Fear

fear, perfect love, psychology, emotional health, mental health, spiritual health, spiritual attack

When it comes to fear, there is no respect of persons. It gets a toehold, and pulls you in when you least expect it. With a combination of marinading ourselves in God’s love, prayer, and praise, fear will take a backseat. However, Satan isn’t going to want to let us go without a fight. He is always on the move. Therefore, we have to constantly stay armored up. For when fear is conquered in one area, he is sure to attack us in the next.

fear, perfect love, psychology, emotional health, mental health, spiritual health, spiritual attack
Photo by Matthew Henry

Fear

Fear.

Sneaks upon from nowhere.

Fear.

Latches on you if you dare.

Fear.

Masquerading as your friend.

Fear.

Only torments in the end.

But,

Just Remember to look above.

At,

Our Dear Father’s Perfect love.

Why?

In his love, there is no fear.

Yes,

Abba, Father, He is Near.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

1 John 4:18
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Episode 47: Enough for Everybody or The Scarcity Mindset

birds, enough, scarcity, abundance, God is sovereign, God is in control, stewardship, ownership, Psalm 24:1, katina horton, valley of grace, emotional health, mental health, spiritual health,

Episode 47: Enough for Everybody or The Scarcity Mindset
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Enough for Everybody Podcast Outline

  • Two Bird Observations
  • What Can We Learn from the Birds
birds, enough, scarcity, abundance, God is sovereign, God is in control, stewardship, ownership, Psalm 24:1, katina horton, valley of grace, emotional health, mental health, spiritual health,
Photo by Mukesh Mishra

Show Notes

Enough for Everybody

About a year ago, I was looking out of the kitchen window, and I thought that what I was witnessing was a bird fight.  Instead of it being a fight, it was more like bullying.  Bullying among two birds.  One robin decided that he wanted the other robin to leave the grass. (Granted there was more than enough room for both of them.) The second robin (victim) tried to stay there. 

However, the first robin (bully), continued to peck him.  The second robin went over to the bird bath to relax there.  And what do you know?  Mr. Bully came over there and pecked him until he left that area.  Eventually the second robin flew into the happy face tree (someone literally drew a happy face on the tree itself) and stayed there for a while.  This made the bully very happy.

 Reflection on Enough

In the spring, I saw several birds in the backyard after it rained.  No one had the bullying and victim title.  They were all scavenging for food after it rained.  They knew that there was more than enough to go around.

God revealed something to me in that very moment.  Sometimes we are like the two birds from a year ago.  We feel that we are not satisfied until we are the only star.  We feel that there will not be enough of God’s grace, goodness, and mercy to go around.  We think we have to fight in order to get the blessings, or there won’t be enough.

Other times, we are like the birds from the spring, realizing that there is more than enough, God is the one who owns it all, and is running it all. 

The earth is the Lord‘s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. (Psalms 24:1, KJV)

Even with whatever talent it is that he has blessed us with, he has to tell the door to open and to close.  Some of us will be blessed with a lot, and some of us will be blessed with little.  However, when we realize that there is more than enough for everybody, then we can look to God, rather than other people to receive the blessing.

“O my people, listen as I speak.
    Here are my charges against you, O Israel:
    I am God, your God!
 I have no complaint about your sacrifices
    or the burnt offerings you constantly offer.

But I do not need the bulls from your barns
    or the goats from your pens.
 For all the animals of the forest are mine,
    and I own the cattle on a thousand hills.

I know every bird on the mountains,
    and all the animals of the field are mine.
 If I were hungry, I would not tell you,
    for all the world is mine and everything in it.

Do I eat the meat of bulls?
    Do I drink the blood of goats?
 Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God,
    and keep the vows you made to the Most High.
Then call on me when you are in trouble,
    and I will rescue you,
    and you will give me glory.” (Psalms 50:7-15, NLT)

Dear God,

We thank you for the gifts that you have blessed us with.  We pray that you will help us to realize that we don’t have to worry about being threatened by anyone else, because you have blessed all of us with different gifts/talents that are unique to us.  Please help us not to compete, but to work together for your glory.

