God Reveals Five Important Facts To A Man Called Jonah

Did you know that there is an Old Testament Bible story about a prophet named Jonah that can help us to better understand Who God is and just what God can do?  Actually, there are five very important facts, or shall I say lessons, that are revealed in this saga when a person disobeys God and attempts to run from Him rather than to do what has been assigned to his or her hands.

Yes, a prophet is a man or woman selected by God to whom he reveals his divine message to and then they are to go and share the message with others.  Sometimes the message is good news and sometimes it is bad news.  Whichever it is doesn’t matter.  The prophet or prophetess still must deliver the message even if it means the people will get so angry that they will want to kill him or her.

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                   Sorry God, I don’t want to go!

Let’s focus:  As you read in the Book of Jonah, you will see where God caused a great fish to perform like a submarine:

But the Lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights. 1:17

God caused a warring nation (Nineveh) to stop fighting long enough to listen attentively to a bed-time story as though they were little children:

Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.”  3:2

God caused the Holy Spirit to indwell in the hearts and minds of the people of Nineveh so that they repented of their warring ways and thoughts of themselves as being ‘all that’ and a bag of chips!

Jonah started into the city, going a day’s journey, and he proclaimed: “Forty more days and Nineveh will be destroyed.”  The Ninevites believed God.  They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.  3:4, 5

God caused a plant to evolve into an umbrella to provide shade for a wayward messenger:

Then the Lord God provided a vine and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the vine. 4:6

God explained to a disobedient prophet with a noncontrite heart why his arms were too short to box with God:

But the Lord said, “You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow.  It sprang up overnight and died overnight.  But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well.  Should I not be concerned about that great city?” 4:10, 11

Let’s review the facts:  The story of Jonah reveals that God alone is in control of the universe.  He is the supreme Ruler and Judge over nature, events and peoples (including Jonah) everywhere at the same time.

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Sorry Jonah, you lose.  You can’s hit what you can’t see.

The Universal message is;  Man’s arms are too short to box with God.  It is better to obey than to sacrifice.  1 Samuel 15:22

Scripture LessonFor God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  John 3:16

Click http://www.tgifmasterminds.com every Friday for a new post from the Master’s servant manager…ME!   

 

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Jesus Prescribes A Radical Cold Remedy

Have you ever received instant gratification from a prayer offered up to God?  Have you ever ‘tried’ Him by asking in prayer for Him to use a particular object to perform a miracle?  Have you ever envisioned just how you would react if all that you asked of God was granted instantaneously?  Well, this blogger has!

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……………………I was sick and tired of being sick and tired!……………

The date was Tuesday evening, May 10, 1983.  As I lay in bed, sick with a nasty head cold and severe sore throat which had caused me to cough up blood earlier that day, I wondered if I would ever get a good night’s sleep.  After tossing and turning for several hours, I decided to begin preparing my Sunday School lesson which was found in the Book of Acts 19:11 and 12.

“Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and evil spirits went out of them.”

As I continued to study, my attention kept going back to verse 12.  Finally, I asked myself, ‘I wonder if a cloth could heal my throat.’  Immediately, my mother came to mind and the Lord reminded me of her true devotion to Him all the day long.  My mother lived in another town and earlier that year she had crocheted some table doilies and mailed me a ten-piece set.  I could picture her sitting in her rocking chair, crocheting, while at the same time, humming a tune and giving praises to God in prayer.

Carefully, I got out of my bed and went downstairs to the hall closet where I had placed the newly crocheted doilies.  Very slowly, and with a lot of hesitation, I removed the box from the top shelf.  I selected a small round coaster doily.  I then tipped toed back upstairs.  Boy! was I nervous and was praying all the while I returned to bed.

As I braced myself against the pillows, I held the doily in one hand and begin praying over it very softly, asking God if I was doing the right thing.  My intent was to assure God I was not ‘trying’ Him, but just wanted very much to trust Him for His healing power.  So, while quietly continuing to pray…almost apologetically, I laid the doily on my sore throat and pressed it with both hands securely around my throat.

Surprisingly, something began to happen in the room.  The first thing I noticed was that a cool breeze of air was coming towards me.  It passed through my nostrils.  Actually, it rushed through my nostrils.  My eyelids popped open and I put one hand over my mouth to keep from screaming.  Sensing it was the Holy Spirit, my first instinct was to shout out a praise to our Lord and Savior.  But at that precise moment, I had to swallow.  When I did, everything went right down my throat with ease.  No pain!  My eyes got bigger and I began to sweat.  Somehow I found the courage to whisper, ‘Lord is that you?’  In a still small voice He responded, ‘You asked to be healed, didn’t you?  Well, do not waver!’

Tears of joy began to stream down my cheeks.  Praises were coming from my mouth.  My voice still sounded as though I had a cold, but my head was all cleared up.  My eyes stopped watering.  My fever had dropped.  Hallelujah, I was healed!  With the aide of the Holy Spirit, my mother’s doily had healed me just as Paul’s handkerchief had healed those saints in the Book of Acts.

The next evening, while watching television, the Holy Spirit nudged me to turn off the TV and go upstairs to my bedroom.  Once there, I picked up my Bible from off the bed and flipped it open to Mark 3.  My eyes fell on verse ten.

“For he healed many, so that as many as had afflictions pressed about him to touch him.”

As I meditated on those words I believe Jesus was reassuring me that it was all right to have ‘tried’ Him the night before for my healing.  He was saying to me in that same still small voice, “My child, I have been there and have done that!”  Praise God!

