Jonah and the Modern Christian

But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.”

But the Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?”

Jonah had gone out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. Then the Lord God provided a leafy plant and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant. But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the plant so that it withered. When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.”

But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?”

It is,” he said. “And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.”

But the Lord said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?” Jonah 4:1-12(NIV)

This is an illustration of the modern Christian. God tells Christians “to go into the world and make disciples.” Man says “It would be better if the people would just come to us, then we can make them disciples.”

  • Man builds a shelter (church) so they can watch people come to know the Lord.
  • God provides a vine to protect the church.
  • The church grows the church into a big plant.
  • God sends a worm to destroy the plant. (The finance company forecloses because the church cannot meet the mortgage payment)
  • Man becomes angry with God because He closed their church.

Do we have the right to be angry when church does not go our way? Or when the music is not to our liking? Or the preacher talks about sin in the sermon? Are we like Jonah?

We have become so concerned ourselves and our church operation that we tend to ignore the thousands of people who do not know the love of God; people who feel so hopeless; or people living in fear of the future. That was Jonah’s problem. He was so concerned about himself and his personal comfort that he did not want God to spare the city of Nineveh. Jonah did not want to share God’s love.

What are your concerns? Are you more concerned about your own desires that you are about those lost in sin and despair? Are you more concerned about your church or your country than you are about the spiritual condition of the people living around you? Show someone today that God loves them.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20(NIV)

NOTE: All scripture used in this blog was downloaded from www.biblegateway.com

 

“For Better or For Worse” is a decision

When couples say their wedding vows, they will frequently include the statement “for better or for worse. What does this statement mean?

In the modern marriage, there is an expectation that everything will be done ‘my way’. So what the statement is saying is for ‘my way’ or for ‘your way’. As long as you do things my way, the marriage will get better. But if you do things ‘your way’ the marriage will get worse.

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” James 4:1-3(NIV)

Could ‘for better or for worse’ refer to a decision? Suppose that your spouse does something that seems offensive to you or perhaps they have a habit or an addiction that is offensive. When that offensive condition takes place, we will continue to look for actions that will support our belief that our spouse has a ‘problem’. As we seek information to support our beliefs against our spouse, the marriage relation becomes worse. We often start looking for additional offensive actions just to prove our point.

On the other hand, when our spouse does something offensive, we can pray that God will forgive our spouse of the offense and help our spouse to change in a way that will bring glory to God. Rather than looking for more examples to show support your belief, look for examples of how God is changing your spouse. Look for the way that your spouse is glorifying God.

Too often, we pray that God will change our spouse then turn around and continue to look for ways to support the idea that God cannot change our spouse. When we pray we must also believe that we will receive what we pray for.

 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. James 3:13-18(NIV)

To have a better marriage, chose ‘the wisdom that comes from heaven’ Stopping looking for situations where you spouse may be offending you. Start praying for Godly wisdom for you and your spouse. Look for the wisdom from heaven, not to the wisdom of this world.

NOTE: scriptures used in this blog were downloaded from www.biblegateway.com

Does the presidential candidate have to be a Christian?

I am amazed at the lack of faith among Christians today. We approach the Presidential election as though God’s hands will be tied if we have a non-Christian president. In our own eyes we cannot see what will happen to this great country that we love. In other words, we believe that if we cannot see it, then God cannot make it happen.

When was the last time you read the book of Hosea? God tells Hosea in Hosea 1:2 to “Go marry a promiscuous woman and have children with her, for like an adulterous wife this land is guilty of unfaithfulness to the Lord.” God puts people into power that He wants to use to discipline His people.

How many times in the Old Testament, did God put ungodly leaders into power? Did God forsake His people when the leader was an ungodly leader? God’s power is not limited by who is President. If your god is limited by man’s power, it is time for you to get a different God.

The truth is, as a Christian we want to have “easy sailing”. Even Jesus’s followers wanted ‘easy sailing’. Jesus told them in Matthew 10:34(NIV):  “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

Heaven was not designed for whips. Heaven is for the faithful who have trusted in Christ as their Savior.

“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.  Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 10:37-39(NIV)

God wants us to put our faith in Him and not in our government. God did not assign us to judge the spiritual convictions of our presidential candidates. What God did assign us is to vote for the candidate that God wants in power. For you to understand who God wants in power, you must have a relationship with God and be filled with the Holy Spirit so you know who to vote for. When we vote for the person God wants as president, God will do the rest.

For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” Romans 1:17(NIV)

 

NOTE: All scripture used in this blog were downloaded from: www.biblegateway.com