Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Reflection - Jonah Runs, God Pursues - Fleeing from God

Source (book): "God in Pursuit", Chapter 2, Question 2, Page 29.
By Robert M. Solomon, Bishop of the Methodist Church in Singapore from 2000 - 2012


Jonah was able to pay the fare to run from God.
PHOTO: Jonah was able to pay the fare to run from God.
Jonah must have thought that the best way to avoid doing God's unpleasant and unwelcome task was to flee as far as possible. So he headed for Tarshish, in Spain. Clearly, his unspoken message to God was, "Leave me alone!" First, he went to the non-Israelite port of Joppa (Jonah 1:3) - which lay on the Mediterranean coast - where there were many ships sailing to various destinations. He quickly found a ship sailing to Tarshish, at the furthest reaches of the Mediterranean. Theologian William Banks notes in his book Jonah: The Reluctant Prophet, "When a person decides to run from the Lord, Satan always provides complete transportation facilities."

Running away from God can be a costly thing - literally. But Jonah had the money to pay for his disobedience - the Bible makes clear that he paid the fare (Jonah 1:3). Or, as Bible scholar Eugene H. Petersen notes, the prophet had the means "to finance his self-will, self-determination". Having resources at our disposal, such as talents, wealth, and opportunities, can leave us more vulnerable to temptation, less dependent on God, and with more options to flee from Him. Of course, a poor man can still find ways to disobey or ignore God.

Would a Christian who has been blessed with more resources face a greater temptation to flee from God and His will?
Theologian William Banks notes in his book Jonah: The Reluctant Prophet, "When a person decides to run from the Lord, Satan always provides complete transportation facilities."

When a person who decides to run in a race, and if he is more equipped with running gears, and other resources like training facilities, opportunities, and is physically fitter, will be more encouraged to participate.

Yes, a Christian who has been blessed with more resources face a greater temptation to flee from God and His will. Especially, when Satan will be offering support in all the endeavours.

Why?
Because the Christian has more means "to finance his self-will, self-determination". Having resources at our disposal, such as talents, wealth, and opportunities, can leave us more vulnerable to temptation, less dependent on God, and with more options to flee from Him.

How is it possible to run away from God by procrastination?
As the ship sailed away from Joppa, Jonah must have sat back, gazed at the receding shoreline, and sighed in relief, believing that he was finally getting away from God's demands. But he was acting foolishly. He was wasting his money - he would never make it to his destination.

As we know, God went immediately to work. He sent a great wind to stir up the sea, which caused a violent storm (Jonah 1:4). This caused great fear and panic in the hearts of the sailors, and each man began to cry out to his own god. Perhaps even those who did not take religion seriously would have reconsidered, realising that they would soon sink into the depths of the raging sea unless some supernatural power intervened. They may not have realised it, but they had just been caught up in a contest between a fleeing prophet and his pursuing God.

So, how is it possible to run away from God by procrastination?
Procrastination is very similar to laziness but not exactly the same. Laziness is a refusal to do things but procrastination is more of a feeling of desperately wanting to do something but just not getting started.

Perhaps God is telling us that we are not suitable to get married, and form a family, just like any other, because we do not have the correct conditions. And, we cannot make it no matter how hard we try. Marriage is made in heaven and ours did not appear in the book of marriage. However, we may not accept the realities, or do not believe that we are the undesirables. After all, God has created us in His image and that must be perfect, or at least near to perfection. So the reasons that we are still not lovable by the opposite sex cannot be true, or that reasoning should not exist.

 Also there are persons out there, whom we are very much in love with, and given time and opportunity, we should succeed in winning them over, just like others have. We can then be blissfully married, and have the happy family of our dream. So we run away from the Lord, and carry on trying to have a date with that someone, whom we thought should be our perfect mate.

After many rejections and failures to achieve our objectives, it occur to us that God must be correct and we should stop immediately all those redundant efforts. However, we keep on hearing stories that finding that real love in our life is not easy, and we should not give up so easily. Encouraged, we became more determine to succeed, although met with more rejections and failures.

We refuse to stop, and tell ourselves to try one more last time, before quitting. That "last time" become many more attempts, with the same ending. Because we believe that for everybody God has created, there must be somebody out there who is meant to be for him/her. We clung on to such myth, hoping against hope that it will turn out to be the truth.

