Tag Archives: Jonah

10 Surefire Ways to Get Yourself Depressed – Part II

Part I of this blog discusses how living in Disguise, having a sense of Entitlement, foolish Pride, Rebellion against the truth, and Envy promote depression in our lives. Another 3 character traits that tend to alienate us and promote depression are as follows.

(6) SELFISHNESS: Selfishness makes it “all about us”. It is trait that comes out us when we operate out of fear and greed. Society has done a great job hiding this trait under a rug of vernacular. Instead of saying we are only thinking of ourselves, we say that we are acting independently. Instead of admitting that we looking out only for our own self-interest, we say that we are looking our for our own security.

Good relationships require give and take. With selfishness, there is no giving…there is only taking. This is why selfishness never results in happiness.

Nothing breaks that cycle of selfishness more than engaging in giving and serving others – especially when the person does not deserve it. Just try it today, go over to someone who does not deserve something and make their day. Watch the smile on their face; watch joy fill their heart as you tell them there is no catch. In truth, when we engage in ‘catch-less’ giving, we receive more than we bargain for. There is something about selflessness that fills us up with joy and happiness. Thus while selfishness sucks the life out of us, selflessness rewards us with the gift of life. So ask yourself how you can make someone’s day today. Then be intentional to make it happen.

If you do not believe me, then believe the wisest man who ever lived. Jesus said: Give and it shall be given unto you. If you want love and happiness in your life, give love and happiness.

(7) STUBBORNNESS: The difference between determination and stubbornness is the state of the heart from which the action comes. While determination is born out of good heart, stubbornness is born out of an evil heart. While determination is positive, stubbornness is negative.  Stubbornness is what makes us dig our heels in – sticking for things we know are not right. Stubbornness is what causes us to never admit our wrongdoing or our wrong ways of thinking.

Setting a wall up against the will of God , moving against his spiritual laws, and not admitting when we are wrong are surefire ways to be depressed. Just ask Judas Iscariot. He stubbornly set himself against Jesus even after it was clear to him that Jesus knew he going to betray him. The result: His ensuing deep anxiety and remorse led him to hang himself. Other stubborn guys we know of are Pharaoh of Egypt, King Saul, and Jonah. They all suffered for it.

Lets not be like all  these guys who suffered deep anxiety.  Let us not hang our joy and happiness on a tree. Let us be determined to do what is right and let us be quick to turn towards what is good. We ought to accept being called a flip-flopper and do what is right than be known as a resolute people who steadfastly drove their lives off into the gorge of remorse and anxiety just because they were trying to save their image.

To win yourself off stubbornness, remind yourself that you do not have to be right all the time.

(8) INSOLENCE: Being loud, rude, and otherwise obnoxious wins us no favors in life. In fact, it tends to alienate us from peaceable people in the society. It causes unnecessary dissension and strife.

Since birds of a feather flock together, it is highly unusual to find insolent people walking around with peaceful people. At some point, insolent people will be rude to one another and take offense. Hence, the end result of insolence is that we miss out on the joy our relationships should bring us. That in itself can cause us a deep sense of anxiety as the people we love to get out of dodge for their own peace of mind.

In other words, it is difficult for people to love you for you if you are rude, crude, loud, and obnoxious. If they do, they would rather love you for you at a distance. Thus, it will be difficult for you to walk in fellowship with others when you are insolent. Once fellowship is removed, watch out. You are prime candidate for negative thoughts and the other tricks of Satan. Don’t I say “I don’t need anybody”. Everybody needs somebody.

Friend, lets us remember that we are to exhort and speak to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:19). Only then will we have positive and meaningful fellowship with one another.

 

 

 

 

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The Person God Allows You to Throw into the Sea

Your life is a ship! You are not the owner of your ship – for the owner decides the destination – you are the captain. As the captain, you decide which route to take on your way to your set destination. Though you may not have had a say concerning who boarded the ship, once on the ship, you have the authority to decide who stays on the ship and who to cast off at every port on the way to your destination.

As captains, there are some people that we need to cast of our ship! In fact, God clues us into whom we can cast of our ship in the story of Jonah. God gives us permission to cast off those that are willfully and deliberately walking in disobedience and out of the will of God. Before you click away in anger, consider this:  God allows us to throw people overboard for our own good as well as for the good of the person who is stubbornly and willfully walking in disobedience. Remember that in the story of Jonah, Jonah did not perish in the sea but was rescued by a whale. Likewise the traders did not perish due to Jonah’s disobedience. Instead, their lives and livelihood were preserved.

