We all have issues. The problem is when we don’t deal with our issues and take them to the Lord. Then our issues create more issues. Our main issue in life that we all have in common is–disobedience. We all can be like Jonah.
- Jonah 1:1-3 New King James Version – 1 Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” 3 But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.
Jonah went the exact opposite way to avoid obeying God. We do the same today. But we need to check out where disobedience leads. We don’t have to learn to disobey–that’s our default. We must learn to obey. Obedience requires denying your flesh.
Consider Adam and Eve. They had access to everything in the Garden except one thing. God asked them not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Eve ate from the forbidden tree and nothing happened. So she gave some to Adam. But when Adam disobeyed God, everything changed. Obedience matters. Disobedience brings consequences.
Jonah’s disobedience causes a storm to arise in his life.
- Jonah 1:4-5 New King James Version – 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. 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.
Don’t go to sleep in your sin. Rise up and pray. When we are disobedient we can cause others to suffer. Jonah’s disobedience caused the whole ship to be in a storm. If Jonah’s ship had a name it would be called “The Disobedience”.
Jonah 1:6-9 New King James Version – 6 So the captain came to him, and said to him, “What do you mean, sleeper? Arise, call on your God; perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish.” 7 And they said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this trouble has come upon us.” So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah. 8 Then they said to him, “Please tell us! For whose cause is this trouble upon us? What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?” 9 So he said to them, “I am a Hebrew; and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”
The storm was so great the men asked Jonah to pray to his God to make the storm stop.
- Jonah 1:10-16 New King James Version – 11 Then they said to him, “What shall we do to you that the sea may be calm for us?”—for the sea was growing more tempestuous. 12 And he said to them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you. For I know that this great tempest is because of me.” 13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to return to land, but they could not, for the sea continued to grow more tempestuous against them. 14 Therefore they cried out to the Lord and said, “We pray, O Lord, please do not let us perish for this man’s life, and do not charge us with innocent blood; for You, O Lord, have done as it pleased You.” 15 So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. 16 Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice to the Lord and took vows.
What would stop in our lives if we just obey God? Some of us need to forgive. God forgives us, so we must forgive others. We must let past hurt go in order to heal and move forward to what God has for us. God can use even our disobedience to draw us and others closer to Him.
The Lord sent a fish to go fishing–for Jonah!
Jonah 1:17 New King James Version – Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
It took Jonah three days in the belly of the whale before he repented. The Lord had the fish to spew Jonah out–real close to Nineveh. Jonah was ready to obey when he came out of the fish. He preached the Word of God to the wicked people of Nineveh and the whole city repented.
- God will help you when you decide to obey
- When you obey enough, obedience becomes a way of life.
Isaiah 1:19 New King James Version – If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land;
We are stronger together. God Himself is a team–God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit–operating in unity. God also created holy angels that minister on His behalf. This Christian walk is not meant to be a solo walk. Get strong through fellowship with the Holy Spirit and your brothers and sisters in Christ.
What does it mean to be strong? One of the strongest things we can do is pray. Prayer can go where you can’t go. Prayer is not limited by time or distance.
Being strong means not looking back when God has delivered you. Don’t look back after people who have decided to disobey God. Being strong means being more focused on God than people. Trust God to deliver people. Our role is to pray and obey.
When God gives you an instruction, remember it and obey it. Sometimes your very own life depends on your obedience. Pray and ask the Lord to help you obey and He will. We must be strong in the Lord to withstand the wiles of the enemy.
- Ephesians 6:10-11 – Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
The suit of strength (in the Lord) is a perfect fit. It’s custom made for every believer and it doesn’t need any adjustments. We need strength to obey God. Notice that we don’t need strength to obey “boo” and “Sue”. Earthly relationships don’t have the high standards that God has. What God requires of us means our flesh has to die.
Unbelievers expect believers in Christ to be different. They expect us to act like Christ Jesus and have a holy lifestyle that demonstrates the love of God. We have to learn to obey God even when we don’t understand it, even when it is not popular. It takes faith to obey God.
Consider Noah. He obeyed and encouraged his family to obey God.
- Genesis 6:5-13 New King James Version – Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. 7 So the Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. 9 This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God. 10 And Noah begot three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth. The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.13 And God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth.
