We begin our Jonah bible study today, a six-week journey into four chapters of scripture. To participate in the study, you’ll need the workbook called Jonah: Navigating a Life Interrupted by Priscilla Shirer. If you are waiting for your workbook to arrive, be sure to download Chapter One so you can start reading with us.
When someone asks you “How has your life been interrupted lately?” we experience the same initial response. You may roll your eyes, let out that deep sigh, sit back in your cafe chair, and prepare to tell a story of difficulty. We all have a season in life or an event that was unplanned and seemed to move us in a different direction.
What if God called you specifically by name, and told you to change course, change your life purpose and change your plan? We’re about to discover more of ourselves as we read the life of Jonah. According to Priscilla Shirer, Jonah is ” the only prophet who received instructions from God and ran from what God told him to do.”
This study begins with Session One in your workbook. Audio/video sessions are available from Lifeway and will enhance your study. Currently, they are $3.99 for each audio session, or $4.99 for each video session, about the price of a gourmet coffee drink or a movie rental. However, these last longer so you’ll get more for your money! I’ve listened to the Session One audio and highly recommend it because it offers a good insight into the content and purpose of the study.
Assignment For the Week
- Before you start your study, we recommend you write a letter to God on the inside cover of the workbook and date it. Tell Him why you are reading Jonah and what you hope to learn from the study. Ask Him to keep you centered and focused on the Word.
- If you have not done so already, download the Answers to the Viewer Guide.
- There are five lessons each week. The lessons require about 30-45 minutes each day and we recommend you complete them first thing in the morning. When you read the Bible before your day begins, you are lighting the candle of His word inside you, carrying that candle throughout the day, and seeing examples of the Word as your day progresses.
- If you have any questions about the online format, please read the FAQ’s for the Bible Cafe.
- Please pray for the Spirit to guide you in the study and to keep you on track with the lessons. Pray for the other women in this study and the leaders.
My life has lately been interrupted by potty training my 2 year old. He is doing great so I really cannot complain! He is really good at it, but I look at it like a blessing….not an inturption. I am so thankful that I am not working right now and can share this experience with him. It is actually fun and amazing to see him growing into a little boy. Children are miracles and I thank God everyday for his little soul!
I remember those days…my boys were 4,3 and 1 once upon a time ago…Blessed days, tough days, worthi-it days.
Be encouraged that your time and effort are so very much worth it.
I’m on vacation this week so I can get an early start on this week’s comment.
My life’s interruptions always seem to involve two things—health issues or stress issues. (Of course, the health issues are probably brought on by the stress issues!)
(I feel like I’ve related this hundreds of times…but, I supposed it bears repeating.) Most recently, I suffered an adrenal crisis and was hospitalized, put on steroids and my system did not like the dose at all. God lead me through that time and through His grace, I am down to a dose my system can handle. I don’t know what I would have done if I didn’t have God in my life at that time. (Not that He wasn’t before, but if you’re like me, you’ve had times when you sometimes ignored that he was there.)
Now that I’m older (much) and wiser (a little) I know that I will keep Him in my life always. I lean on him for so many things, large and small.
Our life had definitely been interrupted due to the downward spiral of the economy! My hubby and I made the decision for me to be a SAHM after giving birth to our second son, a year and a half ago. About a year ago, when my husband wasn’t able to find a second job, we started to get behind with our house payments and our debts. Long story short, we are now probably a few months away from our home being foreclosed. We were going to move into my MIL’s (because she was going to be engaged and moving in with the guy), but they just broke up this weekend. So…we’re going to hold on as long as possible to the house, and when the time comes, we’ll be looking for a place to rent for a few years so we can save up some money and get back on our feet. Things certainly didn’t go as we had planned before having kids!
Praying for financial stability and housing for you and your family!
Sorry to hear about your financial and housing troubles. We are going through the same thing. My prayers are with you and your family.
God is a supplier… prayers for your needs!
