Life Lessons from the Road (A to Z)
France: "Hearing the Voice of the Lord"
Weeks ago I started with the letter A and will go to Z focusing on a nation or island group, and what I learned in that place. If you are looking for perfection then just read the Words of Jesus in the New Testament of the Bible. I'm only a pilgrim that has and is still on a journey with Jesus. He is constantly working on me like a potter does the clay. Welcome to the potter's house!
‘Hearing the Voice of the Lord’
A step, no peace
It was 1972 and I had carried the cross from the English Channel at Dieppe to Paris, France. I was heading east toward Germany. As I put the cross on my shoulder that morning and started to walk out of the campground in Paris, just as I was in that first step, I felt "no peace," but very troubled. I stopped in mid-step. I knew something was wrong.
I asked the Lord, “I walk on toward Germany or Italy?”
“I go north toward Denmark?”
“I go back to England?”
I stood in shocked silence. The only way left was south to Spain and Africa. That was the way I did not want to go. Then I said, “Lord I will go south?” Wow! I can feel it even as I type this.
“Yes” and the awesome Glory of the Lord covered and filled me. Peace, like peace beyond words filled my heart. I immediately headed south through France, Spain, and Portugal then into North Africa and a two-year walk across Africa. I knew and never doubted that call that day.
Since I was a child I have felt the Voice of Jesus speaking to me. The Father sharing and the Holy Spirit leading in my heart and life.
As a child some nights I would climb a big tree in our front yard and sit there in the branches looking at the night sky and talking with God. I knew His Presence and Voice. In the cotton fields Jesus would lead me so many steps in one direction and then in a different direction. He was training me as a child.
Many people ask me how I knew and know where to go in carrying the cross. My reply is, I pray and Jesus speaks and gives a time and the places to go in order. I simply go in that direction. I do not question His leadership. Looking at a map Jesus will show me a certain road to walk. Often people will tell me: “Don't go that way; there is fighting or bandits.” I just say, “This is the road Jesus wants us to walk” –– and go on.
My call to carry the Cross
The call to carry the cross was so clear. I was preaching a crusade in Garland, Texas the first week of September 1969 at the First Baptist Church and at the Garland Stadium. As was normal for me, I also went into a night club to share Jesus Christ. There was a chain of night clubs called “The Cellar.” That night I was preaching on the stage at the club in Dallas. The Cellars are notorious for their dancing girls and the drug addicts and rednecks the girls attracted. I had preached in the smoke-filled, loud and rowdy club on stage for fifteen minutes and then talked to the customers until very late. That day I had spoken at a school, then church, and then the club. Then in my room as I got ready to go to bed, Jesus spoke to me and said, “I want you to pray all night.” As I knelt by my bed with only the sound of the air conditioner in the small one-story motel, I prayed. I was 28 years-old, only weeks away from my 29th birthday on October 27th. For years I had traveled America preaching youth crusades in churches, parks, beaches, bars, and parking lots then God led me to minister on Sunset Strip in Hollywood, California. I often wonder what would have happened should I not have obeyed and just went to bed. Would God have called again?
As I prayed suddenly Jesus spoke to me… not in an audible voice, but in my heart and mind. I know His voice. In a clear revelation of witness to me, Jesus said, “I want you to take the cross that is hanging on the wall in HIS PLACE and put it on your shoulder and carry it on foot across America!”
I was stunned. The words lingered in my mind and then wave after wave of the power of the Holy Spirit swept over me, from the bottom of my feet to the top of my head like ocean waves. It seemed as though inside of me my inner being was aglow. I was immersed in that incredible call, bathed in the Holy Spirit's lingering presence. I was crying. Tears were pouring down my face, even as I was smiling, praising God and laughing, saying, “Thank you, Jesus, wow! Yes, Lord! Thank you, Jesus.”
The Lord spoke more. “I want you to take the cross to the roadsides and streets of the world to identify my message in the streets with the common man. I am sending you into the secular world. I am going to put the gospel on television, on the radio, by your walking. I want you to bear witness of My life and My love; proclaim My peace in the streets.”
As I thought on these things it seemed the Lord was telling me, “When I was here in the flesh I was in the streets with the common man, that is where my message has to be identified, in the streets.” I didn't question the call, only thrilled that Christ had spoken to me.
I raced out of my motel room to the next room and began to pound on the door. “Wake up! Open the door!” I cried out.
I could hear stumbling toward the door and then it opened. “What in the world are you doing, Blessitt?!” It was O.J. Peterson and Jim McPheeters, my singing group; they were on the staff of HIS PLACE in Hollywood. O.J. had been a night club piano player and was now converted. Jim had been in the Marines in Vietnam and had been converted at HIS PLACE. They were in their early twenties.
I turned on the light as they stood rubbing their eyes.
“Praise the Lord, God wants me to take the cross that is on the wall at HIS PLACE and carry it across America from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. and spread the Word of Jesus across the land. Jesus is the answer. He is the way out of our troubles. He is the solution.”
“Blessitt, are you crazy?” they said, trying to get awake.
“Can we go with you?" they asked. "We can sing and you can preach across America.”
“Praise God!” I said.
I knew it was right for them to go with me. I sat down at the foot of their bed and we began to plan the trip in the early morning hours. In all my wildest dreams I never thought my life would be indelibly imprinted with a twelve-foot wooden cross. That was in 1969 and as I write this, it is over 40 years later and I am still living in that call. Never questioned or doubted the Voice of Jesus in my heart that night.
I don't know about you, but I would not know how to live without the clear, direct call of Jesus in my life. I still live that way and soon will be seventy years old. God spoke with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and walked with them.
I believe God wants to speak and lead each of His children. Hear these Words of Jesus:
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me...When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice...I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me...I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.” (John 10:27, 4, 14, 16).
This is how Jesus led us around the world with the cross. In the movie “The Cross” you will see how the story unfolds. It's the story of walking with Jesus and carrying the cross and His message of love, peace, hope and salvation. It will help you in your walk with Jesus and will also point others to know and follow Him.
One very important thing is that what the Lord leads you to do lines up with the Word of God. Does it look like Jesus? sound like Jesus? reflect Jesus? If not, you are following your feelings and not the Holy Spirit. Repent and them move forward doing for sure what the Bible says we should do.
Have I ever misunderstood or failed in hearing the Voice of the Lord? Yes! I repent ask Jesus to cleanse my heart and life, and make me more receptive to His Voice and leading. In time you will learn to hear and obey better. But, to stop when you fail and never believe the leading of the Lord is tragic. God knows your heart and intent. Don't fear His call but just learn to obey –– that is called having faith.
Just today I was in a shop, and in my witness, it led to me going out to my car and returning to give "The Cross" DVD to both of the people. This is a powerful witnessing tool that can be in your hands. May Jesus lead you in all things
There are many ways that Jesus speaks and leads -- too many to put in this column. I have written eight columns with many pages of stories and scriptures for you to study. For those hungering to be led of the Spirit I invite you to study each of these. These will give much greater help in following the Voice and Call of the Lord. They are found at:
The story of the crosswalk in France is at "Crosswalk Stories" Top Left
Welcome the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit to speak to you and lead you in His most holy ways. God bless you
Pilgrim followers of Jesus,
Arthur and Denise Blessitt,