Life Interupted

Jonah and the Whale in the Jami' al-tawarikh (c. 1400), Metropolitan Museum of Art

Jonah and the Whale in the Jami’ al-tawarikh (c. 1400), Metropolitan Museum of Art

Have you noticed that when life is going smoothly something happens to interrupt?  It can be something small like the phone ringing when you’re trying to finish a project.  It can be something much larger like a life-threatening disease or accident, severe weather (blizzard, tornado, earthquake), birth, death, loss of a job…  When you start getting a case of the ‘why me’ syndrome give some thought to these lives that were interrupted by God Himself.

Moses             2 forty year visits to the desert

Noah               Stop, drop and build a boat on dry land

Abraham         Leave everything and travel to an unknown location

Sarah              Baby at 90

Joseph            Dropped into a pit and sold as a slave

Mary                Suddenly pregnant

Dramatic and sudden interruptions happen all the time.  Case in point…Jonah.  He was living a great life but God wanted more for him.  So God told him to go to Ninevah.  Jonah wasn’t having any of that.  That city was known as the ‘Sin City’ of that era.  So, Jonah decided to run to another place.  Really!?  Did he really think he could hide from God?  Yes, he did.  While on that journey, in the opposite direction, the ship he was on was hit with a threatening storm.  Those on board determined it was Jonah who was causing the problem, so they threw him overboard.  We know the rest of the story…

Let’s look at this from a different angle.   This is a story of many miracles.  The first two are in verse one.

Jonah 11

First – God spoke!

Second – God allowed a person to hear His voice!

When He allows one of His creation to hear His voice it’s a huge privilege.  We often hear His voice and don’t recognize it.  The difference with us and Jonah is he knew exactly Who was speaking and choose not to obey.

Then, how do we know we’re hearing God?  How do we know He’s interrupting us?  Have you ever been listening to a speaker and the words seem just for you?  Have you been reading the Word and it’s speaking to your heart?  Henry Blackaby says we hear God through His Word, prayer, other Christians, worship, and life circumstances.  God talks to us often through the Holy Spirit living in us and He expects us to listen.

When we hear God what are we to do?  Easy answer, yet hard to follow through.  We’re to drop everything and listen.  He is saying I have a plan and I want you to be part of it.

The interrupted life is not always the big events I mentioned earlier.  It can be a crying child, a husband or wife’s attention, a new friendship, an unexpected phone call, a knock on the door….  God wants us open to His voice!  Anytime!  Anywhere!

He is calling.  Are you listening?

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Where Are You?

Oh, Jesus, where are you…

z1…when the violence in this world is creating fear and chaos all around?

 

z2…when my heart is aching from yet another stab in the back?

 

z3…when I recognize my sin is more than I can bear?

 

 

z4…when a child is so sick?

 

z5…when the love of my life is losing strength?

 

 

z6…when loneliness is pressing in like the darkness of night?

 

z7…when leadership is not showing faith in You?

 

 

z8…when resources are running low?

 

z9…when there’s no joy or delight in the day?

 

 

 

And He answered…

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.  God is faithful and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will provide a way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.  1 Corinthians 10:16

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.  Romans 8:28

If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.  John 14:14 

What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving.  People who don’t know God and the way He works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how He works.  Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions.  Don’t worry.  Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow.  God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes, without missing out.  You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.  Matthew 6:31-34  MSG

Heavenly Father, let your Word be constantly on my mind.  Draw me closer and closer to You.  Give me strength, courage and wisdom for all that happens.  Make it so in Jesus name.

Follow Me

fisherman

Peter was with Jesus from the beginning to the end…yes, we know that.  Did you know that his beginning started with “Follow Me” and ended with the same words?

When I was a child we often sang a delightful song with the words,”I Will Make You Fishers of Men”.   Even today, so many years past childhood, I can still sing the words and hear the melody in my mind.

Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee when he saw Simon Peter and his brother Andrew fishing in the lake.  He said to them, “Follow Me and we’ll fish for people.”  And so they did.  Further on down the road he came upon James and John, Zebedee’s sons, who were in the boat with their father.  Jesus said the same thing to them,  “Follow Me” and they did.  That little story, in my own words, is found in Matthew 4:18-22.

