Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Reflection - God's Call - Receiving and responding to His word

Source (book): "God in Pursuit", Chapter 1, Question 1, Page 16.
By Robert M. Solomon, Bishop of the Methodist Church in Singapore from 2000 - 2012


How does the word of the Lord come to a person, and how does He send someone?
PHOTO: How does the word of the Lord come to a person, and how does He send someone?
What all prophets had in common was that whether they were speaking to common folk or elite rulers, they spoke the truth courageously and faithfully, with a fearlessness that came from their fear of God. They were messengers from God (Mark 1:2) - sent by God bearing His message.

God chose specific individuals to be His prophets
Throughout the history of Israel, God chose specific individuals to be His prophets. They came from a variety of backgrounds and possessed a range of qualities. Some, like Elijah and Elisha, were formidable characters who performed miracles and bore an aura that commanded fear and respect. Some, like Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, came from priestly backgrounds. Others, like the shepherd Amos, came from simpler backgrounds. All, however, had this in common: God spoke to them and gave them messages to convey to the people.

God's calling always begins with Him taking the first step in calling us and choosing us
The story of Jonah begins with a simple statement: "The word of the Lord came to Jonah" (Jonah 1:1). This shows that it was God who took the initiative - just as Jesus reminded us, "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit" (John 15:16, emphasis added). God's calling always begins with Him taking the first step in calling us and choosing us.

The coming of God's word to the man, and his being sent by God is a combination of God's word and God's will
Not only did Jonah experience the divine calling to be a prophet, but he also received a specific command: "Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me" (Jonah 1:2). Here we can see the two key characters of a true prophet of God: the coming of God's word to the man, and his being sent by God. It is a combination of God's word and God's will.


Reflect on your own experience receiving and responding to His word.
After retiring from our occupation, my sister and me would wake up at predawn and walk to the Park Connector Networks (PCN) for our early morning exercises and walk. During the raining seasons we would check the weather forecast, monitor how cloudy is the sky, and whether there are strong wind, lightning or thunder, before we attempt to go out to the open road.

We also attempt to receive instruction from God about which route to take for our morning walk, either to the PCN, or to the covered link-way around our Housing & Development Board (HDB) neighbourhood. Sometime He may not choose to determine for us which way to take. However, most of the time He would start to have raindrops falling together with flashing lightnings and thunders, as we step out of our house. We would then take the covered link-way and walk around our HDB neighbourhood.

Without going to the PCN, we will forgo the desirable fresher forested environment, and bigger area for exercise movements. Also we will have the opportunity to meet elderly uncles along the way. But all is not lost. When we used the covered link-way, we could do some early-bird shopping, especially for fresh fruits that have just arrived, at offer prices. We could also conveniently buy our morning breakfast, and still able to reach back home earlier. Those are the benefits in place of the fresher air and companionship of the uncles in the open PCN.

By using our own sensors, ears for hearing (thunders), eyes for observing (lightnings and thick clouds), feeling for (winds), we still face being drenched while outside on the long PCN. Unfortunately it has no shelter for the part which we are travelling. One other alternative is to check with the weather forecast station, which has more, and better equipments to determine the weather more accurately. However, we are mostly surprised by the actual situation. Meteorologists are not always accurate, due to the fact that little change in wind pattern can cause a dramatic change in the forecast. They apply information collected to create educated guesses about the future weather, in percentage chance of raining.

With the usage of modern sophisticated technology, scientists were able to predict super typhoon like La Niña, but mostly unreliable to forecast accurately normal rainfall. We can also follow what the uncles usually do; carry portable umbrella or raincoats. Unfortunately, while carrying umbrella or raincoat will hinder our movements, causing us unable to exercise conveniently.

Whatever the methods we used, the real danger still persisted. We need to negotiate the slippery road surface, evade falling branches, and the falling trees. Umbrella and raincoat offers no protection against such dangers. So long as there is strong wind and heavy rain, it is unsafe to go out to the open PCN. What we desperately need is the physical guidance and instructions from our Lord on what is the correct way to take. Not only in our morning walk, but also in our entire lifetime walk through our world.

We have yet another alternative to the problem. We pray for our Lord to reveal what is the best solution to our dilemma. We are learning to listen to what He is telling us and then responding to His instructions. We are not prophets, and therefore we need to rely on true prophets to inform us the messages from our Lord. King Solomon with his God-given wisdom might be able to address our child-like problems with ease. But we do have the Creator of King Solomon with us, who can anytime send others to solve our problems with His Christ-like way.

Whether it is God's will to guide us to the market, or to the fresh PCN environment, could depend on whether it will be raining heavily or not. We may find it difficult to discern which way God wants us to take, but when it is very obvious, responding to His instructions is safer and more fruitful.


