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Isaiah 52:7

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Jonah (Part 2)

Posted on 4 February, 2018 at 13:46 Comments comments (1)
 




Jonah 1:3-4 says, “3 But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord and went down to Joppa, and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.4 But the Lord sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea so that the ship was like to be broken.”

Jonah had forsaken the Lord, resigning from his ministry as a prophet in Israel or anywhere else. Jonah has left friends and family. He had openly refused to obey God. Although Jonah had left God, God had not left Jonah

Why didn’t God find someone else? God didn't want someone else; God called Jonah. God was dealing with Jonah. Who caused the Storm? God did. Whose fault that there’s a storm? Jonah’s fault. Most of the time people blame God for the storms that arise in their lives. When there’s a storm in your life, you are the reason for the storm. It’s not always because you are running from God, sometimes it’s because you are running to God. Storms come to make or break us. 

Whether the storms come from God, or the Devil it is for the same purpose, to make or break you. The devil can’t do anything unless the Lord allows him. Although the devil plans are to break you, destroy you if he could, but he can’t. God wants to break you too. Our Heavenly Father want's us pliable and yielded to His will. God wants to break off all rebellion, unforgiveness, fear, doubt, self-righteousness, etc. He wants to make you righteous, fearless, compassionate, forgiving, faithful, etc. Our Heavenly Father is not just our deliverer, but also our Healer. The thing we react instead of respond as in a defensive mode is an indication of an unhealed wound, which God wants to heal.

Jonah 1:4 “4 But the Lord sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea so that the ship was like to be broken.”

It’s not the ship God wanted to break, but Jonah’s defiant, stubbornness, pride and lack of compassion. If we look to Jonah on how we should respond during a storm, we are looking to the wrong person; Jonah is not someone you want to follow nor emulate. In this story, we see that God is a merciful, faithful and loving God. He cares for us even when we disobey him; he loves us even when we sin. He protects us even when we're running away from his Presence.

In this biblical account it isn’t so-called self-righteous Jonah, but the heathens, sinners that have the right response. They prayed to their gods to stop the storm, which never works, they told Jonah to do the same. He didn’t.  Instead, Jonah’s responds by saying, in verse 9 “I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land.”

Jonah like so many others didn’t fear God. If Jonah feared God, he would have obeyed him. 

In verse 10 we read, “Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him. Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the Lord because he had told them.”

“11 Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought and was tempestuous.”

“12 And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.” Throw me overboard? Instead of let's pray. Jonah knew that the storm was because of him because he said,” for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.” 

14 "Wherefore they cried unto the Lord, and said, We beseech thee, O Lord, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man's life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O Lord, hast done as it pleased thee.”
 
15 "So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging. 16 Then the men feared
the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the Lord, and made vows.” 

The heathens prayed to Jonah’s God and made sacrifices to the Lord, and they made vows unto the Lord. Another word they repented and got right with God. 

Jesus had said, that he came to save sinner not the righteous. So what is Jonah doing? Drowning in a sea of regret, but not repenting. We can be sorry for what we have or have not done, but remorse or guilt is not repentance. 

Even after this storm, Jonah doesn’t repent. God in his Mercy prepared a fish just for Jonah. Some would look at that fish as punishment, but in reality, it kept him from drowning and from dangerous prey. To Jonah it was a prison, a living hell, but to God it was Jonah’s covering and protection. It’s amazing how the very thing we run from, the things we fear or reject are sometimes the very things that we should embrace, like trials and tribulations, storms and separation, deserts and wilderness, letting go and holding on, being still and change.

Verse 17 says "Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.”

Jonah was in total darkness, a prelude to hell. Jonah wanted to run from the presence of God; he wanted to separate himself from the will of God. Separated from God, is hell. There is total darkness, fear, no peace, no joy. Jonah got a taste of what it’s like being separated from God for only three days; I can’t imagine what it’s like for those who reject Jesus as their Savior and spend eternity in Hell. 

