We’re on the second week of study as we read Jonah: Navigating a Life Interrupted by Priscilla Shirer. When learned this week that when God gave a command to Jonah, the prophet covered his ears and ran! He did not want to receive further instruction from the Lord, so he skipped town and turned away from prayer. Jonah was not willing to obey the Lord. During the week we had an opportunity to examine our own lives and chances to obey or disobey when called by God. We examined our lives for personal allegiance and purpose.
We easily fall into a downward spiral of disobedience as we run from God like Jonah did and become “sleepers.” On page 49 Shirer brings up the discussion of how a pagan man can wake up a believer to pray. I recall an experience from my own life when my husband was in critical care and my neighbors continued to say “I’ll pray for you.”
At the time, I believed in God yet I was not in prayer or intimacy with Him. I didn’t know my neighbors were Christians, and yet they were praying. It made me wonder why I was not praying myself, and what was I hiding from. My neighbors began mowing the lawn and taking out the trash cans to the curb for me. Because I was several months pregnant and my husband was in ICU with a rare blood disease.
As a family, we were overwhelmed by the outpouring and we knew our lives would never be the same. When my husband recovered, we found a relationship with God that had not existed in our lives because we were hiding in rebellion.
Jonah was on a run from God not only with his feet but with his heart as well. -Priscilla Shirer
Assignment For Next Week
- Read Week Three, pages 57-77 in the workbook
- Listen to the Session Three Audio (optional)
- OR…Listen to the Session Three Video (optional)
2. If I were Jonah I probably wouldn’t have heard Him in the first place. I have a really hard couple of years. Nothing others haven’t been through I’m sure, but it really shook me. I’m sorry to say my faith really wavered and I spent a lot of time feeling sorry for myself. Things are on the mend now, and even though I know God cares for me and has never left me, I think I’m still a little shell shocked. One of the things I have learned is that God IS always there. HE had a plan for my life, I justed needed to learn that life isn’t about me, it’s about HIM.
I thought I was way behind..not so much Wheew!
I am enjoying the study so far. It is causing me to reflect on personal obedience and an issue that God will not relent on with me. I am thankful for his persistence.
1. Yes for years unfortunately. I felt like I was doing “good” by going to church, praying and actively involved in church committees, but all the time giving into my own choosing because I thought it brought me the comfort I needed at that time. I finally realized through horrible outcomes that God was ALL I needed and was right there the entire time.
2. I am sure it was frightning for Jonah, but the way he chose to flee appears to be more frightning.
3. Gods presence is always comforting, but we must open our hearts to feel the presence and our eyes to witness him.
4. At times in my life I felt like King David; what I should have done I didn’t. The situationI was in became out of control, bad choices lead to downward spirals. Then finally you do ask the question of “how did I end up like this”. The entire situation just lead to sin in turn brings forth death. What a terrible feeling; I hope I never end up there again. Praise God for his grace and salvation. Amen
I love this study, but I am having a hard time with answering some of the questions because I am still struggling with some issues. I feel like one of the other women who responded earlier I probably and running in the opposite direction and did not hear God. Please Lord let me run to you and not way.
I’ll be praying for you, Janise. I just wanted to chime in and say that I appreciate your honesty and your heart for God.
This study uncovers so much. It can really shake you up and do so quickly I might add. With that said, I must tell you that I have found that one of the greatest things about this study is that it steers the “runner” back toward God in a very big way.
Keep Running forward sister. It will be well worth it.
Hugs and blessings,
Love what you said Kim…thanks for joining the conversation. The more we speak as a group, the more we can learn from one another. 🙂
I’m feeling anxiety as I do the study. I’m so scared of what my answers are when I answer honestly.
I don’t want to fail God. But sometimes I am not strong enough to say Yes I will obey no matter what..But I love God and I want to always say Yes and not run.
