Monthly Archives: January 2022

Jonah – Mon – 22-01-31



I have never been in a ship tossed and battered by a storm. It must be a terrifying experience! That’s what happened to Jonah when he tried to run from God. God sent a storm to get Jonah back on track. Of course, Jonah didn’t want to change directions. No, he decided that the way to save the ship and people on board was to be thrown overboard. That’s what he said in Jonah 1:11-12, “The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they [the sailors] asked him, ‘What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?’
‘Pick me up and throw me into the sea,’ he replied, ‘and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.’” (NIV)

The sailors didn’t want to throw Jonah overboard. But after exhausting all other possibilities, they finally heaved him over the rail. The raging waves grew calm!

Notice the extent of Jonah’s rebellion. God had called him to preach to the enemy of his people. He ran from God by sailing for Tarshish. Then, he decided to keep running from God by dying in the sea! But you know the story, right? God thwarted Jonah’s plan because a big fish swallowed him and later spit him up on shore. When people run from God, they get in over their heads. Storms often batter them. Take it from Jonah – don’t run from obeying God. Rather trust him!


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Jonah – Sun – 22-01-30



Have you ever known someone who was always angry? Someone who was grumpy at best? Some people go through life surly and mad. They’re not too pleasant to be around, right? Did you know that one of the Old Testament prophets was like this? During most of the book of Jonah, the prophet was angry. This week, we will look at lessons from the life of Jonah, the grumpy prophet.

The story begins in Jonah 1:1-3, “The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai: Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.’
But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the LORD.” (NIV)

In this passage, we don’t see any obvious anger from Jonah. But we do see someone who did not want to obey God. So, Jonah decided to run away. He booked passage on a ship for the farthest port, hoping to stay away from God.

Many people today also try to run away from God, often because they don’t want to obey him. But, as we’ll see in Jonah’s story, no matter where you go, God is there. As we’ll seen in Jonah’s life, it is best to rely on God and follow him.


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Jesus’ Prayers – Sat – 22-01-29



Did you like to eat vegetables as a child? Most children have at least one vegetable they detest. Was yours peas, carrots, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts? How children can struggle to eat what they are supposed to eat!

For adults, the struggle to do what is needed, but not wanted, is different. The stakes are usually higher. Sometimes, we don’t want to obey the company rules. At others, we don’t want to obey the law. For many of us, we are challenged to obey God – at least in one area of life.

Jesus was also challenged to obey God. His mission was to come to earth and die on a cross to provide a way to save people from God’s wrath. But he didn’t really want to face crucifixion. On the night before his crucifixion, he struggled with his obedience in the Garden of Gethsemane. How did he resolve his turmoil and commit himself to obey God? By prayer. He prayed with his team of friends, Peter, James and John. Although they did more sleeping than praying! Here’s what Matthew 26:39 says, “Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.’” (NIV)

Are you struggling to obey God? Then learn from Jesus’ example. Pray honestly and commit yourself to do God’s will.


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Jesus’ Prayers – Fri – 22-01-28



We can learn so much about prayer by looking at the example of Jesus. John 17 is the longest prayer of Jesus we have recorded. It has far more lessons than we can discuss in two minutes! So, we’ll only focus on one part of the prayer.  Listen to Jesus’ prayer for his apostles in John 17:11, “I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name–the name you gave me–so that they may be one as we are one.” (NIV)

Notice that Jesus prayed that God would protect his apostles. And the purpose of the protection was to make them one, just as Jesus and the Father are one. But Jesus also prayed for you and me in verses 20-21, “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”

Did you notice the progression? Jesus asked for God’s protection of the apostles so that they and all believers would be unified. This would result in the world believing Jesus was from God. We also should pray for the unity of believers.


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Jesus’ Prayers – Thu – 22-01-27



Do you have some buddies? You know, two or three people that you like to spend time with? Maybe they’re co-workers and you always do lunch together. Or maybe they’re friends and you always get together to watch your favorite sports team. Or to play video games. Some buddies also love to go hunting together, or to go shopping, or just drink coffee and chat. We all need a few close friends.

Jesus also had three disciples who seemed closest to him. Listen to Luke 9:28-31, Jesus “took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem.” (NIV)

We usually focus on the transfiguration of Jesus in this passage. But did you notice that Jesus and his buddies were up on the mountain for prayer? The focus of their prayer may have been what Moses and Elijah discussed with Jesus, his departure which was approaching at Jerusalem. Peter, James and John would also go with Jesus to pray in Gethsemane before his arrest.

What do we learn about prayer from Jesus’ example? That getting together with a few friends to pray is a good idea. So, be sure to develop some prayer buddies in your life!


