I ASKED THE LORD THAT I MIGHT GROW

GOD SENT A STORM

AND THEN GOD SENT A GREAT FISH

WHEN JONAH WAS IN THAT FISH

HE CAME TO HIS SENSES

REPENTING OF HIS IDOLS

ASKING THE LORD THAT HE MIGHT GROW

MOST OF US HAVE DONE THE SAME

PRAYING, AS WE HAVE BEEN TAUGHT,

THAT WE MIGHT GROW

OR PRAYING, AS WE KNOW WE SHOULD,

THAT OUR CHILDREN MIGHT GROW

This is our last week on Jonah before we begin a new series next week. We wrap up with a major point of Jonah. Though God cares about our happiness, He is more interested in our holiness. One day, in eternity, we will understand.The Gospel is what helps us both see our sin and trust Him to repent and turn to Him. It helps us “hold on” in trial, to, as Susan has said and pictured in her testimony this week, “reach out our hand.”

John Newton was A slave trader who, though a believer, could not see his sin for decades. He even prayed that God would help him catch Africans for his slave trade. He wrote to his wife Polly from one of his inhumane slave ships: “I feel like Noah, shut up with so many unclean creatures, but in a much smaller space.”

John Newton also knew, as a believer, that he should pray that he would grow. As an older, transformed man, the man who gave us the hymn Amazing Grace, he wrote another hymn I’d like you to listen to carefully. Here is one beautiful rendition:


In this contemporary version, one line is changed. Where you heard:

Instead of this he made me feel, the hidden evils of my heart

And let the angry powers of hell assault my soul in every part

The original was:

Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,

Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.

 

Here is the whole song (courtesy of the link Elizabeth gave us to an article by Carson and Keller)

I asked the Lord that I might grow In faith, and love, and every grace; Might more of His salvation know, And seek, more earnestly, His face.

I hoped that in some favored hour, At once He’d answer my request; and by His love’s constraining pow’r, Subdue my sins, and give me rest.

Instead of this, He made me feel The hidden evils of my heart; And let the angry pow’rs of hell Assault my soul in every part.

Yea more, with His own hand
He seemed intent to aggravate my woe; Crossed all the fair designs I schemed, Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.

“Lord why is this,” I trembling cried, “Wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?” “’Tis in this way,” the Lord replied,
“I answer prayer for grace and faith.”

“These inward trials I employ,
From self and pride to set thee free And break thy schemes of earthly joy, That thou may’st find thy all in Me.”

These lines refer to the surprising end of Jonah. Jonah has preached to Ninevah (albeit a lousy sermon) and then gone outside the city to see what happens. He is angry — fearing God will forgive the Ninevites. His idols are back. As Calvin said, our hearts are idol making factories. So God designed a trial just for him. It was hot — blistering heat — something like the summer many of you have experienced this year.


JONAH WAS SO GLAD FOR THE VINE THAT

SPROUTED UP QUICKLY OVERNIGHT GIVING HIM

RELIEF FROM THE BLAZING HEAT

AND THEN GOD SENT A WORM…

 

The Lord is serious about refining His children.

In this life, the Potter puts us continually over the fire.

Did Jonah ever mature to a godly man with some stability in his maturity?

Yes.

Do you know how we know?

Find out with this week’s final sermon from Keller on Jonah. You will also hear a testimony from our dear Susan on how to respond in the midst of trial. She’s living it out, day by day.

Sunday/Monday  Contemplation and Ice-breaker

(Dee will be talking on Women and Friendship on Monday and Tuesday on James Dobson’s Family Talk — you can listen online: drjamesdobson.org)

 

1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

2. Think about some of the greatest blessings God has given you. Then think about how you have been tempted to trust in those blessings, and how the Lord has had to teach you not to trust in that blessing but in Him. Share here.

Monday-Wednesday: Dee’s Bible Study  and Susan’s Testimony

3. Review Jonah’s prayer in the belly of the fish (Jonah 2) What honest repentance do you see?

4. Yet, describe Jonah’s half-hearted sermon when he “obeys.” (Jonah 3:4)

5. When we watched Rachael’s video, she said, “It is such a daily battle.” Many of you really have grown in regard to your idols — and yet, write here how you must battle daily with a besetting sin.

6. How did the Ninevites respond and how did Jonah respond to this?

7. Describe the dialogue between Jonah and God in Jonah 4:1-4

8. Describe the blessing God gave and then how he took it away. What was His point?

I have, indeed, been pondering how I have trusted in nearly every blessing God has given — instead of in Him: my health, my marriage, my children, my ministry, my savings…and God has had to show me, with each one, that it is “sinking sand.”

9. Listen to the song “I asked the Lord that I might grow” again, and write your reflections.

Susan’s Testimony

Susan came on the blog during The God of All Comfort, when her nephew died. Susan is particularly conscientious, doing her lesson carefully. She has a challenging life, for her husband is an unbeliever who often is hostile, and her teenage sons often model him. She faces this each day, but most of the time (and she is vulnerably honest) she reflects the grace and love of Christ in the midst of this pain.

During a time of fear and depression, a friend sent me this verse, torn from a book, tucked securely in her

purse, until one day it fell out and she knew it was for me.

 

For I am the Lord, your God,
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
I will help you.
Isaiah 41:13

 

Fear returned when my nephew died of a drug overdose. “Lord, I am afraid” – of my parents’ declining health, my sons leaving home, of not having intimacy in my marriage, of being alone. My fear shows my idolatry – depending on some thing or someone other than God. Like Jonah, I must exclaim, “Salvation is from the Lord.” How do I move to a new level of faith? By holding out my hand.