If Noah could have a godly lifestyle and obey God, so can we. He was as human just like us. Obedience is a choice. We can’t blame the devil or anyone else when we disobey. We can choose to obey God. God gave Noah a specific set of instructions to build an ark and save his family and the creatures of the earth.
- Genesis 6:22 New King James Version – Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did.
If we’re not careful to be strong in the Lord, living a life a readiness can turn into living a life of compromise. The world is wicked and calls evil good and good evil (Isaiah 5:20). We naturally want people to like us. But, if it comes between pleasing God and pleasing the world, we must choose to please God. Don’t be a closet Christian or an “undercover” Christian. Can you talk about Jesus Christ around prominent people and in settings that are not godly? If not, pray for strength.
- Acts 5:29 New King James Version – But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.
A strong Christian thinks about others–our life is not just about us. God calls us to love Him with ALL our heart, soul, mind and strength. If we want to be a person of strength, we must pray.
- Luke 18:1 New King James Version – Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart,
Don’t expect to be in the majority or popular when you do things God’s way.
- 1 Peter 5:8 New King James Version – Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
Who can the enemy devour? The enemy can devour the person who…
- disobeys God
- doesn’t read the Word of God
- doesn’t pray or seek God’s face.
But if we put these spiritual disciplines in place (obedience, reading the Word, seeking God and praying), we won’t be an easy target for the devil.
God has already given us strength. Walk in it.
There was a woman an issue of blood for twelve years.
Mark 5:25-32 New King James Version– 25 Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, 26 and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. 28 For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.” 29 Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the [f]affliction. 30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My clothes?” 31 But His disciples said to Him, “You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’ ” 32 And He looked around to see her who had done this thing. 33 But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. 34 And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.”
Like this woman, everybody has an issue–a problem they can’t fix. For instance an anger issue, an unforgiveness issue or an alcohol issue can lead to other issues like broken relationships, finance problems, and health problems or even emotional problems like bitterness. These problems are difficult to fix. Medical doctors can’t fix bitterness. Hurt over a period of times leads to weightiness. You can’t be healed of an issue you don’t deal with. The big lie is–I am fine.
You are okay if you are trusting in the Lord. But you’re not okay if you are depending on your own will or resources to solve the problem. Also being impatient is an issue. Not being willing to wait, and especially not being willing to wait on God will lead to bigger issues. Consider Abraham and Sarah. They wanted a child but Sarah was barren. Sarah suggested Abraham have a child by her maid Hagar and they could adopt the child. Hagar had a
But people with issues can flip the page of negativity to a positive outcome through Jesus Christ.
If you don’t guard your heart you will make foolish decisions for “now” without considering the consequences.
- Proverbs 4:23-24 New Living Translation – Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
The woman with the issue got sick and tired of being sick and tired. She changed her thinking when she heard about Jesus.
- Matthew 9:21-22 New King James Version – 21 For she said to herself, “If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.” 22 But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that hour.
Three things to do when your problem is causing problems…
- Love God and love people. (When you learn to love people, you won’t have room for unforgiveness. The enemy will try to make you have a problem with God, thinking: “Why did God let me go through this?” Consider the faith of Job. Even when Job lost everything, Job refused to blame God. Job said “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” (Job 13:15) When people don’t understand what’s happening in your life, they will make up a reason and spread lies. Keep trusting God even when others don’t understand your issue. Don’t try to fix your issues in your flesh. Let the Lord handle it. Pray for your enemies with a pure heart of love for them. Don’t let the attitudes of other people change you.
- Test positive for faith. The Lord is looking for faith. Will He find faithfulness in you? Everyone will be tested for faith. Be determined to demonstrate faith in Jesus and faithfulness to Jesus. Faith can be contagious too.
- Develop a desire to pray. Your prayer life must be exercised to grow. It’s important to just start. Don’t focus on a length of time. Focus on the Lord and being sincere as you pray. Pray for the desire to pray and the Lord will help you.
If you live a life of readiness you don’t have to worry about getting ready, you will be ready. Focus on being about the Father’s business, and be ready when Christ appears for His church.
