Sunday Rest and Reflection: Loving the Lost!

Dear Friends,

Greetings on another 7th day of rest and reflection.  God’s love for us and for all of mankind is almost too much for us to fathom.  We think we love others, but it is so easy to fall into attitudes of secretly desiring that those who hate us or oppose us would fall under God’s wrath.  We can glibly say we love all people, but upon close examination of our hearts, attitudes, and words, our love is not what it should be.

As I look back on this week, the book of Jonah,  covered in one day,  has even  more lessons for us to ponder.  Jonah was given a mission by God to go to Nineveh and preach to a people who were lost and in danger of God’s wrath.  Jonah did not want to go.  Behind Jonah’s reluctance was a lack of love and some prejudice.  He did not like the Ninevites and wanted to see them fall under God’s wrath.  (Jonah 4:1-3) He thought that they were bad enough that they deserved everything that God could give them, and more!

When he did obey the Lord, he became upset that the Ninevites responded to his preaching and repented!  He knew God’s heart of mercy and understood that if they truly repented, God would not follow through with the promised judgment! He sulked and wanted to die.  He was angry with God for showing mercy to this people!  God, however, was still merciful to Jonah.  He used a quick-growing plant to illustrate to Jonah his care for him and to help Jonah understand the importance of those in Nineveh who needed His mercy.  (Jonah 4:10-11)

As we think about this ancient story of a prophet of the Lord who had prejudice in his heart, we can’t help but examine our own hearts.  Are we reluctant to go to those we know who are different than us?  Would you go and share Christ’s love and message with a neighbor who was in the homosexual lifestyle?   Would you be willing to go to neighbors who were from another culture and show Christ’s love?  What about showing Christ’s love to Muslims who moved near you?   Would you be open if the Holy Spirit asked you to go to someone whose body was full of piercings and tattoos?  These questions are not meant in any way to be judgmental of those who are different from us or to put condemnation on us.  They are meant to help us examine our heart attitudes for real love and true commitment to Christ’s mandate to reach all people with the Good News!

May this day of rest and reflection fill you with a new love for those in the world.  Ask the Lord for opportunities to show love to those you may be reluctant to share with.  May He bless your week!   In His Love, Pastor John

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