Jonah 1:2 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry our against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me. But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.
Are you like Jonah? Are you running from God? Well I am here to tell you, that is impossible. The presence of the Lord is EVERYWHERE!
You can very clearly see that Jonah thought he was running from the Lord in Jonah 1:2-3. But what Jonah fails to see is he actually runs right into Him. Take a look at Jonah 1:2. The Lord has told Jonah to arise. Arise and go. But Jonah was like, heck no and took off to Tarshish. He would much rather run from the Lord than to preach to a bunch of Gentiles in Nineveh.
But when we look at Jonah 1:3 we see in this verse there are two words that explain Jonah’s spiritual decline quite clearly. Those two words are “went down”. This verse states that Jonah went down to Joppa and went down into the ship. And we all know that eventually Jonah went down to the bottom of the sea in the belly of a giant fish. So it seems to me, that the farther Jonah ran from the Lord, the farther down he got. Literally till he hit rock bottom and the only way he could go then, was back up.
So I ask again. Are you running from the Lord? Good news……you can’t. He is and always will be there. If we keep reading on in the book of Jonah we see an amazing example of how the Lord always prevails.
Jonah 1:12-16 And he said to them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you. For I know that this great tempest is because of me.” Nevertheless the men rowed hard to return to land, but they could not, for the sea continued to grow more tempestuous against them. Therefore the cried out to the Lord and said, “We pray, O Lord, please do not let us perish for this mans life, and do not charge us with innocent blood; for You, O Lord, have done as it pleased You. So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice to the Lord and took vows.
So even though Jonah was running from the Lord, the Lord was still very much present. This was a ship full of Gentiles. The same people Jonah was running from preaching to. They saw the hand of God calm those seas in a blink of an eye. They feared the Lord, (fear of God is the respect that a person has for God, causing him to turn from evil and obey Gods commandments). Those Gentiles gave their lives to the Lord, offered a sacrifice to the lord and took vows. Worshiped Him. Jonah was fleeing from a task that God wanted him to do, to preach to the Gentiles, but unintentionally converted an entire ship of Gentiles.
You can run from God but you can’t hide. Gods presence is everywhere. I pray that you stop running and turn toward God. If you have hit bottom, and like Jonah are sitting in the belly of a giant fish, I pray you let our Lord help you up. He only wants the best for you and loves you unconditionally. We all have a God given purpose while here on Earth. No one can deny that. Ask God to show you why you are here. What purpose you can fulfill. Let him guide you. Then arise and go.
If we called life a race, actually a marathon, and you saw a fellow racer down what would you do?
That is how we need to look at other people. Especially the lost. They are just down in the race called life. But we as Christians need to take the time to stop and help them. We are all here on Earth for a reason, headed in the same direction (the finish line). Let’s be the hands and feet of God and help the tired to get to the finish line where the can rest in eternity with God. After all, that is the one purpose we all share while here on Earth.
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:2 NIV
Santa Clause, Tooth Fairy, The Easter Bunny. Remember when you believed that they were all real? Do you remember that feeling, that trust you had in them. That Santa would deliver all your presents, the tooth fairy would leave you money in exchange for your tooth and that the Easter Bunny would hide eggs for you to find on that special day. What if we could go back and get that feeling? That trust? That faith?
Well I have good news. You can. But this time its REAL!!!! His name is Jesus.… And He really exists.
See sometimes as adults we try to hard to do things “right” and to make sure we “totally” understand what is being said to us. But what if we could be a kid again. To have faith in Jesus without making it complicated. To just believe and trust Him. To know that He died to free us and will come back again. Think back to the excitement you had on Christmas Eve waiting for Santa to come. That is the excitement we NEED to have while we wait for Jesus to come.
Today I am challenging all of us to be a kid again. To get excited for Jesus return. And to get excited for what God is doing in us until that day comes. Just like you did as a child, shouting out “Santa is coming, Santa is coming” I want you to shout out to the world “JESUS IS COMING, JESUS IS COMING.” Lets find that kid in us and lets get excited 🙂
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.
—1 John 3:2
To be or not to be….perfect? Is there such a thing?
As I was doing my daily bible reading and writing in my journal, God really brought something to my attention that I didn’t even really notice I was bothering me so much. He showed me my handwriting. That’s right God called me out on my handwriting. But not in the way you are probably thinking. See as I was writing all I could think about was how my handwriting looked. That it was not up to “MY” standards. It was NOT perfect! And because it was not perfect, up to my standards, a seed of frustration was now planted in me and was starting to grow. Why would I let something so small as my handwriting cause such a ruckus?
But this happens on a daily basis. Such small imperfections causing big reactions when I am striving to be perfect for worldly things and people. To be perfect in my own eyes.
But God so lovingly reminded me this morning that I am made perfect in Him and do not need to strive for those other things. When I strive for perfection for others I will ALWAYS fail and failure brings nothing but frustration and anger. Even bitterness and resentment. So I have been challenged. Challenged to not strive to be perfect but to live perfect in the way God has made me.
I pray and ask God to highlight or shine a light on those moments daily. Those moments where I let perfection creep in and steal what God has already perfectly placed in my day. I don’t want to miss out on the Godly moments because I am frustrated.
Do you struggle with perfection? Do you worry about what others think? How to live up to your standards? Well I pray the same for you. That God open your eyes and let you see, you are already made perfect in Him and do not need to strive for all those other things!