Why Standing Stones?

Why Standing Stones?

In ancient Israel, people stood stones on their end to commemorate a powerful move of God in their lives. It was a memorial to something God spoke or revealed or did. Often these standing stones became reference points in their lives. Today, we can find reference points in the written Word of God. Any scripture or sermon can speak something powerful into our lives, or reveal something of the nature of God. In this blog I offer, what can become a reference point for Christians, taken from God's ancient word and applied to today's world.

Monday, December 8, 2014

The God of Interruptions

Interruptions happen in life, don’t they?  It seems like sometimes you can’t get anything done, because of interruptions.  When I’m the busiest that’s when I get the most interruptions and sometimes the interruptions take you in a completely different direction.  You’re doing one thing and suddenly you’re shifted into another thing, when you get interrupted.

When my younger sister was born, my mother’s doctor was giving his son a haircut.  My dad called him and told him my mom had gone into labor.  The doctor, knowing that my older sister and I had been born quickly, decided to stop the haircut and get ready to go to the hospital.

In getting ready, he started to shave, but then he thought he was taking too much time and was afraid he would be too late.  So, he stopped shaving and left.  So a half-shaved doctor, who hade a kid with half a haircut at home delivered my sister.

Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans – John Lennon

Interruptions!  Life is a series of interruptions.  Careers can interrupt lives.  Children can interrupt your life, and the will of God can interrupt your life.  Today, I’m going to post about interruptions: 

Mark 8:34-36 (NKJV)
8:34 When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, "Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 35 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it. 36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?

The God of Interruptions

When I got saved God interrupted my life.  My life was heading in one direction, it had been going that way for a long time, but God suddenly took my life in a completely different direction.  I’d been changed.  I wasn't who I’d been before.  I began to think and act differently, than had been the pattern for most of my life.

In Christian terms, I’d been converted.  That word converted means to be transformed or changed.  This happens in true repentance; it happens when you are committed to living God’s will for your life.

It’s what is meant by, “deny yourself and follow me,” in our text.  If you are a committed Christian there must be a moment, in your life that you can point to and say, “That’s when I changed.  This is the moment when I began to think and act differently.”

Ken, one of the men in our church told me that the moment of transformation took place for him when he took on ministry.  For me, it was when I realized that salvation was my last chance:  That if something didn't change I would be dead.  God interrupted my life.  He interrupted my plans.  He interrupted everything.  Ken had told his family, “I’m just going to learn English.  I’m not going to believe Christianity.”  God interrupted his plans.  God is the God of interruptions.

If you’re a Christian look at your life, are you different?  Has God interrupted YOUR lifestyle?  Has God interrupted YOUR plans?  Have YOU been converted?  If not, then you need to get back to the altar; You need to get back down there and pray again, because God works in our lives through interruption.

I was thinking about Abraham…God interrupted his life.  He was living in Haran.  No doubt Abraham had a plan for his life.  I have no doubt that he wasn't just sitting around doing nothing.  He was taking his life in a direction but God interrupted:

Genesis 12:1 (NKJV)
12:1 Now the Lord had said to Abram: "Get out of your country, From your family And from your father's house, To a land that I will show you.

God had a promise for his life.  God had a plan for his life, but for that plan to happen Abraham’s life had to be interrupted.  Your life is going to have to be interrupted for the plan of God to take place as well.

I was thinking about Moses.  He had gotten the idea that he was going to deliver Israel form Egypt.  He tried to make that happen.  He’d made some mistakes, so he withdrew to the desert.  He got married, he became a shepherd, and he was living out that life.  he wasn't planning to change.  He had no more plans to deliver Israel, but God interrupted:

Exodus 3:9-10 (NKJV)
3:9 Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. 10 Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt."

God had a purpose for Moses’ life that was bigger than what Moses had planned for his life.  God wanted to use him to deliver his people.  What about God’s purpose for your life?

There are men who are reading this right now, whom God wants to use:  Men that God wants to use to draw people to Him.  Maybe God has a city or a nation that He wants for you to preach in.  Are you open to God interrupting your life?  Are you like Moses?  God interrupts but only if you’re open to His will for your life.  God has given you a free will and he won’t violate that, you make a choice as to whether or not you’re going to follow him.  But remember this:

Mark 8:35 (NKJV)
8:35 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it.

This scripture isn't about dying in a physical sense.  It’s about giving your will to God’s use.  It’s about letting God interrupt you.  It’s about converting your will into His will.  It’s about saying, “Okay God, if you have a plan for my life then I’m ready to take it on!”  That’s losing your life and saving it at the same time.  Let God interrupt you.

Why are you Hanging on to your Will?

Have you ever thought about what it is you’re hanging onto?  Before I got saved I struggled.  I thought I’d given myself the best opportunity to make money.  The question was though, was it the best opportunity for a full and satisfying life?  I spent almost all my time working.  When I wasn't working I was isolated in my apartment.  I had a friend at work who was a Christian.  She witnessed about her life.  I knew she was happy and that I wasn't.  So, why did I hang onto that life so tightly?  Why was I so afraid to let it go?  One of the reasons I resisted letting it go was because of the expectations of other people.

