COMMITTED to train men and women
to have minds for the Lord Jesus,
hearts for the truth, and
hands that are skilled to the task.

Freedom Is Not Free

THE SAME GOD STILL REIGNS

Jonah was sent back by the Lord to fulfill his ministry to the arch enemy of Israel. Remember, Jonah was a patriot. He was a prophet to Israel. He knew that their God is in the business of restoring Israel no matter how bad they treated God and how often they followed idols. But that same mercy and forgiveness did not belong to those who invaded Israel and where bend on destroying them for good. But a prophet of God has no business to formulate his own message. If we like the message or not does not matter.
Remember, the Apostle Paul was once a persecutor of God’s people, the follower of Christ, just as the Assyrians who lived in Nineveh where enemies of Israel. Never forget, God is in the Restoration business. 40 days and it’s all over was the message. You deserve judgment for your wicked deeds. And Jonah liked the message. He understood the meaning of the number 40.
Jonah is watching all this unfold before his very eyes. He cannot believe what he sees and hears. Must be a foxhole conversion. I know these people. They are evil to the core. Their ancestors are evil and their founding father is no other than Nimrod. Impossible!
God looked at the heart of the people in Nineveh. They genuinely repented and sought the Lord for mercy. Jonah could not believe such a thing. Salvation in done in the heart of people. Jonah was not long ago resurrected from the dead by God’s power, he was in Sheol and yet he did not see what God was doing in the heart of men. That’s God’s business. God decides where he is reigning. The people of Nineveh repented and because of that their hearts were right with God. As a matter of fact, God gave this city another 100 years before they finally were defeated in the famous battle of Carchemish, 605 B.C.
Jonah knew how merciful God is because he himself experienced that mercy on many occasions. But extending that mercy and compassion on his enemies was more than he could handle. Jonah had his own plan how God should reign in the lives of those inhabitants of Nineveh. Now Jonah changes his prayer. He asked God to let him die. This time for good. He has done his job. He made it to Nineveh and he preached God’s message. I am done, he said to God. Jonah rather would die than see the enemy of Israel experience God’s compassion. In other words, Jonah believed that moment that it would be better to die than physical life in a world dominated by the hated Assyrians.
I am glad God reigned in the life of Jonah and he still reigns in our life. Jonah once again experiences God’s mercy and compassion. The Lord was not finished yet with his prophet. God gently rebukes his prophet with a question: “Is it right for you to be angry?”
Then God teaches his prophet another lesson. Jonah knew how to prophesy and how to preach God’s messages. But he did not yet understand God’s love and God’s grace. So God uses a simple plant and a tiny worm to teach his prophet the next lesson. With great compassion, just as the Lord PREPARED a great fish, He also PREPARED a plant, He also PREPARED a worm, and He also prepared a strong east wind. Who do you think reigns supreme here? Jonah or God Almighty?
God prepared all these things just for Jonah. He calling and his ministry was never in question. What God was doing is showing Jonah how compassionate he is towards all people, towards Jonah as well as the people in Nineveh. He has a purpose for everyone.
Why did Jonah not get it? He was more interested in BEING RIGHT than being a tool in God’s hand.
The same God that called Jonah to go to Nineveh is the same God who calls us to be witnesses unto Him. He still reigns the same way He did during the time of Jonah. We have been set free, but we are not free to do what we want to do, but rather what HE has commanded us to do. Doing His will is experiencing absolute FREEDOM. HALLELUJAH!!!

