When God Cleans House

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Jonah 1

New International Version (NIV)

Jonah Flees From the Lord

1 The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”

3 But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.

4 Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. 5 All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship.

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Ephesians 4:31

New International Version (NIV)

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.

God did some fall housecleaning this week. He sent a mighty wind through our neighborhood that made the trees tremble and shake loose their deed branches. When it finished, I had a mess to clean up.

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In my own life, God sometimes works in a similar way. He will send or allow stormy circumstances that shake loose the “lifeless branches” I’ve been refusing to release. Sometimes it’s something that once was good, like an area of ministry, but is no longer bearing fruit. More often it’s something that’s not good, like a bad habit I’ve slid into or a stubborn attitude that prevents new growth.

The old Testament prophet Jonah discovered what can happen when one refuses to get rid of a stubborn attitude. His hatred for the Ninevites was stronger than his love for God, so God sent a great storm that landed Jonah in a giant fish. God preserved the reluctant prophet in that unlikely place and gave him a second chance to obey.

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The lifeless limbs in my yard caused me to think of attitudes that God expects me to dispose of. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians list some of them: bitterness, anger, and evil speech. When God shakes things up, we need to get rid of what shakes loose.

Lord, In the name of Jesus, give me a listening heart and help me to cooperate with you when you point out changes that need to be made in my life. I want to honor you and please you.

Christ’s cleansing power can remove the most stubborn stain of sin…..

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