Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Admitting Our Mistakes, Accepting Our Discipline, and Turning Back to God

We are now in week three of our ladies Bible study series.  If you are just joining me on this journey, we are studying through Jonah:  Navigating a Life Interrupted by Priscilla Shirer.  To protect her copyright, I don't do the entire study here on the blog.  I only give short weekly summaries of a few of the things I learn as I go through the study with a group of ladies at my church.  You'll get a taste of Priscilla's wisdom as she teaches truth straight from the Bible.  I highly recommend that you go through this study with a group, but you can do it on your own at home if that is best for you.  You'll find it here.

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Image Credit:  Azgan Mjeshtri - Public Domain Image via Freely Photos

A few highlights from this week:
We easily become paralyzed by fear or guilt when our lives seem to whirl out of control.  A glimpse at our lives with all their spinning parts can make us dizzy with disgust at the mess we may have made.  It is easier to just sit, soak, and be sour.  That's what the enemy would like.  He'd prefer we get lazy, complacent, and apathetic with distance between ourselves and God's best.  But if, like the sailors, we see the connection between our chaotic circumstances and our own decisions, we must ask, now what? - Priscilla Shirer
When things go wrong, it's easy to blame others and make excuses for our actions.  It is important that we admit our sin and take responsibility for our mistakes.

Once we have admitted our sin, we need to be prepared to accept our discipline.  
God allows reproof and correction as a sign of His love for us and His intention to use us.  Divine discipline, reproof, and correction indicate that we have a relationship with Him.  Make no mistake about it.  His discipline has a method and specific design. His goal is to revive us so that He can realign.  - Priscilla Shirer

The discipline God allowed was not meant to punish Jonah.  It was meant to prepare him. - Priscilla Shirer
 On this particular day in this study, I learned something new.  I've been reading about Jonah since I was a toddler, but here is something I've never thought about before.  I always thought of Jonah's predicament inside the big fish was God's punishment for Jonah's disobedience.  Here, Priscilla brings to our attention that God did not allow the fish to swallow Jonah as a punishment for him.  Instead, the fish was sent to protect Jonah from the raging waters where he would have otherwise perished.

God's discipline is not meant to harm us but to protect us.

We have talked about admitting our sin and accepting our discipline.  Now we must turn back to God. 
Men, why are you doing these things?  We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the gospel to you that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, Who made the Heaven and the Earth and the sea and all that is in them. - Acts 14:15
Here is some great news.  God can and will completely forgive you.  He is a God of second chances and I, for one, and so very thankful for this truth.
First John 1:9 says that our God is faithful and and He will forgive, no matter how far off track you may have gone, how far you may have run, or how much time you may have lost.  He's willing to take the old and replace it with the grand newness of life in Him. We don't have to go one more day or even take one more step with the shame of yesterday's choices and unwise decisions weighing us down.  He was willing to honor Jonah's desire to yield despite past failure, and He is willing to honor ours as well. - Priscilla Shirer
Our God is a faithful God.

One last thing I want to highlight in this section before I leave you for today is Jonah's attitude inside the belly of the big fish.  I imagine that Jonah had no way of knowing just yet how all this would turn out for him.  Yet, he was praying the scriptures in his darkest hours.  
Friend, no prayer is more effective than the one that finds its roots in the pages of God's Word. - Priscilla Shirer
Next week we are talking about those second chances so stay tuned.

You'll find all my posts about this Bible study here.

You will find all you need to complete this study on Jonah by Priscilla Shirer here.

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