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“Yield”

Knowing God’s Will Part 2

Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship. But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. The captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us so that we will not perish.”

Then the sailors said to each other, “Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity.” They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. So they asked him, “Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What kind of work do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?”

He answered, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”

10 This terrified them and they asked, “What have you done?” (They knew he was running away from the Lord, because he had already told them so.)

11 The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?”

12 “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.”

13 Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before. 14 Then they cried out to the Lord, “Please, Lord, do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, Lord, have done as you pleased.” 15 Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. 16 At this the men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to him.

17 Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

  • Introduction: The exercise of His rule or SUPREMACY over all His creation.
  • Proposition: In Jonah 1:4-13 we will examine God’s sovereignty at work in fulfilling His plans.
  1. By Using UNBELIEVERS  (vs. 4-10)
    1. a.      To AWAKEN Jonah from sleep to prayer (vs. 5-6)
  • Notice that Jonah had not been praying, even in the midst of the terrible storm. Jonah was a prophet, and he knew that God would not hear his prayer as he ran from Him and committed the sin of disobedience. (“If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” Psalm 66:18)
  • The unbelievers were praying to their gods and nothing was happening, but they knew Jonah to be a prophet of God, and asked him to cry out to the Lord. They recognized God’s sovereignty, and that he was a powerful God.
  • Thought to consider: has there ever been a time in my life when a non-believer asked me to pray for them because they knew that I was a Christian and thought God might heed my prayer to help them?
  1. b.      To CONFRONT Jonah’s disobedience. (vs. 7-10)
  • Jonah’s behavior was irresponsible: he brought calamity upon others through his disobedience. “What have you done?” they asked(vs. 10). They knew he was running from God.
  • Thought to consider: Has MY sin ever caused someone around me pain or inconvenience? If I love God, why am I still doing _______________?
  • When the sailors cast lots to see who had caused the problem, the lot fell to Jonah. God even used an inanimate object to point out his sin.
  • Jonah refused to go witness in the place that God had called him to, and so God used him as a witness to the unbelievers on the boat!
  • As Charles Spurgeon said, “God never allows His children to sin successfully.”
  • Thought to consider: has God ever used a non-believer to point out an area of sin in my life? “If you’re really a Christian, why do you ________?”
  1. By using the WEATHER. (vs. 4, 11-16)
  • If you do not listen to the whisper of God’s voice, he may have to stir up a storm to get your attention!
  1. b.      STIRRED up a storm (vs. 4, 11-14)
  • God had given him a direction, as he gives many of us an “impression” of what we need to do, but far too often we continue to row our own way in our little boat to escape God’s commands.
  • As the night progressed it became increasingly stormy. Even in the storm God calls us to “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”(Psalm 46:10)
  • “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4)
  • God has you under the umbrella of His will. If you step out from under His umbrella, you WILL get wet.
  • Psalm 107
  1. c.       CALMED the storm, resulting in reverence. (vs. 15-16)
  • The unbelievers saw the result of Jonah’s actions, how God calmed the storm when Jonah was thrown overboard: “At this the men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to him.” We do not know if this means that they gave their lives to the sovereign Lord, but we do know that God used this situation to touch their lives, and these pagan sailors reverenced Him. God even used Jonah’s disobedience to reach people!
  • Many times in life God may not calm our storm, but God will always calm the faithful believer to get them through the storm.
  • God promises that we will have trials in life, but He has overcome them. These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
  • He has also promised that he will never leave us: “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence,’The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
    What can mere mortals do to me?’”
    (Hebrews 13:5-6)

 

  1. By using a FISH(vs. 17)
    1. a.      APPOINTED a fish to swallow him.
  • God had a very large fish in the right place at the right time, so that it could help Him complete His plan to save Jonah. When Jonah was thrown overboard he probably thought He was going to die. And STILL he didn’t pray.
  • In Numbers 22 God even used a Donkey to save Balaam’s life, and finally the Donkey had to SPEAK to him before he would listen.
  • Thought to consider: Have I ever known that God was trying to speak to me using someone/something, but purposely ignored it? How much tribulation do I have to go through before turning to God in obedience?
  1. b.      PRESERVED for His purpose.
  • God saved Jonah, both from himself and from the trials associated with running away from God.
  • “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
  • God wanted to save Nineveh, and he wanted to use Jonah to do it. Jonah, in his half-digested state, would have been an effective witness to the Ninevites.
  • You can never escape God’s plan, only slow it down for a while.
  • Conclusion: are you yielding to His sovereign will?
    • Do not forget God’s sovereignty! In the old testament, God told the Israelites to set up markers at certain places so that they would remember the good things that God had done for them. What good things has God done for me that I should remember?
    • Thought to consider. Man often acknowledges God as supreme over all creation, but not over man. Am I guilty of this type of thinking?