GOD ORCHESTRATED THE ENTIRE DRAMA

When we look at our world today we think that God somehow lost control of everything that is going on. That God orchestrated the entire drama even during out lifetime becomes evident whenever we consult God’s book, the Bible, instead of consulting political or economic periodicals.
Jonah is the son of Amittai, a native of the tribal area assigned to Zebulon. This region was later a part of Galilee. Jonah was born a few miles away from the city of Nazareth, where our Lord Jesus Christ was brought up.
Why did Jonah decided NOT TO GO? The Assyrians where arch enemies of Israel. Why should Jonah get a better treatment than being killed by those enemies? A dangerous mission indeed. Well, once on the ship, Jonah proved however that he was not afraid to die.
No, Jonah hated the people in Nineveh so much that he was afraid that if they hear that God is about to destroy them, they would have a chance to repent and God would spare them.
There are a few things we need to highlight in these verses.
How did Jonah KNOW that the storm would cease once he was off the ship? Jonah told the sailors to send him to his death. He was willing to die so they could live. Did God tell Jonah to do this? I believe that it could have been so because Jonah heard God speak to him before. Remember, Jonah was now in the middle of the Mediterranean or Atlantic and how could he ever get back to Nineveh. God must have told him that He already had a great fish on standby to take him back to where he is supposed to be. Seems like Jonah was willing this time around to follow orders.
Jonah knew his God. He never starts anything and then leaves it half finished. He always finishes what He starts.
What Jonah did not know is HOW GOD IS GOING TO BRING HIM BACK WHERE HE BELONGS.
What can we learn from this?
First there is nowhere in this world God’s people can hide from God. We can run, we can disobey, we can go the opposite direction, but God will meet you and me somewhere on our journey. If necessary, a mighty storm in our life will bring us to our senses. The people who have helped us to disobey God without even knowing it will be a part of this storm. If we repent God will tell us what to do, saving those around us while at the same time bringing us back to where we belong.
God’s people are NOT CALLED to make our nation a better place or to help the world to live a better life.
God’s people are CALLED TO
GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES OF ALL NATIONS, BAPTIZING THEM IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND OF THE SON AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
TEACHING THEM TO OBSERVE ALL THINGS THAT I HAVE COMMANDED YOU, AND LO, I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS, EVEN TO THE END OF THE AGE. AMEN.
That is when we enjoy the freedom God has given us. That is when we are truly free. Not free to do our own thing as Jonah did, but free to serve Almighty God who orchestrates the entire drama. Hallelujah.

THE REQUIREMENTS FOR FREEDOM

Matthew 20:20-29 1. God Himself SOVEREIGNLY SELECTS HIS LEADERS Matthew 20:23 John 15:16 Daniel 2:20-21 Daniel 4:17 John 19:1-2 I am here neither by selection of an individual nor election of a group of 50 some million people, but by the sovereign selection of ALMIGHTY GOD. 2. God Himself SOVEREIGNLY PREPARES HIS LEADERS Matthew 20:24-29…

THE TASK OF REMAINING FREE

Was Jesus proclaiming that once someone is set free, they would be free forever? This question demands a Biblical answer because it does not just address the problem individual Christians in America and around the Word have to deal with, but also, in this crucial and sensitive time of our country, our nation, America as the beacon of Freedom in this world, has to find out.
Abraham Lincoln understood this challenge: “If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all times, or die by suicide.”
“The problem is not wolves at the door but termites in the floor” says Os Guinness.
Listen free people have no one else to blame but themselves. That’s exactly what Jesus said to His own people, in His hometown of Nazareth. I came to set you at liberty, I give you freedom, I have come to purchase your freedom with my own life. But how did they appreciate that freedom? They were not willing to take it by faith and sustain it by faith.
Jesus, our foundation, won freedom for us on Calvary, and proved to be victorious when He rose from the dead 3 days later. The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the cornerstone of our faith and our freedom.
Our forefathers not only won freedom for us, they also went on to provide a moral, cultural and above all, political framework in which freedom can flourish. People who would be free must be able to rule themselves, which is another way of saying that free people need saving from themselves as much as from an oppressive regime.
In other words, true freedom is far more difficult to sustain than most Americans realize. Spiritual freedom is no different. It is one thing to accept the Lord Jesus Christ and be set free from the power of sin. It is quite another thing to SUSTAIN THAT FREEDOM daily. We can claim freedom and liberty, but without being willing to sustain that liberty and freedom, we are only hearers of the word, NOT DOERS.
We replaced freedom with the word CHOICE without meaning and without value. Choice has become the heartbeat of freedom.
We have forgotten that spiritual freedom is the foundation of political freedom. And spiritual as well as political freedom has its requirements for self-control, self-restraint and self-government. You can easily conclude that Freedom is not free. It has its demands. The task of remaining free is ours and ours only.