Posts Tagged “Jonah”

Resting at the River's Edge Logo 2013Resting at the River's Edge Logo 2013

November is the official start of the holiday season in our house – Thanksgiving is just around the corner and Christmas follows quickly behind it. I love reading the book of Luke in November because it tells the Christmas story so well. It’s the book that will be our New Testament focus this month. Near the end of the month we’ll begin to read the book of Revelation – God’s final words to us.

Our readings take us through the Old and New Testaments over a two year period. We’re winding up our two years this month and next, so here at Apprehending Grace we’re already thinking about our 2014 plan. If you have any thoughts about how you’d like us to organize the readings, let us know. Comment on the blog, send me an email or past a message on our Facebook page.

The following buttons will open PDFs of the November/December bookmark or all bookmarks. After the file has opened, you can print it or save it to your hard drive from your browser’s file menu.

Click here for the Sept/Oct 2013 recommended reading bookmark. Click here to download all bookmarks for 2013.

The November Reading Schedule also appears at the end of this blog.

Enjoy your reading! We’d love to hear what God speaks to your heart. Email me, leave a message on our Apprehending Grace Facebook page, or post a comment at the end of any blog.

Blessings, Friends!
Sandy

The recommended reading schedule for November is below.

2013-11Nov RecRdg

Here’s how the Resting at the River’s Edge reading schedules are organized:

  • The first two columns of the schedule allow you to read through the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice over a two-year period. You will typically read about three chapters a day if you follow this reading plan.
  • The “Additional Readings” column put you on a plan to read through the entire Bible in one year. You will read between four and five chapters a day if you follow this plan.

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If you’re reading along with us using the Resting at the River’s Edge reading plan, two weeks ago read Acts 11. This verse caught my eye:

God has also given the Gentiles the privilege of turning from sin and receiving eternal life.
Acts 11:18b (NLT)

It has always been God’s plan to give salvation to all, both Jew and Gentile. When God made His covenant with Abram (who God later named Abraham), it ended with this sentence:

“All the families of the earth will be blessed through you.”
( Genesis 12:3b)

God intended Abraham to become a blessing to all the families of the earth – Jew and Gentile – men and women from every nation.

My just released book, More than a Fish Story, God Moving on Behalf of a City and a Man identifies seven Life Lessons in the book of Jonah. The first is the same message these verses teach us – that God cares about all people – even those we wouldn’t expect Him to. In the first two verses of Jonah we see God give Jonah the assignment of taking God’s message of repentance to the Ninevites. That wouldn’t seem like an unusual assignment for a prophet, but we learn that the Ninevites are Israelites’ enemies and they were a particularly cruel in battle. Yet God’s purposes hadn’t changed – He desired that the Ninevites would be blessed by an Israelite taking them the message of repentance. God was ready to bless them when they turned from their sins and followed Him.

And the two-fold message is the same today:

  1. God cares about all people – He desires that all people turn to Him.
  2. He’s given His people the responsibility of sharing the message with the world.

Of course every message from God has an application in our lives:

  1. If we’re to reflect the character of God (and we are), then we ought to care about all people…not just those who are like us or those that we like.
  2. Who might God be calling you to share His message of salvation with?

Don’t just read these words and quickly move on to the next thing. God has an assignment for you. Pause and pray. In what ways do you need to change? Who do you need to share Christ with?

You can download the book More than a Fish Story here. It provides 6 personal or small group studies in the book of Jonah and available free for a limited time.

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More than a Fish Story Book CoverJust Released: More than a Fish Story, God Moving on Behalf of a City and a Man – Lessons in Obedience, Faith and Compassion from the Book of Jonah

I’m excited to announce the release of my Bible study on the book of Jonah. More than a Fish Story: God Moving on Behalf of a City and a Man, is being released as a PDF ebook and we’re making it available for free exclusively at ApprehendingGrace.com for a limited time. You can download the PDF here.

In about a month, the PDF will be offered at its regular sale price of $4.99. In today’s marketplace it would more typically sell for $8.99 or more, but I am strongly committed to offering Bible study materials at prices that are accessible to everyone.

Don’t wait for the regular price to kick in – download your copy today by clicking here, entering your email address, and then downloading the file.

Today’s additional reading in the Resting at the River’s Edge schedule is the book of Jonah. If you read it, you’ve already completed the first assignment in the book. The book provides six lessons in obedience, faith and compassion from the book of Jonah. The lessons are great for individual or group study.

Out of respect for the copyright and hard work that went into creating this Bible study, please encourage your friends who are interested in the book to come to this website to download the book for themselves. (It is a violation of the copyright to simply email your copy of the book to them.)

An email address is required to download the book, but we promise that your email address will not be sold or given to any other organization.

