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I Am Jonah Through Lenses

Who Am I Serving?

This scripture just struck me like a lightening bolt. Fear filled my heart as I read it.

It is the light of the Word that’s bringing to light that when I fear people, their opinions and even their threats more than God, in that instant I serve man. Do I sometimes serve fear more than God?

The answer to this question doesn’t come easy. Not because it is a difficult one; because it is not the one I’d rather give every time. Sometimes I do let fear get the best of me and I end up not serving God nor His purposes for others.

Thus when the motives for my action are in fear of people, I serve people more than I do God. Unsettling!

I must remember that God is jealous. He will only have me if He has complete ownership and not as a shareholder.

The only approval of me that matters is His. Not my approval of myself or anyone of me. His.

I Am Jonah.

God help me. Sometimes I want to please man, more than you. There are times I am aware of this and at other times I realise this when I’m already caught up.

Give me courage to disappoint man, especially when I am that man. In my life be supreme. I am wholly yours. May my love and respect for you be stronger than the desire to be loved by man. May you be the first and only say in my life. Amen.

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I Am Jonah Through Lenses

Light Does

Light reveals by showing enabling sight. It also reveals things by casting shadows.

I sometimes feel exposed when I read God’s word. My motives are often challenged.

My priorities come into question.

I can never come into alignment with what God wants in me, for and through me without allowing His light to probe me.

It is sometimes uncomfortable but what I need. I sometimes run from the scrutiny of His light but He reminds me it is for my good and His glory.

I Am Jonah.

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I Am Jonah

Demeaning Assignments God Gives Me

I’ve met many people with crazy, insane stories about how they encountered God. I’ve also heard many stories about how people have seen visions and got “a word from God” in some fireworks-spectacular-way. I get jealous, sometimes. Why can’t God speak to me like He did or does with others?

Something else that also kinda messes me up is how God seems to let others do cooler stuff than me. I’m not saying He shouldn’t have given some assignments to other people. I just wish He’d spread out some of those assignments to me too.

It’s almost as if other Christ followers get ice cream and I get peas and oats. Bleh. After all I want to do it for His glory. Well, honestly sometimes my motives are messed up. (There are times where I try to steal God’s shine.)

Demeaning Assignments God Gives Me

When I read Jonah 1:1 it says, God’s word came to Jonah and told him to go to Nineveh. There isn’t much detail on how it came. It seems somehow God was more concerned about His word getting to Jonah than He was about furore in its delivery.

Maybe it was dramatic. Fireworks, trumpets and all. Or may be it was when Jonah was having his first cup of coffee of the day while reading scrolls God penned through Moses. Or he was fishing, trying to catch his supper. (I just had to throw that one in. Jonah and fish, you know… Hehe…)

I’m sometimes responsible for demeaning assignments God gives me. I sometimes get caught up in that they did not “come to me” in any spectacular way.

I sometimes forget that the supernatural is not always spectacular [Click to Tweet]

I undermine the assignments God gives me when I’m more concerned about how they come than Who they come from. I undermine God’s assignments when I want to be the rock star. I seek ‘rock star status’ when I want to put myself and not the ultimate object, God’s glory at the center.

I forget that the worth of God’s assignment is in Who they come from and what they ought to accomplish [Click to Tweet]

It is not how God’s word comes when He gives me assignments, but that He does. What is important is that I’m an agent of His love to the world and not the magnet of spotlights.

God, help me keep everything in perspective… I’m sorry for messing with lives you wanted me to touch by being caught up in how I wanted attention. Forgive me. I Am Jonah. Amen.

[Photo Credit: See Modern Britain]

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I Am Jonah

Success When God Sends

Jonah’s story, the one in the Bible, starts with God’s word “coming” to Jonah (Jonah 1:1). (This is one of those moments my head says, “Whatever that means”). God reaches and speaks to us differently at different times, as different people.

God sends us. How humbling.

Related:

ME | What The Assignments God Gives Reveal (Part 1)

GOD | What The Assignments God Gives Us Reveal [Part 2]

OTHERS | What The Assignments God Gives Us Reveal [Part 3]

So, God sends Jonah, he didn’t go where he should have at first, but ended up seeing an entire city turn to God. What a story. I sometimes get caught up imagining that. Reaching an entire city, right up to its king.

Success When God Sends

I read this and don’t understand why silly Jonah got upset with that. Who wouldn’t want a city turning to God, as God’s sent person to that city? Jonah had what many Christ followers call, “A successful” ministry.

I want one. A successful ministry that is. I have these moments I imagine myself being “used of God” (that voice in my head again, “whatever that means”) that entire cities turn to Him. Ministry should be like that. Because God is with us, we must see “great responses and harvests”

(I feel “polluted” with jargon.)

I mean I’ve heard Daniel 11:32 preached… You know, “Those who know their God will do great things.” Does that “great things” mean I’ll get to stand in front of thousands to preach? Is great defined by the number of people who come to “hear me” preach or read my blogs?

Do I have the same definition of “great things” as God does?

It is the discrepancy between God’s definitions and mine that cause frustration in me [Click to Tweet]

In fact, these discrepancies are the source of my biggest disappointments with God. Why hasn’t God done this or that? One of the reasons is that simple: I have imposed my definitions of success and His will on Him. God doesn’t honor that.

What if my story is not Jonah’s? What if my story is Jeremiah’s, who from a young age preached as God sent him and so nothing as “dramatic and grand” as Jonah?

