Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Slow: Jonah, Part 2


Continuing in Jonah chapter 1 -

1:9-10 -
Look at this barrage of questions - they want to know all about Jonah. List any detail you see that Jonah shared with these men as the boat is being tossed by the furious storm:
- Hebrew
- worship God
- running away from God

1:11-12 -
Jonah's life is a completely chaotic scene right now, but he has not been willing to surrender to God's will yet. The sailors ask him what to do? This could be a major turning point for Jonah - but he is still stubbornly hanging on to not going to Nineveh. Think of a scenario he could've suggested which would show a slow heart.

1:13-14 -
*  This group of sailors has gained a healthy fear of God but it isn't really from anything Jonah has said or done - rather because they know He is causing the storm. Jonah has now missed two opportunities to share God - first by disobeying and not going to Nineveh and second as he did not share with the sailors.

* This time though - the sailors call out to a different God! Look at the difference between vs. 5-6 and vs. 14.
- vs. 5, "each cried out to his own _________."
- vs. 6, "pray to your ___________."
- vs. 14, "Then they cried to the __________________________."

* They tried to get Jonah back to land but could not because of the storm. Describe some of the storm possibly going on inside of Jonah.


1:14-15 -
This is the first real prayer of the whole event it seems - the sailors acknowledge God's control and pleaded for His mercy in tossing Jonah over. What happened as soon as they threw Jonah overboard?

"The raging sea grew calm."

Use this as a picture for your own life - when you toss sin overboard, how does that calm the raging storm inside?

1:16 -
This verse brings beauty as we see the sailors and their response to God. We learn 3 things they did:

{greatly}   {feared} the Lord
{offered}  {sacrifice} to the Lord
{made}  {vows} to Him

I think these sailors chose slow!!!!

1:17 -
Meanwhile, Jonah was in the sea. I wonder things, like: was he afraid? did he try to swim/struggle? how long before the fish came?

There are a number of mind-boggling things about this scenario:
- he did not drown
- the fish swallowed him whole
- creation obeys God
- even though Jonah's heart was hard right now, God still cared for him
- was he bewildered inside that whale?!
- darkness - just imagine the darkness
- plus he had time to think - was he afraid? getting out of a storm is one thing but did he even imagine a way out of that fish? Did he consider trying to escape? Did he fear digestion?

Do you notice anything significant about his timing inside the whale? :)

"And Jonah was inside the fish _________ ___________ and __________ _________."

Monday, October 20, 2014

Slow: Jonah, Part 1


What happens when we do not follow God and/or obey only reluctantly?

1:1 -
* Jonah worked for God full-time. This time, what did God ask Jonah to do?
* Look at a map and see how far Nineveh was from Israel. {about 500 miles!}
* What was the "wickedness" that Nineveh was known for? Look at the Nahum references below and note what each verse says about Nineveh and how they were known.

Nahum 1:9 - they plot against God
Nahum 1:11 - evil leader, wicked counselor
Nahum 1:12 - numerous allies
Nahum 1:14 - graven images, idols, false gods, "vile"
Nahum 3:1 - bloody {war-like}, liars, thieves, brutal
Nahum 3:2 - cruel, aggressive
Nahum 3:3 - fierce, unafraid, brutal

You get the point, Assyria was not exactly a nice place!
* Be a history reporter for a few minutes, look up Assyria and note a few things you can learn about their culture.

1:2 -
What did God want Jonah to do?

1:3 -
* How did Jonah respond?
* Put yourself in Jonah's place, would you have responded any differently?
* Jonah's heart was the opposite of slow - he was not surrendered, listening, obedient or worshiping. He hurried in the opposite direction. Look at a map and locate Nineveh, Joppa and Tarshish. Can you tell anything just from looking at a map?
* It is no secret why Jonah got on that ship - note the end of verse 3, "After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to __________  __________  ___________  _________."

1:4 -
* Just as we saw with Moses, when we observe disobedience and rejection of God, we are seeing again God's action. He doesn't want Jonah out of His will. This wasn't as devastating as a plague, but what did God send? Or maybe it was more serious in that the boat threatened to come apart! What a scary feeling when you are out at sea!


1:5-6 -
Jonah held life-changing answers and eternity changing knowledge and where was he? Asleep?! When my heart is not right or God is dealing with me on something, I do not sleep well - I'm amazed that Jonah was in such a deep sleep! Apparently the captain was too! Look at verse 6 - the captain asked Jonah to, "get up and ___________  _________  _________  _________."

Think about that for a minute, in verse 5 we learn that each one called out to "his own god" so there was obviously more than one possibility involved here which means at least some did not know the One True God but false gods. It may not be a false god or idol, but is there something you put false hope in during time of crisis?

It also makes me wonder if the captain noticed something different about Jonah or if he was just asking Jonah to do what all the rest of them had done. This captain is searching and is about to encounter God with a big "G" in an amazing way. He is looking for a god who will "notice" and save them.

1:7 -
* This is an interesting thought next - I find it curious that they wanted to "cast lots to find out who was responsible for this calamity." This implies that this storm was big enough and sudden enough that they thought there was a bigger strength, a bigger power behind it.
* We also see they felt one person was responsible. Put yourself in Jonah's place here - what are you thinking, feeling, are you able to pray? How did he manage to keep his mouth shut while they cast lots?

Lots more on Jonah this week ... Farm pictures continue!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Slow: Joel 2:13


"Rend your heart and not your garments.
Return to the Lord your God, 
for He is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
and He relents from sending calamity."
Joel 2:13
To ponder today:

- What is the difference between surrendering externally {garments torn} and surrendering your heart?

- How does it encourage you that:
... God is slow to anger?
... God is gracious, compassionate and abounding in love?
... God withholds sending calamity as He chooses? 

Photo: Another glimpse of our visit to the farm!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Slow: Psalm 145:8


"The Lord is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and rich in love."
Psalm 145:8
Another beautiful picture of worship expressed in these words. 

Look through the entire Psalm and make a list of all the words that describe God's character and our response:


As you look over the list you wrote out, do you know what all of those words mean? Pick a couple and learn more!

I wanted to know the difference between praise, exalt and extol.

* praise {n} = the act of expressing approval or admiration; the act of grateful homage in words or song, as an act of worship

* praise {v} = to express admiration or approval of; to offer grateful homage to, as in words or song

* exalt {v} = to raise in rank, honor, power, character, quality, etc.; to elevate; to praise; to extol

* extol {v} = to praise highly; laud


Photos: having our family Christmas photos taken at a dear friends farm - thank you B family!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014