Hey Messenger, What’s Your Attitude!

“Go to Ninevah, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before me” (Jonah 1:2).   You mean that place of cruelty and violence?

Was Jonah thinking like you might

Jonahif asked to deliver a message to South Chicago!  So Jonah fled “from the presence of the Lord.”

Why, when he told the sailors “I fear the Lord.”  Why when his prayer of repentance from the belly of the fish includes many passages from the Psalms, indicating that he had studied and stored the Word of God in his heart!  In the uncertain days to come, will we find ourselves in situations with no Bible where we’ll be thankful for memorization we have done?

So why’d Jonah forget Psalm 139:7-8 noting that we can’t escape God’s presence!  That fact is what saved Jonah’s life!  In this fish tale of the one who didn’t get away.

Considering the attitudes of God’s messengers in His Bible can help us who are called to be His messengers in this end-time

What’s our attitude?  Not always what it should be, especially in these dog days of summer scorchers when it’s so easy to become lethargic in fulfilling our message (Matt. 24:14), 28:18-20).

Jonah said why he ran in Jonah 4:2:  He knew that God would be so merciful and spare Ninevah who would then defeat his people Israel.  It looks like he thought that if he didn’t go to them, God would have no choice but to wipe them out, thus sparing Israel.

♥   We must know God and have His Word in our hearts.
♥   Our desire should be for those who have done wrong to change, not be punished.
♥   Their spiritual needs over our physical needs.

Hey, Moses, what’s your attitude?

He told God he wasn’t eloquent enough to be His messenger, when Stephen in Acts 7 said otherwise.  Jeremiah argued he was too young.  Paul told Timothy to not let anyone despise his youth.  Today we are more likely to moan we are too old!

♥   No excuses!

We must answer God like Isaiah:

♥   “Here I am, send me!”

Every day we must answer God like Samuel:

♥   “Lord, your servant is listening!”  What can I do to serve you today?

We shouldn’t try to work up good attitudes to be God’s messengers.  It’s God’s Holy Spirit that makes it possible for us to be like Caleb  (Num. 14:24) who

“thinks different and follows me completely” (New Century Version)

When Moses came down from the mount with the Ten Commandments, the people were romping in debauchery and God was primed in ire to wipe them out.  Moses interceded and even volunteered to have his name blotted out of the Book of Life if God wouldn’t relent (Exo. 32:32-33).  How like Paul when he said “I could wish myself accursed” for Israel (Rom. 9:3).

♥   We must love the people God sends us to give His message to.

Moses strike rockToward the end of his life—and the end of him leading the people into Canaan—Moses smote the rock twice instead of speaking to it.  He was frustrated, lost his temper, and got careless.  Maybe he thought his closeness to God gave him license to not follow His instructions carefully.  God holds his leaders to stricter accountability—to set the right example.

♥  We must be careful to follow God’s instructions.

Hey, Ezekiel, what’s your attitude?

It’s interesting that God told His prophet, “Do not be rebellious like that rebellious house” (Ezek. 2:8).   We’re from the same culture and society as ones God sends us to as messengers.  When Jeremiah and Daniel prayed for their people to God, they said “We have sinned.”  Were they just trying to sound humble?  Who of us hasn’t—and still isn’t—sinning (1 John 1:8)?

AbigailWhen Abigail bowed before the charging David who was ready to wipe out Nabal, who was living up to his name, she told David to put it all on her (1 Sam. 25:24).   Like Esther, she delivered her message with tact and master timing which is one-third wisdom.

♥  We must be humble because that’s whom God gives grace to.

John the Baptist was willing to decrease so that Christ would increase (John 3:30).

Jesus was the greatest messenger of God

and gave more be-attitudes than anybody.  Perhaps summing up His message best:  “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His Work” (John 4:34, New International Version).

♥  Total commitment!

Go back through these loving attitudes of God’s messengers in the Bible and then let’s each ask ourselves:

Hey, messenger, what’s your attitude!

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Now See Here, Touch & Smell to Discern Good & Evil

In this third and final part, how can we use our sight, touch and smell to be “those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Heb. 5:14).

Seeing

eye blue“I Am Joe’s Eye” (from the Reader’s Digest series) says “For concentrated complexities, no other organ in Joe’s body can equal me … I have tens of millions of electrical connections and can handle 1.5 million simultaneous messages.  I gather 80 percent of all the knowledge Joe absorbs.”

Remember how Job explained his repentance:  “I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you” (Job 42:5).  20-20 spiritual comprehension!

Without God’s Holy Spirit, Peter said we cannot see afar off (2 Pet. 1:9).  We cannot discern spiritual truths.  Vines Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words likened it to being near-sighted, “occupied in regarding worldly affairs” (p. 557).

In 2 Cor. 4:4 Paul observed that “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”  Isa. 44:18 examines us that our eyes are smeared over so we cannot see and our hearts cannot comprehend.

Paul gives the remedy in 2 Cor. 5:7:  “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”

Recently Mary and I served on the staff of Camp Colorado where we focused on “God’s Vision for You.”  We don’t have to be a preteen to learn from the Compass Check and Christian Living messages that were given.

Touch

touchThe woman who believed that she’d be healed if she could just touch Jesus … was!

The Bible warns in 2 Cor. 6:17:  “Come out from among them and be separate … do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.  I will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters.”

Gary Chapman in his 1995 classic The Five Love Languages examined gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service and physical touch.

God wants us to keep in touch.

Smell

smellThis is the most direct of our five senses and we can detect up to 10,000 odors.  A scent can trigger a special memory.

Women are able to detect odors way better than men, name smells more precisely and remember them longer.

Neuroscience analysis of the brain where smells register found that women engage both sides whereas men only one.

Mothers can pick out t-shirts worn by their newborn, while fathers are doing good to pick out their newborn!  Neuroscientist Charles J. Wycsocki theorizes that because humans can detect smells circulating through their own bloodstreams, mother and fetus exchange odors during pregnancy.

Most men will freely admit:  women smell better.

Maybe God created men that way so they can live with whatever cooking they are blessed to receive.  And so they can go on an annual men’s weekend campout where there are no showers!

Fragrances seem to highly influence mood, stress and job performance.  The scent of lemon decreases employee errors.   Peppermint boosts attentiveness by 15%.  May I suggest you go back to the top and pop a mint before reading this again!

“Let my prayer be set before You as incense” (Psa. 141:2).  God wants us to beat our prayers fine (detailed), present balanced issues, be fervent, and make them sweet and pleasant to God.

Studies show that humans are prone to inattentional anosmia and olfactory habituation.  In other words, when overwhelmed by a particular bad odor, after about 20 minutes the brain can’t detect it.  This makes it possible for dairy farm families to carry on!

So we must smell out fake news, photoshopped pictures, and stinky theology that calls good evil and evil good.

In this three-part series we’ve caught a glimpse at what an amazing creation our five senses are and should be aroused to thankfulness to our Creator.  We’ve seen that exercising our senses enhances our appreciation of life.

Ever AfterIn the Ever After movie, Prince Henry exclaims to peasant Danielle:  “How do you do it!  You have more passion in one memory than I have in my whole body!”  She will undoubtedly go on to become the next Queen of France!

Remembering the roaring Poudre River, if we have the Holy Spirit flowing through us powerfully and downstream in service, our riverbed bounded on both sides by the Ten Commandments, the water surging over all boulders and obstacles, exercising our spiritual senses to discern good and evil, banking on proper balance and priorities, we will get to become kings and queens in God’s soon-coming Kingdom!

Part 1: What’s It Mean:  Exercise Our Senses to Discern Good & Evil

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