Kellie, Isabella, Isaiah, and Pastor Chris

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Daily Word November 2, 2011

 Then they said to him, “What shall we do to you, that the sea may quiet down for us?” For the sea grew more and more tempestuous. He said to them, “Pick me up and hurl me into the sea; then the sea will quiet down for you, for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you.” Nevertheless, the men rowed hard to get back to dry land, but they could not, for the sea grew more and more tempestuous against them. Therefore they called out to the LORD, “O LORD, let us not perish for this man's life, and lay not on us innocent blood, for you, O LORD, have done as it pleased you.” So they picked up Jonah and hurled him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows.
(Jonah 1:11-16 ESV)

I have really thought much over these verses over the past few days and I want to highlight something that I missed on Sunday.  Remembering the context - God is angry.  Jonah has been disobedient and God is justifiably angry in this moment.  His wrath must be satisfied.  In God's eyes, wrath can only be satisfied through sacrifice.  That sacrifice is either a sacrifice provided or it must be our own lives.  After all, our own sin is what has angered a holy God, therefore, it is just and holy of God to carry out his wrath against us, it is what we deserve.  The sailors, they ask Jonah, "What can we do?" - Really, "What can we do to appease God's anger against us?"  Jonah has two options.  First, he could have confessed his sin and offered a propitiation offering according to the Old Testament Law.  Second, he could face the wrath upon himself.  But who would want the latter?  Who wants to face God's wrath?

Yet Jonah is in such a terrible place spiritually, that he would prefer to face God's wrath than obey God's voice.  He is at the height of arrogance.  He is bound and determined to run his own life.  What a terrible place to be in, yet it wasn't that long of a road to travel.  Beloved, now is the time to learn about the damage of pride and self dependence.  God forgive me for when I am like Jonah.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Daily Word November 1, 2011

 Then they said to him, “Tell us on whose account this evil has come upon us. What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?” And he said to them, “I am a Hebrew, and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.” Then the men were exceedingly afraid and said to him, “What is this that you have done!” For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them.
(Jonah 1:8-10 ESV)

So God is showing himself providential, the cat is now out of the bag, the jury has made its conclusion - everything is the result of Jonah's disobedience.  One can only imagine, how this must have weighed on Jonah, certainly this was why he was sleeping - he was worn out and tired of running from God.  He knew who was to blame and he probably forsook life itself.  What is remarkable however, is not that Jonah's sin found him out, what is remarkable is how his sin is now beginning to do something in the heart of the pagan sailors.  Remember that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom - these sailors were fearing the Lord!  Certainly they did not have it all figured out, they were not making professions of faith at this moment, but we can see how God is using Jonah's disobedience to begin to do a work in these pagan sailors' lives.

Just an interesting thought that I had today - Jonah was running from his calling.  Remember that God had called Jonah to be his messenger, to carry his message.  Jonah had refused.  But in spite of Jonah's refusal, guess what? - Jonah was still being God's messenger!  Isn't it uplifting to realize that even though we sin and mess up, God's plans are not thwarted?!  Beloved this can be our only confidence.

When I consider how rotten and sinful I am, it is easy to wonder how God could use me.  I cannot speak for everyone else, but I know that in so many ways I am Jonah, no I am worse than Jonah.  And yet - God is faithful to carry out His purposes!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Daily Word October 31, 2011

First, let me take a minute to thank all of your for your continued prayers and support!  We have been so blessed by the many prayers offered on our behalf over the past week and we are so thankful for all that you do.

"And they said to one another, 'Come, let us cast lots, that we may know on whose account this evil has come upon us.'  So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah."
Jonah 1:7

Don't you know old Jonah knew exactly who the lot was about to fall upon?!  He like the prodigal, could no longer sit around and blame everyone else.  He needed to look into the mirror and see who was to blame and if he was unwilling, God would hold the mirror right up in front of him.  It wasn't God's fault that he was on a boat to Tarshish.  It wasn't the Ninevite's fault that he wasn't in Nineveh.  It was his own wandering heart that had brought him to the middle of the sea. 
Beloved, we often times want to look around and blame everyone else for the problems we experience.  I know I do!  It's the easy thing to do. To look around and to see everyone shortcomings isn't hard or brave.  The courageous thing to do is to look inwardly and discover our own sin.  Yet, if we are unwilling, just as God showed Jonah who was to blame through a superstitious game, God will hold the mirror in front of us and show us the culprit.  So today, I will look in the mirror and if I'm in a boat headed to Tarshish, I'll know who is to blame.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Daily Word October 24, 2011

Jonah 1:1
"Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai..."

In just a few short words, we learn that Jonah was a child of promise.  His name means "dove" and so often in the Bible, God's messengers are called, pictured, or told to be like doves.  Second, it says that his father was "Amittai" - faithfulness.  So he is called a messenger who was the son of faithfulness - Jonah had the right mommy and daddy.  Third, the "word of the Lord" came to him - he knew how to hear God's voice.  He had been given the unique and special privilege to be a prophet of God.  He would hear directly from God and then give that message to a people.  There is also an interesting tradition about Jonah.  There is a tradition that Jonah was the son of the widow of Zeraphath who was raised from the dead in 1 Kings 17.  If that is true, which we really have no way to prove, then Jonah had experienced the power of God very personally in his own life.

So here is Jonah, full of promise.  Yet as we read through the pages of his story, we see not the man of faith we expect.  Instead, we see one who is running from "the presence of the Lord", one who is filled with nationalistic pride that doesn't want Nineveh to repent, and one who is "hot under the collar."  How did he go so wrong?  While we don't have all of the answers to that question, I believe the story of Jonah is a lesson to us all about the fact that no one is "above" disobedience.  Even the stars fall, even the moon can be covered by the clouds.  No one is ever so spiritual, that they cannot be headed to Tarshish.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Daily Word October 19, 2011

"I have sinned against heaven and before you."

After the prodigal came to the guilty party - himself - he now had to confess that sin.  He promises himself that he will tell his father that he had sinned from "heaven to earth" or "against heaven and before you."  Either interpretation leads us to the same truth, his sin had ramifications beyond the earthly realm.  His sin had eternal effects.  But confession - it was a step in the right direction.

Beloved, it is easy for most to realize who is at fault, the difficulty is coming to the point where you are willing to admit it.  But God blesses brokeness.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Daily Word October 18, 2011

Luke 15:17
"When he came to himself..."

You can imagine this teenage boy was acting like...well, a teenage boy.  He was wallowing in the hog slop pretending that it was everyone else's fault that he was in the position he was.  He blamed mother nature for the famine, his brother for his attitude, his dad for being a bad manager of his inherritance, the casino for cheating him, and the list goes on.  But then all of a sudden, as he blamed the entire courtroom, the only person left in the room was the person staring him back in the mirror.  I imagine (the key is that I imagine), he was feeding the hogs and he stopped to get a drink from the stream.  He saw his reflection in the water and he "came to himself."  He realized that the only person to blame for being in this position was himself.

Beloved, it is easy for us to blame everything and everyone for our circumstances.  The truth is that we are our own worst enemies.  If we are in the pig pen, it is probably not someone else's fault...its probably my own doing.  But this is the point of repentance - we are empty of ourselves and recognize the responsibility that rests on our own shoulders.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Week of October 9-15

I will begin a revival this Sunday and will be out of the office until Thursday.  Therefore, my blog will be down next week.  Please pray that God will move in the hearts of the church in Jackson, Mo - Shawnee Hlls Baptist Church.  Thank you for your prayers.