Where might we go wrong in this process (receiving and responding to His word)?

A prophet could be full of faults and foolishness
As the story of Jonah unfolds, it reveals a picture of Jonah as both kinds of dove - one that was sent by God to tell the truth, and one that was full of faults and foolishness. In a way, Jonah was like the nation of Israel. Israel was supposed to have reached out to the nations of the world to spread the truth about God and to be a blessing to them (Genesis 12:2), but she stayed at home instead. Jonah, too, was sent to the Assyrians, but he chose to run away.

A prophet was likely to be dismissed as crazy or ignored altogether
It was a difficult time to be a faithful prophet of God, delivering messages to a wicked king and nation. Imagine having to prophesy to disobedient people. A prophet was likely to be dismissed as crazy or ignored altogether. Worse, he could be attacked if he persisted in preaching hard truths. Amos was vehemently opposed and warned by Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, to stop prophesying because "The land cannot bear all his words" (Amos 7:10). Years later, Jeremiah would be rejected, mocked, and thrown into a deep pit to die.

Jonah's message for Israel spoke of military and political expansion. His prophesy must have fallen sweetly on the ears of his hearers. After all, people like to hear good news. Anyone who prophesies that things would get better and that "all will be well" is likely to receive a warm welcome; a preacher with such a message is a lot more likely to be appreciated than one bearing a hard-hitting message calling for repentance. He might even be greeted with enthusiastic applause - instead of a violent crowd waiting to stone him.

A prophet would find it unpalatable (unpleasant) to bring good news to people who were straying from God
But how did Jonah feel about delivering his prophesy to an evil nation? Imagine having to convey news of continued prosperity to a businessman who has made a fortune from cheating people. A godly man might find that difficult. Jonah too must have found it unpalatable (unpleasant) to bring good news of national expansion to a wicked king and a people who were straying from God.

A true prophet of God might be accused being a false prophet
Worse still was the reputation that Jonah risked acquiring - something dreaded by any true prophet of God - that of being a false prophet.
Picture posted by AlanShelton on 26 June 2017
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https://alanshelton.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/JonahWhale-1080x675.jpg
https://alanshelton.com/story-theory-finding-your-original-whale/



How does the word of the Lord come to a person, and how does He send someone? Reflect on your own experience receiving and responding to His word. Where might we go wrong in this process?

How does the word of the Lord come to a person, and how does He send someone?
[1]
If you were asked to describe a prophet, how would you begin? Would you model your description after prominent Old Testament prophets like Moses and Elijah? Or would you base it on John the Baptist, with his rough attire and diet, preaching a message that cut to the heart (Matthew 3:4-10)? What all these prophets had in common was that whether they were speaking to common folk or elite rulers, they spoke the truth courageously and faithfully, with a fearlessness that came from their fear of God. They were messengers from God (Mark 1:2) - sent by God bearing His message.



Old Testament prophets whether they were speaking to common folk or elite rulers, spoke the truth courageously and faithfully, with a fearlessness that came from their fear of God.
PHOTO: Old Testament prophets whether they were speaking to common folk or elite rulers, spoke the truth courageously and faithfully, with a fearlessness that came from their fear of God. They were messengers from God (Mark 1:2) - sent by God bearing His message.
Picture posted by ngademin in Quote on 17 April 2018 at 23:55

https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-jLQrPCdbcLk/W9AHONy-mBI/AAAAAAAArx8/gzJGLTc137keUNOko1xqKWFP9eMgynWWwCLcBGAs/s1600/enoch-pictures-of-god-and-jesus-in-heaven-his-people-are-taken-up-to-city-zion-translated-or-rhldsorg-worship-u-christ-angels-worshippers-rhpterestcom-worship.jpg
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https://sqxv.info/pictures-of-god-and-jesus-in-heaven/enoch-pictures-of-god-and-jesus-in-heaven-his-people-are-taken-up-to-city-zion-translated-or-rhldsorg-worship-u-christ-angels-worshippers-rhpterestcom-worship-jpg/



God chose specific individuals to be His prophets
Throughout the history of Israel, God chose specific individuals to be His prophets. They came from a variety of backgrounds and possessed a range of qualities. Some, like Elijah and Elisha, were formidable characters who performed miracles and bore an aura that commanded fear and respect. Some, like Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, came from priestly backgrounds. Others, like the shepherd Amos, came from simpler backgrounds. All, however, had this in common: God spoke to them and gave them messages to convey to the people.

We often think of prophets as people who predicted the future. That was true, as their messages had elements of things to come, both imminent and in the distant future. But their messages were not all about the future. Often, they spoke against the sins of the people, their idolatry, and their social ills.