Sadly, God's words are still not accepted. We become older, physically deteriorate, and become worse than before. Not only with physical problems, but also financially. We become retrenched from work, and without the necessary income for livelihood. Just like Jonah, the runaway prophet, things start sliding downwards, towards the gloomy world where all the downcast eventually gathered. Meanwhile all those around us appear to have ascended to heaven, fulfilling their beautiful dreams, and enjoying their retirements. We however, are still struggling with our futile attempts, and trying to save our last bit of dignity.

Successful people around us will be wondering what is wrong with us. We can't even manage our own lives, and are in such a shameful state. Why there are such hopeless and disgraceful people around. Somehow, our category of people cannot be accepted fully by the normal elites. Successful people may not be willing to be associated with us, and would react strongly when being force to do so. We could also harm others, when those unsatisfied being with us decided to vote out the MPs (Member of Parliaments, which include Ministers) who had tried to persuade them to accommodate the "unacceptable".

When God warn us to stop but we persist on continuing, and telling ourselves that we will "do one last time only", this is how it is possible to run away from God by procrastination. We should have stop in our pointless ambitions, which have led us to our crumbled states. Our time should be also be spent on developing our spiritual health, like pursuing our faith in God. We should have established the most important relationship with Him first, and not with anybody else. But all is not too late for us, because God's help is only a prayer away. He accepted U-turn, even from "rejected and shameful" people like us, and will accept us, the "unacceptable” by the world.

How can we avoid fleeing from God?
Have you noticed how people tend to leave the front pews empty in church? People have different reasons for running away from God. Perhaps they fear that it is dangerous to get too close to Him, as He might ask them questions they cannot or do not want to answer, or He may ask them to do things that they are unwilling or afraid to do. He might even ask them to give up precious possessions, habits, or relationships that are not right in His sight.

They also run away from God in different ways: by keeping their distance, by freezing in disobedience, or by indulging in false piety.

Some people try to follow Christ at a distance. After Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter "follow him at a distance" (Matthew 26:58). Perhaps he truly wanted to follow Jesus, but was afraid of what might happen to him if he stayed too close. Self-preservation seems to be the overriding motive when people try to keep a safe distance from God. But this is foolish. The safest place is not far away from God, but near Him, in the shadow of His wings.

We need to reject the idea that we can follow Jesus from a safe distance and avoid trouble and pain as we love and serve Him.

Some people run away from God by freezing in disobedience. They live with what they consider "small" or "respectable" sins, believing that they don't need to be rescued from them, or that these sins are not as bad as the "big" ones like murder and adultery. But Jesus did warn us about such sins - they hinder us from growing in our relationship with God.

Then there are those who, like the Pharisees, indulge in false piety and construct religious scaffolding to avoid facing the full implications of trusting and loving God. The Pharisees devoted themselves to technical issues of the law, such as detailed rules of Sabbath, while neglecting the real demands of the law. Jesus exposed their spiritual bankruptcy and hypocrisy. He knew that while they acted as if they were drawing closer to God, they were actually running away from Him and avoiding a real relationship with the living God. They feigned (pretended) obedience, but were in fact being disobedient.

Is there hope for such people who run away from God? Can they be rescued from their disobedience? The short answer is yes. There is no depth of sinfulness beyond God's reach. We are always on His radar screen, and He is ever ready to rescue us if we acknowledge Him and His ways.

Like the prodigal son, we can always turn back to the Father - He is only a prayer away.
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Jonah was able to pay the fare to run from God. Would a Christian who has been blessed with more resources face a greater temptation to flee from God and His will? Why? How is it possible to run away from God by procrastination? How can we avoid fleeing from God?

Jonah was able to pay the fare to run from God.

Jonah Runs Away [1]
With all these thoughts (of an unpleasant task) circulating in his mind, Jonah decided to take the easiest way out of God's awful assignment: he simply ran away. Resigning from his job as a prophet, he slipped away from God's grasp - or so he thought. "No thanks, God. Perhaps you can find another fool to go in my place."



Jonah was able to pay the fare to run from God.

