I have a nasty habit of getting really busy. I can do a billion things, but neglect even ignore those I love and love me. In Revelation 2:4, God reminds us that there are times where we do many good things but forget our first love. Let us return to them now. And let us also return to God, who “while we were still sinners, died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
You may or may not be familiar with the life of Jonah.
Jonah was a prophet way back when. God tells him to go to a place to Ninevah to preach to the people there, that they would stop doing all the bad stuff they were doing and instead do good. Jonah receives his mission and runs away, taking the soonest ship to the furthest town. En route, he hits a storm and, in a moment of conviction, asks the crew to throw him overboard. Not knowing what else to do, they do just that. Jonah is swallowed by the sea creature a la Pinocchio and spends three days in the belly of the beast. At that point, he has a change of heart, asks God for a hand out, and God does just that. The creature spits him out and he high-tails it over to Ninevah to ask them also to turn their lives around. In no short time, they do.
And all ends happily ever after, right? I wish. No. Many retellings of Jonah’s life end there, but his life extends to another chapter. In this chapter, he is sitting on a hill looking over the just-saved city of Ninevah, hoping that God will change His mind and blow it up. “Please, Lord, isn’t this what I thought while I was still in my own country? That’s why I fled toward Tarshish in the first place. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger, abounding in faithful love, and one who relents from sending disaster. And now, Lord, take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live,” says the prophet. Despite all that Jonah has been through, he still wants the Ninevites to die and for God to take him with them.
Fortunately, God doesn’t grant Jonah’s request. Instead, he lets Jonah sit in the hot sun for a good, long while until Jonah is about to faint. Then, He grows up a plant to cover Jonah’s head. Jonah loves his plant because the comfort it provides him. God allows him a moment of solace than kills the plant.
Jonah flips out. When God asks him if his anger is justified, Jonah is 1200% sure that it is. At this, God asks a follow-up question, “You cared about the plant, which you did not labor over and did not grow. It appeared in the night and perished in the night. But may I not care about the great city of Ninevah, which has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot distinguish between their right and their left, as well as many animals?” With that, God drops the mic and Jonah’s story ends there. We don’t know how he responded. In truth, we don’t need to. This is God’s question to us. We all have plants in our lives, things we put in priority over the people all around us. Are we brave enough to let them go and selfless enough to see the needs of others, even if those needs belong to those we don’t see eye to eye with?
The challenge is simple. God is waiting for the answer. Don’t be a Jonah. Answer the call.
Today I am born
Thanks to so many people
and the God who made me
Thank you Jesus for salvation
Thank you Spirit for inspiration
Thank you family for a forever home
Thank you friends for never leaving me alone
Thank you life
for your boundless wonder
Thank you sky
for that starry veil I’m under
Thank you sleep
for reviving me
Thank you wake
for entertaining me
Every breath I take, every step
is a gift
Thank you thank you thank you
for all of it.
I am incredibly ecstatic to announce that the first shipment of “Into the Word” CDs are now in! This has been a two year process, off-and-on.
Definitely took me on one of the most exciting adventures I’ve been on, spanning two states, involving lots of new friends, and learning tons from seasoned professionals.
Check out IntotheWordMusical.com for more information.
Bless you all!
Here we are
standing on your balcony
singing gospel songs
across the valley
Old memories hang
like the raincloud overhead.
We sing to overcome their sadness.
We raise our voices high above
to the heavenlies.
We sing sweet harmonies
because it brings us joy.
I think it’s fascinating that,
as long as the disciples knew Jesus,
they had they hardest time knowing Him as He was,
Savior and LORD, God of the universe.
The concept was just too high for them.
Yes, they did not yet have the discernment of the Holy Spirit
while He was with them in flesh,
but I don’t think much has changed since then.
The more years I spent with Jesus,
the larger and more intimate and mysterious He becomes.
He reminds me that He is LORD and I am man,
but He want to be known just as I would know my wife
or parents or friends.
So, in a way, that invites me to appreciate the mystery of those
around me, to constantly be amazed by them,
as they lower their guard and I lower mine,
and we all catch a glimpse of something beautiful,
something God designed in the very beginning.
I eagerly await your arrival
the time when you return from places abroad
so we can talk face to face,
that we can share a meal together
and you can tell me the story of your journey.
Phone calls are not enough, FaceTime will not do
I need you, in your fullness
your wonderful self,
self travels my love,
I eagerly await you.