 

“Remember this, keep it in mind,
take it to heart, you rebels.
Remember the former things, those of long ago;
I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me.
10 I make known the end from the beginning,
from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say, ‘My purpose will stand,
and I will do all that I please.’
11 From the east I summon a bird of prey;
from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose.
What I have said, that I will bring about;
what I have planned, that I will do.
12 Listen to me, you stubborn-hearted,
you who are now far from my righteousness.
13 I am bringing my righteousness near,
it is not far away;
and my salvation will not be delayed.
I will grant salvation to Zion,
my splendor to Israel.

Isaiah 46: 8-13

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Life was frustrating for a while there, but I must be honest: my life is not that difficult right now. There are so many people who are struggling with something more than what I have been through lately, and I need only focus on God and His greatness to see how small my problems really are. By complaining, worrying, or being stressed I am basically saying that my problems are unique and that I am above God’s commands to be joyful in all things. We have a wonderful God who calls us to be a joyful light to all, and we should strive to answer that call daily. Realize His sovereignty and let Him have control and you will have nothing to worry about!

 “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7

My husband and I have been listening to the audiobook of “The Knowledge of the Holy” by A.W. Tozer, and I have recently started reading “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan (a birthday present from my husband). In the latter book Chan quotes the former…Tozer makes the profound statement:

“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us… Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God. For this reason the gravest question before the church is always God himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do, but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like.”

What is God like? What words can we use to describe His attributes? He is holy, omnipotent, omnipresent, infinite, immutable, just, merciful, timeless, and many others. We cannot even fathom all of God’s attributes fully (if we could understand God completely, then he would not be God). If He is so many things, and so much more than we could ever comprehend, is He not worthy of praise? Of devotion? Of sacrifice? Of all the wonderful things God is, I am going to strive to honor Him and worship Him for every one, and to change my schema of who God is to match the Biblical identity of who God really is.

What do you conceive God to be like?

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“for love of You
i’m a sky on fire
for love of You
i come alive
it’s Your Sacred Heart within me beating
Your voice within me singing
(out for love of You)
it’s all for you”

It’s amazing to see what we will do for the love of our most beloved one. A popular country song by Faith Hill says, “I’d go and capture the moon/That’s what I would do/Just to hear you say that you love me.” It a beautiful sentiment, and it touches my heart deeply; there are days when I cannot listen to that song without crying, because I love Justin so much. In every love song there is an echo of God’s love for all of us; every precious promise to always be there, each tear shed for a loved one in pain, and every heartbeat that longs to be near the one it loves. This is how Christ feels about us. How deep the father’s love for us, how vast beyond all measure, that He would send his only son to make a wretch his treasure. If only we could love Him as much as he loves us.

It’s astonishing to me to see what I do to show my love for my sweetheart, and sometimes it’s things that I do that help me love him, even if he doesn’t see it. I try to maintain a good appearance, and attitude, and do things that will bring joy to him. I have been on a diet and exercising, to lose some weight and be healthier in general. Before I go to see him I make sure that I am wearing something cute, and that my hair and makeup look good; I particularly try to wear things that he has said that he finds attractive, and I avoid wearing things that he dislikes. I always try to keep a positive attitude and be cheerful for him, particularly when he’s down. I try to encourage him daily, telling him the sweet and uplifting things that every man likes to hear their woman say. I pray for him; for his specific needs, for me to be the best girlfriend I can be, and for our relationship to honor God. I study the Bible, and try to develop good womanly skills like cooking, sewing, encouraging, and making my home a welcoming and peaceful place. I also try never to say or think anything that will tear us apart…many women get into the habit of bashing their sweethearts to their friends, in public, or mentally, and then they become bitter and stop treating their husbands/boyfriends right. Justin deserves better than that; all our men do.I thank God for Justin every day, and that in itself is a form of blessing. When I worship and praise the Lord, I also think of Justin, and I praise God for the wonderfulness that He has brought to me in our relationship. 🙂

