August 24, 2020

Brothers and Sisters,

(Jonah 1:1-3)  Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.  But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.

I had the privilege to watch and record on my DVR the play on Jonah that was on TV this weekend.  This play was taped before a live audience at the Sight and Sound Theater and then broadcast on the TBN network this past Friday evening.  Though not as impressive as attending in person, the plays enacted at this Theater are something to see.  I had the privilege along with a small group from our church to travel to Lancaster, PA this past December for their Christmas play and it was awesome.  We were planning to go back again in May to see their play on Queen Esther, but the Covid 19 virus kept us from being able to go.  Hopefully, we will be able to go back again next year and would like to take some of you with us.

Now back to our thought on Jonah.  When God gives clear direction for our life, it doesn’t pay to run away from what God wants us to do.  The perfect example in the Bible is Jonah.  We are all familiar with the story of how Jonah refused to follow the Lord’s instructions to arise and go to Nineveh and cry against that great city because of their wickedness. 

We all like to blame Jonah for his decision, but what about us.  How would we react if God told us to do something that we didn’t want to do?  Oh, it’s easy to follow the Lord as long as it’s doing what we want to do, but what about when God asks us to do something that we feel uncomfortable in doing?

Jonah didn’t like the people of Nineveh and he didn’t want to go to this ungodly city.  If he had went and carried out God’s plan what is to say that the people would have risen up and put him to death?  Either way, Jonah just simply didn’t want to go.  How many times have we had in our Christian life when we have used every excuse in the book to keep from doing something that we know down deep that God is calling us to do, but we just simply didn’t want to do it?

In my own life, when God was dealing with me to preach the gospel, I came up with every excuse.  I ran for over a year just like Jonah.  I almost lost everything that was important to me.  It’s only by the grace of God that my wife didn’t leave me and we would have been just another statistic of a broken home.  I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t keep my mind on anything else.  The Lord’s calling just kept popping up in my head and I was about to go crazy.  It was like being in the belly of a whale.

Then like Jonah, one day I got down on my knees and prayed.  I told God that I couldn’t understand why he would call someone like me for such an awesome task and I was afraid that I would just make a mess out of it, but if this is what He wanted for my life then I was His to use however He saw fit.  From that moment it has been amazing to see what God has done.

I really hate to admit it, but I still get afraid sometimes.  I know that I shouldn’t be afraid, but sometimes life throws you curves that you weren’t expecting.  I never expected to be living alone, but here I am just me and the Lord.  I’m so very thankful that He will never leave me nor forsake me and I know that I’ll see my wife, Jahala, and other loved ones again real soon.

So, no matter your plight in life, don’t ever run away from whatever God is calling you to do.  Always stand ready to serve Him in whatever capacity whether it’s something you enjoy doing or something that makes you feel uncomfortable or afraid.  I promise you that it will be amazing to see what God will do when you submit yourself into His loving and caring hands.

Bro. Rick

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