This morning we are going to discover a truth about perspectives and hopefully some of us will end up challenging ourselves to change ours a little.
“You can always tell when a person feels defeated, they start looking for a place to die instead of looking for a place to live.” (Points to Ponder)
What is your perspective on the future of things? Are you looking for a hole to sink into or are you looking for a hill to climb?
People in decline imagine they have no need for a vision. However, without a dream the future has no value. And, when we stop valuing the future we stop investing in tomorrow. Believe me:
There is always something that can be done about tomorrow … but it will require the right perspective.
The Old Testament Prophet Jonah was a man who knew God’s Word, God’s Will and God’s Way. He was convinced that God was a merciful and a forgiving God who loved sinners and pardoned iniquity. Jonah however, didn’t always feel merciful, loving or forgiving towards others.
When God commanded Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach repentance to that wicked city, Jonah imagined what God was going to do and Jonah wanted no part of it. Some scholars feel Jonah had already judged Nineveh and its people to be wicked and horrible sinners who deserved to be punished and wiped off the face of the earth. As far as Jonah was concerned, it was too late for Nineveh and he refused to invest in their future. In fact … Jonah didn’t even care if those people had a future.
We all know the account of Jonah running from God’s will and the great storm that threatened the ship. God decided that before He could deal with the King and the citizens of Nineveh he would have to deal with Jonah first. What good is a message without a messenger?
Jonah was not looking for a mountain to climb but rather a hole into which he could sink. Jonah was not expecting a victory but rather a defeat. Jonah had no vision and he did not wish to make any investment. Jonah was without hope and unwilling to help. People without hope are often unwilling to help. All Jonah wanted to do was quit and let everyone get what he felt they all deserved. But Jonah had the wrong perspective on things. You see, God was not yet willing to abandon His hope for Nineveh … and neither was God ready to abandon Jonah to his own perspective.
God prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah and this gave Jonah time to reconsider. After some time Jonah realized that graves are not for the living. Jonah repented and cried out to the Lord. God delivered Jonah and commanded him a second time. This time Jonah obeyed.
The story doesn’t end there but goes on to tell how the wicked and evil leaders, along with the people of that great City of Nineveh, repented and were forgiven. When we last read about Jonah however, he is once again focused on his own petty perspectives, without hope in his personal life and looking for place to die. Some folks seem prone to be negative and always see the doom and gloom around them. God however, is just not gloomy God. God has a different perspective …
· God has hope
· God sees potential in tomorrow
· God has a plan for the future
· God has a life changing message
· However, God still needs a messenger willing to make the investment
The world would like us to think things are bad and aren’t going to ever get any better. People without hope are easy to control. The devil wants to deceive us, depress us, and distract us from our message and our mission, confuse us, abuse us and misuse us to spread his propaganda.
The only weapon the prince of this world has is deception. If the devil can get Believers to lose hope, embrace false doctrine and become less willing to invest in the future… he wins the propaganda war and buys himself a little more time. Don’t be deceived into believing the devil’s message … and for heaven’s sake, don’t become his messenger. Have you been hearing:
"We live in a decaying age. Young people no longer respect
their parents. They are rude and impatient. They frequently
inhabit scandalous places and have no self control."
their parents. They are rude and impatient. They frequently
inhabit scandalous places and have no self control."
This inscription was written on a 6000 year-old Egyptian tomb.
"When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly disrespectful and impatient of restraint." Hesiod, 8th century BC
"What is happening to our young people? They disrespect their elders, they disobey their parents. They ignore the law. They riot in the streets inflamed with wild notions. Their morals are decaying. What is to become of them?" Plato, 4th Century BC
"The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint... As for the girls, they are forward, immodest and unladylike in speech, behavior and dress." Attributed to Peter the Hermit, AD 1274
In April 1738, the press covered a report from a British Government committee which had been set up to "examine the causes of the present notorious immorality and profaneness."
In the 1800s, hordes of teens and pre-teens ran wild in American city streets, dodging authorities. These youth were,"gnawing away at the foundations of society", as a commentator put it. In 1850, New York City recorded more than 200 gang wars fought largely by adolescent boys.