PHOTO: Jonah was able to pay the fare to run from God.
With all these thoughts (of an unpleasant task) circulating in his mind, Jonah decided to take the easiest way out of God's awful assignment: he simply ran away.
Picture posted by bibleencyclopedia.com

https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-GUpPo6_9HNg/XAZT4bouc-I/AAAAAAAAsKA/ZyzOGuN24XklS9yLw7sxn4h-K7Dc1BtswCLcBGAs/s1600/720x1280-stdas0353-1.jpg
http://bibleencyclopedia.com/gs400px/stdas0353.jpg
http://artpictures.club/shans-december-2-14.html



Jonah must have thought that the best way to avoid doing God's unpleasant and unwelcome task was to flee as far as possible. So he headed for Tarshish, in Spain. Clearly, his unspoken message to God was, "Leave me alone!" First, he went to the non-Israelite port of Joppa (Jonah 1:3) - which lay on the Mediterranean coast - where there were many ships sailing to various destinations. He quickly found a ship sailing to Tarshish, at the furthest reaches of the Mediterranean. Theologian William Banks notes in his book Jonah: The Reluctant Prophet, "When a person decides to run from the Lord, Satan always provides complete transportation facilities." [5]



Theologian William Banks notes in his book Jonah: The Reluctant Prophet, 'When a person decides to run from the Lord, Satan always provides complete transportation facilities.'

PHOTO: Theologian William Banks notes in his book Jonah: The Reluctant Prophet, "When a person decides to run from the Lord, Satan always provides complete transportation facilities."
Picture posted by Marco Fulvio Barozzi on 30 August 2016
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https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1600/1*zVnHc_DatnA3WegSZqT9Cg.jpeg
https://medium.com/through-the-optic-glass/il-diavolo-e-simon-flagg-d24952ec6b56



Running away from God can be a costly thing - literally. But Jonah had the money to pay for his disobedience - the Bible makes clear that he paid the fare (Jonah 1:3). Or, as Bible scholar Eugene H. Petersen notes, the prophet had the means "to finance his self-will, self-determination". [6] Having resources at our disposal, such as talents, wealth, and opportunities, can leave us more vulnerable to temptation, less dependent on God, and with more options to flee from Him. Of course, a poor man can still find ways to disobey or ignore God.



Having resources at our disposal, such as talents, wealth, and opportunities, can leave us more vulnerable to temptation, less dependent on God, and with more options to flee from Him.

PHOTO: Having resources at our disposal, such as talents, wealth, and opportunities, can leave us more vulnerable to temptation, less dependent on God, and with more options to flee from Him. Of course, a poor man can still find was to disobey or ignore God.
Picture posted by wallpapers-fenix.eu

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https://wallpapers-fenix.eu/full/151009/045526881.jpg
https://ua.wallpapers-fenix.eu/TOP/6646/82102/



Would a Christian who has been blessed with more resources face a greater temptation to flee from God and His will?
Theologian William Banks notes in his book Jonah: The Reluctant Prophet, "When a person decides to run from the Lord, Satan always provides complete transportation facilities." [5]

When a person who decides to run in a race, and if he is more equipped with running gears, and other resources like training facilities, opportunities, and is physically fitter, will be more encouraged to participate.



When a person who decides to run in a race, and if he is more equipped with running gears, and other resources like training facilities, opportunities, and is physically fitter, will be more encouraged to participate.

PHOTO: When a person who decides to run in a race, and if he is more equipped with running gears, and other resources like training facilities, opportunities, and is physically fitter, will be more encouraged to participate. With Satan offering support in all the endeavours, a Christian who has been blessed with more resources face a greater temptation to flee from God and His will.
Picture posted by by tobonelgrande, 90Pixel

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https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CsKg8xCVIAAoP9f.jpg
https://picsoc.com/twitter/media/775373054150971392



Yes, a Christian who has been blessed with more resources face a greater temptation to flee from God and His will. [6] Especially, when Satan will be offering support in all the endeavours.


Why?
Because the Christian has more means "to finance his self-will, self-determination". [6] Having resources at our disposal, such as talents, wealth, and opportunities, can leave us more vulnerable to temptation, less dependent on God, and with more options to flee from Him.



Having resources at our disposal, such as talents, wealth, and opportunities, can leave us more vulnerable to temptation, less dependent on God, and with more options to flee from Him.

