Fight or flight 

In Jonah 1, God tells Jonah that he needs to go and preach to the people of Nineveh. This is all well and good until God says that he needs to speak against it and tell the people what’s going to happen if they don’t listen to God and obey him.

Nineveh was known as an ‘exceedingly great’ city, imagine going to speak down on it. Public speaking is one of the most common phobias, but this is like going to Buckingham palace and telling the Queen all the things you don’t like about her. It would be crazy and you would be hated by the whole world never mind just England. This is the situation Jonah is imagining in his head. I know if someone gave me a list of negative things to say about the queen to the queen I would lock myself in my room and never come out. I would definitely run and probably cry.
So that’s what Jonah done. He ran away. In a state of fear and probably shock that God would want him to do this. Jonah found a boat going to Spain, so there he went with a crew on his way to Spain in a bid to try to run from the responsibility God has put on him.

How often do you run from god? I know when god puts something on my heart, the introvert that I am tries to avoid it and just not listen to it and try as best I can to run from it. Especially if it was ask this person this but that person I don’t even know or i have never even talked to them. Or even when he says youre capable of this, do it. I know most of the time we dont set out to run and hide, but sometimes it’s just simply no. No god, i cant do that or no I’m not doing that.

Sometimes we just need a good shaking and someone to tell us we can do this. Just do it. It won’t be scary. It will be okay. So that’s what God done to Jonah. A storm was rising, the men in the boat were panicked and didn’t know what to do. They woke Jonah who was sleeping down stairs to see of he knew what to do. He told them what they needed to do in his stubborness. The men were like uhnn no way we’re not throwing you into the raging sea in the midst of a storm. Are you still sleeping or are you going crazy?? After trying everything possible, the men gave in and took Jonah and threw him overboard and the sea was instantly calm and the storm was over.

Then a whale swallowed Jonah.

Let’s be real. We can run as far as we want from god. We can continue to say no. But God will catch us and keep guiding us. Even when we dont think it’s guidance or even think hes not guiding us at all. The whale was like a safe place for Jonah, a place where he could just think about what he’s done and why he’s running and redetermine what he’s doing. Jonah was in the whale for 3 days and 3 nights.

Then he said to God:
“In my distress I called to the Lord , and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry.
…To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you, Lord my God, brought my life up from the pit…
Jonah 2:2‭, ‬6 NIV
And that was it. The whale spat Jonah up and he was free and forgiven. (Jonah 2:10)

God saved Jonah from sinking deep in the sea. He also saved him from wandering off further. God showed Jonah so much mercy. Jonah didn’t deserve the forgiveness and compassion god gave him. But god still was merciful.

I love this story and I love the meaning behind it. I love that no matter what we do. No matter how far we run. God always gives us a safe place. He brings us back to reality and keeps encouraging us. I love that he is real and that he  forgives even when we dont deserve an ounce of forgiveness. I love that our god is a forgiving god. I love that he is a merciful god.

SSL x 

Do you really trust him?

If we were sitting down to coffee I’d ask.. Do you really trust him? I ask myself the same question… do I? When was the last time I really put something into Gods hands? Like really just gave it to him and didn’t try to fix it, or make it work on my own? In my heart do I trust that his plans are good for me? Do you?

Last summer on results day I made a promise that I would refuse… refuse to let exams stress me out next year. Today I broke that promise. I got stressed I looked at the list of things i knew and decided it was not long enough compared to the list of things I needed to know.

Then I was reminded that If I trust that he will get me to exactly where I am supposed to be. It’s a funny statement. See I don’t put my hope In getting the grades or getting there in the conventional way – that would be incredible but if it doesn’t happen – I trust that my God will get me there no matter what. yet don’t get me wrong we still need to work at it.

Work is important I get that. I get stress. Trust me I’m the chief. But the more I think about the figures of faith in the Bible I see that trust, obedience and work go hand in had. That out of a place of knowing that you are first loved you can work freely and dedicatedly.

