Monday Musings: Jonah’s “I” Problem

Jonah 1:1-3a

(1) Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,

(2) Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.

(3) But Jonah rose up to flee…

Jonah had a problem. God had a vision for the people of Nineveh and Jonah turned a blind eye to it. This vision problem of Jonah’s wasn’t a handicap. It wasn’t a misunderstanding. It wasn’t even that Jonah could not see God’s point of view. It was that he would not see it. He had an “I” problem: “I want vengeance. I want the Ninevites destroyed. I want my prayers answered my way.

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Monday Musings: Our past is not the end of our story.

Most of the miracles of Christ were public affairs. Some were actually performed in private, like the healing of Jairus’ daughter (Luke 8:40-41; 49-54), but all of them were requested publicly in some way. When Mary spoke to Jesus about providing more wine for the wedding in Cana (John 2:1-12), it was in earshot of some of the guests. When the blind man asked to be healed of his blindness, he was not shy at all: “Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me!” he shouted (Luke 18:35-43). Even the lepers who were considered unclean and could not be in public places without declaring themselves unclean were very public about their request for healing: “They lifted up their voices, and said, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us’” (Luke 17:11).

Such was not the case when it came to the woman with the issue of blood. Continue reading

Pergamum A Double-Minded Church

PergamosPreaching against worldliness may be passé in the modern church, but with Christ it has never gone out of style. When He introduces Himself to the church at Pergamum, Jesus describes Himself as “He which hath the sharp sword with two edges.” He was not giving them a warm welcome. He was reminding them that He is Judge and Executioner, and that His judgment begins in His own house. Pergamum was a worldly church and Jesus was having no part of it because “the friendship of the world is enmity with God” (see Ephesians 2:16). Continue reading

Ephesus: Right on the Outside, Wrong on the Inside

The Letters to the Seven Churches: Background

By Caliniuc - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, LinkThis letter from John was written to the seven key churches of Asia Minor (modern Turkey). They were representative of the churches throughout the region and were chosen, in part, because they were located in the key cities of Asia Minor’s seven postal districts, making them central points for disseminating information. The order in which these churches are listed is the same order as the postal route. When a messenger arrived at Miletus, he would travel north to Ephesus and then follow a clockwise route to the other six cities. So, when Jesus delivers His messages to the churches, He begins with Ephesus. Continue reading

A Layman’s Thoughts On Revelation: Jesus the Alpha and Omega

Praise and worship of God is easy when things are going our way. It’s not so easy when we are in the midst of trial. John wrote Revelation to people who were suffering tremendous persecution. When Jesus appeared to John on the Isle of Patmos, John himself was under duress. In the midst of all that, Jesus showed John that He is the God worthy of all glory and honor. Why? Because God is constant, so our worship and praise of Him should be constant also. Because Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, He is worthy of my worship and my praise, not because of what He’s done for me lately, but because of the character of Who He is. Continue reading

Who is This Proverbs 31 Lady? (P. 2)

She is always a blessing to her husband and by extension her household.

Proverbs 31:12 “She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.”

She is Love Incarnate

Like love, “she suffers long and is kind, does not behave herself unseemly, she is not self-seeking, thinks the best of others, does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth.” (See 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a.)

Included in doing good and not evil, is this woman’s ministry to her husband, and by that I mean her ministry in keeping her husband right. Husbands need that because they tend at times to be slope-headed Neanderthals. Men are stubborn. Men are brutish. God gives them wives to keep them straight for all those times they do not hear that still, small voice of the Holy Spirit. When big decisions need to be made, husbands would do well to hear their wives because often God will speak to men through their spouses (and vice versa). It is how God has ordained that relationship.

She is a Constant and Stable Influence

“All the days of her life,” means she is there for the long haul, through the good and the bad. The blessings don’t make her greedy for more, and the hard times don’t make her long for better. She is faithful no matter what.

Her goals and aspirations are in support of her husband – and her husband’s job is to faithfully love her in return. (God tells us husbands this twice: Ephesians 5:25 and Colossians 3:19. Why? Because of that whole slope-headed Neanderthal thing.)

Proverbs 31:13-15

(13)  She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.

(14)  She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.

(15)  She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.

She is Industrious

She looks for opportunities. “She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.” That’s not to say that a woman’s work is limited to things like knitting and crocheting. The point is that this woman takes whatever talents she has and uses them for the benefit of her household. Maybe it’s not knitting, maybe it’s web design, or freelance programming, or writing, or brain surgery. Whatever the talent is, it’s being put to good use for the benefit of the family.

There’s nothing wrong with a career, but for both husband and wife, the career needs to be aimed at benefitting their God-given responsibilities to their family, not their ambitions for climbing the corporate ladder.

“She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.” This verse is not just about food preparation. This is about how this woman is not about the status quo. She is creative. Imaginative. She is a real contributor to the home and family life.

“She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.” She is a good steward of all that she has, including her time and sees to it that her household is well taken care of.

What you don’t see here is a woman working under duress. Her husband is not holding her in abject servitude. In fact, as we’ll see later, she is a very independent woman. She does not see herself as shortchanged because she is a wife, and she is not oppressed, depressed, or distressed. She thrives in her role as wife, because she and her husband complement each other.

More Than Seedlings – Part 2: Not Faith That is Impossible, Faith the Does the Impossible

“If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed…nothing shall be impossible unto you (Matthew 17:20).

This is the second passage where Christ uses the mustard seed illustration. In this passage Peter, James and John were returning with the Lord from the Mount of the Transfiguration where Christ revealed Himself in His glory.

During that return trip the three asked the Lord a theological question about Elias: “Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?” (Matthew 17:10). Christ responds by saying that Elias had already come in the form of John the Baptist whose ministry was in the spirit of Elias (Matthew 17:12). Elias’ ministry was to set the people’s mind right when it came to their understanding of the Messiah. Up to the time of John the Baptist there were many misconceptions. John the Baptist’s ministry was the instrument of reformation used of God to help those truly seeking Messiah to recognize him when He appeared. He capped off his ministry in no uncertain terms when he declared: “Behold the Lamb of God!” (John 1:33-36) on the day Jesus appeared for baptism. Continue reading