The Capernaum Synagogue

Matthew 22 v 37

One day Jesus was teaching in the Synagogue in Capernaum where He lived.  The ruling Jews known as the Sadducees and Pharisees were always questioning Jesus because they wanted to trap Him in His words.  These men were always hungry for power and they desperately wanted to stop Jesus and His ministry.  On this particular day, they asked Jesus which commandment is the greatest.

“Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words.”

Matthew 22:15

They thought they were so wise and they had come up with a question that would stop Jesus.  I’m sure they thought Jesus might answer “do not murder” or one of the other ten commandments, but Jesus did not give them the answer they assumed.

Capernaum by the Sea of Galilee
Capernaum by the Sea of Galilee where Jesus lived.  Matthew 4:13 “Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum…”

I will tell you the answer Jesus gave them in a moment, but first, enjoy a trip to the Synagogue in Capernaum where this conversation took place!  I want to visit this place right now!  This is the area where Jesus lived and ministered from A.D. 30 until He was crucified in A.D. 33.  What a beautiful land!

Capernaum Synagogue best
Capernaum Synagogue where Jesus taught!

Capernaum Synagogue title

Capernaum Synagogue sky view

Capernaum Synagogue plants
Israel is so cool, and I love palm trees!

So, this is where Jesus was when He gave His answer to the Pharisees who questioned Him with ill intent:

“Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together.  One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Matthew 22:34-40

The Pharisees had nothing left to say after that, so while they were all gathered together in the Synagogue Jesus took the opportunity to ask them a question in return.

“While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, “What do you think about the Christ?  Whose son is he?”

“The son of David, ” they replied.

He said to them, “How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’?

For he says,

” ‘The Lord said to my Lord:

“Sit at my right hand

until I put your enemies

under your feet.” ‘

If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?”

No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions.”

Matthew 22:41-46

That is just awesome!  His answer and question were so powerful that it left the whole group of men who were supposed to be the wisest in all the land totally speechless!  After that, He didn’t have to answer any more of their sinful questions.

Do what Jesus said.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind!  Love your neighbor as yourself!  The entire Bible hangs on those two commandments! Remember, Jesus is Lord, and that is what He was explaining to them!

Those are three Truths that everyone needs to know!

1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind!

2. Love your neighbor as yourself!

3. Jesus is Lord!

That was quite a moment of teaching in the Synagogue that day!  Powerful enough to leave a person speechless indeed!  Praise the Lord!

Grace and peace to you all!

Capernaum Synagogue sky view 2

Jesus is Lord

 

 

God Will Crush Satan!!!

Boot stomping snake

This is how we deal with snakes here in Colorado!  We strap our boots on and crush those suckers!  I have killed at least 7 or 8 snakes in the 12 years we have lived in this neighborhood.  We back up to an open space.  We have bull snakes mostly, which look and act just like rattlers.  It is hard to tell the difference.  They even shake their tales like rattlers.  Bull snakes are not poisonous or venomous, but they have a nasty bite!  They get into our backyard and even our garage sometimes in the summer and fall!  Do you know what God is going to do to that ancient serpent the devil?  He is going to crush him, that’s what!

“The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.  The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.”

Romans 16:20

Bull snake
Typical Colorado Bull snake (Yeah, they get big!)
Rattle snake
Typical Colorado Rattle snake

You see, you never know which kind of snake it is, so my advice is to always assume it is a rattle snake!  Getting bit by a rattler is a whole different day than getting bit by a bull!  They are both so fast, you usually don’t have time to check for the rattle on the end of their tale!  I chop their heads off with a shovel or I crush their heads first, then chop it off!  Then I bury the head and the rest of the body.

That is what God is going to do to satan!  He is going to crush him and he will be no more!  No more lies, no more hurt, no more pain–no more!

“And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown.  They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”

Revelation 20:10

The fate of the evil one is already sealed.  Don’t ever forget that!  Jesus Christ defeated Him when He died on that cross and it is most definitely finished just like He said!  And guess what?  He is coming soon to crush that evil serpent!

Grace and peace to you all in the Powerful and Mighty Name of Jesus!

21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.