Here are 2 good reasons to get rid of willfully disobedient people in your life

You save yourself from unnecessary trouble

But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. But the Lord sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up – Jonah 1:3-4

The tempest or trouble that the traders experienced was because of the presence of Jonah on the ship. Similarly, trouble and unnecessary heartache is the result of having willfully disobedient people in your life, the end of which is a broken up life.

Reevaluate the company you are keeping if your life is less of cruise and more like a roller-coaster

You keep the fruit of your hard work

Then the mariners were afraid; and every man cried out to his god, and threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten the load. But Jonah had gone down into the lowest parts of the ship, had lain down, and was fast asleep – Jonah 1:5

The traders on the ship had to throw off the cargo they had accumulated to survive. They had no clue that the cargo weighing them down was Jonah.

Let no one fool you, disobedience is costly. Disobedience will always drain your resources on its way to claiming your life. Many parents know too well the cost of living with willfully disobedient children. It is mentally and spiritually draining and puts undue stress on marriage. Although extremely difficult, be brave to throw the person at the mercy of Jesus rather than allow the person to cause you to perish. Why allow you and the person you are protecting to perish when both you and the person can be delivered?

It is also interesting that Jonah was sleeping during the storm. He knew he was the cause of the storm and so he did not want to call out to God. Instead of helping out or taking responsibility, all he did was go to a quiet corner out of the way and fall asleep! Thankfully, the captain had the good judgement to wake him up and challenge him to do something!

Do not be surprised if the person causing the ruckus in your life is at peace while you are stressing out. As captains of our lives, we must tell the willfully disobedient person in our life to shape up or ship out.

So there it is! It is okay to throw the willfully disobedient person off the ship of your life (after much prayer and deliberation) just like the traders did with Jonah. God loves the person you have thrown overboard and will provide a whale to save them. Stop trying to play God in the person’s life and save them…remember that you cannot not even save yourself. We all need the help of God.

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5 Steps Towards Greatness (Part I) – The Call

The pyramid of Khephren (Khafre)The scripture tells us that many people are called BUT that few are chosen (see Matthew 22:14). What a shame! It is truly a tragedy that too few of us ever achieve the greatness to which God has called every single person that walks on this earth. Here is the truth! The same God who calls us and says ‘You can be great’ desires to choose us to be great; He longs to say to each one of us ‘You will be great’. Unfortunately, too many of us are either ignorant of the steps required for greatness or we are unwilling to follow in the footsteps of Jesus in doing the work that is required to be chosen.

Now, God in His love did not make us fully responsibility for being great but made it a shared responsibility – our part being the easy part. Even so, just as Jesus had a part to play in being chosen after being called by God, we also have a part to play in being chosen. So then, what part do we play and what part does God play? This will hopefully become clear as we peek at the 5 steps towards greatness.

The Call which is the first step towards greatness and is God’s responsibility. While in heaven, God called Jesus and said something akin to: ‘Son, it is your time. I have now called you to partake of flesh and blood (become human) for the sole purpose of reconciling and restoring mankind to us. This is what I am calling you to do. Ready to go?’. See, Jesus who is Spirit became a human with a living soul for the sole purpose of doing that specific will of God. Likewise, just like Jesus, we are all spirit beings who have been called and temporarily placed on this earth to do a work and to achieve a purpose.

“For we are his workmanship (masterpiece), created in Christ Jesus unto good works (purpose), which God has before (prior to being born) ordained that we should walk in them” – Ephesians 2:10

Lightbulb MomentThe first step towards greatness is to know the specific purpose to which God has called us.

If you do not know your purpose, do not despair. Just keep your heart and ears open and God will reveal His specific purpose to you in due time. Prophet Jeremiah did not know his purpose until God said to Him: ‘Hey Jeremiah, I am now calling you to be my mouthpiece (prophet) to the people of Judah. I created you specifically for this purpose and I am now letting you know that this is the purpose for which I created you’.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; and before you came forth out of the womb I sanctified you, and I ordained you a prophet unto the nations” – Jeremiah 1:5

Note that what is important is God’s call on our lives and not our call on our lives. It is only God’s purpose for our lives that streamlines our life’s energy into a single laser beam focus that is able to cut through distractions and foolishness while bringing true and sustained fulfillment into our lives. . It is only by following the will or purpose of God for our lives that we walk worthy of Him, fully please Him, and are fruitful in everything we do – for His power follows His purpose (see Colossians 1:9:10).