PHOTO: Having resources at our disposal, such as talents, wealth, and opportunities, can leave us more vulnerable to temptation, less dependent on God, and with more options to flee from Him. Because the Christian has more means "to finance his self-will, self-determination".
Picture posted by Jim Warren - Surreal Paintings
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https://i3.wp.com/www.1zoom.net/big/24/49888-aleni.jpg
https://homesecurity.press/quotes/surreal-paintings-by-jim-warren.html



How is it possible to run away from God by procrastination?
Jonah Runs Away [1]
As the ship sailed away from Joppa, Jonah must have sat back, gazed at the receding shoreline, and sighed in relief, believing that he was finally getting away from God's demands. But he was acting foolishly. He was wasting his money - he would never make it to his destination. Did he not remember what David wrote in Psalm 139:7-10?

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.



Jonah Runs Away but he was acting foolishly.

PHOTO: Jonah Runs Away but he was acting foolishly. God is everywhere.
Picture posted by Lighthouse.com

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http://www.alighthouse.com/files15/imaginegraphic2.jpg
http://www.alighthouse.com/icanonlyimagine.html



Can we really run away from God? Where can we hide? How can we ever slip away without Him noticing? It would be a futile exercise. Nothing can escape God's eyes. He sees everything. How could Jonah have hoped to run away from God?



How could Jonah have hoped to run away from God?

PHOTO: How could Jonah have hoped to run away from God? It would be a futile exercise. Nothing can escape God's eyes.
Picture posted by Amgad Ellia, Flickr, taken on 12 February 2014

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https://c1.staticflickr.com/4/3839/14711178949_f777f28c2b_b.jpg
https://www.flickr.com/photos/93044600@N02/14711178949



As we know, God went immediately to work. He sent a great wind to stir up the sea, which caused a violent storm (Jonah 1:4). This caused great fear and panic in the hearts of the sailors, and each man began to cry out to his own god. Perhaps even those who did not take religion seriously would have reconsidered, realising that they would soon sink into the depths of the raging sea unless some supernatural power intervened. They may not have realised it, but they had just been caught up in a contest between a fleeing prophet and his pursuing God.



God went immediately to work.

PHOTO: God went immediately to work. He sent a great wind to stir up the sea, which caused a violent storm (Jonah 1:4). This caused great fear and panic in the hearts of the sailors, and each man began to cry out to his own god. They may not have realised it, but they had just been caught up in a contest between a fleeing prophet and his pursuing God.
Picture posted by Champaign Williams, National Editor on 20 June 2016
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https://www.bisnow.com/national/news/commercial-real-estate/cooling-re-market-could-shrink-property-values-61612



So, how is it possible to run away from God by procrastination?
Procrastination is very similar to laziness but not exactly the same. Laziness is a refusal to do things but procrastination is more of a feeling of desperately wanting to do something but just not getting started. [2]

Perhaps God is telling us that we are not suitable to get married, and form a family, just like any other, because we do not have the correct conditions. And, we cannot make it no matter how hard we try. Marriage is made in heaven and ours did not appear in the book of marriage. However, we may not accept the realities, or do not believe that we are the undesirables. After all, God has created us in His image and that must be perfect, or at least near to perfection. So the reasons that we are still not lovable by the opposite sex cannot be true, or that reasoning should not exist.



Perhaps God is telling us that we are not suitable to get married, and form a family, just like any other, because we do not have the correct conditions.

PHOTO: Perhaps God is telling us that we are not suitable to get married, and form a family, just like any other, because we do not have the correct conditions. And, we cannot make it no matter how hard we try. Marriage is made in heaven and ours did not appear in the book of marriage.
Picture posted by Medina Jusufovic on 16 August 2016

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https://www.theodysseyonline.com/when-youre-the-single-one-out-of-your-friend-group



 Also there are persons out there, whom we are very much in love with, and given time and opportunity, we should succeed in winning them over, just like others have. We can then be blissfully married, and have the happy family of our dream. So we run away from the Lord, and carry on trying to have a date with that someone, whom we thought should be our perfect mate.



There are persons out there, whom we are very much in love with, and given time and opportunity, we should succeed in winning them over, just like others have.