2. Unlike Jonah, I would have probably stayed put in Israel, locked the door, and filled my mind up with being “busy”. I guess its easier than I thought to run from God – and you don’t have to jump on a ship to do it!
3. I am comforted by His presence, when I stop long enough to jump in His lap and rest. More than anything, God has been using this study so far as a tool to use in helping me understand what is happening with my oldest son. At the Lord’s prompting, I made a dinner date with my son and was able to lovingly share some of the insights that I believe God is showing me. My son was very receptive – and I pray that those seeds will grow in him and cause him to turn back from his sprint away from God and return to his first Love.
Praying for your son to listen with his heart and to experience the love of the Father God.
I was going to answer all the questions, but number 4 is the one. I guess the Lord really wanted me to answer this one. So, please bear with me. So here goes and this is so HARD to do. As some of you already know from my other posts, that I was a hateful, rebellious, runaway, teen. I HATED everyone and I mean hate, not dislike. Family, teachers, school, and friends( if I had any). I left God, church, and family ran away more then once. I drink, smoked, lied, cheated, and stoled!! My parents could not handle me, so I became a ward of the court. Was in a girls school for over a year; made me worst. I stared drinking real bad after I got out, more than before. Spent the night in jail more than once, and just not do to the drinking. What made me stop? After all I was in my late twenties by this time. My mother died in a car accident coming to see me from Terre, IN. to Indianapolis, IN. on April 13, 1985. I blame myself for that and still to this day….if only!!! So, I just quit, stopped cold. Looked back and said what am I doing with my life? I was still not done with sin, and doing things I should not do. But slowly, I have been able to turn my life around with the Lord’s help. I only hope my family can forgive me as our Savior has done.
Thanks for bearing with me, and reading this. Blessing to all.
Forgiving ourselves is often harder than forgiving others. You got into a lifestyle when you were young. I say, just praise God that you are out of that lifestyle and move on. Your mother’s death was an accident, nothing more. You’re story touched me. Please know that I will be praying for you and your family.
God forgives and heals and we can accept that. The hardest thing to accept is forgiveness of self. I am touched that you have the courage to share your story, this is a “no shame zone” and you will not be judged by others. We are here in spirit to encourage one another into personal intimacy with Christ.
You will lift up your face without shame; you will stand firm and without fear. Job 11:15 NIV
Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. Psalm 34;5 NIV
Thank you for those kind words. This needed to be said and by God’s grace I was able to do it. Also you have given me a gift today; my life verse from Job 11:15. Someday I will wear it proudly. Thanks for all you do.
I didn’t have a comment to make to your post, because if I hadn’t forgiven you each and every time you hurt me, we wouldn’t be here now doing this Bible study together. I can’t speak for the rest of the family but only myself. If God can forgive an imperfect, suck up, hard headed, self-centered, undeserving creature like me, how could I do less?
Thanks for the post. I love you, sis. As Christine says this is a “no shame zone”
“He who is without sin among you, cast the first stone”. No one is without sin and you are SO BRAVE to come right out and share this with us. I am so touched by your honesty.
I remembered this when I read your entry:
“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom 8:38-39.
1. I have.
2. That’s a tough one. I’d like to think that I would take on the task as He wants and do it to the best of my ability. I’m about to be in a situation where I will be working closely with my “Nineveh.” And I have prayed for God’s guidance in this and I believe he is calling me to move forward with it. So, I guess I’ll find out how I react.
3. I am VERY comforted by God’s presence right now. He is the rock I lean on every day.
4. I have. I’ve bought lottery tickets and, about twice a year, my husband and I go to a fairly local casino and play the slot machines. We take very little money ($100 each) so I justify this as entertainment. However, I believe God has been tugging at my heart about this. (This is sort of an answer to question 1 as well.) $100 probably sounds like alot of money to some, but my husband and I make a “very comfortable” living. This is tough for me to put this out there in cyberspace. I’m saying what I’ve never said to anyone before (except for my husband.)
