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Stories

      Life is a series of short stories. Years ago, I was hiking the jungles of Peru. Two weeks before that, I was sitting on a front porch with an elderly gentleman, watching the clouds go by and thankful for my blessings. It’s been a few years, but he’s passed on, and even though I am sad that he’s gone, I feel blessed to have known and cared for such a great man. Today, I sit with a lovely lady. Once a model, today she faces her days with lost memories of the past. But still, we sit …

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The Story of Jonah

“The Lord threw a great wind onto the sea, and such a great storm arose on the sea that the ship threatened to break apart. The sailors were afraid, and each cried out to his god.”  (Jonah 1:4-5) Talk about being at the wrong place at the wrong time!  These poor, innocent sailors on the ship with the runaway prophet Jonah were definitely afraid.  Fear is defined by the dictionary as “an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.” The sailors confronted Jonah as he was singled out …

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Jonah and the Sailors

Jonah Chapter 1   Contrast “Jonah got up to flee to Tarshish from the Lord’s presence.”  (Jonah 1:3) If we were to write a description of Jonah from Chapter 1, we would surely include such terms/phrases as: (1) a reluctant prophet – stubborn and rebellious (2) one refusing to extend love to his enemies (3) Jonah – the prophet of God – guilty and disobedient. Yet God showed compassion and spared Jonah, the unrepentant prophet. While Jonah withdrew from both God and fellow man and went to sleep in the bottom of the ship. “What should we do to you (Jonah) …

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Message of God

    “The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time. “Get up! go to the great city of Nineveh and preach the message that I tell you.” Jonah got up and went to Nineveh according to the Lord’s command…Jonah set out on the first day of his walk in the city and proclaimed, “In forty days Nineveh will be demolished!”    (Jonah 3: 1-4) Both the man of God and God’s chosen people had forgotten the reason God had chosen them to be His treasured people.  (Isaiah 42:6-7) “I am the Lord. I have called you for a …

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Anger Blinds

We see a lot of bitterness and anger in the story of Jonah.  We see it in Jonah’s countenance, his actions, and his heart. He has contempt for the Ninevites; he is angry toward God; and he is even angry toward a plant and a worm. (Jonah 4:4)  The Lord asked, “Is it right for you to be angry?’ (Jonah 4:9)  “Then God asked Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” “Yes, it’s right,” Jonah replied, “I’m angry enough to die!” Jonah’s Response: When God showed compassion to the ones Jonah hated – Rage.  When …

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Jonah’s Nature in Us

  Be careful – there is a lot of Jonah’s nature in us. We see what Jonah values –  self.  He expresses joy when God shows him compassion in providing comfort, but expresses anger when God shows compassion for citizens of Nineveh. Jonah is all about self-comforts and worldly values. God Values  Life. “So the Lord said, ” You cared about the plant, which you did not labor over and did not grow. It appeared in a night and perished in a night. But may I not care about the great city of Nineveh, which has more than 120,000 people …

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Ending of Jonah’s Story

The full ending of Jonah’s story is not written down in the scripture.  Therefore, we have an open ended story.  What do you think happened? Our personal story may be very similiar to that of Jonah.  I’m sure we’ve had our instances of reluctance and disobedience.  We’ve been angry, rebellious, defensive, selfish, and arrogant – all in one day!  Yet, God extends His Grace to us so that He can include us in His Love Story. (Jonah 2:2)  “I called to the Lord in my distress, and he answered me.” (Jonah 2:9)  “Salvation belongs to the Lord.” “For all have …

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Mistakes

    There have been times when I think that I’ve made the biggest mistake of my life, but it turned out to be the greatest blessing. Never neglect the power of God. Just when you think you’ve got life figured out, God steps in and miracles happen, plans get changed and nothing else matters. Are these all a result of our own mistakes or a miscalculation of God’s timing? You decide. Matthew 6:26-27: “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are …

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Trendsetter

        I’ve never been one to start a movement or follow the crowd. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been led astray. Right when you think you have it all together, there’s a detour in the road. What then? Do you crumble, crawl into a cave and give up? So much in this world is unreliable. People are unreliable, not trustworthy. Why not lean on God in these times? God’s truth never changes and has stood the test of time. Be the change. Become a light in someone’s dark world and tell them about God. Be a …

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Idols

    The hardest enemy to defeat is the idols we hold close to our heart. We’re surrounded by evil every day and it seems to be getting worse. We make bad decisions, not thinking of the affects it may have on others. We compromise and tell ourselves that this one time won’t matter. You can’t fight this battle alone. Give it to God, every little detail. Make God the hero in your life. Stop trying to abandon God and pretend that this thing you’re doing is not a sin. 1 Corinthians 10:14 – “Therefore, my dear friends, flee from …

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Discomfort

        God created each of us for so much more than just to be happy and satisfied. There are times when our joy in life comes with taking risks, pushing yourself beyond what you thought you could do. A few years ago when I stood on top of a 14,000 foot mountain I felt so alive, like I just conquered the world. If you’re comfortable with how things are going, you’re not going to be hungry for righteousness sake. God allows a little adversity in our life at times to remind us who He is. He came …

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Time

        There have been seasons in my life when it seemed that time stood still, unmoving. The death of my dad, my two brothers, my mom. We all get one chance every day. The same 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Hug your spouse. Play with your kids and grandkids. Spend time with the elderly. Call a friend. Tell someone your story. Time is precious. Don’t waste a minute of it. The God of the Bible is a God of purpose. He created time and we should learn how to manage it and use it …