In 2006, my minister husband heard God’s call to plant a church in our community to reach the unchurched and disconnected from God. Wonderful!!! The only thing is that it was him stepping down from full time employment from our place of service and me going back to work full time after being a stay at home mom for 15 years.
At the time, I had thought that my personal ministry calling was beginning to really take shape, as my boys needed me less as a mommy and more as a mentor. And I just knew that God would use this new calling of ours to spring board me into what I felt called to do…minister to women through the Word and Worship.
However, going back into the work force, learning a new skill (still learning), and being “tied” to a 40 or so hour work week, participating in ministry, being a wife and mother all got the best of me. Needless to say, I have felt that my calling has been interupted and have at times been very confused and hurt. I still feel God’s calling on my life. And believe whole heartedly that my husbands new path as a church planter includs me. But I have felt very off course.
BUT GOD….He continues to assure and to breath strength into my life and into my soul. While my “life” may have been interupted, His plan has not.
I am looking forward to studying this book of Jonah with you all..
Just watched the intro session…I am looking forward to hearing from God and saying Yes to what He tells me…even if I don’t like it…Help me God!
I enjoyed it as well…powerful beginning to a Bible study!
Anna, so many ( and I do mean many) obstacles come with planting a church, EVEN for the wife! I know from experience God will bless and give u a peace! Scripture that encourages me is Haggai 2:4-5 and Romans 8:28! God bless and thanks for sharing!
Going solo from Texas.
Going solo in more ways than I ever thought I could imagine. But with the Summer Ruth Bible Study I learned that the only way out is through it and so with God’s help and this bible study I am hoping to see light at the end of the tunnel. Mary
My life has been interrupted lately by a new love in my life. This person, whom I care for tremendously, has gone through a lot within the past 6 months so therefore experiences a lot of up and down days. These down days for him in turn effect me and my spirit. I have never felt like God wanted someone in my life so much as I do this person, however, it has been a constant struggle since we met. I can only pray each and every day that God will show me the way to move forward with this person, and pray that I do it only by God’s way.
What a blessing to have God as the center of your relationship, and to trust HIM with your heart.
Right now my life has been interrupted by homeschooling my 3 children. Grades 2nd, 5th and 11th. This last year was the first year of homeschooling. It has been a very big challenge but very rewarding. They were all in private school but my hubby lost some work so we couldn’t pay for it anymore. The Lord had been placing homeschooling in my heart for a while so I gave in and listened.
So much for having my house clean. I now have let that go and am trying to train my children in helping out a little more around the house.
After homeschooling my daughter for 6 months, I admire any parent who elects to homeschool! The job of keeping records, organizing lesson plans, buying books and filling their social life is beyond a mothers call of duty, yet so richly rewarded when you can learn together with your child.
I have a fulltime job I have been in for 27years. My husband and I own a business which he primarily works without much assistance from me. He is losing direction in the business and it is starting to feel it. I feel the pull and tug to become more involved and help “navigate” it back to success. It is a struggle to work fulltime and then to take on the challenge of managing the staff and other business. I am a little resentful that my hubby is allowing this to happen, but feel as if God is saying to me, it is time to change direction in your life. I have provided this and this opportunity, have faith and follow me. Pray that I will have an open heart and mind, that I can let go of the resentment and the path become more clear. Lord interrupt me for your will and navigate the way. God bless all of you during this journey.
I just watched the First Session Video on “Jonah”. It was incredible, I encourage everyone who can see this to do so. Pricilla brought such an understanding to the study and a life interrupted.
Sounds like your prayers will lead you to clear vision and God’s plan for your business as well as your relationship. Do not cease, praying for He will answer. Praying that the stumbling stones are removed from your path, the road ahead is clear and the blesses you with provision.
My biggest interruption right now, was a nasty fall I had last Thursday. I sprained my left foot (I’m able to put a little weight on it now) and skinned up my right knee (still hasn’t healed yet). I’ve canceled all plans for the week and have just stayed home. The day after when I was gonna take my shower, I knew it was gonna hurt badly. I have a tub shower so it was gonna be really hard to shower. I read a daily devotional about the Lord being your strength. I said that over & over again “The Lord is my strength” while I showered. It got me through the pain.
