Sunday July 8th 2012 – Pastor Mark Ballosingh
Life changes are based on incidents, situations and crisis that upheave us and bring about life changes. A Change of life is planned, a man who will look at his life and say I will plant more seeds so I can bear a different fruit. Some life changes draw us closer to God and some push us further from Him.
Jonah 1Now the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,2 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.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.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.5 Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep.6 So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.7 And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah.8 Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou?9 And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land.10 Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him. Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them.11 Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous.12 And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them.14 Wherefore they cried unto the Lord, and said, We beseech thee, O Lord, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O Lord, hast done as it pleased thee.15 So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging.16 Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the Lord, and made vows.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.
Life changes – when we look at the life of Jonah, a prophet who was given an opportunity by God to change his life but decided to make his own decisions. Jonah is an angry prophet yet God gives him a word. His purpose is defined, he is given a certain mission God always chooses the right person to fulfill the right purpose.
God speaks to Jonah to go to Nineveh and warn them as they have turned away from God, she has committed spiritual whoredom……God will never judge without first sending a warning. God defines Jonah’s purpose but Jonah stops and contemplates and reasons with the words spoken by God. He begins to finds excuses to not do what God sent him to do for this is the personality of Jonah – selfish. By his choice to go to the boat destined for Tarshish, Jonah exits himself from the presence of God.
When we come out of the presence of God we make ourselves an open target for the enemy. Many people who end up in situations where life changes are negative it is because of rash decisions made and turn in the opposite direction to where God was pointing them. Direction is important for we cannot be heading in one direction to fulfill God’s purpose in life then turn the other way because of a test or trial which causes us hurt and causes us to give up for you will end up in destruction. God gives us purpose with a plan, He will direct our steps, the Bible says “the steps of a righteous man are ordered by God”.
When we change direction there are life changes. Sometimes the people around us who do not share the same spiritual vision influence us and we change direction. When you change your direction, you change your destination…focus on the direction God wants you to go to, Apostle Paul was determined to reach his destination for he says “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith 2 Timothy 4:7.….” When we fall away and turn from our destination there are life changes.
When your destination changes, your resources changes. If you do not have sufficient resources to reach your destination there are life changes. Sometimes we may have enough resources to go but not enough to come back into the presence of God. Jonah would have to pay a high price to come back into the presence of God.
Jonah was given a mission to go to Nineveh but his transportation changed. 2 boats geared to handle different routes and situations on the sea. We sometimes find ourselves in trouble when we decide to jump and change from the safe vessel God has been transporting us in.
Jonah changed his position, destination and transportation. God gave him a specific mission to complete, his position was in the presence of God, his destination Nineveh and his transportation was the boat going to Nineveh. When we leave the presence of God we subject ourselves to the enemy, the longer we stay away from God the colder we become and the feebler we become in our spirit. Jonah changes his destination based on how he felt. When we choose to go in a different direction we reap the downfall of our decisions, storms start to rise and things start to change in our environment. If you are going to make a decision in life make one that will minimize the storms in your life.
In the account of Jonah on his way to Tarshish, there were other boats on the sea but the storm hovered over the boat Jonah was on….Why? Because the boat was transporting someone who came out of the will of God.
When the waters began to rise the men on the boat began to throw their merchandise off the boat. When all failed and they realized nothing was working, they began to call upon their gods but their gods didn’t respond. How we will try everything else before we call on God, in a desperate time men cry out to God. Why must it take a desperate situation like this when all along Jonah was in the presence of God? People were getting ready to die and Jonah was asleep unconcerned about the situation at hand. The mariners cast lots and it fell to Jonah and they asked him 4 questions:- What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou?9
God chose to make Jonah an example although he was disobedient. When the mariners realized the storm was becoming too strong they decided they had to throw him over board. God had waiting for him a great fish although he was trying to get away from his position and purpose God had to ensure His plans were fulfilled. Jonah’s method of transportation changed, he was now in the mouth of a fish for 3 days, the Bible is very specific by stating the period Jonah stayed in the mouth of the fish.
It is amazing where some of our decisions take us. He ended up in a place where all the mess was, sometimes when we change directions based on decisions made in the carnal we end up in a mess. The time Jonah spent in the fish’s mouth gave him time to pray and cry out to God. The mess was part of God’s process to bring him back into the presence of God but know that when we pass through the mess God has to clean us up to fulfill our purpose. Jonah was vomited out of the mouth of the fish with all the mess and on his way to Nineveh the cleaning process would take place.
The Bible accounts that Jonah preached to over 120,000 people and they were saved but even after all this Jonah was still vex with God. Some people are blessed by God but are still vex with Him as this is human nature when God does not do things their way.
Let all your steps be guided by God.