Wednesday, April 14, 2021


Part 1
Jack Davis

“The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD. All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits. Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established” – Proverbs 16:1-3

Divine preparations in believers are for the fulfillment of  God’s purposes. He works all things after the counsel of His own will, that we may be to the praise of His glory. The word translated preparations here is speaking of arrangement, to set in a row, put in order, and also of mental disposition. We may misread people, and we do. We feel that we are often misunderstood, but not by our  God and Father, nor our Lord, or His Word. God’s scales are so sensitive and accurate beyond compare, by Him actions are weighed (I Sam. 2:3). Jesus can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, and His Word is the discerner of the thoughts and intents of our heart. Therefore who is better qualified to make the needed preparations in our heart? Why should we commit our works to less then Him for His approval?

“Lord, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear.” Ps. 10:17. It is interesting to consider the ways He uses to prepare human hearts, to receive that which He desires to impart. Oh, the wonder of it all. The experiences on our sojourn are to bring us hungering and thirsting to His table. There we are nourished and refreshed, and strengthened to go on our way rejoicing.

“PROVISIONS:” Elaborate provisions have been made for the prepared Person, Place, and People made ready by His preparation power. We read in the parable of the wedding feast, of the great gospel invitation that has gone out repeatedly to generation after generation. Each gets more urgent with each rejection. The king that made a marriage for His son sent forth servants, saying “Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatling are killed, and all things are ready: come to the marriage” – Mt. 22:4. After their neglect and rejection we read, “Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy” - Mt. 22:8. 

Reading here of the slain animals for the feast, we get the picture of Jesus Christ, God’s Lamb as the whole bill of fair for us. He is the prepared person, and in Him, God makes all things available to us (Rom. 8:31-32). “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:  …Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God…the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” – Heb. 10:4-6,9-10.

“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies” Ps. 23:5. I have read that the shepherd, before bringing his sheep up to a plateau for grazing would clear the table land of all dangerous conditions as much as possible. He would take out many of the stones, and harmful weeds, and prepare for the approach of preeditors. The gardener would prepare his garden for planting. The bridegroom would make ready a dwelling for His bride before going after her for the wedding. Jesus said to those that would believe on him, “I go to prepare a place for you” – John. 14:2.

John the Baptist was sent to prepare Israel for Jesus’ first advent. The  prophecy of John’s birth said, “And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins” – Lk. 1:16-17,76-77.

We know of two that were ready for Jesus first coming, Simeon and Anna. Simeon being led of the Spirit came to the temple and took the baby Jesus up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord thou hast prepared before the face of all people” – Lk. 2:29-31. Later we read of John fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah saying, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth, And all flesh shall see the salvation of God” – Lk. 3:4-6.

With all the extensive detail that God gave in foretelling the birth of His Son, we find the sad note that most of Israel was ignorant of His coming. He found no room in the Inn. He is certainally denied place in many a heart and home today, and even in many so-called houses of God. Oh, let us give him the uppermost room in our hearts and lives today. As Jesus Christ dwells in our hearts by faith, He will fill whatever capacity we allow to be prepared for Him.

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God” – I Cor. 2:9-10. 

What things? Who knows? Who cares to know? It is certainly not the dull hearted, that close their eyes to revelation, and reality, stop their ears from heeding the rightly divided Word of truth. To hear and not heed tends to dull ones hearing, and thus deaden their hearts. This is willful ignorance.

It is so very important to our Father that we know the things he has freely given. He would have them recognized, and realized. These which were before a mystery, and now spoken by Paul to be understood, acknowledged, and experienced. That which God has prepared for us is not perceived by the natural man, nor the natural senses. These marvelous provisions are discernable only by the revelation of the Spirit. As the Holy Spirit searches out for us the depths of God, He is making us partakers of the mind of Christ.

To be continued in the next issue


Anita Clark – Pastor, 
Carbondale, Kansas

“The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?  The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even my enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.  Though a host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this I am confident.  One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD and to enquire in His temple. For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion: in the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me; He shall set me up upon a Rock.”  Psalms 27:1- 5.

