"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" - Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV).
The story of Jonah, a prophet who was called by God for a certain purpose, yet he decided to flee only to end up lost in a fish's mouth, has fascinated many. Kids have found it interesting as is exotic. There are those who have chosen to dwell on its scientific accuracy, doubting that a human being can last that long inside the belly of another creature. However, if anything, this is just one normal story of what can be our fate, when we put God's call on our lives aside and go our separate way.
That Jonah knew he had been called by God there is no doubt. "The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish" (Jonah 1:1-3). What happened after he fled is telling. On the highway a terrible storm caught up with him. "Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break" (vv 4).
The sailors had never seen anything like that. Soon it was obvious the cause was Jonah. "Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm" (vv 15).
Any life may be going through a storm more because it is lost on the highway after running away from God. This is not to say that those who are out walking in the will of God are immune to trouble, but there is also that obvious danger and misfortune to plight one who has turned his back on God. For after Jonah embraced God's purpose on his life, he lived a very fullfilled life preaching to the King and the people of Nineveh against wickedness. "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 3:11).
Well, only you can tell where you are. But this story can throw light to any, that if you are not enjoying a smooth ride in your operations, perhaps it helps to check of you are walking in God's will. And once you retrace your steps and get back in the lane you belong, you will experience a certain calmness, joy and fullfillment as Jonah came to know.
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, help me today to find your purpose for my life that I may walk in it and be truly fullfilled from the joy of obeying and serving you, this I pray in Jesus's name.
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“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful” – ( 2 Timothy 4:7).
Fighting may be looked at as a non-desirable way of life, especially by those who are pacifists. In fact, throughout Christian history there are many who have literally taken Jesus’s admonition of “turn the other cheek” in Mathew 5:39, to mean nonresistance in the face of attack. The fact that Jesus rebuked the Apostle Peter for drawing a sword against his captors ( Mathew 26:52), means giving in to those who attack them, as a sign of humility.
Yes, of course there are moments where Christians must practice that humility and give in to those who attack them well remembering His word, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord” ( Romans 12:19). However, that said, Believers in Christ would be mistaken to imagine that they must not fight for their faith, whenever under attack. For in reality, the faith of believers is under constant attack from Satan, who comes to “kill and destroy” ( John 10:1).
Faced with this, Paul went at great length to advise Christians to “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” ( Ephesians 6:11). To ward of constant attacks by the enemy Paul challenged us to “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” ( vv 14-17).
Paul is telling us that if you think that ours is a walk over faith where you are not going to fight back against the attacks of the enemy you are very mistaken. Fight we must, and hold our ground. The devil respects that! And when all is done, we can then gladly say, “we have fought the good fight, finished the race” and thank God Almighty we are free at last!
Prayer today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I rise ready to resist the attacks of the enemy, by wearing the full of armor of God, and with the sword of the Spirit, fight back to victory, this I pray in Jesus’ name!