Let’s travel three years into the future.  The four have followed Jesus faithfully, fully immersed in His journey.  They have watched Him closely, learned from Him, shared His words with others, been at the Cross with Him and He is about to return to the Father.  In this scene we find them once again by the side of a lake.  Jesus has cooked them breakfast and when they done eating He says to Peter, “Do you love me?”  Peter answers, “You know I love You!”  This went on two more times, each time Peter answered positively and Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep (or lambs)”.  It was very important for Peter to understand what his future was to be about, but something even more important is said at the end of this conversation.  Jesus tells him what his death will be like and then He says, “Follow Me!”  (John 12:15-19)

Why did Jesus say these words again?  He knew Peter so well and knew that he needed reminded that it’s not about him, that to follow Him, Peter would have to take himself out of the picture.  It’s the same message for us.  We are are to follow Him and forget ourselves.  From the beginning to the end of our relationship with Him it has to be all about HIM.

Heavenly Father, teach us to make this life all about You.  Teach us to put others first.  Teach us to serve those around us.  Oh, LORD, teach us!

No One Is More Important Than Jesus

These words of Oswald Chambers had a profound effect on me the first (and every) timehouse I read them.  I have many friends who mean much to me but not as much as my Jesus.  I have a loving family whom I adore but they don’t mean as much to me as my Jesus.  I have a church family that I think the world of but they don’t mean as much to me as Jesus.  God gave me the most awesome man on earth as a helpmate, but Jesus surpasses the love he has for me.  (Yes, he’s comfortable with that because he also knows that Jesus’ love for him is greater than mine.)  There is no one in this world greater than my  Jesus!

Our soul’s history with God is frequently the history of the “passing of the hero.”  Over and over again God has to remove our friends in order to bring Himself in their place, and that is where we faint and fail and get discouraged.  Take it personally: In the year that the one who stood to me for all that God was, died–I gave up everything?  I became ill?  I got disheartened?  Or–I saw the LORD?

It must be God first, God second, and God third, until the life is faced steadily with God and no one else is of any account whatever.  “In all the world there is none but Thee, my God, there is none but Thee.”  Keep paying the price.  Let God see that you are willing to live up to the vision. 

Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest (Westwood, NJ; Barbour and Company, Incl, 1935), 195.

I thank my God every time I remember you.  Philippians 1:3

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Get Some Rest

baby rest

God says on the seventh day He rested from His work(Genesis 2:2) and since we are created in His image we need rest too.  In the 23rd Psalm David said, “He makes me lie down…”  Job’s friend Jophar gives him a crumb of reassurance saying, “You will lie down without fear…” (Job 11:19).  With great wisdom Solomon wrote these words, “…when you lie down your sleep will be sweet” (Proverbs 3:24b).  Jesus recognized the need for quiet rest when he said to the disciples, “Come with Me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (Mark 6:31)

In my career as a teacher and principal I learned just how important rest was.  Long hours and a great deal of stress do not help anyone’s health.  Burning the candle at both ends, ends up with nothing when the flames have consumed all the wax.  I finally came to my senses and retired early.  The job was consuming me and I heard the Spirit clearly say this is NOT what I want for you.  You see, even though I prayed every morning that I would keep Him close all day, when I walked through the school doors I quit focusing on Him and started focusing on kids, teachers, parents and all the issues and stress a high poverty, inner city, school brings.  I ended up quite ill from lack of rest, poor diet, and high stress.  When my awesome husband was hospitalized and in a chemically induced coma for 20 days from a Traumatic Brain Injury I had much time to pray, think, and reflect. The conclusion–my career was killing me.  Once the decision was made, a calmness came over me that I had not known before.  I knew without question this was exactly what God wanted.  I needed adequate rest and He already knew this was the only way I was going to get it.  Praise God! I listened! and rested!

God’s word says in the 23rd Psalm “…He makes me lie down in green pastures,…”  He doesn’t just suggest that we rest He makes us rest.  He created us and He knows what we need.  We have to pay attention and not try to do it our own way.  Remember what happened to Jonah?  God said go to Ninevah and say to them what I want you to say.  What did Jonah do?  He did it his way, ran away, jumped ship and ended up in the stinky belly of a whale.  When God says do it He expects that from those who say “Oh, God, You are my God”.  Now that’s not the end of the story.  God told Jonah, after he got to Ninevah, to walk the city, proclaim His word and then sit on the hill and rest.  There’s that word again.  REST!  He’s serious about it!

Heavenly Father, thank You! for making me aware.  You deserve my total, rested attention.  I want to do that.  Make my life more and more about You.  In Jesus Name make it so!

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