Sunday, June 24, 2012

Stepping Out of Our Comfort Zones

Moses
Exodus 4:10-15
10  And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.
11  And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?
12  Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.
13  And he said, O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send.
14  And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and he said, Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart.
15  And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do.

For most of Exodus 3 and first few verses of 4, God was telling Moses to speak to Pharaoh and tell him to let the Israelites go. Moses gave God the excuse that he had a speech problem, but God reminded Moses that He made him and will be with him. Moses asked God to send someone else, and even though this made God angry with Moses, He offered to send his brother, Aaron, to help him. When you read the rest of the story it appears that Moses ended up doing most of the talking anyway.

Jonah
Jonah 1:1-4,15-17; 2:10; 3:4-5,10
1:1  Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,
1:2  Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.
1:3  But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.
1:4  But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.
1:15  So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging.
1:16  Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the LORD, and made vows.
1:17  Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
2:10  And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.
3:4  And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.
3:5  So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.
3:10  And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.
We all know the story of Jonah. God told Jonah to warn the people of Nineveh that they would be judged if they didn’t repent, but Jonah didn’t want them to be saved because they were the enemy of his people. He tried to run away from God and ended up caught in a storm at sea and being swallowed by a whale. He spent three days in the belly of the whale before being thrown up on shore, and ended up preaching in Nineveh anyway and the people were saved. Jonah just thought that stepping outside of his comfort zone would be hard, but trying to stay there when God wants you elsewhere is harder.

Joseph

Matthew 1:18-25
18  Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
19  Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.
20  But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
21  And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
22  Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
23  Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
24  Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
25  And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.
Joseph found himself in a position where his fianc√©e was pregnant and he knew it wasn’t his baby. Everyone else would soon be able to tell, if they couldn’t already that Mary was pregnant, and would think that Joseph had sinned unless he accused her and sought judgment against her. He didn’t want to see any harm come to her, so he decided to send her away quietly instead. After God’s plan was revealed to Joseph, he was obedient and probably faced a lot of ridicule as a result, but look at the outcome.

Jesus

Matthew 26:39
And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
Jesus didn’t want to have to die, but He knew that was the only way our sins could be forgiven and we could be saved. He set aside all the glory of Heaven to come down here and live a life as one of us and face all the troubles and temptations we face, but without sinning, so that He could take our sins on Himself and pay the penalty for us by being put to death in our place. Compared to that, what do we have that is so hard to put aside in order to serve Him?

You

Romans 12:1
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
We all have our comfortable positions we fill in our churches, and that’s ok, but there are always other positions we all need to be ready and willing to step up and fill. We just need to trust that God will bless our efforts and make up for our shortcomings if we just make ourselves available to Him.

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