In one way I was like Ken.  He was worried about his family’s expectations.  “I’m only going to learn English.  I won’t believe Christianity.”   That was part of my struggle, too.  I was expected to do well in business.  What would my dad think if I just quit what I was doing and did something else.  The problem was that I knew I couldn't continue to do what I was doing and be a Christian. 

Part of me wanted the money and the accolades that went with doing well in business.  In other words, I had my own will for my life and what frightened me about turning to the will of God was giving up the material things that I wanted. 

I was materialistic; I wanted stuff; I wanted money.  My will and God’s will were at cross purposes…but my life was wreck.  I hated myself.  I was a drunk.  I wanted to kill myself.  I was lonely, miserable and depressed.  Why was I trying desperately to hang onto that? 

There are people reading this right now, and you’re trying to hang onto a life that isn't fulfilling…why? For some, maybe you’re afraid of what others will think.  What will my sinner friends think if I change my life?  Will they think I’ve become some kind of a weirdo? 

What will my parents do if I begin to:

REALLY serve God?
Quit drinking?
Go to church more often?
Get involved in church events and activities?

For some maybe you think you’ll miss out.  “I have to put money ahead of everything else.”  Do you?  Does money really satisfy, because there are a lot of miserable rich people.  I’m not criticizing.  Those are the reasons I resisted God, too, but God interrupted my life and I’m glad He did.  God filled up the empty spots in my life. Looking at our congregation on Sunday morning, and seeing people who got saved as a result of my ministry is much more satisfying than having a cool car.

Being unwilling to turn over your will to God’s will is worldly thinking.  Life is temporary.  How long do you expect to live?  Ninety years?  One hundred years?  Turning your will over to God’s will is eternal thinking.  Ninety years is a blink of the eye in terms of eternity.  Ninety years is ninety years but eternity is FOREVER.  Look at verse thirty-six of our text:

Mark 8:36 (NKJV)
8:36 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?

I was well on my way to becoming a rich man.  That was all I thought about.  Wealth consumed me.  I remember that on my twenty-fifth birthday, I was upset and depressed because I hadn't done anything with my life, yet.  I didn't have a lot of money.  I was still poor.  I actually said, “A quarter of a century and I have nothing to show for it.”  That’s what trying to live up to the expectations of the world will get you.  My own will was killing me. 

By the time I was thirty-five, I was trying to kill myself.  Do you know why?  I didn't have the things I thought I should have.  What would suicide have gotten me?  Where would I have been if I died without Jesus?  I’d have possibly had money and power but what good would that do me in Hell?  I was in a cycle of self-destruction; God interrupted that.  God interrupts; He’s the God of interruptions.

Eternal Life is Worth it!

I want to go back to Abraham and Moses for a moment.  God interrupted Abraham.  God brought Abraham out of the plans Abraham had for his life.  God called him to the place He that showed him and that place was the place of destiny for him.

Genesis 12:2-3 (NKJV)
12:2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."

What would have happened to Abraham if he didn't follow God?  he would have remained in Haran, doing what ever he had been doing before God called him.  God would have led someone else out to that place.  Abraham wouldn't have been a great nation.  His name wouldn't have been made great.  He would have lived and died in obscurity.  Abraham would have lived out his life and completely missed his destiny.

What about you?  To what is God trying to call you.  If you believe that God has a plan for your life then why aren't you allowing Him to call you to it?  Do you know what’s interesting?  When you answer God’s calling with a good heart you achieve God’s purposes AND you find blessing for yourself.  Abraham died about three thousand five hundred years ago and we still talk about him.  We still speak about his life.  He’s in the lineage of Jesus.  All the families of the world have been blessed…through Abraham.  Your family can be blessed through your obedience.

God interrupted Moses.  What would have happened to Moses if he didn't answer God’s call?  He would have continued to be a shepherd, working for his father-in-law, out in the middle of nowhere.  When God called him, God gave him the desire of his heart.  Remember, Moses had tried to deliver the people of God, once before.  It was the reason that he was out in the middle of nowhere in the first place. Look at this:

Hebrews 11:24-26 (NKJV)
11:24 By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, 25 choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, 26 esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.

His desire was rooted in his faith.  It takes faith to let God interrupt.  Faith seems to be in short supply in our day and hour. 

People are hesitant to trust God:

In giving.
In looking for healing.
In answering God’s call.

Faith is the key to responding to God’s will, and responding to God’s will is the key to blessing.  Abraham got blessed because he answered God’s call.  Moses got blessed because he answered God’s call. These men were in the will of God.  It’s impossible to find real blessing outside of God’s will. 

Abraham was called a friend of God.

James 2:23 (NKJV)
2:23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." And he was called the friend of God.

Do you want to be friends with God?  You need to have the faith it takes to answer God’s call.

God met with Moses at the tabernacle:

Exodus 33:11 (NKJV)
33:11 So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle.

God spoke to Moses as a man speaks to a friend.  Do you want to hear from God?  You need to have the faith to answer His call.

How do you gain faith?  The Bible says, “faith come by hearing…”  But it also says, “Test me now in this…”  Faith comes by testing to see if God is faithful.  If you want to know if God will bless you like Abraham and Moses, you need to let him interrupt you and find out.  God interrupts to bless – He’s the God of interruptions.

No comments:

Post a Comment