 

God chose specific individuals to be His prophets
PHOTO: God chose specific individuals to be His prophets
They came from a variety of backgrounds and possessed a range of qualities.  All had this in common: God spoke to them and gave them messages to convey to the people.
Picture posted by LDS Scriptures on 08 May 2006

https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Tsv76dCFmfo/W9AHNb3CAPI/AAAAAAAArxs/Ie7iWIORKSsnOUzD8kgi17riSj7qVaGAACLcBGAs/s1600/abraham-praying-grant-clawson.jpg
https://askgramps.org/files/2006/05/abraham-praying-grant-clawson.jpg
https://askgramps.org/how-could-abraham-have-entertained-angels-who-ate-with-him/



God's calling always begins with Him taking the first step in calling us and choosing us
The story of Jonah begins with a simple statement: "The word of the Lord came to Jonah" (Jonah 1:1). This shows that it was God who took the initiative - just as Jesus reminded us, "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit" (John 15:16, emphasis added). God's calling always begins with Him taking the first step in calling us and choosing us.



God's calling always begins with Him taking the first step in calling us and choosing us
PHOTO: God's calling always begins with Him taking the first step in calling us and choosing us
The story of Jonah begins with a simple statement: "The word of the Lord came to Jonah" (
Jonah 1:1). This shows that it was God who took the initiative - just as Jesus reminded us, "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit" (John 15:16).
Picture pin by Eva Gomez on profeta Eliseo t
https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-oQYpnmFw-Kk/W9AHMbjbcBI/AAAAAAAArxY/TKRE3YFhWZUR8yfDZRmQs5EmTZj_uBabgCLcBGAs/s1600/8ded1024fd86e5a13dcb40af6f57315f.jpg
https://i.pinimg.com/736x/8d/ed/10/8ded1024fd86e5a13dcb40af6f57315f.jpg
http://whitesimgq.pw/Pin-by-Eva-Gomez-on-profeta-Eliseo-t.html



The coming of God's word to the man, and his being sent by God is a combination of God's word and God's will
Not only did Jonah experience the divine calling to be a prophet, but he also received a specific command: "Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me" (Jonah 1:2). Here we can see the two key characters of a true prophet of God: the coming of God's word to the man, and his being sent by God. It is a combination of God's word and God's will.

 

PHOTO: The coming of God's word to the man, and his being sent by God is a combination of God's word and God's will
PHOTO: The coming of God's word to the man, and his being sent by God is a combination of God's word and God's will
Not only did Jonah experience the divine calling to be a prophet, but he also received a specific command: "Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me" (Jonah 1:2).
https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-helfbegIziM/W9AHNLYfP7I/AAAAAAAArxw/RH43iM5Gy20Teqf3Qjm_IzmwXlqZgCpgwCLcBGAs/s1600/God%2527s%2Bword%2Band%2Bwill-1.png
God's word and will.png
https://www.insidegrace.org/uploads/3/5/1/7/35178683/2_kings_1.pdf



But what do we know about Jonah?

Jonah the Dove [1]
The name Jonah means "dove" in Hebrew. An Israelite may have found this significant, as they would have remembered the important role that a dove played in the great Flood (Genesis 9:8-12). Noah sent a dove out periodically to check on the situation after the rain, and when it eventually did not return he knew it was safe to leave the ark. The dove acted like a thermometer - it assisted in discerning, what was going on. Doves are also mentioned several times in the Old Testament. For Christians today, the dove is a representation of the Holy Spirit, who descended on Christ at His baptism "like a dove" (Matthew 3:16). For this reason, the bird features in many Christian emblems (symbol, representation).



The name Jonah means
PHOTO: The name Jonah means "dove" in Hebrew. Noah sent a dove out periodically to check on the situation after the rain, and when it eventually did not return he knew it was safe to leave the ark. The dove acted like a thermometer - it assisted in discerning, what was going on.
Picture posted by W.Xavier on Monday, 09 September 2013 at 16:58
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http://visao-alternativa.blogspot.com/2013/09/acreditar-sempre.html



We are also told that Jonah was the "son of Amittai" (Jonah 1:1). In Hebrew, his father's name means "faithfulness".

Jonah's name and pedigree thus held great promise for his ministry: As "the son of faithfulness", he could have had a powerful ministry of presenting the truth "as it is", of giving an accurate picture of reality.

But the Bible also tells us of another side to being like a dove. Israel (Ephraim) is described as "like a dove, easily deceived and senseless" (Hosea 7:11). As the story of Jonah unfolds, it reveals a picture of Jonah as both kinds of dove - one that was sent by God to tell the truth, and one that was full of faults and foolishness. In a way, Jonah was like the nation of Israel. Israel was supposed to have reached out to the nations of the world to spread the truth about God and to be a blessing to them (Genesis 12:2), but she stayed at home instead. Jonah, too, was sent to the Assyrians, but he chose to run away.



