Friday, December 7, 2012

Where's Your Nineveh?

We can read the account of Jonah and know that God was sending him to Nineveh to shout at the roof tops. He was to tell them Judgement was coming. He was to give them a warning. Only Jonah didn't want to go. He turned and went in the opposite direction. In his disobedience to God he found himself in the belly of a big fish for three days. Jonah found himself crying out to God. "Then Jonah prayed to the Lord for God from inside the fish. He said,'I cried out to the Lord in my great trouble,and He answered me.'" Jonah 2:1 Jonah's prayer continues through verse 10. Jonah now finds himself being spit out from the whale. We see God calling out to Jonah one more time. This time Jonah is a little more quick to answer the call. He obeys and goes to Nineveh. Funny, how we listen that second time. Can you imagine our lives if we listened the first time every time?

Too many times God is calling me one way and I run the other. Where is your Nineveh today? Where is God calling you? What is He calling you to? Who is He calling you to? We hear His call, but in fear we run the other way. We run for many reasons really. Sometimes we are too caught up in ourselves and we are just plain old selfish. Others we are afraid of failure. We are fearful that we will be rejected by those we are to face. What will I say? What will I do when I face my Nineveh? Whatever our reason, doesn't it all come down to fear? God will never call us to something without empowering us with all we need.

God was calling Jonah to go and warn the people of Nineveh, but many times He is calling us to forgiveness. He is asking us to be the bigger person. He is asking us to reach out to the one who has hurt us. To reach for those dreams. To take that new job. To move out of state or out of country. To help one you've never met. To give of our time. To invite that stranger to know Christ.  He is asking us to be His hands and feet. We are called to do His work and in fear we run. We run for the boat and then we end up jumping ship because we don't like where that road has taken us. We not only see Jonah run, but we see him angry at God for not doing what Jonah thought he should do.

Ever find yourself there? You hear God's calling and you go, but what happens? Not what you expected, right? We want that other person to accept us. We want to find forgiveness when we ask of it by the one we have hurt. We want to simply be accepted in love. We want others to listen as we show them to Jesus. Like Jonah we seem to want revenge. We want judgment on our enemies. We want to see God move in the way we wish, but it just simply isn't our place to do the planning. Oh, we can plan all we want, but shouldn't we be praying for God's will? Too many times I find myself praying for my own self desires.

When God calls us all we are to do is simply answer. In answering and following His will, He will do the rest. He is working behind the scenes after we have spoken and turned to leave. He is still in that home after we have shared the gospel. He is in the heart of the one needing forgiveness. He is in that gift we have shared with a stranger. Everything is in God's perfect timing.

Wherever your Nineveh is today go in faith. Don't let your fear hold you back. In our obedience to God we will find blessings we never expected. It is when we choose not to listen and go the other way that we find ourselves outside of Him and His will. The powerful thing is, no matter how far we stray He is there ready to accept us in love and grace. Don't jump ship today. Find your way to your Nineveh. In faith you will find yourselves on solid ground. Don't fear the call. Walk in boldness knowing God will guide each of your steps to victory.

Philippians 2:3-5 "Don't be selfish; don't try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don't look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had."
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