In your name we pray,

Amen.

Episode 46: We Are All Qualified

interview, job interview, prayer qualifications, qualifications, emotional health, spiritual health, mental health, self-worth, katina horton, simple functional grace-filled living, valley of grace, hope, Our Father

Episode 46: We Are All Qualified
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interview, job interview, prayer qualifications, qualifications, emotional health, spiritual health, mental health, self-worth, katina horton, simple functional grace-filled living, valley of grace, hope, Our Father
Photo by Matthew Henry

We Are All Qualified Podcast Outline

  • Job Interviews
  • Qualifications for Job Positions
  • Qualifications for Prayer Warriors

Show Notes:

Scripture Reading James 5:13-18   We Are All Qualified
Being a prayer warrior is one job that doesn’t require a special set of qualifications. We
don’t have to worry about God looking at our application, and going, “No, I am sorry, but your resume doesn’t meet the qualifications for our idea candidate.  I will keep your resume on file
for a year just in case something else comes along.”  We are all broken. And because of this
brokenness, we are in the perfect position for God to use us. The bible gives us one example
after the other of how God used a bunch of mixed up, messed up Christians to do his work.
What does the scripture say about the combination of prayer and broken people?   

“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elijah was a
man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain;
and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months.  And he prayed 
again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.”
(James 5:17-18, KJV)  

These verses hone us in on knowing what the requirements are to getting our prayers
answered: 1) willing hearts, 2) consistency, and 3) fervency (intense passion). Let us all be
mindful of this as we prepare our resume for review.    

Dear God,  
We thank you for giving us examples in your Word of how you used broken
people like us to pray and do your will. Please help us to be consistent and
committed when it comes to getting our prayers answered. You tell us in your
word that if we delight ourselves in you, that you will give us the desires of our heart.  

In your name we pray,  
Amen

Recovery

Background on Recovery: When you are recovering from PTSD/trauma, it requires a lot of in-depth work. This poem depicts just that. You have to regain your sense of self, learn to listen to your body for its story, and be still with patience as God does his work.

recovery, discovery, mind body connection, psychology, PTSD, trauma, emotional health, mental health, physical health, spiritual health, brokenness, healing
Photo by Burst by Shopify

Recovery

It’s recovery. It’s recovery.

It requires lots of discovery.

What I think.

What I feel.

What my body tells me is real.

I’ll be still.

Know he’s God.

Do the work.

Though it’s hard.

It’s recovery. It’s recovery.

God is there.

In this discovery.

Episode 43: The Big “D”

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Have you ever been divorced? Do you know of someone who has been divorced? When you found out that this person was divorced, did you treat them differently? Today’s podcast is entitled, “The Big “D”, and that “D” stands for divorce. Click above to listen to the latest podcast episode.

It has been said that divorce is worse than death.  There was a time when the word divorce was taboo.  Older television shows reflect these ideas.  When children mentioned that their friends’ parents were getting divorced, they were shushed by their parents, and/or the parents came up with an excuse as to why Johnny or Susan couldn’t play at the neighbors’ house anymore.  They were outcasts.

divorce, psychology, family life, marriage, trust issues, healing, brokenness, healing our brokenness, podcasting, podcast, katina horton, simple functional grace-filled living, family law, spiritual health

Prior to getting divorced, I heard someone use the phrases “It’s no big deal.  People get divorced every day.”  This is true.  However, what is also true is that you don’t have people lined up to tell you the real impact from divorce.  Divorce leaves lifelong effects in every area:  financially, emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually, etc.  Basically, there is no table left unturned.    

