I called to the LORD out of my distress, and he answered me;
out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice. 2:2
God’s heart is warm and tender to Nineveh—Jonah’s is not. God singles out for salvation, this pagan capital of the empire that wreaked havoc on the Israelites from the ninth to the seventh centuries B.C. Jonah flees to Spain—the ends of the earth—refusing to be involved with God’s mercy on a city Jonah hates. However, wherever he goes, Jonah brings faith in the God of the Hebrews. The Phoenician sailors cry out to God whom they have come to know by someone avoiding doing God’s will. Even the great fish obeys and throws up!
God’s patience with the prophet rivals God’s patience with Nineveh. Is there something that you know way down in your own belly that you are called to do and are avoiding? Even greater than flight away from God’s
will is God’s pursuit of you until you complete what God wants.
This post is also posted on “Wesley Without Walls,” an internet Bible Study hosted by Google Groups. If you wish to join this group, just write to me at email@example.com, including how it is that you would like to be part of the group. -Pastor Nick
At The Lakehurst United Methodist Church, there are two Bible study groups that meet to ponder and discuss the Wednesday and Friday readings for Lent from The Bible Through the Seasons. Below are the Firestarters and readings for the Second Week in Lent which begins on Sunday, Feb. 21.
Does it stretch the imagination to link this quiet, intimate song with throngs of noisy people on the move to Jerusalem? Surely, in the crowd there is many a mother needing to pause by the roadside to nurse her baby. At that moment, no need to think about catching up with the rest. Time stops as she gazes down upon her child—mouth slightly open, lips still dripping with milk as the baby dozes off to sleep in total satisfaction.
We typically need three meals a day to keep up our strength. Yet more than the food we eat is the nourishment we need from the Lord. Pause regularly in the journey of the day and the week to your Jerusalem. Be fed by the Lord. Rest. All that you need for total satisfaction is given to you right now.
Unbelief Is Blind
Do you find situations in your life where you just cannot win? Thus, it was for Jesus as he finds himself caught more and more in the web of the plot against his life. Here is Lazarus whom Jesus had raised to life. Nothing but love consumes the heart of Mary, fed by her joy in who Jesus is. Yet there is no room for joy in Judas; greed pushes it away. Evil poisons his heart.
Do not miss the irony in verse 10. The chief priests think that they can put to death the One who has power over death. Hatred and unbelief are blind. As for those who are opposed to you: If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)
I suggest that you download Questions for Bible Study These five questions are used as a guide for Bible study at the Lakehurst Church, and now, beyond its walls! Another idea…keep a sheet of paper and pencil ready for you to jot down the words of verses that touch your heart and how come they do so. I recommend that you keep a journal to save your reflections.
A masterpiece of the great sixteenth century artist, Michelangelo, stretches across the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome. At the center, God and Adam lovingly and longingly stretch out their hands and fingers to each other. The feeling of being freshly created is awesomely captured by the artist, as their fingers are separate, yet connected. In a similar sense is the visit with Mary and Elizabeth. John in his mother’s womb leaps for joy in the presence of Jesus, the new Adam inside Mary.
Clear away the debris in your heart that clutters the space between your heart and the heart of God in Christ. Then you will leap for joy at the desperate nearness of your Savior who is re-creating you right now.
Like Daniel, be total in your trust in the Lord; it will give you a serenity that no one can take from you. Daniel 2
The present: That infinite slice of time wedged between the past and the future.
Faith stretches to hope—the confidence that something of God is going to come about from the faith planted in the heart. Love flows from faith and hope.
The reading for today: 1 Thessalonians 1
Those turned off by the God of religion need you to be the one to reveal the true God’s love, gentleness and forgiveness.
The Reading for today: Psalm 82