I have been working through a Bible study on the book of Jonah by Priscilla Shirer. If you think you know the story of Jonah, I believe I could challenge you to learn more. Mrs. Shirer certainly has opened my eyes to several revelations throughout the study so far.
I am also impressed with God once again. This study has been preparing me for an upcoming experience. My Southeast Asia mission trip.
The idea of this Bible study is that Jonah’s life was interrupted and that our lives are interrupted as well. But what if we think of these interruptions as divine interventions? Times when God stops us in our tracks to share a vision with us? It changes our outlook on life.
In the beginning of this study, I thought it was a great way to look at Jonah. But then it got personal. Some of the questions stirred me. Some of the concepts intrigued me.
Then ten days ago, everything changed. I was called to action. And this study had been preparing me for that very moment. What a journey God is sharing with me.
From the example of Jonah being called and disobeying to the concept of God being the God of second chances, each section of this study has been preparing me to go. Make disciples. Baptize. Teach.
One revelation for me has been how evangelistic this book is. This week in our homework section, we compared the mission Jonah was given with the mission we, as Christians are given (Jonah 1:2; 3:2; Matthew 28:19-20).
Another revelation has been that God goes before the mission He gives us and how He prepares us for that mission. I believe I’ve been preparing for this mission trip my entire life. It is finally the moment when it is all falling into place. Into God’s timing. And He will do amazing things when I obey.
Another revelation was the importance placed upon praying Scripture. I’ve done this in the past, but Jonah showed me that sometimes it is all that is necessary. Praying God’s words back to Him. And that leads to the importance of Scripture memorization. If we don’t know it, we can’t recite it.
I want to close with a few quotes from the Jonah study. These are the lines that have made an impact on my life. Maybe you’ll find some relevance.
“Making sense of what God has asked or feeling compelled to cooperate cannot be the prerequisite for choosing obedience. His Word must be enough.”[i]
“The discipline God allowed was not meant to punish Jonah; it was meant to prepare him.”i
“Whatever you are holding on to in this life, hold it loosely so it won’t hurt when the Lord has to pry your fingers open to take it away.”i
“No prayer is more effective than the one that finds its roots in the pages of God’s Word. Jonah challenges us: Have we taken time to inscribe God’s Word on our hearts so we have a framework of verses to construct our prayers in the time of need?”i
“The word God is trying to do in you requires your full participation. You will find the rewards when you subscribe completely to what He asks and do the tasks how and where He asks.”i
“Sharing Jesus is supposed to be a way we live, not just something we do.”i
We still have a two sessions to go. I’m certain God isn’t finished with my lessons from Jonah. My desire is to be completely open to what He wants to teach me. I can’t wait.
I must admit, I’ve second guessed myself about the trip to Southeast Asia. I haven’t seen any real progress. I’ve been challenged by some. But it all comes down to the fact that I truly believe this is what God wants me to do.
Do you believe God is calling you to something? Maybe it is as simple as saying hello to your neighbor. Maybe it is to read the book of Jonah and work through a study on this small book of the Bible. Maybe it is to memorize more of God’s Word and add these verses to your payer life. Maybe it is to give your life completely to God…not just enough to make it look like you’re committed.
Maybe it is giving money for a mission trip. I am still seeking financial support for the work God has called me to do. If you are willing to help in any way, please let me know. You can read more about it at http://wwwpreachitclearly.blogspot.com.
Whatever it is God is calling you to, act upon it. Now.
Grace and peace be yours in abundance,