 

All Kinds of Prayers & Requests

Ephesians 6 v 18 pray in the Spirit

I prayed something last night that I don’t think I have ever prayed.  I was brushing my teeth before bed around 10:30 p.m. and the Spirit came over me and I was filled up with prayer and started praying.  I was praying for protection over my wife and kids for the night’s sleep.  I asked God to command His angels to protect us and asked that they would sit on the roof all night and be stationed at their posts as long as we needed them.  Then I started praying for our angels!

I asked God to encourage them and strengthen them and that they would be faithful in protecting us.  I asked God to give them a new song in their hearts and prayed that there would be “a new song in Heaven tonight.”  It was one of the coolest prayer times I have ever had!  I have always prayed for angelic protection, but I don’t think I have ever thought of actually praying for our angels!

We can pray about absolutely anything and God hears us!  Did you know that?  Yes, the Bible says to pray on all occasions about everything.

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”

Ephesians 6:18

That is so cool!  When the Holy Spirit fills us up and we sense an urgency to pray, then pray, and pray about whatever it is the Spirit wants you to pray about!  It doesn’t matter if you are driving down the road or you are at home in your quiet place.  You can always pray and nobody can ever take that from you!  You could be in the darkest prison like the Apostles Paul and John, but you can still pray!

“In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

Ephesians 3:12

Did you know that?  Through Jesus Christ we can approach God freely with confidence knowing that He will receive us and listen to us!  You can pray to God about anything and everything that is on your heart and mind!  Folks, that is exciting!

I just prayed for my angels last night, and I didn’t even know I could do that!  I love the Lord!  After almost 22 years following Him, He is still showing me new and wonderful things!  Thank you Jesus!

Remember that today!  God loves you!  Lift up your heart to Him today!  You can pray about anything when you know Jesus and He will receive you in love and listen to you!

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

1 Peter 5:7

Grace and peace to you!

P.S.

I wonder how encouraged and excited our family’s angels were last night when God answered my prayers for them!  Amen!  Yes, they are real!  I encountered my angel that protects me two different times back in 1998!  They are huge, strong, and very beautiful–and they most definitely minister to those who believe in Jesus Christ!

“For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”

Psalm 91:11

“Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?”

Hebrews 1:14

Angel

 

Ryan’s Art Gallery

Gallery foyer

Hello everyone!  I know many of you appreciate art and you enjoy visiting galleries.  Would you like to visit an art gallery today?  Well, c’mon in!  There is one right here in my house!

My wife and I love art.  We bought many of the pieces on a cruise we took many years ago.  Others were purchased in other countries, and we picked up some pieces at places like the summer art festival in our town park and cool shops here in Colorado.  We love visiting the different booths of all the talented artists!

I apologize for any glare that is on the paintings.  I took these photos with my phone.  Welcome to my home!  Enjoy!

The picture above is of our entryway foyer.  We have the hallway lined with several ocean themed pieces from the cruise.  We have the certificates of authenticity for all of the art somewhere.  I can’t remember the names of all the paintings.  They are all signed and numbered.  We picked out most of the frames and had them framed professionally.

Gallery sea view
French Artist Jean-Claude Picot
Gallery boats
Russian Artist Alex Pauker
Gallery foyer boats
I don’t remember who the artist is on this one, sorry.
Gallery favorite
This is one of my favorites!  It’s called “Coastview” by J. Askin
Gallery Seaside Village
That is our big piece by Alex Pauker called Seaside Village
Gallery Seaside Village 2
Seaside Village by Alex Pauker
Gallery living room
Living Room
Gallery mountains
We got this from a local artist at the town art festival.  It is a picture of Telluride, Colorado that he turned into a picture on canvas.
Gallery bears
This is a real oil on canvas painting called “Evening Dip” by Bonnie Marris

I would like to show you my wife’s piano studio now.