Noah had faith to believe God when he said build a boat in the desert. He had the dedication to work to build the boat. Ruth had the determination to stay with Naomi. She had the work ethic to live on what she earned and become part of the lineage of Jesus – in doing so. Abraham trusted that his frail body would get him to where God called him to be. He did the work. (Enough said)…

These are but few examples of how the men and woman of God in the Bible trusted God to get them where they were called to be. It is the living breathing truth that peace is an option when it comes to exams and your future too. I’m sure Noah didn’t think when he was a kid some day I will build a boat in the desert, or Ruth thought as a young girl I’m going to be part of the saviour of the world’s heritage, or that Nehemiah thought when I grow up I want to build a wall, or Daniel said when he was 5 you know what Gods called me to a lions den.

I am sure. Certain that not one of the incredible pillars of faith we read about – ever thought they would end up where they did. Did they ever think that they could do so much? achieve so much? Influence so much? That they ever thought that they would inspire generation after generation long after their great great great great great grand children were dead.

Trust and obey and he will pave the way. Trust that he knows what he is doing. Trust his is good. Trust in his peace. He is never changing. He is good. Always.

Jonah 1 v 7-13

Jonah Is Thrown into the Sea

And they said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots, that we may know on whose account this evil has come upon us.” So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah. Then they said to him, “Tell us on whose account this evil has come upon us. What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?” And he said to them, “I am a Hebrew, and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.” 10 Then the men were exceedingly afraid and said to him, “What is this that you have done!” For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them.

11 Then they said to him, “What shall we do to you, that the sea may quiet down for us?” For the sea grew more and more tempestuous. 12 He said to them, “Pick me up and hurl me into the sea; then the sea will quiet down for you, for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you.” 13 Nevertheless, the men rowed hard[b] to get back to dry land, but they could not, for the sea grew more and more tempestuous against them.

  • What stands out to you in this section? Why?
  • Think back to a situation were you ran from what you knew was right or a situation your running from now. How did you avoid it? How did it affect your life, did it just go away or did it/is it creating a storm.
  • Jonah’s solution was not to ask for Gods forgiveness or turn back but to be tossed into the sea. He would rather fight a storm than do what God asked.
  • Are you willing to face what God is asking you to do? It may be hard and scary, small or big but no matter how far away we run it will always be in the background of our everyday lives, waiting to be dealt with. The good news is that it doesn’t have to become this overwhelming storm. God wants us to come to him to gain rest, even when we run away or tell him not, We just have to turn a face to what God has asked us to do, and ask him to help.

Make a choice today to face what God has asked. Pray, talk to someone or do both. We are all here to help. We love you!

Jonah 3:6-10

S- Jonah 3 v 6-10

When the king of Nineveh heard this news, he got up from his throne, took off his robe, and covered himself with rough cloth and sat in ashes to show how upset he was.

He sent this announcement through Nineveh:

By command of the king and his important men: No person or animal, herd or flock, will be allowed to taste anything. Do not let them eat food or drink water. But every person and animal should be covered with rough cloth, and people should cry loudly to God. Everyone must turn away from evil living and stop doing harm all the time. Who knows? Maybe God will change his mind. Maybe he will stop being angry, and then we will not die.

10 When God saw what the people did, that they stopped doing evil, he changed his mind and did not do what he had warned. He did not punish them.

O- Back in the bible culture, when someone was to rip or take off their clothes, put on sackcloth and sit in the ashes or dust, not only was it a sign of mourning (or looking mental) but of intense remorse and grief concerning sins. It showed the sincerity of their hearts to turn from sin and with all that they were- now to follow and serve God with all their heart, soul an mind. When someone was to put on the uncomfortable clothing (as opposed to beautiful clothing) or sit in the ashes/dust (instead of washing), this was to demonstrate putting aside their necessities in order to concentrate things that were more important.

Today repentance is rarely understood. True repentance involves deep sorrow for our sin and a complete attitude change towards any form of sin.

Repentance can be defined as ” a sincere turning away, in both the mind and heart from self to God.” It is recognizing that our sin is offensive to God. Repentance is not only an essential part in our salvation but also in our friendship with Christ. The Bible states that people are saved by faith alone (Ephesians 2 v 8-9). However , there can be no faith in Christ without repentance. The to are pretty much inseparable.

A-  What is something you may need to repent of?

2. What could be taking away from your relationship with God?

K – Take time to repent and ask God what might be holding your relationship with Him back.

