God’s Love is Massive!

While studying the life of Jonah in the Bible, I’m really challenged by the way God loved, not only the Israelites, but also the Assyrians who were enemies of God’s people. It’s so easy to love those who are pleasant and kind and do lovely things for us or for others, but when it comes to people who murder others or steal or hate or do terrible atrocities, we can think that God has no love for these individuals.

God hates what we humans do but he loves us, the real individual that we each are. Jonah reacted probably the way that most of us would do in that he didn’t want to preach good news to his enemies and hence went the opposite way to where God wanted him to go.

However, God is bigger than our escape routes! He knew Jonah’s heart and he knew how Jonah really did fear him in a right sense. He even wanted to take a consequence of his wrong actions by dying overboard but God had other ideas.

To think that God instructed a big fish to look after Jonah and give Jonah time to think and pray. How we sometimes have to be put into extreme situations in order to get real with God.

This was not the end, however, for dear Jonah.  God was intent on seeing his plans for Jonah and Ninevah (the capital city of Assyria at the time) come to pass even though Jonah still had his sulks and moods when he didn’t get his own way.  How we can identify with Jonah.

The fact was that God loved the Assyrians even though they buried people in the walls of Ninevah when they built the city and even though they were very bloodthirsty tyrants. When they repented following the words of Jonah that he proclaimed on the streets of Ninevah, Jonah was the most surprised and angry too as, in his natural state he wanted the Assyrians wiped out completely.

So, today, when we see vile happenings around the world take some time to pray for these people who in the name of their god are doing such atrocities (not forgetting families of the victims of course). God has a good plan for each of them and as they hear about the love of Jesus Christ and turn in repentance to him, then they can have a completely new life to do good with and follow the plans that the true God has for them – plans for good not evil to give a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).

For our children, the Lord would say, ‘Don’t fear, God’s in charge!”

Togetherness

With all the talk about Scotland leaving the UK, we, as Christians, are reminded about the unity of the Godhead (Father, Son and Spirit) which serves to teach us about togetherness. For Jesus Christ to have prayed for unity between his followers when on earth shows the importance of being one rather than different factions or groups.

The body of Christ, the church, seems fragmented at times but as we seek to allow God more room in our lives and allow his Lordship to permeate every area of our lives, then the desire to love one another and to lay down our lives for each other actually becomes a reality.

God knows us so well and he knows how opinionated, judgmental and selfish we can be.  Because we are each unique, it means that we have to make adjustments and allowances for one another. Someone has said that God made marriage so that the people involved would realise that this can only work if both lean on God for the love they need for each other. Marriage was God’s idea and he knew how difficult it could be without the creator in the centre. Oneness may appear to be in such a relationship but how deep is that love? Only God knows.

However, we can seek to be united in as many areas of life as is possible. I would be greatly saddened if Scotland went their own way – ‘doing it my way’ as the Sinatra song goes.  Scotland has so much to give to the United Kingdom and the UK is richer for Scotland being in it. Also, the rest of the United Kingdom has much to contribute to Scottish life. We each as individuals in it of every persuasion contribute to the whole. To have to chop and change countries within the Union seems unwise. Even the Union Jack would have to change if Scotland were to leave the unity. The cost of this big change would, in my opinion, almost be criminal and almost suicidal.

Here in the UK we have a ‘richness’ of life not necessarily in monetary terms although compared with the rest of the world we are extremely rich monetarily too.  The sheer beauty of the varied landscapes that make up the British Isles shows an abundance of natural wealth brought together with all the diversity of various counties and countries. We have so much and don’t fully realise what we have.

Let’s celebrate the togetherness of the United Kingdom and be thankful that we are in a unity of countries even if they need modifying, developing or changing from time to time but not being cut off from one another.

May our children not lose what we have. May they realise afresh that unity and working together spring from the God of love who gave us this United Kingdom to live in and to share with others.

The creation itself shows the unity and togetherness of the creator who shows off his handiwork from day to day. Let’s seek to keep teaching our children that the God of love favours unity and togetherness in all spheres of life.

Let’s pray that this blip on Thursday will be a wake up call to seek God afresh as the United Kingdom where changes can take place but not at the expense of countries cutting themselves off from the whole. Our children need to know the certainty of the unity of God in the midst of our nation as they consider his great creation and the way forward when everything seems to go wrong. God in Jesus Christ has provided the answer to human need for change as in Christ we each are ‘a new creation’  that can make an impact on the world only as we remain in unity together with him.

Holidays

Stopping! Relaxing! Chilling out! Listening to God! Being free to be! Enjoying the wonders of creation!  All phrases that could mean the same thing – but essentially needed in order for us humans to keep in balance.

How amazing that God created the world and then when he made humans he took a rest. He, being our Maker, knows we need that time out, away from the crowd, not in routine but taking in from Him.

We’ve just taken  a few days off and wondered into South Shropshire to a place called Stottesdon where we enjoyed loads of sunshine and the most idyllic bed and breakfast accommodation. The weather was glorious for November and we were able to take walks and look around the little country towns and villages.  We didn’t even see one large supermarket for the whole of the trip – that’s Britain at it’s best!

Would recommend the pattern of 6 weeks at work and taking one week off which is the routine I use while working on Diamond Books.  Also, the pattern of 6 days working and a day off works well, too – but then our Creator suggested it so it would work very well.  Whatever, he asks us to do always has a good outcome even if the process is sometimes difficult.

God is so interested in our growth and development more than we realise.  On holiday, I felt God impressing on me that I was in a millstone situation whereby God is grinding the self out of me so that I can learn to abide in Him more readily and say ‘no’ to self and selfishness.  Knowing what He is about makes it easier to swallow when the grinding wheel moves!

Let’s allow Him to mould us and guide us concerning our holiday times.  Even if we can’t get away we can put our feet up and read and just be.  I often do jigsaw puzzles with classical music in the background to relax at such times.  Making cards with pressed wild flowers in another pastime I love doing to relax although I haven’t done this for years!  Then there’s the knitting and watching a good film.  Whatever you do may His rest be yours as we seek to honour Him with our lives laid before Him.