 

from: http://www.stellajane.co.uk/


10. Comment on Susan’s testimony.

11. How might you apply Susan’s wisdom to your current trials?

Thursday-Friday  Listen to this sermon by Keller:

Link: Click Here

(This was in the series many of you purchased at the beginning of this Jonah study. If you didn’t get it then, you will need to purchase it individually.)

12. What are your notes from the sermon?

13. How do we know Jonah matured?

Saturday

14. List three major take-a-ways from Jonah — referencing the specific passage, and putting each in a single sentence. Then write down a personal prayer for yourself, incorporating at least one of the take-a-ways.

COMMENTS (257) Post a New Comment ↓
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This picture was taken of us two years ago, when they surprised me on my birthday, by coming home…they lived in WY then. That was the last time I seen her

Dee and I both have birthday’s in August!

.

    Reply

    Oh Joyce what a great picture and to be able to look back and see what God has done in both your lives. I’m so happy that she is coming home for a bit and will pray. I know how hard the “leaving” can be. I still don’t like when Kyle comes home and has to live either.

    Reply

    Joyce, love this picture of you-so beautiful you are both inside and out! :)

    Reply

    Happy birthday, Joyce and Dee, whenever it is in August. I too have a birthday in August.

      Reply

      Me, too!

        Happy birthday, Susan.

        Happy Birthday Susan and Diane! Dee’s is the 22nd and mine is the 14th. Hope you don’t mind me saying so, Dee! When is your birthday’s? We should all form the August birthday club!!

        My birthday is the 8th.

        Mine is the 24th.

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10. Comment on Susan’s testimony.

I love the way God met Susan through a girlfriend. Reminds me of Dee’s talk with Dr. Dobson on the radio yesterday-perfect example in Susan’s story!

Susan was afraid and depressed, and understandably so! She could have shrunk into it and allowed fear and depression to destroy her. Instead she turned from her idol and went to God and said she was afraid. She didn’t try to find comfort in her idols and therefore ‘fix’ herself, or ‘snap out of it’. She went to HIM, who is the Word, and held out her hand. She let Him have her and began walking in faith trusting Who He is.

11. How might you apply Susan’s wisdom to your current trials?

To listen to God when he comforts me or talks to me through a friend. When I fear, to go to him and not to my idols and remember His goodness, His character and the Gospel.

    Reply

    I can share a little more here, Rebecca, about that incident. It was shortly after my daughter was born, and I had severe depression and anxiety. I was almost having panic attacks, and I am usually so laid-back, I couldn’t handle it. I had had some scary health issues during my pregnancy with my heart rate going into the 180’s, it’s called SVT, and fear had taken over so much, even after she was born. I was afraid to be alone or go certain places b/c I was still having these weird palpitations.
    A friend invited me and some other ladies to her home for a luncheon, and she lives way out in the country, far from hospitals and ambulance service, I had concluded. I went but I was scared to go!
    Before we ate, she read from a devotional, and it was about – guess what – FEAR! I felt like she was speaking just to me!
    A couple weeks later, I was sitting on my porch, very depressed, and the mail came and I had a letter from her (her name is also Susan). She told me that she used to suffer from panic attacks, and carried this page from a devotional with the Isaiah verse securely in her purse, and she would take it out and read it when needed. She said that one day soon after I was at her home, and I had shared a little about my problem, that piece of paper fell out on the floor, she didn’t know how it got out. She felt it was God’s way of telling her to pass it on to me. I cried as I read her letter and the verse – I truly felt like God Himself had just sent me a personal letter!
    I memorized that verse and the truth from it helped me to overcome my fear. God showed me in many ways how He really was with me and I didn’t have to be afraid.

      Reply

      Wonderful story, Susan.

      Reply

      Thanks so much for telling us the details of this story. It is so touching how God met your needs and overcame your fears through this friend. Beautiful!

      Reply

      OH Susan, I agree with Dee and Diane! Such a wonderful story and it helps to know the details-wow..even more incredibly obvious how God came to you through your friend.

      Reply

      Wonderful Susan, such an example of God caring for you!

      There is a lesson there for all of us in Susan’s friend too, reaching out to someone, hearing Gods voice and doing the thing he is prompting us to do.

      Susan do you still have SVT episodes? I have had to go to the emergency room too. Magnesium supplements have made a world of difference for me, an 80-90% reduction in my heart rhythm issues.

        Thankfully, the SVT stopped. My doctor figured out that I was slightly anemic during pregnancy and he thought that might have triggered it, along with the stress of the pregnancy. I had 2 trips to the ER at that time. It was really scary! The nurses looked at me like I was crazy, kept telling me to just calm down. I’d be lying there afraid to move and my heart rate would speed up! They were even talking about doing an ablation at some point but I didn’t end up needing it.
        I’m glad yours is under control now.

        I am glad your stopped too!
        They wanted to schedule me for ablation as well. A friend who is a doctor suggested I read a book called ‘Is Your Cardiologist Killing You?”, thats where I learned about the magnesium supplements, I am so glad I did.

        It’s true. Low magnesium can cause heart arrhythmia. So can low or high potassium and I think low calcium can too. You might have been nutritionally depleted after your pregnancy.

      Reply

      Susan I loved this story! God was speaking to you both! Was this the verse Dee mentioned above in Isaiah? Love it too!

        “For I am the Lord, your God,

        who takes hold of your right hand

        and says to you, Do not fear;

        I will help you”.

        Isaiah 41:13

        I also love, Isaiah 41:10
        “Fear not, for I am with you, be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.”

        That is the verse I say over and over in my head whenever I am scared…especially before surgery…I say it alot!

        Yes, it was the verse I quoted above that was on that piece of paper. I had never read it before at that time, and I really clung to it!

      Reply

      Beautiful, Susan.