The people on Jonah’s ship could have gone back to their false idols, and immorality after throwing Jonah overboard, but they didn’t. It wasn’t Jonah who left them with a lasting impression; it was God! They had to reason that If God is in control of the sea and the storm, what else is He in control of?
 
Jonah 2:1 says, after three days and nights Jonah prays. It took Jonah three days and night in complete darkness to realize he was not only wrong but needed God. Jonah finally prays. Most people would have prayed on the ship, and definitely when they saw a great fish coming for them.

What was Jonah doing for three days? He was probably looking for a way out, or perhaps he just gave up and was waiting to die, instead of praying to live. Jonah could have been waiting for God to do something like delivering him, but God was waiting for him to ask for deliverance, not just from the fish but his rebellious and prideful condition. It wasn’t just the fish Jonah needed deliverance from, and that also applies to us. It's not the storm God want’s to change, after all, He allowed it. God wants to change us. 

Jonah concluded his prayer by acknowledging in chapter 2:9 “Salvation is of the Lord.” …To be Continued




Learning to Lean (Part 2)

Posted on 24 February, 2016 at 17:18 Comments comments (0)


 




When Israel was about to cross over Jordan into the promise land, God reminded Israel of Amalek's treacherous act, and charges them:Det. 25:17-18 “Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt; 18 How he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and weary; and he feared not God.“

It is just like the enemy of our soul to attack us when we are weary, and weak in our faith. Just like when the enemy (Amalekites) came out against the faint and weary of the children of Israel in the wilderness. 

When the Israelites came out of Egypt it was a different story. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob solely delivered the children of Israel out of the hands of the mightiest empire during that era. The only role the Israelites had was to obey the words of the Lord. Every time Moses stretched fourth that rod in Egypt, some natural disaster or plague struck the Egyptians. God literally fought their battles while they watched in amazement.

The red sea opened up and they walk through on dry land while the Egyptian army drowned pursuing God’s chosen people. Soon after in the wilderness they complained about water, bread, and meat. God provide all they needed.

Exodus 16:10-12 “ And it came to pass, as Aaron spake unto the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and, behold, the glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud. 11And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 12 I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel: speak unto them, saying, At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread; and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God.”

God did everything for them. But, the one thing God would not do, without their involvement was to fight their battle for them once they were set free from bondage, Egypt (World). They were no longer slaves, but they like us have been set free, and were being prepared to be a army that would inherit the promise of God, and defeat the enemy.

Exodus 17:8-16    
“8 Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim.” I wondered how long did Amalek torment and fought against the weary and the faint before Moses, and the rest of the group realized that God was not going to intervene. They would have to decide to take the initiative to stand and fight their own battles, with God’s help.

“9 And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand.” 

There is one thing you just can’t ignore, the enemy, he will not go away on his own. He will continue to torment you, until you put an end to it. “10 So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.11 And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.”

"12 But Moses hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun."

Moses became weary from holding up the rod, that rod represented his faith. Every time Moses stretched forth his rod (faith), God acted in Moses behalf, just like He does for us. 

During this battle Moses hands became weary from holding up the rod. Aaron and Hur finds’ a stone (rock), and Moses sat upon that ROCK, Moses had to rest in the midst of the battle. He rested upon the ROCK, which represents Christ. Both Aaron and Hur held up Moses hands, as Moses rested upon the ROCK. We must learn in the midst of the storms to rest on the ROCK. It is the only way to recover from being weary and find strength and endurance to preserver.

In the midst of the battles we, like Aaron and Hur, should be holding up one another’s faith with encouragement and prayers. Moses was not alone, God always bring someone in our lives to be are Aaron and Hur.

“13 And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.”













Weathering the Storm (Part 2 of 3)

Posted on 22 May, 2015 at 15:23 Comments comments (0)
 
        





Matt. 14:25-29 “25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, it is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.” 

