Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Jonah 2:10

v. 10 "And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land."

God is in command over all the land, including all the creatures of the earth.  God gave an order to a fish and it obeyed.  God ordered the sea to become violent, then be calm again, He ordered a fish to swallow Jonah, then dump him onto dry land.  The details of this story are so interesting, for such a short book it is packed with valuable lessons that beg us to pay attention.  Jonah was in the depths and God heard him.  You are never so deep down in darkness that God couldn't pull you out.  Light can crush through any amount of darkness.

Someone wrote to me and asked if I thought Jonah was dead or alive when he came out of the fish.  I had never heard this was a controversy before.  The bible does not say that Jonah died and was brought back to life so I believe that Jonah was alive and the fish spit Jonah onto land at God's command.  Maybe why some think this is because Jesus referred to Jonah in Matthew 12:39-40 "A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign!  But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.  For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."  There are many layers of meaning in the Bible, Jesus spoke in parables to the people.  It was never just a story, for instance, Jesus would speak about a farmer because the people would understand that topic, but those who could truly hear understood that the farmer was representing God.  There are literal, figurative, spiritual and practical lessons all throughout the Bible.

I hate fish and seafood and do not eat any of it, so the thought of being inside a fish for three days and the indescribable smells, rotten food and possible burning sensation of my flesh rotting away doesn't appeal to me at all.  I can see how that could be used to really open your eyes so you can see Truth and the mistakes you've made.  After looking at some of the posts on different websites about Jonah it is clear there are as many different views of this story as there are people to speak them.  It is dangerous to pencil in or cross off verses in the Bible.  People start huge arguments based on their belief which can greatly differ from what the Bible has to say.  We should ALWAYS refer back to the Bible and study to see what the Bible has to say.  I believe the Bible should be talked about so that we can gain wisdom and share our point of view with others, but I would not want to be the one who is before God answering for trying to rewrite His book.

Some reasons Jonah may have turned away from God on this mission:
  • This mission made no sense to Jonah
  • Jonah foretold the prosperity of Israel, not the destruction of an enemy country
  • If Nineveh received God's mercy they may block the future prosperity of Israel
  • A trip to Nineveh would not be easy to make by foot
  • Jonah might have had to sell most of his possessions to make this trip
  • Jonah had to leave behind the comforts of home
  • Jonah would have had to leave his position of power to become weak in a strange land
  • In Jonah's mind only Israel was to receive God's mercy, not the people of Nineveh
  • Nineveh was a great enemy of Israel so hatred ran deep
  • Pride, from beginning to the end of this book pride held Jonah in a twisted grip that wouldn't let go
"God works miracles and that He has a plan that supersedes our senses."  Priscilla Shirer

Justification of our beliefs and ideas does not give us the right to run away from God.  Jeremiah 17:9 says "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.  Who can understand it?"  Our hearts will slide into darkness without God in our lives.  Anything done out of the heart (works of the flesh) will always fall short of God's plan for us.

This book is a reminder to us all to follow God even if what we are asked to do does not make sense, does not appeal to us, is embarrassing or is the last thing in the world we would ever want to do.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Concussion Update

It has been two months since getting my concussion.  I have what the doctors call Post Concussion Syndrome.  The neurologist said that it usually takes up to three months to get back to normal and could be several more months past that time frame.  My head and neck still hurt daily, sometimes a sharp pain, but most of the time it is an all over mild pain which is very annoying.  I don't like taking pills and do so sparingly.  So if it appears I repeat myself often in my blog posts then I have forgotten what I have said in older posts!

Even in pain I give glory and praise to God.  I know that He is keeping my safe and there was a reason for my injury.  Even if it is to empathize with others who have had concussions it would be for the glory of God.  There is a comfort in having someone else who has gone through the same situation as you have so that you know you are not alone and someone on this great big planet understands how you feel.

I would be most thankful for you to keep me in your prayers for healing so I can get back to normal and in help with my patience during this time.  I am not the best person to be around while I'm hurting.  I complain a lot and any patience I have goes out the window.  Thank you

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Quote - Priscilla Shirer

"At some point or another God is going to ask for something that I wasn't anticipating.  He is going to expect something out of me, want me to yield and surrender completely to something that I wasn't fully aware of when I signed up to be a Christian."

~ Priscilla Shirer

Friday, January 17, 2014

Jonah 2:1-9

v. 1-9 "From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God.  He said:"

"In my distress I called to the Lord,
and he answered me.
From the depths of the grave I called for help,
and you listened to my cry.
You hurled me into the deep,
into the very heart of the seas,
and the currents swirled about me;
all your waves and breakers
swept over me.
I said, 'I have been banished
from your sight;
yet I will look again
toward your holy temple.'
The engulfing waters threatened me,
the deep surrounded me;
seaweed was wrapped around my head.
To the roots of the mountains I sank down;
the earth beneath barred me in forever.
But you brought my life up from the pit,
O Lord my God. 

When my life was ebbing away,
I remembered you, Lord,
and my prayer rose to you, 
to your holy temple.
Those who cling to worthless idols 
forfeit the grace that could be theirs.
But I, with a song of thanksgiving,
will sacrifice to you.
What I have vowed I will make good.
Salvation comes from the Lord."

