Dear Readers,
     I have decided that I really do not want to be a modern day Jonah! I can almost promise that most of you don't want that title either, so I know that I am in good company. However, I have been feeling that God has been speaking to me lately about not running away from Him and what He has planed. I don't like to think that I've been runnning away from God, and looking back over the past months, I realize I haven't been running away, but more so - putting Him off. I don't want to run away , nor do I want to put Him off. From these revelations, there are a few things in my heart that I believe God wants us all to be in prayer about for the coming days and times.
     Sometimes I get confused when I ask the Lord, "Please, show me in Your Holy Word what You would have me to meditate on and learn today, Father." The confusion is not from Him - but from my own line of questions when He answers my request. Such was the case this morning - He led me to Jonah. Now, there are three books of The Bible that I always take a breath before jumping into reading - Job, Revelations, and Jonah -  all because my mind switches to auto-pilot as I think, "OK, Lord...what part of me do we need to work on right now???" and "Uh oh, this is going to be painful!"
     Yet, how much He loves us that He sends us to these precious books!!! As I began walking with Jonah, a couple of verses were hi-lited to my heart.  Jonah 1: 12, "'Pick me up and throw me into the sea,' he replied, " and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.'" How hard is it for me, Lord, to admit my own guilt in situations? It doesn't even have to be guilt because of a crime or a sin, but even admit that the decision or decisions I made were wrong. How many opportunities have I missed because I made the wrong decision? I completely appreciate that God has loved me right through so many wrong decisions, just the same way He loved Jonah through his wrong decisions.  Regret really does nothing for our lives; that is why God reminds us of His Grace and Love so we can move on and forward! But I have to say, I really don't want to have to be thrown into a tempest tossed sea into the belly of a whale before I start  making better decisions for my life!  Lord, please help me to hear You, trust Your Voice, and be obedient to Your Call on my life!  Help me, Father, understand how being obedient to You is not so much about me, as it is about Your Plans, Your will for me and all Your other children that You love so dearly!
     While  I was pondering this thought, another came to me - Lord, what stops me from believing You are talking to me? Why is it that I stumble as I try to seek Your Face, Your Will - and most importantly - what keeps me from trusting You with all my heart - with all my life? Then, He hi-lited another scripture to me: Jonah 2:8, "Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs." Oh my goodness,that rattled my heart! No, it rattled my spirit and my heart!! I had to ask...Lord, what 'idols' are You talking about? My eyes and heart and spirit began searching, searching...I felt like I do sometimes when I am dusting; I see specks of dust - but just can't get them all! Is that it, Lord? Are there things in my life that are just tiny specks to me, but to You they are 'blocks' to my experiencing Your Fulness and Grace?  Grace that You mean for my good, that will allow me to serve You and worship You... to honor You above all else in my life?
     Immediately The Lord led me to the lesson He gave Jonah - and now to me! What did Jonah do after he obeyed God? He got mad. Now, that is not the 'speck' I think I was looking for so diligently, but it brought me to the place that revealed an idol to me...key word being 'an' idol...I found several! However, chiefest amongst the group of idols was me - or, rather, myself! Yep...I like having my way. I really, really enjoy getting what I want when I want it and the way I want it. I get up most mornings and begin the day I want to begin. I go thru the day doing what I think I need to do, when I need to and how I need to. How many 'I's' have I racked up thus far - too many! It appears that on most days, the greatest idol in my life that blocks me from God's Grace - is me!
     My first reaction was not anger, I must say; but, disappointment came rushing in. Disappointment can do two things - lead you deeper into self or lead you straight to God for His Forgiveness and His Mercy - and His Grace. I thank Him so much for loving me, and showing me that in His Word - we can find everything, anything, and all things we need not just to survive, but rather to flourish and have joy and life abundantly!   Freedom is found in His Word' but, Jonah didn't appear to be enjoying the freedom that God had for him. I found several things in the reading about Jonah that I don't want - ugly, rough seas, whale bellies, anger. But, what I did find that I do want, is to get rid of anything that I place above and before My Father. With Him first - freedom is there. Freedom to honor Him, worship Him, and serve Him with complete joy in my heart - no doubt, no fear, no confusion! Yes - that makes breathing so much more meaningful!
     I pray that all of us will do some Spring cleaning  and get rid of the dust specks that have become idols. Is there something that you have been wanting and feeling led to do or say but just couldn't? Have you been wondering why you couldn't move forward and then, felt frustrated because you couldn't seem to take that first step.  We need, we require His Grace in order to do anything worthwhile. It is His Grace that allows growth, movement, and achievement in His Kingdom's purposes and plans. Apart from that Grace, that wonderfully empowering Grace from The Throne, we have and can do nothing.  Perhaps it is the 'speck of dust' that we just couldn't reach or we couldn't get rid of that has become the idol that is stopping us from moving on to attain His Fulness. Sometimes those specks are the most wonderful things in our lives,but ask yourself - is it my most wonderful thing or His most wonderful thing? If it isn't one of His most wonderful things, then should it really be my most wonderful thing? These times, places, people, and events in our lives can mean so much more if we give them all to God; and, when we filter all our efforts through the screen of  His Words, His Voice, and His Desires, life can open up in such beautiful ways! These, I believe, are His Riches in Glory!  
We must set His Word  as the FIRST place we go when dealing with our lives, our homes, our jobs, our ministries - especially our ministries, because they are His ministries first!  Putting His Word first will allow us to live in His Awareness and not self awareness.
I  pray His  Grace, Peace, Joy, Love, Healing be yours today and always!
Blessings and love,