Perspective

Perspective

Putting Things in Perspective “…should I not have compassion on Nineveh?” Jonah 4:11 This is an excerpt from “Facing Fears, Quenching Flames”, a devotional book on overcoming fear and anger. Available on amazon.com and christianbooks.com.     Scripture Reading: Jonah 4:1-11 “Do you have good reason to be angry?” Jonah was so angry that he wanted to die. But what God recognized in him was an outburst of anger for a surface issue that covered a deeper problem. The surface issue was a plant that had died. The real issue was Jonah’s attitude toward God over circumstances that he could not control. He was still angry that God showed mercy instead of judgment for Nineveh, but the anger he expressed was related to taking away his comfort. His attitude was so resentful and despondent that he no longer wanted to live. But what purpose does it serve to be angry at God? I think we learn from Jonah’s example that it serves no purpose other than to make us miserable. There was a pattern of behavior in the life of Jonah that God was trying to get him to acknowledge and change. His attitude led him to a place of despair and self-pity. Jonah was trying to control God and His actions, so the results would be the way he thought they should be, rather than according to God’s character of mercy and compassion. God’s point to Jonah was the value of life. He pointed out that Jonah was angry over the death of one insignificant plant, but God was concerned with the lives of 120,000 people. This story is a picture of how anger distorts our thinking until we have unrealistic expectations of others and of God. When those expectations are not met, emotions plunge to despair. As difficult as it may be for us, God wants us to put things in perspective. Whatever it is that has caused our anger, we may never know the why or the circumstance which caused it. And so, in order to survive this frame of mind, there are several things to do that help in getting our emotions to a place of healing.   Acknowledge that God is wiser and more powerful that you are – Isaiah 40:21-27   Identify the root of the anger before you become bitter – Hebrews 12:15   Give your emotions and circumstances to God – Psalm 55:22, Psalm 69:19   Be forgiving and merciful – Ephesians 4:32   Re-join the land of the living – Matthew 22:32, 37   Hold every thought captive to the obedience of Christ – 2 Corinthians 10:5 This book of the Bible ends in a very strange way. It just...

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You Decide

You Decide

Choices. We make them every day. Some are thought about for a long time, while others are made on the spur of the moment. There is power in a choice. The decisions we make today will impact our future and the future of others. They reflect our personal needs, desires and our very character. Our will is determined by what we think, feel and know. It is a reflection of the heart and mind. There is power in our “will”. According to the Merriam/Webster Dictionary, “will” is described as desire, wish, choice, consent, appetite, passion, determination. Something desired: a choice or determination of having authority or power. Mental powers manifested as wishing, choosing, desiring or intending. Act according to principles. Power of control over one’s own actions or emotions. Even though God is Sovereign, meaning He rules and controls all things, from the very beginning He has given mankind the freedom to make choices. They are a matter of our own will; what we desire, wish, determine and choose for ourselves. But He has also given clear direction for how to make right choices. The power of the will determines how you will live your life. God places His desires for each of us in our hearts and when the time is right, He gives us the wisdom to make right choices. If there is a desire in your heart that will not go away, ask Him to show you clarity of knowing if this is of Him or simply something that you want to do. Seek Him for the answers through prayer and scripture and He will give direction. Remember, the choices you make today will impact your future. Questions to ask when making decisions: Lord, is this Your will or simply my own desire? Jeremiah 29:11 How do I move forward from this – what are the next steps? Proverbs 3:5-6 Will my choice impact others for good? Jeremiah 6:16 Show me your way that I may walk in it. Isaiah 30:21 How will I know You are speaking to me Lord? John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let now your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” When God gives the answer and direction, you will experience a sense of confidence and peace internally. You will feel confident in moving forward with your choice even when it seems impossible – even when you do not feel equipped to handle the outcome. God will never lead you to a choice that is not in keeping with His perfect plan for you. He will not lead you to go against...

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Return of the Ring

Return of the Ring

 Once there was a 12-year old girl who had a cute freckled-faced, redheaded boyfriend. He delivered newspapers and she twirled a baton. Each day as he delivered the paper to her house, she would be in the yard twirling. They would talk for a while every day. One day, he gave her a ring. She didn’t recognize the ring for what it was. It was a high school senior ring. All she knew was the 12-year old boy liked her enough to give her a ring. She couldn’t wait to show it to her girlfriends the next day. The problem was, she had two brothers who were in high school. One saw the ring and looked closely at it to see the initials of the owner. Not only did he know who it belonged to, but the owner played football with the other brother. So, he told her Daddy. He called the owner who came to pick up the ring. The girl was shy and embarrassed and hiding in her room, but her Daddy told her to go and give the ring back herself. With her head hanging and her face red, she walked into the room, but what she saw on the young ring owner’s face was not anger. She saw compassion. As she handed him the ring, he reached in his back pocket, took out his wallet and handed her a $20 bill. That high school senior bought back something that already belonged to him… something that had been stolen. That young girl was me. It wasn’t until years later that I realized God had given me a beautiful real-life picture of what redemption looks like. The innocence of humanity that was stolen in the Garden of Eden has been bought back through Jesus. He is our Redeemer and paid the price in order to buy us back for God. How could I know then the value of what God was teaching in those moments in a 12-year old life. What a great hope we have in our Savior who knows all things and uses the situations in life to remind us of His great love, mercy and grace. In His compassion, He paid the price for our sin that we can be drawn into the presence of God as clean as Adam and Eve before sin entered in. That’s what took place on what we now call, Good Friday. The blood of Jesus was shed on the cross to pay the price once for all to redeem us. Then, on Easter morning, He arose! Praise the Lord, Christ arose! “For He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of...

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Does Wishing Make It So?

If you have ever shopped online at amazon.com or any other online shopping store, you’ve probably seen a space called the WISH List in addition to the shopping cart. The wish list is where you place the items you wish you had but for whatever reason, you are not getting today. What is a wish? The dictionary tells us it is “a hope or desire for something”. You can wish for things present as well as in the past. I don’t know about you, but wishing for something to be so does not make it come to pass for me. And you can wish all day long, but anything you wish about the past will never be so. Wishing for something in the past is simply not realistic. We can’t change the past. But we can learn from it for today and the future. There was a rhyme we recited as children when we saw the first star at night. It went something like this: Star light, star bright, The first star I see tonight; I wish I may, I wish I might, Have the wish I wish tonight Obviously wishing upon a star will not make it so either. So let me ask you a question. What do you wish for? The good news is, there is a wish list you can have today. 1. WISDOM. What is wisdom? Vines Dictionary of New Testament words defines it as, “understanding, prudence, and right use of the mind.” If we think about wisdom in action as being the right use of the mind, it changes the way we think and speak. It can also change the way we ask God for wisdom. “Father, provide the thoughts for me today to use my mind in the right way for your purposes.” Make a note of this promise from God in James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given.” God will give you all the wisdom you can handle and He will give it when you ask. 2. IDENTITY – We live in a modern culture where identity is often questioned and skewed. But Ephesians 2:10 is clear in telling us that we are God’s workmanship. That means we are works of art and a masterpiece to God. The next phrase says, “Created in Christ Jesus.” This is your identity. If you are a believer in Jesus, you are identified with Him as His creation. It is by faith this occurs as God pours His grace on you through Christ. 3. Security – This is a big one in your wish list I am sure. We...

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