Grief experienced from divorce can be draining.  With this pain, you must grieve the loss of the marriage, the loss of the family as a unit, and then grieve that part of your identity that is being taken away.  There is no magic formula for the intensity of the pain or the amount of time that it will take to heal.  My grief so far tends to run in spurts.  The grief might be off and on all day for three weeks, and then there is a month break before it starts up again.  I have had other women tell me that theirs was every day for two hours for the length of anywhere from two to five years.

There are some individuals who have gotten divorced because of severe abuse that has gone on for years.  In Malachi 2:16, we are told, “For the Lord, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the Lord of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.” (NASB)

Others have gotten divorced as a result of extramarital affairs:  The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made

at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.   And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except [it be] for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. (Matthew 19: 3-9)

 It is possible for God to heal marriages from any situation, even the ones listed above.  However, sometimes we make the mistake of thinking that one person can fix the whole marriage.  As individuals, we can only do our part.  We cannot be the Holy Spirit for others.  I am a planner.  I like organizing, analyzing, and figuring things out.  I thought that if I could just do A, B, and C, things would be fine.  If things weren’t getting better, it was because I hadn’t figured out the right formula yet.  Satan led me to believe that I was responsible for the entire relationship. 

He led me down the path of dishonoring God, and disrespecting myself and children “all in the name of love”.  The best thing that we can do is pray and ask God for wisdom and discernment, and then in turn get professional help for ourselves.  It is easy to pass judgment upon others who are considering divorce.  However, the truth is, only the individuals involved in the marriage are aware of the severity of the situation.  I stayed in a toxic situation for twenty years.  Thank God for Him getting a hold of my heart and mind.  We can pray the same thing for others whom we know of that are walking in this path.

Dear God,

We thank you for your word to go to when we are unsure, and don’t know where to turn.  Please help us to help others by sending them to your word and prayer when it comes to decisions about divorce.  We also pray that we would not pass judgment upon others when they are going through divorce because we don’t know the whole story.  Only you do.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen

Episode 37: One Bad Apple

Samuel, bad apple, one bad apple, apples, fruit, internalization, psychology, emotional health, mental health, spiritual health, choosing friends, healing our brokenness, valley of grace, simple functional grace-filled living, katina horton

Episode 37: One Bad Apple
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In case you missed my last podcast episode, you can grab it here.

One Bad Apple Podcast Outline

Samuel, bad apple, one bad apple, apples, fruit, internalization, psychology, emotional health, mental health, spiritual health, choosing friends, healing our brokenness, valley of grace, simple functional grace-filled living, katina horton
Photo by Matthew Henry
  • Influence of Others
  • Godly Influence
  • Internalizing Things
  • Samuel’s Experience
  • Scripture Focus:

Galatians 6

1 Samuel 16

Researchers state that it takes one “bad” person to ruin five good people. Remember the figure of speech that you were lectured on as a kid when it came time to picking your friends: “One bad apple ruins the whole bunch.” We got tired of hearing our parents and other adults say it, but what they were saying was basically synonymous with Galatians 5:9: “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” (KJV) Whether we are kids or adults, we must be careful of the company that we keep.

When we hang out with our friends, coworkers, family members, etc, it just becomes natural to start saying some of the things that they say. This is what happens when we are in relationship with anyone. Just as when we are reading God’s Word, and in relationship with him, our thoughts and behaviors will reflect that relationship.

However, if you are like me, where everything that is heard on tv, radio, and by mouth is internalized and leaks into your emotional, mental, and spiritual space, then you’ll find that you must be extra careful. Why? When we least expect it, words that are not our own start entering our mind.

And if we’re not careful, they are coming out of our mouths. I have found myself rebuking Satan many a day when this happens. I will never forget when one of my friends said that

she told her son to be careful with what he allows to come in from other people, because 1) it will go into our minds, 2) it will go into our hearts, and 3) it will come out of our mouths.

Dear God,

Thank you for giving us the gift of relationship. Please help us in using discernment in these relationships, as well as being self-aware of how we operate, so that we don’t fall prey to the devil.

