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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

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There is nothing like sitting in the slimy belly of a sea creature to help you focus your attention on God’s will for you. The Lord now had Jonah’s full and undivided attention.  He was there for 3 days and nights before he called out to God—now, that is stubborn!

 When I look at Jonah, it’s a sad thing to consider that I tend to be like him!  Are you?  Imagine, God has plans to prosper you and me.  On top of that, we are in royalty training—training to sit with God in His throne and rule the universe—forever.  But to rule the way God rules, we must become co-laborers with Him for the salvation of others. What a wonderful plan!

 At times, however, it may seem that what God is planning for your life is not very inviting, or that your potential to handle the call with love and grace is slim. But God only asks that you focus on Him and not on the externals.

Within the nine verse narrative we discover the progression of a man’s thought processes.  Upon close examination, Jonah quickly discovered that his life was in shambles and turning to God seemed his only viable option.  Notice that when Jonah finally began to re-train his eyes toward God’s dwelling place—the sanctuary—he started to see the salvation of the Lord (vs. 9).  He cried out and God responded by speaking to His “ocean-going taxi cab” that promptly brought Jonah to dry land and unceremoniously deposited him there.

 The earnest cry to be saved is always answered by the Lord.  I think of Peter sinking beneath the boiling waves and one desperate cry of “Lord, help me,” caused the King to respond immediately.  Next Jesus was steadying Peter as they walked back to the boat arm-in-arm—on top of the water!  Consider the life of another individual who, by his own actions, had placed himself in a tragic position—the Gadarene Demoniac.  He had gone so far down the slippery-slope of sin that no audible cry for help could be heard from this pathetic creature.  But even the heart-cry of one who seemed doomed to eternal destruction found help in Jesus Christ.  Our Lord traveled across the Sea to reach this wretch of a man and deliver him from certain ruin.
It doesn’t matter who you are—a run-away prophet, a man sinking beneath the waves because of pride, a demon possessed lunatic, or anyone else—God will answer your call to be saved.  Once He does save you, then it’s time to listen and follow Him. “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, ‘This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left’” (see Isaiah 30:21).  Remember, His plans are to spiritually prosper you and to lead you in paths of righteousness.

Jim Ayer
Vice President for Advancement
Adventist World Radio
General Conference