Gallery piano room view
Piano Studio

Gallery piano guest chair

Gallery asian scroll
We got this from the Voice of the Martyrs ministry.  The Bible verse written in Chinese is Hebrews 13:3 “Remember them that are in bonds…”  There is great persecution against Christians in communist China.  Pray for them!
Gallery piano musicians
I really like this one by Jean-Claude Picot!
Gallery piano bridge
Devon Carnishe, England by Ukrainian Artist Anatole Krasnyansky
Gallery piano Paris
My wife bought this in Paris many years ago from a man who was painting this picture on the street at this very location!  The Artist is unknown, but how beautiful!
Gallery piano night
La Porta St. Louis, Quebec by Italian Artist Littorio Del Signore
Gallery piano
Wyman Baby Grand Piano

Gallery piano inside

Gallery piano front

Gallery piano woman
French Artist Emile Bellet.  His paintings are famous for the mysterious woman in his paintings.  I love this one!  It is my favorite piece in the piano studio!
Gallery piano asian stick
This was a wedding gift from a good friend of mine in college.  She bought this beautiful hand carved wooden art in Vietnam.  It says Faith, Hope, Love.

I hope you enjoyed the piano studio!  Now I would like to take you up stairs. 

First here is a painting in the hallway leading to the powder bath just off the foyer.

Gallery open window
I can’t remember the artist on this one, but I like it.
Gallery calvary 2
This is right next to the front door.  My Mom bought me this in Castle Rock. There is a hidden picture in it. Can you see it?
Gallery calvary 1
Here is a close-up. Sorry about the glare.  Do you see the Native Americans taking the horses?  The calvary soldier sure doesn’t!
Gallery 3 pics
These are at the top of the stairs. We bought these from a local photographer at the town art festival.
Gallery upstairs
Artist Jean-Claude Picot
Gallery turtle
My wife bought this in Hawaii.
Gallery Kinkade
“The Cross” by Thomas Kinkade

There is some art in the kitchen too, so let’s go!

Gallery kitchen

I bought that painting of Jesus directly from Akiane Kramarik’s gallery.  She painted that by a miracle of God when she was only 8 years old!  That is the painting of Jesus that the little boy from the book/movie “Heaven is for Real” looked at and said, “Yep, that’s Him!”  I had some guy freak out on me on Twitter once and tell me that painting is idolatry.  Let me be clear, NO it is not!  That is what ridiculous legalistic people think!  It is a painting of Jesus that happened by a miracle.  It is not an idol!  It is not some graven image I bow down to like a golden calf for crying out loud!  It is a beautiful miraculous painting done by the power of the Holy Spirit through a little girl.  God told her He wanted her to paint it and that He would help her do it and it would help people.  Indeed He did and indeed it does!  It encourages our family every day!  Yes, I believe the miracle, and yes, I believe that is what He looks like!  No 8 year old kid I know could ever paint like that!  It is miraculous!

Gallery love verses
Bought this on Amazon. 1 Corinthians 13, the Love verses.
Gallery OT
Bought this on Amazon too. Deuteronomy 6:4-9. Put the Word of God on the walls of your home. There is great blessing in it!
Gallery church
I love this Spanish church by Artist Alex Pauker
Gallery view from kitchen
View from kitchen
Gallery sink view
View from window above the kitchen sink

Well, that about does it!  I hope you enjoyed your tour of our home art gallery!  It’s nice to stop and enjoy some aesthetic beauty now and then.

I appreciate all of you and I pray for all of you!  God bless you all!

Grace and peace to you all!

Jesus Christ is Lord

 

 

 

Really Cool Scripture

Beautiful sky

I think the whole Bible is really cool, but I want to focus on one particular Scripture that really lifts me up every time I read it.  It is found at the very beginning of the Book of Hebrews.  Let’s take a peek!

“In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.  The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.  After he provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”

Hebrews 1:1-3

That is a powerful description of Who Jesus is!  Do you want to see the radiance of God’s glory?  Then look at Jesus!  He is the exact representation of God’s very being!  The whole universe was made through Jesus!  He is heir over all and He is sustaining everything in the whole universe!

And how did Jesus provide us with purification for sins?  He died for us, and it’s that simple and beautiful.  Salvation is a free gift from God!

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.  It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.”

Titus 2:11-14

God made Himself a man, Jesus, and He died for us, so we could be forgiven of all our sins and be with Him in Heaven forever.  That is why Jesus is the radiance of God’s glory!  That is why Jesus is worthy of praise!  He is the King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 20:16), and no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6)!

