Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Unstoppable message series #2

                                   Unstoppable Vision: Understanding the ways of God
"He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the people of Israel." (Ps. 103:7) The people saw God's acts, deeds, and miracles. Moses, however, knew God's ways, character, and nature. The people knew what God did, but Moses knew God. He knew His heart. 


In A view from the Zoo, Gary Richmond tells about the birth of a giraffe:
“The first thing to emerge are the baby giraffe’s front hooves and head. A few minutes later the plucky newborn calf is hurled forth, falls ten feet, and lands on its back. Within seconds, he rolls to an upright position with his legs tucked under his body. From this position he considers the world for the first time and shakes off the last vestiges of the birthing fluid from his eyes and ears. The mother giraffe lowers her head long enough to take a quick look. Then she positions herself directly over her calf. She waits for about a minute, and then does the most unreasonable thing. She swings her long, pendulous leg outward and kicks
her baby, so that it is sent sprawling head over heals. When it doesn’t get up, the violent process is repeated over and over again. The baby giraffe finally stands for the first time on its wobbly legs. Then the mother does a most remarkable thing. She kicks it off its feet again. Why? She wants it to remember how it got up. In the wild baby giraffes must be able to get up as quickly as possible to stay with the herd, where there is safety. Lions, hyenas, leopards and wild dogs all enjoy young giraffes, and they’d get it too, if the mother didn’t teach her calf to get up quickly and get with it…”

Once we understand the “ways of giraffes” then we can start to understand the
mother’s purpose in treating her baby the way she does. It makes sense. In the
same way it is important to know “The ways of God”. It is true that “As the
heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and
my thoughts your thoughts”. But as we ponder His ways in scripture and discover
His heart, heaven’s ways become our ways, and His thoughts our thoughts.

Scripture text:
John 12:24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Luke 9:23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

Three aspects of God’s ways that pictures the life of Christ
1. The Vision is born
Soon after we were married I could see the mother’s heart in my wife Sherry. Children were drawn to her like a magnet. We experienced what I now call, the birth of a vision. Our heart’s desire was to have children. After a few years we began the long, slow process of seeing doctors and then specialists with all the
accompanying exams and tests. After all this we were told how impossible it would be for us to have children. The report sent us to our knees. We found comfort in Paul’s words to the Corinthians about his own “thorn in the flesh”. We surrendered this to God and discovered a little jewel called contentment. Whenever we would start to feel sorry for ourselves or to question God, we found peace in His words, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”. (2 Cor. 12:9) Our dream of having children was dead.

Afterward, we received a call to serve as missionaries in Togo, West Africa. After living in Togo four years, I had a visit from one of our Togolese friends named Mawueneyeme. He, along with the young church that started in our home, had been praying for us to have children. He opened his bible and read Habakkuk 2:3
“For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay”. “Pastor”, he said, “we have been weeping with you, but now we are rejoining with you”. He paused. “God has given us a promise that you and Mama Sherry will have a son and then other children”, he said. I still cannot explain the effect that verse and his words had upon me. God was doing something that was beyond my understanding. This little band of first generation believers that met in our home began a prayer project of faith that was truly amazing. After 6 months we discovered that Sherry was pregnant. On May 15, 1981 our son, John Mawuli, was born. After two years Sarah Kafui was born and then our third and final child, Rebekah Mawumenyo, was born. The people of Togo rejoiced. “It’s a miracle”, they exclaimed. We marveled at the goodness and greatness of God.

Some biblical examples of God giving a vision…
Abrahams vision of a great nation (Genesis 12:2, 15:5; 22:17 (stars and sand)
Joseph dream of significant leadership (Genesis 37:5-7, 9)
David’s vision of building a house for God (2 Chronicles 22:6-10) His son, Solomon, would build the house. Sometimes our children fulfill the vision.
Nehemiah’s vision for a wall around Jerusalem (Nehemiah 1-2)
Hannah’s vision of children (1 Sam. 1:2, 5-9, 10-17)
Disciples vision of the kingdom of God (Matthew 20:20-28)

Ask God to give you a vision of how He can work through your life to accomplish his purpose of advancing His kingdom a clear concept of your role in advancing the kingdom of God.

Soon after the completion of Disney World someone said, “Isn’t it too bad that Walt Disney didn’t live to see this?” Mike Vance, creative director of Disney Studios replied, “He did see it that’s why it’s here”.

2. The Vision dies
Each of the biblical examples mentioned above experienced what could be called the death of their vision.
  Sarah was childless and both she and Abraham were too old to have children.
Joseph was sold as a slave then sent to prison
The disciples were hiding in fear after the death of Jesus
David was told that he would not live to see the house built
Hanna poured out her soul to the Lord in deep anguish over her childlessness
Nehemiah faced the bitter opposition of entrenched evil
God’s goal during the death of a vision is to purify our motives and to build our character. (James 1:2-5)

3. The vision is fulfilled supernaturally
Abraham and Sarah and Hannah - Miracle births.
Joseph given supernatural power to interpret dreams, and taken from prison to the palace
Solomon built and dedicated the house to God
Nehemiah completed the wall in 52 days!
Jesus raised from dead and disciples empowered with the Holy Spirit

A skeptical, cynical and unbelieving world needs to see that God is at work supernaturally through the lives of Christ-followers. When we surrender to His ways and follow Him through the birth and death and resurrection of a vision, we can see the impossible. Homes and marriages can be restored. Financial needs can be met. Enslaving addictions can be broken. Lives shattered by sin can be made whole. Eternal Christ-like character can be built.

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