I’ve had to rely on my teenage sons for cleaning & other household chores.
Wow, sorry to hear about the injury. How humbling to have your family take care of you, after you care for them so much and so often. Humbling for them, of course! Praying for strength in your foot and for all pain to release and end.
My life has been interrupted many times in the last few years. I never planned on being divorced or having financial issues. I feel like my life has been placed in a holding pattern for a very long time. But in many respects my life has been blessed also. I have a steady job and two great children. Sorry i missed the audio lesson sounded really great.
Our newest interuption/divine intervention is my parents both with health problems. They live in another state and we have spent weekends and vacation days going home and working on their farm…
I have had other interuptions in my life that I know were handled badly by me and I plan to make and see the goodness in this newest challange. Many times already I have prayed for strength, patience and God to clubber me with the correct things to say at the right time. 🙂
I have seen neighbors helping, relatives visiting, and my own family pulling together at this time. It has been a wonderful and yet trying there are still lots of decisions to be made and trials to go through for all involved.
My dad gets to come home from a stroke on Thursday, my brother and I will be taking turns staying with my mom and him for the next few weeks to supervise and hopefully set up a routine so they can stay on the farm. My dad has had a real hard time in the nursing home not with therpy itself but with nothing to do after therpy sessions. He always has been a hardworker and idle hands are not a good thing. At least at home he can garden and putter around the yard.
He has come along way in his recovery so we are praying for even more strength to ease his restless heart. He has been mom’s caregiver for so long that she had became very dependant on him. And now we have seen her really step up and physically become stronger over the last few months as well. She uses her walker less and less and just a cane. Makes her own meals and even has came to the garden and sat on golf cart and hoed weeds on the edge.
So long story short we have had blessings and challanges and sure to have more curves ahead. I pray every night for strength to give us direction and guidance in the right decisions going forward to our next challange as the arise as you never know what the next thing to hit will be.
I really feel this Jonah study came at just the right time. I so look forward to sharing and hearing all your thoughts as well as we go on this journy together.
Not only is this a interruption, it is a major life change as you determine what your Nineveh is (from the session one audio). You recognize your parents as the people in need of help, and you can be the hands and feet of Jesus in their lives. I’m looking forward to your comments and updates each week during the study- keep us posted Karla.
My life has been interrupted for about oh, two years now. I went back to work after being home with my son for the first two years of his life and ever since I have had a resentment. I have tried so many different ways to try to stay home more and I always come up empty handed and in the same place where I started out. I get very frustrated, angry and sad about it. I feel as if I’m just spinning my wheels and also, I am starting to think that for some reason, this is where God wants me. I don’t agree with it, obviously, that is why I am here, but I need to find acceptance with it and a peace.
So, when I saw this study, I thought it might be an opportunity to dig deeper and ask for clarity on God’s will for my life and my son’s.
Recommend the book “Your Money or Your Life” by Joe Dominquez a book that helped me with a similar decision. Read the book and pray for God to open doors and lead you towards peace. This book changed my life.
I read a quote one time that said that there are years that are questions and years that are answers. This has been my year of interruptions. My husband passed away, we lost our home, my son delay his college to help me through this, I started school to find a new career to support myself, and I am working with a church plant to get their women’s ministry up and moving (this is something I have longed to get back into for several years). But with all of this, God has shown his graciousness to us….but I am really feeling off balance lately and need to find it.
Looking forward to this study…..God has shown me that Jonah and I are close relatives….. So the timing of this study is perfect. I will watch the video tomorrow.
Thanks for having this!!! It means a lot….
Praying for your balance to restore, with both feet on the ground, walking in faith as you keep your eyes upon the Lord.
