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Jonah: Belief Contradicted by Behavior (Part 8)

I think Jonah might have been an introvert.  Seriously.  He had gone down below deck.  Perhaps he was seasick.  Perhaps he was hiding.  It appears he was taking a nap.  It’s exhausting to run away from God!

Above deck an ecumenical prayer meeting is taking place.  The sailors are calling out to their gods even as they are tossing all the cargo overboard.

But the one piece of cargo that is napping below deck is causing the ship to sink!  The rebuke from the ship’s captain is direct:  “How can you sleep?  Get up and call on your god!  Maybe he will take notice of us so that we will not perish!”

Jonah’s conscience (an interesting side study in this book) allows him to sleep like a baby.  A baby running away from his god.  It’s kind of hard to call on one’s god when in rebellion.  Disobedience has a way of stifling one’s prayer life.

“All hands on deck!” in Jonah’s situation meant everyone must, right now, call on their chosen deity to save them from perishing.  And Jonah appears to not care about the life of these sailors — or himself.  An infection of apathy has taken root in Jonah’s heart.  (to be continued)

A prayer for today:  “Lord of the winds and the sea, show me my apathy toward Your concerns for this drowning world.  Please take away from me my spiritual slumber and re-deploy me in Your service!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.”

 

 
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Posted by on August 8, 2017 in Jonah

 

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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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Psalms of the Salter: Some Thoughts on Really Living for the Lord (Psalm 119): Part 15

ס Samekh

113 I hate double-minded people,screen-shot-2016-11-24-at-6-14-04-am
    but I love your law.
114 You are my refuge and my shield;
    I have put my hope in your word.
115 Away from me, you evildoers,
    that I may keep the commands of my God!
116 Sustain me, my God, according to your promise, and I will live;
    do not let my hopes be dashed.
117 Uphold me, and I will be delivered;
    I will always have regard for your decrees.
118 You reject all who stray from your decrees,
    for their delusions come to nothing.
119 All the wicked of the earth you discard like dross;
    therefore I love your statutes.
120 My flesh trembles in fear of you;
    I stand in awe of your laws.

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2017 in religion

 

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Insight from a Blind Man (A Study of John 9) Part 9

screen-shot-2017-02-25-at-5-36-55-amAh, the miracle was done on the SABBATH!  The Pharisees saw themselves as the keepers of the Sabbath and their logic or lack of logic got them into a lot of debates with Jesus over the purpose of the Sabbath.

Jesus did not check the calendar to see what day it was before He spat on the ground, made mud, put it on this man’s eyes, and told him to go wash.  For Jesus the time was always right for a miracle!

The religiosity of the Pharisees blinded them from the truth about the Sabbath, the truth about this blind man, and the truth about Jesus.  Religion has a way of doing that.

Religion can be a substitute for the righteousness that is offered freely in the gospel. Religion can take the place of compassion.  Religion can poison one’s mind and cause one to think that he or she can work their way to heaven.  Religion can seduce one into minimizing God’s mercy and trampling on His grace.  Religion nailed the Son of God to the cross, didn’t it?

There is indeed a God-consciousness built inside each of us that is either met by God’s mercy or twisted by man’s own religious efforts.

The Creator of man, the Second Person of the Divine Trinity, stooped to make mud, much like man’s original creation in the beginning.  He can make mud and He can fashion it any way He chooses.  But man can judge Him by man’s religion and condemn His creative intervention into our world of darkness.  In a world of dust and dirt and precious little spiritual water, He spits on the ground He made and does something wonderful.  Which religion condemns. (to be continued)

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2017 in religion

 

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Insight from a Blind Man (A Study of John 9) Part 8

screen-shot-2017-02-25-at-5-36-55-am
Why do people want to know HOW something happened? They ought to be enthralled THAT something happened, don’t you think?

The problem here is that process is all-important to the religious leaders — and the people they have taught.  The real issue in this interrogation — for the friends and later especially for the Pharisees — is the day of the week in which this miracle took place.  THE SABBATH!

As the neighbors and those who had formerly known the blind man discover, Jesus had MADE MUD on the Sabbath to put on the man’s eyes so he could go wash and so he could — for the first time in his LIFE! — see!  The man born blind is succinct in his response:  “The man they call Jesus . . .”  He knew next to nothing about Jesus, not even His whereabouts.

“The man they call Jesus” — Soon this man would be calling Jesus “Lord”!  But first he has to go through a series of interrogations — and they will not be pretty.

Thank God that our ignorance does not inhibit the God of glory to do works of power in our lives!  He who made the deaf, the mute, and the blind (Ex. 4) can reverse the effects of the Fall and give sight where there had only been darkness.

Could it be that this man was actually wanting to find “the man they call Jesus” to thank Him?  screen-shot-2017-02-25-at-5-58-44-amAnd his searching gets side-tracked by this series of inquisitions?  He certainly becomes irritated and agitated (as we’ll see later) as the questions are hurled at him like  stones at the public stoning of an adulteress.

But for right now, he tolerates the questions and will be led to the religious authorities, presumably to give their stamp of approval to his miracle.  However, religion can become ugly.  Quite ugly. (to be continued)

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2017 in john 9

 

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Time for a Good Joke: Religious Politicians!

Senator Porkbelly and Congressman Redstate were arguing about which of them was more religious.  “You think you’re so religious, Senator Porkbelly?,” the Congressman asked.  Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 6.01.56 AM“Well, I’m certainly more religious than you!”, the Senator replied.  “Oh, yeah?  I’ll bet you don’t even know the Lord’s Prayer!”

“Of course, I know the Lord’s Prayer!,” retorted the Senator.

“I’ll bet you fifty dollars you can’t recite the Lord’s Prayer,” challenged the Congressman.  “You’re on!,” said the Senator.

“Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take!”

The Congressman said with great shock, “Senator, I didn’t think you knew it!  Here’s your fifty dollars!”

 
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Posted by on October 18, 2016 in politics

 

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Time for a Short Video: Protesters Join Forces!

What a refreshing video! I’m so glad these protesters crossed the street and joined forces.

Fascinating that religious language is heard as they embrace one another, don’t you think? Although religion often separates people, here it unites people as they listen to one another.

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Posted by on July 20, 2016 in protesters

 

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