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Showing posts from September, 2011

Prayers of a man facing death

“I called out to the LORD in my distress, and he answered me.
From the belly of the underworld I cried out for help; you have heard my voice. You had cast me into the depths in the heart of the seas, and the flood surrounds me.
All your strong waves and rushing water passed over me.
So I said, ‘I have been driven away from your sight. Will I ever again look on your holy temple?
Waters have grasped me to the point of death; the deep surrounds me.
Seaweed is wrapped around my head at the base of the undersea mountains.
I have sunk down to the underworld; its bars held me with no end in sight.
But you brought me out of the pit.’ When my endurance was weakening, I remembered the LORD, and my prayer came to you, to your holy temple. Those deceived by worthless things lose their chance for mercy.
But me, I will offer a sacrifice to you with a voice of thanks.
That which I have promised, I will pay.
Deliverance belongs to the LORD!” -Jonah 2:2-9 (CEB)


Jonah's prayer is present focused. He is…

Prayer time

Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the belly of the fish.
-Jonah 2:1

Jonah finally comes to the place of prayer. Jonah finally comes to the place when he will turn to God. Jonah finally comes to the place where he turns to God. Jonah comes to the place where his faith is quickened. He may be in pitch dark, but he gets clarity about God.

Sometimes it takes confinement by life's circumstances to get us to pray and for our faith to rise up into clarity about God. God may let us get boxed in so that we will cry out to Him and express faith that says, "you are my only hope and I am your child who puts his or her faith entirely in you".

There is no better time to start praying than now. It's never too late to start talking to God. Jonah waited until his circumstances went from bad to worse to terminal. God kept him alive, God saved him with the giant fish; so that he could pray, so that Jonah could reach out to God.

Jonah was headed towards death and God delayed and …

God saves Jonah

Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights.
-Jonah 1:17b

Jonah's story looked like it was coming to an end with his drowning at sea and then something unusual and unexpected happened. A great fish swallowed him and he was kept alive. He was saved by an USV, an unidentified swimming vehicle. Why three days and three nights? Three is one of the Bible's most often used numbers. Scholars have surmised that three means divine completion. Jewish sages, in their Talmud and Midrash literature, concluded that this scriptural phenomenon (of the third day motif) reveals a divine principle: God will rescue Israel, or a righteous person, on the third day of some great crisis. Also, Jonah's experience points to Christ and Jesus points back to Jonah.

Jesus talked about "the sign of Jonah" in Matthew 12:39-40 and in Luke 11:29-30: But he replied, “An evil and unfaithful generation searches for a sign, but it won’t receive any sign except Jonah’s sign. Just as…

Why all the sad songs (psalms)?

"My whole being is filled with distress; my life is at the very brink of hell. I am considered as one of those plummeting into the pit. I am like those who are beyond help, drifting among the dead lying in the grave, like dead bodies— those you don’t remember anymore, those who are cut off from your power. You placed me down in the deepest pit, in places dark and deep. Your anger smothers me; you subdue me with it, wave after wave.
Selah
You’ve made my friends distant. You’ve made me disgusting to them. I can’t escape. I’m trapped! "
Psalm 88:3-8 (CEB)

This is one of the most depressing portions of scripture. It's hopeless. There's no faith in it. But why are scriptures like this in The Book? Because the experience told by the writer is real and it's endorsed by God. What? Words like Psalm 88 are deeply comforting to the person on whom calamity has struck. If you hear your own voice in the words of Psalm 88, you are comforted to know that it is okay …