PHOTO: There are persons out there, whom we are very much in love with, and given time and opportunity, we should succeed in winning them over, just like others have. So we run away from the Lord, and carry on trying to have a date with that someone, whom we thought should be our perfect mate.
Picture posted by Monika Gomułka/sympatia.pl on 01 January 2015 at 09:00

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After many rejections and failures to achieve our objectives, it occur to us that God must be correct and we should stop immediately all those redundant efforts. However, we keep on hearing stories that finding that real love in our life is not easy, and we should not give up so easily. Encouraged, we became more determine to succeed, although met with more rejections and failures.



After many rejections and failures, we keep on hearing stories that finding that real love in our life is not easy, and we should not give up so easily.

PHOTO: After many rejections and failures, we keep on hearing stories that finding that real love in our life is not easy, and we should not give up so easily. Encouraged, we became more determine to succeed, although met with more rejections and failures.
Picture posted by artCore, Österreichisches Filmmuseum on 17 April.2013

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We refuse to stop, and tell ourselves to try one more last time, before quitting. That "last time" become many more attempts, with the same ending. Because we believe that for everybody God has created, there must be somebody out there who is meant to be for him/her. We clung on to such myth, hoping against hope that it will turn out to be the truth.



We refuse to stop, and tell ourselves to try one more last time, before quitting.

PHOTO: We refuse to stop, and tell ourselves to try one more last time, before quitting. That "last time" become many more attempts, with the same ending. Because we believe that for everybody God has created, there must be somebody out there who is meant to be for him/her.
Painting by artist Haynes King (1831-1904) - "Jealousy and Flirt", 1874
Picture posted by The abode of wisdom

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https://i.mycdn.me/image?id=868935998483&t=3&plc=WEB&tkn=*9yW0oMD1O_mzdG9sTedb-fdlM2E - (image.jpg)
https://ok.ru/group54836075429907/topic/68312485956371



Sadly, God's words are still not accepted. We become older, physically deteriorate, and become worse than before. Not only with physical problems, but also financially. We become retrenched from work, and without the necessary income for livelihood. Just like Jonah, the runaway prophet, things start sliding downwards, towards the gloomy world where all the downcast eventually gathered. Meanwhile all those around us appear to have ascended to heaven, fulfilling their beautiful dreams, and enjoying their retirements. We however, are still struggling with our futile attempts, and trying to save our last bit of dignity.



Just like Jonah, the runaway prophet, things start sliding downwards, towards the gloomy world where all the downcast eventually gathered.

PHOTO: Just like Jonah, the runaway prophet, things start sliding downwards, towards the gloomy world where all the downcast eventually gathered. Meanwhile all those around us appear to have ascended to heaven, fulfilling their beautiful dreams, and enjoying their retirements.
Picture posted by Bozo Funny on Monday, 25 March 2013 at 9:51 AM

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http://chucks-fun.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-third-wheel.html



Successful people around us will be wondering what is wrong with us. We can't even manage our own lives, and are in such a shameful state. Why there are such hopeless and disgraceful people around. Somehow, our category of people cannot be accepted fully by the normal elites. Successful people may not be willing to be associated with us, and would react strongly when being force to do so. We could also harm others, when those unsatisfied being with us decided to vote out the MPs (Member of Parliaments, which include Ministers) who had tried to persuade them to accommodate the "unacceptable".



Successful people around us will be wondering what is wrong with us.

PHOTO: Successful people around us will be wondering what is wrong with us. We can't even manage our own lives, and are in such a shameful state. Why there are such hopeless and disgraceful people around. Somehow, our category of people cannot be accepted fully by the normal elites.
Picture posted by CommentsYard.com - Broken Heart Boy

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https://www.commentsyard.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Broken-Heart-Boy.jpg
https://www.commentsyard.com/broken-heart-boy/



When God warn us to stop but we persist on continuing, and telling ourselves that we will "do one last time only", this is how it is possible to run away from God by procrastination. We should have stop in our pointless ambitions, which have led us to our crumbled states. Our time should be also be spent on developing our spiritual health, like pursuing our faith in God. We should have established the most important relationship with Him first, and not with anybody else. But all is not too late for us, because God's help is only a prayer away. He accepted U-turn, even from "rejected and shameful" people like us, and will accept us, the "unacceptable” by the world.



