Are You a Jonah?

jonah

Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittal, saying, “Arise, go to Ninevah, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. – Jonah 1:1-2a

Jonah is not a book of the Bible that I spend a lot of time thinking about. We have a really cool puzzle that my daughter Lydia just loves putting together. It’s an oversized puzzle, so even I can do it, and it shows a cartoon character Jonah being spit out of the great fish’s mouth onto the sand. It’s a really great image. But I must confess I’ve not given a lot of thought to Jonah until recently.

This past Lord’s Day, during our prayer time, I was asked to pray corporately, praying from Jonah. As I read chapter 2 in preparation I was struck by how much like Jonah I am. How often I run from the presence of the Lord, or at least I think I run from His presence. Of course, where can we really go that He is not there right?

But it appears Jonah really thought he could just go the opposite way and that was going to be alright with God. Jonah thought that God’s arm wasn’t long enough to reach him. Doesn’t it appear that way? Was this the same God that did all those miracles? Is this the same God that by His spoken word created everything? What a foolish thing for Jonah to do…

Because I know I would never do that…I’m pretty sure you would never do that either…Say I sarcastically…

How many times have you blown opportunities to tell someone the good news?

Ouch…

Matthew 10:32 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.

Homologéō – to say the same thing as another; to agree with, assent. Many will say they “confess” Christ, but in their actions deny Him. It’s quite different to actually agree with Him than to open our mouths and say Jesus is Lord. The bottom line is do we live like it?

We must consider the words of our Lord, when He said “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not done all these things in Your name…” And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you: depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ – Matthew 7:21-23

This past weekend for the first time I went into the open air and preached the gospel. Like Jonah I was attempting to run from God and avoid the inevitable disagreement with Him that desired my own earthly comforts, pride, selfishness and personal desires. I mean, honestly, who wants to go out and take the abuse that you are sure is coming your way? Isn’t that why there are “professionals” that teach in churches, pastors that get paid for this? Shouldn’t they be the ones going out and doing this sort of thing, if this sort of thing should even be done today, which many will say?

Then I once again remember the words of Jesus and my pathetic heart melts…

Matthew 16:25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.

I desire to save my life…

Last Saturday, by the grace of God I began a journey to lose my life and it was humbling and even humiliating beyond words. Yet it was exhilarating and thrilling to stand up in front of a God-hating crowd and proclaim His name. To tell them He IS Lord, and they must submit to Him, or perish in their sins.

Do I think, or expect that everyone reading this will go to a public arena and preach? No, I don’t think that is wise for everyone. You should go under the protection and blessing of your church, but we should all be proclaiming His name in whatever opportunities He presents to you. It might be the grocery store, or the coffee shop, maybe sitting next to someone on a plane. Whatever, wherever, whenever you are presented with an opportunity to proclaim His name, be obedient to the call and lose your life.

Who knows what will happen.

Jonah 3:10 Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.

Never forget that Salvation is of the LORD, but as for us, we must proclaim the good news and trust that God will grow His church. Amen!

Kevin

Shadow

My next post I plan to get back to my discussion about man and God.  Last time we saw that there are many wrong views of man.  There are also many wrong views of God, so I would like to discussion the wrong views of God and a scriptural understanding of God.  I need to take a quick detour today to discuss a relevant topic in our home.

This week our household was filled with sadness over the loss of our family cat.  Shadow Lee Harrington was about five and a half years old and was my oldest daughter Grace’s beloved cat.   When we first decided to allow her a cat it was a surprise for her 8th birthday.

Almost every year we enjoy a weekend with my cousin and his family.  The Lee family is kindred spirits with the Jandt’s.  We are all very like minded biblically, we love our time together, and their house is an animal paradise.  You name it, they’ve got, have had it or will have it.

Horses, dogs, cats, chickens, birds and I’m sure other critters.  There are always kittens running around.  We knew they had kittens when we went up that summer day in 2007 and our surprise for Grace was to start presenting her some gifts that were cat related.  As she looked at us with wonderment as to why she would get a food dish for her birthday, we told her she better go pick out a kitty that can eat out of it.  She was so happy to have an animal “that would love her back.”

Shadow was a beautiful silver gray cat and an outstanding hunter.  We decided we would allow him to be an outdoor cat when we brought him home.  Last week he didn’t come home and Jen found him on the road, he had been hit by a car.  It was a tough day for the girls and especially Jen.  It was the risk we took to allow Shadow to do what he loved to do and I’m sure next year the chipmunks will make a comeback as he had all but rid our neighborhood.

Matthew 10:29-31 Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin?  And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Do not fear therefore: you are of more value than many sparrows. 

The Lord knew the number of Shadows days.  He did not fall outside of the Father’s will.  This is incredible to me and I believe there is a lesson in this for our family.  I’m grateful for the time we enjoyed our family cat.  Grace loved Shadow he was valuable to her and to the family.

But we are more valuable than sparrows and cats right?  It says so and why do you suppose that is?

Matthew 10:33-34 “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.  But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven. 

We have the ability to confess Christ to the world.  Shadow couldn’t preach the gospel.  He was a cat and God did not breathe His Spirit into him.  It doesn’t mean he wasn’t valuable but he isn’t eternal.  We are eternal and if you are a Believer in Jesus Christ you have an opportunity to confess Him before men.

We will miss Shadow.  The Lord continues to do what is best for His people despite our sadness in those moments.  These are excellent lessons about life and death.  We will all die someday; let’s mourn and preach for the living if they are outside God’s will.  This is valuable to God.

Kevin