Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Jonah 1 Today

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God Bless You Today, Lena B

Jonah 1
Jonah Runs from the LORD
1The LORD gave this message to Jonah son of Amittai: 2"Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh! Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are."
3But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction in order to get away from the LORD. He went down to the seacoast, to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping that by going away to the west he could escape from the LORD.
4But as the ship was sailing along, suddenly the LORD flung a powerful wind over the sea, causing a violent storm that threatened to send them to the bottom. 5Fearing for their lives, the desperate sailors shouted to their gods for help and threw the cargo overboard to lighten the ship. And all this time Jonah was sound asleep down in the hold. 6So the captain went down after him. "How can you sleep at a time like this?" he shouted. "Get up and pray to your god! Maybe he will have mercy on us and spare our lives."
7Then the crew cast lots to see which of them had offended the gods and caused the terrible storm. When they did this, Jonah lost the toss. 8"What have you done to bring this awful storm down on us?" they demanded. "Who are you? What is your line of work? What country are you from? What is your nationality?"
9And Jonah answered, "I am a Hebrew, and I worship the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land." 10Then he told them that he was running away from the LORD. The sailors were terrified when they heard this. "Oh, why did you do it?" they groaned. 11And since the storm was getting worse all the time, they asked him, "What should we do to you to stop this storm?"
12"Throw me into the sea," Jonah said, "and it will become calm again. For I know that this terrible storm is all my fault."
13Instead, the sailors tried even harder to row the boat ashore. But the stormy sea was too violent for them, and they couldn't make it. 14Then they cried out to the LORD, Jonah's God. "O LORD," they pleaded, "don't make us die for this man's sin. And don't hold us responsible for his death, because it isn't our fault. O LORD, you have sent this storm upon him for your own good reasons."
15Then the sailors picked Jonah up and threw him into the raging sea, and the storm stopped at once! 16The sailors were awestruck by the LORD's great power, and they offered him a sacrifice and vowed to serve him.
17Now the LORD had arranged for a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was inside the fish for three days and three nights.

Lena Journals -
I have personally heard simple words from the Lord, usually from the mouth of my pastors or spiritual leaders, maybe even form my husband or mom or, a friend, and turned away from the word I’d heard.
I did that by regarding the words as mere words of men, or regarding it as optional advise that I can take or leave.
Ya know God’s word is so that way? We can either take it or leave it. It is truly up to us.
What we do when we hear God’s word preached, taught, or explained to us is totally up to us.
God made us to have free wills, we can do what we want with what we hear.
A whole community or township may be awaiting our obedience, but we can make our own choices and do what we want, when we want it, the way we want to, and guess what? God usually lets us!
Now we may find our lives in a mess, a mess we’ll later on cry out to the very Lord we rejected the word of, and ask His help to be rescued, and He quite possibly will rescue us, because He is faithful.
His word says, I cried out to the Lord and He heard me and delivered me form all MY (self inflicted) troubles….
The earth is full of people who say they love God, and who are doing what Jonah did.
We should come to the place where we will not allow ourselves the liberties to read these Biblical stories as though we are not the very characters inside of the stories.
I mean I see I have walked in the very opposite direction from words of God. I want to try it my own way, until I get a bad experience that stops me and makes me reevaluate where I am at.
Just as every good parent feels, God does not want u to go from experience to rescue and experience to rescue again, in order to learn a few things from life. He gave us the experiences of others and wrote them in an amazing book for us to gain a heart of wisdom through our obedience and He gave us His grace to avoid the actual experiences.
This story also makes me think of how our personal choices, to avoid God, has an effect on the lives of others. Just as Jonah thought he was hiding and took a boat ride to rest, but caused others to risk their lives when they did not even ask to be a part of the deal, so it is with our families, churches and communities when we walk away from what God is saying to us (personally).
A great work always starts in a community with one obedient faithful person.
The community Jonah hid in said, don’t make us die for this man’s sin!
Wow, huh?
Do we really believe our own sins could affect people that way?
Then they said, we also don’t want to be made to be responsible for this man’s death (punishment).
Do we think others could be held responsible as we are, for our personal disobedience?
There is a scripture that says, you can be assured that your sins will find you out. It seems that finding out about sin is really grace to save us and our families, churches, and communities!
Wow, huh?
So the LORD arranged for a big fish to swallow Jonah…, that again is grace.
Have a grace-filled day!