Monthly Archives: July 2012

Jonah in the Bible

Jonah – When God speaks, He eventually gets His way.

Jonah was commissioned by God to go to Nineveh to preach and teach there, and to bring the people of that city to the Lord. We might tend to think Jonah should be able to go wherever he wanted to go, but that is not a principle taught in the Bible.  Jonah decided to go in a direction completely opposite the direction the Lord wanted him to go. Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh because he knew the people in that city were very cruel. Jonah feared that if they didn’t accept the message God had for them they might persecute or even kill him. We can understand why he wouldn’t want to go there!

We read that Jonah went out from the presence of the Lord. He turned his back on the Lord and went his own way!  Jonah took passage on a ship to go where he wanted to go.  Eventually they found themselves in the middle of a ferocious storm and the people on the boat learned that Jonah wasn’t doing what his God told him to do. Jonah knew this storm was a direct result his disobedience to the Lord, so he directed them to throw him overboard.  He saw that as the only chance of saving the ship and crew. What happened next seems rather strange to some people but it says God prepared a fish.  Some say it was a whale but the Bible doesn’t really say that.  It was a big fish.  This big fish swallowed Jonah, and he was in the belly of this fish for three days.  That is a brief summary of Jonah chapter one.

In chapter 2, we find Jonah in the belly of this big fish. He begins to pray and cry out to God?  Why?  He is in a big predicament and he doesn’t know if it will be life or death for him.  Jonah eventually prays and God delivers him. This fish spits him out on the shore.

In Jonah 3 it says that God spoke again to Jonah. In other words, God didn’t give-up on Jonah. He still wanted Jonah to fulfill the original intention, purpose or burden that God had for him. God again asked Jonah to go to Nineveh, the city He had originally commissioned him to go to. Eventually Jonah obeys, goes to that city and preaches, and as a result those people turned away from their unrighteousness and to God.

What is the simple principle we can learn from the story of Jonah?  When God speaks, eventually God gets His way.  If we don’t follow or go along with the Lord, He will sometimes allow something to happen that will bring God to our attention. In Jonah’s case, he spent three days in the belly of a big fish. There are two other examples in the Bible of people who went their own way and did their own thing and eventually got into trouble. Don’t forget, eventually God gets His way. 

The video this text is taken from is being uploaded to  Drew’s YouTube channel.

What About The Beginning and the End

beautiful sunset

As I was considering what we should talk about on today’s blog.  Should we talk about the beginning of the Bible, the book of Genesis, or should we talk about the end of the Bible, the book of Revelation?  These are two favorite subjects, at least for me. Genesis is a book of beginnings, and talks about creation. Because I am a computer engineer, I am interested in intricate things. I like to know about how things started. How did God create the heavens and the earth?  How did God put all the laws of the universe into motion? How do you interpret Genesis chapter one?  Some people look at it as discussingoriginal creation while others understand it to be describing a restoration of the original creation. Which is it? There are many reasons and evidences for both sides. Interestingly, something totally different from the book of Genesis or the book of Revelation came to mind as I considered before God what the burden for this program should be.  What came to mind was an Old Testament story about someone named Jonah. Jonah is an Old Testament book comprised of only four chapters, and it teaches us a very basic lesson.  

Moose Encounters

Mouse Encounter yesterday morning

I do a lot of hiking, walking and praying on various trails in the Spokane area.  This past  Saturday morning,  I encountered two moose about 5 miles apart.  So I think it is time to document all my moose encounters.  These cute “little” animals are almost twice the height of my car!

Here are my six moose encounters:

1.  When Olive Tree was in my home, (about 5 years ago) those working in the basement saw a mommy and baby moose in the back yard.  I tried to take a picture but it was too dark and my old camera was just not doing well.

2.  When I was hiking a 7 mile loop around a mountain,  a moose came between me and the trail back to the parking lot.  I was 20 feet from the moose and he was as startled as I was, but he did not charge.  I had to choose between walking back the other way (about 6 miles) or hoping the moose would vamoose.  After 3 frantic phone calls (including a wrong number to the park ranger), the moose wandered up the hill — a big sigh of relief!