The biggest interruption in my life occurred 6 yrs ago when I unexpectedly got pregnant with my daughter. I was living a very carefree single life…not on course at all with living a God honoring life. I could easily say I was like Jonah running away from what God was calling me to be for so long. I often wondered if God was making a mistake, choosing me to be a mom. I felt so ill-equipped and unprepared. Raising my daughter alone has been a challenge as a single working mom but oh what a blessing. God knew what he was doing when he created this special little girl. Out of not so ideal circumstances, God allowed this beautiful little being to blossom and grow as a princess of the King and inspire me to turn my attention toward God. I have had a craving ever since to learn and grow in my faith…to better myself as a person and be the best mom and role model for my daughter.
What a beautiful gift you have to offer your daughter- your faith and your love for the Lord. You are both Daughters of the King, and God loves His children so very much 🙂
My life has been interrupted by a few things. The biggest right now is my temper,anger, and my life falling apart. Running away from God like Jonah, forgetting about God. The other is my husband health (heart). He is hanging in there, so life is slow going for him. I am not complaining the Lord is good.
Well ironically enough yesterday, the hottest day of the summer so far, my air conditioning went out in my car! Big interruption when you cart around 2 kids every day and drive 30 minutes one way to work every day! But all is well. Took a vacation day, put the car in the shop, and spent some much needed time with my husband. 🙂
I am feeling the call to be MUCH more involved at my church. I’ve taken up a rotation in children’s church and have gotten involved in our community meal committee…I know that these are for the greater good and for His will, and I am so excited about them. But it’s hard to juggle home and work and church…So I some rearranging to do in my life right now. I guess you could consider that an interruption.
My life, as in others have found numerous interruptions over the past couple of years. My mother went to be with the Lord a year ago March. She always made me feel like I was never good enough. So I always tried to be “good” however realized she loved me but was unable to “love” me as a daughter. Her passing left me wondering “who I am” and “where is God taking me”. I have 3 teenagers with 2 who are twins and have severe adhd. The twins cause minor interruptions because their maturity is about 5 years under their actual age. At 14 they still have to be closely supervised.
I am looking forward to studying and learning to say “I got it” and mean it with every one.
Tammy, it is great to know there is someone else who had the same kind of mother. My mother is 90 and still alive and has always made me feel as if I was never good enough. Terrible, terrible guilt comes with this feeling. I am beginning to realize that it is not her I need to please, but only GOD and he loves me for who I am. I hope you will eventually start feeling this way also and allow God to “navigate” you down the road of confidence.
The three of us need to worship with the song Free to Be Me by Francesca Battistelli I watched my daughter sing this at church and it was powerful to see your own daughter singing “perfection is my enemy!”
I love, love, love that song!
I have the same issue with my mother, I catch myself trying to be perfect some times. I was diagnosed with ADHD, I am 37 and I am living a full wonderful life that God has put together for me. I called the Lord my assistant because whenever I lose things or have to get things done that are hard for me to get started and keep in order I call on Him and He helps me.
Wow! I too have been infiltrated with the “not good enough” mantra. I still, at 42, feel so insignificant at times in mother’s presence. Though it’s much better now, now that I have grown in my faith and have learned my mother’s history. I can see more clearly how broken she was/is and how she came to be the way she is. I only fear that I sometimes play that broken record with my own daughter, not meaning to. I pray that I will learn to hold my tongue and to bring her up with more self confidence and with the knowledge of how special, valuable and perfect she is in God our Lord and Savior’s eyes!
God is moving my church to the inner-city that I ran away from. I am thinking of all these reasons why I shoild find another church, but God hasn’t told me to find another church. So if I run again I will be out of His will and that will spell trouble. 😐
It could be the Holy Spirit revealing that you need to deal with something in your past, or you may need to minister to someone from your past. Give it to Him in prayer- it sounds like a powerful experience, the kind that only comes from the hand of God! Ask Him if He wants to you return to the past, or let go of the past. In either case, the hand of Jesus will be holding you when you arrive.
Thanks!! This is not the first time He has spoke to me about Ninevah…The theme of not running from Ninevah has been coming up alot the last few months.