The word “salvation” in the Hebrew means, “liberty, safety, and deliverance.” This is exactly what the Lord does for us, when we call upon Him for help.  The word, “fear” found here means, “dread, and to frighten.”  This is exactly what Satan, our enemy who is on the prowl, trying to do to every child of God.  We are living in “perilous times,” of stress and disease.   Many churches have been closed, and upon gathering together again, find that some sheep have wandered astray, not interested in assembling together in meetings as before. Isaiah 59:19 says, “...when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard (high place) against him.”  The “enemy” is Satan and his imps.  Satan - the discourager, and the destroyer. We have victory over him through our Lord Jesus Christ.

In Psalms 23:4, David the shepherd, speaks, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.” Note: not our rod and staff, but His.  He is the one Who fights our battles for us.  Right now, we hear almost everyday about the Covid virus and the numbers who have died. It can put fear in our hearts. But, whose in charge of our lives? Not Satan not Covid, not the government.  Romans 8:28 stands out very strongly, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to His purpose.”  

Our heavenly Father is watching over us continually.  “Nothing happens to me today, nothing good, nothing bad without passing through the Father’s hands.”  I am not saying we should go against the laws of the land, but I am saying that God is faithful and will not let anything harm us outside His perfect will for us. So, we need not fear.  Fear is not faith!  David says, “I will fear no evil.”  This word means “frightened, and dread.” Why is this possible?  Because, “Thou art with me.”

Isaiah 41:10 is so empowering, “Fear thou not for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”  The word, “strengthen” in the Hebrew means, “to physically or mentally establish, fortify or increase and make strong.” In Isaiah 41:13, It says, “For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand saying, unto thee, Fear not, I will help thee.”  Psalms 98: 1 says, “O sing unto the LORD a new song, for He has done marvelous things; His right hand and His holy arm has gotten Him the victory.”

In II Timothy 1:7, Apostle Paul says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and love, and of a sound mind.”  This word used here as “fear’ particularly means “timidity.”

Paul was admonishing Timothy to not be ashamed of the testimony of the Lord, but be a “partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God.”  Remember, in this book, Paul tells that he is now ready to be offered, and he was. (II Tim. 4:6-8).  He wants Timothy to be strong and continue to preach after he is gone. However, as we think of the days we live in, we realize there is much to be afraid of.  But, Faith is the opposite of fear.  If we truly have faith, we will rest and not be afraid.  Faith comes by the hearing and the reading of the Word of God.  If we are walking around scared all the time, we are not manifesting “faith” which God wants in our lives. Experiences of life which are tough builds our faith, as we trust and see that all things do work together for our good.  In Romans 10:17, It says, “So then, faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”


I John 4:16-18, “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us, God is love and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God and God in him.  Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world.  There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”   The word used here “fear” means in the Greek, “alarm, fright, terror.” The word perfect in the Greek means, “complete, of full age, maturity in love, or to bring to the utmost point or degree.” This speaks of maturity in our love for Christ and God the Father.  Learning to love the Lord in this way takes time, growth, obedience.  It comes by dedication to God and His Word. Worrying and having fear shows a lack of spiritual maturity.  Remember, when we were children and we were afraid, and our mother or father would console us and tell us things were alright.  Now, that we are grown, where do we find our solace, and comfort when fears arise?  I hope that you know.

Revelation 2:10 is speaking of the church of Smyrna, who represent those overcomers who die, and are waiting for the resurrection, when Christ comes to claim His bride. It says, “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold , the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; ... be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee the crown of life.”  Apostle Paul is in this group as well as many, many others.  We are admonished not to FEAR.   How is that possible?  Only with the Lord’s help.  Think of the martyrs who gave up their lives, with such faith, not even fighting back.

In Revelation 3:21, it tells of the overcomer’s reward, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in His throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”


By - Virgil Crook
Part 1 of 2

“Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have NEED OF PATIENCE, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.” Hebrews 10:35-36.

Speaking briefly on the subject on which everybody is an expert. And that is PATIENCE. Nearly everybody is an expert on patience. Isn’t that right? I  heard a young person say one time that he had learned patience. Look at what he said. “I have learned patience.” What do you think? Can we really truthfully say that we have learned patience? Or is it perhaps a little wiser to say “I am learning patience,” whether you are ten years old or 110.  I believe when we analyze it that we really have to say, “I am learning patience.” 