As the story of Jonah unfolds, it reveals a picture of Jonah as both kinds of dove - one that was sent by God to tell the truth, and one that was full of faults and foolishness.
PHOTO: As the story of Jonah unfolds, it reveals a picture of Jonah as both kinds of dove - one that was sent by God to tell the truth, and one that was full of faults and foolishness. Jonah, was sent to the Assyrians, but he chose to run away.
Picture posted by hoc6 on 07 April 2016

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http://www.hoc6.org/global/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/%E7%BA%A6%E6%8B%BF.png
http://www.hoc6.org/global/2016/07/04/%e7%ba%a6%e6%8b%bf%ef%bc%88jonah%ef%bc%89/



Not much is said, however, about when Jonah did before or after the events recorded in the book of Jonah. The only other Old Testament passage that refers to him is 2 Kings 14:25;

"He [King Jeroboam II] was the one who restored the boundaries of Israel from Lebo Hamath to the Dead Sea, in accordance with the word of the Lord, the God of Israel, spoken through his servant Jonah son of Amittai, the prophet from Gath Hepher."

We know that it is the same Jonah because he is identified as the son of Amittai. His address, Gath Hepher, was a small town in what is today the region of Galilee. Gath Hepher, meaning "wine press of digging", was located about 5 km northeast of Nazareth. In Joshua 19:10-13, it is described as a town on the border of Zebulun and Naphtali that belonged to the tribe of Zebulun. Today, it is identified by some with the modern town of Khirbet ez-Zurra. Nearby lies the village of el-Meshhed, the site where Jonah (Nebi Yunas) is traditionally said to have been buried. This site was mentioned by fourth-century theologian and historian St. Jerome in his Commentary on Jonah. He identified it as Gath Hepher and, according to local tradition, is said to have visited Jonah's tomb. [3] Jerome refers to Gath Hepher as "an inconsiderable village", which if true would make Jonah something of a country boy.



Jonah is identified as the son of Amittai.

PHOTO: Jonah is identified as the son of Amittai. His address, Gath Hepher, was a small town in what is today the region of Galilee. Gath Hepher is "an inconsiderable village", which if true would make Jonah something of a country boy.
Picture posted by Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania

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https://assetsnffrgf-a.akamaihd.net/assets/m/1102013260/univ/art/1102013260_univ_sqr_xl.jpg
https://www.jw.org/pt/publicacoes/livros/verdadeira-fe/jonas-aprendeu-uma-licao-de-misericordia/



Medieval Jewish geographer Benjamin of Tudela also gives many details about the area in his book, The Travels of Benjamin. He too noted that Jonah's tomb was located in the area near Nazareth. [4] Some traditions, however, place Jonah's tomb at another site - in the town of Nebi Yunus (Prophet Jonah) near Mosul in modern-day Iraq. Mosul lies near the ancient site of Nineveh.

While we don't know whether the incident described in 2 Kings 14:25 took place before or after Jonah was sent to Nineveh, what is clear is that Jonah was a true prophet, because God's word had come to him, and he had delivered God's message to Israel obediently.



Jonah was sent to Nineveh, what is clear is that Jonah was a true prophet, because God's word had come to him, and he had delivered God's message to Israel obediently - after some running here and there.
PHOTO: Jonah was sent to Nineveh, what is clear is that Jonah was a true prophet, because God's word had come to him, and he had delivered God's message to Israel obediently - after some running here and there.
Picture posted by Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania

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https://assetsnffrgf-a.akamaihd.net/assets/m/1102013260/univ/art/1102013260_univ_cnt_4_xl.jpg
https://www.jw.org/pt/publicacoes/livros/verdadeira-fe/jonas-aprendeu-uma-licao-de-misericordia/



This incident happened during the reign of King Jeroboam II of the northern kingdom of Israel (793-753 BC). After King Solomon died, the kingdom of Israel split into two: the southern kingdom of Judah, where the royalty line of David continued; and the northern kingdom of Israel, where various non-Davidic royal housed were established.

These were spiritually terrible days for the northern kingdom. The nation had sunk to a new low in apostasy (the abandonment or renunciation of a religious). The rebellious Jeroboam son of Nebat had not only established a rival breakaway kingdom in the north, but also set up rival worship sites in Dan and Bethel. He feared that his people would go to the temple in Jerusalem, which was in Judah, to offer sacrifices, and eventually return their allegiance to the southern kingdom, so he sought to give them alternative gods to worship (1 Kings 12:28-30). But this broke God's commandments and inevitably led to a sordid history of blatant idolatry. Israel would eventually have a line of 19 kings, none of whom was good.



