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Showing posts from July, 2011

Oh my God, please help me!

The sailors were terrified, and each one cried out to his god. They hurled the cargo that was in the ship into the sea to make it lighter. Now Jonah had gone down into the hold of the vessel to lie down and was deep in sleep. Jonah 1:5

"Most sailors are pious." -The Talmud
"He that would learn to pray, let him go to sea." -George Herbert

Have you ever really been in trouble and cried out to God? It was probably not at a church or religious meeting. It happened to me in the ocean. I cried out for God to save me and a man named James did. Other people I know have had a similar experience in the hospital. I know someone else who cried out to God while in a plane that was in real danger.

When you are in a real crisis, it's just you and you need God's help. I was alone, without my friends, family, church, car, or home. It was just me in the mighty ocean. As big and powerful as the ocean is, God is bigger and more powerful. I had the most profound experi…

Hard discipleship

But the LORD hurled a great wind upon the sea, so that there was a great storm on the sea; the ship looked like it might be broken to pieces. Jonah 1:4

Jonah had a clear assignment from the Lord and he instead did the opposite. God's "Plan A" seemed too hard. Jonah didn't know that it was a "Plan A" and that "Plan B" would be harder. When we disobey because we believe that obedience is too hard, we actually send ourselves into "the school of hard knocks." It is ironic that the low road ends up being more painful than the steep path we avoided.

When we have not died to ourselves (Matthew 16:24), we are living for ourselves and we measure things by, "What's in it for me," "How will this make me feel," or "Is this convenient for me?" We evaluate requests from others and from God through our self(ishness).

God had to "bring the bottom up" for Jonah. We might know someone who is going through so…

Five gears in reverse

One day long ago, God's Word came to Jonah, Amittai's son: "Up on your feet and on your way to the big city of Nineveh! Preach to them. They're in a bad way and I can't ignore it any longer." But Jonah got up and went the other direction, running away from God. He went down to the port of Joppa and found a ship headed for Tarshish. He paid the fare and went on board, joining those going to Tarshish—as far away from God as he could get. Jonah 1:1-3 (MSG)

Here we have the account of the prophet of God doing the opposite of what God told him to do. It is peculiar in that it is the only example of this kind of behavior from the "capital P" Prophets of the Old Testament. It's interesting that the text says that Jonah wanted to get as far away from God as possible. It was like God said to him that he was on the move in Nineveh, and God wanted Jonah to go there and speak and Jonah said, with his feet, "No way, I do not want to go; I will go t…

Who is your father?

The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai:
Jonah 1:1

The opening of Jonah's book draws to our attention who's son he was. Many, but not all Bible narratives do this. Adam was directly created by God and Jesus has always been God's only and unique Son of God. Jesus was also fathered by Joseph. He was also mothered by Mary. Jonah had a dad named Amittai. You and I also have fathers. Some of us never knew them, some of us had step-fathers.

When Jesus was living his life, he had a vigorous discussion with the religious leaders of his day, who said they were (spiritual) sons of Abraham. This is in John, chapter 8, verses 12 to 58. Jesus told them that his father is God and that if Abraham was among them, he would have been kind to him; unlike the way they were treating him. He told these guys that their father was the devil.

God is fathering people and so is the devil. What is fathering? Who has been fathering you? Can you lack fathering, but not be fathere…

The truth of God

The LORD gave this message to Jonah son of Amittai:
Jonah 1:1, New Living Translation

Johah's father's name was Amittai, which means, "the truth of God". The Hebrew word Amittai comes from the Hebrew word Emeth, wich in English means veracious, which means, "speaking or representing the truth".

I wrote earlier that Jonah means dove, which symbolizes peace. I would add that dove also sometimes symbolizes mourning- "mourning dove", which holds the idea of processing grief. Prophets are heartbroken people who are interceding for people who are disconnected from God.

Jonah's father's name is also prophetic or foretelling of Jonah's commission to speak God's truth. Perhaps this name befell him because it said, "this man is telling the truth of God." It also speaks of Jonah's message just being the simple truth. It's not some complicated plan or program. God's ways may be hard and challenging if you've been …

God calling

One day the LORD told Jonah...
The Lord gave this message to Jonah...
-Jonah 1:1a (CEV, NLT)

When was the last time God told you something? Have you learned to hear God's voice? Do you need to be prophetic to hear God or should all of God's children be able to hear his voice? I believe that we can all hear (John 10) and that we can cultivate a hearing ear by being attentive (Matthew 11:15, Revelation 2:17, and 3:22).

To hear, the hearer must be a listener; but also the speaker must speak. The story of Jonah begins with God's initiative. God got the idea, God gave the order to Jonah. God initiated. Does the Bible teach us that we should only do things that God initiates? No, the Bible teaches us that God gives us wisdom on how to conduct our lives and there are many standing assignments that are for God's people for all time, such as "love one another", and "go and make disciples of all nations."

When God spoke to Jonah, it was the in-breaking of …


I got the idea that the book of Jonah contains some answers about God's will for my life and maybe for yours too. The word Jonah means dove, which also means peaceful being, or gift from God. The name Jonah is a reminder of God's gift, the prince of peace, Jesus Christ. God gave this gift out of love and out of His compassion and Mercy. Christ died for all. No one is too bad to be redeemed by his precious blood. Dove also reminds us of The Spirit of God, who was described as landing on Jesus as a dove. In the Song of Solomon, the lover describes his beloved as a dove. God's people are peaceful, come and go in peace. God's people carry gifts, are gifted, and are even gifts themselves through the operation of the Spirit of God.

The book of Jonah is about death, burial, and resurrection in Christ.

(This picture is from Father Joseph of Redlands, CA)

Come up higher

After this I looked and there was a door that had been opened in heaven. The first voice that I had heard, which sounded like a trumpet, said to me, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.”

Then I looked, and, oh!—a door open into Heaven. The trumpet-voice, the first voice in my vision, called out, "Ascend and enter. I'll show you what happens next."

Revelation 4:1, (CEB & The Message)

I got this idea that what God is after with us is to bring us into a place where we walk under an open heaven. Three years ago, I had been calling out for breakthrough and instead, I received prayerful counsel that what I really needed was an open heaven. Part of what an open heaven means is hearing God and seeing things from God's perspective. An open heaven is when God comes into your situation. An open heaven is transformative in ways that a breakthrough is not. Simply put, a breakthrough reveals the acts of God; while an open heaven reveals…

When you feel like God has forgotten you

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you forget me, LORD? Forever?
Long enough, God— you've ignored me long enough.

How long will you hide your face from me?
I've looked at the back of your head long enough. Long enough.
Will it be forever? How long will you hide?

Psalm 13:1 (TNIV, CEB, MSG, & CEV)

Does your waiting seem forever, like it is never going to end?

Bob Sorge shares many helpful insights in his book, "The Fire of Delayed Answers: are you waiting for your prayers to be answered?" The book boils down to this statement, "Sometimes God delays the answers to our prayers to produce a greater maturity and fruitfulness in us."1

Four times, in Psalm 13, David says, "How long?" The delay has been long enough that it's begun to irritate, begun to seem too long for the soul. When we wait, a dying occurs in us. Things come out of our hands and are layed down and offered as sacrifice. We thought we were walking wit…