Remember, the men who wrote the Bible in the power of the Holy Spirit were eyewitnesses to Jesus.  These are not distant memories for these men.  The New Testament is a collection of letters they wrote, which provide detailed accounts of their time with Jesus and their time after Jesus was crucified, dead and buried, rose from the dead, and ascended into Heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father.  They also wrote about what they experienced in the power of the Holy Spirit on their evangelistic missions!  We are reading these letters almost 2,000 years later, but these men wrote first hand accounts of what they saw and experienced while following Jesus in their time!  The places in the Bible still exist and you can visit many of them still today!

Garden of Gethsemane Olive Grove
Garden of Gethsemane Olive Grove in Israel

Don’t let anybody tell you that the Bible is outdated or irrelevant because it is old!  The entire Bible is full of first hand eyewitness accounts of what God can do, and nothing is impossible for Him!  It is still very relevant in our time and it will stay relevant for eternity!

“We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.  For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”  We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.”

2 Peter 1:16-18

Can you imagine hearing God’s voice from Heaven?!  They witnessed first hand the radiance and majesty of Jesus!  The Bible is full of amazing personal testimony like that!  May the radiance of God’s glory shine on you always!  In the Name of Jesus Who loves you!  Amen!

Grace and peace to you all!

Hebrews 4 v 12

 

 

 

Refreshment From The Lord!

Rocky Mountain rain 2

I have a cool answer to prayer to share!  It doesn’t rain much here in Colorado.  We are classified as a high desert plain.  Denver is the Mile High City after all.  It is very dry and hot most of the time.  Don’t forget, we are very close to New Mexico and Arizona, and not too far from Mexico either.  Southern Colorado is real hot!  Just yesterday I asked the Lord specifically to make it rain.  It has been so dry and we are having forest fires again in the Rockies.  I said, “Please Lord, make it rain.  In Jesus’ Name make it rain please!”  You know what happened late yesterday afternoon around 4:30 p.m.?  God brought moisture down from the mountains in big puffy clouds and it started raining!  It rained through the night and it was still drizzling this morning.  Praise God!  It is overcast in the sky and it is wet all over!  It is very refreshing!  Thank you Jesus!

Overcast 9-20-18

I just took that picture this morning from my daughter’s room.  That is Pike’s Peak off to the left.  The bumpy ridge in the middle is where we fish the Platte River in the Decker’s corridor.  We love to go camping out there!  Watch out for bears and mountain lions!

IMGP1658
Photo our family took of the Platte River near Deckers, CO.  We fish for Rainbow Trout here!

 

I am so glad it rained!  The cool moist air is beautiful!  We hardly ever see overcast skies like this.  I’m not complaining about the 330+ days of sunshine and blue skies we get, but it is just really nice to have some rain!

Rocky Mountain rain
Rain clouds over Rocky Mountain National Park

Our souls need refreshing too don’t they?  Most definitely!  When Jesus was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights being tempted by the devil, He told the evil one “man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”  Bread can feed your body, but it will never feed your soul!  The only food that can do that is God’s Word and every human soul on earth needs that to live in God’s refreshment!

“Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”

Matthew 4:4

“Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life.  He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”

John 6:35

That is some serious refreshment for your soul!  Do you know what brings that refreshment?  Repentance.  Whoa!  I know, tough word, but bear with me.  If you read my post titled “A Strong Promise” then you know that “repentance” means “changing your mind” in the Greek root of the word.  We study the Greek root words because the New Testament was written in Greek.  If you missed it, here is that information on the Greek root word from the Strong’s Concordance again:

Greek root of the word “repentance”:

“Strong’s Concordance
metanoia: change of mind, repentance
Original Word: μετάνοια, ας, ἡ
Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine
Transliteration: metanoia
Phonetic Spelling: (met-an’-oy-ah)
Short Definition: repentance, a change of mind
Definition: repentance, a change of mind, change in the inner man.
HELPS Word-studies

Cognate: 3341 metánoia – literally, “a change of mind” (“after-thought”); repentance. See 3340 /metanoeō (“repent”).”