I believe that as long as we are in this life we are still learning patience. I know there comes a time when we learn a lot of things and perhaps we know HOW to learn patience. What happens is that we learn patience in one area of our life. That may be true. Perhaps we can say that as far as one area of our life is concerned or even perhaps several areas of our life. Perhaps we can say I have learned it in ‘this particular thing.’ What about other areas of our lives? 

Notice how the Apostle Paul states it here, “For ye have need of Patience...” Now in the natural there are some people who are really naturally patient. This is part of their makeup: they are patient. But that is only a natural patience. And that patience, one day, will come to an end. Sooner or later, even a patient person loses their patience. You know, by your own experience, there comes a time when that patience just seems to end. But what God wants to work in our lives is divine patience, real patience, true patience; and we all have NEED of patience. Of course, as we know, that is the reason God allows difficulties in our lives.


Really, patience is an attitude of faith. Real patience expresses this attitude. “Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.” Ecclesiastes 7:8. Here we see the importance of patience. Perhaps the proud in spirit can do many things, but it is better to be patient in spirit. Look at two exam-ales in Psalms that David gives us. “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.” Psalm 37:7. You see we are so tempted to follow other examples and look at other people and see the seeming success they have, without really considering what God’s ways are. 

The Psalmist exhorts us to “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for him.” Let Him do the work and that takes patience. In the natural it takes a lot of patience to raise children, for instance. Especially when they are just beginning to learn to do things, such as putting on their shoes, dressing themselves. You know you can do it a lot faster, couldn’t you? Well, that is the way it is also in the spiritual sense. We think that we can do it faster, do it better, but the Word exhorts us, from cover to cover, I believe: to ‘wait patiently’ for Him. You might think you can do better but in the Final analysis that is not true.


God is the One who can really do things right. We cannot do anything right; as human beings in a spiritual sense, we cannot do anything right. We may feel like that a lot of times. We have all had days like that when nothing went right. That is the way it is every day, really, in the spiritual realm. We need to learn to rest in the Lord. Wait for Him patiently. “Fret not thyself because of him who prospers in the way.” 

How often is that the case in our lives. We see how somebody else, by some unscrupulous means or some other source, prospers and we are not prospering. Well, wait patiently on the Lord and He will do it. He will do it His way and there won’t be any sorrow. When God does it His way there is no sorrow, but when we do it our way we may seemingly succeed, but then later there is a sorrow.


“I waited patiently for the Lord, and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry” - Psalm 40:1. This is David’s experience. I waited for the Lord! The Lord is so patient with us. Have you ever thought about that, how patient the Lord is with us? Then why can’t we be patient with Him? But we are not too patient sometimes. We want God to hurry up, to do it our way, do it quickly. God has patience with us and we should have patience with Him. David said, “I waited patiently on the Lord.” Instead of taking things into his own hands he waited patiently for the Lord. That way the Lord works it out right.

As we said, patience is really an attitude of faith. Nothing is happening on the outside. At least nothing appears to be happening, and yet you know that God is going to do it. That is FAITH! And that Is PATIENCE! Impatience is simply the works of our own flesh, strength. How many things do we do in our own strength? 

I think of the time that the disciples of Christ were out on the water and they were trying to row hard to get to where they wanted to go. They were sweating and toiling. They were doing it in their own strength. Jesus was watching, then, walking on the water, came into the boat and all was calm. Many other experiences we could relate of the disciples: the time they were trying to catch fish. They fished all night: they put the net to the left, to the right, trying all kinds of different ways and nothing was happening. In the morning when Jesus came, He said, just put your net over here on the RIGHT side and you can catch all the fish you want. And how simple it was, and how often is that an example of our experience? We toil and we sweat and we try but it is just our own effort and nothing comes of it. We realize that there is only one way for patience to come.

Part 2 in May issue – The Way To Obtain.


Earlene Davis
DANIEL 7 – Part 3

V. 11, “I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.” Daniel hears the voice of the little horn (the Antichrist) that had plucked up 3 or the 10 horns (V. 8). There are 2 phases of the Antichrist’s coming. Verse 8 speaks of the first phase, he will not come at first as a world dictator, but as a man. But in this verse (V. 11) he has become a beast. Reference is made again to the great words he speaks. No doubt he will be a great orator and this is how he will come to prominence instead of skill in battle or strength. He will speak great words of peace and bring nations together (Rev. 13:5). Then he will change wanting to rule the world and so he will for a short period, but then will come his end (Rev. 19:20). His body will be destroyed, and his soul shall be in torment in the lake of fire for ever.