I am without excuse if I do not do God’s will and participate in this study of Jonah. Thankfully at this time in life I am not in a season of interruptions as I have been so many other times in life (illness in the family, a son with alcohol abuse, a daughter with divorce, a divorce for me many many years ago).
However I am at a time in life where God has called upon me to be here to care for my parents which is not hard for the most part but has interrupted my life just a bit. There are days when I think of how I thought my future would be and it is just not so. I have dealt with that for the most part though and have had peace in knowing that this is a command of God to care for and love others I would say especially caring for aging parents. So yes it is an interuption but if I did not do it I would regret it later.
That sounds a bit contradictory! My life was interrupted when I came to live with them and I am not doing the things I have planned.What I was trying to convey though is that I am okay with this. It is a time I cherish at the end of their lives.
I just finished watching session 1 and am very excited to dive in deeper. My most recent major interruption came in watching my sister-in-law’s father battle brain cancer at the age of 56. He went to see Jesus in June. As I watched his journey and reflect upon it, I can only pray that I can see life’s interruptions has the divine intervention that Priscilla spoke of. We have another interruption coming in a few weeks as my son starts school. I have stayed home since he was born. Now with both children in school, I’m not sure what path I’ll be led down. We know that there are changes coming in the near future with my husband’s job too. With that, I pray that I don’t run from God, but cling to His hope!
How do we know that a particular interruption comes from God?
Based on what I’ve read of the lesson so far, I envy Jonah in that he received such a clear word from the Lord. So often God seems distant and silent to me; I wouldn’t say I understood his will for the details of my life at all.
I may be completely mistaken, but I think if I had what I knew to be a Divine Interruption, I would deal with it with some measure of acceptance and peace. My life has not turned out the way I planned, but my biggest source of frustration is what seems to be a complete lack of a word or sense or *something* from God that my life is actually unfolding according to his will.
Thank you for sharing that… sometimes it is hard to know what to do. Sometimes God seems to flash things for me in neon lights… (ie, songs on the radio over and over again, a particular scripture popping up all over the place, etc., etc.) but more often than not I feel like I am blindly walking on the path. However, no matter whether I can see Him or hear Him, I know that the Good Shepherd has His hand on our life and will lead our paths. Even if we don’t “hear” Him, he changes circumstances so that His will is done… and if He doesn’t, it is so we can learn a lesson and grow stronger in Him. I’ll be praying that you’ll get your inspiration… keep me in your prayers, too =)
I have struggled with that too…not knowing if what I think I am hearing or reading in the word is actually God speaking to me or if it’s just my own interpretation of what I think it means. I guess that’s why I crave bible studies now because I want to learn more about what the word is truly saying. Reading comprehension was never my strong point in school; I tend to take things at face value. So when it comes to reading the bible, I often feel lost.
I really appreciate these thoughts, ladies. Thanks for responding! Like you, I choose to believe God has a plan for my life. I am actively working on claiming the scripture that talks about finding God when you seek Him with all of your heart. This Bible study is part of my effort to seek the Lord. In the meantime the issue of discerning God’s will and hearing his voice are two big areas of prayer for me, and I’ll pray for you in this regard as well. Have a good night 🙂
Not necessarily recently, but… a couple of years ago my hubby was a high school volleyball and basketball coach. I loved it… the girls were just like my own, we spent the week on the road, going gym to gym… it was great. Well, God must not have thought that… he was in a bad car wreck and was laid up for a couple of weeks; off work for about a month. When he went back to work, he just couldn’t handle the work. I had no idea that he had been stressed prior to the wreck… but he quit in the middle of basketball season. I went through the grieving process… I was sad, I was mad… how could he do this? Yes, I had to support him, but no, I really didn’t like it. Well, two years later, we are finding that we really didn’t “know” each other even though we had been together for years… it had been time spend looking at each other across the gym! We have had our shares of up and downs, but Thank God I think we are finally coming to terms with what it means to be a family. Our son is so much happier… he and dad are very close.