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8. Describe the blessing God gave and then how he took it away. What was His point? – God gave him him a plant to protect him from the elements but did nothing with this blessing God gave him. Even though we need to trust and rely on God, we have to do our part with the blessings he provides. This shows that no matter how much we mess up or think we are not worthy God will show his love and mercy to us but He needs to see we care and love Him too.

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3. Review Jonah’s prayer in the belly of the fish (Jonah 2) What honest repentance do you see?

I find it interesting that he doesn’t beg to be let out of the fish. He describes his near-drowning experience, then describes God’s deliverance. He “looks” toward the temple. Keller said he could not physically see the temple, of course, but he is realizing the awfulness of sin and the cost, that sin requires the shedding of blood. I think therein lies his repentance – he knows and admits he sinned when he tried to run away, even though he doesn’t actually use those words. He tells God that he will do what he was called to do.

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3. Review Jonah’s prayer in the belly of the fish (Jonah 2) What honest repentance do you see?
I see him repenting of having tried to run from God, from trying to find his own way, I see him realizing he needs Gods mercy

4. Yet, describe Jonah’s half-hearted sermon when he “obeys.” (Jonah 3:4)
He went, God had told him “to call out against it the message that I tell you”
I wonder what Jonah left unsaid of the message God told him

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5. When we watched Rachael’s video, she said, “It is such a daily battle.” Many of you really have grown in regard to your idols — and yet, write here how you must battle daily with a besetting sin.

I think knowing my bent to hide my face from God helps me feel when I am doing it sooner, yet I am reluctant to claim any real change. It seems the more I walk the path, the more see of my penchant to trust the wrong things, the more I am amazed at grace, that God keeps after me, in spite of me.

I woke up today worrying about what I will wear when we go out to dinner this evening with people who are all thin, sort of wishing I had not agreed to go. I had to see the approval idol in my hands again I realize I have a treasure they need to know about, Bill and I can be salt and light among them. My worth comes from Christ, not my appearance

    Reply

    Love your honesty. I can feel the same way. So hard to get past that. Chris — I have seen your pictures — and you are truly beautiful on the outside — I know you are on the inside too.

      Reply

      Thank you Dee, we had a discussion about funeral planinng, I see that they are all so afraid of dying.
      We were able to share with one couple how God has answered prayer for jobs for us in the past. My coworker told me yesterday that her husband really enjoyed our company. So I am glad we went!

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6. How did the Ninevites respond and how did Jonah respond to this?
The Ninevites repented, turning from their sin, fasting, daring to hope that God might show them mercy.
Jonah was angry and still thought God should destroy them

7. Describe the dialogue between Jonah and God in Jonah 4:1-4
Jonah prays and is miserable because of the repentance of his enemies and God’s mercy towards them. The fears that Jonah had which made him flee Gods call in the first place had come to pass.

I love Gods gentle question to Jonah, asking him to think about his anger. I does seem like something a wise father would say to an upset child, inviting them to grow.

    Reply

    Chris, congratulations on that response to the approval idol! Remembering your treasure and their need. Great 1-2 punch! You are beautiful and I am sure that will be very evident.
    I also noticed God’s Response to Jonah. It was so like how God once responded to me. I was upset, crying and having a wonderful pity party. He just asked me why I was crying. It was like cold water to the face. It woke me up and caused me to question what was really going on in my heart. It was a turning point for me and began a momentum out of infancy.

      Reply

      Thanks Anne : )

    Reply

    Yes. Reminds me of his question to Cain.

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8. Describe the blessing God gave and then how he took it away. What was His point?
God gave him a plant, shade from the heat, for which Jonah was EXCEEDINGLY glad. I am doubting that Jonah gave thanks to God for the plant, I wondered as I read this if the plant covered him completely, covering and hiding him from sight. He seems to have loved the plant, pitying it when it died.
God provides for us, every good and perfect gift is from Him, I think God needed Jonah to look up, to look at Him and trust Him, to see His great love and mercy and honor that above his own understanding or comfort.

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8. Describe the blessing God gave and then how he took it away. What was His point?
I think that God grew the shade for Jonah to show again how merciful He can be even to someone in the midst of sin, which Jonah was at that time by being angry at God for showing mercy to the Ninevites in the midst of their sin. Then He took it away to make the point that HE is the one who gives and takes away. He will show mercy on those that He chooses to, it is our job to obey what God calls us to do. Not to decide whether we want to go along with it based on our feelings and simple minds.
He had been showing His mercy to Jonah repeatedly, but Jonah didn’t get it, that it wasn’t because of Jonah’s obedience that he and the Ninevites were spared rather it was in spite of Jonah’s disobedience they were saved from death.

From The Dictionary of Bible Themes “The anger of God is directed against all human sin, disobedience, rebellion and wickedness, which threaten to thwart his purposes for his creation and people.” (ALL, not just from the unsaved).

    Reply

    So good, Dawn.

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7. Describe the dialogue between Jonah and God in Jonah 4:1-4 Jonah regrets it that the Ninevites were shown mercy and reminds God that was the reason he didn’t want to go there. Jonah asks to die and God asks him if he has a right to be angry.

8. Describe the blessing God gave and then how he took it away. What was His point. The blessing of shade on a hot day. I am not sure why God did this but I know God is merciful and sees that we are but dust. He is showing compassion for Jonah despite his sulking.

    Reply

    Showing compassion despite his sulking

    So thankful for His grace — that illuminates it, Kim.

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12. What are your notes from the sermon?

I have tons of notes, but need to chew on this for a while before I post. Will post tomorrow.

13. How do we know Jonah matured?

I am not sure I have this right, but I think Jonah did mature because of this battle after being in the fish. Jonah forgot his gospel identity and needed to be reminded he is a sinner saved by Grace. He had it in the fish but he forgot. God reminded him of this by asking him the question about being angry. God is so patient and gentle with Jonah-he asked the question to get Jonah to wake up-despite of how sinful he is and a racist he is God is still totally committed to Jonah-He hasn’t given up on Jonah.