In your name we pray,

Amen

Episode 32: Surprised by Provision

surprised, abandonment, podcast, podcasting, episode 32, provision, disappointment, psychology, emotional health, mental health, katina horton, healing our brokenness, bread, Moabitess, Ruth, Naomi, Elimelech

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Surprised by Provision Podcast Outline

  • Disappointment
  • Naomi’s Disappointment
  • Naomi’s Surprise
  • My Disappointment
  • My Surprise
  • Podcast Transcript

Surprised by Provision

surprised, abandonment, podcast, podcasting, episode 32, provision, disappointment, psychology, emotional health, mental health, katina horton, healing our brokenness, bread, Moabitess, Ruth, Naomi, Elimelech
Photo by Sheila Pedraza Burke

Disappointment

There are a lot of things that happen in life that we are just not prepared for handling.  As a matter of fact, if God revealed to us what was on the way, we’d take off running in the other direction.  Sometimes one thing happens, and that one thing ends up changing your entire world for what you know it to be. 

Naomi’s Disappointment

That is what happened to Naomi.  She was surprised by disappointment, and then surprised by provision.

Naomi and her husband Elimelech, and their two sons decided to leave Bethlehem and reside in Moab because of the famine.  Instead of life getting better at this point, it got worse.  Elimelech died.  Their two sons found wives and got married.  Then their two sons died.

Naomi decided to go back to Bethlehem, since she heard that they had bread again.  She figured that this might be a small sign of God’s provision.  Naomi told her two daughters-in-law to head back to their homelands so that they could find husbands, since she didn’t have any more sons.   Orpah left, but Ruth decided to stay:

 

And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: (Ruth 1:16, KJV)

The Return

When they returned to Bethlehem, it was evident that Naomi was surprised by God’s provision:

So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and they said, Is this Naomi?

 And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.

 I went out full and the Lord hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the Lord hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me?

 So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest.  (Ruth 1: 19-22, KJV)

Neither Ruth nor Naomi had a clue that going back to Bethlehem would bring surprise provision itself.  They went back for bread.  God had a little bit more than bread waiting for them.  He slowly began to reveal his plan.    

Ruth went out to glean corn, and she met a man named Boaz.  They had a conversation, and Boaz let on to Ruth that God was recompensing her work for her full diligence:

 

And Boaz answered and said unto her, It hath fully been shewed me, all that thou hast done unto thy mother in law since the death of thine husband: and how thou hast left thy father and thy mother, and the land of thy nativity, and art come unto a people which thou knewest not heretofore.

The Lord recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust.

(Ruth 2: 11-12, KJV)

When Ruth arrived back home, Naomi questioned her about the food.  Ruth told her that she had met a man by the name of Boaz.  Naomi knew this was good news:

And Naomi said unto her daughter in law, Blessed be he of the Lord, who hath not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead. And Naomi said unto her, The man is near of kin unto us, one of our next kinsmen. (Ruth 2: 20, KJV )

According to the law, a kinsmen could be the redeemer if a relative died.  In this case, since Boaz was a kinsmen, he could redeem the land that belonged to Elimelech and his two sons.  However, there was a kinsmen even closer than Boaz.  This meant that he had first pick.  This relative didn’t want to forfeit his own inheritance.  Therefore, Boaz became the kinsmen redeemer.

And Boaz said unto the elders, and unto all the people, Ye are witnesses this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelech’s, and all that was Chilion’s and Mahlon’s, of the hand of Naomi.

 Moreover Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of Mahlon, have I purchased to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance, that the name of the dead be not cut off from among his brethren, and from the gate of his place: ye are witnesses this day. (Ruth 4: 9-10, KJV)

Surprise

What a surprise!  The women encouraged Naomi, telling her that God hadn’t forgotten about her:  

And the women said unto Naomi, Blessed be the Lord, which hath not left thee this day without a kinsman, that his name may be famous in Israel.

