You most likely heard the story of Jonah as a child. It’s a neat story of making a poor decision, getting swallowed by a whale, and then making the right decision. Well, that’s not all of it. Pay close attention to the end. Jonah has decided for himself who should and shouldn’t receive God’s mercy and grace. Have you done the same? Are their people you feel are not deserving of God’s grace? Be honest.
- 1-3 – This is a crucial mistake by Jonah. God calls him to do one thing; instead, he chooses to do another. We cannot hide from God.
- 17 – One of the most famous verses in Scripture, but note, it was a fish, not a whale.
- 1-10 – Jonah prays for mercy and believes God will rescue him. God does.
- 4-5 – This is what God wants! When we are called out for our sins, we repent and turn back to him.
- 1-3 – Jonah was angry that God extended salvation to the Ninevites because they were gentiles. Jonah was a Jew and didn’t want God’s grace to extend to gentiles. He hates that the Ninevites are saved.
- 5-11 – Jonah chooses to pout. God’s little object lesson with the plant shows Jonah that Jonah wants God to play by his rules, but that God has better plans.
- 1-5 – Jesus is the fulfillment of so many things people were waiting on. He is the only one who is the Messiah they had waited on and he was the only one able to break the seals on the scroll.
- 6-14 – The creatures, angels, and elders all confirm and celebrate the recognition of the Messiah.
- 1-3 – We should continually seek unity among believers because it is a blessing to all and leads to eternal life.
- 27 – This is an interesting thing to think about. The lifestyle of a righteous man is equally as detestable to a wicked man as the opposite.
We are in the final month of our year of reading the Bible! You can practically see the finish line!! It’s within reach. Keep pushing!
This week, we get to spend some time in the John(s)…sorry for the potty humor. We’ll work through 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John. These are three short letters likely written by the author of the gospel of John.
Some highlights from the Johns are an emphasis on having sound doctrine within Christianity, a reminder for unity within the church, and the significance of Christ’s incarnation to our salvation.
One particular highlight in 1 John is the thesis of the “why” of how we’re called to live. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Love for others can be hard, especially when they seem undeserving, but if we fall back on this simple verse, we’re empowered to love simply because we were first loved.
We still have a lot of good stuff to read, so push through these last days of the plan. It will be well worth it.
What have been the most formative times of your life? For me and for many I know, formation, and especially transformation, often comes during times of trial. Though God does not send us trials for this purpose, he does use the trials to bring about his purposes. In Isaiah, God explains that the Israelites have been refined through the significant trial of exile.
- 11-25 – The Lord establishes that he is God and there are no other gods above or beside him.
- 1-13 – God points out the ridiculousness of worshipping something you’ve created yourself. He lists off a few reasons that these gods clearly have no power. Humans created them. They can’t even control themselves.
- 1-15 – God chastises the Babylonians for mistreating the Israelites when they were in captivity and explains that they will be punished.
- 1-11 – The Lord explains that he was refining the Israelites through their trials. This is often a painful process but is necessary for our growth and faithfulness.
- 1-7 – Paul urges the Ephesians to be of one mind and heart. He reminds them that they were all saved by the same means and should use this as a bond.
- 11-16 – God had equipped the Ephesian believers through a variety of helpers so they could mature in their faith and not be swayed so easily by false prophets or temptations.
- 27 – Saul, the first king of Israel, was from the tribe of Benjamin, which would put that tribe in the lead.
- The psalmist calls on God to protect and prosper the Israelites and rounds everything out with praise for God’s abilities.
Bringing people with different views together is always difficult. Paul runs into this with the churches in Galatia. Were Jewish laws still necessary for new Christians? Find out in Galatians.
Yesterday we talked about how God can use any gift he’s given us, using Esther’s beauty as an example. Today, in 1 Corinthians, we look at gifts of the Spirit. These are gifts specifically designed to build up the body of Christ. If you haven’t done a Spiritual Gifts Inventory to figure out your specific gifts, here’s one. Take a few minutes to explore the gifts God has given you.
- 1-3 – Sackcloth and ashes were signs of mourning.
- 4-9 – Esther was distressed by Mordecai’s actions and the fact that he was mourning. She still did not know about the decree to destroy the Jews. Mordecai sent the news through Hathach, the eunuch.
- 11-17 – In order to talk to the king about the decree, Esther had to break the law and risk her life. The king would be well within his rights to have her killed when she approached him.
- 14 – A powerful statement from Mordecai that Esther may have been put in her unique position for this specific purpose.
- 10-11 – Haman must have been fuming as he had to honor the man that he was hoping to have killed.
1 Corinthians 12:1-26:
- 3 – This is to say that the Spirit of God cannot speak against Jesus so if we truly have the Spirit within us, we cannot speak against Jesus.
- 4-11 – We are all given different gifts from the Spirit and these gifts are intended for the building up of the body of Christ.
- 12-20 – All our gifts are meant to work together for the good of the group. We shouldn’t feel bad or be jealous that we don’t have certain gifts. Instead we should use our gift to our best ability in order to benefit the whole.
- 5-9 – These verses explain what all the Lord offers to us. There are vast benefits to loving and serving God. The verses before this, however, profile those who do not honor and love God.