Sunday, October 23, 2016

Ensure Me

By Odon


This morning we are going to share the Word of God from Joshua 2:12-13, “"Now then, please swear to me by the LORD that you will show kindness to my family, because I have shown kindness to you. Give me a sure sign that you will spare the lives of my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all who belong to them--and that you will save us from death."


Joshua was a human being with two legs and two arms like you and me and this man was a simple person, he was a servant of Moses. People didn’t know who he was exactly, he was just working for Moses.  God decided to raise him up and made him a big leader.


This Bible is very small with a nice colour and maybe it also contains the word that can change my life.  I will say your Bible is like a servant for you.  The Bible serves you, it’s a pioneer that God has given you to serve you whenever you are tired, in a stressful situation, you are crying, you need help, your Bible can give you an answer and that is why we call it the Word of God, God passes through the Word of God to teach you and me.


Moses would sometimes tell Joshua, this is heavy and because Joshua was a young man, he would help Moses so they could reach their destination.  Have you stopped to think about how important your Bible is for you?  When things are tough, be amazed that the Bible can be the answer for your situation.  When you are tired, there are verses to refresh your mind, body.  When you are crossing a financial hardship there are verses that tell you not to worry.


When God created Adam, He said, you will not be alone but you will have someone to help you.  That was the beginning of that word “help” because Adam couldn’t do things alone.  Who helps you when you are going through the dramas of your life, when things are dry in your life, when things are wet and it’s raining in your life, where do you go to find an umbrella?  When ideas are coming up and you don’t know what to do, and you start to get a headache, where do you get help?


David said I look up to the mountains and my help comes from God. 


You have to open your Bible and read it.  This Bible looks beautiful with its beautiful cover but it is a Jehovah witness Bible and you may open another Bible which is a different version and messages are twisted.  You may find differences of words in each Bible but praise God we have the Holy Spirit who is a teacher to explain things clearly.


Joshua sent two spies to Jericho to enter into this city where they didn’t know anybody and they chose to visit Rahab who was a prostitute.  Rahab as a prostitute, she won’t ask those who knock on their door, who are you and why are you here but she will open her door because she needs the business.  She opened not only the door of the house but the door of her life.  Her job allowed her to not care about a person’s appearance, she didn’t care what the man looked like, or their salary.  She just needed the money for her service.


Look how our God has used this lady to welcome his missionaries of God into Jericho.  We don’t know what they talked about but it appears she had a clue that they were Israelites and she was fearing the presence of these men in her country because their God is so strong and performs miracles to open the red sea and no nation can stand before the nation of Israel and fight against them.  Rahab had a testimony of what God can do for His nation.


In the same way that I have a testimony for you of what God has done in your life and I can be afraid of your God.  If God can give Tyrone the oxygen into his nostril and he can breathe while doctors can’t do this because when God says it’s the time to finish for this person, the doctor won’t bring them back to life. 


Ange was here last Sunday service and she was dancing for God.  I thought to myself, what makes that person have such moves and it gave me the picture of David when he started to work for God and took off his clothes and danced for his God.  Would you continue to dance for your God and because of joy forget completely for yourself.  Many of us will say, “No, I respect myself and am respected by others”.  The Lord looks down on us and says, “who do you think you are?  If you are the servant of my servant (as Joshua was a servant of Moses) why can’t you do this for me?”


Verse 13, Rahab came close to them, “Ensure me when you come back you will protect the life of my family because I don’t want them to die.  I know the power of your God and how powerful He can act in your life and change things in one second so I want you to ensure me that everything will be good for my family”.  Rahab who is not a Christian is claiming the lives of her family members.  She is not claiming for material things such as her house. 


When we pray we often pray funny.  I printed out a paper here with the word “assure”.  We tell God, I need assurance, assure me God that you can do this for me and give this to me and God will assure you, “I’m going to prepare a place for you in heaven and come back for you”.  To assure means to say something that is true but not done immediately.  Jesus gave that promise to the disciples and left.  When you pray you tell God to assure me so I can get a job, for my children and my family.  God is so good, He will do so.


