God Hears

Red Rock Canyon

“I cried out to the Lord in my great trouble, and He answered me. I called out to You from the land of the dead, and Lord, You heard me!” ~ Jonah 2:2 NLT

When people are at their lowest, God hears their cries to Him and saves them.  This message of a benevolent God of love and mercy seems to resonate with most people.  But His holiness also calls for judgement when necessary.  So why do we linger in sinful misery before crying out to Him?

Let’s look at the prophet Jonah in the Bible.  He refused to preach God’s message of salvation to the Assyrian people of Nineveh – a particularly evil, idolatrous, and violent capital of Mesopotamia (located in modern-day Turkey and Iraq).

“Nineveh was so large that it took three days to see it all”.  ~Jonah 3:3 NLT

Imagine!  It may have been the equivalent of Las Vegas – known today as Sin City; full of glittering neon lights and sinful attractions along with idolatry.  Anyway, God had decided to judge the people of Nineveh for their sins.  Our merciful Father in Heaven had, however, allowed them a way to escape judgement.  They could repent within 40 days or be destroyed like Sodom and Gomorrah.

Jonah was having none of it.  He evidently hated the Assyrians.  As a consequence, it cost Jonah his life and almost cost the lives of his shipmates and an entire city of people.  Oh, I shrink from the horrifying thought of what my actions cost others when I behave like Jonah!

And yet, the lesson continues …

Jonah eventually repented and God gave him a second chance.

“Then the Lord ordered the fish to spit Jonah out onto the beach.” ~ Jonah 2:10 NLT

Jonah finally obeyed God.  He went to Nineveh, and preached God’s Word.

5The people of Nineveh believed God’s message, and from the greatest to the least, they declared a fast and put on burlap to show their sorrow. 10When God saw what they had done and how they had put a stop to their evil ways, He changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction He had threatened.” ~ Jonah 3:5,10 NLT

Happy ending, right?  Jonah is resurrected from a watery grave; the ship and all it’s crew are saved from the storm and worship the one true God; and a whole city is also saved.

Wrong!  Well, no doubt it was a joyful event for the people and animals of Nineveh.  But Jonah was so angry he complained to God about (of all things) God’s mercy and compassion to sinners.  See, Jonah was certain all along that if he preached to them, the people of Nineveh would repent.  God would forgive them because of His benevolent nature, and forego their destruction … RATS!  His worst fears were realized.

“Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.” ~ Jonah 4:3 NLT

Then God gently rebuked Jonah:

4Is it right for you to be angry about this? 11But Nineveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals. Shouldn’t I feel sorry for such a great city?” ~ Jonah 4:4,11 NLT

That is the last Word given to us in the Book of Jonah.  I rest upon God’s wisdom.

“Father, although we are worthy of judgement and destruction, today I glorify You for showing Your power to mankind in love, mercy and salvation instead of what we deserve. Thank you for the hope we have in Your gift of a new year 2019; to recognize Your willingness to give each of us another chance to be obedient to Your Word … Especially that we would realize that all men are equal in Your sight and deserve our love and respect. In the name of JESUS; ALPHA AND OMEGA; THE LAMB OF GOD WHO TAKES AWAY THE SINS OF THE WORLD, Amen!”

Thank you for following

Psalm 143-144
Importantstuff.Live

 

Photo of the Month | July 2018

KENAI CABIN
Historical Cabin, Old Town, Kenai, Alaska

Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. For I command you this day to love the Lord your God and to keep His commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in His ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy. ~ Deuteronomy 30:15-16 NLT

Follow the words of Jehovah God for blessings individually and nationally.  Those who have gone before us knew that freedom is not free.  They founded this nation based upon God’s Biblical laws; erected monuments to the Ten Commandments; raised up Christian churches with crosses on their steeples; and sent missionaries worldwide to spread the gospel.  Tomorrow is more than just a day to have a cookout with family and friends.

TURN!  Bow the knee.  Pray, repent and believe in Jesus Christ as Savior!

Praise the Lord for the USA!  Happy Independence Day!  Be blessed.

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If My People

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. ~2Chronicles 7:14 NIV

According to this verse of scripture, it is not necessary for unbelievers to repent of evil and turn to God in order for God to forgive their sin and heal their land of drought, locusts, or plagues (read preceding verse 13).

How’s that???

The often quoted biblical If my people verse is not a salvation message for individual unbelievers.  Why would the unsaved bother praying to a God that they do not serve, or repent, or turn from sin?  Truly, 2Chron 7:13-14 is a healing message from Almighty God to His own people – the believers of a nation! Are we American believers praying that others are repenting, praying, turning, or humbling themselves instead of ourselves?

What do you think?

“If my people” =           Old Testament Hebrews                      New Testament Christians

This tells me that if the Christians of a nation repent of their own pride, sin, and hypocrisy, that God will hear, forgive, and heal their land.  The whole population does not have to participate.  However, God calls all nations including the U.S. to righteousness.  I know that thousands of believers are praying for our nation daily.

But what are we praying?

 

Coffee in the Lake

canstockphoto2147501My pastor told a personal story during his sermon last Sunday.  Pastor was fishing and tossed his coffee dregs over the side of the boat into the lake.  He watched as the coffee instantly disappeared into the waters of the lake and described the Holy Spirit as telling him,

“That coffee is your sin and this lake is My grace.”

The sermon topic was about the people of Nineveh and how the greatness of their sins had reached God in Heaven (Book of Jonah); yet God loved them in spite of their sin.  God sent His servant, Jonah, to preach repentance to the people of Nineveh. The people did repent so God forgave them.

I hope that sharing my pastor’s personal testimony about the sufficiency of God’s grace encourages repentance in someone out there today.  God loves us, and His mercy is so wondrously kind – He forgives “seventy times seven“.

“And the grace of our Master was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Messiah Yahshua.” ~ I Timothy 1:14 RSV

 

Photo Credit: ©Can Stock Photo Inc/michaelmill