    Reply

    The key is in the answer to this: Who wrote the book of Jonah?

      Reply

      Dee, Jonah?!? Wow…If so, I can see now how we know he matured!

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2. Think about some of the greatest blessings God has given you. Then think about how you have been tempted to trust in those blessings, and how the Lord has had to teach you not to trust in that blessing but in Him. Share here.

About 20 years ago, God brought into my life a good friend; someone with whom I could confide and she in me. We met through participating on planning a Christian Camp Women’s Retreat. We knew our friendship was a gift from God and we had a strong spiritual aspect to our friendship. We ended up co-directing the retreat for several years and became very close. I even ended up working as Administrative Assistant for her husband for a few years. Then both our husband took new jobs, requiring major moves. Now, for 12 years we have lived 1000 kilometers apart.

I was initially so devastated about the move that I became depressed and very angry with God, much like Jonah’s reaction to losing his shade. I had to learn that I was angry with God, admit I was angry and repent, realizing that trusting Him and focusing on Him was more important than even my precious friendship. I had to learn that God really did have my best interests at heart, even when it looked like He didn’t. His ways are mysterious, but always best. It is a long story but through much hard work, much pain and the graciousness of God, the friendship is thriving long distance. We visit each other once or twice a year and talk frequently by phone.

    Reply

    Great, great story.

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    Diane, your story is hitting me hard, because God placed my best girlfriend together 30 years ago, at one of Dee’s speech’s, when I was just meeting Dee. This friend of mine, Nita, and I have been through our first divorce’s and her 2nd husband’s death and many, many up’s and down’s. Well, she is getting married and will move 100 miles away in Nov. It seems like a 1,000 to me:( We have been so blessed to be right here in the same town and got to everything together. I have to just praise God for all those years and go on. Things never stay the same and we must enbrace change. But it’s still very hard, even tho we are already making plans and how we will get together, then:)

      Reply

      Oh, Joyce. This will be hard. One of the saving graces for Bonnie and I is telephone plans that include unlimited minutes within the country for a set cost per month. it really isn’t that expensive. Do you have that possibility where you are?

        We both have verizon cell phones, so if one verizon caller calls another verizon caller..it’s free minute’s…so yes we have that figured out!

        Is this a picture of you and Nita? I too had the same experience with my best friend several years ago. i was devastated, but she was not so much (or so I thought). She moved to the Marshall Islands and it was even difficult to talk on the phone. It took me a very long time to realize how dependent on my friend I had become. She moved back to the states and still lives far away, but we both value our friendship more than ever now.

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10. Comment on Susan’s testimony.

Susan is such a light in the midst of much darkness. She is constantly being pummelled by negativity toward her from her family, especially her husband’s attitude toward Christianity. Yet she keeps reaching out her hand toward Jesus, despite being fearful and feeling weak. Her faith is stronger than she realizes. Many would have given up the fight toward godliness. She is still fighting. She reminds me of the woman “Much Afraid” from the story “Hinds Feet in High Places.”

    Reply

    I was reading comments from last week and came across comments by you, Susan, about thoughts of “you should just chuck-it all (“religion”) so you can fit in”. Then you go on to talk about how your son criticized you and your daughter as Christians who are “just mindless robots”. I admire you so much for hanging on with Christ in the face of so much opposition. Has it occurred to you that perhaps they would not criticize you so much, if they did not feel threatened (convicted) that what you say and do rings with God’s truth, but they are not ready to forsake their idols?

    Dear Susan, you are in my prayers.

    John 6:67-69 (ESV)
    67 So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

      Reply

      Thank you, Diane. You know, sometimes I wonder if my son is trying to sort out what he really believes and work through his doubts. He used to love going to church, reading his Bible, and helping me teach Sunday school. I wonder if he is watching me, in a way, to see if I would just give it all up and turn away if he expresses to me what is going on in his heart – the doubts, even anger at the hypocrisy of many so-called Christians. He’s verbalizing it all to me, and I know in my heart that he loves me but maybe he’s just trying to vent it and he trusts me enough to say it to me. I’m not going to stop loving him no matter what. If he would see me just give up, then he would conclude there wasn’t anything to it (faith) to begin with.

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Wow weeee what a sermon! I am on my third round. Do not miss this one, sisters. This sermon is SO relevant for us today.

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    Yes, Kim. An amazing, challenging sermon on what forgiveness really means and how to deal with violence in a godly way.

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Joey and I just returned from his nerve tests and they are normal! Thanks to all of you for praying and thank You LORD!

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    That’s great news, Anne. Praise the Lord.

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    Thank you, God.

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    Glad to hear this, Anne.

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      Praise God, Anne!!!

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    I add my praise to the chorus, rejoicing with you Anne!

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12. What are your notes from the sermon?

God refuses to accept the violence of Ninevah or the anger of Jonah.

I liked how Keller went into why they were violent using Augustine’s qyote-If there is one God who is the supreme power and lawgiver over everything in the world, then the world is inherently or originally an orderly peaceful place and God’s project is to bring it back. It is has been marred by sin and evil but it is to bring it back into peace and justice and our job is to bring it back to be part of his program. But they were pagans. Their world view was polytheistic. Polytheism says there were many powers-many gods and that the world was essentially chaotic and violent. If that is true, then you can’t have a just society-the world by nature is violent and therefore justice and peace are unnatural. You have no hope for justice and no basis for justice and since you have no one truth or law giver who is to say what justice is.

In our culture today Professors believe the world is by nature violent-evolution..If there is no God and there is no truth then reality by nature is violent and there is no way to hope for justice and there is no basis for talking about it. If there is no truth who is to say what is true and right.

