Pastors Corner….Running from God

Jonah 1
King James Version (KJV)
1 Now the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,

2 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.

3 But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.

4 But the Lord sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.

5 Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep.

6 So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.

7 And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah.

8 Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou?

9 And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land.

10 Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him. Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them.

11 Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous.

12 And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.

13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them.

14 Wherefore they cried unto the Lord, and said, We beseech thee, O Lord, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O Lord, hast done as it pleased thee.

15 So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging.

16 Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the Lord, and made vows.

17 Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Separation…ever found yourself separated

Ever been somewhere and got separated from your your kids…scary……call the state police….call the National Guard…send for Seal Team 6….you are looking for that lost child and believe me failure is not an option.

You have been separated and need to realize that God is pursuing you……He is pursuing you so that He can show you how much He loves you.

God is not coming after us for a smack down.

Nothing is further from the truth…

In Luke, Jesus tells a story….the story of the Prodigal Son…

God is like a Father who lost his son…

who misses his son…………..

who longs for his son’s return……

And like a father that when his son returns…..he runs to him and throws his arms around him and covers him with kisses.

God loves you, and God will forgive you of any sin you ever committed.

God is pursuing you this morning……so stop running from Him.

Lately every time I listened to Christian Radio, Christian TV, or read… the same message kept coming forth….stop running from God.

I want to bring you a story of a man that tried to run from God.

Jonah…..the prophet

In the Bible we see two types of people…those that rebel against God..and those who willingly come under His authority.

The Bible portrays individuals that either yield to the will of God or rebel against it.

Jonah was truly a rebel.

He failed to recognize Gods authority and ran from Him.

When you talk about Jonah one thing comes to mind?

Jonah and the _.

That’s right, we al think of that Whale and because of that we sometimes see the story as a fairy tale…..a fable …..a myth… but it is a true story…

Matthew 12:40 says, “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

No matter…whale…big fish..or sea serpent …Jesus said, “, “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”…….the story was validated.

Jonah 1
 1Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,
 
2Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.
 
3But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.

How many have ever tried to run from God?

You thought that God was keeping you from being popular…..having a good time…..or just out to mess up your life.

Nothing is further from the truth!

The Bible tells us that God is Good.

The Word said,” Give thanks to the Lord cause He is Good, and His mercy endures forever.”

And I am here to tell you that Gods plans for you that are a lot better than your plans for yourself.

In Jeremiah 29:11 it is written, “
11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Jesus said…..I have come so that you could live a rich, full and meaningful life.

As sure as there is a God that loves you…be sure there is a devil that hates you.

A devil that wants to destroy your life.

Jesus said of Satan…..the thief comes only to steal, kill, and destroy.

But Jesus has come to give life because God is good.

But sometimes we run from God.

Being a Christian is not easy.

Not only is God good but God is love….You see these Ninavites that Jonah was called to minister to….they were wicked….cruel people….that is why Jonah did not want to go….he was a patriotic Israelite….it would be like God singling out a present day Israelite and telling him to go into Iran and preach to them…..

You have to understand that the greatest fear that Jonah had…. was that God would forgive Nineveh….and his hope was that God would pull a Sodom and Gomorrah and completely destroy them.

Then there would be one less enemy that Israel would have to contend with…and simply that is why Jonah didn’t want to go.

God said GO.

Jonah said NO

God said OH!

You know the Lord will always have the last word, even inspite of the wickedness of the Ninavites, God loved them and was giving them a second chance.

Thank God for second chances.

Where would any of us be without a second chance.

God loves you….And no matter what sin you have committed….He will forgive you….if you turn and repent from that sin.

Jonah got the Word….packed his knapsack….up and left….But left in the wrong direction

And the scripture tells us he went down…..and I mean to tell you that is where sin is always going to take you…DOWN

We don’t plan on it….but one thing does lead to another

That thing that ruined that marriage….that relationship

That unexpected pregnancy that turned your world up side down

That first 40….first joint….or nickel bump that turned to an addiction

The end of your life is determined from its beginning…..the little things that you don’t think are trouble now….. will turn into big things issues later.

Years ago when I was playing golf…I was on the 8th green at the Polhcat in Mt Pleasant, Mi, and a baby rattle snake was crossing the green.

Sort of interesting, everything in minature, tiny fangs…little rattle on the tail…about three inches long but though small its bite just as venomous as its momma.

Got out my ball retriever….gave it a free ride into a ravine…unhurt.

Just like sin…….just a little sin……I’ll never do it again sin…….it doesn’t count sin…….but little things turn into big things.

And that’s what happened to Jonah.

We all knew people growing up that started drinking….probably under age…….first a little Natty Daddy….made him the life of the party…then a little weed…then you didn’t see much of him anymore once he arrived….because he was hidden away somewhere shooting up or sucking on a shooter.

That’s sin and it just takes you down….and down…and sin will take you further down than you want to go…it will keep you longer than you want to stay…..and it will cost you more than you want to spend….not a road you want to travel .

So the Storm comes…..the wind….the rain…and this wasn’t just a normal nasty storm…cause even the sailors were hanging over the rails….they were used to rough………but they had never seen anything like this before.

God designed…a supernatural tempest just to get our prophets attention.

Has God designed or allowed a wake up call in your life recently……that call from the doctor…..the lawyer…your bank…to make you realize how much you really need Him.

The scripture tells us these sailors are freaking out…calling to there gods..none of them had that right..I know one thing is for sure when we are in trouble we always seem to call out to God…I know I sure do.

The only problem is that when God brings you through you say thanks God…….see you the next crisis.

Oh God if you just get me through this I promise to change and follow you…he does…and we never keep our end of the bargain.

That’s what these sailors were doing…they were trying out to their gods..but none of them had the right god so they cast lots and they figured out there problem was the stranger calmly sleeping below deck.

Downstairs they grabbed and woke him and said we figured out………you are the cause of this storm.

Jonah tells them he is a Hebrew serving the Lord God of Heaven…who made heaven and earth…the sailors are blown away…..you see they had heard of the God of Isreal..who parted seas…..who sent food from heaven…the God who raises the dead and they’re saying to him…you think you can run from a God like that.

Nothing is worse than being busted by a non believer…..especially if there right.

You ever had that happen….a non Christian telling you I thought you were a Christian….Oh I Am….then why are you doing that?

Well good question.

Sometimes we are like Jonah…we’ve lost our testimony…we just aren’t representing Jesus as we should.

Let me just say something…if you are looking for a hypocrite free church….please don’t join it you’ll ruin it.

You feel me….Every Christian is going to be inconsistent at times….so let me apologize for all those Christians that have not been the best representatives of Christ…but Jesus didn’t say follow my people….He said FOLLOW ME!

Jesus will never be a hypocrite if you follow him.

Saying that you don’t do to church because there are to many hypocrites is a cop out.

Why would you run from a God like this….. the sailors asked Jonah.

Isn’t it amazing that some times non believers have a better idea of what believers should do, then believers have.

So these non believing men are saying to Jonah…Why would you run from a God like that……and that’s a real good question …why are you running from God…..He just wants to love you….He just wants to forgive you.

Today is the day that you stop running from God and turn towards Him.

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