Hello Again my sweet Jonah friends! Can y'all believe we just finished Week Four? Only three more weeks until our journey comes to a close. But, don't you worry...I think I've found the perfect book for a fall Bible Study. More details to come, promise! But, let's enjoy the time we have left learning about this prophet and his journey to obey God's calling on his life.
I must say; I haven't been a diligent reader this past week. I've been in the Word each day, but I'm afraid some of my Jonah homework just didn't happen. I probably shouldn't say that but I figure it might make some of you feel less guilty if you have been behind. Usually, whenever I am in a group bible study, I start to see people fading off close to the half-way point because they've gotten so far behind on their homework and they are afraid that if they go to class that they won't be prepared. Ladies and gents, the Lord does not want your guilt to stop you from seeking a special place to gather and study His word. That's the devil whispering lies to you and using your guilt against the kingdom of God. Saying this, if you are behind a bit (like me) just start fresh and try to catch up on the missing days when you have some spare time. Also, don't forget to check out weeks one, two, and three if you want to follow our study from the beginning.
What I did get around to doing was great. I loved how Priscilla chose to celebrate second chances. Didn't y'all love the paragraphs she did on Day One about Aaron, Sarah, and Peter? And what about Joseph's brothers on Day Two? The thing that all of these people from the Bible have in common is that God had a plan for their lives and even when they showed disobedience He gave them a second chance. Does that just make you say "Whew!" and wipe the sweat from your brow?
Friends, have you had a season of disobedience but have been given a second chance? I would love to hear.
Lately, my heart has been troubled for people who I know that are simply lost. They are good people - smart, fun-loving, come from a good family - but they make poor decisions. Sadly, some of these people who I know are no longer with us because of their poor choices. They let the path of abuse destroy not only their lives; but the people who have loved them. It seems like every year I learn of another person that has made a choice that has cost him his life. On Day Two, Priscilla tells the story of the lost sheep, coin, and a son. Below is a snippet from the lost sheep story:
"Sheep have a propensity to wander. Any shepherd worth his salt had to work overtime to keep his precious flock in check. Yet there always seemed to be one that slipped his careful watch and steered off the beaten path. What great concern must have been in the shepherd's heart to cause him to leave his others behind in search of just that one. While they were equally as important, they were safely in his care. So he went looking for the foolish one that didn't even know the danger it was in."
I think so often with abuse; specifically drug abuse, the person aka the sheep, "doesn't even know the danger it is in." I think that sheep knows that what he is doing is harmful to himself, but that drug has become an idol that he has to worship. He needs to spend time with it. I'm not going to try to act like I know why the sheep turns to that drug but I do know that the drug will destroy his life. I've seen it happen too many times. My point is, that sheep doesn't have to be lost. That sheep might not be aware that God will search for him until he is safe in His care. That sheep needs to know that God has great things for his life and will be given second chances. Priscilla says, "the heart of our servant Savior is to seek out, save, and salvage those He loves."
Friends, can you see a dangerous place you have put yourself in because of foolishness? Are you willing to allow God to give you a second chance?
On Day Three, we learn that Jonah has been dropped off by the whale close to the shore of Joppa, where he first loaded the ship. Isn't it funny that God would have him spit out right where he began his journey of disobedience? But, now Jonah has chosen to obey God and go to Ninevah. Priscilla says, "While we may want to find the easiest road to complete obedience, our heart must be set on doing God's will - His way and in its entirety - even if it takes longer than we'd prefer or requires more effort." The point she is making is "full obedience to the Word of God makes the difference."
In order to start being obedient, we have to move forward. On Day Four, Priscilla asks us, "How do you normally respond when God asks you to do something but doesn't reveal the details?"
- take the first step believing He'll reveal the rest in time
- beg Him to reveal the entire plan first
- move forward but only timidly
- stay put
I know for me, it is a constant struggle of all of the above. I usually do bullet points 2, 3, & 4 before I finally say "Fine, have it your way!" and trust God with my first step believing He'll reveal the rest in time.
What act of disobedience do you need to shake in order to become obedient to God's will?
Priscilla ends Day Five with these two questions and action item. Please spend a moment really thinking about your answer.
What has God asked you to do?
To what divine intervention has He asked you to yield?
Get to it.
Till next time, let your light shine!
*Quotes and questions taken from Jonah: Navigating a Life Interrupted. Priscilla Shirer.