(LOVED THIS, and this is what I see in our culture of Christianity today-not everyone but overall): YET there is another kind of violence in Jonah: What Jonah does in 4:1-in Hebrew it says, he became evil with the evil he saw. When he saw God refusing to be violent with the violent he became violently angry. What does jonah want? Why is he mad? Jonah is sitting outside the city because he wants to see firebolts to come down and start smashing their buildings. He wants violence. He is mad because there wasn’t any violence. This is saying pluralistic relativism leads to violence, but that religion is also a source of violence.

The danger of morality if it isn’t put into a context of Grace and the Gospel-moral people have a tendency to say the reason that God loves me is because I am moral and I obey the truth, believe the truth and that is what makes me better than other people. When you are not moral but moralistic and take morality and turn it into moralism you have the seeds again for oppression, for abuse of power and for violence.

When Jonah says in 4:2,3. I knew it-I knew you were compassionate! Lord, they never called you Yahweh, they never converted and they are violent people and you relent and give them another chance. Kill me because I don’t want to live in a universe run by a loving God like you. The Bible unmasks the kind of wickedness that can be nurtured in the heart of a moral religious life.

cont….

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12. continued..

The Bible is nuanced in saying Pluralistic relativism and moralistic absolutism are the seeds for violence. Every kind of person in every kind of society in every kind of group has the potential for oppression and for cruelty and violence. -This was so good, so true and I loved how he explained both sides.

My comments: I see this in our Christian and conservative culture today as we are trying to fix sin and evil with moralism. YET, I see God refusing to accept the evil and sin, but on the other side he isn’t happy with our anger toward the ones who are sinning. I think our sin and theirs grieves God, but it doesn’t grieve us like it should, rather it makes us angry and we want to convince them to be moral-to be good and follow the moral rules-to change on the outside without letting Him change them on the inside. So we don’t love-we condemn and judge and call them fools and idiots. I see Jonah in me when I was heavily into politics.

Conservative commentators are simplistic compared to the Bible. They say the problem with America is that we have lost our values, we have to get back to our moral values overlooking the fact that religiosity and moralism is one of the great reasons why there is violence. The atheist and secularists were violent as well. The Amish have Jesus as their fundamental so we aren’t concerned about violence from them. If jesus is your fundamental it sucks hatred and violence out of you.

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12. Continued…

How God deals with violence:

When someone wrongs you and does evil to you and abuses you, the one thing God does not allow is vengeance. Another thing he doesn’t allow is resignation. Vengeance is I pummel the wrong doer and my goal is not to do what is right for the world, my goal is to hurt him with how he hurt me. I am trying to deal with my hurt by hurting you more.

On the other hand is resignation-don’t bring it up, get past it, no matter what you do the hurt won’t go away now. Resignation doesn’t confront the wrong doer, resignation looks on the surface like you are being more Christian. You aren’t thinking of truth and injustice-the world doesn’t need this person to keep doing to others what he is doing to you. What you are thinking about is your own hurt.

The commonality between vengeance and resignation is that they are both dealing with it in their selfish way by excluding the wrong doer-I put you outside my circle of community forever. In both cases you aren’t thinking of justice, the world or the wrong doer and how that will effect others.

What does God say we are supposed to do? God calls for forgiveness. Forgiveness isn’t resignation or vengeance. God is hair trigger compassionate to Ninevah but he doesn’t let it go.

Forgiveness is getting rid of your hate and anger before you deal with the wrong doer.

Now here is the solution to being angry and how to be able to forgive:

Do you have a right to be angry? God asks Jonah this. If you are sustained in your bitterness toward someone it is because you think you are better than they are. A person who is a moralist is incapable of forgiving because you have to be better than other people.

You can forgive if you feel so humbled by God’s grace that you don’t ever have the right to be angry, yet so affirmed by God’s grace you don’t have the need to be angry.

How do you do it:

You Look at Jesus look at what he has done for me and it melts the anger down. I see what he has done for me and I have wronged him. Jesus overcame violence by paying it himself. When you see Jesus paying the cost for what you have done rather than making you pay for it, now you know the secret as to what it means to forgive someone else.

Forgiveness is not only a refusal to hate someone, it is choosing to love the offender-it is painful but wood nails and pain is the currency of forgiveness. When you forgive, you absorb the cost. How do you absorb the cost? By refraining to think about it all the time, ignoring them, knocking them to other folks, being mean to them when you see them, ignoring them, etc.

I loved what Keller said about how patient God was with Jonah and encouraged us if we are in that spot-God will work on us in His time..God is patient-we are His nothing can change that-look at how patient he was with Jonah. He can shape us to use us in the City.

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    Wonderful notes!

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    Thank you for lightening my load this week, Rebecca. I listened while working but wasn’t able to take notes so this helps me much. We have a family member living with us, building our garage and front porch. I am the run-get-it girl and meal maker for however many men are here working every day. Hubby and I decided to save money and hire sub-contractors to build our home so it’s been a very hectic summer.

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    Rebecca, thank you for your wonderful notes! I would be listening to the sermon and it kept stopping on the middle of it; so frustrating, so I really appreciate your notes.

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I’m eager to hear all your take-a-ways from Jonah — for we say good-bye to that book today!

So many August birthdays — Happy Birthday Susan! (And Diane is Wed — Joyce – the 14th!) It’s hard to keep up — so please announce when you are a birthday girl!

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    You too, August birthday girl!

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    Happy Birthday! Wow, four including Dee in August! :-)

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14. List three major take-a-ways from Jonah — referencing the specific passage, and putting each in a single sentence. Then write down a personal prayer for yourself, incorporating at least one of the take-a-ways.

1. Jonah 1:3a “But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish.”

I can daily run away from God especially when He tells me to love someone I may not love.

