On Discipline and Repentance

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A few of my favorite quotes from “Jonah: Navigating a Life Interrupted”, homework from week 3, with Priscilla Shirer:

“Adversity is redemptive, not punitive.”

“Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.  No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” – Hebrews 12:10-11

On the heart:

“Whether or not Jonah knew God was never the concern.  Clearly he was well acquainted with God.  He could discern the leading of God.  Yet Jonah had a problem agreeing with God and changing his mind, attitude, and actions to comply with God.  His heart was out of alignment with the heart of God.”

On repentance:

“Jonah still did not desire to go to Ninevah… Repentance doesn’t necessarily require that your feelings have changed about what God is asking you to do… Repentance means that you are willing, despite those feelings, to put it aside and stop travelling the wrong way.  True repentance requires a change in direction.”

 

Disciplined for Running Away?

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A few of my favorite quotes from “Jonah: Navigating a Life Interrupted”, homework from week 2, with Priscilla Shirer:

A simple choice:

“There’s no gray area in obeying God either, you know.  When God speaks or allows you to see His hand, giving you the opportunity to participate in His purposes, you don’t have an array of options to choose from… It’s clear-cut, plain and simple.  You can either choose to obey or choose to disobey.  No neutral ground.  Choosing to do “nothing” is really a decision to delay obedience – and the word for delayed obedience? Disobedience.” (p.35)

On running away:

Sometimes we literally run from God, like Jonah did.  But more often we are “running away on the inside”.  We are more like Israel than we care to admit:  “The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me consists of tradition learned by rote.” Isaiah 29:13  “Our fathers were unwilling to be obedient to Him, but repudiated Him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt.” Acts 7:39

On the Sin Cycle:Wrong-Way-Sign-K-6172

“It wasn’t this bad in the beginning… If only I’d known where those first bad decisions would have led me, maybe I would have chosen differently.” (p.43)

Then suddenly we stand with Jonah, with David after his adultery with Bathsheba and murder of Uriah, with the prodigal son and we ask – How did I get to here?!  What happened that brought me to this ugly place?!

That’s our wake-up call!  God is so gracious that He reaches down and shakes us sometimes – WAKE UP!  You’re going the wrong way!

How did you get there?  The answer lies in our very first decision to disobey, to ignore, to allow something that should never have been…

“Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.” James 1:14-15

The decisions you are making today will impact your tomorrows.  How you choose to respond to God’s leading right now will determine how your future unfolds. (p.46)  “Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God and receive His approval.” Romans 6:16

On the Lord’s discipline:

The Lord’s discipline in your life is a sign of His relationship with you.  Those whom He loves, He disciplines. “I will punish their sin with the rod, their iniquity with flogging; but I will not take my love from him, nor will I ever betray my faithfulness.” Psalm 89:32-33

The conviction of the Lord is never to condemn us, but always seeks to restore us to a right relationship with Him.  Indeed, He waits for us to return like the father of the prodigal son… “Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!” Isaiah 30:18

“Do you think a season of your life held wasted years with no redeeming qualities?  God can use anything.  He’s the Master of taking the bits and pieces of our leftovers and making something amazing out of it… for His glory.” (p.53)

Amen.

As a side note, I keep thinking of Les Miserables.  Jean Valjean’s choice to steal a loaf of bread sent him to prison and into a downward spiral he certainly never imagined.  The graciousness of the priest who gave him the silver was a chance for personal redemption.  Valjean grasps this opportunity and makes the choice (and keeps making choices) to live differently, righteously, correctly, for others.  It’s a beautiful picture of the horrors and unknowns of the sin cycle and the challenges and joys of redemption – don’t miss it.

Interruptions, Invitations, and Eternal Significance

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A few of my favorite quotes from “Jonah: Navigating a Life Interrupted”, homework from week 1, with Priscilla Shirer:Jonah

…what he considered an interruption was really an invitation to participate in [God’s plan]… (p.12)

God doesn’t need us to complete His purposes, yet He still chooses to ask us to partner with Him… You are the one He has singled out as His partner for a particular project. (p.17)

…the most eternally significant part of Jonah’s life comes after God interrupted. (p.18)

…they could only leave a lasting imprint to the extent that they chose to yield to and follow God. (p.19)

The mark you make and your eternal significance will be found in yielding to the divine intervention God sends your way.  … Your story begins with God’s call.  It is not your legacy or lack thereof that makes you significant.  It is God’s call and your willingness to obey it. (p.22)

“Blessed are those who hear the word of the Lord and obey it.” – Luke 11:28

You were created with specific intention and recreated at the moment of your salvation with specific attention to detail so that you would be equipped to walk in the plans God mapped out for you long ago.  You cannot reach complete satisfaction in life apart from your decision to engage in His predetermined plans.  For Jonah and us, this means giving Him the position of prominence in our lives and restructuring our plans so that we can partner with Him. (p.27)

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” – Eph 2:10