During the reign of King Jeroboam II of the northern kingdom of Israel (793-753 BC) not only established a rival breakaway kingdom in the north, but also set up rival worship sites in Dan and Bethel.
PHOTO: During the reign of King Jeroboam II of the northern kingdom of Israel (793-753 BC) not only established a rival breakaway kingdom in the north, but also set up rival worship sites in Dan and Bethel. He sought to give them alternative gods to worship (1 Kings 12:28-30). But this broke God's ommandments and inevitably led to a sordid history of blatant idolatry.
Picture posted by More Than a Mirror, www.smyrna.org

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Calf.png
http://www.smyrna.org/SS_slides/2013/Spring/4-13-13/The_Ten_Commandments_More_Than_a_Mirror_Lesson_22.pdf



Jeroboam II, son of Jehoash (alternatively spelled Joash), continued this reputation, "He did evil in the eyes of the LORD and did not turn away from any of the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit" (2 Kings 14:24). Jeroboam II reigned for 41 years, a relatively long reign for a king who did evil. He continued to support the cultic and false worship of God in Dan and Bethel, which used the golden calf as the object of worship (1 Kings 12:28) - an abomination in God's eyes. He also tolerated and condoned the mistreatment of the poor, as well as all kinds of social sins and injustices.



Jeroboam II, son of Jehoash (alternatively spelled Joash), continued to do evil in the eyes of the LORD and did not turn away from any of the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit (2 Kings 14:24).
PHOTO: Jeroboam II, son of Jehoash (alternatively spelled Joash), continued to do evil in the eyes of the LORD and did not turn away from any of the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit (2 Kings 14:24). He continued to support the cultic and false worship of God in Dan and Bethel, which used the golden calf as the object of worship (1 Kings 12:28) - an abomination in God's eyes. He also tolerated and condoned the mistreatment of the poor, as well as all kinds of social sins and injustices.
Picture posted by school.orthpatr.ru

https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-PXaGU0xNuA0/W9AHPrGADsI/AAAAAAAAryI/ibmPqqio-NgiYlx7m7iDglbN1yfI1MK9wCLcBGAs/s1600/tzarstv223.jpg
https://school.orthpatr.ru/sites/default/files/sites/default/files/image/tzarstv223.jpg
https://school.orthpatr.ru/ajax-reader/nojs/182130



Throughout this time, God sent many prophets to cry out against Israel's idolatry and injustices and turn the nation back to Him, but their message was constantly rejected. Amos thundered the message of approaching punishment, saying, "I will not relent (abandon)" (Amos 2:6), while Hosea was told to marry a wayward woman and take her back repeatedly, to show how God was willing to forgive and restore Israel if she repented and returned to Him.


Hosea was told to marry a wayward woman and take her back repeatedly, to show how God was willing to forgive and restore Israel if she repented and returned to Him.
PHOTO: Hosea was told to marry a wayward woman and take her back repeatedly, to show how God was willing to forgive and restore Israel if she repented and returned to Him.
Picture posted by subs4free.com - Amazing Love (2012), Elijah Alexander (as Hosea) and Tehmina Sunny (as Gomer)

https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-hfiiNuul51M/WN0GpoCVJVI/AAAAAAAAmfw/znZxI_LjuogZG9YuFfKE9QMPM2V1FikUQCLcB/s1600/2081167_big-13-1.png
http://www.subs4free.com/moviePicts/poster/2081167_big.jpg
http://www.small-industry.com/movie-m3ce94684c1.html
https://veryfatoldman.blogspot.com/2017/03/reflection-amazing-love-story-of-hosea.html



The personal tragedy of a marital unfaithfulness becomes a powerful illustration of the greater tragedy of a nation in rebellion against her God.
PHOTO: The personal tragedy of a marital unfaithfulness becomes a powerful illustration of the greater tragedy of a nation in rebellion against her God. Still, people of Israel refused to heed Hosea’s warning of imminent judgment. But unconditional love is the theme: Just as Hosea buys his wife out of slavery, God will redeem and restore His people. Prophet Hosea writes with the detail and passion of a native eyewitness to the demise and salvation of Israel.
Posted by Orrett S, The Living Word of God The Bible on 22 February 2014

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http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-74QC2dcJ1Us/UwipqpbCUmI/AAAAAAAAEHg/PFKHMZliF3Q/s1600/5+-+312670150_n.jpg
http://livingword-of-god.blogspot.sg/2014/02/prophet-hosea.html
http://veryfatoldman.blogspot.sg/2017/03/reflection-amazing-love-story-of-hosea.html



Given these circumstances, the assignment that God gave Jonah was an unusual one: he was sent to prophesy national expansion and economic prosperity for Israel.


