We hope all our readers have a Blessed and Wonderful New Year!
We hope all our readers have a Blessed and Wonderful New Year!
Most people know the story of Jonah. This is a guy who did not want to go to Nineveh and preach and ended up in the belly of the whale.
The Bible doesn’t tell us why Jonah had it out for Nineveh. He must not have liked the city because when God told him to go there and proclaim His anger, Jonah turns tail and runs. Really? Who would, after getting specific instructions like that, try to run from God. But then, don’t all of us at one time or another? Think about that for a while.
Anyway, God sends a storm to rock the boat he’s on and the people on the boat don’t want to throw him overboard, but in the end they have no choice. Even then they pray to God to forgive them for “killing” Jonah:
Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before. Then they cried out to the Lord, “Please, Lord, do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, Lord, have done as you pleased.” Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. At this the men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to him. Jonah 1:13-16
So even though Jonah was running from God, God still changed men’s lives despite Jonah.
Jonah changes his mind while sitting in the whale and get’s spit up on land. I always wondered about this. I mean, wouldn’t Jonah smell? Wouldn’t he look really bad after being in the belly of the whale? Just a thought. So Jonah goes to Nineveh and does what God wants him to do and, of course, Nineveh listens and repents.
What does Jonah do? He gets angry!! He starts ranting at God because God forgives this evil city that repented. He goes out and sits in the sun because he’s angry and wants to die. God sends a plant to cover Jonah and Jonah got happy. Then God kills the plant and Jonah got angry again. God asks Jonah if he has a right to be angry, because God caused the plant to grow and God caused the plant to die.
I think this lesson from Jonah is a good one for us. We may be reluctant to do God’s will and be his servants. We are called to be servants in all we do. Trying to run is not an option since, as we see in this example, Jonah was brought back to do the work he was meant to do. Jonah was angry about it, but what good did that do? God is sovereign. God will do what He will do. We are called to obey, and that is hard. I don’t care what some people say, being a Christian and trying to obey the will of God is hard, but the rewards (or blessings) are wonderful.
It’s Christmas time and one of the Lord’s greatest servants doesn’t get equal time with the birth of our Lord. Of course, I’m talking about Mary! Just think, and put yourself in her shoes a minute. You are young, probably only teen-aged, betrothed to be married, and this Angel appears and tells you that of all the people on earth you are chosen to carry God’s son. I don’t know about you, but I’d be really freaked out. Mary only said:
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. (Luke 1:38)
I’m sure that Mary had some rough days ahead. Carrying this baby for nine months and traveling to Bethlehem. What if Mary had refused. We can’t even conceptualize that now, 2000 years later. She was the perfect servant, even though I would bet she had her moments of doubt.
Breath Of Heaven sung by Amy Grant is a hauntingly beautiful song. It just puts Mary’s position in perspective. It helps that the images in this video is from the movie “Nativity Story”. Just a warning, this song always makes me cry.
Recently, it has come to my attention that I need an attitude check. Yeah, we use that on teenagers, or at least, I used that on mine. You see, I’ve been walking around with these thoughts that I should quit certain activities because I didn’t like the way they were being led. I didn’t want to be a part of that, it’s taking up too much of my time, etc.
Then there is my work. I’m an older lady that just got a new boss that is the same age as my YOUNGEST son. Yup, there is a clash there. I could handle it if he seemed a bit more mature, but he is such a millennial!! But he is my boss….
In my quiet time I read this in Ephesians 4:
22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds;24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
The NIV uses the word attitude; the ESV uses the word Spirit. I like the one with the word attitude. I’ve been shown that I need to change my attitude about these events and I’m sure I’ll be at this for awhile. I should have the activities and my boss in my prayers and drop the self-righteous attitude, because that’s what it is. Believe me the self righteousness just crept up on me and I didn’t realize that is really what this was until recently.
So, be careful out there, saints!!! We may be saints but we shouldn’t be self righteous!!
I’m a Saint? No way…. I am no where near sainthood. I struggle with so much, daily Bible reading, daily prayer, loving on everyone I meet. I can’t be a Saint. But the Bible says I am.
When I hear the word saint I think of Theresa of Calcutta. Now there is a Saint, working in Calcutta to help the poor. Wow. What about the missionaries out there who risk their lives everyday to bring Christ to the world? I don’t measure up. I can’t be a saint. But the Bible says I am.
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
OH. I’m a Saint through Grace! Thank the Lord. I know that I’d never measure up.
Have you ever fought those feelings that make you feel like God is distant? You can’t get close to the Lord? You wonder if he’s even out there or if he even cares? Maybe you’re going through a rough time right now and just can’t connect with God?
Even though it may be one of the hardest things to do you must believe that God’s in control. He knows you better than you know yourself. Our job is to get to know God through His Word. This is so hard when you are going through a bad time. I know, because I’ve been there. There were days when I wondered if God even heard my pleas. Then I would take a deep breath, close my eyes and just let peace be what I ask for.
The song “You Say” by Lauren Daigle says all this very well. I believe….
We’re doing the Spiritual Gifts as a theme this month and I was thinking a lot of you may be thinking of the wrong thing. Many people confuse the Spiritual Gifts with the Fruits of the Spirit. They really are two separate things. The Fruits of the Spirit are listed in Galatians 5:22-23:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
In this section of Galatians, Paul is talking about walking in the Spirit instead of the flesh. If we are walking in the Spirit then we should be exhibiting the Fruit of the Spirit. If we are walking in the the flesh, there is another list:
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21
Spiritual Gifts are something totally different. They are gifts that God has given everyone of us to do his work. We are usually aware of these gifts in one way or another but we don’t usually think of them in terms of a Spiritual Gift. Here is what Paul says about Spiritual Gifts in 1 Corinthians 12:7-11:
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.
I know that most of us don’t go around speaking in tongues or healing people. But what of someone who is really good at languages and learns them quickly and well? What about all the Doctors and Nurses (Aides, Technicians & Caregivers) out there? See? The Gifts are still out there and, actually, have been expanded on by some people. Many of these are Teaching, Shepherding, Evangelism, Mercy, Service and Hospitality, just to name a few.
You will find people all over using their gifts if you look for them. That friend who always makes you feel welcome in their home (Hospitality) or the person that always seems to be out helping someone but never talks about it and to them it’s no big deal (Service). There are those who can easily share about their faith (Evangelism) and those who work with the poor and needy (Mercy).
It’s easy to see the difference when you know what you’re looking for. Have you looked at yourself to see what your gifts are? Everyone has them. If you’re wondering how to start, you could get the book S.H.A.P.E.; Finding & Fulfilling Your Unique Purpose for Life by Erik Rees. It would be a good start.