Saturday, November 28, 2020

Piping & Mourning


God, who will have all men be saved, will leave no stone unturned. In His quest to melt the wills of men, God prescribes to each a regimen equal to the task. Still the stubborn souls of mankind often hold out on God while looking for some alternate source of satisfaction. To this God set His first commandment: Exodus 20:3 “Thou shalt have no other Gods before Me!”

Finally, when all other efforts were exhausted, God sent a voice crying in the wilderness to prepare the way for His only begotten Son. Jesus came into the world to show us the Father, His goodness, His grace, and His love.

In the fulness of time both John the Baptist and Jesus the Messiah stood together to confirm and fulfill the promised covenants and yet men who heard them were still not convinced. After King Herod put John into prison Jesus spoke to the multitudes concerning the differences in their ministries. 

Matthew 11 KJV

16 ¶  But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows,

17  And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented.

18  For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, he hath a devil.

19  The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.

20  Then began He to upbraid the cities wherein most of His mighty works were done, because they repented not:

Piping and Mourning represent the two ministries God ordained to reach and save the souls of men.

·        Piping and Mourning, as Jesus put it.

·        The New Living Translation reads:

Matthew 11: 17  ‘We played wedding songs, and you didn’t dance, so we played funeral songs, and you didn’t mourn.’

·        We, meaning Jesus and God, tried every approach to reach the hearts and melt the souls of men.

o   Joy and Sorrow

o   Dancing and Weeping

o   Rejoicing and Repenting

o   Law and Grace

o   Judgement and Forgiveness

·        Preaching both the Goodness of God and the Evils of Sin

o   John the Baptist preached the evils of sin, Repent and Return

o   Jesus preached the goodness of God, Receive and Rejoice

However, generations seem to forget God in their good times and not trust Him when things go wrong. Neither sorrow nor joy turned their hearts towards the Lord. In fact, people often turn bitter and become critical of the messages and messengers of God. Yet all day long God reaches from His heart of love to children who refuse to acknowledge Him.

Why do men continue to ignore God … especially in the face of such turmoil? This was not a new thing in the days of Jesus and John the Baptist. This has been happening since the Garden of Eden.

There is a Jewish Proverb concerning two kings of Judah, King Amaziah who ruled in Jerusalem about 825BC, and King Ahaz who ruled in about 730BC. Both of these Kings encountered a God moment in life.  Although their individual encounters were vastly different, both of them reacted in very similar ways. King Amaziah experienced victory while King Ahaz experienced defeat. The proverb is meant to show the vanity of men who ignore either the blessings or the chastisements of the Lord. The Proverb:

“Says God, I was angry with Ahaz, and I delivered him into the hands of the kings of Damascus; he sacrificed and burnt incense to their gods. I played with Amaziah, and I gave the king of Edom into his hands; he brought their gods and worshipped them.”

Both of these kings ignored the hand of God on their lives. How arrogant and how alarming it is to refuse to acknowledge the Father of your soul in special seasons of delight or distress. He, in these cases, was the Father of both the victory and the defeat.

2 Chronicles 28

22  Now in the time of his distress King Ahaz became increasingly unfaithful to the LORD. This is that King Ahaz.

23  For he sacrificed to the gods of Damascus which had defeated him, saying, “Because the gods of the kings of Syria help them, I will sacrifice to them that they may help me.” But they were the ruin of him and of all Israel.

2 Chronicles 25

14 ¶  Now it was so, after Amaziah came from the slaughter of the Edomites, that he brought the gods of the people of Seir, set them up to be his gods, and bowed down before them and burned incense to them.

15  Therefore the anger of the LORD was aroused against Amaziah, and He sent him a prophet who said to him, “Why have you sought the gods of the people, which could not rescue their own people from your hand?”

The ancient proverb recounts that God was angry with King Ahaz and He played with King Amaziah … as Jesus said, Piping and Mourning. Both designed by a loving Father to get the attention and melt the will of His children.

The Bible contains numerous accounts of our Heavenly Father turning every stone to reach the hearts of men. He tries to make them laugh; He corrects them to encourage their right behavior … once He even sacrificed His only begotten Son … all in hopes that men would stop ignoring His love.

