Tag Archives: everything and nothing has changed

Tall, Grande, Venti

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One of the most important decisions when ordering coffee is what size you want. Each size has its own merit and each size has its own cost. We have to weigh the cost against the amount of coffee we feel we need and can finish. Oh how like life that is! Each decision we make has a cost. Each cost reflects the worth.

In working with others, our decisions matter. Each decision effects others and reflects our opinion of their worth. Jonah had this problem. He felt the people of Nineveh were not worth his time, effort, or his God. It seemed to hurt more than the fish bite!

Jonah chapters 3-4

Jonah Goes to Nineveh

3 Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.”

3 Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. 4 Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” 5 The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.

6 When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. 7 This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh:

“By the decree of the king and his nobles:

Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. 8 But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. 9 Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.”

10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.

Jonah’s Anger at the Lord’s Compassion

4 But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. 2 He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing 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. 3 Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.”

4 But the Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?”

5 Jonah had gone out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. 6 Then the Lord God provided a leafy plant[a] and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant. 7 But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the plant so that it withered. 8 When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.”

9 But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?”

“It is,” he said. “And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.”

10 But the Lord said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 11 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?”

Sometimes we get mad at God. I was taught that getting mad at God was unnatural to a Christian. That isn’t true. A relationship with God is not one sided. If that is all God wanted from his creation, the animals would have sufficed for company. God wanted beings he could communicate with. Although God’s motives are pure and he never makes mistakes. Ours are not, and we mess up every day.

4:1 But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. 2 He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing 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. 3 Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.”

One thing that struck me about Jonah was he got mad at God for who he is. He got mad at God for doing something good. Do you ever get mad at God for doing something good? I have. As a mom, this happens to me frequently, as a foster mom even more! Sometimes I even get mad when God gives me what I want and I realize it isn’t all it was cracked up to be. “These kids are hard. This house is not meeting my needs properly. This child shouldn’t be here. God why did you bring me to this place?”

I love how God responded to Jonah.

4 But the Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?”

5 Jonah had gone out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. 6 Then the Lord God provided a leafy plant[a] and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant. 7 But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the plant so that it withered. 8 When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.”

9 But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?”

“It is,” he said. “And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.”

The dialog recorded between them is sometimes even comical because it is so outrageously relatable. Especially if you have a four year old or a temper like mine. Jonah would say something and God would respond to what what going on in Jonah’s mind and heart, not what was coming out of his mouth. Boy is that a lesson in parenting!!! What wisdom is displayed there!! Then God would lovingly present another perspective to Jonah. Jonah didn’t take it, at least not in the recorded story. But in the end God had a “mic drop” moment.

10 But the Lord said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 11 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?”

It doesn’t matter if we respond to God’s leading and even attempt to see the other perspective he offers, truth is truth!! And God will not yield to our brattiness. Sometimes being faced with truth requires us to act against our feelings which is contrary to our natural selves. (Jonas’ obedience to God required him to act against the way he was feeling about the people of Nineveh) But God will lovingly provide fresh perspective, shade and comfort, and will show us his power over it all. If Jonah had put his eyes on God instead of himself he would have experienced a share in the power and redemption of God. When we release everything to him, he will live through us.

The same power that rose Jesus from the dead lives within us!

Every time we complain to God,he will remind us of who He is!! Once we see him and not us, he will show us what to do in light of who he is! He will never give us solutions that don’t flow out of who he is for us and through us, for his glory!

Jonah’s decision to run from God had consequences, but one of the best things that came out of it was the men of the Ship’s salvation!! God used Jonah’s disobedience and his testimony of repentance to bring others to Christ!! How encouraging is that! If God used our disobedience, how much more will he do when we do our best to do what is right. Our decisions have consequences, but a decision we make that may not be the best one but is made to the best of our ability as we surrender to God will be used!

The king of Nineveh called for a kingdom wide turning to the Lord, regardless of whether or not the Lord changed his mind.

7 This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh:

“By the decree of the king and his nobles:

Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. 8 But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. 9 Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.”

That is true repentance, we don’t repent so nothing bad will happen we repent because we realize that we are wrong and our only hope is God. We are not preserving our life, we are preserving our relationship.

Jonah did not like the people of Nineveh and he did not like his calling, he did not like that The God who was gracious to him in the belly of the fish, was also extending his love grace and mercy to people he had pre judged as unworthy.

“Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love.”

Jonah 2:8 ESV

This is the God we serve, he loves us when we are vile and unloving. When we stomp off to pout he grows a plant to shade us. He is patient with us when we are angry with him and others, he does not surrender his power or give in to our ridiculousness. But he doesn’t blast us out of the water for being human. We want to see justice done and we think we can decide what someone else deserves. God loves and forgives. Our concern for others should be to see them loved, not punished.

Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love.”

