own lives, earthly realities overwhelm us—blinding us to His plans and deafening us to His voice.  Fear, selfishness and stubborn willfulness paralyze us from responding to His call.  Rick and Donna Martin can relate to the terror of overwhelming earthly concerns…but they are choosing to let the concerns be only the background! Approaching mid-life the Martins are preparing to leave the comforts of America for the rugged uncertainties in the highlands of Peru.  Their lives testify to the truth that the call of God weaves every life into the tapestry of eternity.  Those who hear and heed God’s call become shining threads in the plans and purposes of God’s miraculous workings.

The first call Rick heard from God was over 30 years ago.  Hearing and heeding that call opened the door for Rick’s spirit to taste and see the glory of relating to His heavenly Father.   His life has never been the same—except he continues to hear and heed God’s calls.  Thrilled with the joy of fellowship with his Father God, Rick immediately desired to tell others of His amazing, generous, gracious God!  A life work of church planting ensued with the past decade being spent here in Binghamton.  Five church plants, countless missionary trips and two stints as pastor honed Rick’s spiritual hearing.  Each instance of obedience showed him that hearing and heeding the call of God brought greater vibrancy to life.

Over the years, Rick learned that fresh challenges in life are gifts from God to grow His children spiritually.  God’s calls are never without challenge, yet the specialized, individual timing and design of God’s calls assures the beauty that will flow from obedience. The Martins most recent call from God builds upon all the lessons of the past and offers vistas that inspire a trembling teacher.”  With Telmo’s voice, God began weaving a new call into the hearts of the Martins.  The call of God is like that—it weaves lives together in a perfectly timed design.  His call comes through His word and His people.  It takes various forms:  desires of the heart, deep burdens and even circumstances.   Heeding God’s call involves a joyful trust in His love and power…a trust strong enough to embrace change and relinquish self-designed plans.

When God began calling the Martins, the needs and demands of the Carroll Street ministry remained under their care.  However, even as God spoke to Telmo and the Martins, He was at work making changes in the governing body of their ministry.  The perfection of God’s timing confirms His calls.  Today the Martins’ ministry on Carroll Street continues with new ties to Davis College—and with a new young pastor.  God’s calls do not bring harm to any; heeding the call of God always expands the view of His glory!  With confident joy in His glory, Rick and Donna are working toward moving from the comfort of American middle-class life to the uncertainties and harshness of the Peruvian Highlands.

Refusing the fear and selfishness of ignoring God’s call, the Martins (and their 16 year-old daughter) are preparing to embrace this new faith-building challenge.  As Rick relates, Peru is vastly different from America.  The climate, foods, housing, languages—and even the beauty—will thrust the family into new earthly realities.  In the highlands, crime abounds and modern conveniences do not.   Yet, the joy of living in the love of God propels Rick and his family to use those new dark realities to allow God’s glory to blaze forth.   .

The love of God compels the Martin family.  The souls perishing without the experience of God’s glorious grace draw them away from earthly concerns and into the designs of God.  Undoubtedly Peru will strip away the security and comforts the Martins rely on in America.  They choose to embrace that opportunity to learn more about Jesus’ sufficiency.  Heeding the call to Peru will force the Martins to believe that God is who He says He is—and that He is faithful to accomplish His perfect plans and purposes.  Hearing and heeding God’s call will open their own hearts to receive more of His truths—and it will open the way for others to know Him as well.

The call of God always flows from His love.  Is the love of God compelling you?  Perhaps God is speaking to your heart through the Martins story.  That, too, is a fruit of heeding the call of God:  inspiring others to listen and obey.  Let them know about it!  Take time to encourage them and pray for them.  More information on their call is available at; by calling 240-3755; or writing to 27 McNamara Street, Binghamton, NY  13903.

The Martins covet the prayers of their Christian brothers and sisters:  prayers for strength, faith and divine workings.  They invite others to join them in their ministry in physical ways as well—on trips or with financial gifts.  Most of all they long for others to enjoy the glory of God!  The call of God is unique to every heart.  It changes lives.  Hear Him.  Heed Him.

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