August 20th – We live and learn so little

This is the prayer of a man who was utterly helpless. A man as good as dead. Of course that is not the only true kind of praying there is, but the gravity of our situation does concentrate our prayers wonderfully.
In my distress I called to the Lord and he answered me. From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry. You hurled me into the deep, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me. I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight …’…The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head…. When my life was ebbing away I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you … What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the Lord. Jonah 2: 2-4a, 7a, 9b
You soon worked out who it was. Jonah had run away from God, in fact had deliberately gone in the opposite direction to that which God was pointing him. When the storm struck at sea everyone, all the unbelievers aboard were praying to their gods, but he was asleep. It’s amazing how deaf we are to God when he’s telling us what we don’t want to hear. Jonah finally went and did what God had commanded him, but his sullen, wilful attitude seems to indicate he had learned so little from it all. Is it not a tragedy that we humans resist God so strongly, we all too often only truly pray when we are in a real panic, and even then afterwards forget it all so soon?
The book ends with God asking an angry Jonah a question or two. Perhaps it’s a question he’s asking us now. “Have you any right to be angry?” Jonah was not speaking.The heat got to him and he was very sorry for himself and wished he were dead. “Yes, I am angry” – Jonah 4:4 and 9.
A Prayer:
Lord, you cannot use angry, self-righteous, face-saving, hard-hearted people, even when they go where you direct them.Let not the spirit of Jonah be the spirit of your ancient people, the Jews – nor the spirit of your people, the Church – nor of mine! Now read Matthew 28: 16-20
Ponder Point:
It has been said “Nothing upsets a congregation of Christians more than being urged to witness more boldly to Christ”.

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Thought 4 The Day

Eternal life does not begin when you die, but when you put your trust in Jesus Christ.

Through the year calendar

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