June 14, 2018 Give Thanks

Jonah 2_9

Jonah 4:11 Are You Really Concerned?

“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 4:11

Jonah had finally decided to go to Nineveh and tell the people about God and warn them of the coming destruction. The people chose to repent and obey God. God also relented and chose not to destroy them. Jonah was very upset that God did not destroy the city. God asks him if He should not be concerned about all the people who were uneducated and needed His help.

People love to judge other people, but do not want to be judged. They are always willing to look at how terrible another person is, yet refuse to see major faults in their own lives. They are only concerned about their own welfare and life. They will spend time in church, but not go to the people who need Jesus. Many believers in churches are very quick to pass judgment upon the lost. They do not feel that some people deserve to be saved.

In the process of feeling this way, many will not bring the gospel message to certain people. In reality they do not have the love and compassion for people that Jesus showed when He walked upon the earth. Jesus walked around healing and giving the good news. Jesus had come to save everyone who is willing to believe. Every person on this earth needs a chance to make the choice of whether to believe in Jesus or not.

When you take time to share the gospel message with someone, you are taking time to show God’s love and compassion for them. You are being concerned about the people. The most important thing to be concerned about is the welfare of their spirit. If they do not have Jesus, they will have death in the end.

Although it is important to keep your own life focused on God, you must also be concerned about the lives of others. Have you given them a chance to know Jesus? Or have you lived your life so concerned about yourself that you do not tell them about Jesus?

And when someone changes their heart and follows Jesus, are you excited or do you ask why they were not judged?

I pray today that you will know the love God has for all people; that you will have God’s concern for the souls of all people; that you will strive to tell everyone you can about Jesus; and that God will draw many to Him through you. 

Jonah 3:5 Give People A Chance To Believe

The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. Jonah 3:5

When God originally told Jonah to go to Ninevah, he refused and fled. After taking a ride in the belly of a great fish/whale, God, again, told him to go to Ninevah. The second time Jonah does go and gives the message that because of their great sins God was going to destroy the city and all the people.

Ninevah had to have been a very corrupt city for God to choose to destroy them. Yet, His great love for them was great enough to give them a warning about the coming destruction. Everyone believed God and proclaimed a fast, hoping that God would change His mind about destroying the city.

It is easy for many believers to think that some person or a group of people are so bad and so much against God, that there is no way for them to believe in God. The only words that they have for the people are condemnation and judgment.

Others refuse to tell certain people about Jesus because of their fear of ridicule and persecution. Either way, believers who act like that are not giving the people a chance to believe in God.

No matter how bad a person is, or how far he has run away from God, as long as he has breath in this life, there is a chance for him to turn to God. Believers need to be willing to bring the gospel message of salvation by Jesus to every person. They must show His great love for each person, regardless of how terrible he is.

Remember that at one time you were living in sin on a path towards death and destruction, just like the Ninevites were. Yet, God loved you enough to show you His great love and save you.

You have a message and testimony that every person in this world needs to hear. Do not be like Jonah was and fight against telling others. Do not make God have to tell you more than once to tell someone about Jesus.

Go out into this world and give every person you meet a chance to choose to follow Jesus or to directly reject Him. Who knows how many will follow because you brought the message to them.

I pray today that you will see others with the love God has for them; that you will share the message of Jesus to every person you can; that those who hear the gospel message will accept and follow Jesus; and that God’s kingdom will grow rapidly because of your witness.

Jonah 2:1-2 God Hears You Where You Are

From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the LORD his God. He said: “In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help.” Jonah 2:1-2

Jonah had tried to run from the call of God by jumping on ship and going a different direction. Using an extremely violent storm, God got his attention. After being thrown overboard, God had a large fish swallow him up. While in the fish Jonah cried out to God and God heard him.

Jonah describes the place he was in, the fish, as a realm of the dead. Inside a fish is the place for dead things. The fish has eaten and the body is digesting the food for its own nourishment. As far as Jonah was concerned he was good as dead, yet he cried out to God for help.

Some people have walked away from God, choosing to live a life of the ways of this world. They reject going to church or anything to do with God. As they are running from God, it may appear as though God does not know where they are or what they are doing. God still does know exactly where they are. One must remember that God is everywhere. No one can run so far as to get completely out of God’s sight.

Many people have turned back to God when they were on their deathbed or in the lowest pits of their life. God has always accepted them back.

There are times in your own life where you may have chosen to walk away from God. You may even be there right now. Whether you realize it or not, God is still pursuing you. He loves you with an undying love. The moment you cry out to Him, He will be right there with you.

No matter how much you have run from God, He will always accept you back as soon as you call out to Him. Just as Jonah cried out when in trouble, you can cry out to God when in trouble. This can be trouble others brought on, or trouble you brought on from running from God. Return to God and give your life to Him. Trust that He loves you enough to take you back.

I pray today that you will know the love of God in your life; that you will live your life for God; that you will  not run from God; and that you will always know that God hears your prayers.

Jonah 1:4 God Knows Where You Are

Then the LORD sent a great wind on the sea and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. Jonah 1:4

God had told Jonah, a prophet, to go to the city of Nineveh and preach against it. Nineveh was known as a rough and tough city that did not believe in God at all. Jonah had refused to go and tried to run away from God. He got on a boat and went the opposite direction. While on the boat God sent a great storm to destroy the boat.

The sailors, who did not necessarily follow God, recognized that the storm was unusual and was from some god. They also knew that Jonah was running from his God. The storm did get the sailors and Jonah’s attention. Jonah has them throw him overboard and the storm stopped immediately.

There are people who hear the voice of God calling them, but they refuse to follow Him at all. They attempt to run from Him. As they do they will often feel uncomfortable and convicted. Many will grow angry with believers because they feel as though they are being targeted, when in reality it is God who is trying to get their attention.

Along with the people who never knew God, there are many in the church who have chosen to walk away from God. They are refusing to do what God wants them to do, yet they still go to church every week. They try to live as a believer, even though they are not doing what God has asked of them. God knows right where they are and is trying to get their attention.

Believers who are living like that are usually very miserable. They do not have any joy in their life, because they know they are running from God and what He wants. There is no peace in running. The calamities that come up in life are God trying to get their attention back onto Him.

If you are one of those who are running from God, it is time to turn around and run back to Him. God always welcomes back His children. God is also always right there where you are. You cannot run away so far that God does not know where you are. Live for God and do what He wants, it is a fulfilling and great life.

I pray today that you will do what God wants; that you will never run from God; that you will always be walking with God; and that God will be able to use you to build His kingdom.