Tuesday, May 23, 2017

When God's Commands are Unpleasant




“I can’t do that.”
“But God told you…”
“Maybe I heard wrong. God would never ask me to do that.”

Perhaps these thought swirled in Jonah’s mind as he hailed a ship headed for Tarshish. The Lord had asked him to do the one thing he abhorred. The one assignment he refused to undertake. The one task he would not do.

Preach to the Ninevites.

Those wicked, violent, rich Gentiles. No. He would not do it. He would go in the complete opposite direction: to Tarshish. But as we all know, Jonah’s plans were abruptly reversed by a mighty storm and a great fish with an appetite for stubborn prophets. After several miserable nights in the fish’s belly, wrestling with God, Jonah eventually did what the Lord commanded him to do: preach to those wicked Gentiles.

How often we read this story and chuckle at Jonah’s foolishness in trying to run from the Lord. “What was he thinking?” we ask pretentiously. But have we ever run from the Lord’s will? Has the Lord ever commanded you to do the very thing you loathed doing? How did you respond? The Lord made such a request of me, and my reaction was not unlike Jonah’s.

It was a late Saturday morning and as usual we were all gathered around the breakfast table discussing the previous evening’s Bible study, held every Friday in our home. My sister Victoria, who teaches the young children, was lamenting her inability to prepare lessons every week.
“I’ve just been so busy with school, especially since end of the year finals are coming up, that I simply don’t have time to properly prepare a lesson.” She dejectedly pushed the fruit around on her plate.
Mom was quiet. Dad looked thoughtful. Turning suddenly to me, he asked, “How full is your schedule Gloria?”
Immediately sensing where he was going, I desperately tried to come up with an excuse.
“Look, I know I’m taking a Gap year, but that doesn’t mean I’m not busy too. I’ve got a book project I’m working on, an essay to write for a contest, weekly submissions for a study book some fellow Bible Bee friends and I are working on… not to mention maintaining my blog! You can’t pile Friday night kid’s lessons on top of all that.”
Apparently, my parents believed they could. And so the dreaded verdict was pronounced.
“Starting next week, you’ll be teaching the kids until your sister is done with school for this year.”
The sun seemed to disappear. Dark clouds loomed in the sky. I wanted to curl up in a corner and cry.
There are few things in this world that I hate. But teaching is one of them. Unlike my wonderfully patient sister, I have little tolerance for children, especially young ones. The thought of sitting down and teaching them for an hour fills me with anxiety and dread.
Seeing the distressed look on my face, my father tried to assure me, “It won’t be that bad. Besides, Victoria needs a break and you could use the practice.”
But I barely heard him. My mind was in turmoil.
“No!” I cried inwardly. “God, no, I can’t do this. Please no!”
All throughout the following week, I pushed off preparation for Friday, hoping that miraculously my parents would change their minds or my sister would suddenly decide to prepare the lesson herself. Neither of those happened. My first Friday night kid’s lesson went terribly. I was completely unprepared. Immeasurable was my relief when the study was finally over.

During subsequent weeks, I wrestled with God over the issue.
“Why God?” I cried every Friday morning. “You know how much I hate teaching. Why would you make me do this?”
The Lord works in mysterious and sometimes ironic ways. The lessons I was teaching the kids were based off the book of Jonah. As I began studying Jonah in preparation for Friday evening, the similarity between Jonah’s situation and mine were striking. As I told the kids about how foolish Jonah was in attempting to run from what God wanted him to do, I felt rather hypocritical. I too was trying to run from the Lord’s will. Slowly, the Lord began revealing to me the foolishness of my own attempts to escape the task He’d given me. Like Jonah, I realized you can’t run from God. His will is inescapable. Sometimes, His will requires us to do something distasteful, to “preach to Nineveh.”

Jonah’s Nineveh consisted of violent Gentiles.

My Nineveh consisted of squirmy kids.

The Lord may be calling you to a different kind of Nineveh. 

What will your response be to the Lord’s calling? Will you humbly obey, despite the urgings of your flesh to do otherwise? Or will you attempt to run and risk God’s rod of reproof?


Will you preach to Nineveh?




~




Starting this week, I'll be doing a blog study series through the book of Jonah. Be sure to look for the next post!




Monday, May 15, 2017

Book of the Month: Mothers of Famous Men




Summary:

     Why do some children grow to be highly respected and godly individuals while others amount to nothing more than wayward miscreants? It can arguably be stated that it is because of the loving care, or lack thereof, provided by their mothers. This book is a collection of short biographies focusing on the Christian character of the mothers of famous men. The author states in the introduction, "My purpose in writing this book was not to extol a few mothers but to pay tribute to the countless number of unselfish, devoted mothers everywhere."


Pro's:

     We often hear of people like John Wesley, Augustine, Abraham Lincoln, and George Washington but rarely is mention made of their mothers, the women who molded them into the men they became. I enjoyed reading the book and, as it's only 154 pages, it didn't take me long to complete. I also really liked the collection of quotes from various notable people on the influence of their mothers. My favorite, and perhaps the most famous, is below.




Con's: 

     No negative comments on this book! It's an excellent read.


My rating for this book:

5 out of 5 stars (I loved it and would recommend it to anyone)






Monday, May 8, 2017

Blogiversary Survey Results!





     Thanks so much to everyone who participated in the reader survey last week! Here's what y'all had to say:



     Apparently, the advice I'd heard from other bloggers was true: the more you involve yourself in other's blogs, the more likely it will be for others to find your blog.



     Personally, I would've rated my blog's layout and colors a 3. So I'm not sure if y'all are being nice, or if I need to be content. :P



     This question was the main reason I wanted to do a survey. Now I know what kinds of posts I should focus on creating.



     The question following this one was "How do you think this blog could improve?" I got quite a variety of answers with most saying they loved the way it currently is, others saying they'd love to see more and longer posts, and one person suggesting funner fonts.

     Thanks once again to everyone who voted and voiced their opinions! They were duly noted and I will be seeking to implement them in future blog posts. :D






Monday, May 1, 2017

2 Year Blogiversary + Reader Survey




     Yesterday was the two year anniversary of this blog. Woohooo!!! Has it really been two years?? Anyways, I thought it would be fun to host a survey (after all, who doesn't like giving their opinion). The following poll has only five questions so it won't take you too long to complete. I'd really really appreciate the feedback!


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