(Below is a picture of the white coaster doily my mother sent me. She prayed for me and now I pray for you.)

Scripture Reference:  Luke 6:38 “Give, and it shall be given to you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that you mete with it shall be measured to you again.”

 

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God Has Good News For Single Folks

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Some years ago, while preparing an adult Sunday School lesson from the book, Good News For Single Folk, by Dr. Jeremiah Wright, the Holy Spirit spoke to me.  It seemed as though I was being hindered from developing my outline because I was starting from the wrong premise.  As I poised my pen to cross out yet another sentence for the umpteenth time, I paused.  Suddenly, my spirit sensed someone calling my name.  In a whisper I said, ‘Speak Lord.’  Immediately, He led me to Luke 19:10:

“…for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”

With trepidation, I asked the Holy Spirit what exactly was it that was lost and how does it apply to singles.  Again, He led me to read more scriptures from Genesis 3:21-24.  There we find all of the provisions and disciplines God administered to ‘fallen’ mankind.

The Genesis scriptures reminded me…

 

·       We were now to be clothed in garments of skin because we had lost our glorified bodies.

God reminds us…”For [you] know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the first born among many brothers.  And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” Romans 8:28, 29, 30
·       We now knew good from evil thus we lost our innocence.  Therefore, we have no excuse. “Think now, who that was innocent ever perished?  Or where were the upright cut off?”  Job 4:7
 

·       Our minds became befuddled and we didn’t know what was good for us.  In other words, we lost our freedom of choice.

“You did not choose me, but I chose you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last.  Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.  This is my command…Love each other!”  John 15:16, 17
 

·       Death was ushered in and we lost eternal life.

“To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.”  Romans 2:7
·       We were banished from the Garden and lost our eternal home and all the luxuries that went with it. “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”  John 14:2, 3
·       And finally, because of the Guardian Angels with the flaming swords, we lost easy access to the Way.  God placed stumbling blocks in our paths. “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.’”  John 14:6

Once again, I humbled myself and asked the Lord what does this have to do with singles?  God said to me, “Tell the class that because of the acts of the first couple, (Adam and Eve), the sanctity of marriage was also abridged.  Divorce and unfaithfulness were imminent.  But the Good News is Jesus Christ!  He is the Bridegroom who would never be unfaithful to his God nor to his bride.”

So, in his communion time with me, Jesus put forth this proposition in a still small voice…’Since married couples are considered single in my Father’s eyes (and the two shall be one), and single people are already single, tell everybody in your Sunday School class to marry Me!  Let’s elope before you have time to get lost again.’

Scripture Reference:  Advantages to being Single

1 Corinthians 7:32–35   “I want you to be free from anxieties.  The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; but the married man is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided.  And the unmarried woman or girl is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit; but the married woman is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please her husband.  I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.”

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God Hears A Sinner’s Prayer of Repentance

In the Old Testament, Isaiah begins his autobiography by recording the death of his king:  “In the year King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne; high and lifted up, and the train of his robe filled the temple.”   Isaiah 6:1

If you are a student of the “Begots”, without reading any further into the Scriptures, you know the reason for King Uzziah’s demise.  Usually, when a name or its derivative is first mentioned in Scripture, its definition is also given.  King Uzziah’s name denotes that he breached a sacred law of God.  In another place, the Bible gives this definition of the name:  “Then the anger of the Lord was aroused against Uzza, and He struck him because he put his hand to the ark; and he died there before God.”  1 Chron. 13:10

It is not known ‘what died’ in the sinner’s life to cause him (or her) to pray a prayer of repentance; but it is known with assurance that God heard it, mainly because the sinner sincerely prayed to God with God’s own words recorded in a comparative analyses of  the Psalms.

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Psalm 51

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.   V. 1

Psalm 139

O Lord, you have searched me and know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.     V. 1, 2

Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.    V. 2 Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord.   V. 4
For I acknowledge my transgressions; and my sin is ever before me.   V. 3 You hem me in—behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.  V. 5, 6
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight,… V. 4a Where can I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence?  V. 7
 …so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.          V. 4b If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.  V. 11, 12
Surely, I have been a sinner from birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.  V. 5 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  V. 13
Surely, you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.  V. 6 I will praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.  V. 14, 15a
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.  Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.  Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.   V. 7, 8, 9 When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.  All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.     V. 15b, 16
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  V. 10 Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord, and abhor those who rise up against you?  I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.         V. 21, 22
Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.  V. 11 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God.  How vast is the sum of them!     V. 17
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.  V. 12 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you. V. 18
Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you.  V. 13 If only you would slay the wicked, O God!  Away from me, you bloodthirsty men!      V. 19
Save me from bloodguilt, O God, the God who saves me, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.    V. 14 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.  If I rise on the wings of the dawn, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.  V. 8, 9, 10
O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.  You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.  The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.     V. 15, 16, 17 For they (the wicked) speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name.  V. 20
In your good pleasure make Zion prosper; build up the walls of Jerusalem.  V. 18 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  V. 23
Then there will be righteous sacrifices, whole burnt offerings to delight you; then bulls will be offered on your altar.  AMEN!  V. 19 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.  AMEN!  V. 24

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Scripture Epilogue…

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself up for me.   Galatians 2:20 NIV

“He was handed over to die because of our sins and he was raised to life to make us right with God.   Romans 4:25 New Living Bible

Click http://www.tgifmasterminds.com every Friday for a new post from the Master’s servant manager…ME!