Stop Running From Your Calling.

Jonah 1:3 – “But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.”

Imagine being called by God to stand in the middle of war torn Iraq, a Muslim nation and declare the word of the Lord! It wouldn’t be an easy assignment, and some would say it wouldn’t be the most sensible thing to do either. In the eyes of man the only predictable result would be imprisonment, torture or death and nothing less. Knowing that your life would be in danger by accepting the call of God on your life, you too might run like Jonah.

It’s easy to criticise the prophet; after all, it was the Lord God Almighty who told him to go. Did Jonah really think that He could hide from God? Did He really think that God wouldn’t know what He was doing?

It’s easy for us to label Jonah a coward because that is how he is described in the book. However, his dilemma was real. You may not think that you run like Jonah when God asks you to do something, but we do ignore Him. What happens when He tells us to go and minister to the paedophile down the road? Everyone knows what he did because they have to register as sex offenders. When God asks you to deliver the message of salvation to him, your first response is going to be, “but do you know what he did?”

As Christians we are sometimes not willing to accept that God wants to save everyone, not just the good people, but the bible says that Jesus came to save the sinners and not the righteous (Luke 5:32). Click To Tweet

As Christians we are sometimes not willing to accept that God wants to save everyone, not just the good people, but the bible says that Jesus came to save the sinners and not the righteous (Luke 5:32). Therefore, whether the person has murdered ten people they have the same right as you to receive the gift of salvation.

Jonah had to be broken before he was able to grasp the depth of God’s mercy. The story was written for you to learn from his mistakes. The bottom line is this, when you are called by the Lord; don’t be so stubborn and rebellious that He has to break you before he can get your full attention.

Pride Comes Before a Fall.

Obadiah 1:12-14 – “But you should not have gazed on the day of your brother in the day of his captivity; nor should you have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; nor should you have spoken proudly in the day of distress. You should not have entered the gate of My people in the day of their calamity. Indeed you should not have gazed on their affliction in the day of their calamity, nor laid hands on their substance in the day of their calamity. You should not have stood at the crossroads to cut off those among them who escaped; nor should you have delivered up those among them who remained in the day of distress.”

The Edomites were a prideful people. According to the English dictionary the word pride means, “a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.” Proverbs 16:18 states “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” We witness this verse come to life when reading the book of Obadiah and analysing the behaviour of the Edomites.

We serve a God of order and purpose, every word written in the Bible was put there for us to learn something. Click To Tweet

We serve a God of order and purpose, every word written in the Bible was put there for us to learn something. When comparing yourself to the Edomites, I am sure most of you are thinking “I’m not that bad,” or “I don’t mock, steal from or cause harm to Gods people.” Well if you have ever sat in church and made a negative comment about a person’s looks, or what they were wearing. Or if you have spoken ill of your pastor or any of the members involved in ministry, then you are just as bad as the Edomites (I hold my hand up, and confess that I have been guilty of such behaviour).

Gods thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and his ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55: 8-9). Many of us find it difficult to understand why we would end up in hell with Hitler, but according to God, sin has no levels. To Him stealing a penny is the same as stealing a million dollars. God has high standards, and without Jesus we can’t attain them.

The Edomites thought they were better than everyone; this is one of the reasons why they were destroyed. The word of God commands us not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought (Romans 12:3), this is the definition of pride. Do you turn your nose up at people, would you avoid shaking the homeless man’s hand because you don’t want to get dirty? Would you get up and move if an undesirable came and sat next to you in church? Let me tell you a story:

Pastor Jeremiah Steepek dressed up as a homeless bum and went and sat amongst the congregation of the 10,000-member church that he was going to pastor. He attempted to mingle amongst the congregation for 30 minutes and was greeted by just three out of the 7-10,000 members present that morning. He begged for money to buy food, and not one person put their hand in their pocket. He attempted to sit at the front of the church and was asked to move to the back. Since no one was greeting him, he decided to greet people and instead of being greeted back he was given dirty looks and stared at.

He obediently took his seat at the back of the church and waited for the elders to announce his arrival. When his name was mentioned as the new pastor, the congregation clapped and shouted as they looked around in anticipation. The homeless man at the back of the church stood up and walked down the centre aisle towards the podium. The cheers and the clapping were replaced with silence.

When he got to the altar, he took the microphone and began reciting Matthew 25:34-40 “ Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.”

 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?  When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

After reciting the passage, he told the congregation what he had experienced. That morning many bowed their heads in shame and cried. Pastor Jeremiah Steepek then told the church that what he is looking at is not the body of Christ, but a group of people. He went on to say that there are enough people in the world, but not enough disciples. He dismissed the service after asking the congregation when they were going to make the decision to become disciples?