Justin is a very busy guy, he does a lot with school, work, and the musical he’s working on, in addition to spending time with me. I know that simple things can bring pleasure, so I try to do things like bring him dinner at school (sometimes I get to stay and eat dinner with him), bring snacks when I know he has late night ahead, run errands for him, and sometimes I’ll leave a frosty (his favorite treat) in the fridge at his work so he can find a yummy surprise when he goes in to an overnight shift. When I see him and I know he’s had a long day, I make sure I: let him take a nap, cook dinner for him, give him a massage, talk to him, and let him pick what we do that night (movie, puzzle, video games, etc.). I try to do things in my life that will honor him: not get too close to other guys, do things that will help ME love him more, etc. Communication is very important too; I wish I could have him close to me always, or at least be able to talk to him whenever I wanted (I am very sad when I don’t hear from him all day). Sometimes I leave him letters at school, and messages on facebook, to encourage him and help him through the day. I always try to tell him what’s on my mind, to help me think clearly, and to keep him from having to guess at what I need in the relationship (boys aren’t always good at that. lol.). On those days when I do get to see him I am so excited I can barely contain myself; when we’re finally together I don’t want to let him out of my sight!

If we do all these things for a flawed human being, doesn’t God deserve even more? What if we thought so much about what God was going to see us wearing? Would he see an attractive and modest girl who wants to look her best and protect the eyes of the men around her? Would he see women and men who want to take care of their temple (their body)? What if we desired to be in contact with Him daily; if going a few hours without talking to Him would bring us as much sadness as not talking to our sweetheart does? Maybe we wouldn’t be able to sleep until we said goodnight, or couldn’t make a major decision without talking to Him first. Or perhaps we would change how we talked (and thought) about God and about other people; we would keep a closer watch on our words and keep profanity and perversity from our lips. Would we make everything an offering to him? Our time, our money, our talent? Would we share the things God has given us with others, as we do with our lovers, or would we keep every good thing for ourselves? It would be wonderful if we were always excited to be close to Him, if we would hate to be away from Him. Imagine if we loved God as much as we loved our sweethearts; the world would be a better place. Just a thought on the parallels of love.

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17b-19

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This year has been quite an interesting one for me, though it shouldn’t come as a surprise, my college life has been one big adventure so far. I’ve had many things happen to me this past year, a lot of them very good, and some of them very very bad…

I’ve had my heart broken, my trust betrayed, my kindness and friendship taken advantage of. I’ve been disappointed, in myself and others. I gave my heart to someone who couldn’t take care of it. I’ve lost friends, and discovered that people who I thought were my friends, really weren’t. I’ve been lied to and manipulated, by those I loved dearly. I’ve been taken for granted. I’ve watched my friends argue and fight and end their friendships. School has been intense too. I don’t know what I want to do with my life. I thought God wanted me in music, but I’m not so sure anymore. I’ve discovered new depths to my fear of being alone. I’ve been to two funerals in the past four months, and they were only two weeks apart. One of them was a young man who I never really knew, but the legacy that he left with my friends is a testament to the wonderful man that he was. I will miss him, because he so strongly affected my friends. The second was one of my dad’s old friends. He was my parent’s best man, he went to college and later taught school with my dad (they even had the same laugh), he was one of my teachers in middle school, and eventually taught at my high school. I attended both his wedding, and his funeral. I’ve seen my father’s health deteriorating, and know that finances in the family are not good.

BUT.

I’ve also been in love, which is a wonder in itself. I’ve known the joy of being close to someone, of being held in the arms of a man who loved me…who would kiss me softly and tell me that everything’s going to be ok.  I’ve made friends who think I’m amazing, who tell me I’m beautiful, and I know they love me and will be there if ever I need them. I’ve gotten closer to my girl friends…mostly Deanna, Erin, Kat, and Heather. I never thought that Kat and I would be that close, but I am so very glad we are. I’ve had friends comfort me when I was down and hurting, when I wasn’t able to be strong anymore. I’ve met some wonderful Christian guys in this past year, like Tom, Brian, and Ben…guys I can talk to who will encourage me to Christ…I am very thankful for them. I’ve gotten closer to some of my older friends…Travis, Justin, Jennifer F., and a few others. I’ve made random friends out of the blue, who I feel like I can truly trust…like Kristen. I’ve seen other friendships grow and blossom, people I introduced to each other becoming good friends. I’ve been to one wedding, seen multiple engagements, and have weddings to look forward to in the near future. I’ve seen children growing up and laughing. I have friends who have gotten married, and I see their love for each other grow; I see their children being born. My sister and I are getting closer. Actually becoming what sisters should be. We have had a couple “girl talks” and  I am excited for the time when we can really be friends and trust each other…we’ve NEVER gotten along in the past. My father’s health may not be the best…but he’s ALIVE. And the doctors often tell him that he shouldn’t be. My brother is growing up and doing great things, and I am so proud of him.

