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Jonah: Belief Contradicted by Behavior! (Part 7)

Jonah’s call is clear — and his response, though unspoken, is equally clear.  He ran away from the omnipresent God.  He might have felt that he was successful in “fleeing” from the Lord.  But he was wrong.

We always are when we think we can escape God.  He is no wimpy celestial parent who wrings His hands at the rebellion of His child and says, “Oh, no!  Whatever shall I do?”  God acts.  He has the whole universe at His disposal to deploy against His mutinous missionary.  God uses, or rather “sends,” a “great wind on the sea.”  We read in Psalm 135 that “He causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings for the rain; he bringeth the wind out of his treasuries.” (v. 7, KJV)

Great winds produce great storms and this storm caused hardened, nauseous sailors to panic and become incredibly religious!  As they called out on their “own” gods, they divested themselves of the very cargo they were paid to transport.  They did everything they could to preserve their own lives, even resorting to religion in their despair.  But where is Jonah? (to be continued)

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2017 in Jonah

 

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Jonah: Belief Contradicted by Behavior! (Part 6)

Fleeing from the Lord, in Jonah’s case, was a literal, buy-your-own-ticket trip to Tarshish.  For us, fleeing from the Lord relates to the entirety of life:  what I think, what my priorities are, what’s important to me, what is God’s will for my life, for today.  Whenever I am failing to put Him first, I am fleeing from Him (even if I’m in my place in my pew in my church!).

What’s the opposite of “fleeing from” the Lord?  Fleeing to Him, of course.  Eagerly and without reservation (or with as few reservations as possible) submitting my will and plans and dreams and goals to Him.  The Bible calls that submission.

This raises several critical issues for the believer.  What is the “Nineveh” to which the Lord is sending me?  It might not be a geographical location, but a specific mission that I need to fulfill.

What is the “Joppa” for me, the place of resources that enable me to run away from doing what He has called me to do?  And what is my “Tarshish,” that place of rebellion and insensitivity to His plans for me?

I wasn’t a very good geography student in school, but those three cities might well represent three spiritual conditions of my heart.  My Nineveh — the place or task to which God is calling me.  My Joppa — my resources (given by the Lord) which I can use to run away from His will.  My Tarshish — the condition of my heart when it rebels against Him.  May I ask, which city are you in right now? (to be continued)

 

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2017 in Jonah

 

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Jonah: Belief Contradicted by Behavior! (Part 5)

What does it really mean to run away from the Lord? A total rejection of His Lordship. A turning away from the source of all life. A complete dismissal of the God of all creation!  It’s not just disobedience — it is spiritual rebellion and mutiny!

The Lord’s command was clear:  “GO!”  And Jonah went.  Away from the Lord. Away from obedience.  Away from the center of God’s will for his life.

He used his own resources to buy a one-way ticket to Tarshish.  And God let him.  God gave His servant the freedom to say “no!”

The text tells us that he purchased passage on that ship “to flee from the Lord.”  Can anyone really “flee” from the omnipresent God?  Absurd!

Fleeing from the Lord involves much more than physical movement.  We literally can’t move out of God’s zip code into our own.  He’s over all zip codes.  The basic idea of “fleeing” is to remove oneself from God’s control and Lordship — and that’s idolatry!  Mentally fleeing from God is a universal tactic (of believers!) which seduces us into thinking we can escape the Lord.  And that’s just plain dumb.  (to be continued)

 

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2017 in Jonah

 

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Time for a Great Commercial! Man’s Fall in the Garden!

I understand that this Allstate commercial was banned!  If that is true, how interesting.

The biblical picture of the Fall presents man’s choice as rebellion, not simply mayhem.  If the mayhem man represents Satan in the commercial (or rather the forbidden fruit), who does Allstate represent?

Your comments?

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2017 in Allstate, the fall

 

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Psalms of the Salter: Some Thoughts on Really Living for the Lord (Psalm 106)

Psalm 106

Praise the Lord.screen-shot-2016-10-24-at-7-28-50-am

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever.

2 Who can proclaim the mighty acts of the Lord
    or fully declare his praise?
Blessed are those who act justly,
    who always do what is right.

Remember me, Lord, when you show favor to your people,
    come to my aid when you save them,
that I may enjoy the prosperity of your chosen ones,
    that I may share in the joy of your nation
    and join your inheritance in giving praise.