When God warn us to stop but we persist on continuing, and telling ourselves that we will 'do one last time only', this is how it is possible to run away from God by procrastination.

PHOTO: When God warn us to stop but we persist on continuing, and telling ourselves that we will "do one last time only", this is how it is possible to run away from God by procrastination. Despite the warning to stop, we may persist in doing excess overtime work, rigorously pursuing worldly activities, which are harmful to our health. We should also allocate time pursuing our faith in God. We should have established the most important relationship with Him first, and not with anybody else.
Picture posted by Suitest Taboo Chronicles Blog on 30 September 2009 at 11:29 - AKB48 made a surprise visit to MTV Iggy one last time
 

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How can we avoid fleeing from God?
Are You Running Away from God? [1]
Have you noticed how people tend to leave the front pews empty in church? People have different reasons for running away from God. Perhaps they fear that it is dangerous to get too close to Him, as He might ask them questions they cannot or do not want to answer, or He may ask them to do things that they are unwilling or afraid to do. He might even ask them to give up precious possessions, habits, or relationships that are not right in His sight.

 

Are there any areas where you are running from God?
PHOTO: Are there any areas where you are running from God?
People tend to leave the front pews empty in church. People have different reasons for running away from God. Perhaps they fear that it is dangerous to get too close to Him, as He might ask them questions they cannot or do not want to answer, or He may ask them to do things that they are unwilling or afraid to do. He might even ask them to give up precious possessions, habits, or relationships that are not right in His sight.
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https://veryfatoldman.blogspot.com/2018/11/reflection-jonah-runs-god-pursues.html


 
They also run away from God in different ways: by keeping their distance, by freezing in disobedience, or by indulging in false piety.

Some people try to follow Christ at a distance. After Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter "follow him at a distance" (Matthew 26:58). Perhaps he truly wanted to follow Jesus, but was afraid of what might happen to him if he stayed too close. Self-preservation seems to be the overriding motive when people try to keep a safe distance from God. But this is foolish. The safest place is not far away from God, but near Him, in the shadow of His wings. As Psalm 91:1-2 says:

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.

 

Some people try to follow Christ at a distance.
PHOTO: Some people try to follow Christ at a distance. After Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter "follow him at a distance" (Matthew 26:58). Perhaps he truly wanted to follow Jesus, but was afraid of what might happen to him if he stayed too close. Self-preservation seems to be the overriding motive when people try to keep a safe distance from God. But this is foolish. The safest place is not far away from God, but near Him, in the shadow of His wings.
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It is also foolish to think that we can preserve ourselves by running away from God, because Jesus taught that in trying to save our lives, we end up losing them. Clinging on to life takes us away from the God who gave it to us, and this ironically means we will lose it. Jesus said: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?" (Luke 9:23-25).



Clinging on to life takes us away from the God who gave it to us, and this ironically means we will lose it.
PHOTO: Clinging on to life takes us away from the God who gave it to us, and this ironically means we will lose it. "Whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?" (Luke 9:23-25).
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https://veryfatoldman.blogspot.com/2018/11/reflection-jonah-runs-god-pursues.html


We need to reject the idea that we can follow Jesus from a safe distance and avoid trouble and pain as we love and serve Him. Preacher J. H. Jowett once said: [9]

We never pass into any spiritual inheritance through the delightful exercises of a picnics, but always through the grim contentions of the battlefield. It is so in the secret realm of the soul. Every faculty which wins its spiritual freedom does so at the price of blood . . . We are not "born again" into soft and protected nurseries, but in the open country where we suck strength from the very terror of the tempest.



We need to reject the idea that we can follow Jesus from a safe distance and avoid trouble and pain as we love and serve Him.

PHOTO: We need to reject the idea that we can follow Jesus from a safe distance and avoid trouble and pain as we love and serve Him.
Sadly, when we look deep into the mirror of our souls, we may realize that we are the ones who have some unhealthy tendencies that God wants to change.
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https://veryfatoldman.blogspot.com/2018/11/reflection-jonah-runs-god-pursues.html


Some people run away from God by freezing in disobedience. They live with what they consider "small" or "respectable" sins, believing that they don't need to be rescued from them, or that these sins are not as bad as the "big" ones like murder and adultery. [10] But Jesus did warn us about such sins - they hinder us from growing in our relationship with God.