Jeremiah hardly had success like Jonah, if any. He preached throughout his life and every time he did, things got bad for him. He was arrested, thrown in a well and ridiculed. Had God sent him? Yes.

Am I willing to be in discomfort for the sake of God sending me?

There are times God has sent me, and I knew it was God sending me. However, somewhere along the way I battled separating what God wanted from what I wanted. I was clear about what the goal was. But somehow my selfish ambition and ego tried to feature in the execution.

Has “success” when God sends us, become subjective… to us and not by God’s standards? [Click to Tweet]

I pray I don’t get it twisted. I don’t ever want to get caught up in the belief that the more crowds I preach to the more successful and blessed I am. I don’t want the attention I draw or fail to draw to be the measure of God’s blessing on what I do or the assignments I know He’s called me too.

I’m confident that God was equally happy with Jonah and Jeremiah meeting their assignments. (Well He wasn’t happy about Jonah’s whining after, but you get the point I’m trying to make. Right?)

Sometimes I Am Just Jonah, when it comes to aligning God’s will and mine.

God, may doing exactly what you send me to do be enough. Help me never to make anything else more important. May my success be enough in being true only to you and where you send me. Amen.

[Photo Credit: StockMonkeys.com]

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Through Lenses

The Path To Choose

 

I always hear preachers talking about the fear mentioned here having more to do with reverence than being scared.

I think they may be onto something, although part of me feels… I don’t know…

In that case, having reverence for God in itself will guide us. It means we’re not driven by what we want and that we esteem more highly God’s will and His “demands on us”.

I’m not there yet. I wish I was. I wish I had so much reverence for God that my fears and ego were so irrelevant that I followed God wholly in everything.

I guess, in this regard, my reverence is lacking. While I follow Jesus, I’m still learning to really follow Him. Through His grace I know it is OK to struggle with Him. With understanding and following Him.

The only thing, though, is that I struggle running in His direction and not away from Him [Click to Tweet]

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Through Lenses

Bargaining

 

This is so funny. Well not hilarious funny but the other one.

It’s funny how I sometimes push for bargains with God, you know, try to get Him to bend His will to mine.

Sometimes I try to reduce what God requires of me by making excuses. But Moses also had excuses for not going to Egypt so… There I go again…

God, help me to appreciate and accept your will for my life and for others through mine. Amen.

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I Am Jonah

Deep Draughts Of God

deep draughts of God

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It’s not that I don’t love God I do. It’s just that sometimes I pursue the hunger of other things at the expense of pursuing Him.

I’m ashamed that sometimes I “feed” other hungers and not the one for God.

I’m desperate to want to want God so badly. For deep draughts of God that satisfy in a greater hunger and deeper love for Him.

Oh God, I want to want you. May I drink deep draughts of you, that satisfy and make me thirsty for even more of you. I’m desperate to be desperate for You. Amen.

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Through Lenses

Hope [Photo Post]

 

Clouds gathering. Hopefully the much needed rain comes.

Just a needed reminder. I’m grateful for how God always challenges my despair with His life giving hope.

Hold fast.

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I Am Jonah Through Lenses

The Notifications

 

Everyday I respond to a number of notifications on my phone. Twitter, Pressgram, emails and more. Though embarrassing, it’s true; of the hundred or so I received today, the reminder for my Bible reading plan is the one I consistently ignored.

I ignored the reminder in favor of mostly entertainment. Why is it that getting myself into Scripture is, sometimes, perhaps, mostly, less attractive?

Oh God, I want to want you, badly. I Am Jonah. Amen.

#iamjonah

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I Am Jonah

The Compartments

In the quest for simplicity and understanding, I believe humanity has tried to simplify by putting a label on everything. We just have to have a label on everything. Instead, the quest for simplicity and clarity has made some things more complex and life a little more challenging.

We’ve tried to have everything defined. Tried to manage everything by having it in labeled boxes we carefully manage so that they don’t bump. We’ve reduced our lives into compartments.

In Genesis God gave Adam and Eve life. He didn’t give them a family life, a physical life, or a spiritual life. The same applies for us. We tend to look at our lives as segments. Fractured.

restrictions compartments

I’m guilty of trying to manage areas of my life as compartments. Perhaps the most absurd of all the compartments is the “spiritual life” segment. Somehow I believed and made others believe that life is managed in segments. That we best please God when we correctly check of doing stuff in each box.

That if my “spiritual life”, whatever that is, has fit the hour box I set aside for the day then God is happy and so should the other boxes of live. It is absurd that God existed in certain confines of my diary, and at my convenience, for my convenience.

I have no “spiritual life” anymore. I mean, I decided God is greater than the diary space I can afford Him. When I restrict God to only certain aspects of my life I’ve, painfully, discovered that I miss out on the other experiences of Him in my life completely.

I’ve been that guy stupid enough to think that there times to spend time with God, do His work and actually not see that all of my life is His work and I belong to Him wholly.

I’ve been arrogant and stupid to confine God to certain hours and parts of my life [Click to Tweet]

How dare I give God a time limit for interaction with Him? Sadly I even told Him when He could speak to me. I shudder at the thought of how much I miss when I restrict hearing God to a slot in my diary and think that there is nothing more I could hear or encounter with Him outside of the confines of a diary slot.

Could I have made God an extra item to manage?

The totality of who I am and my life, with its complexities cannot be split up in my compartments. Does God only exist in a particular spot my life? Your life? What confines have you only come to expect Him in?

I must remember that He surrounds everything. He is with me and as I go about life He is.

Acts 17:28

[Photo Credit: istolethetv]