 And he shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life, and a nourisher of thine old age: for thy daughter in law, which loveth thee, which is better to thee than seven sons, hath born him.  (Ruth 4: 14-15, KJV)

My Surprise Disappointment

At the age of 25, I had my surprise disappointment as well.  I was pregnant with my first child, and I worked all the way up to the day before delivery.  At the time, I was the breadwinner for the household, and I had all of the family health insurance in my name.  My son had his days and nights mixed up, and so for almost six weeks, I had between two to three hours of consecutive sleep during the night.  I was at the point of extreme exhaustion, and I could tell that my blood pressure was up. 

This was confirmed when the home nurse came out to check on me.  As soon as she checked my blood pressure, she knew that it was from lack of sleep.  Four days before my six weeks was up, my son started sleeping through the night for four consecutive

hours.  However, I knew that I would need two extra weeks of this before returning to work, or else my health would plummet.

I called my job and requested an additional two weeks off.  I was informed that if I didn’t come back right away, it would be considered job abandonment.  With $50 left to my name, and no emergency money, this was a hard call.  I hung up the phone, and then wrestled with what to do.  However, I also knew that if they were like this about my health, then they would be like this about my son’s health as well.  I decided not to go back, not sure of how I would make it.

My Surprise Provision

My son was almost three months old when I took him to his three-month checkup.  After the appointment, I decided to visit my old job, which was five minutes away.  I got caught up with everyone, and my old boss asked me when I would return to work.  I told my old boss what happened, and he said,” Just like that?”.  I replied,” Yes, just like that. End of story.”  We laughed, and he asked me what I thought of working for him again.  I thought he was joking, but he was dead serious.  What a surprise!  

Within two weeks, I was back to working again.  In the beginning, I worked a five-day week, then a 10 hour four-day week while my son was little, before moving on to a different job.  I didn’t know, but God knew that his divine providence was waiting for me at this place.  Like Naomi, All I had to do was to go back and get it. 

Dear God,

Thank you for helping us to step out on faith, even when we are not sure what you have in store for us.  In your name,

Amen

Suggested Posts

It’s Your Calling

Keep Running

running, strength, devotional, weakness, spiritual health, katina horton, simple functional grace-filled living

Keep Running

It was on a fall morning about six years ago. I remember being extremely out of breath. I had lost track of the time, as usual. And there I was running down the hill and into the big, open field next to my home. I kept thinking to myself, ” I’m not going to make!” I was finally on the same side of the street as the bus stop. But I still had to walk into 7-Eleven to get change to get on the bus. I said to myself, “I can’t run any more! I am so tired.” Then, I decided to give it my all, run into 7-Eleven, and give it my all to make it back to the bus stop.

running, strength, devotional, weakness, spiritual health, katina horton, simple functional grace-filled living
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

As I was running into 7-Eleven, the verse kept playing in my head, ”


But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Isaiah 40:31

How many of us say the same thing that I did day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year when we are facing insurmountable trials?

“I can’t run any more! I am so tired.”

We all have. When this is happening, we have to remember that God is trying to do the running for us instead of us doing it in our own strength. When we give the race to God, then our legs become lighter and we reach the FINISH LINE like I did that morning when I made it to the bus stop.

Refinery

refinery, gold, maturity, fruit, trials, spiritual health, transpire, God, work

When we get placed in the fire, it doesn’t feel good, but when God sees the shiny result, and he smiles, we know that the refinery was necessary.

Katina Horton
refinery, gold, maturity, fruit, trials, spiritual health, transpire, God, work
Photo by Adonyi Gu00e1bor on Pexels.com

Refinery

Refined Like Gold

It’s What We’re Told

We’re Put through the Fire

So Fruit Can Transpire.

The Pain is Intense.

The Trials are Immense.

Maturity is unfolding.