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Jesus’ Prayers – Wed – 22-01-26



When was the last time you had one of those long, draining days? You know, when you were exhausted and didn’t want to see anyone. Was that a day of travel, or lots of meetings at work? Maybe it was physically draining labor at your job, on the farm or in your yard. Or maybe, it was a day at home with the kids! When you’ve had a long day, what do you do? Do you park in your favorite chair and read, play a game, or watch TV? We all need to recharge at some time, right? And we often have different ways to relax and recharge.

Jesus also had some long days. For example, one day he heard the reports of his disciples who returned from their preaching assignments. He also learned that John the Baptist had been beheaded. Jesus left with the apostles in a boat for a solitary place. They needed some rest too. But the crowds followed them, walking along the shore to where they landed. So, Jesus continued to teach and heal them. About 5,000 were present and he miraculously fed them with five bread rolls and two small fish. Then he dismissed the crowd. We pick up the story in Matthew 14:23, “After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.”

The next time you need to recharge after a long day, why not get by yourself and pray?


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Jesus’ Prayers – Tue – 22-01-25



We’re all creatures of habit, aren’t we? I bet you get up at about the same time every day. You go through your morning routine. I know I do. I roll out of bed, pull on the sweats and head for the coffee pot. I’m very thankful it starts automatically and has hot coffee waiting. If you’re like me, you also have routines for other parts of the day and the week. Sure, some people have more structured habits than others, but all of us have some sort of routine or habit.

Jesus did too. Luke 5:16 tells of one: “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” (NIV) Did you hear the word often? Jesus had a habit of prayer. One example of this habit is in Mark 1:35, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (NIV)

What is amazing is how much Jesus prayed. He was a busy man. He spent the days teaching and healing people. Often, crowds would not leave him alone. Yet Jesus was in the habit of shutting out the busy demands on him and praying. How about you? Do you have the same habit in the midst of your busyness? A friend once said this about Jesus, the man who needed to pray the least, prayed the most. When we look at Jesus, we learn to make time for prayer.


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Jesus’ Prayers – Mon – 22-01-24



Did you ever lose sleep over a big decision? Some decisions have a huge impact on our lives. Should I quit the job? Should I marry this person? Should I move to a new city? Should I buy the house? Should I get the surgery or treatment? Should I retire now? Decisions like these often keep us up at night.

Jesus also faced some big decisions. Luke 6:12-16 tells of one. “One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.” (NIV)

This passage shows how Jesus approached one of his biggest decisions – who to pick to become his apostles. He would pour his life and teaching into these men. Then, he would leave and entrust them with his message for the world. Jesus was up all night before selecting them. But notice, he didn’t simply lose sleep. He didn’t worry and fret. He spent the night on a mountainside praying to God.

The next time you face a big decision, don’t just lose sleep. Climb out of bed and lift the decision to God in prayer.


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Jesus’ Prayers – Sun – 22-01-23



How did you learn algebra or geometry? Did you just read a book and get it? Not me! My high school teacher would assign reading in the textbook. I read it, but it didn’t always make sense. For me, I learned more by watching my teacher work problems in class.

So, how is the best way to learn to pray? We could look at bible passages that teach about prayer, but this week, we are going to learn by watching. We will examine Jesus’ prayer life. Luke 3:21-22 gives us the first example, ‘When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’” (NIV)

This was the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. Matthew and Mark also tell of the baptism of Jesus and the descent of the Holy Spirit. But only Luke tells us that Jesus was praying. What do we learn from this? Jesus shows us that prayer is important at the beginning of things.

Are you beginning something new? A new year, a new job, a new project, a new hobby, a new relationship, a new marriage, or a new effort to meet a New Year’s resolution? Whatever you are starting, remember to pray!


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Miracles – Sat – 22-01-22



Have you noticed that Covid isn’t the only thing that spread during the pandemic? Misinformation spread as well. As did fear. Fear is contagious. Remember how fear in the early days made people stock up on toilet paper? And when you saw people with a shopping cart full of it, didn’t you also want to stock up too? And maybe you did! Fear is contagious.

Not only is fear contagious, it is the opposite of faith. We see that in the miracle recorded in Mark 5. Jairus, the synagogue ruler came to Jesus. He wanted Jesus to come to his house and heal his daughter. Verses 35-36 says “While Jesus was still speaking, some men came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. ‘Your daughter is dead,’ they said. ‘Why bother the teacher any more?’ Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe.’” (NIV) The rest of the passage tells how Jesus went to the house and raised the girl from the dead.

Many things cause fear. We worry about our health or the health of loved ones. Then there’s inflation, the job market, civil unrest, poisonous ideas taught in school, enemies and terrorists that want to shatter peace and order. And, when we see other people afraid of things, it causes our fear to spike too.

Hear the words of Jesus. Don’t be afraid, just believe in him!


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