Again, this is a no shame zone. We are in the presence of God. We do not have the right to judge one another or condemn each other, we unite in the love of Jesus. If we were in a room together, we’d all be hugging and passing the box of tissue as we enjoy tears of JOY.
Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. James 4:11 NIV
Thanks, Christine. Unfortunately, so many times, Christians try to share with each other and it isn’t long before one is turning and gossiping about it. It’s the one thing I wish people would keep in the forefront of their minds.
Judge not and ye shall not be judged: condemn not and ye shall not be condemned, forgive and ye shall be forgiven. Luke 6:37
It’s probably the number one reason Christians avoid church and fellowship. And why non-Believers do not want to be like us. Yet to be a Christ-follower is to follow Christ, who did not judge and loved people as they were created by Him. Instead of putting Christ back into Christmas, we need to put Him back into our hearts!
I’ll say an AMEN to that!
PS…tonight I’m posting a blog article about Finding Your Nineveh.It is written, I did not want to confuse it with today’s lesson so it will post tonight and appear in email tomorrow morning.
Looking forward to reading this…
Fear—while I’m much better at recognizing that God knows everything, there are times when I still have fear.
When I was a little girl, we lived on a street with lots of duplexes. There was a little store at the end of our street where we could buy basics like bread and milk. Sometimes, after the sun had gone down, my mother would send me to the store for something we needed. As I walked that street, I would pass each duplex and get to the opening that ran alongside, to the backyards. It was very dark and I was afraid so I would close my eyes tight and say, “God is with me all the time.” Then, I’d run as fast as I could past those dark spaces.
Sometimes, in those “dark” places, I still whisper, “God is with me all the time.”
#2) This is a tough question for me. I answered that I’d most likely stay put. My husband is not a Christian. Although he believes in God he does not practice his faith. I feel that if God asked me to go somewhere, that it would be hard for me to follow that. Where would it leave my marriage? I’m not sure my husband would drop everything if I told him God wants us to go somewhere. Or maybe he would…if God presented it as a job transfer. Who knows. He would follow for work and God had a planned for what he wants me to do. I’m not totally sure. I know that God has always been there for my family. Even when times got rough like losing our house almost 2 yrs ago. He provided another home for us. Of course we had to down-size our space 5 people for a 2bd/1bath townhouse. But it works for us and we have a roof over our heads, food to eat and clothes to keep us warm. He’s always provided and for that we are truly thankful and blessed.
2. Probably the same thing in those circumstances b/c it’s hard to want good for people that you deem “bad”
3. Comforted b/c i know that he’ll never leave me or allow me to go through anything that i can’t bear
4. When i was younger (in my teens) i felt like God wanted to use me at the age but, i felt that i would have time when i was older to be used and many things that seemed like “interruptions” finally got me to the point where i’m now letting God lead instead of believing in my own abilities and my own plans and timeframe
1. Yes, often with forgiveness… I know I am not supposed to hold grudges or be judgemental but a lot of time I try to rationalize things to myself.
2. I think I would have locked the door… I know that you can’t hide from God, but that is the option I would probably try. Too many times I try to hide from problems, avoiding them and other people.
3. I find it comforting to know that God is here with me. I am actively seeking Him, longing to be closer to Him and in His will.
2. If I was Jonah, I would have waited for God to call several times before I acted…praying and taking it to the ‘discernment committee’–to be sure it WAS God. I am often timid when it comes to speaking out on God’s behalf. I work at a church as the Assistant Administrator–in charge of adult ed, programming, volunteers, and much more. This study started me thinking if I was running from God. It is so easy to be ‘busy’ on Sunday and make the excuse that I must prepare a place where God can minister to ‘others’.
The last few months have been difficult personally and financially (my husband owns his own businesses and I also work in those). I realized how ‘busy’ I had been and how distant I felt from God. I found this group, this Bible study, and cannot believe how blessed I have been from participating in these studies (RUTH and JONAH) and how attached I am from this online group.