Reflect on your own experience receiving and responding to His word.
After retiring from our occupation, my sister and me would wake up at predawn and walk to the Park Connector Networks (PCN) for our early morning exercises and walk. During the raining seasons we would check the weather forecast, monitor how cloudy is the sky, and whether there are strong wind, lightning or thunder, before we attempt to go out to the open road.



During the raining seasons we would check the weather forecast, monitor how cloudy is the sky, and whether there are strong wind, lightning or thunder, before we attempt to go out to the open road of the Park Connector Networks (PCN).
PHOTO: During the raining seasons we would check the weather forecast, monitor how cloudy is the sky, and whether there are strong wind, lightning or thunder, before we attempt to go out to the open road of the Park Connector Networks (PCN).
Picture saved by Ekaterina Chekulaeva (Buscar posts) from ESTOS letnie on 08 July 2016 at 5:46 PM

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We also attempt to receive instruction from God about which route to take for our morning walk, either to the PCN, or to the covered link-way around our Housing & Development Board (HDB) neighbourhood. Sometime He may not choose to determine for us which way to take. However, most of the time He would start to have raindrops falling together with flashing lightnings and thunders, as we step out of our house. We would then take the covered link-way and walk around our HDB neighbourhood.



Most of the time there would be raindrops falling together with flashing lightnings and thunders, as we step out of our house.
PHOTO: Most of the time there would be raindrops falling together with flashing lightnings and thunders, as we step out of our house. We would then take the covered link-way and walk around our HDB neighbourhood.
Picture saved by Ekaterina Chekulaeva (Buscar posts) from ESTOS letnie on 08 July 2016 at 17:47 PM

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Without going to the PCN, we will forgo the desirable fresher forested environment, and bigger area for exercise movements. Also we will have the opportunity to meet elderly uncles along the way. But all is not lost. When we used the covered link-way, we could do some early-bird shopping, especially for fresh fruits that have just arrived, at offer prices. We could also conveniently buy our morning breakfast, and still able to reach back home earlier. Those are the benefits in place of the fresher air and companionship of the uncles in the open PCN.



The Park Connector Networks (PCN) offers desirable fresher forested environment, and bigger area for exercise movements.
PHOTO: The Park Connector Networks (PCN) offers desirable fresher forested environment, and bigger area for exercise movements. Also we will have the opportunity to meet elderly uncles along the way. If we used the covered link-way, we will forgo the benefits of the fresher air and companionship of the uncles in the open PCN.
Picture saved by Ekaterina Chekulaeva (Buscar posts) from Klipart and humor on 08 April 2016 at 4:58 PM

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By using our own sensors, ears for hearing (thunders), eyes for observing (lightnings and thick clouds), feeling for (winds), we still face being drenched while outside on the long PCN. Unfortunately it has no shelter for the part which we are travelling. One other alternative is to check with the weather forecast station, which has more, and better equipments to determine the weather more accurately. However, we are mostly surprised by the actual situation. Meteorologists are not always accurate, due to the fact that little change in wind pattern can cause a dramatic change in the forecast. They apply information collected to create educated guesses about the future weather, in percentage chance of raining.

 

Unfortunately it has no shelter for the part which we are travelling.
PHOTO: Unfortunately it has no shelter for the part which we are travelling. We still face being drenched while outside on the long PCN. Meteorologists are not always accurate, due to the fact that little change in wind pattern can cause a dramatic change in the forecast. They apply information collected to create educated guesses about the future weather, in percentage chance of raining.
Picture posted by Depositphotos Inc., USA on 02 April 2016

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With the usage of modern sophisticated technology, scientists were able to predict super typhoon like La Niña, but mostly unreliable to forecast accurately normal rainfall. We can also follow what the uncles usually do; carry portable umbrella or raincoats. Unfortunately, while carrying umbrella or raincoat will hinder our movements, causing us unable to exercise conveniently.

Observing the unnatural movements of animals and insects may give some clue to the changing weather. Some have olfactory prowess, and combined with other sensory abilities, likely allows them to detect incoming storms and possibly other natural disasters. Fruit bats move around more at night, and are able to hear what we normally cannot. Their echolocation can detect us long before we spot them. Dogs and cats are more agitated before quake. They also might be able to detect changes in atmospheric pressure, gravity and ground deformation. [2] Although there are plenty of such wild animals along the PCN, it is often too late when we notice their abnormal behaviours. But maybe one day God will enable scientists to create high tech pre-screening devices inspired by the detection methods of wild animals.



Observing the unnatural movements of animals and insects may give some clue to the changing weather.

