1The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: 2“Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”
3But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord. (Jonah 1:1-3)
Good morning friends and family! Sorry that it has been almost a week since my last post. I have been wanting to put something out on here since Friday, when the newest single from Hillsong United was dropped, because it is simply spectacular, but I will get to that near the end of this post. First, let’s talk about where we are in the reading plans: 1 John and Jonah.
If you are keeping up, this month will be incredibly rewarding. If you are behind in reading the Bible, this is an easy month to catch up. Mrs. Z and I have pushed forward. She should be wrapping up her reading for the year within the day, and I am not far behind. This morning I read the entire month in less than an hour. John’s first letter DRIPS with wisdom in nearly every word. 2 and 3 John are one page reads and are nowhere near what 1 John is. But anything the Apostle, Prophet, and most beloved, John wrote in his life deserves its place in the Holy Bible. I believe the lessons taught in 1 John can serve as a good guide for the theme and message of the Book of Jonah, and that is when God asks you to do something, you do it. You do not run away from God and His plan for you as Jonah attempted. If you know the story of Jonah, you realize how well that worked out for him. But how do you know when God is directing you and when you are getting direction from something other than God?
Well, for one, seek guidance from God alone. Pray about those major life decisions and just take a step back and look at what you are asking direction for in the first place. All good things come from God and God wants good things for you, but also FROM you. If you are seeking guidance for selfish reasons, God might not be there to give you any direction. Before you seek wisdom from God, try to figure it out on your own. God wants us to live humble lives to grow the Kingdom. If you are not actively doing those two things, you will probably never be satisfied in this life.
I have a perfect example of a Jonah like moment in my life. It happened exactly three years ago yesterday. The moment popped into my TimeHop and I was reminded of this beautiful, powerful encounter with God.
Three years ago I was lost. I had a great paying job, my perfect family (I mean we are far from perfect, but in our mess is the perfection), lived around friends and family, but I was lost. I felt no purpose in my career. All my purpose was in being a husband and father, and while that IS and SHOULD BE enough, my soul was yearning for more. So on this day and this particular moment in the picture below, I prayed to God for direction.
Here is the backstory for this picture. My wife was chaperoning my daughter’s field trip to a beautiful park in Palmetto, FL. I was off for the day so I decided to take the whole family on the field trip and my son and I would explore the park while my wife did her job with my daughter’s class. Well, my son and I went deep in the park, as far as we could walk on the paths, and then off the path, through the wilderness to the edge of this mangrove forest. At this moment there was nothing around us but nature and God. I am a firm believer that if you truly, and I mean truly, truly, want to connect to God, you have to go into the wilderness. Get away from the man-made world and into the world God made for us. It was here that I prayed and pleaded for God to give me direction, or, to give me peace with my current place. I said my prayer and something told me to take a picture of the scene. This picture is the sun reflecting off the water, or I may have just captured God’s light breaking through, either way, I could feel the Holy Spirit around me, and I knew already that something would come to me soon after saying that prayer. Less than an hour later, I received a random text from an old friend which sent off a chain reaction which led to the creation of all of this. That text led me to a deployment, writing Common Sense Reborn, launching this website, the Devotional, our move back to Savannah, my career change, etc. This current journey is not finished, but it all started exactly three years ago.
So that was my experience from me approaching God for direction. Tomorrow we will look at when God approaches you out of the blue, as He seemed to have done with Jonah. But for now, as promised, click on this image below. I have listened to this song everyday, over-and-over, ever since its release. This is magic, much like “Another in the Fire,” Hillsong has blessed the world once again with a song like no other.
Reading plan: 1 John 1:5-10
Deeper reading plan: Jonah 1