Sunday, April 10, 2016

My Ways Are Not Your Ways

Isaiah 55:8

The book of Isaiah is one of the books I like the most because it not only talks about the coming of Jesus or His death but it tells you everything.  When you start to read it, you start to discover that everything you are living now has been said before.  Isaiah was inspired by God and wrote things that he most likely did not realise it was for us.  Today, we can read it and learn from it.  The same for you, what you say or write down can be a lesson for generations to come so be careful with what you say and do and be the light for those coming after you.

Many people keep a journal and write down what they do day after day.  Why?  Is it because they don’t want to forget? Or is it because it’s like a fashion?  I believe they write it down and one day someone will read it and discover the secret of what they have been going through.  Jesus writes down your life day after day and knows your thoughts and actions and inside out.

Imagine someone following you taking notes of everything you do.  You go to toilet and someone writes that down.  You are at supermarket and someone writes a note that you are at the supermarket. You talk nicely and someone writes that down.  You feel lazy and someone takes notes you are lazy.  Imagine in ten years someone reads it back to you and they say, on the 20th of May 2015, you felt too lazy to have a shower.

When I show my kids videos of when they were young, they don’t want to see it because it is embarrassing to see who they were yesterday.  The book of Isaiah holds that secret of God keeping a record of our life.  The book tells us the past and what is happening now and what is coming.

The verse we are going to reflect on today is “Your thoughts are not my thoughts and your ways are not my ways, says the Lord”.  God is telling us that the way we are thinking is not the way He thinks and the way we do things is not God’s way.  So what should we do then?  We need to ask God, “God teach me how to think like you and see your ways so I can learn from you and do your ways”. 

Today the church doesn’t want to learn God’s ways.  The church doesn’t think like God.  We don’t want that.  We are limited but God gave us the ability to learn from Him and know His ideas. Sometimes we ask God to help us.  There are two ways He can answer (1) positive or (2) negative but we humans only prefer the positive way.  If you ask for food, don’t be surprised if God makes you starve because at that time it might be better for you not to eat.

When Moses was born, all the boys under a certain age of Hebrews were to be killed. Egypt did not want the number of Hebrews to be larger than Egyptians because they were afraid if the number were higher, the Hebrews would take revenge.  So there was a ruling in the land of Egypt at that time to kill all the boys who were being born so they can’t take revenge on Egyptians.  God’s way is not our way. 

When Moses was born, he was hidden and the princess of Egypt recognised it was a Hebrew boy and yet took the child into her home and the father (the King of Egypt) who said all Hebrew boys of that age had to die, didn’t kill him but allowed him to live in the palace.

Look at God’s ways.  Moses ate with them and slept with them.  Why didn’t the King kill him?  Moses grew up in the palace and everyone knew he was Hebrew while other Hebrews were being killed outside of the palace. 

One day, Moses killed someone and God changed his way of thinking.  Moses had access to everything he needed, food and education but God decided he had to leave that wealthy life and live another life.  Moses was now outside of Pharaoh’s house.

When things suddenly change in your life, how do you feel?  When you only have $20 and you put all your hope in that money but you lose it on the street, how will you feel?  When you make a mistake in your life you blame yourself but it can also be God’s way because He is planning to meet with you somewhere. 

When mistakes happen we know we must take responsibility but some things God allows to happen in order for us to know that God’s ways are not our ways.  Moses escaped.  In New Zealand one person escaped prison and went to Brazil but it wasn’t long before he was brought back to New Zealand.

Pharaoh’s men were after Moses and yet he wasn’t caught.  How could he not be stopped along the way?  After escaping, God told Moses to go back, the person who wanted to kill you, you have to go back and tell him to free my people. Maybe Moses felt like saying, “God are you crazy, sending me to that guy who wanted to kill me?  To ask for freedom for the people he is using as slaves?”

Having slaves in that time means wealth because the work can be done quickly without losing money.  Losing slaves mean you have to do the work yourself and you have to work hard and you will lose money, prestige and success. 