The Word of God tells us to be strong in the Lord. When we are strong in the Lord we have a mindset to resist the enemy. We have creativity of how we can be on the offensive for God–doing His will on the earth.
- 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 New King James Version– Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love.
- 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 Living Bible – Keep your eyes open for spiritual danger; stand true to the Lord; act like men; be strong; and whatever you do, do it with kindness and love.
Always watch as well as pray to be strong in the Lord. God didn’t say feel strong. He said be strong. Prayer takes you into the spiritual realm to get strength, wisdom, and help. We have to worship God in spirit and in truth. The enemy knows if he can get our faith, he can steal our soul. We must keep our eyes open for spiritual danger–temptations and strategies to get you to compromise your faith. The enemy is looking for weak spots in the saints. So one of the best things you can do is pray. Ask God to help you with everything and even with things you are not aware of. Pray for God to strengthen your weak spots.
- James 5:16 New King James Version – The effectual fervent prayers of a righteous man availeth much.
The strongest people are humble–they know they need God. Being strong in the Lord means we must depend on the Lord. Having God in our life opens the door for strength. We don’t serve a weak God. We really need strength in the Lord when things are not going well so we don’t make decisions in the flesh.
- Ephesians 6:10 New King James Version – Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
- Psalm 27:14 New King James Version – Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!
Your own strength will eventually give out. But, if you depend on the Lord for strength, you will never cave in and quit the good fight of faith. We need strength in…
- every day life,
- in families,
- on the job
- and in relationships
The Lord will give you a strong word to keep you strong. Even a dog will stand his ground in his own yard. Stand your ground in the Lord. Be bold and fight for the Lord when the enemy crosses the line. Pray for your brothers and sisters in the Lord and help each other to stay strong in Christ.
God has called us to be salt and light in the midst of darkness. Don’t allow your light for Christ to go out.
- Matthew 5:13 New King James Version – “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
You need strength to endure the times when you feel weak. Weakness starts from within. If you think you can’t, you won’t. Change the way you think. Tell yourself you can do it. Believe what the Word of God says about you. God will strengthen you when you need it.
When we lose righteousness through Christ, we lose. God doesn’t want us to establish our own righteousness by our own standards–men’s hearts are deceitfully wicked.
- Matthew 6:33 New King James Version – But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
We must do things God’s way in His kingdom. God calls us to forgive one another and love one another. That’s a command, not an option.
We are to obey those in authority over us, but it is better to obey God than man if what man wants us to do is against God’s Word. For example: The three Hebrew boys refused to bow down to a statue even though their lives were being threatened. The Word of God says to have NO other Gods before Him.
- Daniel 3:18-19 New King James Version – 18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.” 19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury, and the expression on his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. He spoke and commanded that they heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated.
We must stand firm in God. The enemy will try his best to get you distracted and deceived.
The Word of God is truth. But what good will it do you if you don’t have an appetite for truth. The flesh hates truth and loves sin. Pray for an appetite for the Word of God because it will save your soul.
- 2 Timothy 3:16 New King James Version – All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
- John 14:6 New King James Version – Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
There is no life without Christ. If you are not born-again spiritually through Christ, you are “walking dead”
- Ephesians 2:1-5 New King James Version – And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
JESUS IS THE TRUTH.
- John 8:31-32 New King James Version – 31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
When people get away from truth, it’s just a matter of time before they go astray. That can happen to any of us if we don’t keep receiving truth from God’s Word.
- Isaiah 53:6 New King James Version – All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
The sheep is the only animal without a natural defense. The sheep’s only defense is the shepherd. We must depend on the Lord Jesus–our Shepherd. JESUS fights for us to know the Truth and be set free.
- When we want to have our own way, we will seek people who will agree with us (even if it goes against God’s Word)
- And we avoid people who don’t agree with us.
- Just because we find somebody who will agree doesn’t make it right
- If it doesn’t agree with God’s Word, it is wrong.
- God will judge us based on His Word, not based on popular opinion.
- What’s popular with the world, is often wicked to God.
- There is a cost associated with standing for the truth–the world will hate you.
- But JESUS HIMSELF will stand with you. You will not be alone.
- Tell people the truth, even if your children, family and loved ones get angry.