V. 12, “As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.” They no longer ruled.

Vs. 13-14, “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” This agrees with Revelation chapters 4 & 5. Christ as the Creator, crowned with glory and honor (Rev. 4:11); and as the Redeemer (Rev. 5:9-10). The Ancient of days is Christ viewed as God Almighty. It was as the Son of man that He became our Redeemer. In Rev. 5:6 He is seen as a little lamb as it had been slain yet standing. It is because of His redemptive work that dominion will be given to Him of all people, nations and languages. His kingdom shall not pass away nor be destroyed. This shall come to pass, it is God’s word.

Vs. 15-16, “I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me. I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things.” Daniel knew what to do when he was grieved, he sought to know God’s word. God gave him the revelation and so will He open up our understanding when we seek Him. A ministering angel made Daniel to know.

Vs. 17-18, “These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.” Earthly dominion of the Gentiles will be over and the remnant of Israel are the saints that will come into a place of supremacy and the Lord Himself on the throne as their King. 

The interpretation of the new-comer among the horns, is the Antichrist; who will speak cunningly until he gets his prey under him and then he will pounce on them as a beast on his prey. 

Vs. 19-27, “Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet; And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that speak very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows. I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.  And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.” 

We learn more about this in the book of Revelation, which we will get to in time. The Antichrist will turn on Israel after he gets them to sign a peace treaty. He will be allowed to prevail against them, but this war on the saints is limited. It only continues until the Ancient of days makes His appearance. Then the  remnant of Israel will prevail and judgment given to the saints of the Most High.

V. 28, “Hitherto is the end of the matter. As for me Daniel, my cogitations much troubled me, and my countenance changed in me: but I kept the matter in my heart.” It is clear to Daniel that God only recognizes 4 Gentile world empires, because the one that appears to be the fifth world empire is a counterfeit empire of Christ’s Kingdom. When Christ comes He will bring the remnant of Israel into the Kingdom promised to them in Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He will place them forever in power on the earth and He will reign over all the kingdoms of the world, as the only Potentate, King of kings and Lord of lords (I Tim. 6:15).

Closing comments: When the hour of God’s clock shall strike, Gentile times will be fulfilled and He will place His Son, the seed of Abraham and David upon His throne in the heavens, but the nations will rebel (Ps. 2). God will laugh at their puny efforts to prevent His plans and purposes. They may launch their counterfeit empire in rebellion against God’s decree and His  Son’s right to reign. But God shall have them in derision. He shall crown His King, His Son, Christ.

Dan. 7:25 gives a brief description of the second stage of Antichrist’s career. This terrible man of destiny is in control of the world, the devil giving him his place as God of this world (II Thess. 2:9). His great words are defiance especially against Christ as the Most High. He will vent his ire upon Israel and wear them out and attempt to change their times, feasts and laws. He desires tyrant authority over all men, even their consciences, religions and otherwise. He will rule a short time (31/2 years). God will allow him this time as judgment upon men for their rebellion against Him and His King. This will be a very heavy burden on all the world, but especially the Jewish people who will suffer unparalleled tribulation as their chastisement known as Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7). But out of Israel a remnant will be saved to suffer no more forever. Jesus said, it must be shortened or no flesh should be saved (Mt. 24:22). The “destroyer” of Israel would wipe them off the face of the earth, but God wont allow that. They will cry out to the living God for help and their Messiah, Jesus will arrive for their deliverance and the Antichrist’s destruction (Vs. 26-27). After the remnant receive their Messiah, He will bring them into the Promised Kingdom. They will be forever in power and Jesus Christ will reign over all the whole universe.


Debra Isenbletter, Pastor
Springfield, Missouri

Jonah Chapter 2 Introduction: Chapter 2 is unique, it is very personal. Jonah is the subject. In chapter 1 Jonah says very little and only when called upon to speak. In chapter 2 Jonah pours out his heart to God.  We see his suffering, his submission and his salvation. The key verse is: “Salvation is of the Lord.” (v9).  Jonah is not just seeing his own salvation but his cry also points to Nineveh’s salvation and our salvation. Salvation that is open to all who call upon the name of the Lord.  