Repentance, or metánoia in the Greek, literally means a change of mind.  Jesus called us to repent or change our minds about our sinful ways and turn to Him and go His Way.

“From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”

Matthew 4:17

That is what repentance means and it can’t be any more clear.  Repentance in itself won’t save you.  Jesus saves you and you must turn to Him for that.  He is the only One that ever died for the forgiveness of our sins.  That is good to repent or change your mind about your sins and living life for yourself, but you must take that good decision to completion and then turn to God and receive forgiveness through believing in Jesus Christ.

Repentance leads you to salvation in Jesus Christ.  I just want to be very clear here.  Repentance is when you change your mind about living your own sinful way and you decide to turn to God and go the Way He said to go, which is to believe in Jesus Christ.  Repentance is an act of our free will as we choose to turn away from sin and turn to God for forgiveness and salvation.  I hope that is clear.  I don’t want anymore trouble with anybody misunderstanding me about the word repentance.  We cannot work our way into Heaven.  Repentance is a choice.  We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus alone and not by works.  Repentance leads us to salvation in Jesus!

“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”

2 Corinthians 7:10

“Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

John 6:29

“For its by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Ephesians 2:8-9

Colorado rainbow

 

So, how do we get times of refreshing from the Lord?

In the Book of Acts there is an account of Peter healing a crippled beggar by the power of the Holy Spirit.  The people who saw this happen were amazed, so Peter started preaching about Jesus to help them understand Who he got the power to heal people from.

“By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong.  It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.”

Acts 3:16

After Peter makes it clear that his power comes from Jesus and that is how the man was healed, he tells the crowd how they too can be saved and receive refreshing from the Lord!

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord..”

Acts 3:19

Do you see?!  Repentance and turning to God wipes out your sins through Jesus Christ and brings times of refreshing from the Lord!   Hallelujah!

Do you want that today?  Do you want God to wipe out your sins and pour out His Holy Spirit on you as He showers down times of refreshing all over you?!  Then please, with all my heart I plead with you, repent (metánoia, change your mind) about going your own way and turn to God!  Receive His Son Jesus as your Lord and Savior and feed your soul on God’s Word!  I can promise you that just as God’s Word says, times of refreshing will come from the Lord!

Grace and peace to you all!

Romans 3 v 23 & 24

Heaven sign

 

 

How Far Did Jonah Run?

Jonah and the whale
Bible Art

When God called Jonah to preach to the town of Nineveh, he did not obey the Lord at first.  He tried to run away from the Lord even though he was one of God’s prophets.  Would you like to know just how far it was that he went to try and get away from the Lord?  Let’s take a look!

“The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”

But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish.  He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port.  After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.”

Jonah 1:1-3

Jonah map best

Nineveh was and still is in current day Iraq.  It is surrounded by the city of Mosul.  Yes, where a lot of the war fighting happened.  There was even an ancient statue of Jonah there, but the terrorists destroyed it when they took over Mosul.  Jonah is well known in that area.

“Nineveh, the oldest and most-populous city of the ancient Assyrian empire, situated on the east bank of the Tigris River and encircled by the modern city of Mosul, Iraq.  Nineveh was located at the intersection of important north-south and east-west trade routes, and its proximity to a tributary of the Tigris, the Khawṣar River, added to the value of the fertile agricultural and pastoral lands in the district.”

-Max Mallowen at britannica.com

Nineveh map

 

 

Nineveh ruins
Nineveh ruins
"Nineveh walls, near present day Mosul, Iraq" by James Gordon
Ancient gates to city of Nineveh

Joppa was a city in Israel famous for its port just like it is today.  The town is known by the name Jaffa in our time.  It is in the oldest section of Tel Aviv.

“The biblical town of Joppa is today known as Jaffa. This was the main port of the coast before the Israelis constructed the ports of Haifa and Ashdod. The modern city of Tel Aviv was founded on the outskirts of Jaffa in 1909 and today it encompasses the ancient city. Tel Aviv means “the Hill of Spring” and it is the same name as the city of a settlement in Babylon during the Exile (Ezek 3:15). Today the Tel Aviv area is the largest metropolitan area in Israel.”

