Are You in the Belly of a Big Fish?
by Fred Alberti, Crosswalk.com
But the Lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights.
Being a homeschool family we sometimes have some rather interesting experiments that we get to enjoy as a family. George is one such experiment. George is a goldfish whose bowl-mate sadly perished. My son’s task was to teach the goldfish to come to the top of the bowl when he tapped on the glass. After several weeks of tapping and feeding and tapping and feeding the fish finally learned to come to the top of the bowl.
Big deal right? Right, that is until the fish started to do more. Anytime someone would walk by the bowl he would get all excited and start moving his mouth like he was yelling at whoever it was that was walking by the bowl. This became rather normal and we would just ignore him or comment that he was yelling at us in Spanish.
Then one day my kids were listening to an FFH song titled “Big Fish.” It was then that George decided to really show off what he could do. When the song played George would begin to swim around like he was dancing in the water and would seemingly move his mouth to the words (move over Ashlee Simpson).
I particularly like the first verse of the song which goes like this:
Are you in the big fish
Are you sitting in the belly of a world gone mad
Have you turned your back in His wish
On His will for your life, have you made Him sad
Do you want to get out of the big fish
Listen to God and follow His plan
And you won’t be part of the main dish
He’ll spit you out on to dry land
I’ve sometimes felt like I was in the belly of a big fish. I had decided to do something my way instead of first seeking the Lord’s guidance and leading.
You, whoever you are, God has a plan for your life. Maybe you feel like you are wasting your time at a dead-end job. Or perhaps you have no job but would desperately like one. Maybe you think you have the dream job but the Lord has been speaking to you in a still small voice to give it up for something else. Like Jonah, you may not particularly like the mission God has for you but He has the intention of making you ideally suited to carry that plan out.
Will you follow His plan or will you turn your back?
Maybe you’ve already chosen to turn your back and feel that there is no way out now. If that is the case I’ve got good news for you. The Bible has this to say about Jonah, “From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God” (Jonah 2:1). God is the God of second, third, and fourth chances.
Commit your way to the Lord today.
Prepared for Blessings
“Solomon, and all the assembly with him, went to the high place … for the tabernacle of meeting with God was there … David had brought up the ark from Kirjath Jearim to the place David had prepared for it.” – 2 Chronicles 1:3-4 NKJV
During World War II, American air units based in Australia experienced problems with aircraft maintenance…until General George Kenney became involved.
He made inspecting each plane a priority. General Douglas MacArthur observed that Kenney’s attention to detail and preparation was crucial to “keep his planes flying.”
An end-of-war, inspection of 8,000 planes of the adversary revealed how much his attention to detail affected the outcome. Although 95% of the enemy planes were intact, most were “not operational because some small part was unavailable.” The conclusion? The “attention to detail and extra effort” Kenney provided was a key difference between defeat and victory.
Preparation and details also were important for Solomon’s reign. David had done much to prepare the way, so Solomon could complete his assignment and receive God’s blessing.
The Bible reminds us that God wants to bless us abundantly. But, to receive these blessings, we must be prepared and put His principles into practice. We must know His promises and obey them. We must spend quality time with Him in prayer and commit our time, talents, and treasures to His Kingdom.
Think about the gifts and talents God has given you. Seek to be a good steward, investing these resources. Sow your seeds. As you are faithful, you can expect His blessings.
See Them, See Me
Scripture Reading — Matthew 25:31-40
“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” — Matthew 25:40
Jesus told this parable to highlight some key ways to live out the Golden Rule: “Do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12).
If you read the entire parable, you will notice that Jesus links sacrificial hospitality with eternal reward. He goes so far as to say that the way we treat other imagebearers of God is the way we treat God himself. We love God by loving others.
We may nod in agreement and then give some money or food to a homeless shelter or a food pantry. But Jesus specifically says, “You gave me something to eat . . . you invited me in . . . you clothed me . . . you came to visit me.” Contributions coupled with personal involvement are a God-honoring combination.
There are people in your community today who are feeling neglected and forgotten, especially those whose situations may cause them to feel ashamed. Think of someone struggling with mental health issues, loneliness, abuse, guilt, job loss, financial crisis, marital trouble, or children not walking with God. Ask God to bring someone to your mind, and reach out personally with a card, call, visit, or coffee invitation.
Consider it a date with Jesus; you might just see him in them, and they may see him in you.
The Lord Appeared to Isaac – Streams in the Desert – January 15
- 202215 Jan
And the Lord appeared unto Isaac the same night (Genesis 26:24).
“Appeared the same night,” the night on which he went to Beer-sheba. Do you think this revelation was an accident? Do you think the time of it was an accident? Do you think it could have happened on any other night as well as this? If so, you are grievously mistaken. Why did it come to Isaac in the night on which he reached Beer-sheba? Because that was the night on which he reached rest. In his old locality, he had been tormented. There had been a whole series of petty quarrels about the possession of paltry wells. There are no worries like little worries, particularly if there is an accumulation of them. Isaac felt this. Even after the strife was past, the place retained a disagreeable association. He determined to leave. He sought change of scene. He pitched his tent away from the place of former strife. That very night the revelation came. God spoke when there was no inward storm. He could not speak when the mind was fretted; His voice demands the silence of the soul. Only in the hush of the spirit could Isaac hear the garments of his God sweep by. His still night was his starry night.
My soul, hast thou pondered these words, “Be still, and know”? In the hour of perturbation, thou canst not hear the answer to thy prayers. How often has the answer seemed to come long after the heart got no response in the moment of its crying — in its thunder, its earthquake, and its fire. But when the crying ceased, when the stillness fell, when thy hand desisted from knocking on the iron gate, when the interest of other lives broke the tragedy of thine own, then appeared the long-delayed reply. Thou must rest, O soul, if thou wouldst have thy heart’s desire. Still the beating of thy pulse of personal care. Hide thy tempest of individual trouble behind the altar of a common tribulation and, that same night, the Lord shall appear to thee. The rainbow shall span the place of the subsiding flood, and in thy stillness thou shalt hear the everlasting music.