I am confident that you will be challenged and blessed by the Bible study and look forward to hearing your comments about it. Feel free to comment below or on my Facebook page.

Download More than a Fish Story Here

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Resting at the River’s Edge provides an opportunity to participate in reading through the Bible in a systematic way. We’re following a two year plan (2012 and 2013) that has us reading the New Testament each year and the Old Testament stretched over the two years. Each month our reading plans also provide a column titled “Additional.” This column provides readings that will allow you to read through the entire Bible (that is, the complete Old and New Testaments) during the year 2012.

Join the conversation as we read together each month. E-mail me, leave a message on the Apprehending Grace Facebook page, or post a comment at the end of any blog. God has treasures for each of us as we read. Let’s share them!

Also, NEW in 2012 are our RARE bookmarks. Click on the link below to download them. Each bookmark provides two months of Resting at the River’s Edge reading schedules and is great for tracking your readings. (We found an “oops” in the bookmarks we uploaded last month – we forgot to include Feb 29 in the schedule. The bookmarks have been updated to reflect the additional day we get this year.)

Use the tracking method that works best for you – the schedule provided in this blog, the downloadable half-page PDF or bookmark. All provide the same schedule.

I pray that you enjoy your time with God as you read each day.
Sandy

Download All 2012 Bookmarks Here Download only the March/April 2012 Bookmark Here Download a Half-Page PDF of the March Reading Plan Here

Here’s March’s reading plan:

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The four short chapters of Jonah are chock-full of sovereign acts of God – times when He steps in and changes the course of events – every act a miracle of His sovereign grace. There are more miracles in the 48 verses of this book than in any other passage of the Bible of similar length! Additionally, I find eight major life lessons in those four short chapters! This is truly a story that is about more than a man being swallowed by a giant fish.

Product Announcement: I’ve written a six-lesson Bible study on the book of Jonah that is in its final stages of production. Watch for it to be released on Monday, July 25. In the meantime, if you’re reading along with us following the Resting at the River’s Edge schedule, you’ll get a head start by reading through the entire book of Jonah today (that should take you less than fifteen minutes). Blessings on your reading, friends!

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Resting at the River's Edge Logo 2010-2011

A Season for Praise & Reading

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
Ecclesiastes 3:1

And the month of July, in addition to falling during our Summer of Praise, is the season for reading Ecclesiastes this year! We’ll follow that up with several minor prophets – Joel, Amos, Obadiah and Jonah. In late July, we’ll relax with some Psalms.

In the New Testament, we’ll read Galatians, Philippians and begin the Gospel of Mark.

Here are just a few great Scriptures from the passages we’ll read this month:

To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
Ecclesiastes 2:26

Do not be in a hurry to leave the king’s presence.
Ecclesiastes 8:3a

Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill. Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming. It is close at hand.
Joel 2:1

And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as the LORD has said, among the survivors whom the LORD calls.
Joel 2:28-32

Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.
Amos 3:7

The day of the LORD is near for all nations. As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head.
Obadiah 1:15

Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the LORD.
Jonah 2:8-9

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Galatians 5:1

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:5-11

We’ve got some great reading ahead of us,  friends! Enjoy it!

Sandy

The recommended reading schedule for July is below.

To download a PDF of the July 2011 recommended reading plan, click here.

Watching the Church Grow & Develop and Reading some Poetry

As we Rest at the River’s Edge in May, we’ll spend most of our time doing two things:

Watching the church grow and develop as we read through the book of Acts

Enjoying poetry as we read some Psalms and the Song of Songs (often called Song of Solomon)

As spring develops, don’t lose focus on what’s important, but feel free to take your Bible and notebook outside and enjoy some spring weather!

Blessings,
Sandy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I love the book of Romans! It is the book that brought me to salvation.

In the Gospels, we see Jesus showing His love, compassion and mercy by healing them, releasing them from bondage, and bringing salvation. I was a proud, capable (albeit quite insecure) young woman who didn’t need healing or release from bondage or salvation. Or so I thought, anyway.

In the book of Romans, we see Faith in action – Faith with a capital “F” – Faith that isn’t a word, but a lifetime of actions. This is introduced as early as verse 5:

Through [Jesus] and for his name’s sake, we received grace and apostleship to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith.
Romans 1:5

What is it that Paul is calling the Gentiles to? He doesn’t write that he is calling them to faith in Christ. Rather, he writes he is calling Gentiles (and you and me) to the “obedience that comes from faith.” When there is no obedience – when there is no change in behavior that comes from obeying God’s Word – it casts a shadow of doubt on the faith of the unchanged, disobedient person. Faith is not some word that is to be carelessly tossed around. Faith requires obedience. Period.