4. I am comforted by God’s presence. Finding my way back to God through prayer, meditation, and Bible study, God is near. While times are still difficult, I see God’s hand and am comforted by His provisions. I find myself wanting to rid myself of other gods (television is a big one) to spend more time with God. I can say that the closer I felt to God and more time I spent with Him, I found Satan attacking with great effort. I am praying my way through that and will not let Satan distract me. When I wake in the night with panic attacks, I begin quoting scripture, singing praise, and pray–soon I slip back to sleep soundly.
Much love to each of you…
1.Have you ever felt justified in choosing not to obey God? No I have not felt justified but I did move on and sin anyway.
2.If you were Jonah, what would you have done when God called, and why? I would have considered my options like Jonah did I think.
3.Are you comforted or discomforted by God’s presence right now? Why?
I am very comforted these days by God’s prescence. It seems as I have aged and have been through so much in life (bad choices) I have finally matured some and let Him into my life.
4.Have you had a time like Jonah when you didn’t want to sense God’s presence? If you are comfortable, please share your story of your downward spiral.
I did want to share God’s presence but at the time I selfishly wanted to marry and with that came much confusion. The man I chose presented many temptations and unfortunatly I went along with those to get what I wanted not what God wanted. That resulted in a chastening from God that left me without a job, turning away from the church and those trying to help me and an eventual breakdown. My earthly father did not give up as God did not and I was led here to get back to what I knew to be a right lifestyle. It saved me. This was much worse than I have described here.
1. I have felt justified at times not to apologize for bad behavior when convicted to because I felt the person wronged me first. It is sometimes hard to swallow my pride and be faithful when I have personally convicted someone when God may not have.
2. If I was Jonah I probably would have stayed in my home, locked the door, and over analyzed the situation. I seem to always try to make sense of a situation instead of acting on it.
3. It is always comforting to know God is near but I feel as if I am always getting convicted on something. I pray that someday I can just be obedient and learn from the lessons he has taught me.
Right now, I am not going to church regularly. I make excuses and justify it by telling myself that I am too tired and that I’m not getting fed because everyone is too liberal. 🙁
I hear your Joeanna. Been there, done that, for sure.
I used to make excuses for not going to church. The one I used was the one that many people use, “I don’t need to be in a building with other people to hear the Word of God. I can just sit down and read my Bible at home.” HA! Not! I had good intentions but I slowly found myself “too busy” to read my Bible—oh, I’d read it. I used the dartboard method, you know, you throw some darts at the board to see if they stick. I’d say to myself, “I’ll open the Bible and point to a couple of verses and see if they apply to me.” When I thought they didn’t, I’d move on.
However, I stopped by the Lifeway store one day. They had a leather Bible on sale, with wide margins and large print. Just right for making notes. The only one they had. I bought it, along with the sticky index tabs for each book. After I took the time to carefully place the index tabs, I challenged myself to make my purchase worth it. I started to read my Bible on a more serious level–with more purpose, more frequently and for longer periods of time. I did that for months and months. That’s when I started missing being in a church to hear the Word from someone called by God. (Of course, I know it was God telling me the direction I should go…)
My husband and I started our search. We went to quite a few different churches, then I reconnected with a friend I’d known since elementary school. Her husband was a pastor at a very small church. I got sick and was hospitalized and she helped me through that. Soon after, we started attending that church. I thank God every day for moving me in that direction.
Just start searching–if you’re by yourself, it’s hard but just do it, eventually, you’ll find just the place God wants you to be.
I’ll pray that God will lead you to a fulfilling church where you won’t want to make excuses. ;o)
Thank You Sue, I needed that.
This is a help question. Thanks. I am having trouble with the navigation tools’ I do not seem to know or understand what she wants. Can you please calcify this for me? Thank so much. Have a wonderful day. Blessing to you.