Lord thank you that you loved me so much that you took nails in your hands and that you died the most horrific death ever-for me. How can I not love, yet I run Lord. Help me today to remember the Gospel when this person you have laid on my heart comes to mind.

2. Jonah 2:6b,9d “But you, Lord my God, brought my life up from the pit..I will say,‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’”

Oh how I have stones of remembrance of how God has rescued me over and over-and am finally learning why..To drive deeper into my heart who He is, to show me even deeper my Gospel identity and to draw me closer in to Him.

Lord thank you for not intervening on some of my self inflicted storms and for allowing me to see so that you can show me once again who you are and who I am in you. My foolish heart! Oh God I am so unworthy of your patience toward me yet so delighted that you are! I am so loved by you-thank you God for not giving up on me, but for placing your hands around me to mold me.

3. Jonah 4:4 “But the Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?”

And when I stumble, I firmly believe HE WILL COME. He will challenge me via His word and the Holy Spirit-He is faithful in finishing the refining he has started in me. He won’t let go.

Lord thank you for giving your life for me so that I can love others like you love them-like you love me. Thank you that you are making me free from the threat of a bitter heart by pounding the Gospel deeper in still. Thank you that because of You I can have a heart molded to be like Jesus-to Love like Him. I ask that you would give me a more tender heart to listen to you when I am like Jonah and feel an injustice done to me or feel slighted. I do feel that way by a sister at church who struggles with a critical spirit toward others-yet I confess mine is toward her. I am frustrated with the masks and the phoniness and the pride with some in regard to spiritual truths. Yet I have been this way before-prideful in regard to spiritual truths but you showed me compassion, long suffering and Grace. Who am I without you? Yet at the same time look at who I am in You because of you! Help me to rest in my Gospel identity for this is the start. Help me to love like you.

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9. Listen to the song “I asked the Lord that I might grow” again, and write your reflections.

It is a somber although beautiful song. A song that makes you think on every line. As the song gets to the end it makes you feel the pain of the writer. I kept asking myself, “when will He give mercy?” it doesn’t happen. It makes me sad, but the Lord tells the writer that he is being refined. It reminds me of life…..things just keep pressing down on us; I have had a very hard week, you think,” please end this pain,” but it continues, just like in the song.

I didn’t realize that I was going to have to be a nurse to my mom this past week. I’m very BAD at these things. My mother has apparently just begun to have balancing issues, confusion, losing weight and incontinence. It seemed to happen right when I got here. I have picked her up off the floor, gotten up in the middle of the night to take her to the bathroom, taken her to many doctors appointments, and cleaned bedding and garments over and over again. I am exhausted, but my children have been a blessing too. Even Sarah (I got her to come with me). I am being stretched. I’m not real sure how we we handle it when I leave; that is another hard decision for our family. We are also not sure if this is temporary due to medicine changes, the fall a week ago, or a nasty urinary track infection. Please continue to pray.

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    Laura,
    Do you have any other family there where your mom lives? From what you describe here, it is not safe for your mom to live alone. Have you spoken with her oncologist (cancer doctor)? It sounds like she needs round the clock care. I would encourage you, as Anne posted above, to contact hospice to get something set-up for in-home care if your mom wishes to stay in her own home. Praying for you.

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      Also Laura, maybe one of those lifeline’s would be good for her, if she falls

      Praying for her and you and all.

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    Praying Laura,
    I agree with Anne, I cared for both my parents as they died, see about FMLA, that’s what it is there for. I know too about feeling inadequate in the role of caretaker, hospice can be a great help. You will never regret spending her last days with her.
    Love to you!

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10. Comment on Susan’s testimony.

I love this, “My fear shows my idolatry – depending on some thing or someone other than God. Like Jonah, I must exclaim, “Salvation is from the Lord.” How do I move to a new level of faith? By holding out my hand.”

11. How might you apply Susan’s wisdom to your current trials?

Definitely holding my hand to God for help because He is there for me. Don’t look to anything or anyone else.

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A friend wrote this on her facebook wall and others are chiming in that the Bible is outdated etc. I want to respond appropriately. Any suggestions? Perhaps an article that explains God in correct context.

“I have read the Bible, and I do not understand the violence, the ridiculous rules that men created (she further refrences Paul saying women should not teach and she is a professor) Ugh. I believe in God, and that God is Love. I believe in Jesus Christ. But I’m not sure I believe in the Bible. It seems like a mean book and depicts God as cruel too often, in my opinion. The more I study it, the more I have a problem with it.”

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    Kim, your friend reminded me of this that I read this morning.

    “Blessed Blows”

    Blows and wounds cleanse away evil, and beatings purge the inmost being.

    Proverbs 20:30

    The first time I read this verse, I cringed. It brought up contorted images of the Spanish Inquisition and the Salem witch trials – or at best, stern, tight-lipped schoolmarms walking the classroom aisles with a rod in hand. Proverbs may be a book filled with wisdom and godly instruction, but this verse seemed better suited for the 16th century.

    But my heart has warmed to Proverbs 20:30. That’s because I’m writing this vignette from my bed where I have been spending long days dealing with severe back pain. The encroachment of my disability has humbled me of late: my pride has taken a severe beating as I’ve missed deadlines; I feel humiliated doing “business” from my bed; and I’ve had to bite my tongue from grumbling. God is forcing me to learn the deeper meaning of Psalm 119:67, 71, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word…It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.”

    God may land a knock-out blow to your puffed-up pride. He may wound your heart through a deep disappointment. He will go to great lengths to beat hateful habits out of your character and purge selfishness from your soul. Your ego may feel trampled. But that’s not bad. I, for one, know I will come out the other end all the richer and happier for the wounding. It’s what Proverbs 20:30 is all about.