-BiblePlaces.com

Jaffa, Israel coast
Jaffa, Israel (Ancient Joppa)
Jaffa, Israel boats
Jaffa, Israel

Tarshish was a Phoenician port city in current day Spain.

“[Tarshish] Phoenician port in Spain, between the two mouths of Guadalquivir (the name given to the river by the Arabs, and meaning “the great wady” or water-course).  It was founded by a Carthaginian colony, and was the farthest western harbour of Tyrian sailors.  It was to this port Jonah’s ship was about to sail from Joppa.”

-Bible-history.com

Guadalquivir River map
Map of Guadalquivir River in Spain. The port at Tarshish would have been where the river meets the sea.
Guadalquivir River
Guadalquivir River

Here is the town of Sanlucar de Barrameda approximately where Tarshish would have been.  Very nice!

Sanlucar de Barrameda, Spain
Sanlucar de Barrameda, Spain (Ancient port of Tarshish)
Guadalquivir River and Sanlucar de Barrameda
Guadalquivir River and Sanlucar de Barrameda, Spain

Jonah was trying to run away over 3,000 miles from what the Lord wanted him to do!  I can’t blame the man.  If the Lord called me to go preach in Iraq, I would definitely have some questions, and I think it would seem much better to go to a beautiful port in Spain instead.  I don’t think I will ever be going to Iraq, but may His will be done in all things!  You never know!

Jonah and the whale 2
Bible Art, Jonah and the whale

Do you feel like running from God today?  Has He called you to something difficult that you don’t want to do?  Maybe it is asking for forgiveness from a friend or your spouse.  Maybe it is going on a mission trip.  Maybe God is calling you to something that seems so scary that you just want to run away from it all!

You don’t have to run away from God!  He loves you and that is exactly what He ended up showing Jonah–that He loves all of us!  He is a God of love that shows us grace and compassion!

You see, Jonah did not want the Lord to have compassion on Nineveh.  He wanted God to strike it down for all their wickedness, but God had a better plan.  He relented on destroying Nineveh because the entire town repented after Jonah preached what the Lord wanted him to preach to them.

Jonah never did make it to Tarshish.  After being tossed into the sea and swallowed by a whale, the Lord commanded the whale to vomit Jonah onto dry land back in the Middle East.  After that life changing ordeal, he obeyed God and went to Nineveh.

“And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.”

Jonah 2:10

“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 important city–a visit required three days.  On the first day, Jonah started into the city.  He proclaimed: “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned.”  The Ninevites believed God.  They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.

When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust.  Then he issued a proclamation in Nineveh:

“By the decree of the king and his nobles:

Do not let any man or beast, herd or flock, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink.  But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth.  Let everyone call urgently on God.  Let them give up their evil ways and their violence.  Who knows?  God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.”

Jonah 3:1-9

That is some serious repenting after just one powerful line from the word of the Lord through Jonah!  Sackcloth was a very uncomfortable garment kind of like wearing a rough burlap sack.  It was used as a symbol of repentance in the Old Testament.  They would put on the sackcloth and literally sit themselves down or cover themselves in dust or ashes to show their sorrow for their sins.

What was God’s response to this amazing scene of repentance as an entire town and its king turned to Him?  I’ll tell you, He responded in love!

“When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.”

Jonah 3:10

Jonah was angry at the Lord’s compassion, but God taught him a great lesson about how forgiving and loving He is.  God might be calling you to something that seems crazy and you can’t see what He is doing right now, but know that just like with Jonah, God always has a greater purpose that is far better than anything we could ask or imagine.

God does not want any of us to perish!  He has compassion on us and He is patient with us.  Jonah knew this.

“He prayed to the Lord, “O Lord, is this not what I said when I was still at home?  That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish.  I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.”

Jonah 4:2

The Apostle Peter in the New Testament said it this way:

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.  He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

2 Peter 3:9

God is full of grace and compassion.  He is slow to anger and abounding in love.  He is a God who relents and forgives.  Please remember that always!  You can trust God with your very soul and you do not need to run from Him.  He truly does love you!

Grace and peace to you all!

John 3 v 16 big