Although we often pray for things that we want, sometimes God provides things we don't want, but that we need. Such was the case with Jonah. His disobedience brought about his trouble, his trouble led to his prayer, and his prayer led to salvation.
Does our running from God affect anyone else? Yes. We do not live in a vacuum and others are affected by our sin. What does God do? He uses people around us, even unbelievers, to challenge us. God can even use our rebellion to reach other people.
As we start our series in Jonah, it is important to accept that this is an historical book. It is a fact too, that we, like Jonah, sometimes run from God. But when we go God's way, He will see that we get there... and He'll pay the fare!
This week, we review the history of Calvary Chapel in Rhode Island, with Pastor Rich and Paula leaving California and following a circuitous path leading to Greenmeadow. Our present is Acts 2:42 and our future is Revelation 21 and 22.
We will face difficult battles and even spiritual oppression, but how do we fight them? It is only by the blood of the Lamb (what Jesus did, not what we do), the word of our testimony (the evidence of Jesus in our lives), and by steadfast faith.
It takes faith to accept the unexplained. Norm uses a story about the death of Calvin Coolidge's son and another about the attempted assassination of Andrew Jackson to illustrate this point.
God created us to share His love. He demonstrates that love in the way a shepherd cares for his flock, protecting us, leading us along the right path, and providing for our needs. He knows each one and they know his voice and follow him.
Although God is eternal, limitless, and unchanging, mankind is bound by time. Are you using your time for God? Realize that we will give an accounting for our actions before Him and that we are stewards of our time. Have deeds that are authored by Him.
If you have accepted Christ as your savior, then you have a story. Do the work of evangelism! We are called to be ambassadors for Christ. Pray that God will give you a burden for the lost and be confident that the Holy Spirit will give you the power.
A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul. When Jesus was born, all of humanity received good news of great joy. This news changes us by giving us hope for forgiveness and salvation if we respond by accepting Jesus.
The beginning of the good news can be found back in Genesis. Even in the midst of the fall of man, God promised a plan to save. He fulfilled prophesy by coming through the lines of Abram, Judah, and David, and He promises to save all who come to Him.
Most of the news we hear today is bad. Some websites claim to have good news, but the Gospel is the best news humanity has ever received. The angels announced the birth of Jesus, which was the beginning of good tidings for the world.
The world is filled with trouble. Where do we turn? To God and His Word. Although circumstances around us would cause us terror, we will not fear because God is our ever-present help if we spend time with Him and surrender to Him.
We have been entrusted with the truth and each one of us has a responsibility to guard it against false teaching. We do this with the help of the Holy Spirit, by knowing the Word, turning away from godless chatter, being discerning, and speaking out.
Wealth can present dangers to both nations and individuals. One hazard is that our money will cause us to become arrogant and prideful. Another is that we put our hope in riches instead of God. It is better to be generous and rich in good deeds
Contrary to secular opinion, we are not our own, but we are instead owned. As Christians, we must accept God's ownership of us before someone or something else does. God has paid the price for us and all glory must be His.
We should take hold of the eternal life, which is already ours. It is not a hope, but a present reality, which we can claim when we live in the power and values of God's eternal kingdom. He has given us life in full.
The third battlefront Christians face is the devil. We are told to resist him and he will flee from us. If we remember that He who is within us is greater than he who is in the world, and if we put on the full armor of God, we will be ready to fight.
Great faith begins with having a correct view of Jesus. Having strong faith in a false God is of no value, but even weak faith in the true God is sufficient. Knowing the Word of God will help us to trust Him and make our requests to Him in faith.
This week we begin discussing the three battlefronts of Christian living: the world, the flesh, and the devil. We do not belong to the world, and God's power allows us to escape its corruption. Only those who trust in Jesus can overcome the World.