When I choose not to obey, when I choose to stubbornly cling to behaviors and thoughts that are not obedient to God’s Word, I am clinging to worthless idols. They are idols because they have taken the place of God in my life – I have elevated them above obedience to Him. They are worthless because they have no power to bring salvation, healing and wholeness to my life.

I love what Jonah says about clinging to worthless idols:

Those who cling to worthless idols
forfeit the grace that could be theirs.
Jonah 2:8

The idols we cling to – those things we elevate above obedience to God – they not only have no power to save us, they have the very antithesis of that power. Clinging to worthless idols has the power to keep me from the fullness that God has for me and quite possibly to keep me from spending eternity with Him. It causes me to forfeit the grace that could be mine.

Scripture is clear that we cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24, Luke 16:13). While the verses surrounding this phrase deal with money, the concept applies to anything that we cling to more tightly than we cling to Jesus. We will give devotion that is due Him to our other master.

Last week my husband Phil and I covered the parable of the sower and the seed (Luke 8:4-15) in a Bible study we lead. One of the points Phil made was that the parable is typically used in the context of evangelism. We sow the Word of God and how it is received depends very much on the condition of the soil in which it is planted:

  • Seed (God’s Word) that is planted in hard, trampled soil (i.e., along the path) will be rejected.
  • Seed that is planted in rocky soil will begin to grow but do not develop the root system needed. Without roots, they wither during difficult times.
  • Seed that is planted among the thorns take root and develop, but the thorns choke the life out of them. The thorns represent the worries, riches and pleasures of this life. (It’s interesting that God identifies worries and riches and pleasures as thorns. Our spiritual maturity can be “robbed” by both worry (a bad thing) and riches and pleasures (seemingly good things). But that’s a blog for another day.)
  • Seed that is planted in good soil develops strong roots and reaches for the sun (Son in our case). The seed not only matures, but produces a good crop.

During our discussion of the passage, Phil pointed out that the passage doesn’t relate only to evangelism. As we live here on earth, we must guard the soil of our heart because God calls us to obedience daily. The condition of the soil of my heart today has a lot to do with whether or not I choose to receive His word with joy and obedience or whether I allow the cares or pleasures of this world to distract me from obedience.

Friends, I encourage you to continually cultivate the soil of your heart with prayer and repentance, fasting and giving, four disciplines that were focused on by early disciples. They moisten and turn the soil of our hearts preparing it to receive God’s Word with joy and a predisposition to be obedient. It is what we have been called to – the obedience that comes from Faith. As opposed to the wishful thinking that comes from faith.

Wishful thinking is just that. It has no power to enable us to be obedient, transform us into the image of Christ, give us eternal salvation, or bring the Kingdom of God into our life here on earth.

Let’s choose Faith, not faith. Let’s choose obedience not wishful thinking.

16I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 17For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
Romans 1:16-17

Faith is the power of God for salvation! For those who believe – those called to the obedience that comes from Faith.

There are those who will hear and even give a mental agreement – believe, have faith – but they are not obedient. Our obedience is what brings glory to God. Listen to what happens to those folks:

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Romans 1:21

Knowing God but not obeying Him or giving him thanks causes our thinking to become futile and our hearts darkened – we become ineffective and depressed. If you’re feeling like that describes your life, may I encourage you to cultivate the soil of your heart. Return for a period of time to prayer, repentance, fasting and giving. Ask God to reveal your heart to you so that you may repent and serve Him in obedience.

Lord, thank You that we are called to obedience – more than simply wishful thinking. Thank You for Your power that accompanies a life of Faith. Move in the lives of all who sincerely pursue you in Faith.

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“Then the LORD sent a great wind on the sea”
              Jonah 1:4a

“But the LORD provided a great fish to swallow Jonah”
              Jonah 1:17a

God gave Jonah the assignment to go and preach repentence to Ninevah. Jonah didn’t like the assignment and ran in the opposite direction. He boarded a ship headed for Tarsus. You all know the story. God intervened. First, he caused a great wind to stir up the sea. Eventually, Jonah confessed that he was the cause of the storm and instructed the sailors to throw him overboard. They resisted, but when it was clear that they would all die if they did not, they did what seemed to be the unthinkable. They threw Jonah in the sea. But God was a part of the whole plan. God “provided” (I love that word) the great fish that swallowed Jonah.

As you read through the book of Jonah, be watchful for God’s actions. It is an exciting book of miracles from beginning to end. It is a book of God reaching down and intervening in the lives of men and women on earth to accomplish His purposes. He will even use the wind and the sea and all the creatures in the sea to help those men and women along their paths toward obedience.

I’ve blogged a couple of other articles on Jonah. Click on Jonah under Categories>Bible References at the right for more reading on Jonah.