Jonah’s experience and prayer is a type of Jesus and of Israel.  He is a type of Jesus in death and resurrection, and Jesus points this out in the New Testament. In contrast to Jonah, Jesus was an obedient servant and he suffered judgment not for his disobedience but because he took the place of disobedient man. The prayer of Jonah concerns his suffering and it is also a personal picture of the suffering of our Savior. Jonah is also a type of Israel, especially the remnant, in their suffering.  The waters and the fish picture death and the grave in connection to Jesus. The waters can also picture the Gentiles nations and the fish God’s provision in preserving and protecting them in the midst of the nations.  The cry for deliverance by Jonah will be the cry for deliverance by the remnant.

Scofield (Outline)

1. Jonah’s Prayer (2:1-9)

2. The Lord’s Answer (2:10)

Debra Isenbletter (Outline):  

1. Jonah’s Submission (v1-9)

2. Jonah’s Salvation (v10)

John Phillips: (Outline)—The Word with God (1:17-2:10)

Jonah’s Desperate Prayer (2:1-8)

1. What Jonah Reaped (2:1-6)

2. What Jonah Remembered (2:7)

3. What Jonah Realized (2:8)

Jonah’s Dying Promise (2:9-10)

1. His Surrender (2:9)

2. His Salvation (2:10)

Warren Wiersbe: (Outline)—God’s Mercy toward Jonah (2:1-10)

1. He hears his prayer (2:1-2)

2. He disciplines him (2:3)

3. He honors his faith (2:4-7)

4. He accepts his confession (2:8-9)

5. He restores his ministry (2:10)

Jonah 2:1: “Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish’s belly,” 

Matthew Henry makes four observations concerning chapter 2 of Jonah.  They are: 1. When he prayed; 2. Where he prayed; 3. To Whom he prayed; and 4. What he prayed. This reminds me of the 5 W’s of Journalism: Who, What, When, Where and Why.  In this chapter all of these questions are answered. Who Jonah prayed to: The Lord.  When Jonah prayed: After he was swallowed by the great fish.  Where Jonah prayed: In the belly of the great fish.  Why Jonah prayed: To be delivered.  The Lord would have us learn from Jonah and to see deeper truths in his experience. There is the literal answer and there is the spiritual answer.  There is the present answer and there is the future answer.  We see Jonah. We see Jesus.  We see ourselves. We see Israel.  All the Word of God is profitable and instructive to us.

We see When Jonah prayed.  “Then Jonah prayed…”  When is “Then,” and it is not immediately, it is not right away.  Jonah did not pray immediately but when he did pray, his answer was immediate because as soon as he finished, he was delivered. He did not pray when he was thrown overboard or when the fish swallowed him.  He did not pray until after “3 days and 3 nights,” that means he was silent the first day, the second and the third day. But when he prayed, he really prayed and what a prayer!  It does not matter that he waited and we find no criticism of Jonah for waiting. The Lord just waited patiently for him to pray and he waits just as patiently for us to pray.

We do not know why Jonah waited so long to pray.  He certainly expected death and he obviously accepted death.  He may have thought that he deserved to die. He may not have realized how much time went by.  He may have thought that death would free him from his responsibility as a prophet. We do not know. The important thing is that he did pray.  The Lord brought Jonah to the brink of death. He would see the reality of death and in the face of death would see the reality of grace. Though there was a delay, the Lord used that delay. He used it to teach Jonah and He used it to reach Jonah. He used it to fulfill a prophesy concerning His Son.  This is one of those instances where we see prophecy with a present fulfillment and a future fulfillment.  Just as it took “3 days and 3 nights” for Jonah to be delivered, it would take the same for Jesus to be delivered.  Jesus spoke of this. (Matthew 12:40).

Jonah “prayed” and this word means “to entreat, to make supplication.”  This is why I believe this prayer can be divided into Supplication and Salvation.  It is so simple.  We ask and the Lord delivers us. Jonah may have hesitated or may have doubted but when the time came he knew how to pray, he knew when to pray and he knew what to pray. He just had to be brought to a place of utter need and that need magnified the Lord’s power and glorified Him.  That is what the resurrection of Jesus did, it magnified and glorified our Heavenly Father, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He used unbelievable power to deliver His Son and His Son exercised unbelievable faith.  That same power is available to us today and we can exercise the same faith.  I want to emphasize that though it took a while for Jonah to pray, God accepted his prayer.  We all come to a place where we cry out in our need. For some, it takes a lot to bring this cry from their hearts. For others, it takes little, they cry out immediately.  Both cries are based on faith and the Lord hears each cry.

