Aa, Jonah! You, in the mirror!

So this week we finish the book of Jonah by exploring chapters 3 & 4. So finally Jonah obeys and goes to Nineveh and rebuke the people. The people humble themselves, repent,  fast, and pray. How beautiful it must have been to see a whole city lead by their leader collectively fasting and praying! And what does Jonah do, get mad because God chose to show Ninevah grace and mercy. For real?! Did God just not do the same for you Jonah after you deliberately disobeyed Him? God then attempts to show Jonah the error in his thinking (using the plant) and he misses it until God points it out directly.

Now we do not know what Jonah’s reaction was after that, but I have things I imagine, after all I have been Jonah. I would hope at that moment Jonah hit himself up side his head after looking in the mirror amd seeing Ninevah staring back at him. There is no difference in Jonah’s disobedience than the people of Ninevah. In fact in my little human eyes I hold Jonah more accountable than the people of Ninevah. But luckily Jonah and I are not God. His grace and mercy is so much more than any of us can ever imagine! He continues to pursue us and gives us unlimited chances. I am so grateful that God pulls me out of my Jonah anger when I get beside myself and look down on others or get caught up in self pity because others have want I and/or think I deserve.

Lord, during this time if fasting purge me of erroneous thinking and fill me with love, grace, and mercy for others. Amen.

And just where do you think you are running to?

So, this week’s focus is on Chapters 1 and 2 of Jonah, but I am going to focus on Chapter 1. So, the Lord tells Jonah to go preach to the people in Nineveh and instead of doing what the Lord said Jonah tries to flee to Tarshish. During one of our devotions this week on She Reads Truth, they showed a map of where Nineveh and Tarshish are. Jonah did not just flee from what God told him to do he went in the opposite direction and attempted to go hundreds of miles away. Jonah thinks like me. BUT GOD! But, God comes after Jonah. Have you ever ran away from what God has told you to do? I remember when I was in high school I would always speak about the sexual abuse I went through as way of healing for myself and to help others. My friends would always come to me for advice about their problems. But, nothing in that screamed I would become a psychologist. In fact, I wanted to be a Chemical Engineer. I loved math and chemistry! When God started speaking to me about entering the psychology field and becoming a psychologist, I was like “God stop playin!.” I laughed it off, ignored it, and tried my best to pursue my lifelong dream of being a Chemical Engineer. But how many people know that once God speaks to you, He will never relent? I saw a post from T. D. Jakes yesterday that said “When God calls you there is nothing you can do to change His mind!” That is so true. Jonah tried to run, but God pursued him and trapped him until he gave in. I tried to avoid my calling, but in the end, I gave in. God is calling you today to do something that you have been running from. It is time to turn towards Him and walk out the path that He has set you on. So to all my fellow Jonah’s out there it is time to stop running and get swallowed up in the belly of the whale in preparation for what God has called you to do! 

“Waiting for me to fail”

So this week’s lesson is on Psalm 38. As we are have focused on Psalms of David I am struck by just how tormented he was and yet did remarkable things for the Kingdom. I focused my study on the second half of the Psalm starting at verse 12 where David talks about how his loved ones stand away from him and how his enemies are out to get him. As I read these verses I feel as if David is expressing how he feels like people around him wait for him to fail because of his love and obedience to God. And let’s face it, David struggled at times with his walk and so do we. Have there been times in your walk when it seems like the people around you were waiting for you to fail? And I am not just talking about just your enemies. I have had those experiences and I feel at times it is what has stalled me at certain points in my life. Ok, let me be transparent. It is a part of what is currently stalling me professionally right now.

When you are seen following God’s word and will, it is as if some people are waiting for you to stumble or fail so they can point it out. It is as if they need to see your pitfalls to feel better about theirs. And in the case of our enemies, we are attacked by them simply because of our walk with God.

David shows us a couple of things in this Psalm. First, we have to recognize our sin, repent, and move foward. Second, we need to close our ears to what others are saying about us at times. If what you are saying is not helping me, than I don’t need to hear it. Thirdly, he teaches us to reach out to God for help. We have to recognize that we can’t do it on our own. We have to admit that it does hurt to be outcasts at times just because we have chosen God’s will. There will always be times when we people will be prejudice against us because of our walk and how others view us. People will dislike us because of the anointing and favor placed on our lives. We have to stand strong and relie on God to send us the help we need to get through.

For those who are fasting in some form during this Lent season, I challenge you to use this time to follow David’s lead in remembering how lucky we are that despite our sins God chose us and to ask for strength in your journey.

The bottom has fallen out of my life!

So I know that I have been MIA (Missing In Action) for a couple of weeks. I apologize. I have been working 12 to 16 hours a day and then got sick. I know no surprise with how much I have been working. Things are getting back to normal, so you will see more posts from me. Even some twice a week!

Each morning I have devotional time to start my day. One part of my devotion involves an online internet group of women called She Reads Truth (http://shereadstruth.com/). They have challenged us throughout the Lent Season to study, learn, and stretch ourselves to writing about what we learn from specific scriptures. I have been praying for God to expand me in this manner and He answered my prayer. To be honest I didn’t mean for it to happen publicly yet, but it is what it is. So our first assignment Psalms 130.

I love the Message version of Psalms 130. It starts out with “Help, God—the bottom has fallen out of my life!” (Psalm 130:1). How much more real does it get than that? Have you ever felt like the bottom has fallen out of your life. I can think of several times when I have felt that way. I can even think of times when I have interceded on behalf of family and friends and felt that way on their behalf. What I remember about the times when I have felt like this is thinking and even saying “What else can happen?” One day I had about 4 things happen within a 3 hour period. I remember talking to my mom and her saying “I am going to need you to stop saying that!” She was right. I was so wrapped up in my emotions that I was speaking things into existence. God has a sense of humor. And during those times when I would say those things He would prove to me just how much more I could bear for He is my strength.When we are in the midst of turmoil we sometimes get so caught up that we need to be reminded of God’s love. I don’t know about you, but in the times when I FEEL the bottom has fallen out (because truthfully it will never fall out with God on your side) Psalm 130 is one of those real prayers that helps me to feel the emotion and than remember that He will always redeem me.

 

“Help, God—the bottom has fallen out of my life!
Master, hear my cry for help!
Listen hard! Open your ears!
Listen to my cries for mercy.
If you, God, kept records on wrongdoings,
who would stand a chance?
As it turns out, forgiveness is your habit,
and that’s why you’re worshiped.
I pray to God—my life a prayer—
and wait for what he’ll say and do.
My life’s on the line before God, my Lord,
waiting and watching till morning,
waiting and watching till morning.
O Israel, wait and watch for God—
with God’s arrival comes love,
with God’s arrival comes generous redemption.
No doubt about it—he’ll redeem Israel,
buy back Israel from captivity to sin.” Psalm 130