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Series: Other Speakers
Sun am 17 March 2013 – Alan Scotland
Gen. 12:1-5; Gen. 11:31-32; (Luke 12:32)
The future is embedded in the present, it is not what is to come; it is what is already here that will determine whether we are shapers of the future or running to catch up with it. God has a future for us and we need, however challenging, to co-operate with the future. God often puts us in the deep end and we realise with His hand underneath us lifting us up we can swim better than we thought, God is with us all the way.
It is time to understand the season that you are in. We often get our perspectives muddled, we converge everything into one and we are never able to fully enjoy the now because we are either remembering the past or anticipating the future. We forget the present is invaluable and we need to be careful it is not stolen from us. The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there (Gen. 12:1-5). To get the context here you really have to look at the end of chapter 11 from verse 31: Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Harran, they settled there. Terah lived 205 years, and he died in Harran. There is a meaning behind the town of Harran; it was at the crossroads. This is not an easy place to settle as there are so many choices, so many demands coming at you. But they settled there. After a long time the call came to Abram after his father had died, it demanded of him change and the change demanded of him courage because he was not given the detail; he was given the outline and the details would follow. If we were to have the detail we would not need God, or the Holy Spirit; we would be cleverer than God so to speak. God does not give us details in our lives but the outline. God is speaking to Abraham and Abraham knows it is God speaking.
When God speaks, He speaks inside of you and He speaks with knowledge of you and in a way that you cannot say that you do not understand. With simplicity and yet profoundness God speaks and challenges us at every stage of our lives. It is important to understand the season you are in, the church is at the crossroads; it is a wonderful place to be because now God demands of us not just wisdom but courage. We need wisdom but we also need to have courage aswell because courage will give us the ability to confront and to speak out with boldness even though we are challenged by what we are having to say. God comes to Abraham and says its time to move on, to hold on to certain things and let go of others in a seasonal transition.
Our lives are made up of seasons and when you are going through a season, if you do not understand the season you are in, you can hurt yourself. The reason for seasons is to give us diversity and save us from becoming static and mundane, so we can enjoy the difference and the diverse ways God comes to us and blesses us. Every season has its compensations and its challenges. It is time to make a move; it is time to move forward. The complication is that you have to de-clutter, you have family, friends, and connections. The complication is everybody is waiting on you and whatever move you make, whatever decision you make is going to have an impact. But that must never deter us from an obedience of faith, when God is moving us into a new season wisdom must couple with courage and these must make decisions. Sometimes Christians get very weird, very intense and serious. God says, “I do not want you to have ulcers, I want you to have understanding. I do not want you to be so intense that you can no longer think innovatively or creatively or even enjoy the moment. I want you to learn to hear my voice not just in your youth or middle age but even in the later seasons of life.” To hear the word of the Lord so that you can apply wisdom and courage to move forward and reap the benefits of the season, every season has a benefit and God wants us to enjoy it; we must not become boring and static, not die before our time and not retire too early.
Since I was the age of 50, people asked me when I would retire. A young man said to me “slow down”. I looked at him and thought I would love to slow down so I said to him “I will slow down when you run faster and overtake me. When this happens, with delight I will give you the burden of the Lord, the purpose of God, the responsibility”. I will dance, when the younger generation overtakes me.
The issue is always dealing with your disqualifications. God wants us to go beyond our limitations and believe that all things are possible with Him. We must not look at the disqualifications; we are not qualified enough, too young, too old. Age with God does not cause Him to discriminate, whether you are young or old when He calls — you must obey; when He speaks you must move into the realm of faith and you must take action to fulfill what He wants of you for the season that you are in. The important thing is that you understand the moment because the future is right now. We have to make decisions now or else we will be running to catch up with the future.
Time is your most valuable asset; money cannot buy the value of my time. In our world today people never have enough time and are locked in as a result. We must ensure that time is not robbed from us. God says you have to redeem the time; now is the time, now is the day, now is the decision, now you must apply yourself and shape the future.
Abraham moved on and the impact was felt greatly. The Lord says, “If you will obey Me I will bless you.” I believe in blessings and I also understand curses. I had people curse me. Then I said, “Please do not curse me because it will only bounce back on you and I do not want that for you, I want you to know blessing, to know Jesus and to know forgiveness of your sin, I want you to know deliverance from that which enslaves you.” There is something about being in Jesus Christ that protects you from the curse.
The devil is not my enemy, he is taken care of. My greatest enemy is my closest friend if he betrays me, a fellow believer that criticizes and undermines but never gives me the solutions, never lifts me up and encourages me. We have to understand that the times are important and we must not have them stolen. It is time for decision, for wisdom coupled with courage to unlock and shape the future. It is going to be challenging and demanding but full of blessing. The challenges are very real but I have this to say to you as a believer, humble yourself and at least taste and see that the Lord is good. Do not be too proud, if God is God then invite Him into your life and He will change your life but what I know is that God’s plan for us is to give us a future, to bless us. I love the way Jesus spoke, “Fear not little flock, it is the Father’s good pleasure to give to you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). We are at the crossroads; we have to make some decisions, pray for the wisdom and the courage of God. We are God’s servants, we are not too young, we do not need more experience, and we must rise to the occasion and overtake the current generation to release them. When Abraham moved forward he was tested, everything that is good has to be tested. If we obey God and fulfil His will in our lives and we recognize the season it does not mean that we will not go through tests. I am not a subscriber to the fact that the devil is in charge. The Lord is on the throne, He is in charge and whatever the test may be, it is there to mature me, to grow and strengthen me. We might be in a season of our lives where we need to make adjustments. Stop feeling sorry for yourself; self-pity is not a friend, it is an enemy that will cripple us and rob us of creative juices and the ability to shape the future. It is not the time to be feeling sorry for ourselves.
To embrace the future you must deal with the enemies of the present. The first enemy is the illusion of the past. Everybody can look back at the good old days. We must not live in the past, the past is the past however illustrious or beautiful it was, the past has gone. Of course we want to have continuity and to build on the good of the past in emphasizing one truth; one is not trying to deny another, but the past is the past. If you live in the past you are robbed of the present and you are useless for the future. We must live in the power of the now. The other illusion is of the future. If you are always living only in the future, what good are you? If you are going to be useful for the purposes of God it is the present, you cannot live in the future.
Seasons are necessary, change has to come and we have to reposition to obey and trust God for what is to come by how we shape it in the present. Its time for change, there is far more than we have now that God has for us. Procrastination is the art of keeping up with the past, we must now leave the past behind and embrace the future by co-operating with it in the present.