9.24.15 Do you ever going through a few things and say I've had nothing but bad luck lately. Well have you ever thought maybe it's God trying to get your attention? Maybe you use to go to Church when you were younger because your parents went and made you go. All of a sudden maybe you are having some hard times, well maybe God is trying to say it's time for you to come back to Me where you belong.
FIRST, HE'LL TAKE US DOWN A NOTCH
Saul was full of himself. He had authority and power. He was looked upon favorably by the other Pharisees for his zeal and passion for the Jewish faith. In his mind, he was doing the Lord's work. He seemed to revel in the opportunity capture and imprison these Christians. He was riding high that day on his way to Damascus. But God got his attention.
Look at verses 3 and 4
3 As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. 4 Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?"
God turned His searchlight on Saul. We need to remember that we may ignore God. We may choose not to acknowledge Him or open our eyes to what He is doing or what He desires to do in our life, but God knows where we are. He knows where we're going. He knows what we're doing. He knows the very thoughts and intents of our heart. He knows our downsitting and our uprising, our going out and our coming in. He knows our thoughts afar off. In other words, He knows what we are going to say, before we even thought about saying it. We may choose to ignore God and we may act like He isn't there, but He knows where we are and He knows how to get out attention. We can't hide from God. The Psalmist said (139:8-12)
8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. 9 If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 10 Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me. 11 If I say, "Surely the darkness shall fall on me," Even the night shall be light about me; 12 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You.
When that light from heaven shone upon Saul, Saul fell to the ground. This proud man with his letters of authority was now face-down in the dirt in the presence of the Lord. There is nothing that God despises any more than pride. Proverbs 6:16-17 tells us that "a proud look" is "an abomination to Him." Proverbs 16:18 say, "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." Saul fell to the ground. God was taking him down a notch.
I heard someone say that God knocked Paul off his high-horse, but there is no horse mentioned in this text, and the fact that they eventually led Saul away by the hand suggests that they were all on foot. But the truth is that God can knock us off our high-horse if we will not humble ourselves before Him.
Sometimes people think they're too smart to believe in God. They think they're too sophisticated or too educated to believe in an all-powerful, everlasting God, who is Creator of heaven and earth. They think the church is just a group of superstitious people with weak minds. So they ignore God and even mock God. But God knows how to get their attention and God knows how to bring them down a notch.
SECOND, HE'LL PUT THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE
Notice what God says. God put's Saul's actions in perspective. Saul thought he was punishing some heretics, but Jesus says, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" In verse 5 Paul asks, "Who are You Lord?" God has Saul's attention now. Now that searchlight of heaven has shown upon him, now that Saul has been taken down a notch, now that the thunder of God's voice has penetrated the pride and arrogance of Saul, God has Saul's attention. Saul asks, "Who are You Lord?" Then the voice responded, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting."
God was putting things into perspective for Saul. Saul thought he was doing God's work, but in reality Saul was persecuting the Lord Himself by persecuting God's people. When God gets our attention He has a way of breaking through the fog of our own delusions and personal agendas and plans, and opening our eyes to what is really going on and what He desires to do with our life.
God is getting the church's attention. The economic downturn has left a lot of church in a tough financial situation. In fact, there are 200 churches in the Atlanta metro area that are in foreclosure and over 10,000 nationally. God is getting the church's attention and He's telling us that the church is not the brick and mortar, but the church is the people of God who are willing to be His witnesses. People who have been obsessed with building bigger and more opulent buildings have often lost the vision for the harvest and have ignored God's plan for the church to reach the lost, raise up disciples, and send disciples into the harvest. God is taking churches down a notch to get their attention.
Second, God is taking America down a notch to get our attention. We have been arrogant and proud. We have looked down on other nations. We have assumed a cultural superiority to other cultures. But God despises pride and arrogance and if we will not humble ourselves and pay attention to what God's will for our country is, then God will take us down a notch and bring our nation to its knees so that we will again look to Him as the author and the founder of our nation.
God was saying to Saul, "I have a better way." Jesus said, "My yoke is easy and My burden is light" (Matt 11:30). Jesus has a better way. What is that way? For the church and for America that way is found in 2 Chronicles 7:13 When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, In other words, "When I have to take extreme measures to get your attention," 14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves , and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. How did Saul respond when God finally got his attention? "So he, trembling and astonished, said, "Lord, what do You want me to do?" Now that God had Saul's attention, Saul was ready to do whatever the Lord asked him to did not strip Saul of his freewill, but God has a way of getting our attention, and motivating us to do what we know we should be doing. "Then the Lord said to him, "Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do."
When God finally gets our attention, as a church and as individual believers, we will respond like Saul and say, "Lord, what do You want me to do?" Notice that Saul personalized it. We need to stop asking what the government can do, or what the legislators, or what the courts can do and start asking, "Lord, what do You want me to do?" Does God have your attention? Are you listening to Him? God has a plan for your life. You are important for the kingdom of God, but if you are not walking in His will, and if you are not allowing His plans to unfold in your life, then God can get your attention. The spring will dry up. The rooster will crow. The prophet will confront you. The floods will come, the storms will rage, the finances will fail, the famine will come . . . God will get your attention. He will rock your world until everything that can be shaken will be shaken, but God will get your attention.
Wow so does God have your attention yet? Well come back tomorrow so we can find out more about how God can get your attention.
God I come to you thinking you for getting my attention and loving me every step of the way. I want to think you for your saving Grace and for being a just God. You know when we need to be chastised and you know when we need to be loved and encouraged. Lord please keep watch over my facebook family and friends and know that I love you. I ask these things in Jesus Name Amen.