3.  Once,  upon returning from a hike at dusk, I heard noises in the brush near my car.  I looked up and discovered I was 10 feet from a large moose.  Fortunately there was a fence separating me from the moose, so I did not have to test my tree-climbing abilities.

4.  While enjoying a hike with my grandchildren near the Little Spokane River, a moose was observed in the river.  We were about 40 feet from that impressive animal.

5 and 6. This Saturday morning I saw two moose that had just crossed the road in front of my car.  Both times I tried to quickly stop and grab my camera, but the moose kept moving. The picture above is the first moose I tried to photograph as he was quickly moving away.

Very Simple Prayer – as the Lord Taught Us

When we just do not know what to pray, here is a really simple one that Jesus taught us.  So short and simple.  This prayer takes care of our needs and God’s needs.  It actually starts with God’s needs, which is the Kingdom.

Our Father who is in heaven, may Your name be sanctified.  May Your Kingdom come.  May Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  And supply us today what we need and forgive us our wrongs as we forgive the wrongs of others.  Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

What is Prayer?

Prayer is just talking to God.  God is real, He exists and listens, we just need to start talking to Him.    Prayer does not need to be formal or in some special place or with some special people. Prayer is just talking to God in reality. So we don’t need to be phony or make-up something, just start saying what is on your heart as you think about God.  Prayer is just a dialog between us and God.  Prayer can be alone for with others.  Prayer can be when we are happy and when we are sad.  Prayer can be what we feel when we are very encouraged and when we are very depressed and low.   Prayer can be when we are a sinner (and we all are sinners) and when we feel we are a saint.  Prayer can be when we love God and when we hate God. Sometimes we are hurting because of something that happened, so tell that to God.  Sometimes after we pray we feel high and sometimes low.

Sometimes we have things we want God to fix or do.  Sometime He does them, other times it just does not happen.  We can in prayer talk to God about ourselves and talk about others.

In the Bible there are many sample prayers. These Bible prayers are great examples of words if we need them, but still the best is what just comes from our heart as we think about God.

Three quick tips to help your prayer:
1. To know Jesus Christ as savior makes a big difference in prayer results
2. To know the Bible also helps our prayer
3. To obey the Lord also helps our prayer

So try some prayers, just talk to God what ever words come to you as you consider God.

God Created

Why is the Bible so simple. It just acknowledges God. Then it says God created the heavens and earth.  There is just no opinion expressed in this simple statement in the first book of the Bible, Genesis. Just the facts of the way it is in the universe.

Creation shows God’s power and ability.  It is one thing to intelligently design something like a computer system, a communication system, or a transportation vehicle.  It is another to actually build it.  What if we had no raw materials and needed to design and build from nothing.

God created the universe from nothing. He is God and has this ability. So He is the source of all matter and energy.  He doesn’t just modify pre-existing matter but calls matter into being out of nothing.

Why did God Create Man?

Why did God Create Man

In the beginning there was the earth, plants, animals and there was man. What is all this for and why are we here?  These are some universal questions. In the beginning God had a purpose in mind for all things, but what is this purpose and what does this have to do with us? When we look at the beginning of the Bible, the first book of the Bible and the first chapter of the Bible the reason why God created man is laid out for us. It says, there, that God created man in His image and in His likeness, and He wanted man to have dominion over the fish, the cattle, the birds, over the whole earth and over the creeping things. In that passage the two key words are “image” and “dominion”. These two words describe the reason why God created you and created me—imagine and dominion.

Now what do these two words mean? An image is like a photograph. If I have a photograph of a tree, you see an image of the tree; you see the attributes of the tree. For instance, most trees are green, so you see green. You see the form of the branches, the shape of the leaves and so on. Well, in the same way, you and I were created in the image of God that we might express the attributes of God.  For instance, a tree is green, so a photograph of a tree expresses that attribute, the color green. You and I were created in the image of God. Now one attribute of God is love. Others include joy, peace, patience, honesty, telling the truth and so on.  These are all attributes of God.  When we express these attributes we express God’s nature, and this is why you and I were created.

