Jonah 2

Vs. 9, “But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you.  What I have vowed I will make good.  Salvation comes from the Lord.”  It was game over for our prophet Jonah.  Distress (vs. 2) was an understatement as he faced the reality of his disobedience.  Jonah now realized that you can’t run from God for He is in control of all things.  As Jonah faced death, the LORD God came and miraculously saved him by a large fish!  Thank God that His grace is upon us even in the very last moments of our life.  Remember, it was Jesus who referred to the sign of Jonah (Matthew 12:38-41) as he spent three days and nights in the belly of the fish.

Regarding application…Do You Remember?  Vs. 7, “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple.”  We are an absent-minded and forgetful people.  In our moments of distress, it’s not always easy to remember the LORD.  When I got home today, my goal was to add a basket contraption to the rear end of my bicycle.  I went to go retrieve my tools, but lo and behold the one tool I needed (Allen wrenches) was not where they were supposed to be.  I had just used them two days earlier.  I was scrambling around all distressed running around looking for them.  I asked my wife to help me too and we still couldn’t locate them.  It was too late to go to a store and once I had it in my mind I was going to do it, I couldn’t stop now.  Finally, after much stress, I located them!  Perhaps if I had just been more calm and even prayed about it, I would have recalled where I had last placed them.  But I had forgotten.  I wonder how many times we forget to just calm down and rest in the LORD?  Question: Do you remember the LORD in your times of distress?

John 21

Vs. 7, “Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water.”  Some biblical scholars point out that Peter and the rest of the disciples had been disobedient by going back to fishing.  They compare the failure of that night’s fishing as reverting back to their old lifestyle (vs. 1-3).   I don’t have an opinion either way, but we do know Jesus came to them in their hour of need in more ways than meets the eye.  As they obeyed Jesus, they caught so many fish the nets should have broke (vs. 5-11).  As the morning sun was rising, John recognized who this man on the shore actually was.  Leave it to Peter to be the one exuberant and reactionary to responding to Jesus!  And what a beautiful picture we have as Jesus prepared both a physical and spiritual meal for his beloved (vs. 12-25).  This is such an important chapter in the Gospel of John for in this we see Jesus restore Peter and give him the reminder of Peter’s true purpose.

Regarding application…Do You Love Jesus?  Vs. 17, “The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”  This is a very poignant and fair question that Jesus poses to Peter.  But don’t misunderstand, Jesus is asking you the same question.  Each of us has made our own mistakes when it comes to living up to our faith.  Sometimes we feel like our failures are too difficult to overcome.  So, Jesus gets to the heart of the matter for all of us.  Despite our failures, deep down in our hearts when we put our faith in Jesus, we realized we were made to love.  Of course, we love Jesus.  But, just believing it and saying it is just the starting point.  We must live it…we must follow Jesus (vs. 19).  When I was 16 years old, I put my faith in the Lord.  But at the age of 20, I followed Jesus.  And while this road isn’t easy (vs. 18), it is nothing compared to eternity with our Lord!  Question: Do you love Jesus?  Trust and follow Him today!

John 6

Vs. 35, “Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”  By this time in Jesus’ ministry, many were flocking to Jesus for all sorts of reasons (miracles, curiosity, perhaps to accuse, etc.)  In our chapter today, 5000 men not including women and children came and so Jesus felt compelled to try to at least feed them (vs. 1-15).  Yet, Jesus would instruct them to go to the other side of the lake (vs. 16-17).  Question: Why?  There was a huge opportunity to share God’s love, why would Jesus leave so many?  Because Jesus knew the intention of many in the crowd.  They did not want a Savior for the right reason.  They intended to make Jesus their leader to rebel against the Romans.  Jesus leaves and catches up with the disciples as he walks on water (vs. 19).  But the crowds are persistent and they catch up with Jesus (vs. 25).  Jesus uses this opportunity to speak truthfully about who He is and what their intention was (vs. 25-59).  Something I share often, but needs to be said again…Jesus is not impressed with numbers.  Speaking the truth about who He was actually made those who were supposed disciples leave Jesus (vs. 66).

Regarding application…Jesus Tests Us.  Vs. 6, “He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.”  Very few people like to takes tests, but this test that Jesus gave to Philip probably happens far more often than we realize.  Philip was looking at this feeding of thousands from a human perspective.  It’s impossible.  This reminds me of when Luke Skywalker tried to get his x-wing fighter out of the swamps of Yoda’s home.  Jesus is in the business of doing miracles and while they may not be as grandiose as multiplying fish and loaves, they happen everyday.  Question: What kind of tests is Jesus giving you today?  What doubts are stirring in your mind?  Let’s strive to pass the test of faith that is before our lives.  Don’t worry about tomorrow (Matthew 6), just think of something in your life today that needs to be handed over to Jesus.   Pray about it and let’s get an “A” today!

Luke 5

Vs. 1,One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, with the people crowding around him and listening to the word of God.”  Much is covered in this chapter, but one undeniable thing we see: Jesus came to love and serve.  Whether calling more disciples, reaching out to the sick, and loving those who are unlovely…Jesus covers it all in this chapter.   Despite all the busyness of Jesus’ ministry, I love how stuck in all of this is vs. 15, where we are told Jesus often withdrew to lonely places to pray.  In this we see the simplicity of being able to sustain life’s demands and responsibilities.  Jesus prayed.  Question: How is your prayer life?

Regarding application…Our Real Purpose.  Vs. 10, “…Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.”  Question: What is your goal in life?  Many of us have huge aspirations to being successful, to making a difference, and to feel self-worth.  Question: Who was Jesus addressing?  Directly, He was speaking to the fishermen.  You see, they already had their professional careers.  This is how they supported their families and this is what they were good at.  But, there is a far larger purpose that Jesus had in store for them.  Likewise, we are not asked to abandon that which can help support our families and the church, but we are poignantly reminded that we all have a very similar task.  We are to become fishers of men.  Whatever you do, wherever you go, who you interact with…let this reminder from Jesus permeate your heart and spur you on towards sharing the hope that is found in Jesus.  This is our purpose.  This is why you live and breathe today.  Go forth brothers and sisters and let’s do this for the glory of God!