It’s a sad story, but it is also the reality of the church today. We are prideful and self-centred and have no real understanding of what it means to be a Christian. Going to church every Sunday isn’t what saves you. If your heart has not been transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit, if you are still living in perpetual sin, you are not saved.

The Bible tells us to examine ourselves (2 Corinthians 13:5-7). You know whether you are saved or not, the condition of your heart will tell you. Examine yourself and ask the Lord to uproot anything that is not like him. The Edomites were destroyed because of their prideful nature, take heed to Obadiah’s warning and repent before it is too late.

3 Consequences of the Fall we Never Think About.

We are all familiar with what happened during the fall. As the story goes, Eve was tempted by the serpent, she ate from the tree of life, gave some of the fruit to Adam and they fell from grace. Very rarely do we consider the severe consequences of their actions, and what the world would have been like if they had remained obedient to God. Here are some things to consider.

Marriage Has Become a Curse: I have never wanted to get married for several reasons. First because I am so focused on my vision that I simply don’t have the time for a relationship, and second it is not something I desire. You’ve only got to look at the world we live in today to know that the joy of marriage left the earth a long time ago. Divorce and blended families are the new normal, even amongst believers. People just can’t seem to get it right. But why is that? I believe that it is one of the consequences of the fall. In Genesis chapter 2, God said: It is not good that man should live alone (Genesis 2:18). But in the book of Corinthians, Paul states, if at all possible, abstain from getting married (1 Corinthians 7:8). Is this a contradiction? I don’t think so.

Before the fall it was not good that man should live alone, life was perfect, Adam and Eve would have loved each other passionately for eternity. They had no desire to want another partner because they were totally satisfied with each other. After the fall, things changed, their eyes were opened and suddenly, they wanted more out of life, their habits became annoying and they found it difficult to live together. Then the kids came, and things got even worse.

Children Have Become a Curse: Cain killed his own brother because of jealousy, can you imagine how Adam and Eve felt? It is impossible to put into words the devastation they experienced. Today, kids are more unruly than ever, they are committing more heinous crimes than Cain and Abel. Once you become a parent, that’s it, you are stuck with your offspring for life, they are totally dependent upon you and there is nothing you can do about it. Some people find it so difficult to handle parenthood that they give their children up for adoption, some don’t even get that far and abort the baby before it is born. You’ve only got to do a quick Google search to discover how many people regret having children.

I have never wanted children, the thought of being responsible for another human for the rest of my life does not appeal to me at all. But this was not God’s original intention.

Lust Has Become the Norm: It is normal for married couples to desire other people. Some take it as far as indulging in swingers parties where couples willingly sleep with other people. God designed lust for marriage, that intense attraction that the opposite sex have for one another was not supposed to extend outside of the marital bed.

These are just a few of the consequences of the fall that we rarely think about. The good news is that despite the fact that the world is in complete disarray, we have the hope and the promise of eternity.

One day, this earth will be no more, and we will return to the days of Eden. Praise Jesus! Click To Tweet

One day, this earth will be no more, and we will return to the days of Eden. Praise Jesus!

May God bless the hearers and the doers of His word.

3 Psalms Expressing Gratitude to God.

Gratitude is something we should practice daily. You should be grateful for the fact that you are alive and reading this because some people went to bed last night and didn’t wake up in the morning. They had plans for today that were never fulfilled because they came to the end of their days. In the past week alone, one of my uncle’s died. He travelled to Africa to attend his brother’s funeral, went to bed one night and had a heart attack in his sleep, his family members found him dead in his bed. Another friend of mine, her 24-year-old son had a sudden brain aneurism, as I write this, he is in a coma, the doctors don’t know whether he is going to survive.

when you can focus on what you do have and the sheer awesomeness of the God you serve, gratitude will spring forth from your heart like streams of living water. Click To Tweet

It is easy to operate out of an ungrateful heart because we are so focused on what we don’t have, but when you can focus on what you do have and the sheer awesomeness of the God you serve, gratitude will spring forth from your heart like streams of living water. Here are three psalms you can pray to show gratitude to God.

Psalms 150: There are really no words to describe how wonderful and mighty our God is, but Psalms 150 is a great place to start, it is short and sweet and one of the Psalms that I have memorised. Verse 6 is my favourite line of the Psalm, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!” In other words, if you’ve got breath in your body, you’ve got no excuse not to praise His holy name.

Psalms 95: With verses like, “In His hand are the deep places of the earth; the heights of the hills are His also. The sea is His for He made it; and His hands formed the dry land,” you can’t help but worship the Lord. This Psalm will quickly usher you into the presence of God.

Psalms 75: The wicked may think they have gotten away with their evil deeds, but we serve a righteous judge, and they will not go unpunished. Psalms 75 reminds us that our God is one of justice and in His time, His wrath shall be revealed.

May God bless the hearers and the doers of His word.