Ridiculous Faith

Jonah Goes to Nineveh

Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.”Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.

So Jonah finally believed. It took him baby steps, being swallowed by a fish&a couple of tries but finally he was on the path God longed him to be on. I am more than certain he was still full of fear. Nineveh was about  2, 826 square miles, so to put that in perspective that’s about half of Belfast. An average person at this time could walk 20 miles a day, so in order to cover just the diameter of nineveh it would have taken three days. That’s a really big place, for a very small man.

Have you ever felt to small to do God’s work?

Well you are not when you have him. He will strengthen you, love you, give you hope, courage and peace for the big and the baby steps!

Yet out of the courage of the lord a man who fled was turned into a man who proclaimed the news of God everywhere he went. He prophesied the words the lord had given him and due to Gods unrelenting pursuit and Jonahs act of faith the Ninevites all turned to believing in God. When I think of Jonah I think of impossible stories. I once heard about a man who went into a supermarket and stood on his head (after God told him to of course) and a man was saved as he prayed that if Jesus was real someone would come in and do that exact thing. When God speaks to you, you know its him. You feel him all around and if he does, I pray you have the courage to take action and follow what he says. He wants you to have the greatest life. He loves you dearly.

All my love x

Saved at First Glance

Jonah’s Prayer

S- 2 Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the belly of the fish, saying,

“I called out to the Lord, out of my distress,
    and he answered me;
out of the belly of Sheol I cried,
    and you heard my voice.
For you cast me into the deep,
    into the heart of the seas,
    and the flood surrounded me;
all your waves and your billows
    passed over me.
Then I said, ‘I am driven away
    from your sight;
yet I shall again look
    upon your holy temple.’
The waters closed in over me to take my life;
    the deep surrounded me;
weeds were wrapped about my head
    at the roots of the mountains.
I went down to the land
    whose bars closed upon me forever;
yet you brought up my life from the pit,
    O Lord my God.
When my life was fainting away,
    I remembered the Lord,
and my prayer came to you,
    into your holy temple.

Do you only remember God when your life is “ebbing away” or do you feel like you have lost all hope? Is he the last one you turn to? The only way to find hope in difficult situations is to turn to Go. If we do this first, before turning to other ideas it will be more encouraging to us.

Those who pay regard to vain idols
    forsake their hope of steadfast love.
But I with the voice of thanksgiving
    will sacrifice to you;
what I have vowed I will pay.
    Salvation belongs to the Lord!”

10 And the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land.

O-First off “ew”, Secondly can you imagine God saving you in a way that causes you to be vomited up?! Talk about gross. But to be serious, I think it is great that God forgives Jonah right away and helps him out of this problem as soon as he asks for God’s help. What do you think?

K- Can you think of a situation where God has helped you out of trouble, thank him today!

Have a beautiful day!

Prevailing Prophecies

Jonah’s Punishment

14 So the men cried to the Lord, “Lord, please don’t let us die because of this man’s life; please don’t think we are guilty of killing an innocent person. Lord, you have caused all this to happen; you wanted it this way.” 15 So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea became calm. 16 Then they began to fear the Lord very much; they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made promises to him. 17 The Lord caused a big fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights. – Jonah 1 v 14-17

The Lord is mysterious in all his ways. God wanted Jonah’s eternal plan answered. He wanted to give Jonah life long satisfaction instead of temporary happiness. Gods plan will always prevails. It will always happen. Nothing in the entire universe could ever change Gods plan, In verse 5 we read “The sailors were afraid, and each man cried to his own god.” Even the unbeliever believed in God. The miracles of God can never be hidden, they are life changing. They turn your world upside down and you are never the same. Sailors who once worshipped every kind of God began to offer sacrifices to the one true God. If that is not a life change I don’t know what is! The old testament is full of prophecies of what is to come next. Jonah spent three days and three nights in the belly of the fish which illustrates the death and resurrection of Christ. How powerful! He was a sign that the messiah was coming. Jesus used a fearful disobedient man as a sign to his people that he was coming and he is coming back!

Jonah was in the stomach of the big fish for three days and three nights. In the same way, the Son of Man will be in the grave three days and three nights.

-Matthew 12 v 40

All my Love x