Author Archives: Pastor Terry

Devotional: ‘A Prophet Filled with Pride and Feelings of Prejudice’

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As we have studied the book of Jonah, we have seen many amazing things. It is amazing that Jonah would rather have drowned in the sea than preach to Nineveh. It is amazing that he was swallowed by a great fish and spent three days in its belly. It is amazing that the entire city of Nineveh repented of their sins and turned to God. Today we see another amazing detail in this little book. It is amazing how Jonah responded to Nineveh’s revival.

But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. And he prayed to the LORD and said, “O LORD, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” And the LORD said, “Do you do well to be angry?” (Jonah 4:1-4)

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Devotional: ‘It is Not Too Late for America’

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When the king of Nineveh heard what Jonah was saying, he stepped down from his throne and took off his royal robes. He dressed himself in burlap and sat on a heap of ashes. Then the king and his nobles sent this decree throughout the city: “No one, not even the animals from your herds and flocks, may eat or drink anything at all.  People and animals alike must wear garments of mourning, and everyone must pray earnestly to God.  They must turn from their evil ways and stop all their violence.  Who can tell?  Perhaps even yet God will change his mind and hold back his fierce anger from destroying us.”  When God saw what they had done and how they had put a stop to their evil ways, he changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction he had threatened.  (Jonah 3:6-10)

Much like Jonah thought about Nineveh, there are many today who would believe that America has gone too far to be saved and that a spiritual awakening is impossible. Yet today’s passage of scripture teaches us otherwise. God told Jonah to tell the people of Nineveh that judgment was coming and that they needed to repent of their sins and turn to God before it was too late. The Bible tells us that the entire city heeded Jonah’s message and found salvation.

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Devotional: ‘By the Foolishness of Preaching’  

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The book of Jonah is a book of miracles. Most think that the greatest miracle involves the great fish swallowing Jonah. However, perhaps a miracle just as great is Nineveh’s response to Jonah’s preaching.

Then the Lord spoke to Jonah a second time: “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh, and deliver the message I have given you.” This time Jonah obeyed the Lord’s command and went to Nineveh, a city so large that it took three days to see it all. On the day Jonah entered the city, he shouted to the crowds: “Forty days from now Nineveh will be destroyed!” The people of Nineveh believed God’s message, and from the greatest to the least, they declared a fast and put on burlap to show their sorrow. When the king of Nineveh heard what Jonah was saying, he stepped down from his throne and took off his royal robes. He dressed himself in burlap and sat on a heap of ashes. Then the king and his nobles sent this decree throughout the city: “No one, not even the animals from your herds and flocks, may eat or drink anything at all. People and animals alike must wear garments of mourning, and everyone must pray earnestly to God. They must turn from their evil ways and stop all their violence. Who can tell? Perhaps even yet God will change his mind and hold back his fierce anger from destroying us.”  (Jonah 3:1-9)

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Devotional: ‘If We Will Confess Our Sins, God Will Forgive Us’   

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Jonah 2:1 Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from inside the fish. 2 He said, “I cried out to the LORD in my great trouble, and he answered me. I called to you from the land of the dead, and LORD, you heard me!

3 You threw me into the ocean depths, and I sank down to the heart of the sea. The mighty waters engulfed me; I was buried beneath your wild and stormy waves. 4 Then I said, ‘O LORD, you have driven me from your presence. Yet I will look once more toward your holy Temple.’ 5 “I sank beneath the waves, and the waters closed over me. Seaweed wrapped itself around my head. 6 I sank down to the very roots of the mountains. I was imprisoned in the earth, whose gates lock shut forever. But you, O LORD my God, snatched me from the jaws of death! 7 As my life was slipping away, I remembered the LORD. And my earnest prayer went out to you in your holy Temple. 8 Those who worship false gods turn their backs on all God’s mercies. 9 But I will offer sacrifices to you with songs of praise, and I will fulfill all my vows. For my salvation comes from the LORD alone.”

10 Then the LORD ordered the fish to spit Jonah out onto the beach.

Sometimes when we read scripture, we skip over some of the most important words. Notice again that verse 10 begins with the word ‘Then.’   “Then the LORD ordered the fish to spit Jonah out onto the beach.” What all does the little word ‘then’ include?

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Devotional: ‘In the Grip of Sin’  

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But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord. He went down to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping to escape from the Lord by sailing to Tarshish. But the Lord hurled a powerful wind over the sea, causing a violent storm that threatened to break the ship apart. “Throw me into the sea,” Jonah said, “and it will become calm again. I know that this terrible storm is all my fault.”  (Jonah 1:3-4, 12)

Can you imagine anyone who would rather drown in the sea than obey the Lord? That’s exactly how Jonah felt. Shortly after he boarded the ship for Tarshish, God sent a terrible storm. The seamen tried to do everything they could to ride out the storm, yet nothing seemed to help. Finally, one of the sailors went to Jonah and asked: “Who are you? What is your line of work? What country are you from? What is your nationality?” In other words, “Is this storm your fault?” With no attempt to conceal his identity, Jonah admitted that he was a prophet of God and the reason for the storm. “What should we do to you to stop this storm?” the sailors asked. “Throw me into the sea,” Jonah answered. Not – “let me ask God to save us”, nor “I am ready to get things right with God.” Just a simple, “throw me into the sea and it will all be over.”

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Devotional: ‘Salvation Belongs to the Lord’   

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Many struggle with believing the story of Jonah and the whale. To them it seems impossible that a man could be swallowed by a fish and survive for three days. Yet, if you cannot believe the story of Jonah, you cannot believe Jesus, for in Matthew 12:40 we read the Lord saying, “For as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights.” Jonah’s time in the belly of the whale is an Old Testament picture of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.

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