We have sinned, even as our ancestors did;
    we have done wrong and acted wickedly.
When our ancestors were in Egypt,
    they gave no thought to your miracles;
they did not remember your many kindnesses,
    and they rebelled by the sea, the Red Sea.
Yet he saved them for his name’s sake,
    to make his mighty power known.
He rebuked the Red Sea, and it dried up;
    he led them through the depths as through a desert.
10 He saved them from the hand of the foe;
    from the hand of the enemy he redeemed them.
11 The waters covered their adversaries;
    not one of them survived.
12 Then they believed his promises
    and sang his praise.

13 But they soon forgot what he had done
    and did not wait for his plan to unfold.
14 In the desert they gave in to their craving;
    in the wilderness they put God to the test.
15 So he gave them what they asked for,
    but sent a wasting disease among them.

16 In the camp they grew envious of Moses
    and of Aaron, who was consecrated to the Lord.
17 The earth opened up and swallowed Dathan;
    it buried the company of Abiram.
18 Fire blazed among their followers;
    a flame consumed the wicked.
19 At Horeb they made a calf
    and worshiped an idol cast from metal.
20 They exchanged their glorious God
    for an image of a bull, which eats grass.
21 They forgot the God who saved them,
    who had done great things in Egypt,
22 miracles in the land of Ham
    and awesome deeds by the Red Sea.
23 So he said he would destroy them—
    had not Moses, his chosen one,
stood in the breach before him
    to keep his wrath from destroying them.

24 Then they despised the pleasant land;
    they did not believe his promise.
25 They grumbled in their tents
    and did not obey the Lord.
26 So he swore to them with uplifted hand
    that he would make them fall in the wilderness,
27 make their descendants fall among the nations
    and scatter them throughout the lands.

28 They yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor
    and ate sacrifices offered to lifeless gods;
29 they aroused the Lord’s anger by their wicked deeds,
    and a plague broke out among them.
30 But Phinehas stood up and intervened,
    and the plague was checked.
31 This was credited to him as righteousness
    for endless generations to come.
32 By the waters of Meribah they angered the Lord,
    and trouble came to Moses because of them;
33 for they rebelled against the Spirit of God,
    and rash words came from Moses’ lips.

34 They did not destroy the peoples
    as the Lord had commanded them,
35 but they mingled with the nations
    and adopted their customs.
36 They worshiped their idols,
    which became a snare to them.
37 They sacrificed their sons
    and their daughters to false gods.
38 They shed innocent blood,
    the blood of their sons and daughters,
whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan,
    and the land was desecrated by their blood.
39 They defiled themselves by what they did;
    by their deeds they prostituted themselves.

40 Therefore the Lord was angry with his people
    and abhorred his inheritance.
41 He gave them into the hands of the nations,
    and their foes ruled over them.
42 Their enemies oppressed them
    and subjected them to their power.
43 Many times he delivered them,
    but they were bent on rebellion
    and they wasted away in their sin.
44 Yet he took note of their distress
    when he heard their cry;
45 for their sake he remembered his covenant
    and out of his great love he relented.
46 He caused all who held them captive
    to show them mercy.

47 Save us, Lord our God,
    and gather us from the nations,
that we may give thanks to your holy name
    and glory in your praise.

48 Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
    from everlasting to everlasting.

Let all the people say, “Amen!”

Praise the Lord.

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2017 in God's anger, sin

 

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Time for a Great Quote: C.S. Lewis on Man’s Rebellion

“Fallen man is not simply an imperfect creature who needs screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-5-09-35-amimprovement: he is a rebel who must lay down his arms. Laying down your arms, surrendering, saying you are sorry, realizing that you have been on the wrong track, and getting ready to start life over again from the ground floor—that is the only way out of a hole. This process of surrender, this movement full astern, is what Christians call repentance.”

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2016 in rebellion

 

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Psalms of My Life (Psalm 119): Part 17

פ PeScreen Shot 2015-05-16 at 6.05.03 AM

129 Your statutes are wonderful;
    therefore I obey them.
130 The unfolding of your words gives light;
    it gives understanding to the simple.
131 I open my mouth and pant,
    longing for your commands.
132 Turn to me and have mercy on me,
    as you always do to those who love your name.
133 Direct my footsteps according to your word;
    let no sin rule over me.
134 Redeem me from human oppression,
    that I may obey your precepts.
135 Make your face shine on your servant
    and teach me your decrees.
136 Streams of tears flow from my eyes,
    for your law is not obeyed.Screen Shot 2015-05-16 at 6.08.32 AM

 
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Posted by on October 5, 2015 in the book of Psalms

 

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