My life is changing…my thoughts and emotions are being rearranged. My hopes, desires, and dreams are not the same as they once were. The way I view people and the world is getting scrambled. How I interact, how I love, how I care for others…it’s all changing. My future is uncertain, this is true, but it’s also true that GOD IS IN CONTROL. He’s changing me, molding me…the things that happen all have a purpose. If I’ve lost or gained friendships, it’s happened for a reason. All the hurt and frustration that I’ve gone through, though less than some, will teach me things that I need to know. I’m learning how to trust again. I’m learning how to show love, and be vulnerable. God is good. I don’t know what exactly he’s doing, but I do know that he is good, and only wants good for my future. I may have to go through some things before reaching the mountaintop…but I know that I am not alone as I walk through the valley. Thank you Jesus for your great grace and mercy…and love. I thank you Jesus for your love.

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Oh Jesus…what terrible pain you suffered on my behalf. I am not worthy of such love, but you give it to me anyway, without asking anything of me but a heart devoted to loving and serving you. Help me in my doubt, Lord, let me not just go through the motions. Be real to me, Father, and let me see you more clearly day by day. You, the perfect child of Heaven, laid down your life for me, a wretched sinner…you loved me so much that you died so you could spend eternity with me. Me! Thank you Jesus! Oh thank you Lord. Beautiful, wonderful savior. Holy God! I thank you. You are so precious. We can never truly comprehend what you did for us on that dark day in Calvary so long ago, you didn’t deserve it, but you took our punishment so that we might live with you forever. You conquered sin and death to rescue our souls! What a terrible, beautiful night. Thank you Jesus. Amen!

“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Cor 15:57)

Go on up to the mountain of mercy
To the crimson perpetual tide
Kneel down on the shore
Be thirsty no more
Go under and be purified

Follow Christ to the holy mountain
Sinner sorry and wrecked by the fall
Cleanse your heart and your soul
In the fountain that flowed
For you and for me and for all

CHORUS:
At the wonderful, tragic, mysterious tree
On that beautiful, scandalous night you and me
Were atoned by His blood and forever washed white
On that beautiful, scandalous night

On the hillside, you will be delivered
At the foot of the cross justified
And your spirit restored
By the river that poured
From our blessed Savior’s side

CHORUS

Go on up to the mountain of mercy
To the crimson perpetual tide
Kneel down on the shore
Be thirsty no more
Go under and be purified

CHORUS:
At the wonderful, tragic, mysterious tree
On that beautiful, scandalous night you and me
Were atoned by His blood and forever washed white
On that beautiful, scandalous night

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Unlonely

Lately I’ve not been feeling as alone as I have in the past. I used to be so lonely and either attention starved or just wanting someone to be with. I wondered if ever there could be someone out there who could really and truly love me, someone who would find me beautiful, and love me for who I am. Because I am such a specific and particular person, I can’t just grab any guy from the mall. I’d wonder if there was someone like me, yet unlike me…a strong Christian I could rely on, etc. Since that time (and one day in particular) I’ve come to know many strong Christian men, and fell in love with someone who I thought did love me.

Why have I been feeling less lonely lately? I’m not entirely sure. I had someone, for a time, who was like me, and who loved me. Someone who shared a lot of the same values and interests. I know that finding someone who I “click” with is possible. But now I am alone again. So what next? Maybe I’m not so anxious because I’ve reached a point where I can truly give it over to God? Maybe it’s because I’ve found a good network of Christian friends, and I am encouraged by knowing men (and women) who have a passion for Christ? I don’t know…I still very much have a desire to find the right man, right career, and settle down and have a family, but I guess I jut feel like I have less anxiety now.

THere are still times, fairly often, when I feel like less than what I should be. I’m not thin enough, or pretty enough. Though sometimes I feel AMAZING and like nothing can tear me down. I don’t have anyone really paying any attention to me, romantically that is. I have an interest, though I have no idea what he’s thinking, but it’s not a “crush”, a love, or even a “like”. lol. And I feel…ok…I think. It’s unusual, this feeling that everything is ok…but it is a good feeling…I’ll keep you updated…

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Quiet me with your love Lord,
as I walk through the storm,
Quiet me with your love God,
don’t leave me here forlorn.
On this restless sea of life,
Through the pain and through the strife,
Quiet me with your love Lord.

Quiet me with your love, my father,
Hold me in your hand.
Quiet me with your love, my teacher,
Guide me through this land.
In times when I feel so afraid,
I know you have my life well-laid,
Quiet me with your love, Lord

Quiet me with your love.

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