Conversely, our lives fall into the learned behavior of idleness without His purpose (see 1 Timothy 5:13). Now, idleness does not simply mean that we are doing nothing. Busyness that comes from following our own purpose is empty in the end and so is still idleness! Why? It is because idleness is defined as doing anything that is unimportant, insignificant, or holds no real worth. An example of this is idle banter where we are busy talking but our banter adds zero value. Since anything without God (love) is valueless and we know that God is great, we see that is it impossible to attain true greatness with God’s purpose (love) being involved.

So how do we recognize idleness? The symptoms of idleness (or lack of God-giving purpose) includes being easily offended, gossip-mongering, being a busy-body, depression, never being satisfied, being a workaholic, dilly-dallying, lack of commitment etc. Just think of how these lead to broken relationships!  So in reality, the root cause of many of the problems we encounter in this life is simply the lack of purpose or the shunning of God’s purpose. So we now see why Satan does not want us to walk in purpose (our responsibility). He knows if he can get us away from our purpose, he has a foothold in our lives and cause us problems. If you don’t believe me, just ask Prophet Jonah how Satan tried to kill him and tortured his life simply because he ran away from the purpose to which God called Him.

So today, instead of continuing in idleness, ask God to show you what He has called you to do! If you want to be great, you must know what He has called you to do at this point in your life

Food for Thought: It is impossible to be great without following the great One

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Holding onto Offense – Who made you the ‘Righteous’ Judge?

In life, while being offended is perhaps to some extent inevitable, holding onto offense is definitely avoidable and is a choice! If we are to neglect the fear-based folly of being easily offended, a deep look into why we hold onto offense reveals a prideful mind that thinks the world of ourselves or a mind that thinks the person who offended will get away with what they have done.  So, many times we react in essence because deep down we think God’s justice is not quite just enough; we think that our justice is much more applicable and right, and we truly do not believe that the offender will reap whatever they sow! We tend to hold onto offense and act upon it when we cannot stand the thought of God being merciful to the person who has done us or our loved one’s wrong. Like Jonah, we would rather have the ‘Ninevites’ of our lives be judged and punished by our own measuring stick instead of God’s.

Our tendency to hold onto offense is born out of self-righteousness. When we say ‘I cannot believe this person did this to me; I must punish them by…’ we have become the judge. In becoming the judge, we have unconsciously taken the place of God and have unknowingly entered into pride. And because pride comes before destruction, it turns out that we punish ourselves by holding onto offense.

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: While God’s justice spares the innocent while dealing with the guilty; our justice punishes the innocent and the guilty alike. God’s justice is pure; our justice is perverted!

The bible warns of the folly of meting out our own justice in the story of Absalom (the son of David) and his brother Amnon. The scripture tells us that Absalom was bent on exacting the revenge he saw fitting on Amnon after Amnon had wickedly forced himself on Tamar (see 2 Samuel 13:32). Rather than wait on God’s justice to be done on Amnon, he determined after two years that he had waited long enough for the ‘just’ price of death to be paid by Amnon. Absalom simply could not wait on God’s timing nor was he willing to consider that death might not be the right price to pay.

While our human emotion and sentiment may tend to say that what Absalom did served Amnon right, the problem is that what he did also served him (Absalom) wrong. As a result of his justice, he broke the fellowship he had with his father (David), he caused division and turmoil within the family, he lost the good life he was enjoying in Jerusalem, and he had to flee in fear and live in fear of retribution. Yes, Absalom punished Amnon, but he also punished himself.

Conversely, David was a man whose heart was surrendered to God and so relied on God’s justice in God’s timing. Rather than take his opportunity to kill Saul (see 1 Samuel 26), David spared Saul who was a major source of offense to David and instead said in regards to Saul that ‘As the Lord lives, the Lord shall strike him, or his day shall come to die, or he shall go out to battle and perish’ (see 1 Samuel 26:10). Although David’s aide saw the opportunity to kill Saul as God’s diving intervention and blessing, David knew better. He knew exacting justice by his own means and in his own way would profit him nothing. Here is how things turned out: Saul did go out to battle and died as ordained by God – therefore, God’s justice was done in God’s way. Furthermore, David got the kingdom God he was promised by God without fear of retribution for Saul’s murder. Not bad eh?

Lightbulb MomentLight-bulb moment: Like David, we should not hold onto offense and so miss the mark and pervert justice BUT instead should allow God to have His way and so inherit the Kingdom He has promised us.

Food for Thought: You do not like yourself too much if you hold onto offense

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