PHOTO: Observing the unnatural movements of animals and insects may give some clue to the changing weather. Some have olfactory prowess, and combined with other sensory abilities, likely allows them to detect incoming storms and possibly other natural disasters. Maybe one day God will enable scientists to create high tech pre-screening devices inspired by the detection methods of wild animals.
Picture saved by Ekaterina Chekulaeva (Buscar posts) from Live photographs on 31 July 2016 at 7:53 PM

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Humans have super sensory detective powers too, such as bat-like echolocation that could be used to predict any number of natural disasters. Usually such skills are more developed in people who meditate or who have disabilities, such as blindness, which causes the brain to tap into seemingly hidden abilities. [2]

Whatever the methods we used, the real danger still persisted. We need to negotiate the slippery road surface, evade falling branches, and the falling trees. Umbrella and raincoat offers no protection against such dangers. So long as there is strong wind and heavy rain, it is unsafe to go out to the open PCN. What we desperately need is the physical guidance and instructions from our Lord on what is the correct way to take. Not only in our morning walk, but also in our entire lifetime walk through our world.



Whatever the methods we used, the real danger still persisted.

PHOTO: Whatever the methods we used, the real danger still persisted. We need to negotiate the slippery road surface, evade falling branches, and the falling trees. So long as there is strong wind and heavy rain, it is unsafe to go out to the open Park Connector Networks (PCN).
Picture posted by Markus Bastel on 04 January 2018

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We have yet another alternative to the problem. We pray for our Lord to reveal what is the best solution to our dilemma. We are learning to listen to what He is telling us and then responding to His instructions. We are not prophets, and therefore we need to rely on true prophets to inform us the messages from our Lord. Long ago there were seventeen Old Testament prophets: Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. In these last days, God spoke to us through his Son. [5]

King Solomon with his God-given wisdom might be able to address our child-like problems with ease. But we do have the Creator of King Solomon with us, who can anytime send others to solve our problems with His Christ-like way.



We have yet another alternative to the problem.

PHOTO: We have yet another alternative to the problem. We pray for our Lord to reveal what is the best solution to our dilemma. We are learning to listen to what He is telling us and then responding to His instructions. We are not prophets, and therefore we need to rely on true prophets to inform us the messages from our Lord.
Picture saved by Elenita Sidor to "Rosas"-Amaia Montero - Rainy night in the city

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34b1c364ac1e10187061104ce17df2c7.gif
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Whether it is God's will to guide us to the market, or to the fresh PCN environment, could depend on whether it will be raining heavily or not. We may find it difficult to discern which way God wants us to take, but when it is very obvious, responding to His instructions is safer and more fruitful.

Meanwhile we can emulate, imitate Jesus Christ by having Christlikeness: kind, forgiving, sincere, caring and accepting person.


Where might we go wrong in this process (receiving and responding to His word)?
Jonah's "Difficult" Message for Israel [1]
A prophet was likely to be dismissed as crazy or ignored altogether
It was a difficult time to be a faithful prophet of God, delivering messages to a wicked king and nation. Imagine having to prophesy to disobedient people. A prophet was likely to be dismissed as crazy or ignored altogether. Worse, he could be attacked if he persisted in preaching hard truths. Amos was vehemently opposed and warned by Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, to stop prophesying because "The land cannot bear all his words" (Amos 7:10). Years later, Jeremiah would be rejected, mocked, and thrown into a deep pit to die.


A prophet was likely to be dismissed as crazy or ignored altogether PHOTO: A prophet was likely to be dismissed as crazy or ignored altogether
A prophet was likely to be dismissed as crazy or ignored altogether
It was a difficult time to be a faithful prophet of God, delivering messages to a wicked king and nation. Imagine having to prophesy to disobedient people. A prophet was likely to be dismissed as crazy or ignored altogether. Worse, he could be attacked if he persisted in preaching hard truths.
Posted by LIVING ETERNAL on 15 June 2016

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https://livingeternal.files.wordpress.com/2016/06/picture-of-stephen-being-stoned.jpg
https://livingeternal.net/2016/06/15/what-is-more-important-life-eternal-life/
https://veryfatoldman.blogspot.com/2016/09/reflection-pauls-three-wonderful.html
http://veryfatoldman.blogspot.sg/2016/10/reflection-crown-of-righteousness.html



Jonah, however, would probably have had a relatively easier time. After all, his message for Israel spoke of military and political expansion. This was exactly what happened: Jeroboam II was able to recapture lost territories and restore the nation's former boundaries. He was victorious against the Syrians, capturing their city of Damascus (2 Kings 14:28) after they were weakened by the rising power of Assyria in the late 9th century BC. This had also been prophesied by Elisha (2 Kings 13:14-19). The successes would make Israel so proud of her newfound power that she would assume - wrongly - that their prosperity was a sign of God's favour on them, prompting Him to warn them, through Amos, of their presumptuous complacency and impending judgement (Amos 6:1-7).



