Friday, October 24, 2014

Jonah 2:1-9

1 Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from inside the fish. 2 He said,

“I cried out to the Lord in my great trouble,
    and he answered me.
 I called to you from the land of the dead,
    and Lord, you heard me!
3 You threw me into the ocean depths,
    and I sank down to the heart of the sea.
 The mighty waters engulfed me;
    I was buried beneath your wild and stormy waves.
4 Then I said, ‘O Lord, you have driven me from your presence.
    Yet I will look once more toward your holy Temple.’

5 “I sank beneath the waves,
    and the waters closed over me.
    Seaweed wrapped itself around my head.
6 I sank down to the very roots of the mountains.
    I was imprisoned in the earth,
    whose gates lock shut forever.
 But you, O Lord my God,
    snatched me from the jaws of death!
7 As my life was slipping away,
    I remembered the Lord.
 And my earnest prayer went out to you
    in your holy Temple.
8 Those who worship false gods
    turn their backs on all God’s mercies.
9 But I will offer sacrifices to you with songs of praise,
    and I will fulfill all my vows.
    For my salvation comes from the Lord alone.”

It is so comforting to read that even in Jonah's attempt to run, God pursued him and protected Jonah from a death at sea. God has had a plan for me from the moment of conception (Psalms 139:13) and has been working on me ever since.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Jonah 1:1-3

1 The 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.”

3 But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord. He went down to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping to escape from the Lord by sailing to Tarshish.

It can be daunting to hear the God's command to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:19). People seem so set in their ways of disobedience, it is easy for me to think that they will not receive the message with open arms. What I forget is that God has a plan and purpose that is at work far before I ever get to that place and I can rely on Him to use my simple seed planting to grow a large harvest.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

III John 9-11

9 I wrote to the church about this, but Diotrephes, who loves to be the leader, refuses to have anything to do with us. 10 When I come, I will report some of the things he is doing and the evil accusations he is making against us. Not only does he refuse to welcome the traveling teachers, he also tells others not to help them. And when they do help, he puts them out of the church.

11 Dear friend, don’t let this bad example influence you. Follow only what is good. Remember that those who do good prove that they are God’s children, and those who do evil prove that they do not know God.

Just because someone is in a leadership role does not make them an example of how to live. By knowing the Word of God, I am able to keep the right teachings and follow those leaders who are truly setting a good example (II John 7-11). The truest example for my life is my brother Jesus who went before me to the Father in heaven to show me the way.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

II John 7-11

7 I say this because many deceivers have gone out into the world. They deny that Jesus Christ came in a real body. Such a person is a deceiver and an antichrist. 8 Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked so hard to achieve. Be diligent so that you receive your full reward. 9 Anyone who wanders away from this teaching has no relationship with God. But anyone who remains in the teaching of Christ has a relationship with both the Father and the Son.

10 If anyone comes to your meeting and does not teach the truth about Christ, don’t invite that person into your home or give any kind of encouragement. 11 Anyone who encourages such people becomes a partner in their evil work.

Teaching the word of God to His people is a high calling with tons of responsibility. It is also a great responsibility to attentively listen and remember these good teachings because there are also those who spread lies about what God wants from His children. It is my task to look at the person of Jesus and read the Word of God so that I can know the difference. I do this so that I can be one who teaches others the truth.

Monday, October 20, 2014

I John 4:7-12

7 Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. 8 But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

9 God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. 12 No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.

I have been grafted into the vineyard of God and now draw my life from my Father as the root. As I draw my life from Him, it should fill me and flow through me so that I bear the same fruit that His character is made from. Help my life to be one that people can tell is grafted into You by the fruit that my life bears.

Friday, October 17, 2014

I John 1:8-10

8 If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. 9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.

God has set forth some simple rules to help keep His kids safe and to teach them how to act, just like a father should. My Father can see everything that I do and convicts my heart, through the Holy Spirit, of the things I have done wrong. If I were to say that I did nothing wrong, then I am calling my Father a liar and just fooling myself. Why wouldn't I just be honest with myself and my loving Father with all that I do so that I can freely receive the forgiveness and healing that He brings.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Lamentations 3:4-24

4 He has made my skin and flesh grow old.
    He has broken my bones.
5 He has besieged and surrounded me
    with anguish and distress.
6 He has buried me in a dark place,
    like those long dead.

7 He has walled me in, and I cannot escape.
    He has bound me in heavy chains.
8 And though I cry and shout,
    he has shut out my prayers.
9 He has blocked my way with a high stone wall;
    he has made my road crooked.

10 He has hidden like a bear or a lion,
    waiting to attack me.
11 He has dragged me off the path and torn me in pieces,
    leaving me helpless and devastated.
12 He has drawn his bow
    and made me the target for his arrows.

13 He shot his arrows
    deep into my heart.
14 My own people laugh at me.
    All day long they sing their mocking songs.
15 He has filled me with bitterness
    and given me a bitter cup of sorrow to drink.

16 He has made me chew on gravel.
    He has rolled me in the dust.
17 Peace has been stripped away,
    and I have forgotten what prosperity is.
18 I cry out, “My splendor is gone!
    Everything I had hoped for from the Lord is lost!”

19 The thought of my suffering and homelessness
    is bitter beyond words.
20 I will never forget this awful time,
    as I grieve over my loss.
21 Yet I still dare to hope
    when I remember this:

22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
    His mercies never cease.
23 Great is his faithfulness;
    his mercies begin afresh each morning.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
    therefore, I will hope in him!”

Just like with other passages in scripture (Jeremiah 29:11), I hear part of this text (Lamentations 3:23) quoted often to encourage believers when they feel overwhelmed. It is easy to forget that the Isrealites were also told by Jeremiah in the same letter that their captivity would last 70 years and that they should make a home there. "And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare. (Jeremiah 29:7)” When I am in troubling times, I should pray and work for peace in the situation because God may be using me to improve what is going on around me.