Jonah 2:8 ESV

What decisions are you facing? Do you feel like you are paying “venti” price for a “tall” sized product? Are you mad at God for doing something good or not giving you what you want? Ask him to put your eyes on him, ask him to remind you that people are priceless, look for the shaded plants he has provided for you along the way, and trust him for the outcome and to provide the currency required for the cost!

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Filed under miscellaneous

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When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. This statement is meant to wrap into a neat little package the inevitable undesirable circumstances life brings and tie it up with a ribbon. To be identified, solved and put away. The ability to process information and file it away where it belongs is how we handle all things negative and positive: both to remember and to forget. What happens, though, when you are faced with information that just will not compute? Where do you file things that are so unimaginable that you will never forget and will never understand, or worse, are afraid to understand fearing it will leave a permanent stain?

How do you recover from pain that follows you the rest of you life? Dreams unrealized, expectations obliterated, illusions shattered by those who were supposed to shelter you, what do you do with these?

Sometimes it feels as if we must break them up into smaller pieces and file them in the places those pieces alone fit. However, doing that leaves fragments behind that don’t belong anywhere and are missing information that helped them remain tangible. Essentially leaving us right back where we started except now the information is scattered. The only hope we have of ever moving forward is for them to be kept together. A whole, a file containing all of the information. This means that when we remember, we remember it all. When we forget, we forget it all. It also means that we will never remember or forget for long.

When no amount of organizing or processing is effective we must add the file as a whole to “Miscellaneous”. We must allow our selves to explore the pain, to grieve, to savor the good refusing to believe that it wasn’t real. We must also allow ourselves to be broken so that we can begin to pick up the pieces. I am convinced, anything less will hold us back from healthy emotional connections and the continued genuine presentation of our selves. Bitterness and resolve are opposite sides of a coin. We must decide which side we are on. Pushing everything aside or breaking it apart will lead to bitterness and leave us with leftover pieces that will never be filed away. Wholeness comes with the strength gained from walking through the pain of being shattered and put back together better than we were before. A mirror once broken produces the best rainbows!

A blast from the past

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My husband is out of town, and to console myself I ate some chocolate covered almonds and I have been watching hours of Gilmore girls episodes, and I was looking through an old blog and I realized that not much has changed in my little life since last year at this time. I could totally tweak this a tiny bit and make this currant. But I also realized that what I take as original thought isn’t exactly original. I mean it is all mine, it’s just that I tend to say the same things over and over. As I take a moment to laugh at myself and also enjoy this little trip down memory lane (which is much shorter than I thought hahaha) I invite you to join me. Here is my blog from the beginning of our school year 2012:
Today begins day three of our second year of homeschooling. I know I should have started writing about it three days ago, but I’ve been more than a little bit busy, and unusually wordless. For those who know me personally, that fact is debatable, however, my ability to talk “the hind leg off a mule”and my ability to translate that particular talent to paper (or in this case blog) is a different story altogether.
John, my husband of nearly ten years, traveled out of down on business, driving to the airport in the middle of a tropical storm on day one of school. (He’s so brave!) So, naturally,in my “free time” I have been taring the house apart and putting it back together in an attempt to not only make our little house and the always to much stuff in it, work for our life, but also to keep from missing him so much. I have considered living vicariously through the dog. She demonstrates her displeasure at being alone by ripping an entire roll of paper towels to shreds all over my toy room/school room/porch. (every room in our home serves multiple purposes). But, since I don’t want to get beat down by the proverbial newspaper roll, I have found other, more productive ways to spend my time. the living room is now clean and the furniture re-arranged, as is our bedroom. The kitchen sink as been full constantly since he left because I have been too busy, no, actually, that is a lie, it’s been that way because I haven’t wanted to do much dishes. I have to tackle that today….ok I digress.

Anyway, school is going well. Johnny boy is on 3rd grade now, Kaitlyn in 1st. Time rushes past and I reflect on the life I’ve been given, and my heart swells with humility and joy. My kids continue to amaze me. They both have grown into fascinating people. I love them, respect them, and admire them so much. I believe they teach me far more every day then I could possibly teach them.

Homeschooling provides opportunity. Here in this town, the homeschooling community is huge and there is always something going on within it. My kids are exposed to what is good for them, yet protected from things and or people that could be a constant source of negative influence in their life. They are more social now then they would be in school because the time they spend with others isn’t just spent in a classroom. And their friends are actually friends not just people they are trapped in a classroom with. It’s a beautiful thing, my kids are happy and secure and they want to be homeschooling. Bottom line? It works for us!

I’m really looking forward to this year! John is still doing seminary classes online, so my nights will be spent getting ready for school the next day or cleaning or relaxing. My goal is to take everything in stride. This is it. The end of my rambling. I’m done for today. Bye 🙂