There is another dimension of praying, when you pray don’t stick on this word assure and claim that God has promised me this.  Yes He has told you but what time will it be fulfilled, it might be one day or ten thousand years.  Some prophets such as Isaiah prophesised that Jesus would be born but Isaiah died before Jesus came.


I have another word here, “insure”.  I hate this word the most.  Give to me insurance, protect my sister and my people, my items, my job, insure me and secure my finances.  That is where the church starts to take God and pray mostly about material things for God to protect them e.g. I want to see the harvest of my farm this year so I can earn a lot of money.  I want you to send customers to me because I want to see my business flourishing.  We start to push God and give conditions because we want insurance.


Insurance companies give a good example:  life insurance, is it life or death insurance?  You don’t give the insurance to me but to other people.  You invested in me and give it to other people.  Before they give it to your family members, you may have to see the judge.  When they asked for your money to pay the policy, they spoke kindly but when your family asks for the insurance pay out, the family has to sweat before the insurance company pays.


Many people ask for blessings but once they receive it, they are like the person that God told, if you want to see the Kingdom of God, give up your material things and give it all to the poor.  That is a challenge.  You won’t think about poor people first but your own family, my mum can have my house, my dad my car, this is how things will be shared if I die today.  I have read many wills (last will testament).  Those words are like a referee that will separate people at the end of my life.  Those words will give some to a group and less to another group.


Unfortunately, many Christians will not write about a person’s soul or leave a Bible or a verse in the Bible in their wills.  We can only leave material things.  God has given you a house, a car and now God asks you to leave something behind for your wife, your children.  Maybe you think about your clothes, house and in your will don’t be shocked if you don’t see anything that reflects the Kingdom of God.  I have searched about wills of Christians on line and 0% will leave behind peace, joy etc in their wills, only material things.  What about sharing our faith?


I have another word, “ensure”.  “Ensure me Lord, not only to protect my physical life but I want to be ensured that something will be done before it is too late”.  When you pray and you tell God about your situation, you expect the answer and you want to see God doing something but you are not straight forward.  You are like this rugby ball and if I want to throw it to my brother, it will bump left and right because it is not a round shape and cannot go smoothly to the person.  It is up to my brother to know how to catch this ball.


Our prayers are similar to balls.  A ball is something we use in sport and can bring together hundreds or thousands of people to watch and can make someone not come to work the next day if their team loses.  If New Zealand wins a rugby came, it is hallelujah and if we lose, people can become sick, angry and then we are mocked by Australians and this creates conflict. 


How powerful is a ball.  People will train for years in order to play this ball one day.  From the day of zero they will train to become rugby or soccer players and parents will spend money and time to take their children so that tomorrow they will become something to ensure that something will be done.  Before it is done, I’m your father and it’s up to you my son to practise and you have to practise every single day.  Do you want God to answer your prayers?  Then pray without ceasing. 


Now when some pray, they bump here and there like the rugby ball and others are like a soccer ball that is round and follows the direction you throw it.  Your prayers are falling on one side (like the rugby ball falls).  God is in your life like the spies in the house of Rahab.  Rahab thought of others, her family and asked to be ensured they will survive.  Who is your first person when you pray to God, ensure me that this will be fulfilled in my life.  I want to see them alive.


When you come with such a prayer with God, it looks like a soccer ball which is round and when you throw it, it goes straight.  The rugby ball can easily be lost because of the shape of the ball and it bounces in a wrong direction.  When we pray, we are not straight, you spend five minutes saying words that have no meaning.  Stop before you pray and ask yourself what you will tell God.  It’s a conversation between you and God.  When you prepare to talk to a king, you will prepare carefully what you will see.  But we pray the same words over and over, “You love me God, you are so good God” and then what?  Tell God what you want and give him time to respond.