 
 
Some people run away from God by freezing in disobedience. PHOTO: Some people run away from God by freezing in disobedience. They live with what they consider "small" or "respectable" sins, believing that they don't need to be rescued from them, or that these sins are not as bad as the "big" ones like murder and adultery. But Jesus did warn us about such sins - they hinder us from growing in our relationship with God.
Satan In Paradise Lost by John Milton
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Then there are those who, like the Pharisees, indulge in false piety and construct religious scaffolding to avoid facing the full implications of trusting and loving God. The Pharisees devoted themselves to technical issues of the law, such as detailed rules of Sabbath, while neglecting the real demands of the law. Jesus exposed their spiritual bankruptcy and hypocrisy. He knew that while they acted as if they were drawing closer to God, they were actually running away from Him and avoiding a real relationship with the living God. They feigned (pretended) obedience, but were in fact being disobedient.



There are those who, like the Pharisees, indulge in false piety and construct religious scaffolding to avoid facing the full implications of trusting and loving God. PHOTO: There are those who, like the Pharisees, indulge in false piety and construct religious scaffolding to avoid facing the full implications of trusting and loving God. They acted as if they were drawing closer to God, they were actually running away from Him and avoiding a real relationship with the living God. They feigned (pretended) obedience, but were in fact being disobedient.
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Is there hope for such people who run away from God? Can they be rescued from their disobedience? The short answer is yes. There is no depth of sinfulness beyond God's reach. We are always on His radar screen, and He is ever ready to rescue us if we acknowledge Him and His ways.



There is no depth of sinfulness beyond God's reach.

PHOTO: There is no depth of sinfulness beyond God's reach. We are always on His radar screen, and He is ever ready to rescue us if we acknowledge Him and His ways.
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God has compassion for those who have strayed away, even when they think they are better off without Him. He called shepherds in Israel to look for the sheep who strayed from His flock. And when the shepherds themselves strayed, He took it upon himself to be the divine shepherd looking for them (Ezekiel 34:1-16). In the parable of the lost sheep, we read about the shepherd leaving his 99 sheep to look for the one that was lost (Luke 15:3-7). Whether on a ship being tossed about by angry seas or deep underwater in a fish's stomach, one can always receive God's love and grace.

Like the prodigal son, we can always turn back to the Father - He is only a prayer away.


God has compassion for those who have strayed away, even when they think they are better off without Him.
PHOTO: God has compassion for those who have strayed away, even when they think they are better off without Him. He called shepherds in Israel to look for the sheep who strayed from His flock. And when the shepherds themselves strayed, He took it upon himself to be the divine shepherd looking for them (Ezekiel 34:1-16).
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https://veryfatoldman.blogspot.com/2018/11/reflection-jonah-runs-god-pursues.html

 
Dear Lord, we learn that a Christian who has been blessed with more resources face a greater temptation to flee from God and His will. Especially, when Satan will be offering support in all the endeavours. Please help us from this wrong temptation. Stop us from accepting the complete transportation facilities provided by Satan. We do not want to have opportunities that can leave us more vulnerable to temptation, less dependent on God, and with more options to flee from Him.<br>Please help us to realise that running away from God can be a costly thing, and just Jonah, we have to pay for the disobedience. We need help to repent from our mistakes and continue to fight the good fight, finish the race, and keep the faith. We learn that fleeing from our Lord, and procrastinating will only cause us to go downward towards the gloomy world where all the downcast eventually gathered.<br>Please help us stop in our pointless ambitions, which have led us to our crumbled states. Our time should be spent on more productive activities, like pursuing out faith in our Lord, and establishing the most important relationship with Him first, and not with anybody else.<br>We need help to reject the idea that we can follow Jesus from a safe distance and avoid trouble and pain as we love and serve Him.<br>Help us not to run away from God by freezing in disobedience which is a sin that hinder us from growing in our relationship with God.<br>Please help not to indulge in false piety and construct religious scaffolding to avoid facing the full implications of trusting and loving God. We are actually running away from Him and avoiding a real relationship with the living God.<br>As there is no depth of sinfulness beyond God’s reach, we pray for forgiveness from our Lord, and to rescue us from our disobedience and procrastination.<br>Through Lord Jesus Christ we pray. Amen!