    Your God is not a stern, tight-lipped celestial ogre. He’s not on a witch hunt. He is the kind Father who has compassion on his children (Psalm 103:13). He’s also the wise and wonderful God described in Hebrews 12:10 who “…disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.” Join me today in saying “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him…” (Job 13:15).

    Lord God, remind me when I feel beaten or wounded that you are disciplining me for my good. I hope and trust in you!

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      Joyce, your words are a sweet psalm of praise to the Lord in the midst of your suffering. I am in awe of your wisdom and praise for the Lord. God bless you!

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      Thank you Joyce, this is rich.

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      Oh my Goodness, you didn’t think I wrote that did you?!!! I wish! It was Joni’s devotional for today!! I guess I didn’t get her name copied…so sorry for the mistake!

        I didn’t think so, though you are capable!
        You said that you had read it in your post.
        Thanks dear Joyce!

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      Wow Joyce, this is so good. Thank you for sharing. I did write her tonight and the Lord seemed to lead me.

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      Joyce, Thanks so much for sharing..Love Joni and so loved this, so glad Kim wrote her!

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10. Comment on Susan’s testimony.
11. How might you apply Susan’s wisdom to your current trials?

Susan beautifully speaks the truth to her soul that salvation from her circumstances is from the Lord. And she adds that she must reach out her hand. Susan is doing what Dee has taught us. She looks at her situation, speaks truth and reaches to the one out in faith to the who has proved faithful. I must do this daily to keep connected to the vine, to keep from idol worship. I am blessed to know Susan here.

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12. What are your notes from the sermon?

I did not write notes out but was struck by God’s great love despite Jonah’s hate/moralistic behavior. I have been Jonah, I was raised moralistic. Keller says religion when moralistic is violent – man, I get this! I don’t ever want to be moralistic again and will fight it the rest of my life. Keller also gives, so beautifully, the answer to ridding one’s self from hate or unforgiveness: Jesus! Jesus’ great unconditional love and seeing the gospel, seeing His sacrifice seeing our unworthiness, sinfulness.

13. How do we know Jonah matured? I wasn’t sure until Dee gave Rebecca a clue as to the author of the book of Jonah – Jonah. Therefore Jonah matured and wrote it to help us.

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4. Yet, describe Jonah’s half-hearted sermon when he “obeys”. (Jonah 3:4)

Interesting we are only told one sentence of what Jonah said! All he said was that Ninevah would be overturned in forty days. I liken this to what if Paul, in Romans, had left us only with chapter 1 through half of chapter 3? (only the bad news)

I’m thinking Jonah must have said more but we’re not told. Did people stop him and ask him questions, like what should we do, then?

5. When we watched Rachel’s video, she said, “It is such a daily battle.” Many of you really have grown in regard to your idols – and yet, write here how you must battle daily with a besetting sin.

It is a daily, moment by moment battle for sure. Through this study, I’ve been awakened to the battle with idolatry, and learned to look beneath the sin to uncover the idol operating there. Yet even when it is identified, I can never say, great, I’ve got that one licked. It always returns, sometimes even the next hour! My daily besetting sin can be a tendency to be lazy, not wanting to do necessary cleaning and things that need to be done and procrastinating; being selfish and self-centered, treating myself to things that I feel I deserve (comfort idol). Or, I go on the hunt as to who is going to make me feel worthwhile today, as Keller said, needing a word from the outside to tell you that you are okay, only I look to other people instead of God (approval).

6. How did the Ninevites respond and how did Jonah respond to this?

A revival swept through Ninevah, starting with the people and then when the news reached the king, he also took off his royal robes and put on sackcloth. He calls for some serious national prayer and fasting, and they all call on God for Him to relent from his anger. They repented of their evil ways.
Jonah is angry and admits that this is the very reason he ran away and didn’t want to go to Ninevah. He did not want God to have mercy on these people, enemies of Israel..

7. Describe the dialogue between Jonah and God in Jonah 4:1-4.

Jonah admits to God that he fled to Tarshish because he knew that God is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. How ironic – is this not the reason Jonah’s life and the lives of the sailors were spared?
But he wants to keep God’s mercy and love to himself and perhaps believes it is for the Israelites and no one else. When Jonah sees God being merciful to Ninevah, it makes him want to die, and he asks the Lord to take his life.
God asks, “Have you any right to be angry?”

8. Describe the blessing God gave and then how he took it away. What was His point?

Jonah was watching at a place to see what would happen to Ninevah. It was very hot, and God made a vine grow to provide shade and comfort for Jonah. But the next day, God sent a worm to destroy the vine, and a scorching wind and heat. Jonah was faint from the heat and again wanted to die.

This is my opinion, that perhaps this was God picturing for Jonah His mercy and then what it is like to have wrath instead of mercy. Despite our sinfulness, we are covered by the shade of His mercy, shaded because of the Cross. Take that away, and we are left without cover under the burning heat of His wrath and judgement. Jonah didn’t like it when his shade was taken away, he was angry about the vine dying. Yet God points out that Jonah didn’t make the vine grow. I don’t know why but I feel the vine somehow represents God’s mercy and forgiveness, an object lesson that showed how Jonah enjoyed basking in its shade and how awful he felt when it was taken away. The Ninevites would have also despaired of life had God taken away His mercy from them. They would have been left with His scorching wrath. It seems like God is trying really hard to get Jonah to stop being so self-focused and to stop hoarding God’s mercy and to change his heart to caring about people who even are his enemies; to picture for him what it is like for others to be perishing without God.

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    I love this Susan, the analogy of the vine representing the mercy of God.

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9. Listen to the song “I asked the Lord that I might grow” again, and write your reflections.