The two spies said, we ensure you, we will protect you and your family.  How much effort have you put aside for your prayers in order for God to give eternal life for your people, for your nation and those that surround you?  You want to become a boss, expect pressure.  You want to become someone big in society, expect pressure and it is that pressure that makes the ball move forward.  Remove pressure from a ball and the ball becomes flat. 


No rugby player will accept to play rugby with a ball without pressure.  If the ball gets punctured, they will stop the game and get another one.  Do you have pressure in your prayers?  Are your words full of pressure, full of the Holy Spirit and clean to make the prayers go smoothly?  When you don’t prepare your words, you are just repeating your words, you sound like a flat ball.


Think about what you will tell God and tell him what you want assurance for and let God also speak in His turn.  It’s not a matter of using 6000 words, a few words are enough if they go straight to the point such as Rahab who only used a few words to save her family.


One time I went to the restaurant and the man that I was with prayed for more than six minutes, he prayed for his family, the city and I lost my concentration because the food was smelling good.  Have you come across someone praying too long in church and you think, stop now because we don’t understand what they are saying and it’s true because they choose the wrong ball – instead of round shape and then they remove the pressure from it.


God says to knock on the door and I’ll open it.  Knock means more than touching, it means to make a noise.  God has ears and listens to us but only when we make a noise.  When we just touch the door, hallelujah God you are so good.  What are you going to receive, when you say hallelujah?  God will be proud of your worship but He will only answer amen because you didn’t make any noise.


Where will I get pressure from?  Can I use my mouth?  My mouth will not do the job because the hole is very small and my lungs are not big enough.  You need a special needle and a pump.  Without the needle, the pump cannot work.  Rahab approached those people, “welcome to my house”.  Then she hid them in the roof with wheat trees.  Wheat makes us think of the bread and Jesus is the bread and the Word of God so they were taken to the place of God’s word.  What is the roof of your life?  Do you have one? 


Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and the temple has a roof, what is the roof of your heart?  In your head, what is going on?  Do you have any place to put the Holy Spirit in your thoughts and ideas so the Holy Spirit can feel secured and comfortable before to act.  We very often use our heads before acting.  We can plan something and then change our minds with our thoughts.


When things are functioning properly in our head, satan cannot catch them.  We touch our physical heart but the Word of God doesn’t stay there, it goes to the head.  The heart pumps in and out blood and feeds the body and your head feeds your body with knowledge and it is because of the lack of knowledge that we perish.  We write the Word of God in our heart of the spirit which is our head.


Rahab lied and told those who asked if she had seen the spies, “the men are not here but have left”.  She saved their lives.  What protects your soul when satan visits you.  Satan is like a lion roaring looking for someone to devour which is your soul.  Satan attacks the Word of God that you feed your soul with.  Many Christians say, “I will wait for God to do it, He is in control and He knows my weaknesses”.


One time, I went to a shop and ordered a beef burger and chips and their burgers were amazing and I was really enjoying the burger but then I found a long hair.  Yuck.  For me, it was ok because my burger was so yummy.  Regardless of the small mistake that showed up, I put it aside and carried on eating it.  Many others would not be able to eat it and go back to complain and say, “from now on I will never buy a burger from this shop because they are dirty” and we judge them.  Just eat the burger and forget about the hair.


You can enjoy your spiritual journey and the Word of God but satan can put a piece of hair in the way and make you lose your way.  What distracts you when you are praying?  Someone may knock on your door, the phone ring.  We always put God as the last position. 


I’m advising you today to ask God to ensure you that what you are praying for will be given to you and prepare yourself before to talk to him, He is God.  Tell God this is what I desire. For example, I want to be a singer, this is my desire to worship.  What is your desire?  Maybe it’s to enter the Kingdom of God, maybe it’s to play the drums or read the Word of God.  Don’t waste God’s time.  If you are not ready to pray, wait and prepare yourself.