October 30, 2009

Encouraging Words 10/30/09-"Moving With God"

We had the pleasure of meeting Rev. Tim Jainniney, the Associate Pastor at New Hope Sanctuary in Roanoke, VA at a conference in May and became Facebook friends with him. He recently posted a sermon on his page there and was kind enough to give us permission to share it with you here:

MOVING WITH GOD
Numbers 9:15-23

Introduction

We all know by now that NHS is about to move. Our lease will soon end and we have decided that now is the time to move on and not renew. NHS has been on the move before. From a home, to a rented room, to this sanctuary, and now, to where, we are not sure, but we are hopeful about a place. We are believing God to have His way and for His will to be accomplished.

Moving to any new location is quite a step. Our passage this morning will show us some dynamics of a people of God on the move.

May I ask today - Are we ready to move? But may i further ask, are we ready to move with God?

As God moved His children along in our passage, and as God is about to move us, let's consider three key lessons.

1. We Need A Sense Of God's Presence (15-23)
In Ex. 40:2, almost a year before our passage, God led Israel out of slavery, into what is called the wilderness. From that point, God would lead them by a manifestation of His presence, a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night (Ex. 13:21-22). This manifestation was present on the very first day/night of their escape.

Israel could not ignore a sense of God's presence, especially since it was so very evident to them, right before their very eyes. Nor should we ignore a sense of His presence to us.

We need to purposefully, deliberately, each day, as God's children place ourselves in a position to be in His presence!

Even in a day where we have technology at our disposal and experts in every field of life, and multiple resources... never should we ever abandon the desire or substitute anything for the presence of God.

How do we place ourselves in and turn our senses towards God's presence? There are many way we can do this.

-By not denying that God is with us. "Our God is a very present help in time of trouble." (Ps. 46:1)

"Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If Isay, Surely the darknessshall cover me; even thenight shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee." (Psalm 139:7-12)

"And Lo I am with you alway (all the way), even until the end of the world." (Matthew 28:20)

-By God's Word.

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." (Ps. 119:105

"I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved." (Ps. 119:47)

-By prayer

"He shall call upon me, and I will answer him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honor him." (Ps. 91:15)

"And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart." (Jer. 29:13)

- Praise and worship

"Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name." (Ps. 100:4)

Psalm 22:3 tells us that God inhabits the praises of His people.

“By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name” (Hebrews 13:15).
As we recognize his presence, I love what Psalm 16:11 tells us, "Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in the presence is fullness of joy; at the right hand there a pleasures evermore."

2. We Need A Signal Indicating God's Direction (17)
Our text says that when the cloud lifted, the people set out and when the cloud settled, the people would camp.
This was divine guidance. We see a repeated phrase (18, 20 & 23). I encourage you to mark this in your Bible... "At the Lord's command..."
What does this tell us? At the Lord's command they moved or they camped. God want us to be obedient!
God wants to control every movement of our lives. Where we live, who we marry/partner, where we work, all that we do!
Notice this... The cloud did not follow the movement of the people; the people followed the movement of God.

3. We Need A Spirit Of Mobility (20-23)
What is meant by this? When we realize that we are in the wilderness as the Israelites were, or whatever circumstance in life and the we are on the move, marching to another destination, the last thing we should have is a spirit or attitude of permanence.
Israel at one point wanted to return to Egypt, the place of slavery/oppression simply because they felt that experience was easier, that they had a place to lay their head, a place of permanence and provision even if were at the hands of their captors.
In this experience (their freedom) the had to be ready to move at a moment's notice. They never knew how long they would stay in one place. They just knew that they had to be ready when the cloud/fire moved and when it settled.
Likewise, we must be ready as a people of God and as a local congregation.
What lessons should we see in having a spirit/attitude of mobility?
A. Movement is inevitable.
- God has the journey planned out. He does not expect us to stay in one place. Did you know that the lack of movement is unhealthy? Israel, daily looked at the cloud/fire and wondered if this would be the day to move or camp. If not, if they were complacent, they would be caught off guard.
B. It is foolish to put our stakes in too deep.
-Again, at any movement...
- If our stakes are too deep or if we are too attached to where we are, we may never be able to move on in our journey. Or... we may never want to.
C. Knowing everything about the move is not necessary.
-Even though the people of Israel knew they were on their way to Canaan, they didn't know where their path would lead them on the way.
-God doesn't always tell us everything. He may take us on a detour like He did Israel (Ex. 13:17).
-Our steps may be rapid or they may be slow for whatever reason. God's timing may not be our timing.
-He may move us through unexpected difficulties.
Where ever his presence is, this should be enough and this is where we should want to be. It is far better to be in His presence than alone in our journey. Security!

Conclusion
-God wants to be present and completely in charge.
-We need to be flexible.
-Who is in charge of the journey you are on? Who is in charge of the journey of NHS?
-If you read, you will find that Israel spent 39 extra years in the wilderness because they tried to run things.
-May we (individually and as a church) follow God's presence.

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