Sunday, August 10, 2008

Jonah: I Gotta Love Who? (lLoving Like God requires me to.....

This is the title for our message in church today. We are doing a series on Old Testament characters this summer, and Jonah was today.

Now, most of us know the story of Jonah: He disobeyed God, was in a ferocious storm, thrown overboard, the storm calmed, he was swallowed by a huge fish and spent three days in the belly of this fish praying. Then, he was vomited onto an island, and then and only then did he decide that he had better obey God.

The story of Jonah actually goes so much deeper than this though. First, God asked Jonah to go to Nineveh to tell the people there to repent or God was going to destroy their entire city. The Ninevites were not the nicest people. They were famous for beheading people, imprisoning people unjustly and even deporting them to parts unknown if the rulers were not obeyed. God was angry with them. So, He told Jonah to go and tell them to repent of their evil ways.

So, what does Jonah do? He says, "Well, I don't think so", and he runs from God. After God has saved Jonah, and he goes to Nineveh, tells the people to repent, they turned from their evil ways,and God saved their entire city.

Here is question one that we were given to ponder on this week: In what ways do you need to respond obediently to God this week? Is He "calling" you to something or someone?

The key point here is that we must respond obediently to God's call.

Then Jonah shows anger that God was compassionate to these evil people. God tells Jonah that he has no right to be angry--that we must love all people. I don't know about you, but I have some people in my life that are pretty difficult to love. And I deal with a lot of these people on a daily basis

The second key point is that we must humbly love those that are difficult to love.

Here is the second question to ponder this week: Who are the "Ninevites" in your life? How can you begin to love them humbly?

And so, through the story of Jonah, we realize that God asks us to do things for Him--He calls to us and we should respond obediently and immediately--even if this is something that we may take us out of our "comfort zone". We need to love like God, even the people who are difficult to love.

The third key point is that loving like God requires us to recognize the fact that God works in and through imperfect people--and that is you and me!:

And the third question for the week: When is the last time you offered your imperfect self to God and asked Him to use you? How can you celebrate the fact that God uses and blesses imperfect people?

I learned a lot through this message. And my pray for this day and every day will be for God to direct me to help show my love to others, especially the difficult people in my life. They probably don't know God's love and that is why they are so difficult. I ask God to help me be His shining light in my day to day living and help bring others to know Him.

If you get a chance, read the book of Jonah with a new perspective in your mind. It won't take long--it's a short book--only 4 chapters!

K--That's all for a while!



Aunt Kathy said...

Beth, I have always loved the Jonah story and all it's hidden meanings.

Have you ever watched the Veggie Tales version on Jonah? It's GREAT. If you haven't seen it I highly recommend renting it, I know it's a kids thing but they keep it so simple it's profound.

Tiffanie said...

Hehe, I like the Veggie Tales version too. In fact, I learn a lot from Veggie Tales. There are still so many Bible stories that I've not had the chance to really dive into yet, and Jonah is one of them. Thanks Beth for posting this. My Bible study is winding up "A Women Of Confidence" and I think we are going to take a couple weeks off before moving on. Maybe I could venture through Jonah's story during that time.

Thanks for your prayers. And DO try that banana bread french toast... it really is awesome! It's the french toast part that I really think is great... I'm sure you could use your own yummy banana bread recipe to make it with (I just hadn't ever heard of banana bread french toast before).


Nancie said...

Hi Beth,

Thanks for stopping by my blog and your encouragement! It is a joy to meet you.

Thanks for sharing this lovely post with us. I can understand how hard it is at times to love others, and I am praying that God will give you grace and help to do so. It is my prayer daily that God will fill me with His love and enable me to love others with His love. On my own, I can't do it! May God be your help too.

Thanks again for visiting me and your encouragements. I am thankful to God that I can meet you and many others through blogging. I am in the midst of listing out blogging friends that I like to share 2 awards with. I am so glad you stopped by today. I have included your blog as well. I like to share Share The Love Award and Friendship Award with you. Do come over and receive them when you have time. You can save the images and upload them to your side bars or posts. And feel free to pass them to your blogging buddies. Take care and God bless you and family always!

With appreciation and prayers,

Carol said...

Great thoughts. There is so much more in the Jonah story than what I learned as a child. Thanks for your comment on Faith Lifts. :)