In the sixth and final week of Jonah: Navigating a Life Interrupted by Priscilla Shirer we are hit with possibly the hardest idea for a Christian to absorb, and that is our behavior when things do not go as we had hoped or planned. As Priscilla noted, we plan things out and just ask God for His blessing on them. We feel that what we want to do for God should be good enough. One of the main reasons for this is personal comfort.
We do not like to do things that make us uncomfortable, so we seek out things that are within that realm, even though they may not be what God has called us to do. When things do not go our way, we get angry and throw a fit. God often likes to get us out of our box because then, His glory can be seen. When we do things that are beyond us, it is not us; it’s God. We need to stop throwing fits and be happy that He has chosen lowly, sinful to use in this world for His plan and His glory.
Things are going to happen in life that we do not like. We may hurt, or we may feel like we are missing out. We may never know this side of Heaven as to why God allows some of these things to occur. We can only cry out to Him and trust that He has our best interests at heart because He does. God loves you and wants you to be happy. The thing is, He is the one that knows what will truly be best for us in the end. We just need to trust His divine plan.
No matter what happens, God is still on the throne. He always has been, and always will be. I loved this quote from Priscilla Shirer concerning the ending of her prayers, “Do what I’ve asked you to do, or do something better.” I pray that becomes your heart and prayer as well. Trust God in all things, not just the things you want. He will work all things for His good (Romans 8:28). He will do grand things with a woman yielded to God.
You can’t play games with God and expect to win. -Priscilla Shirer
Week five of Jonah: Navigating a Life Interrupted by Priscilla Shirer is certainly one that makes us think. It should make us prayerfully take a look at our own lives to see if we are obeying God, even in the seemingly small things. As I watched the video and worked through the material, I felt God pressing on me the urgency of this message.
God does not look for perfect people that can handle things on their own. If that was the case, we would all be in big trouble. God looks for people who are willing to be obedient in both the large and small things. When God has someone obedient, He works supernaturally to do great miracles! It is God’s grace and power that should be seen in a situation, not ours.
God allows us to be in seemingly impossible circumstances facing impossible challenges. Not because He wants to hurt us or watch us fail. It is the opposite. He wants to use our weakness and our messes for His glory! Isn’t that an incredible thought? That Divine Interruption you are facing; God will use it. His power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Cor. 12:9). All He asks is that you are obedient. When other people see God’s power in us and through us, it is an amazing testimony of God. I pray this week that you will seek God and ask for His help so that His power will be made perfect in your weakness. Let your life be a living testimony!
My insecurities don’t absolve me of responsibility. -Priscilla Shirer
Week four in Jonah: Navigating a Life Interrupted by Priscilla Shirer, closely follows on the heels of last week’s study where we looked at the messes we make when we stray from God’s plan, and how He can use it for His glory. While God loves us no matter what, His desire for us is obedience. Sometimes that means doing something we do not want to do, other times it means waiting for His timing. Neither is easy, and we often seek to take matters into our own hands, much like Jonah did. We often end up with the same result.
While we may not be swallowed by a fish, we end up in situations that are not good for us, and God rescues us. He still wants us to be obedient and do what He has called us to do. Before we can do that though, our hearts must be transformed and we must be willing to obey. Once we are, God will send us out on the path He has called us to. We will not be going alone, but with the Holy Spirit.
Nothing we face is too great or difficult because He is empowering us. We should never do things on our own, but through the power of the Holy Spirit so God alone gets the glory. I do not want people looking at what I have done. I want them to stand back from something and say, “Wow! Look what God has done! ” He alone!
When we choose to meander on our own paths, and seek out our own ways, God is not finished with us. He will be there waiting when we are ready to come back and do what He has asked. He will offer his never-ending grace and forgiveness. Just be ready to be obedient, as that is what He truly wants.
Instead of writing more for you to read, I really feel the Lord is asking us to spend some extra time searching our hearts for areas of disobedience. If you find some, go to Him in prayer. He is waiting to take you in His arms, clean up the scrapes and bruises, and set you back on the journey He has called you to. If you know He is calling you to something, spend time in prayer and commit to it. He loves you unconditionally and more than you can imagine. Go to Him, and embrace your Divine Intervention.
In audio session four, Priscilla recommends reading the book by Iris Blue. The book is called Iris: Trophy of Grace
God gave the Spirit to the disciples as an internal compass to help them find their way. -Priscilla Shirer
Assignment For Next Week
Read Week Five, pages 105-125 in the workbook
Listen to the Session Five Audio (optional)
OR…Listen to the Session Five Video (optional)
On page 89 Priscilla asks you to write a letter of your second chance story. If you’d like to share it here with the group, email usand we’ll post it for you.
In our third week of Jonah: Navigating a Life Interrupted by Priscilla Shirer, we look at what happens when one disobeys God and allows her life to get off track. Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh. Even worse, he did not want the Ninevites to experience God’s redeeming love and grace. He judged them and declared them guilty with no means for restitution. God saw them through a different light and knew they would repent and radically change their lives to serve Him.
Jonah wanted no part of it, so he ran away not giving a thought to God’s plan or what he may encounter. I doubt Jonah would have counted on being tossed overboard on a ship during a storm and being swallowed by a fish. That is what is so amazing about God. Often, when He moves, it is in such a way that one cannot doubt that it is Him.
That is what happened to Jonah. When the storm raged, he knew it was because he disobeyed God, and told the sailors to throw him overboard to calm the seas. They did just that, but instead of drowning, he was swallowed by a fish. Clearly, God moved in this situation to save His servant. Jonah still suffered consequences for his actions, but God saved him. Seeing that, he immediately prayed to the Lord. At that moment, he submitted to God and His plan, even though he did not like it.
We do the same thing as Jonah. We mess up. We seek out our path because it looks good, feels good, or seems easier. Sometimes, we think we are doing it for God. In those moments, we can be so busy trying to work for God that we forget to seek Him to join Him in what He was planning. We do our work and ask for His blessing instead of asking Him to bless us with His work. Life just works better when we are on the path that God has called us to, doing the tasks that He has told us to.
When we fail to follow God’s plan, things can become a mess. We screw up and hit rock bottom thinking that there is no way that God can use us now. It is in those times that God sometimes uses us the most. Priscilla Shirer says this in the video, “God can take the biggest mess and turn it into the greatest miracle.” It is when people see His hand that He gets the glory. God gives us this promise:
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Our mess becomes His miracle. I am a walking testimony to that. I got so busy doing things for God that I did not even stop to consider what He wanted. After a series of events that tore all of my security out from under me, He was the only one I could turn to, and I cried out to Him. The days I lived in darkness before coming to Him were some of the worst days of my life. While I would never want to go through them again, I can see how God has used them for His glory. He has restored my heart and has given me a clear vision for ministry. The hurts I faced in those days are being used to minister to other women who are walking the same path. God will make good from what was meant as evil.
Are you currently walking down a path that you chose to get away from God’s call? Have you recently experienced a Divine Interruption? If you have, it is not too late. Cry out to God in prayer. Ask Him to help you turn from your ways and align yourself with His. No matter how far in the depths you feel, God can and will redeem you. There may be discipline, but it is for your good and His glory. Walk with Him. It is the sweetest walk you can take.
True repentance requires a change in direction. -Priscilla Shirer
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