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Archive for the ‘Jonah’ Category

I’ve Been Thinking

Jonah

I’ve been thinking about Jonah lately – the book and the prophet. He was the disobedient prophet and one of the most interesting people in Scripture.

One very clever commentator summed up Jonah in four phrases as if spoken by the prophet himself.

  • “I won’t go.” (Chapter 1)
  • “OK, I’ll go.” (Chapter 2)
  • “Here I am.” (Chapter 3)
  • “I shouldn’t have come.” (Chapter 4)

The book of Jonah is one of disobedience, obedience, and God’s mercy (among other things). Pastor Garrett Kell has these observations:

  • The wind obeys God.
  • The lots obey God.
  • The fish obeys God.
  • Pagans obey God.
  • The sun obeys God.
  • The plant obeys God.
  • The worm obeys God.
  • Only Jonah disobeys God.

Many lessons can be learned from the book of Jonah. One of the biggest is don’t be like Jonah in his obstinate disobedience. Trust God, whose power and mercy is infinite.

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bible

Real change, and real growth in godliness, takes place as we read and respond to God’s Word. Jesus said, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17). Paul told the Romans, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God , what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom. 12:2).

Scripture is absolutely vital to spiritual growth and change. Therefore, you’d think reading and obeying Scripture would be a regular part of our Christian life, right? Apparently not.

Lifeway conducted a survey regarding the Bible-reading habits (outside of church) of Protestant church-goers in the United States. Here’s what they found:

  • 19% read the Bible every day
  • 26% read the Bible a few times a week
  • 14% read the Bible once a week
  • 22% read the Bible at least once a month
  • 18% rarely or never read the Bible

How can we change, grow, and be conformed into the image of Christ if so little time is spent in God’s Word? We shouldn’t. Maybe it’s the reason we don’t see as much change as we’d like. God uses His Word to transform us, but we have to read it – He won’t do it for us.

One factor in the lack of Bible intake may be social media and television. Another survey came to these conclusions:

  • Adults (19 and above) spend 2 hours per day on social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.).
  • Those under 18 and under spend up to 9 hours per day on social media. (8-to-10 year olds spend 5.5 hours, 11-to-14 spend 8 hours, and 15-to-18 year olds spend 9 hours per day).
  • Adults watch 5 hours of television per day on average.
  • Teenagers and below watch anywhere from 3 to 7 hours of television per day on average.

How are we investing our time? To grow in sanctification, and to really change, redeeming the time (Eph. 5:15) is critical.

(Stuart Scott, author of From Pride to Humility and The Exemplary Husband spoke at church last Sunday and mentioned this in his sermon, which was excellent, by the way.)

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God is the God of the second chance, right? Not so fast, according to Dan Phillips. You can read his thought-provoking article here. It’s called “The God of the Second Chance – Sometimes”.

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