Jesus said the children care not that He pipes and mourns, they judge Him as though He was out of touch with the realities they face. Believe me, nothing could be farther from the truth. Many who are preoccupied with their own pursuits never see themselves as the only object of God’s love. They invest in golden idols, deceitful power, and passing fame. These false gods do not satisfy and cannot save.

From the whole account of God’s Word it can be clearly seen that our Heavenly Father wants our attention, our respect, and an eternal relationship with us through His Son Jesus. 

This morning I have come to ask you to dance with, and when the time comes, to mourn with the Father of your soul. God so loves you that He gave His only Son. If you will believe in Him, you will have everlasting life.

There are three things your Heavenly God wants from you this morning:

1.  God wants us to Acknowledge Him.

a.   Can you see Jesus sitting in the marketplace playing the wedding song, hoping you will let Him fill your life with joy and blessings? Give Him your attention …

                                         i.    Don’t ignore what He is doing to make you happy.

                                        ii.    Don’t act like a spoiled child … to cool for Jesus …

                                      iii.    Don’t act like you don’t need Him or that He can’t relate.

b.   Acknowledge God.

                                         i.    He has piped and He has mourned.

                                        ii.    He has blessed and He has corrected.

                                      iii.    Repent, Return, Receive, and Rejoice in God your Father.

                                      iv.    God is more involved and more invested in your life, your family, your finances, and your future than are you.

2.  God wants our Obedience

a.   When we lose our respect for God, that He is God, we begin to imagine we can do it without Him.

b.   It is disrespectful to ignore God’s intervention in our affairs.

c.    God has His hand on our lives in the good days and in the difficult times.

3.  God wants us to Trust Him

a.   God wants us to trust Him in every situation.

b.   Trust is a vital part of our relationship with God.

There will be days for dancing and days to lament … weddings and funerals. Each season of life will offer its opportunities to acknowledge God, obey His Word, and put your trust in Him. Bear in mind that God will leave no stone unturned in His efforts to save the souls of men. His plan is far beyond our comprehension and outside of our control. Thanks be to God! 

How has the Father of your soul been reaching out to you in this season? What is your proper response to Him today?

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Can’t Keep A Good Man Down


The year AD51 was an extremely challenging but productive year for the Apostle Paul and those who accompanied him on his first mission trip to Europe. It started out in the city of Philippi where Paul and Silas were attacked by a mob, stripped naked in public, and then beaten with rods before being thrown into the dungeon and chained in stocks.

Talk about a cancel culture. The mob started screaming hateful accusations because they did not agree with them and they kept getting louder and louder until they worked the crowd into a violent frenzy. It is an incendiary process. The mob mentality is one of the worst and most destructive of all human traits. Some people tend to join almost any loud and angry crowd. It is and always has been nothing less than demonically inspired.

This same predictive type of irrational behavior was capitalized on by the devil and his minion leaders at the theater in Ephesus in Acts 19 when 25,000 people joined what seemed like an impromptu riot. The bible says they did not even know why they were there. It was the same thing that happened in Jerusalem when the crowd believed the loud lies about Jesus and joined the mob to cry “crucify Him!” until the government finally agreed. The silly government thinks they are hearing the majority.

After being stripped, beaten, and thrown in jail to appease the mob, the Apostle Paul and Silas were ultimately found not guilty the next day and the magistrates apologized to them and let them out of prison. I am sure that made up for everything … shame on those who provoke violence and riot against all justice. They cause such horrible damage, irreparable in some cases. What about all the souls who would have been saved and set free in Philippi if that mob would not have allowed themselves to be used by the devil to stop something God was doing in their nation? Saddest of all realities … “what could have been!” Such a shallow government.

Although not in the wrong, Paul and Silas were forced to leave Philippi and so they journeyed southwards about three days to the city of Thessalonica. When bad people stop good people from doing good things for others, the good people don’t make trouble, they simply go to the next place and try to help people again. This is where we join Paul and Silas in the account of Acts 17. Paul was a true leader but sad to say, in AD51 the devil’s cancel culture was as alive and well in the city of Thessalonica as it was in Philippi. You have got to love the stamina and grace of a man who knows he has been called by God. The devil just can’t keep a good man down …

Acts 17 NLT

1 ¶  Paul and Silas then traveled through the towns of Amphipolis and Apollonia and came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue.