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RestingAtTheRiversEdgeLogo

We’ve read through Genesis and Exodus and are now turning our attention to Leviticus. Leviticus is an instruction manual for priests. There are times when it may seem repetitive, but it reveals the holiness of God and his gracious recognition of the imperfection of man. The provisions in teh book made it possible for our perfect, holy God to live among the sinful Israelites. It points to our need for a Savior. For those who want to dig deeply, all the sacrifices and feasts point to Christ in some way.

We’ll also finish the book of Esther and read Ruth, Joel and Jonah before delving back into some of the Psalms. Jonah is one of my very favorite books – I’ve subtitled him “The Petulant Prophet.”

In the New Testament, we’re going to read the Acts of the Apostles.

I  hope you’re continuing in the journey through the Bible. Again, don’t get discouraged if you fall behind…just keep reading.

Recommended Reading Plan for March

To download a PDF of March’s reading schedule, click here.

Day

Date

Recommended Reading

March 2009
M Mar 2 Leviticus 1-2 Esther 6-7 Acts 1
Tu Mar 3 Leviticus 3 Esther 8-10 Acts 2
W Mar 4 Leviticus 4 Ruth 1 Acts 3-4
Th Mar 5 Leviticus 5-6 Ruth 2-3 Acts 5
F Mar 6 Leviticus 7 Ruth 4 Acts 6-7
M Mar 9 Leviticus 8-9 Joel 1-3 Acts 8
Tu Mar 10 Leviticus 10-11 Acts 9-10
W Mar 11 Leviticus 12-13 Jonah 1 Acts 11-12
Th Mar 12 Leviticus 14-15 Jonah 2-3 Acts 13
F Mar 13 Leviticus 16 Jonah 4 Acts 14-15
M Mar 16 Leviticus 17-18 Psalms 42-43 Acts 16
Tu Mar 17 Leviticus 19 Psalms 44-45 Acts 17-18
W Mar 18 Leviticus 20 Psalms 46-47 Acts 19
Th Mar 19 Leviticus 21-22 Psalms 48-49 Acts 20
F Mar 20 Leviticus 23 Psalms 50-51 Acts 21-22
M Mar 23 Leviticus 24 Psalms 52-53 Acts 23
Tu Mar 24 Leviticus 25 Psalms 54-55 Acts 24-25
W Mar 25 Leviticus 26 Psalms 56-57 Acts 26
Th Mar 26 Leviticus 27 Psalms 58-60 Acts 27
F Mar 27 Psalms 61-63 Acts 28
M Mar 30 Numbers 1-2 Psalms 64-65
Tu Mar 31 Numbers 3 Psalms 66-67 Hebrews 1
W Apr 1 Numbers 4 Psalms 68-69 Hebrews 2-3
Th Apr 2 Numbers 5-6 Psalm 70 Hebrews 4-6
F Apr 3 Numbers 7 Psalms 71-72 Hebrews 7-8

Enjoy!

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 “God blesses those who realize their need for him,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is given to them.”
      Matthew 5:3 (Jesus is speaking) (NLT)

“I said, ‘Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of my love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the LORD, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.'”
      Hosea 10:12 (The Lord is speaking) (NLT)

7When I had lost all hope, I turned my thoughts once more to the LORD. And my earnest prayer went out to you in your holy Temple. 8Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. 9But 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.”
      Jonah 2:7-9 (Jonah is speaking) (v7 NLT, v8 NIV, v9 NLT)

There’s a sermon forming in my spirit from these three verses. It’s not quite fully formed, but you all get to read it in it’s beginning phase:

“When Jonah had lost all hope”…”God blesses those who realize their need for Him”…”Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace” God wants to pour into their lives…”it is time to seek the Lord.”

It is time to let go of (not cling to) old hurts and old habits and even old victories – all become idols that we look to…that we cling to…that become excuses for not doing what God wants us to do…for not being who God wants us to be. They are idols and if we let go of them, God has tremendous grace He wants to pour into our lives. Grace to forgive others…grace to break old patterns of behavior…grace to turn toward Him.

God blesses those who realize their need for Him and gives them the Kingdom of Heaven! (The Kingdom of Heaven here and now, not just in the sweet by and by.) Now is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.

After Jonah 2:9, comes Jonah 2:10 – “Then the LORD ordered the fish to spit up Jonah on the beach, and it did.” (NLT) God’s grace, God’s unmerited favor, saved Jonah’s life and then went so far beyond that and worked through him to save a nation! Grace the double-powered prayer. Not only what God pours into our lives, but the working out of that in our lives.

If we first stop clinging to worthless idols…If we first recognize our need for Him…If we first seek the Lord.

Wow! Make it so, Lord. In my life first. Amen.

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