The navigation tools at the end of the chapter are a summary of what you learned for each daily lesson. For example, here is what I wrote week one (page 31)
Day 1-Prepare to be interrupted.
Day 2-Partner with God.
Day 3-Accept the divine Intervention 100%.
Day 4-Be a manager not an owner.
Day 5-Do not listen to emotions, listen to Jesus.
If I were Jonah and God called me, I could look to my navigation list for guidance on how to respond.
Thanks for the help again. I am still trying to type with a broken on my left hand. Takes extra time to do some things. Blessing to you and your family.
1. I wasn’t impressed with the kids sunday school at our church – renovations were going on, teachers didn’t appear equipped. I knew that that was the church for us and yet I brought my daughter to other sundays schools to “try out” because they looked more dynamic. I felt justified because it was “for my daughter’s own good”… but it wasn’t really. Finally I went back to our church and stayed put there, and peace returned to our home.
2. Stay put and carry on with life and hope that God will send someone else. I’m still doing His work for His people right? Denial.
3. Comforted. I know that He provides for His children. We see God working even in difficult circumstances.
4. At the end of college, I had a relationship with non-believer even though i knew that is wasn’t the right thing to do. Then it became a long distance relationship and I still hung on and tried to visit him when everything in my head said NO, STOP IT. It was one of those “i have to know for myself that this won’t work” trip. During the visit my mom called, she had a strange dream that I was in trouble – I assured her that I was ok and i lied about where I was. I was disobediet to God and did not honour my parents. I had no peace the whole time. It ended with empty promises that I knew for sure would come to no good end. I went home and we never spoke after that.
Your answer to #2 hit home with me…wow. Thanks for sharing!
1) No. I question Him sometimes before and/or after a choice, but I pretty much know that He is always right, no matter what I think is right or wrong. I’m just a rebellious child 🙂
2) Pretend to make changes in hopes of fooling everyone, even though I know that I can’t fool God.
3) Comforting. I know that through everything He is there-makes me want to do better, to please Him. He is my accountability partner in life 🙂
4) I remember when I was trying to quit smoking (BEEN SMOKE-FREE FOR OVER A YEAR NOW). I would lie about it in the beginning…buy and hide cigarettes, spray perfume in hopes of covering the smell, bum cigarettes off of people…I lied about buying them, lied about smoking them, hid to smoke them. It was a definite struggle at first, but with God and my family I got through it!
1.Have you ever felt justified in choosing not to obey God? (page 38)
I think that everytime God has asked me to obey, I’ve initially tried to find justification in not doing it…work, family, husband, finances, location, insecurity.
2.If you were Jonah, what would you have done when God called, and why?(page 39)
I would not have physically picked up and ran. But what’s the difference? I can just as easily throw up a spiritual wall and pretend God isn’t on the other side waiting.
3.Are you comforted or discomforted by God’s presence right now? Why? (page 42)
I have been through some very rough storms. Storms from the LORD. During those times, I was very uncomfortable in God’s presence because I knew htat it meant putting a mirror into my soul and taking inventory of my mess. Now, after returning to God and floating in His Grace and Restoration, I crave the presence of God. the peace it brings. Even when my world is shaky.
4.Have you had a time like Jonah when you didn’t want to sense God’s presence? If you are comfortable, please share your story of your downward spiral listed on page 43.
I was in a marriage that was on a downward spiral. I was working feverishly trying to keep ahead financially, only to wstch my husband & I buy our way out of our unhappiness. I cursed God for “allowing” this to happen to me, a Christian. I refused to act on my marriage. I refused to look at my actions. We both finally hit bottom. I literally laid myself before God, pouring out all of my hurt, anger, sadness, and frustrations. God was there before I could finish. He picked me up, brought a miracle into our relationship, and restored our marriage.
Praise God for His Faithfulness to us. Even when we have nothing left…
This is really a great study!
