Eternity has no dread for us knowing where and with Whom we will spend it. We can look forward with hope because we have the blessed assurance of Heaven. As Christians we have the Holy Spirit, Who is God, working within us to guide and direct us on our earthly journey; our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is God, allows us to have the certainty of our tomorrow in Heaven. Scripture tells us Christ is coming again to receive us unto Himself, and we should watch expectantly for that to happen; however, He may choose to take us home before He comes again. Knowing our eternal destination enables us to face death with courage, comfort, and an inner peace that can only come from a close relationship with God.
Live today and every day as though the Lord is returning.
“But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me.” (Micah 7:7 – NASB)
When Jonah arrived at Nineveh he preached the message God had given him: one of judgment, but God’s freedom in dealing with people is evident as He began dealing with everyone in the city, especially the king. The king proclaimed that everyone, including animals, would fast, wear sackcloth, repent of their wickedness, and cry out to God, all in the hope that God would relent and spare the city. God did so and spared the city. They were wicked and doomed for destruction, but they repented and God exercised His freedom to spare them. We may know those who are so wicked we are sure they are doomed by God; however, it may be our testimony of warning to them of their need of Jesus Christ as Savior that causes them to repent, thus giving them eternal life.
If you know someone wicked and, in your opinion, doomed to eternity separated from God, share God’s Word of salvation with him or her today!
“And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that He had said that He would do unto them; and He did it not.” (Jonah 3:10)
All of us have experienced at one time or another need for a second chance, some receiving and some not receiving the second chance. It may have been as children needing a second chance from parents, workers needing a second chance from bosses, or maybe it has been someone near death needing a second chance at life. Simply stated, Jonah needed and received a second chance. God saved him by a miracle, then repeated His command to Jonah, and this time Jonah wasted no time in obeying. Sadly some need a second chance, make promises to God, receive the second chance, and fail to obey. We may not need the second chance if we are obedient the first time; however, we should never fail to be obedient if we are given another chance.
If you have failed to obey the Lord in any way and are given a second chance, be like Jonah and waste no time following the Lord’s second command!
“And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying, ‘Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.’ So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. ” (Jonah 3:1-3a)
When we run from God as Jonah did we may feel that not only have we abandoned God but He has also abandoned us. There is no doubt we may even question whether He is still our God, Him not being a devastating thought. Looking at the verse from yesterday we see that “Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God…” There was never a doubt in Jonah’s mind that the LORD was still his God and His presence was sure, even in the midst of his disobedience. We should never use the certainty that He is always our God as an excuse to be disobedient; however, it is a great comfort knowing that as Christians, regardless of circumstances, He is still our God, His presence is for sure, He hears our prayers, and He will answer our prayers.
Even in the worst circumstances you never have to be concerned as to whether God is still your personal God, if He is with you at all times, or if He answers your prayers!
“And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.” (Jonah 2:10)
Probably most of us have run from God at some time or another and needed to experience God’s grace before being used by Him again. This past week we received a personal email that stated the following: “When you run from God you will always be going “down.” [In chapter 1] verse 5 [Jonah was] “down” in the ship, [in] verse 15 [he was] “down” in the sea, [and in] verse 17 [he was] “down” in the whale’s belly.” How true that is: running from God takes us down the wrong path, and many times it takes the absolute bottom to make us realize we need to call on God for help. When Jonah was in the belly of the “great fish,” he prayed unto the LORD, and if the LORD could hear Jonah from within the belly of a fish, we can be assured He can hear us when we are in need of His grace.
Are you down in the depths of despair or have you gone as far away from God as possible? If so, seek Him out in prayer, asking His forgiveness and grace!
“Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish’s belly.” (Jonah 2:1)
Skeptics question the Book of Jonah because they do not believe God is in the miracle-making business. Scripture says Jonah was swallowed by a great fish, not specifically a whale, and God literally used a fish to rescue him. Jonah had sunk to great depths, both spiritually and literally in the sea, but God’s provision for him was in the form of a miracle. Skeptics question if there are miracles today. Ask the cancer patient that was told limited time was remaining to live but is still living years later and the doctor has no explanation. Ask the family whose van rolled after being hit by a truck and walked away relatively untouched. When we have hit rock bottom, we need to place our trust in God, looking to Him for His presence and power to be shown in our lives.
Look back on your life: has there ever been a time when God worked a miracle in your life?
“Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.” (Jonah 1:17)
Jonah found out the difficult way that God knows our every action, even when we are attempting to flee from His presence. Additionally, Jonah found out that it is God who has control of the universe, including the sea. When Jonah was on the ship fleeing from God, there arose a mighty storm that immediately calmed when Jonah was thrown overboard. Could anyone doubt God’s omnipotence after that? Of course, every time there is a storm, it does not mean that someone is getting punished by God, but we do know that God has allowed the storm to exist. God, as creator of the universe as well as our creator, makes no mistakes and is active in the universe today. We as Christians should realize, as Jonah undoubtedly did, that God is in control and deserves our absolute obedience.
Take time today to observe God’s creation around you, and regardless of the weather, thank Him for allowing you to be part of His universe!
“But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken. So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging.” (Jonah 1:4, 15)