Tag Archives: obey

Running Away with Jonah

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A you familiar with the story of Jonah? Jonah is a short book (four chapters) in the Old Testament in the Bible. It tells the story of Jonah in the days when Nineveh was a scourge upon the earth. Nineveh was the capitol city of Assyria, and they weren’t treating the Jews rightly.

Jonah was a prophet of God, and he was pretty used to hearing His voice. One day, however, God spoke to him to give him a message that he didn’t want to hear. God wanted Jonah to go to the city of Nineveh to tell the people to repent. God wanted them to repent so He could forgive them.

Jonah hated the Assyrians and despised the people of Nineveh. He couldn’t believe God would even consider forgiving a people so evil as they. Jonah was upset. He was willing to give God’s messages to the people of Israel, but he wanted nothing to do with these Ninevites.

He decided that what God had asked of him was too much. He would go just so far for God but no further.

So Jonah ran. He got in a ship sailing for Tarshish in the opposite direction from Nineveh. He figured he could run from God, but God is omniscient and omni-present, so it wasn’t a successful venture.

Out on the sea God caused a violent storm to come upon the ship. The sailors tried to figure out who was responsible for this unnatural storm, and the lot fell upon Jonah. Jonah confessed to his running from God and told them that in order to stop the storm they had to throw him overboard. Jonah knew that being thrown overboard into the ocean would mean certain death for him.

The sailors reluctantly agreed and threw him overboard. Immediately the sea calmed down. As Jonah sank deep into the sea a giant fish swallowed him. Jonah knew he had messed up royally. God had shown him the way to go, and he had not been willing. So, in the belly of the fish, Jonah prayed.

After three days God caused the fish to spit Jonah out on the shore. Then, God called Jonah once again to go to Nineveh. This time Jonah went, although he was still wishing for the demise of his enemies.

When he spoke the word of The Lord to the Ninevites they repented and prayed to God clothed in sackcloth and sitting on ashes (signs of genuine remorse). Jonah went up on a hill outside of town to watch God smite them, but He forgave them instead. Jonah became furious.

Jonah couldn’t see how the forgiveness of God is greater than our understanding. He couldn’t see the plans of God. He was filled with hatred and vengeance toward these people.

Did Jonah ever come around? Read the book and find out.

Lets look at ourselves in the meantime. There have been many times I’ve heard people say that they know God wants them to do this or that, but…

When we know what God’s will for us is, and we reject that will, then He is no longer the King of our lives. We have dethroned God and placed ourselves on that throne. We are very much like Jonah.

The may be decisions you are called to make in life. Will you make them? There are moral choices you are called to make. Will you make them?

We live in an age where the people in most churches live lives very similar to that of the world. When confronted with a direct command from scripture, it is not uncommon for them to say “yes, I know, but…” Is that what God wants of us? No!

The Hebrew writer tells us that if we know the good we should do, and we don’t do it, we sin. Paul tells us in Romans 6 that we are to quit sinning on purpose expecting grace to cover us. Does grace cover us? Yes! But should we abuse that privilege? No!

You are called to live a life like Christ. When faced with the hardest time of his life – the crucifixion – he didn’t tell God he wasn’t willing to go through it. He loves you too much to go against God’s will for him, though we know he really struggled with the pain that was to come.

Look at your life. Find the areas where your life doesn’t match up with the life God has called you to live. Pray to God for help in changing direction. And find people you can surround yourself with that will help you along the way. You don’t have to live like the world. Your witness will be much more effective when you make this change.

May you stop giving God ultimatums. May you follow Him with wild abandon. And may the world watch as you live in joy and peace from knowing God’s love and grace all the more.

If there’s anything I can do for you, or if you would like to comment on this article, then please feel free to shoot me a message at http://www.mrdobbs.org. Blessings to you as you follow Him.

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How to Love a Deity

The last couple of months I’ve been writing about the two laws of Christianity, and the last couple of articles have been about how God loves us unconditionally. As a recap, there are only two laws in Christianity: love God and love everyone else. Everything else is just commentary on these two laws.

So the question remains; how do you love a Deity?

In order for us to understand that concept, first we must understand our status with that Deity as created beings. We’ve messed up. People like to blame God for alot of the things that go wrong in the world today, but if you really think about it, most that we can call “bad” really began by someone exchanging the reign of this loving God in their life for a self-rule where “I” am the most important being in the universe. When I do what I want, and that want contradicts what God wants, then alot of bad can result.

Want some examples? How many wars are actually God ordained? Wars are usually started by countries that either want to take advantage of another country’s weakness or by a country that wants to take vengeance into it’s own hands instead of allowing God to do His job. September 11 wasn’t caused by God. It was caused by people who put themselves and other sick and twisted ideologies above God in their lives.

Unfortunately, we all have the same problem.  At some point in our lives we do what we want even when that contradicts what God wants.  We put ourselves on the throne, and God is tossed asunder as we revel in our selfish ambitions.  This could be anything – a liar is only thinking about self-preservation.  An adulterer is only thinking about self-gratification.  A gossip is only thinking about the status he or she will achieve by having the next “scoop”.  We have all sinned – we have all put ourselves on the throne and taken God off.

Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  This is you AND this is me.  We have all sinned and, as Galatians 3:24 says, we have been “prisoners of sin”.

So what can YOU do about it?  Suppose you get a ticket and you have to go to court.  You are guilty.  There’s no denying it.  When you get to court you tell the judge how good you are and all the great things you have done.  Are you still guilty of breaking the law?  Yes.  Can anything you’ve done or ever will do erase the fact that you’re guilty?  No.  This is a problem.  You are guilty and must pay the fine.

In essence this is the situation mankind is in.  We have messed up and messed things up in the process.  So how do we make it right?  God has already done the work for us.  He did this through His Son, Jesus.

How do you love a Deity?  It starts by accepting and reciprocating that love.  If my son loves me, he will first accept the love I want to show to him.

What’s your life like?  Are you still trying to do things your way with yourself on the throne?  There are only two laws to this thing we call Christianity, and the first law, Love God, begins with you agreeing to accept that love.  What does God do in return?  He gets rid of your sin and wipes your conscience clean in the process so that you can start fresh with this newly refurbished relationship.  You can live in Him the way He intended for you to live.

So what do you do? It begins with a choice – then proceeds with a dedication. A ceremony, of sorts.  Where God fulfills His promise to you as you ceremonially “die” to your old self in order to start this relationship with your Creator in the right way.  Romans 6, Galatians 3, 1 Peter 3 and many other scriptures describe this ceremony as baptism – an immersion in water to symbolize the death and resurrection that Jesus went through so that you don’t have to.

I don’t know where you are, but if you want to know more about starting this journey of Loving God and Loving Everyone Else, then please contact me.  I’d love to have the opportunity to listen and share as we take this trip together.  Feel free to contact me at jddobbs@verizon.net or on twitter or facebook as mrjdobbs.  I look forward to hearing from you, and may the Love of God rule in your lives!


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