Instead of realizing that God was behind this glorious supernatural phenomenon they credit this as demonic, a ghost or spirit, but not the Spirit of God. How often has God attempted to get our attention or to increase our faith, but because we are not comfortable or familiar with what’s going on we immediately say, or dismissed it as not of God. Fear will paralyze us from moving forward in the blessings and promises of God, just like it did the other Apostles on that boat. Fear, is the very opposite of what God has for us. God wants to bless us; the enemy wants to keep us from the blessings of God.

Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” 

The Lord allows the storms and trials in our lives to perfect us, and increase our faith. Peter immediately takes advantage of this situation. Instead of Peter being immobilized by fear, faith arises in him to believe for the impossible. Once Peter understood that this is the Lord, and that this phenomenon is of God, Peter wanted to be a part of it, involve in what the Lord was doing. 

“27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. 28 And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.” 

Peter had enough sense to ask to walk on the water, he did not assume that he could do the miraculous under his own ability or power, but only by the Spirit and will of God. The storm was still waging, but Peter’s passion for the things of God exceeded the fear of his surroundings. At that moment Peter’s attention was focus on Jesus, not the storm waging around him. At that moment Peter had a peace, because his eyes were on the Lord, and not the problem. Peter didn’t ask to walk on water; he asked to come to Jesus who was on the water. Peter didn’t ask for a sign or a wonder, he didn’t ask Jesus to stop the storm. He asked to go where Jesus was. Jesus would never turn anyone down who asked to come to him. Many of us ask for Jesus to come to where we are at in our circumstances. Peter asked to come to where Jesus was.

For to long we have taught that the miracle was simply walking on the water. The focus shouldn’t be walking on water, but walking with Jesus no matter where we are or what we our going through. The miracle is walking through the storms with Jesus. If we can stand with Jesus in the storms, we can stand with him though anything.

“29 And he said, come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.” Peter climbs out of the boat, amazed as he steadies himself and walks on water toward Jesus. Like a toddler taking their first steps toward mom or dad.

The interesting thing is there were eleven other men on that boat. Why didn’t they ask to come to Jesus on the waters? The opportunity was there. They probably didn’t ask for the same reason many of us don’t, we don’t believe it applies to us. Most of the men must have been looking at the storm, instead of Jesus. Some may have thought, “Peter gets all the breaks or blessings, it just not fair.” While a few may have been waiting for him to fail or succeed, before they dare ask. Yet, the opportunity was now, not later…to be continued. 

Filthy Garments

Posted on 2 September, 2014 at 14:20 Comments comments (0)
 




“And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?” (Zechariah 3:1-2) 

Satan tempts us to sin and then accuses us of sin and unworthiness before the Lord, just like he did with Joshua. Thank God for God’s Mercy and Grace, which is clearly evident in the Old Testament as well as it is in the New Testament. All of us have been pluck out of the fire by God. We didn’t choose Him, He chose us and we accepted the nudging of His Holy Spirit to receive Jesus Christ as our Savior.

Zechariah the prophet has a vision of Joshua the high priest standing before the Lord in filthy garments and Satan there to resist or accurse him (Zechariah 3:3-5). Now Joshua wasn’t just a Levite or a priest, but the High Priest that could enter into the Holies or Holy, where the manifest presence of God was. If Joshua had so much, as a boil on his body he was unfit for service. Why something as minor as a boil? A boil is an infection under the skin, another word, a unhealed wound. You could not operate in the high priest position with an unhealed wound or blemish; No more than you can operate effectively today in ministry with an unhealed wound (Leviticus 21:21).

Zechariah, Joshua, and a remnant return from Babylonian captivity to their homeland, Jerusalem. The temple wasn’t being built. Zechariah realized in this vision that it wasn’t the lack of mortar or brick, or enthusiasm that kept them from building the temple, but a lack of healing and transformation. Joshua like so many others was a prisoner or product of his past. He was free physically, but spiritually bound.