2  As was Paul’s custom, he went to the synagogue service, and for three Sabbaths in a row he used the Scriptures to reason with the people.

3  He explained the prophecies and proved that the Messiah must suffer and rise from the dead. He said, “This Jesus I’m telling you about is the Messiah.”

4  Some of the Jews who listened were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with many God-fearing Greek men and quite a few prominent women.

5  But some of the Jews were jealous, so they gathered some troublemakers from the marketplace to form a mob and start a riot. They attacked the home of Jason, searching for Paul and Silas so they could drag them out to the crowd.

6  Not finding them there, they dragged out Jason and some of the other believers instead and took them before the city council. “Paul and Silas have caused trouble all over the world,” they shouted, “and now they are here disturbing our city, too.

7  And Jason has welcomed them into his home. They are all guilty of treason against Caesar, for they profess allegiance to another king, named Jesus.”

8  The people of the city, as well as the city council, were thrown into turmoil by these reports.

9  So the officials forced Jason and the other believers to post bond, and then they released them.

10 ¶  That very night the believers sent Paul and Silas to Berea. When they arrived there, they went to the Jewish synagogue.

11  And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth.

12  As a result, many Jews believed, as did many of the prominent Greek women and men.

13  But when some Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was preaching the word of God in Berea, they went there and stirred up trouble.

14  The believers acted at once, sending Paul on to the coast, while Silas and Timothy remained behind.

15  Those escorting Paul went with him all the way to Athens; then they returned to Berea with instructions for Silas and Timothy to hurry and join him.

What was the problem? Verse 5 describes a few jealous people who gathered troublemakers, formed a mob, started a riot, attacked the home of Paul’s supporters, and forced the residents and the whole city council into turmoil with their threats and accusations. Has any of the devil’s tactics really changed in the last 2000 years?

We can plainly see these things in scripture and as well how they are played out in our nation as well. The loud voices, violent mobs, riots, threats, destruction, restrictions, loss of freedom, bullying, intimidation, stirring up trouble, denial of rights, turmoil, fear, ungodliness, and chaos, all designed to intimidate and control the city council to do what the devil wants. Those who riot, riot in darkness and rail against all goodness and safety. These jealously motivated mobs are clearly on the side of the devil and those who promote, support, or protect them are the truly guilty ones.

I am afraid God has left the destiny of each soul up to their own choosing.

As for the Apostle Paul and those who accompanied him during that year - never did we see them hurt or foul any person or cause anyone to suffer loss, pain, or personal injustice. Instead, when the year had ended, Paul set himself in a place to write a letter to those in Thessalonica and encourage them how to behave themselves in the face of such ungodly adversaries. Let’s read Paul’s admonition given to us by the Holy Spirit and take heart that our God will yet be glorified even in our day.

1 Thessalonians 5

12  And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you,

13  and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves.

14  Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all.

15  See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all.

16 ¶  Rejoice always,

17  pray without ceasing,

18  in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

19  Do not quench the Spirit.

20  Do not despise prophecies.

21  Test all things; hold fast what is good.

22  Abstain from every form of evil.

Today we enter Thanksgiving week in the United States. As a nation we have so much for which to be thankful and yet we have such need of divine intervention to know the will of Almighty God for this next season in America. I admonish you to pray and ask God about His will and not to only rely on what you think is best or just follow the loudest voices.

Whatever the Holy Spirit lays on you heart, remember God will not encourage, support, or condone ungodliness, rioting, threats, intimidation, bullying, destructive behavior, bodily harm, or verbal assaults, and neither should we. These things are the exclusive work of the devil and those who support or engage in these things are doing our nation and our Lord a great disservice.  

This morning I have three important questions for us to consider:

1.   Do you know the will of God?

a.   Have you asked Him?

b.   Do you care?

c.    How will you recognize God’s will from the devil’s will?

2.   What is your duty to Christ?

a.   Keep praying

b.   Give thanks

c.    Abstain from every form of evil.

3.   Who do you recognize as God’s approved leader in your life?

Sunday, November 15, 2020

One-Sided Headlines

 Headlines! Headlines!! Headlines!!! 