Now let’s break this down a little bit.  You and I were made in the image of God to express God, to express what God is. One of God’s attributes is love. When you read the whole Bible, from beginning to end, you discover how God’s love is unconditional.  But yet, a lot of times our human love that we try to live with is conditional. It is fickle. One day we like people, and the next day we are grumpy. Some people we like; some people we don’t like. Yet God’s love is not this way. For instance, even we Christians (I am a born-again Christian) have a problem. Sometimes we only like people who are Christians but we don’t like people who are not Christians.  We think they need to join our club, so to speak, or be like exactly like us. But yet when you read the Bible you find out that God loves every single human being, even the ones who are not Christian. How do you like that?  Then, even among Christians there is a failure to love.  Brand X Christians don’t like Brand Y Christians?  Why?  Because they do not believe exactly like I do, or they don’t practice things exactly the way I do.  Of course the Brand X Christian have their Bible verses to prove that what they are doing is the best.  But you see that is not the expression of God.  We were created to express God, and we were created to represent God on this earth. When we express what God I s, which is love, unconditional love, which means we accept anybody, under any condition. When we do that, we express God Himself.

So let’s go back to why God created man. God created us in His image to express Him.  Secondly God created man to have dominion because God wanted man to represent Him on this earth. I hope you can remember those two words:  image and dominion, because these two words describe the reason why God created man.

Glory of God’s Inheritance in the Saints

Ephesian 1:17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him,   18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling,  and what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints

What does all these words mean,  seems a little too heavenly for it to relate to me a sinner.  Don’t you know I’m just a sinner.  But think you and I a sinner, right, a dirty rotten sinner, no hope, only deserving of the fires of Hell, no eternal future, just NO HOPE.  God is holy, but I am a dirty sinner, so no contact no connection, and no hope.

BUT BUT God did something to make you rich, you and I sinners.  A Holy God whom we could not approach did something to make us rich, He sent his son,  The Son of God as a man, who lived on the  earth, Jesus who died on the cross for me a sinner so I could approach the Holy God.

The saints (all God’s redeemed regenerated believers who enjoy all that Christ did at the cross) are full of the riches of Christ. They have all had some experience of Christ they could share about what Christ did for them, even if just “He did it for me (a sinner) at the cross and removed all my sin. I (a sinner) can now approach the Holy God because of the perfect sacrifice of Jesus on the cross almost 2000 years ago”  What Christ did made us sinners rich with Christ.

Some people title this section:  Our Resources in Christ.  “Paul in this section sets forth the amazing and unlimited blessings believers have in Jesus Christ, blessings that amount to our personal inheritance of all that belongs to Him.”

Notice the verse says “His Inheritance”  So after we inherit all that Christ is and all He did on the cross, He inherits us.  After we have received Christ  we become his special possession.  This also secures our eternal inheritance.

… Paul prays for God to give believers true comprehension and appreciation of who they are in Jesus Christ, in order that they might begin to have some idea of how magnificent and unlimited are the blessings that already belonged to them in their Lord and Savior….

In essence Paul prayed that the Ephesians would be spared from frantically searching for what was already theirs, but rather would see that the great God who is their God is the source of all they need and has it ready for them if they are open to receive it. Such a receptive attitude requires that God Himself give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him 

 It is tragic that many believers send their agents out looking for some priceless item and become entangled in a quest for something more in the Christian life, for something special, something extra that the “ordinary” Christian life does not possess. They talk of getting more of Jesus Christ, more of the Holy Spirit, more power, more blessings, a higher life, a deeper life—as if the resources of God were divinely doled out one at a time like so many prescriptions or were unlocked by some spiritual or software combination that only an initiated few can know.

Have you ever been away from home and lost your cell phone.  For me it always causes a panic, once I thought I lost it but turns out it was in my hand.  The point is something valuable is precious and when we don’t have it we eaisly panic.

Many christian panic, I have no power no feeling towards the Lord or the Bible, or Home group or Sunday Am and go weeks wondering what to do…

But Christ did it all on the cross and you possess him.  You are rich in Him.