There are Christians today, who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior, but their lives seem unchanged. The only significant difference is they are aware that certain behavior is sin and not a habit or personal choice. However they are still struggling with the very thing Jesus Christ went to the cross to deliver them from. They still commit the same familiar sins, struggling to change their filthy garments for a garment of righteousness. 

In verse four the Lord says onto those that stood before him, “Take away the filthy garments from him.” If you notice, Joshua didn’t remove his own filthy garments, no more than we can— although we try. We attend church, dress appropriately and may abstain from additive behaviors (alcohol, drugs, cigarettes etc.), but those filthy garments represents sins not habits. Sin is something we cannot remove only Christ can and He has. 

Verse 4 continues to say, “I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.” Notice that the Lord said iniquity. There are three levels of sin. Isaiah 53:5 says, “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities:

There is sin, the scripture says in Rom. 3:23, “For all sinned and come short of the Glory of God.” And if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1John1:9). 

However, a transgression is a deliberate or practice sin that if continued will turn into a stronghold. A stronghold will eventually become an iniquity. This sin (iniquity) will pass down the bloodline from generation to generation. (For further information on subject read: Redeemed from the Curse by R. A. Vukovich)

Joshua could not remove those filthy garments; neither can religion or self-works. The Lord spoke to those who were with him (ministering angels) to remove the garments and replace them with suitable garments. Those who struggle over sin need to confess their sins to the Lord as 1John 1:9 says. Then ask the Lord to remove those filthy garments (sins) and exchange them for the garment of righteousness. The Spirit of God wants to set us free, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness so we can enter into the manifest presence of God. 

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1John 1:9). God does not just want to forgive you of your sins, He wants to cleanse, or wash away that sin. Another words set you free from the bondage of sin, and give you a garment of praise, and a robe of righteousness (Is. 61:3,10).

Do you know the Holy Spirit?

Posted on 9 February, 2014 at 19:29 Comments comments (0)
I recently ministered at a conference where I spoke on the theme ”Do you know the Holy Spirit?” As I prepared for this conference the Holy Spirit began to show me areas in my own life that I had not yielded to the Holy Spirit.

I knew He was the Spirit of Truth spoken of in John 16:13. I understood without any doubt He was indeed my Comforter as spoken in John 14:26. The Holy Spirit was definitely my mentor and teacher. He opened up the Word of God with revelation, and inspiration I could have never known on my own (1 Corinthians 2:13). I also knew that the anointing, gifts and fruit were of the Holy Spirit. However, I realized that after forty years of walking with the Lord that I had put the Holy Spirit in a religious box. I took Him out, as I needed Him, not realizing I needed Him all the time, not just when I preached or prophesied. He wanted to be more than my comforter, and teacher. He wanted to be my companion, a covenant friend that sticks closer than a brother.

He is that still small voice that we should not ignored. The blazing fire within that cannot be put out. He is the unquenchable thirst for more of God, the living waters. The Holy Spirit does reproves, helps, glorifies, and intercedes in our behalf. (John 16:7-13; Rom." 8:26)

When we pray we make known our request before our Heavenly Father in the name of His son, Jesus Christ. We give honor and praise to the Father and the Son, but we fail to acknowledge and honor the third part of the Holy Trinity, the Holy Spirit. Why? Because we fail to recognize who He is in ours lives.

He is not an It, Bird (Dove), or Goose Bumps. He is the Spirit of the living God. The Holy Spirit can be— Grieved and Quench. Ephesians 4:30 says,  “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”1Thessalonians 5:19 says, “Quench not the Spirit.”


Knowing the Holy Spirit attributes doesn’t address the question; do you know the Holy Spirit? To know the Holy Spirit is different than knowing about Him. If you admit you don’t know Him, as you should, then ask Him to reveal himself to you more and more. Invite Him into your prayer and study time, speak to him, and use your heavenly language to pray in the Spirit. But, most of all yield and surrender to His will in your life! 