For the past week, we have seen nothing but headlines, more headlines, and even more headlines. In fact, it’s impossible NOT to see them! On the TV, your phone, on your computer, no matter where, media outlets have found a way to be inside our everyday lives. We are constantly bombarded with headlines. Whether it’s news outlets, commercial ads, or social media posts, headlines are continuously thrown at us to grab our attention!! I took note of some of this week’s headlines: This Week’s Headlines:

 - COVID numbers are on the rise

 - Electoral votes under investigation

 - COVID-19 vaccine on its way

 - 15 countries sign world’s largest trade deal

 - South Florida badly flooded by hurricane Eta

 - Darkest days of pandemic are yet ahead

 - Woman leaves many baffled for cooking steak in toaster!

 - Climate change making parts of the US uninhabitable

 - Hurricanes are lasting longer, staying stronger on land

 - Mass killings in Ethiopia

 - Lake Tahoe grizzly bear released after being arrested for “stealing groceries”

These are the headlines dominating the news cycle!! The headlines we see and hear everywhere have one thing in common: they are all one-sided!! 

Facts about headlines: 

• Headlines are used to grab our attention. The purpose is to get us to click the link, read the article, or purchase their product.

• Headlines always have an agenda behind them. If they can get you to click through and read the article then they know they can sell you. 

• Headlines never tell the whole story. They are only trying to sell you on their side of the story, not the whole story. This is very similar to how the Devil works in our lives. He uses headlines to highlight certain parts of our life so that we only focus on it. Even though there is so much more to the story, he only wants us to see that one part. He did the very same thing with Adam and Eve. 

Genesis 3:1-6 The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?” 2 “Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. 3 “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’” 4 “You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. 5 “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” 6 The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. When you put it that way, it sounds a whole lot better then the way God made it sound! It makes it easier to take a few more steps toward that tree. It makes it easier to take pull the fruit off that tree. It makes it easier to take a bite out of that fruit called sin. But he won’t tell you that it will leave you broken, in pain, with guilt & shame, etc. • The devil uses headlines to divert our focus away from the truth and on to the story he wants us to believe. 2 Corinthians 11:3 “I am afraid, however, that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may be led astray from your simple and pure devotion to Christ.”

• The devil uses facts without ever telling the truth John 8:44 “…there is no truth in him…because he is a liar and the father of lies.” 

• The devil never tells the whole story. He only wants us to see part of the story. 

• He only sells us enough for us to buy in to believing a lie that leaves us broken, damaged, afraid, etc. 

Joseph Joseph had a lot of “headlines” in his life that could have easily been one-sided. 


- Hated by his brothers 

- Sold into slavery 

- Accused of rape 

- Thrown into prison 

- Forgotten in a lonely pit Truth 

- Loved by his father 

- Favored by God and made overseer in Potiphar’s house 

- Man of integrity that was innocent of wrong-doing 

- Learned to thrive in unfavorable situations 

- Elevated to the highest position under Pharaoh to minister good news to people in need.

That does not sound like a man who was believing the one-sided lies. Joseph didn’t listen to what the devil was telling him, instead he believed what God had promised him. Refuse to listen to the lies Satan is telling you. Choose to believe what God is promising you. Regardless of all the pits in his life, Joseph had the clarity of mind to say this: Genesis 50:20 As for you, what you intended against me for evil, God intended for good, in order to accomplish a day like this—to preserve the lives of many people. What the devil meant for harm, God used for his good. It ultimately prepared him for his purpose; to reach the world with good news so that many could be saved. What the devil meant for harm/evil in your life, God will use to turn it into good. Romans 8:28 “And we know that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose.” 

What is the truth? 

• You get to choose what headlines to believe 

• Don’t settle for the lies of the devil 

• Activate your faith in God’s word 

- “I am more than a conqueror in Christ” 

- “God knows the plans he has for you” 

- “God makes all things work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes”

- “I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live but Christ…”

 - “Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” 

- “I am a new creation in Christ, the old has gone and behold the new has come…” 

• You may not get to write the story, but you do get to choose the headlines of your life 

• Let go of the past - Don’t curse it - Don’t nurse it - Don’t rehearse it - And God will reverse it 

• Embrace God’s present and future promises He has for you 

• Use the word of God to re-define “One-Sided Headlines” in your life 

• Romans 12:2 - “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.” 