With God’s thought, Moses had to go back.  Have you crossed that situation when God is sending you somewhere and you feel this is dangerous?  Sometimes God will send us back to where we used to have enemies or our enemies are living or He sends us back to the person where we said we will never have contact with that person again.  We might think, whenever that person sees me coming back and I told her it is finished with you, what will she say?

God told Moses, “I will help you”.  For success, I will be proud to help the Hebrew leave Egypt because I will be proud of what I will achieve.  I will see success in my physical life is coming when I take millions of people out of Egypt, I will be talked about in history and I will be a leader.

But when Moses started the mission, there were problems along the way.  Who is this God who says you will be successful and I am with you but he sets traps for you at every step?  If God promises you $20 and it is not there, how will you feel?  God will sometimes make you feel like a liar or stupid because you belong to Him.  You can go everywhere and say you are a son of God but they can answer, “I know you very well and see the way you talk to people” because they only see you with their physical eyes and don’t understand God’s ways.

Jesus walked into the temple and He whipped people.  Can He really beat people up?  The son of God?  If you punch someone today, you will be arrested but for Jesus, it was a way of telling people to leave the temple.  He had millions of ways of telling them to leave the temple without trouble but he preferred to choose the way of trouble.  What testimony does this give?

In front of a group of people, Jesus was told, “your brothers and mother are here” and He answered, “they are not my brother or mother”.  Try to say you don’t have a mother, who can deny their parents?  That is Gods way of thinking.

Before Moses could make the Hebrews leave, he failed nine times up to the tenth time.  God didn’t tell Moses, only once I will do it.  How many times in your life have you prayed to God to do something in your life and He gives you promises and yet you continue to fail?  God says, “go for it” but you fail and you come back to God and He says, “go again” and you fail.  After five or six times you will give up.  When God talks about what is posititve, we see it as negative.

When God tells us serve me, we believe, God should serve us.  We tell God to show me a verse to pass on to others and God looks at you and says you are my servant to kneel down and pray to inspire you but you have to do the job. 

God created Adam and Eve and put them in a nice garden but they were not there just to enjoy the garden, they had to look after the garden, there had to contribute and participate.  Ask men around the city who love to work in the garden.  Most leave it for women.  My son told me, “no matter what happens in my life, I will not have a garden because I hate gardening”.  For some, it is a hard work and a serious problem while others enjoy it.  You can see men mucking around while the woman is spending time looking after the garden.  Why not men?

God knew that Adam would fail somehow.  We have not found a verse saying that Adam is a hard worker. God told Adam that this tree is a tree of knowledge of good and bad and if you eat it, you will die.  If you are a good gardener, you will put a fence around it because it is a danger or you might even cut it down.  God didn’t restrict Adam to cut down the tree but to take care of the garden.  When God tells you and I, this is a danger, what do we normally do?  We keep distance and if possible, we remove the tree from the garden because it can cause damage tomorrow.

Adam didn’t seem to care much and look now, Eve walked around and is tempted.  God is so good because when He came in the evening, he called “Adam where are you?”  “I’m here”.  God asked Adam, “What did you do?” while God already knew.  God created Adam in His image and gave him the ability to work hard and be a gardener but he didn’t use his strength to look after the garden.

You can buy chemicals to kill weeds because we don’t need them.  Whatever you don’t need in your life, we should remove it.  We protect ourselves because we don’t want to die.  For example, we wear seatbelts when we are driving in the car because life is precious.  God told Adam this is a dangerous tree, be careful.  Adam is like, “it’s alright, I’m not stupid”.  Later came Evewith the fruit and I’m sure Adam recognised the fruit but this was God’s way, Adam should go through that.  God didn’t stop Adam from consuming the fruit, He let him eat it. 

God comes hours later and asks where are you?  He didn’t ask why did you eat the fruit?  When someone breaks something that belongs to you, you will ask why did you break it? God didn’t go that way, He didn’t ask Adam physically where are you but where are you Adam in your trust in me, your belief in me, your faith in me, where are you in the word I gave to you.  Adam said, “I’m here naked”.  Was that God’s question?  God could see he was naked.  God’s question was, “where are you regarding the Word of God?”