God’s work you’re Beholding.

Related posts:

Will God Deliver?

Episode 26: The Sin of Cynicism-Part 2

emotional health, mental health, psychology, spiritual health, katina horton, podcasting, podcast, blog, author life, scornful, prodigal son, Jonah, bitterness, resentment, cynical, sin, anger

Episode 26: The Sin of Cynicism-Part 2
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In case you missed last week’s recording, “The Sin of Cynicism-Part 1”, you can find that here. Today’s recording is Episode 26-The Sin of Cynicism-Part 2.

The Sin of Cynicism-Part 2 Outline

  • Reflection on Part 1
  • Dissection of The Older Brother
  • Jonah’s Rights
  • Our Rights
  • Solution
  • Closing
  • Podcast Transcript

Welcome to Healing Our Brokenness Part 2.  Today’s recording is episode 26:  The Sin of Cynicism-Part 2.  Just as a quick recap from Part 1, we discussed the fact that Cynicism has several factors that lead up to its brokenness as a state of mind:

Reflection on Part 1

Those factors are:

  • You have experienced a lot of issues with betrayal.
  • There are historical patterns of things not working out in your favor, or working out in a way that is undesirable to you.
  • You get to the point of seeing too much and hearing too much to think that things will be different.
  • Most of the people that you trusted let you down.
  • The few times that you thought things would turn out good, they turned out bad, and you lost faith in believing that things could be different.

In the case of the two stories that we are going to look at today, the two biblical characters carried out the sin of cynicism because of two main reasons:

  • The historical pattern of character of the authority figures.
  • The lack of legalism that existed for these authority figures.

The two men that we are going to dissect is Jonah and the older brother of the prodigal son. 

Their reasons for cynicism contradict the normal factors.  Cynicism set in with both of these men because of the recognition of the good qualities of the father and God.

Dissection of The Older Brother

  • Let’s explore the story of the prodigal son first.
  • The dad was gracious, merciful, slow to anger, kind, forgiving, accepting, non-judgmental, long-suffering, and compassionate.

After the prodigal son returned home penniless, hungry, and exhausted from wild living, the father could have greeted him with judgment, coldness, and distance.  Instead he accepted his son, welcomed him with a grateful heart that he was safe and sound, and embraced him for who he was. 

The fact that he ran to meet him to diffuse being shamed by the community was a bonus.  It showed the son that he was going to be welcomed.  There is nothing worse than messing up big time, and not knowing what other Christians are going to say as you reenter the house of God or run into them while you are in public.

Luke 15 tells us:  But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.

22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:

23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:

24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

The father knew that hitting rock bottom was enough of a consequence for the younger son.  He didn’t need to enforce further punishment.  He also possessed enough self-acceptance that he didn’t worry about being embarrassed in regard to the reaction of the community.

Oh Self-Pity

The older son dwelled on his sin of cynicism that is evidenced through dialog that is filled with scornfulness, bitterness, and resentment.  He felt that he had been failed.  He didn’t focus on his younger brother’s condition of going from “lost to found”.  Along with his cynicism, he was filled with self-pity and envy: Luke 15: 28-31 reads:  “28 And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him.

29 And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends:

30 But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.

31 And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.

32 It was meet that we should make merry and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.

The father tried to get the older son to go in twice.  We are left wondering what eventually happened.  Did he stay outside and continue to sulk?  One thing this clear about the brother’s dialog is that not only is he resentful, but he is filled with broken thinking.  Two words suggest broken thinking when resentment is present: “always and never”.

Our dialog goes something like this: 

“I always have to clean the house.”

“She always gets to do something special.”

“I never have the opportunity to do anything.”

Nine times out of ten, these statements aren’t true.  If they are true, there is some type of dynamic that has been setup that needs to change.  Or, perhaps, the financial situation has changed that allows you to do more for the younger child than you were able to do for the older child.  Whatever the case may be, broken thinking is present.