• Let the word of God have the final say on what you will believe about God, yourself, others 


1. Identify the Lies 

        • Be watchful. Be on alert. Be careful what you allow yourself to meditate on. 

        • When you realize it’s a lie, take that thought captive right then and there! 2 Corinthians 10:5 “…and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 

2. Declare the Truth 

        • Declarations are powerful!

        • Declare the word of God over your life in faith! 

3. Repeat it Continually 

        • Meditate on God’s word Joshua 1:8 “This Book of the Law must not depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in all you do.” 

        • The word meditate in Hebrew means to “murmur” or “speak to oneself” 

        • What you think about the most, consumes you the most. 

        • Allow the word of God to consume you by meditating His promises.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Veteran’s Day - The System


US Military Code of Conduct 

Article I. I am an American fighting in the forces that guard my country and our way of life, I am prepared to give my life in their defense.

Article II. I will never surrender of my own free will. If in command, I will never surrender the members of my command while they still have the means to resist.

Article III.
If I am captured, I will continue to resist by all means available. I will make every effort to escape and aid others to escape. I will accept neither parole nor special favors from the enemy.

Article IV. If I become a prisoner of war, I will keep faith with my fellow prisoners. I will give no information nor take part in any action which might be harmful to my comrades. If I am senior, I will take command. If not, I will obey the lawful orders of those appointed over me and will back them up in every way.

Article V. Should I become a prisoner of war, I am required to give name, rank, service number, and date of birth. I will evade answering further questions to the utmost of my ability. I will make no oral or written statements disloyal to my country and its allies.

Article VI. I will never forget that I am an American fighting for freedom, responsible for my actions, and dedicated to the principles which made my country free. I will trust in my God and in the United States of America.

God bless America and God bless our veterans. Happy Veteran’s Day!

Matthew 8

5 ¶  Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him,

6  saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.”

7  And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.”

8  The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed.

9  “For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

10  When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!

11  “And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.

12  “But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

13  Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour.

There are two elements in this account that are essential to success.

1.  Faith in the system

a.   What system? Not the world’s system … but …

b.   God’s system …

c.    God is supreme and He governs in the affairs of men. 

This military man was familiar with authority. Authority is the right and the power to govern and control. The proper military command structure is based on God’s system of authority. Whoever or whatever is under a person’s authority is subject to their command.

The Roman Centurion was a man who understood authority and he accepted the fact that Jesus had authority over sickness and disease. Therefore, it was no stretch for this military man to have faith that Jesus could give a command and it would be carried out. Hence verse 8: “Speak the word only, and my servant will be healed.”

Verse 10 says that when Jesus heard the centurion’s words and marveled – (Gk: Thaumazo = an expressed admiration that includes approval) … Jesus was amazed that this Gentile understood the truth and had confidence in how God’s system works. Then Jesus gave us a glimpse of the ever-increasing spread of the Gospel to the Gentile world and how sometimes it is more difficult for those close to Him to exercise such a great amount of faith. We do not want to get so comfortable that we lose the miraculous.

Jesus is not the only child of God who has been given this authority.

Genesis 1

27  So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

28  Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

2.  Prayer

a.   The centurion petitioned Jesus with his request

b.   He gave Jesus the information and what he wanted Him to do

c.    The centurion acted on his faith

                                         i.    Even in the midst of what seemed impossible

                                        ii.    Because he believed the system would work …

                                      iii.    He knew that one Word from Jesus would fix it.

James 1

5  If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

6  But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.

7  For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;

8  he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

Faith and Prayer … still our only hope! Trust the system God is overseeing.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Final Decisions


Jonah is a fairly well-known character in the Bible – him and that big fish. Jesus even spoke of Jonah in Matthew 12. Did you know Jewish Rabbis teach that Jonah was the son of the widow of Zarephath who Elijah raised from the dead in 1 Kings 17. The Bible does not say that, but Jewish tradition teaches it and that’s the best source we have to fill in the gaps. At any rate, by the time the Bible introduces us to Jonah he is a Jewish Prophet of Jehovah presumably living in a small town in the region of the Galilee which was inherited by the Tribe of Zebulon. 

