Mercy For Nineveh? Why?

Jonah was greatly displeased with the Lord and actually became angry. His enemies, the nemesis of his country, the evil ones of Syria, were being given a chance to repent by the Lord. The Ninevites were an evil, bloodthirsty people determined to conquer Israel, and commit atrocities against them. Jonah tried to run from God and head to Tarshish, in the hope that God would change His mind about offering mercy to Nineveh (Jonah  4:2). He was also afraid to carry out his mission, as walking through a hostile city crying out, “Nineveh will be overthrown!” was a frightening prospect. He wanted them destroyed. His reason for fleeing seemed right in his own eyes. Instead, God dramatically intervened in his life until he submitted to His will. He would not accept Jonah saying in affect, “Yes God, I understand, but . . .”

Jonah 4:4 “Do you have a good reason to be angry?”

After Jonah said he would rather die then see God’s mercy poured out on Nineveh, God tested him with the precious shade-producing plant to see something of God’s mercy to people He created in His image. When God saw the repentance of the people of Nineveh, He relented and did not bring calamity upon them; God showed compassion on them.

In 2 Peter 3:9 we read, “The Lord is not slow about His promise . . . not wishing for any to perish.” Then again, Jesus implores us in Matthew 5:44 to “. . . love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.” To me, Jonah’s story reveals a little more about who God is, than a story of a man trapped in a huge fish. The focus is more on a people engraved in the heart of God.

What Do We Learn to Use Today?

Rereading this story gave me pause to think some about our collective hearts today. Realize that the people of Nineveh, a large city in ancient Syria, were loved by God despite their wickedness (Jonah  1:2). Today it seems sometimes we have adopted Jonah’s heart about many of the residents of that part of the world. The disastrous results of 9/11, and subsequent actions of wickedness, have hardened us so even many strong believers today seek their destruction and punishment. Does this demonstrate a heart after the will of God, or more reflect our personal and selfish desires for revenge and punishment? Now this is not intended as a treatise on our current national security apparatus or an indictment of the religions practiced by many in that part of the world. I just ask you to stop and ponder what the heart and will of God may be. Should we “love and pray” for our enemy? How much more amazing would it be for our country and world if our “enemy” could become an ally who worshipped the same Lord God?

Use your Gifts

As Christians we enjoy the blessing of intimate relationships with our Creator; we are called to live passionately for Him. “But you have an anointing from the Holy One” (1 John  2:20). Nicky Gumbel, the Vicar of the Anglican church HTB in London writes, “Life is a privilege and an opportunity. God has trusted you with gifts and abilities which He wants you to use.” It reminds me of my favorite poem entitled a Tandem Ride With God.

In chapter 25 of the Gospel of Matthew, we read the Parable of the Talents. The Master in the story rewards the faithful servants who used their gifts well, to do more. To be faithful means to use the gifts and abilities God gives you. You don’t want to be seen as the lazy servant who hides his gift. Don’t shy away because you are afraid of failure or even what others my think of you. Don’t cringe because of the hard work and responsibility that may be involved. God is waiting to reward you for doing the very best with what you have. “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things. . . . Come and share your master’s happiness” (Matt. 25:21, 23).

I love that last line. To me it represents what is meant by the “abundant life” Jesus promises us. It is the way to begin to live A Bold Life For Christ. When you have proven yourself faithful in small things, Jesus will entrust you with more and greater things. You will grow in the riches, strength, and joy of an abundant Christian life. What a blessing to hear your Lord proclaim to you, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” How can you begin today to use your gifts in an act of service? How will Christ bless you for your faithfulness?

I would love to hear how God has blessed you for your service in little things. Please share by leaving a comment on this page.

God’s Timing for Your Life

Waiting on the Lord is usually an attribute most Christians are at least familiar with, but how can we be sure of God’s timing in our lives? Often, this is where we fail to realize God’s plans for our lives, and the blessings He has in store for us.

Patience is a spiritual fruit as shown in Galatians 5:22. Scripture makes it clear that God is pleased with us when we display this virtue, “Be still before the Lord and patiently for Him” (Psalm 37:7), or “The Lord is good to those who wait patiently for Him” (Lamentations 3:5). Patience is a virtue I have never displayed in abundance, but recently, as I have slowed down my life, God has made it clear to me that He has a plan for me in His timing. If we run ahead–as I do oftentimes–or lag behind, that decision is often costly. Self-sufficiency often moves us outside the Lord’s will. The RIGHT thing done at the wrong time can leave us vulnerable to Satan’s schemes, or even derail blessings.

We see a myriad of examples of God’s perfect timing in the Bible (e.g., Psalm 18:30, Galatians 4:4). The first thing we need to understand about God’s timing and plans for us is that they are perfect! Never early. Never late.

Often when we question God’s timing in our lives, it is because we are seeking deliverance from difficult situations. We need to recall that God will work out all things for His own perfect purpose (Romans 8:28). The plans God has for us are good plans (Jeremiah 29:11).

We can rest comfortably knowing that when we wait on the Lord, we receive divine energy and strength. Isaiah 40:31 reads “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall rise up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” “Wait on the Lord; be of good courage and he will strengthen your heart” (Psalm 27:14).

So finally, it comes back to trust. When we fully trust in God and not on our own understanding He will give us direction (Proverbs 3:5-6). The best way to fully trust God is to fully know Him. The best way to fully know Him, is through study of His inspired Word that releases His divine energy into our lives. If we study and meditate on His Word, His timing will become clear to us.

Patience to wait on God and endure our present situations; steadfastness to carry out our current responsibilities; and courage to trust His solution, is my prayer for your life and mine.

In the name of Jesus, Amen.

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Acquire Wisdom

Proverbs 4 in verses 5 and 7 repeat over and over to “Acquire Wisdom, Acquire understanding. Joyce Meyers says, “Wisdom is choosing to do now what you will be happy with later on” Proverbs 4: 5-6 says, “Acquire wisdom! Acquire understanding! …Do not forsake her, and she will guard you; love her and she will watch over you.”

After fasting 40 days and 40 nights Jesus was hungry when the devil tempted him in the wilderness to turn the stones into bread. He responded in verse 4 ” Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” So often there are choices that may seem right to man, provide instant gratification but lead to regret and pain down the road. These are things that provide instant gratification but leave you feeling hollow afterwards. Godly Wisdom gives you the ability like Jesus to make decisions that will fill you with peace throughout your life.

How do you respond when faced with a choice to get instant gratification or take the long term path that God chooses for you? Reply with your comment.

Waiting on God

Timing is critical in life, in business, in sports, in science, in relationships and essential in every believers life.

In Psalms 130 vs 6 we it says “..my soul waits for the Lord” and in vs 7, “…hope in the Lord for with the Lord there is lovingkindness, and with Him is abundant redemption.”

God wants the very best for us in our personal life, whether the issue is marriage, school, business or friendships. In Psalms 30:8 we hear, “I will instruct and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you”.
Sometimes it appears to others that we are delaying unnecessarily , we make decision based the influence of our friends or our culture, yet God may use a season of waiting to help us recognize ungodly motive and sin, and to strengthen our faith.

I don’t believe that God so much makes ‘RULES’ for us to follow as he provides us wisdom that allows us to live a peaceful, successful, righteous life. God is the only source of pure Wisdom.

Share your thoughts in the comments section please