Jonah Could Have Been a Mechanic

When dealing with mechanics, I’m not so much a problem solver as I am a problem maker. I can take apart the pieces, but I don’t do so well when the time comes to put the pieces back the same way they were in the beginning.

Are you the same way? Sometimes we can scramble up the pieces in our lives and need extra help putting them back together. For those of us who feel challenged at putting our spiritual lives back together, what help is there from God in His word?

In the book of Jonah, the prophet utters a prayer to God. We read it in Jonah 2:2-9. Here, the reader will learn that spiritual problems can only be solved by spiritual solutions. Consider both the spiritual solutions of man and the spiritual solutions of God.

To begin, Jonah recognized the spiritual solutions of man. In Jonah 2:2 he first calls to the Lord. This is important because it implies that there is a greater, outside power beyond self. Second, he cried for help (2:2). This is important because Jonah states his problems through prayer (2:7). Third, the text shows Jonah looking again to God’s temple (2:4b). This is important as it suggests that Jonah had deviated from following God, and was now making a penitent turn to follow God again. Fourth, Jonah says that he remembered God (2:7), and fifth, Jonah claims that he will sacrifice to God with thanksgiving (2:9). In summary, Jonah reveals that every individual has responsibilities to perform certain actions in order to solve their spiritual problems; these can be summarized into prayer, repentance, sacrifice, and thanksgiving—all towards God.

In addition, Jonah recognized the spiritual solutions of God. First, Jonah notes that God answers prayer after hearing Jonah’s prayer (2:2, 7). This is important because it shows that God does not ignore his faithful children no matter how many times they mess up. Second, God is said to bring man up from the pit (2:6). This is important in that it shows that God answers prayer as He determines best. Finally, and most importantly, Jonah recognizes that part of God’s solution for man’s spiritual problems is salvation. “Salvation is from the Lord” (2:9b).

How would this world change if all people could have their spiritual problems solved? How much different would the condition of the church be were she diligently seek the power of God’s influence? How would your life be affected with conquered spiritual problems?

Jonah was stuck in more than “a rock and a hard place” when he said this prayer. He has revealed that we can all overcome the struggles of our lives, in that God will also safely deliver us to fulfill His purpose. Jonah was a mechanic in that he “fixed” himself by doing his part. As God does His part, let us all pursue Him through prayer, repentance, sacrifice, and thanksgiving in order to work through our problems.

Nathan McVeigh is a Masters level student at the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver with six years of humanities and Biblical text emphases. Nathan’s methods have yielded endorsed skills in mission work and Bible study. If you have ever been fearful of your answer to the question “how do I get salvation” and other Bible questions, please visit www.alivewithchrist.com/.

 

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The Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself

When have you found yourself most afraid? Frank Herbert said, “Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

In II Chronicles 20:1-23, we see that overcoming fear requires us to take the proper action. Jehoshaphat’s example in this passage provides two Biblical ways by which we can overcome our greatest spiritual fears.

First, fear is overcome by our action. In this case, Jehoshaphat turned his attention to the Lord, sought the Lord, and centered his focus on God through fasting (20:3). Jehoshaphat got others involved and expressed his fears in prayer to God (20:4-12). Thus, the way to gain courage is to have a change in focus. This means that those who are focusing on God, rather than self, will be placing their courage in the one who has all power. Do we need a change of focus in our lives? To what extent do we rely on ourselves for strength and power? Who is all-powerful in our lives?

Second, fear is overcome by God’s action. In this case, God responded to the repentant hearts (i.e. changes) of the people (20:14). Furthermore, God took control of the battle (20:15), directed the people as to what they should do (20:16), and stood in their favor on their side (20:17). This gave victory to Judah and established the people who had trusted in Him (20:20). Thus, the way to gain courage is to have a change in faith. This means that those who trust God to do His part can be firmly established with confidence, and will overcome fear.

In whom is our faith? Whose direction do we follow when we are fearful? Who is in control of our battles? How would this world change if all people had little to no spiritual fear? How much different would the condition of the church be were she to have complete spiritual courage? How would your life be affected with full confidence and trust in God?

Knowing that no weapon fashioned against us can stand and that God is able to give us more than just a victory in a battle (20:24-25) is enough to make us conquer fear. By making the proper changes in our lives, and letting God do His part, we can work to cause spiritual confidence in our lives.

Has anyone ever asked you, “how do we get saved?” Find out more about this Bible answer, and more, at alivewithchrist.com.

Dealing with the “Waste Places” of Our Lives

I don’t know about you, but I am better at taking items apart than I am at putting them back together. I’ve always considered it a gift, though the circumstance is unfortunate when the situation calls for the item to be put back together in one piece as it was originally built.

I’m sure that none of you men have ever dismantled an engine, thinking you could put it back together, and then given up on doing so. I’m sure that none of you mothers have ever run out of baking ingredients after burning a batch of cookies, wishing that you could redo it all. However, how would you comfort someone who has experienced anything similar to what I described? More importantly, how do you restore happiness in peoples’ lives when they are going through deep despair, loneliness, or doubt?

In Isaiah 52:8-10 the writer shows how our spiritual lives can be completely restored, even if little hope seems to remain in getting to our original state. This means that our ‘waste places’ will remain wasted, unless we are restored by God. Isaiah gives three ways in which God restores the ‘waste places’ of our lives.

First, God restores the ‘waste places’ of our lives by comforting His people (52:9b). Our lives are fraught with battles, with heavy strain pressing down upon us. When we find ourselves empty of all hope, living in dying despair and neglect, God feels pain and sorrow for our predicament. He rebuilds the lives of His children. This shows that God is a personal God who wants to restore the spiritual lives of His people.

Second, God restores the ‘waste places’ of our lives through redemption (52:9). God not only comforts those who are in need of sympathy and empathy, but He has the power to displace difficulties and dangers. God redeems those who are His people (i.e. Israel, in this context). Our spiritual restoration comes from the God who proactively removes us from that which wears us down—according to His timetable.

Third, God restores the ‘waste places’ of our lives by baring His holy arm (Isaiah 52:10). When God’s people serve Him, His salvation is extended to His people and everyone else will be able to see His extended power. The passage teaches that God is able and willing to restore our spiritual lives, just as long as we serve Him first.

How would the world change if everyone was restored spiritually by God’s power? How much different would the condition of the church be if she could better share this comfort and redemption with those who need it most? How would your life be affected by a restored spiritual condition?

Isaiah explains that the Lord will go before you (52:12). Isaiah explains that the God of Israel will be your rear guard (52:12). Those who serve God, become a part of His people, and follow His guidances will find spiritual restoration. Purify yourselves, this day, to be spiritually restored, knowing that God has your back.

Has anyone ever asked you, “how do you get saved?” Find out more about this Bible answer, and more, at alivewithchrist.com.