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"They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy" (Jonah 2:8).

Jonah had a whale of a problem. God told him to go to Nineveh and preach, but he said, "I won't do it." He got into a boat to run away from the Lord.

But then a storm arose, threatening to sink the boat. Jonah knew he was the cause of the storm, so he told the crew to throw him overboard. As soon as he hit the water, a great fish swallowed him! (Jonah 1:1-17).

At that point, Jonah realized he'd missed it. (Most people would by then!) But he also realized it wasn't too late to set things straight. So Jonah prayed and repented before God. Then he made this powerful statement: "They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy."

Every one of us needs God's mercy. Hebrews 4:16 says, "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." Whatever we need - forgiveness, healing, deliverance, wisdom - is available to every one of us by God's mercy.

But Jonah said, "If you observe lying vanities, you're going to forsake your own mercy." You see, anything contrary to God's Word is a lying vanity. Jonah was saying, "I can sit here in this whale and dwell on my predicament, or I can close my eyes and think about the divine mercy that belongs to me. I can either observe the problem, or I can observe the answer. But if I observe the problem, I'm going to forsake my own mercy."

A lot of us have been watching the symptoms, the pain, and the bad reports. Then we wonder why God's mercy doesn't show up! We forsake our own mercy when we choose to observe lying vanities.

Jonah made the right choice in the belly of that whale. He decided to repent and get on with God. "I've repented. I don't know how God is going to get me to Nineveh, but I believe it's done!"

Jonah observed his answer instead of the problem, so it wasn't long before he was out of the fish's belly and safe on dry land. God's mercy came through in his time of need.

I won't keep my eyes on the symptoms or pain and forsake the mercy available to me. I choose to observe God's Word and receive His benefits of healing and health today!

Source: 365 Days of Healing by Mark Brazee
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers

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