Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Quote - Kindness

"Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.  Be kind.  Always."

~ author unknown

I saw this quote online and I'm not sure who wrote this, but this is similar to a quote by Plato.  During a typical day we can run into numerous people who are going through things we could never imagine.  Sometimes they will be caught off guard and maybe we are their sounding board for the hurt they are feeling in their life.  Let's be calm and kind the next time someone is rude or angry at the store, school, church, office, etc.  Who knows, we may be the only caring people they meet that day that will not respond with anger.  It is easy to judge others without knowing all the facts.

Pride sneaks up to justify our judgement so we feel better, when another person may be crying out for help.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Jonah 4:4

v. 4 "But the Lord replied, 'Have you any right to be angry?"

The word right means: in accordance with what is good or just, in conformity with fact or truth, correct in principle, judgement or action; most convenient, desirable or favorable.  Just because the world would agree with our anger does not make it right in God's kingdom.  Many times we go with our feelings instead of His truth.

God showed compassion to Jonah when asking if he had a right to be angry.  God could have showed great anger towards Jonah, but didn't.  I think the Bible shows us that it is OK to show our emotions to God, even if we are angry with Him, but we need to be careful that we don't stay that way.  It is good to vent, then move on, many get stuck with anger against God and will never move forward.  He asked Jonah like we would ask a child if they had a right to be mad if they didn't get their way.

"Knowing that the holy, completely powerful God could be angry and yet is slow to yield to it should cause us to reconsider the anger we feel when betrayed, belittled, or just ignored.  It should also cause us to question any anger we feel toward God.  Knowing He could and should be angry at us and yet chooses not to be should cause us to rethink our position."  Priscilla Shirer

Have you any right to be angry?  This is one of the most profound questions in the entire Bible.  I know this will strike a nerve with some who read this.  There are things that you may have never turned over to God or refuse to repent for your feelings due to the actions of others.  I can only express that His love covers ALL of our sin, anger and pain.  There are many things that happen in life that are terrible, but that doesn't mean that we should have anger towards God.  Remember that there is a prince in this world who has a goal of separating you from God in pure destruction.  Jesus said in John 12:31 "Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out."  A prince has limited power, but the King has no limits to His power.

So instead of having a Godly anger towards the devil we take that anger and direct it towards the only One who loves us most in this world.  This is another deception from the enemy, to direct our hate to God instead of himself.  Those who take a step in the direction of Grace will be healed from all the pain in their hearts.  They will be able to see what the enemy has been trying to do to them for decades and will finally be free from that wicked grip of darkness.  It feels unnatural to let go, but once you do you will see God's love wash over you and that is beyond compare.

Why does God ask a question when He already knows the answer?  He is waiting for us to be accountable, to take responsibility for our actions.  God wants us to bring things to the surface that we are trying to forget or hide.  Problems will never be fixed by burying them, only when we can bring them to the light can we deal with them and be set free of their power.

"God does not compromise His nature to help with our sin.  He doesn't excuse us."  Priscilla Shirer

Monday, April 14, 2014

Quote - Will Rogers

"Too many people spend money they haven't earned to buy things they don't want to impress people they don't like."

~ Will Rogers

I think this could be America's motto.  Trying to impress others with what you can't afford does you no good and can put you in major debt.  Since we are the Jones', if people kept up with us then they would not care what other people think.  They would live within their means and get out of debt.  Trying to impress others is a foolish task.

If people do not like you for who you are, then why would you want to impress them?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Quote - Dr. Seuss

"Today I will behave as if this is the only day I will be remembered for."

~ Dr. Seuss

Such a wonderful quote, but I often fall short of this kind of day.  I strive to do better, but often find my days do not even come close to what I would want to be remembered for.  Maybe the key is to think how you would want people to remember you, then start doing things in your life that follow that line of thinking.  Looking back on life in regret is a sad way to live.  Maybe we should just start to think differently, we have the ability to change even when those around us think it's not possible.  With God anything is possible.

It is amazing how many things we have learned from reading Dr. Seuss books as children.  Although when we grow up those lessons are often forgotten.  When we are adults reading these books to kids we should remember the valuable lessons that are hiding in plain sight and start to live life as if we never forgot them in the first place.  I think we would all be happier adults if we keep childlike faith.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Jonah 4:1-3

v. 1-3 "But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry.  He prayed to the Lord, 'O Lord, is this not what I said when I was still at home?  That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish.  I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.  Now, O Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.'"

God does not need our approval to do His will, He is perfectly capable of handling a situation without our opinion on the matter.

Jonah was acting like a child who didn't get what he wanted, but this example is not for our amusement.  The Bible is showing that we often follow the desires of our heart, instead of following God's will for our lives.  We may think that we would never do what Jonah did, but I think may of us have been in his shoes.  When someone betrays us and later receives God's mercy are we happy for them?  Do we wish they would get what they deserve?  Or think they are not as Christian as us?  We don't deserve His grace either, yet he gives it freely to us.  This is why this book is so powerful and often overlooked.  We should never wish ill will towards others because then we are just like Jonah.  God is not a genie or a puppet on strings.  We can not put Him in a box or conform Him to what we want Him to be, He is I AM.

Are you having a tantrum now because:
  • you didn't get what you think you deserve
  • or someone else got what you think they didn't deserve 
Both of these show our heart attitude.  Pride rules tantrums and only with humility will pride diminish.

Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh because he did not think these people deserved God's compassion and he was determined that he would have no part in the people having any favor with God.  Jonah knowing that God would show compassion on those that turn to Him must have inflicted Jonah with such anguish that the people would receive the same mercy that the people of Israel receive when they return to God.  When we hate others there is often a sense of pride involved, but wanting others to suffer and not receive the grace of God when they repent is selfish, prideful, cruel and arrogant.  I know this is a strong statement, but it's true.

Jonah was so despondent that he was ready to die.  God choose Jonah for a reason, he was able to follow God's command, eventually, but his heart was never in it.  This is such a profound moment in the Bible.  Jonah had finished the mission, yet he never fully gave all of himself over to God.  Jonah was thankful that God saved him from the fish, yet he could not be thankful that God could save Nineveh.  I think many of us walk through life with half-hearted faith.  Not only do we not have our hearts fully in it, but this means we won't experience the full blessings of God.  For many years this is what I did, but as I learn more I hope that I am growing more like Jesus every year.  Genesis 22:18 says "and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me."  The Jewish nation was to be a light for the rest of the world, yet they continued to turn away from God.  They did not want Gentiles to know God and many Christians are like this today unfortunately.

We may go to church, but neglect spending time with God at home on a daily basis.  We pick and choose the things we want out of the bible and ignore the things that are too hard or the things we don't agree with.  Following God is a difficult journey.  He asks things of us that will be hard to do: forgiveness to those who hurt us, don't give in to anger, don't gossip, tithe money back to God (many will never do this), to believe in something you can't see, to pray for things that may never happen while here on earth and to know that you will be attacked for the rest of your life by an enemy that wants nothing more than to destroy you.  Does this sound fun?  Yet when you experience God's love, you will gladly walk through this world battling every day because you know there is nothing better than to have God by your side.

When we wish other's to receive God's wrath we are only pushing ourselves closer to the flames.