#2- I would have hopped in my chariot and headed to a friends house in a neighboring town. I need someone to verify this is right to do. Something that big is to big for me to trust. Yikes….
#3- Currently I am in discomfort. God is trying to get our attention and he is doing it financially.
#4- I am notorious for getting mad at someone and not resolving it right away. Then it leads into a worst situation then it is a flat out war and all it was originally was a stupid fight. I believe the enemy comes in and throws everything out of sorts and uses my ability to NOT resolve to detour me from the lord wants me to do. This is a huge deal for me to realize!
I can totally relate to getting mad at someone and not resolving the problem. We need to pray and ask for strength and wisdom to not let this happen. I so do not like confrontations.. I am not good at that at all… but if something takes the place of our thoughts we need to take action.
I am a little behind, I had the done the lesson and forgot to post my answers last week. I am still trying to remember to put the answers as need on to the website/blog as soon as I can.
1. No. Because God has been good to me & my husband. I know he hears my prayers. Don’t give me everything that I ask for, but I know that is okay.
2. I would be scared just as he was. Jonah was scared. In addition, to help people out he was worried
3. Comforting. Knowing that he is there no matter what he is there for all of us.
4. No, maybe. I am think one of the bad decision was when their was something that when wrong a long time ago.
1 Have you ever felt justified in choosing not to obey God? (page 38) No
2 If you were Jonah, what would you have done when God called, and why?(page 39) I would obey because God our father and as his children We need to listen and do what our parents tells us.
3 Are you comforted or discomforted by God’s presence right now? Why? (page 42) comforted because i know he is right here with me
4 Have you had a time like Jonah when you didn’t want to sense God’s presence? If you are comfortable, please share your story of your downward spiral listed on page 43 When i was in my 20’s I was pregnant My family went and did everything they could do to stop me from having my baby. Well they got their wish. When i lost my baby I blamed God as well as my family. Cause at that time i didnt understand why God didnt protect me or my baby from the hurt. Well since then i asked forgiveness from our lord and followed Him closer then ever. I know It wasnt his fault. I know my baby is with Him.
Have you ever felt justified in choosing not to obey God? (page 38)
~no because I know that he his with me and my prayers and he knows I am doing well for my son, my husband and work.
If you were Jonah, what would you have done when God called, and why?(page 39)
~I would have listened to God and took on his task.
Are you comforted or discomforted by God’s presence right now? Why? (page 42)
~I know that but have not figured out if he is present with me all the time but i have been getting dreams since I have started this journey with him.
Have you had a time like Jonah when you didn’t want to sense God’s presence?
Probably when I was making poor choices in my past. and not believing he was there.
If you are comfortable, please share your story of your downward spiral listed on page 43.
Will you be post your Navigataional Skill for each week. You listed week one, will you start with week 2 and continue as the study does?
I’ll post them Lisa, thanks for asking this. By posting them, the Lord is revealing to me where He wants my focus. Great reminder.
Thank! I’ll look forward to them!
My Navigation Tools from Week 2 (they will be different than yours):
~Do not delay obedience.
~Do not run when God calls.
~Do not give in to temptation.
~Do not ignore God.
~Always expect God’s goodness, even in my rebellion.
1. I wanted a roll of wrapping paper and I really felt like I was suppost to go home but I went to the store anyway and when I came out someone had broken my car window and stoll my coat out of the car… hhhhmmmm I should have listened 🙁
2. I want to say that I would have obeyed Gods command but if I really didnt want to see the Ninevah croud, I would have ran the other direction because that is what I do now at certain times. I run from my problems Until I have not choice but to face them… Wow.. a little eye opening for me.
3.. I have been very comforted with Gods presence because I am trying to get a bible study going at our church and I believe Gods hand is in every move that I have been going through. I have been praying for gods hand and I now that he has showed up.
God Bless all of the ladies doing this study.. I have really been enjoying it even though I am at the end of the pack.