When someone asks you, how are you?  We always answer, “I’m fine”  Are you really fine?  When you tell God, “I’m here in front of you God”, are you really in front of God?  Many will say, I’m here Jesus at your cross.  How do you come close to the cross of Jesus?  How to come close to the throne of Jesus while you are a sinner?  We should invite God to come close to us.

Our Father in heaven, hallowed by Your Name… (we know that prayer ) and we say, “let your kingdom reign”, so we are asking God to take control of that area, to let His Spirit be here?  We pray for the will of God but if His ways are different to ours, will we really accept His will to be done?  If our way of thinking is different to His, will we really accept His will to be done.

When I was 11 years old I was supposed to go from one country to another with my mum but the flight was cancelled and we were supposed to take a small plane.  They told my mum that I will take a small jet and my mum will take the following flight to Kenya.  My mum said, “my son doesn’t know Kenya and he is too young so who will look after him”.  My mum asked for someone else to take my place so that we could go together but they said no. 

I was told to be strong and go somewhere I didn’t know.  At the Kenya airport, the language they used was English but I didn’t know English so no one understood me and I got lost.  How often do we get lost in God’s ways?  How often does God send us where we feel lonely or we don’t know who to talk to or no one has time to listen?  Very often we find ourselves in a corner were God seems to forget about us.

What does God think about?  Does He think about me, nature, my children, my parents, animals, or everything?  Who can tell me God’s thoughts?  Because whatever we think about, we are wrong.  Every single thing you do, God will prove you are wrong.  If you pray, God will tell you that you don’t know how to pray so God says to allow the Holy Spirit to pass on that message.  Sometimes we can sing and then we ask, was it ok?  Sometimes we can play the guitar but no one says anything.  What does God think about what I do?

We can ask God what, “what do you think about my love for you, my performance, my work for my family, in the life of others, in my home?”  We ask each other, what do you think and they can give a suggestion.  We can tell God, “I want to talk about this, is this ok, inspire me more because I want to talk to your children”.

The same God who told Moses that he will take God’s children to Canaan, then tells Moses that he won’t enter Canaan.  Look at Gods way of doing things.  You start with joy and then go through many problems and then you won’t enter the Kingdom of God.  Imagine being showed the promised land but you are not allowed to enter.  Will you go to have a look?  You might say, “There is no point to see it if I’m not going there.  You promised me but I’m not going anymore”.  Moses died without seeing it and only a few who had left Egypt entered Canaan. 

What is the point to die in the desert?  Does God really love us?  Did he love that nation?  Yes, of course but what was He thinking about when He pushed them out of Egypt and then killed them.  God used to speak with Moses from time to time and he gave Moses power and then He chose 70 people and divided the power of Moses with 70 people.  Can God give you $20 and then you have to share with 70 people?  How easy is it to share what you have 70 others?  Is it easy to share your gift with 70 others?  How much will remain with you if you share your gift of singing or your gift of preaching with 70 others? 

Jimmy swaggart once asked God to know what that would feel like to be Moses, to share his power with 70 others and when he picked up the Bible, he wasn’t able to understand the Word of God and couldn’t speak with power anymore. God said, “that power has been divided” and then he wanted it back.

Sometimes we are selfish with our knowledge, gifts and capacities but God can also remove what we have and pass it on to others.  Ask God what is His way for your life.  God do you have any way that is different to mine?  If yes, “teach me how to live according to your ways and to accept failure and success.  Teach me to be like Moses and accept God’s decisions without criticising and without blaming God.  Teach me how to understand your way of thinking”.

Verse 9:  our way of thinking is not close to God’s way of thinking.  We blame God, ourselves and others for the situation we are crossing.  We need to ask God to teach us to think like Him and to do things according to His ways.

Our thoughts are not Gods thoughts and our ways are not His ways so let’s keep consulting God all the time.  If you are selling your house, you seek advice from your lawyer.  Jesus is the best lawyer to ask for advice and support and to know how.