PHOTO: Dear Lord, we learn that a Christian who has been blessed with more resources face a greater temptation to flee from God and His will. Especially, when Satan will be offering support in all the endeavours. Please help us from this wrong temptation. Stop us from accepting the complete transportation facilities provided by Satan. We do not want to have opportunities that can leave us more vulnerable to temptation, less dependent on God, and with more options to flee from Him.

Please help us to realise that running away from God can be a costly thing, and just like Jonah, we have to pay for the disobedience. We need help to repent from our mistakes and continue to fight the good fight, finish the race, and keep the faith. We learn that fleeing from our Lord, and procrastinating will only cause us to go downward towards the gloomy world where all the downcast eventually gathered.

Please help us stop in our pointless ambitions, which have led us to our crumbled states. Our time should be spent on more productive activities, like pursuing our faith in our Lord, and establishing the most important relationship with Him first, and not with anybody else.

We need help to reject the idea that we can follow Jesus from a safe distance and avoid trouble and pain as we love and serve Him.

Help us not to run away from God by freezing in disobedience which is a sin that hinder us from growing in our relationship with God.

Please help not to indulge in false piety and construct religious scaffolding to avoid facing the full implications of trusting and loving God. We are actually running away from Him and avoiding a real relationship with the living God.

As there is no depth of sinfulness beyond God’s reach, we pray for forgiveness from our Lord, and to rescue us from our disobedience and procrastination.

Through Lord Jesus Christ we pray. Amen!

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Also from the same author, Robert M. Solomon

"Faithful to the end", A Preacher's Exposition of 2 Timothy, @ 2014 by Robert M. Solomon

'Faithful to the end', A Preacher's Exposition of 2 Timothy, @ 2014 by Robert M. Solomon<br>
Reflection - Faithful to the end (Links)
https://veryfatoldman.blogspot.com/2017/06/reflection-faithful-to-end-links.html



"Finding rest for the soul" Responding to Jesus' Invitation in Matthew 11:28-29, © 2016 by Robert M. Solomon

Reflection - Finding rest for the soul (Links)
Reflection - Finding rest for the soul (Links)
https://veryfatoldman.blogspot.com/2018/10/reflection-finding-rest-for-soul-links.html





Reference
[1] From "God in Pursuit" Lessons from the Book of Jonah, Copyright © 2017 by Robert M. Solomon, ISBN 978-1-62707-801-6, Part I: Jonah 1:1-17, Chapter 2 "Jonah Runs, God Pursues", Page 20-22, 26-29.

[2] Jennifer Heeren, Crosswalk Contributing Writer, 6 Things Guaranteed to Help You Stop Procrastinating, posted on 05 November 2015, https://www.crosswalk.com/faith/women/6-things-guaranteed-to-help-you-stop-procrastinating.html

[3] David Yarborough, Local religion columnist, Are you running away from God, posted on 31 March 2017, https://thebrunswicknews.com/life/are-you-running-away-from-god/article_690e8678-d928-5e55-9840-3386c139a072.html

 
[5] Willian L. Banks, Jonah: The Reluctant Prophet (Chicago: Mooddy, 1966), 20.

[6] Eugene H. Petersen, Under the Unpredictable Plant: An Exploration into Vocatiional Holiness (Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1922), 69.

[9] L. B. Cowman, Streams in the Desert (Grand Rapids; Zondervan, 1978), 70-71 (March 3).

[10] See Jerry Bridges, Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2007). Bridges deals with generally tolerated sins such as pride, judgmentalism, anxiety, discontentment, and impatience.


New International Version (NIV), Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


Ezekiel 34:1-16 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel+34%3A1-16&version=NIV

Jonah 1:1-17 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jonah+1%3A1-17&version=NIV

Jonah 1:3 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jonah+1%3A3&version=NIV

Jonah 1:4 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jonah+1%3A4&version=NIV

Luke 9:23-25 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+9%3A23-25&version=NIV

Luke 15:3-7 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+15%3A3-7&version=NIV

Matthew 11:28-29 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+11%3A28-29&version=NIV

Matthew 26:58 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+26%3A58&version=NIV

Psalm 91:1-2 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+91%3A1-2&version=NIV

Psalm 139:7-10 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+139%3A7-10&version=NIV