As I listened, my mind went to Job. The words reflect much of what happened to him, yet we know God loved Job. I also know, for myself, that it is only through trials and inward suffering that I am freed from self and pride. Having the world “by the tail” does not incline me to be selfless and humble, nor to seek hard after God.

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14. List three major take-a-ways from Jonah — referencing the specific passage, and putting each in a single sentence. Then write down a personal prayer for yourself, incorporating at least one of the take-a-ways.

Jonah 4:4: But the Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?”
Lord, I am Jonah in so many ways and you are Lovingkindness despite my sulkiness, anger, moralistic bend and religiosity. I invite you to continue this work in me to defeat idol worship. Thanking you for asking me questions instead of condemning me as I deserve.

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All I can say about the sermon is “No….I didn’t want to hear this right now!” because I need to hear this right now. Avoidance has been my sole way of dealing with people who have hurt me and I didn’t want to know that it is just as bad and hateful as vengeance.

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Just finished listening to the sermon, it was hard for me.

I feel I am an avoider, but without a choice because I do not know unto whom my desire for justice should be directed. I think & hope if I ever know, that I will desire their repentance more than retribution. I have misguided anger at the detectives, even at the hospital staff, I do avoid going here and thinking about all of this. I do not know how productive dwelling on it all it is.

I thought it was a great sermon, Gods abundant desire to be merciful to those who don’t know their right hand from their left was an encouragement to me. I think Jonah and me fit in there too.
He remembers our frame, that we are made of dust.

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I am glad to say that I am once again receiving email notifications, thank you David & Dee, you must be behind that!

I also want to thank you Diane for reading my comments and those of others so carefully and so often providing rich encouragement, Thank you!

Missing you Elizabeth & Renee

Goodnight to you sisters, I have had a brutal last couple of days, I have the next two off and I am mighty grateful!

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10. Commenting on my testimony – it was really hard to articulate in a few words my thoughts, etc… and tying in the sermon by Keller. Keller talked about being in a boat headed for rocks (like our trials in life) and that we can pray to have God raise the level of the water instead of just getting us out of the boat. That idea stuck with me, that pain and trials in life and any hard situation is where we need to be raised to a new spiritual level, a new level of maturity. That kind of salvation comes from the Lord.

When I found the picture of the woman climbing up the rocks, reaching for God’s hand, in my mind it tied in beautifully with Rebecca’s picture of the woman coming out of the cleft. God calls us to go higher – but we are on the rocky trail and sometimes the climb is hard, but He is there to help us – we have to reach for His hand through prayer and through reading His Word. Also, His hand is reaching down to us.

That my fear about many things in my life shows my idolatry; yes, because the fear of losing the things I depend on shows that they are idols in my life. Mostly the fear is related to losing family, either through death or by them moving away. For some reason, all of my life I’ve needed people around me to feel safe, loved, and secure. I don’t mean that I can’t tolerate being physically alone, say, at home during the day when the kids are at school. But I know they will be home eventually. I believe that if I could really grasp and be secure that God loves me; if that final penny would drop, it would change my life.

11. Applying this to my current trials, sometimes I feel very spiritually alone and I’m sending off a second son to college. My life is changing, my role is changing. I will be focused at home now on raising my daughter and the dynamics of our home will be different. Of course, my son will return for visits and holidays and next summer, but I already feel the loneliness of missing him. My mom’s declining health scares me, and I am so fearful because she doesn’t know the Lord. Keller used the example from the Lord of the Rings movie, where the hobbit is scared to death on the battlefield until he looks over and sees another fighting with him. It gives him courage. I need to speak that truth to my soul, that I have One who is with me, who died for me, and will not leave me alone and who loves the people that I love, too.

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14. List three major take-aways from Jonah – referencing the specific passage, and putting each in a single sentence. Then write down a personal prayer for yourself, incorporating at least one of the take-aways.

“But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish” (Jonah 1:3)

This is where it all began – “the running man” – we find our true identity only with God, but when we run the other way, trying to build our identity without God, this is the very essence of sin.

“I said, I have been banished from Your sight; yet I will look again toward Your holy temple” (Jonah 2:4)

I can run so far and sin so badly, that my feeling tell me I can’t come back to God – yet I must look to the Cross, the love that God has for me that He would die for me and makes it possible for me to be reconciled and forgiven.

“Salvation comes from the Lord” (Jonah 2:9)

This is living out the gospel – salvation is the moment of new birth but it doesn’t stop there – each and every besetting sin or trial or area where I need to grow needs to be given over to the Lord and He is my salvation in the midst of it.

Lord, I pray that you will sink these truths deep into my heart and not let me forget them. Help me to see when I am running from You and running to my idols to get my identity. Bind me with Your cords of love; they may stretch and let me go my own way but only so far – then open my eyes that I may come to my senses and return to You. I thank You that I am never banished from Your sight. Help me to live in the light and the truth that You are my Salvation for everything.

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14. Take-a-way.

1. Evangelism is really God’s work, my job is care for the lost and obedience. In Jonah 3:5 the Ninevites amazingly repented after such a heartless sermon from Jonah.
2. God will separate us from idols, for He cares for our holiness, but it is so much easier if we willingly search our own hearts. Jonah 1:15-17.
3. If I find myself angry at God it is time to look with my own heart for something is wrong. Jonah 4:1-4

Lord, thank You for showing me how worthless and destructive idolatry is. It has been painful to see my own wretched heart but I can also see how I have come closer to You through it. I have experienced Your wonderful grace! I pray for myself and for each woman on this blog that we may continue to grow in our freedom. Help us to see idols as they creep into our hearts and run to You. Thank You for what I have learned in this week’s sermon about how to forgive. Help me to apply it to my own heart. I fear to ask this except that I know my own need and I know You are compassionate toward me. I love You LORD and ask all of these things in Jesus’ name. Amen

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