When we are in the darkest places we tend to bow down to God.  It is never too late to turn towards God, but a life lived only turning to God in our misery means we will be missing out on so many things in this life.   Jonah said that he called to God and God answered him.  Yet Jonah did not answer correctly when God called Him to a task that he hated to the very core of his being.  Even in what looks like the end for Jonah he says that God is compassionate, He does not turn from us when we call.  The problem is that we turn away from Him when the call comes to us and we do not like what we hear.  Jonah is in deep, he speaks so passionately that he was to the roots of the mountains.  This my friend is what many of us feel like and we do not have to venture down to the depths of the sea to know how Jonah feels.  We could be surrounded by sunshine, but what we see is no light in sight.  It's as if our vision is so clouded over with sorrow that all we can see is darkness.

Jonah was giving a prayer of thanksgiving.  Our words are powerful for good or evil.  I hear many things that people say as if the words spoken did not matter and it makes me think to watch what I say.  Think of speeches throughout history that have inspired us to do better or those propelled by hatred to start a war. They wield the same weapon, just used to get different results. Jonah thanked God for who He was and what He has done.  Many times in the bible people in deep despair will speak of God's goodness and how low they sank.  It is important to take responsibility for our actions and acknowledge them before God.  When we realized how far we have come, only then can we put into perspective the depths we sank to and the heights that God cares for us in.  It is interesting that Jonah spoke about people who cling to worthless idols, at first this seems to be odd that he was saying this in the belly of a great fish.  It was as if he were speaking to a large crowd, instead of himself in the darkness.  I think he was speaking about how pride is an idol if we let it take the place of God and think that we are better than other people.  Jonah had an issue with pride that had to be dealt with in a severe way.

Jonah could have avoided this situation if only he would have listened to God in the first place.  Would we rather be used by God to help shine His light in this world or be passed over because we ran like Jonah? God does not have to use any of us, He wants to use cracked pots so that His light can shine through the cracks so the world can see that it is not us, but Him.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Quote - Be Yourself

"Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."
~ Unknown

I saw this on a sign online.  We care so much what others think about us that often we will bury the key parts of our being.  Afraid to share in case we are rejected, so instead we try desperately to blend in to the world. There is a sadness when we are not showing our true self, the self that God created us to be.

Do not fear to be you.  Those around you whether they are family or friends may put you down or just don't understand the things that you do, say or think.  You were designed by a Master to be unique, beautiful and one of a kind.

Have you ever thought that those around you may be the ones who are hiding their true self and as a result are unable to comprehend a fearless child of God?  

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Jonah 1:17

v. 17 "But the Lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights."

The bible says that a great fish swallowed Jonah, many people assume that it was a whale.  I'm not sure what type of fish it was, I just know that it must have been massive for a man to fit inside.  If we were in this situation we might think that this is a punishment for disobeying, in a way it was.  It also was a caring Father correcting a child and literally changing the direction for this child to keep on course.  Jonah was ready to give up, to be swallowed by the sea.  God did not change the plans He had for Jonah.  God is not surprised by what you do, He will not change His plans for us just because we decide to give up or to do something crazy and foolish.  Although if we don't do what He asks and continue to avoid Him, He can easily find another person to do His will and we will be the sorry ones because we will have missed out on the blessings that come with obeying.

We often get ourselves into trouble, then when God gives us a way out we complain about what He has given us and we don't even thank Him for helping us in the first place.  This story has been taught to many people around the world, but I think the huge meaning gets lost in the sea and everyone focuses on the big fish.  God can do so many great things, we need to pay attention to what He has done for us or we will stop being humble and start to be proud.  The way out of a self inflicted situation may seem worse than the situation it self, but if we let God lead us out He can show us that there is light coming out of the darkness.

I think this story is one of the most difficult to believe in the bible, for some highly educated people.  When we come to God with the faith of a child, we are to believe and not question, we are to have faith and not doubt and we are to hope in the God who can do anything.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Quote - New Year & Making Goals NOT Resolutions

"What the New Year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the New Year."   
~ Vern McLellan

In January people focus on what they didn't do right the year before and make a list of resolutions that may lead to more disappointment in the coming year.  By the time February roles around many resolutions are long gone.  Then we add more guilt onto ourselves for not changing, which never does any good.  Without God there is little chance of doing anything right.  The first step should be to pray for help, God may show you ways to achieve your goals that you may never think of.  Second, we should focus on a list of goals and break them down to manageable pieces.  Aiming too high builds us up for a great fall.  Place the list where it will be a reminder and know that you don't have to get it all accomplished in one day or a few months, you have an entire year and more to work on it.  Know that you are not alone there are millions of us who are wanting to make changes.

What are the most important goals for you?  Whatever they are you will put all your time and energy into changing them if you are motivated.  Figure out the different areas in which you wish to improve; spiritual, physical, mental, financial, career, etc.  Even if you list one thing in each category that would be a great start, then break down each one into small steps that are within your grasp and can be accomplished.  Don't think that this is just for you, I am in need of a good pep talk too!  We are creatures of habit so I hope you will join me and try to break some bad habits and make changes so that new habits will eventually take over the bad ones.  I pray that we will grow closer to God this year and grow in wisdom so that we will be prepared for the chaos of this world.  

May God say "Well done my child" when we meet Him in the end.