"Juvenile delinquency has increased at an alarming rate and is eating at the heart of America." US juvenile court judge, 1946
Psalms records the captivity of the Children of Israel and their perspective of the day. They looked at the current situation and imagined the worst. From their depressed state of consideration they could see no way in which things could ever get better. They were not looking for victory but had rather accepted defeat. They were not looking for a hill to climb but rather a hole into which to sink. They had no hope for tomorrow and saw no reason to make any investment.
Psalms 137: 2 We hung our harps Upon the willows in the midst of it.
They hung their harps upon the willow trees and sang the songs of Zion no more. However, God was not finished … God had a plan … Victory was yet in the mind of God and while people were looking for a place to die, God was looking for new life. The people felt it was over – God was giving them a place to begin. Finally a generation got the right perspective and got with God’s program. Later it was recorded:
Psalms 126:1 When the LORD brought back the captivity of Zion, We were like those who dream.
The future belongs to those who place their hope in God; Those who are willing to dream and make investments for the future despite the circumstances or the ill fated perspectives of others. God is a merciful and a gracious God, loving and forgiving, willing to pardon and able to deliver. He is always our victory and He is always near.
Joshua 14:12 "Now therefore, give me this mountain … It may be that the LORD will be with me, and I shall be able … as the LORD said."
Caleb was 85 years old looking for a giant to kill … it was all a matter of perspective. Caleb believed what God said above what he saw, what others imagined or what his enemies said. Let me ask you:
Whose Report Will You Believe!
1 "Sing, O barren, You who have not borne! Break forth into singing, and cry aloud, You who have not labored with child! For more are the children of the desolate Than the children of the married woman," says the LORD.
2 "Enlarge the place of your tent, And let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings; Do not spare; Lengthen your cords, And strengthen your stakes.
3 For you shall expand to the right and to the left, And your descendants will inherit the nations, And make the desolate cities inhabited.
4 "Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed; Neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame; For you will forget the shame of your youth, And will not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore.
5 For your Maker is your husband, The LORD of hosts is His name; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth.
6 ¶ For the LORD has called you Like a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, Like a youthful wife when you were refused," Says your God.
7 "For a mere moment I have forsaken you, But with great mercies I will gather you.
8 With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; But with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you," Says the LORD, your Redeemer.
9 "For this is like the waters of Noah to Me; For as I have sworn That the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth, So have I sworn That I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you.
10 For the mountains shall depart And the hills be removed, But My kindness shall not depart from you, Nor shall My covenant of peace be removed," Says the LORD, who has mercy on you.
11 ¶ "O you afflicted one, Tossed with tempest, and not comforted, Behold, I will lay your stones with colorful gems, And lay your foundations with sapphires.
12 I will make your pinnacles of rubies, Your gates of crystal, And all your walls of precious stones.
13 All your children shall be taught by the LORD, And great shall be the peace of your children.
14 In righteousness you shall be established; You shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; And from terror, for it shall not come near you.
15 Indeed they shall surely assemble, but not because of Me. Whoever assembles against you shall fall for your sake.
16 "Behold, I have created the blacksmith Who blows the coals in the fire, Who brings forth an instrument for his work; And I have created the spoiler to destroy.
17 No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, And their righteousness is from Me," Says the LORD.
1 "Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; And you who have no money, Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk Without money and without price.
2 Why do you spend money for what is not bread, And your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, And let your soul delight itself in abundance.
3 Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you — The sure mercies of David.
I will leave you with three scriptures this morning and one admonition. First the admonition:
· Challenge your perspective and make sure you have not become this world’s messenger without hope, unwilling to invest and looking for a place to quit. While some people are waiting on a move of God, God is waiting on a move of people! Let’s embrace the right perspective.
Now the three scriptures concerning the right perspective:
Psalms 42:5 Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance.
Psalms 42:11 Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.
Psalms 43:5 Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.
Stand up and let’s go out of here with a shout!
Song – The Enemy Has Been Defeated … death couldn’t hold Him down …