John 16:13-15 says, “13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”

Let me lead

Posted on 22 January, 2012 at 11:28 Comments comments (1)
It was time to take our dog Tiger to the vet. Tiger’s name fit him. He had a bad habit of lunging at you, or lunging on our comfortable couch.  His playtime consisted of trying to get your hand or arm, and other things in his mouth. He was named Tiger as a puppy because of the striped markings on his body. I wonder if we had named him Striped or Marble, if that would have changed his behavior.
 
We had just purchased a new vehicle. As I looked outside, the ground was wet, so I decided not to put Tiger in the vehicle. I envisioned him leaving muddy paw marks on the leather seats, and slobber all over the windows. Since the veterinarian office was only a few blocks away and the weather was warm, I decided we would walk. Tiger and I could use the exercise.
 
Although Tiger had been to the vet numerous times before, he had never walked before.  As we proceeded out of our driveway, Tiger was eager to lead. Tiger had no clue where he was going; he just knew he wanted to lead. I found myself constantly pulling on the leash. This was turning into a trot instead of a walk. I also realized I wasn’t walking Tiger; he was walking me. I felt like an Eskimo in a sled race, without the snow. Every so often I would yell, “No Tiger.” However, Tiger wasn’t listening, he was leading and that was all that mattered. I marvel at how he didn’t have a clue where we were headed, yet he confidently lead.
 
I had learned not to take more than one dog at a time for a walk. Whether it was our pit bulls, Tiger and Domino, or our gentle dogs, Buddy and Gizmo. They each would try vigorously to take the lead, pulling my husband and I, as if we were excessive baggage. This time it was just Tiger and I.
 
Tiger was choking as I pulled on the leash to get him to slow down, and let me lead. I didn’t have a problem with him walking beside me; this was what I wanted. But, the more I pulled on the leash, the more he resisted.
 
Finally we had reached our destination. My back ached; I just wanted to sit down. It seemed like I had walk for miles, when it was only four blocks. When we got into the vet’s office, to my surprised I noticed Tiger’s eyes were blood shot and somewhat bulging. I blurted out, “Oh my goodness, what’s wrong with his eyes?” The vet replied, “You were choking him.” Of course I informed the vet, that I did not choke him, Tiger choked himself. If only he had yielded to the pull of the leash, then he would have been fine. Fortunately Tiger was just a little sore.   
Tiger had received his shots and we were out the door heading home. The trip back was far more relaxing as Tiger was tired, and yielded the lead to me.   

Each year we look forward to hear, “What saith the Lord” as we enter into a new year. Like Tiger, we are ready to lead, but have no clue where we are headed.   Many of us assume that every year means a new season in our lives. We yearn to see change, but have we allowed God to change us to receive the new?  We quickly take the lead, unknowingly telling the Lord, to come and follow us. When we don’t see the desired changes in our lives, we become disappointed and tired. What the Lord wanted was for us to relinquish the lead to Him, and walk beside him.   

Each season seems to have a theme, or a catch phrase that characterizes it. These phrases express a hunger and yearning in our hearts. It is the long awaited promises and blessings that we have hoped for, and that God so desires to give us. What many have failed to realize is if we have failed to allow The Lord to work in the past season of our lives, we are not ready to enter into the new season that the Lord desires us to walk in.  

In my book “Unmasked” I wrote, “We tend to focus our attention on what God hasn’t accomplished in our lives, instead of what He is accomplishing in us. Whether we admit it or not, we are that diamond in the rough.  

While we focus on progress, God is focusing on the process. Instead of focusing on the lack of progress, we need to turn our attention on the process. Some of the things we view as obstacles, trials or disappointments in our lives are the very things God uses to promote us. How we handle the process will determine how much we progress. God will not allow a trial to come into your life unless He has a purpose. Know that the storms and challenges are not sent to destroy you. God allowed it to increase, strengthen and promote you.” So enjoy the journey, and let the Lord, lead.