We see Who Jonah prayed to: “unto the Lord his God.” Jonah knew, despite his disobedience, he still had a relationship with his Lord and his God.  “Lord” is (Jehovah) who was “the self-existent, eternal one, who reveals himself;”  Who had revealed Himself to Jonah though judgment and Who would reveal Himself through mercy and grace. “God” (Elohim) is the “strong, mighty one”; there He will reveal His strength and might to Jonah.  The “Lord his God” would not let him go or let him die.

We see Where Jonah was when he prayed: “out of the fish’s belly.” This was a place he could not escape from.  It was a place of darkness, a place of death, a place of confinement, a place of suffering and yet it was a place of preservation. Jonah prayed from that place a prayer of faith because that place had also become a place of reflection, a place of examination and a place of truth.  A truth about himself. A truth about his faith. A truth about his calling. Jonah prayed “out of” the fish’s belly and faith brought him “out of” that terrible place.  Faith brings us “out of” and “into” a glorious place and it is the bitter experiences, the suffering that helps us to see that place.  Out of darkness, into light. Out of death into life.  Out of disobedience into obedience.  Out of weakness into strength.  Out of sin into righteousness. Out of law into grace.  Jonah came “out of” that place a different man, though he still had much to learn.

To be continued

 Psalm 23 

Part 3
By Vicky Moots

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou are with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.” Psalm 23

Psalm 23:3a: “He restoreth my soul.”  “Restore” means “to give back something taken away or lost; to make restitution of; to bring back to a former condition, or position, place or rank; to return to original or better condition; to bring back health or strength.”  In the medical field we use physical therapy to try and improve function.  Maintenance therapy means to maintain your current function without losing ground, or strength.  Restorative therapy, however, is the ultimate goal for someone who has lost function due to illness, injury or a surgery.  Ideally, we would like to see patients improve to the point that they are better than they were prior to the incident that caused them to lose function.

God is able to restore us completely.  He doesn’t just patch up our old life; we become a new creation in Christ.  II Cor. 5:17: “Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature [creation]:  old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”  We are fully and completely restored by the blood of Jesus; not made just as good as new, but new!

But what happened to our soul in the first place that would cause us to need restoring? The first definition of “restore” says “to give back something taken away or lost.”  Who took it away or how did we lose it? Jesus gives us the answer in John 10:10 in His discourse on the Good Shepherd: “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy...”  The thief was Satan who tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden to eat of the tree which they had been forbidden to eat.  She believed his lie and ate the fruit and gave it to Adam, who also partook.  Prior to that time, they were innocent and lived in a perfect environment.  They were naked and not ashamed.  They could walk and talk with God without fear.  After they sinned, they lost their innocence and their relationship with God, and hid from His presence.

At that point they died spiritually and death entered into the world.  Then they were driven out of the Garden.  But God did not leave them hopeless.  He clothed them with coats of skin to cover their nakedness and promised a Redeemer, represented by the animal that was slain and shed its blood to provide their clothing.  That Redeemer was Jesus, who said in the rest of v. 10, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

The thief, Satan, came to steal, kill and destroy and brought sin and death into this world, but Jesus brought life.  He was the Good Shepherd who gave His life for the sheep, v. 11.  This was prophesied in Psalm 69:4: “…I restored that which I took not away,” and was fulfilled when He died on the cross.  Jesus restored what Satan took away, because of God’s grace we receive much more through salvation, through that restoration, than was lost in the fall. Jesus exchanged death to us for life, His abundant life, eternal life.  He provided for us complete restoration: body, soul and spirit through His death on the cross.

Our fellowship with God has also been restored so that we can now come into His presence without fear.  We are invited to do that in Heb. 4:16: “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” In addition, He continues to restore our strength daily through spiritual physical therapy as we exercise our faith by trusting Him to lead us, and as we feed upon His Word and commune with Him.

To be continued