Another instance I can think of is last semester. I was required to teach an evening class four nights a week 1 hour from my house. I went kicking and screaming, to say the least! I was soooo not happy; my son needed me at home to help with homework, etc… well, God used that for His good as well! I was able to witness to the group and got to know a bunch of wonderful people. Also, it helped bring my husband and son together.
I enjoyed the first session and am looking forward to some divine inspiration!
I am a planer so I always feel that my life is interrupted. I guess my interruptions are God’s way of telling me that I am not in control, He is!
Our business has been doing fairly well the last few years. I was able to quit my full-time job and help with the family business. Last year, my husband purchased two additional businesses. Since then, we had problems with employees who wanted to collect a paycheck without working/developing the businesses. We let the employees go and are now finding ourselves working all three businesses–24/7. We are having difficulty digging ourselves out of a deep financial hole. I feel like we are going upstream without a paddle. The more I pray and stay in the Word, the more I feel like Satan is attacking. These Bible studies are a blessing in my life.
My life has been interrupted in such a way that I now stand at a crossroad. I have so many choices to make about where I am currently stationed and where I desire to be stationed. My prayer has been and remains to be focused on God’s will, but I declare, God is showing me so many things. They all seem to be pointing to a new future. In faith, I’ll keep standing on His Word and seek the instruction of His Spirit.
I find that life can be one big interruption. Everything i’m doing day to day causes me to lose focus and slip into behaviors that cause me strife. I watch my father and he just has such an amazing way of dealing with the pressures around him that leave me in awe. You’d swear nothing was wrong with him 95% of the time, and even when that 5% does show he usually has some well directed way of thinking that calms him and leaves his worries where they should be. Me on the other hand.. i’m struggling just to stay positive.
It’s a struggle to stay positive… Satan can use so many things to bring us down! We can always find the negative about what we have done… today I was listening to the radio and they were talking about guilt causing us to live defeated lives. One of them said, “If we are living like this, we are living like we are greater than God. Like we know more than Him, because only we know how bad we are, when He is saying He is forgiven us. Christ’s work on the Cross was more than enough” I just sat there and thought- Wow! So many times I’ve told myself I’m not good enough… but how can I say that when He thinks I am? Hope this study helps both of us muddle through our insecurities to live the life God called us to, no matter where the map of life takes us! God bless… I’ll be praying for you!
I am very behind in starting this bible study… my life… very interrupted. I am also finding it very hard to stay focused on God and what He has planned in my (& my family) life. I picked up my study this morning (day 2) and what God has planned for me is not going to be known by me until I follow him and then (at His time) I will see the results. I need prayer during this time (uprooting my home & moving, trying to sell a house, moving into an “restored” one that was supposed to make life easier has been trying. My husband commuting between the two places, I did get a new job (which I am so THANKFUL!), my son starting a new high school… I am trying to stay focused and not allow my overwhelming emotions (physical, mental & financial) take control… that is Satan’s work. God has me in His plan and I have to remember this. Reading Jonah is a good inspiration to follow and not be scared and run. My life is a priviledge that God has given me and I pray I don’t let my fears turn my back on this gift. If I can ask you each to pray for me, I would appreciate it. I need strength and His divine intervention to carry me through this time of fear. Thank you ladies and God Bless.
You’re not behind in the study, you’re right where God wants you to be! Praying for God to release your fear and blanket you with a covering of His love, grace and protection.
I had not thought about it like that. Thank you Christine for those encouraging words!
I just finished week one reading. Wow, it has a lot to say about life being interrupted. How has your life been interrupted lately? I believe that mine has been interrupted with small things. My job is changeling when I do work. I am a missed understand person because I work with taxes items. People think that I have to be perfect when I am work or even when I am not working during tax season. Interruption is maybe his way of saying slow down, take time out and relax. Do something for yourself. Even do a bible study, go to a spa and are pampered, or even read a book, work on scrapbook your family trips or vacations and listen to music from klove (which is positively encouraging Christian music).