First-born children tend to be rule-followers.  With that thought in mind, the older son definitely felt that he was cheated since he was the “rule-follower”.  However, one thing about rule followers is that they can get caught up in being legalistic because they follow the rules.  God is more concerned about our hearts than checking off boxes to say that we did something.

Let’s explore the story of Jonah.

Jonah was told to go to Nineveh to warn them about their sin and God’s judgment for their sin if they continued going in the direction that they were going.

Jonah decided that he knew best, and so, he skipped out on the trip altogether, and took a boat ride to a different part of town.  God had a fish to swallow Jonah.  And Jonah prayed inside of the fish for God’s mercy and grace, and the fish released Jonah. 

Let’s discuss the character of the authority figure in Jonah’s story.

In Jonah’s story, this figure is God.  Not surprisingly, the dad in our first story is actually a representation of God.

What are the characteristics of God that Jonah was familiar with?

  • God was gracious, merciful, slow to anger, kind, forgiving, accepting, non-judgmental, long-suffering, and compassionate.

In Jonah’s story, Jonah was bitter, resentful, and cynical because God proved that his heart was all of those characteristics that were just mentioned.  It was okay for God to have all these attributes when it came to saving him.  However, it wasn’t okay for him to possess them when it came to saving the Ninevites.

 

God gave Jonah a chance to get it right.  He sent him to Nineveh a second time:

 

Jonah 3 King James Version (KJV)

And the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the second time, saying,

Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.

So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of theLord. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days’ journey.

And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.

Part 2

So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.

For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.

And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water:

But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn everyone from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.

Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?

The Ninevites didn’t have to suffer consequences because they repented right away: 

Jonah 4: 10 says:

10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

Like the older brother in the prodigal son story, Jonah was so angry that he didn’t know what to do with himself.  God tried reasoning with him.  Unfortunately, Jonah wasn’t haven’t it.

His cynicism showed up in verses 1-2, when he basically said, “See, this is why I didn’t do what you told me.  I know this is how you would respond.”

Here are his exact words: “But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.

And he prayed unto the Lord, and said, I pray thee, O Lord, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.

God told Jonah that the people were lost, just as the father tried to help his older son to understand about the prodigal: 

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Jonah 4: 7-11, KJV

But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered.

And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live.

And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death.

10 Then said the Lord, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night:

11 And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?

Jonah and His Rights

Jonah pouted outside of the city underneath the tree just as the older brother pouted outside of the party celebration that was going on inside for the prodigal son.  Both men felt that they were right.  Both authority figures tried reasoning with them twice.  Both were caught up in anger, bitterness, resentment, and cynicism.  And both missed out on blessings because of it.  But why?  They ignored the sovereignty of God.  We have all been in both of their shoes.  WE know best.  WE know what justice should look like.  WE can play God and have mercy and grace poured out on us, and others should not.  When we don’t adhere to God’s plans, his timing, and his will, we trade whole faith for broken pieces of bitterness, resentment, and cynicism every time.

When cynicism becomes our brokenness, it becomes our idol, and we began to scorn God directly and indirectly because of our trials and other peoples’ success.  This is how Satan works.  If he can get us to lose trust in our faith due to our trials, others’ brokenness, and the hurt and pain of “church hurt”.  Then, he has got us.

Solutions

So, the question is, how do we get out of this sin.  Prayer.  Lots of it.  Cynicism is spiritual like all other sin.  Getting grounded in our identity.  Getting rid of our broken thinking.  Changed thinking equals changed talking and changed talking equals changed behavior.  Accept that God is sovereign.  Pray and ask God to help you to be able to trust again, knowing that we can’t live in this world without it.  It takes time to heal, but it is possible.  Trust God’s sovereignty and plans for our lives.

I hope that you have enjoyed today’s episode.  Thank you for listening, and if today’s episode has impressed upon your heart, share it with a friend or coworker.

God bless!