It is fairly clear that Jonah was prejudiced. He liked Jews better than Gentiles. His bias was based on his upbringing and his religious and national beliefs. It seems Jonah had a real problem imaging how God could be as good to Gentiles as He was to Jews. This was not an isolated belief.

Everyone in Jonah’s circle believed God was partial to Jews and they knew in their heart that God did not agree with or support Gentiles or their ungodly ways. Jonah could not imagine God loved the Gentile Ninevites as much as He did the Jews … Jonah certainly did not love them, and perhaps … that was his first and biggest mistake.

There are four chapters in the Book of Jonah and today we will focus on just one of the lessons God teaches us from each chapter. Let’s begin … It was about the year 862BC when Jonah heard a word from God:

Jonah 1

1 ¶  Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,

2  Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.


17  Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

     1.  We will never catch God unprepared.

·        God will never be unprepared for the things we do or the things which are done to us.

·        There is no other God.

o   God and the devil are not co-equal enemies battling it out for supremacy.

o   God has never lost a battle and cannot be defeated.

o   It is not over

§  Just because someone says “no” to the will of God

§  When people decide to not participate

§  If the majority agree with you

§  It is not over until God says it’s over … and God was not through with Jonah.

·        What sets God apart from all other claims?

o   God knows everything that is going to happen before it happens, and He is always prepared.

o   The Prophet Isaiah said one of the attributes of God is:

Isaiah 46:10  Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, “My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure.”

Psalms 138:8  The LORD will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O LORD, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.

2.  Those who observe lying vanities forsake their own mercies.

·        It appears Jonah is talking not only about the mariners who first turned to their pagan idols to save them during the storm, but that Jonah is also talking about himself and about mankind as a whole.

·        It is certain Jonah did not like the Ninevites and did not think they deserved to be given a second chance.

·        Jonah observed his own lie and made an idol out of the way he felt and worshipped at the altar of his own opinion.

o   Although based on facts …

o   Although supported by many others in Jonah’s personal circle

§  Beware of the echo chambers of life …

§  And beware of the social media platforms that surround you and constantly spy on you, listening to every word you say and each stroke of your keyboard.

o   Although surrounded by people who felt just like he did …

o   Although horrible for Jonah to even imagine …

o   God felt differently than Jonah and his supporters – But – as you see, Jonah valued his own opinion more than he valued God’s plan.

·        In this, Jonah was Jonah’s worst enemy …

Jonah 2

8  They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.

·        In the belly of that fish, Jonah had a rude awakening …

·        Jonah had a come to Jesus moment …

·        God was just a little bigger than he was, and God is boss!

·        Jonah changed his mind and decided to not forsake the mercy of God.

9  But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.

It is a sacrifice to be thankful right now, but I vowed to serve you and that is what I am going to do. You alone are my salvation. Serving myself and my own opinion is what got me in this hell.

Jeremiah 2:13  For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.

3.  Most likely, God still wants you to do what He wanted you to do the last time you talked.

·        Not always, but most of the time, God will still wants us to do the last thing He told us to do.

·        God is pretty sure what He wants

Jonah 3

1 ¶  And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying,

2  Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.

4.  It’s not good to be angry about a decision God has made.

Jonah 4:4  Then said the LORD, Doest thou well to be angry?

·        God cares more about souls than He does about any other thing.

·        People often act like they care most about their passions, personal comfort, and possessions which will all perish, instead of acting like they care about people.

·        We know God is good and merciful and kind and we should expect Him to act that way – even when He acts that way towards our enemies.

Jonah 4

9  And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death.

11  And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?

·        There were 120,000 people who did not know what they were doing. (Father forgive them, they know not what they do!)

·        For their sakes and for the sakes of the innocent, God had mercy, just like Jonah knew He would.

God has more invested in this generation and in generations to come than we could ever imagine. He is the only one qualified to make such great decisions. But don’t be deceived … it’s not over until God says it’s over.

We would do well to remember that He is a God of great mercy, second chances, forgiveness, and ever-lasting love … and we would have it no other way! However, He is not a God to be trifled with …

·        God is always prepared …

·        His opinion is greater than ours …

·        He still needs our help …

·        We can depend on Him to make every final decision.