Excerpt from the Sermon by Pastor Djohan Handojo, at Bethany International Service, on Sunday, 1 January 2017.
GOD’S VISION IN OUR LIFE
Process 1: We will experience birth-pain
We need to ask God for a vision that will glorify His Name. It is not easy to get a vision from God. We need to go through a process like birth pain. This is like a woman waiting for her baby to be born, she feels the joy but she also experiences the pain during the birth.
Samuel’s mother, Hannah, was barren but when she gave birth to Samuel, she was overjoyed. She dedicated Samuel to the Lord and from young he was given a vision to be a prophet of Israel.
Joseph had a dream that one day he will become a ruler. He suffered during his youth when he was sold as a slave, but he remained steadfast in God. The Lord was with him and blessed him.
Some people may mock us for serving the Lord, but let us keep our eyes focused on serving Him.
Process 2: Death-pain
Pastor Djohan often prayed for those who were dying, that they will not experience a painful death. It is not easy and he often told them to grab hold of Jesus’ hands when they see Him.
Sometimes we may find no purpose in our life, ministry or work – we may be experience death-pain in our vision. Thanks be to God that Jesus died and resurrected and we can experience a new vision.
Jacob cheated his brother of his birth right. His mother told him to run away as Esau wanted to kill him.
What can we learn from here?
God said to Jacob, “Get ready and go to Bethel to live. Make an altar there to God, Who showed Himself to you when you ran away from your brother Esau.” (Genesis 35:1)
1. Prepare the altar of God
Bethel means “house of God”. When you open your heart to God, there will be a blessing for you. Jacob reconciled with Esau and when Isaac saw both of them together, he was happy. The blessing of Abraham is with us.
We need to build an altar for God and put an offering of sacrifice for God. Our life is that sacrificial offering for God. Our lives are not meant to live for ourselves but for God.
Christian brothers, I ask you from my heart to give your bodies to God because of His loving-kindness to us. Let your bodies be a living and holy gift given to God. He is pleased with this kind of gift. This is the true worship that you should give Him. (Romans 12:1)
2. Purify Ourselves
So Jacob said to those of his house and all who were with him, “Put away the strange gods that are among you. Make yourselves clean and change your clothes.” (Genesis 35:2)
When we have God’s dream or vision, we need to build an altar for God and remove the idols (yourself, work, children, etc) in our lives. We need to purify ourselves before God by removing things that may become an idol in our lives.
When Joshua went to battle against Ai, they were defeated because one of them kept the spoils from Jericho, which God had forbidden. The Israelites were told not to keep anything for themselves (Joshua 6:18). Likewise we need to purify ourselves from the things of the world that may creep into our lives and become an idol in our lives.
There is power in God’s blessings. Obed-Edom opened his house for the Ark of the Covenant, and his whole household was blessed abundantly. We need to have the presence of God in our life and keep out things that are not holy before God.
3. Change your garment
We need to remove the old garment and put on the new garment. We need to change our prayer. We need to pray with faith and trust in the Lord. Jacob was changed by God. We need to put on a new garment of praise and thanksgiving to God.
As we start the New Year, let us seek the Kingdom of God first (Matthew 6:33).