Seek God’s love and run from Him at the same time

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DAILY DEVOTIONAL – Sunday, November 6, 2016

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May you find comfort, encouragement, guidance, hope, inspiration, love, and peace – https://helpfulinspirationalblog.wordpress.com/. May you also find answers to your question(s) through the Scriptures that address every situation you face, and help with your problems. Deb

Believe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s scripture reading:

You cannot seek God’s love and run from Him at the same time. Jonah soon realized that no matter where he went, he couldn’t get away from God. But before Jonah could return to God, he first had to stop going in the opposite direction. What has God told you to do? If you want more of God’s love and power, you must be willing to carry out the responsibilities he gives you. You cannot say that you truly believe in God if you don’t do what he says. (NLT)

Jonah 1:1-2:10 – The Lord gave this message to Jonah son of Amittai: “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh! Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.”

But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction in order to get away from the Lord. He went down to the seacoast, to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping that by going away to the west he could escape from the Lord.

But as the ship was sailing along, suddenly the Lord flung a powerful wind over the sea, causing a violent storm that threatened to send them to the bottom. Fearing for their lives, the desperate sailors shouted to their gods for help and threw the cargo overboard to lighten the ship. And all this time Jonah was sound asleep down in the hold. So the captain went down after him. “How can you sleep at a time like this?” he shouted. “Get up and pray to your god! Maybe he will have mercy on us and spare our lives.”

Then the crew cast lots to see which of them had offended the gods and caused the terrible storm. When they did this, Jonah lost the toss. “What have you done to bring this awful storm down on us?” they demanded. “Who are you? What is your line of work? What country are you from? What is your nationality?”

And Jonah answered, “I am a Hebrew, and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land.” Then he told them that he was running away from the Lord.

The sailors were terrified when they heard this. “Oh, why did you do it?” they groaned. And since the storm was getting worse all the time, they asked him, “What should we do to you to stop this storm?”

“Throw me into the sea,” Jonah said, “and it will become calm again. For I know that this terrible storm is all my fault.”

Instead, the sailors tried even hard to row the boat ashore. But the stormy sea was too violent for them, and they couldn’t make it. Then they cried out to the Lord, Jonah’s God. “O Lord,” they pleaded, “don’t make us die for this man’s sin. And don’t hold us responsible for his death, because it isn’t our fault. O Lord, you have sent this storm upon him for your own good reasons.”

Then the sailors picked Jonah up and threw him into the raging sea, and the storm stopped at once! The sailors were awestruck by the Lord’s great power, and they offered him a sacrifice and vowed to serve him.

Now the Lord had arranged for a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was inside the fish for three days and three nights.

Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from inside the fish. He said, “I cried out to the Lord in my great trouble, and he answered me. I called to you from the world of the dead, and the Lord, you heard me! You threw me into the ocean depths, and I sank down to the heart of the sea. I was buried beneath your wild and stormy waves. Then I said, ‘O Lord, you have driven me from your presence. How will I ever again see your holy Temple?’

“I sank beneath the waves, and death was very near. The waters closed in around me, and seaweed wrapped itself around my head. I sank down to the very roots of the mountains. I was locked out of life and imprisoned in the land of the dead. But you, O Lord my God, have snatched me from the yawning jaws of death!

“When I had lost all hope, I turned my thoughts once more to the Lord. And my earnest prayer went out to you in your holy Temple. Those who worship false gods turn their backs on all God’s mercies. But I will offer sacrifices to you with songs of praise, and I will fulfill all my vows. For my salvation comes from the Lord alone.”

Then the Lord ordered the fish to spit up Jonah on the beach, and it did.

Jonah prayed, “I went down to the land whose bars closed upon me forever; yet you brought up my life from the Pit, O Lord my God.” –Jonah 2:6 (NRSV)

Daniel Klahn (California) titled his story “IN THE BELLY;” here is a portion of Daniel’s story:

“. . . Ninevites were Jonah’s enemies, and the last thing he wanted was to preach God’s message to them. . . . Not until after he had been cast off a boat and swallowed by a big fish did Jonah begin to pray. But rather than giving up on Jonah, God had already provided that fish to save him. What Jonah considered punishment, God had sent as a miracle to save his life.

“Jonah’s story became my story when I began to run from God. Eventually, I made the biggest mistake of my life: stealing money from an employer who trusted me. Like Jonah, I was running away from my faith and trying to solve my problems alone – without God. And just as with Jonah, God sent me a lifeline; but in my case the belly where I found myself was prison. Though initially I saw it as punishment, this event was a miracle from God. While I have been in prison, God has put me back on the right path. Now I have a stronger and richer relationship with God than I ever had before.

“God never gives up working through us. God is not finished with me, and I thank God daily for bringing me back to my faith. Why should we ever try to run or hide from a God who is all-knowing and who never gives up on us?”

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY – When I’m in the belly of a troubled life, I can call on God who perseveres in loving me.

Prayer: Dear God, thank you for the miracles you bestow on us and for never giving up on us. Amen.

To read the rest of the story in The Upper Room, click on the following link: http://devotional.upperroom.org/

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