Jonah's message for Israel spoke of military and political expansion.

PHOTO: Jonah's message for Israel spoke of military and political expansion. However, the successes would make Israel so proud of her newfound power that she would assume - wrongly - that their prosperity was a sign of God's favour on them, prompting Him to warn them, through Amos, of their presumptuous complacency and impending judgement (Amos 6:1-7).
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Jonah's prophesy must have fallen sweetly on the ears of his hearers. After all, people like to hear good news. Anyone who prophesies that things would get better and that "all will be well" is likely to receive a warm welcome; a preacher with such a message is a lot more likely to be appreciated than one bearing a hard-hitting message calling for repentance. He might even be greeted with enthusiastic applause - instead of a violent crowd waiting to stone him.



Jonah's prophesy must have fallen sweetly on the ears of his hearers.

PHOTO: Jonah's prophesy must have fallen sweetly on the ears of his hearers. After all, people like to hear good news. Anyone who prophesies that things would get better and that "all will be well" is likely to receive a warm welcome. He might even be greeted with enthusiastic applause - instead of a violent crowd waiting to stone him.
Picture posted by Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania

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https://www.jw.org/en/publications/books/true-faith/jonah-learned-mercy-nineveh/



But how did Jonah feel about delivering his prophesy to an evil nation?

A prophet would find it unpalatable (unpleasant) to bring good news to people who were straying from God
Imagine having to convey news of continued prosperity to a businessman who has made a fortune from cheating people. A godly man might find that difficult. Jonah too must have found it unpalatable (unpleasant) to bring good news of national expansion to a wicked king and a people who were straying from God.



Jonah found Nineveh to be a huge city full of wrongdoing

PHOTO: Jonah found Nineveh to be a huge city full of wrongdoing
Jonah most probably find it unpalatable (unpleasant) to bring good news of national expansion to a wicked king and to people who were straying from God.
Picture posted by Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania - Nineveh broke God's commandments and inevitably led to a sordid history of blatant idolatry.

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A true prophet of God might be accused being a false prophet
Worse still was the reputation that Jonah risked acquiring - something dreaded by any true prophet of God - that of being a false prophet.



A true prophet of God might be accused being a false prophet

PHOTO: A true prophet of God might be accused being a false prophet
Worse still was the reputation that Jonah risked acquiring - something dreaded by any true prophet of God - that of being a false prophet. Jonah, however, would probably have had a relatively easier time.
Picture posted by Peter Kwasniewski on Monday, 15 February 2016

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Dear Lord, thank You for letting us know that prophets spoke the truth courageously, faithfully, and with a fearlessness to common people or elite rulers, are specific individuals chosen and sent by You bearing Your message. All of them regardless of their background and abilities, had this in common: You spoke to them and gave them messages to convey to the people.<br>Your calling always begins with You taking the first step in calling us and choosing us. The coming of Your word to the man, and his being sent by You is a combination of Your word and Your will. And we are desperately in need for physical guidance and instructions from You on what is the correct way to take, in our entire lifetime walk through our world.<br>Please forgive us for at times we may find it difficult to discern which way You wants us to take. But we know that when it is very obvious, responding to Your instructions is safer and more fruitful.<br>However Your prophets although are faithful and obedient like 'doves' could also be full of faults and foolishness. Some may choose to stay instead of going out to deliver the messages, while others may choose to run away just like Jonah. We pray that You too, pursue and guide Your chosen prophets.<br>Your prophets could be attacked if they persisted in preaching hard truths. Others were vehemently opposed and warned to stop prophesying as people cannot bear all Your words. There are prophets who would be rejected, mocked, and thrown into a deep pit to die. We pray for them to be protected, guided, corrected, taken care of, and provided with necessities as they respond to deliver Your messages.<br>We pray too, for Your continuous love for us, the whole world, despite we uncontrollably sin against You again and again. We pray that Your wrath will not come upon us, but instead send Your Holy Spirit to help us to be obedient, faithful, and accepting Your offer of salvation so that all can have joy and real rest for eternity in heaven together with You. Through Lord Jesus Christ we pray. Amen!

PHOTO: "Dear Lord, thank You for letting us know that prophets spoke the truth courageously, faithfully, and with a fearlessness to common people or elite rulers, are specific individuals chosen and sent by You bearing Your message. All of them regardless of their background and abilities, had this in common: You spoke to them and gave them messages to convey to the people.

Your calling always begins with You taking the first step in calling us and choosing us. The coming of Your word to the man, and his being sent by You is a combination of Your word and Your will. And we are desperately in need for physical guidance and instructions from You on what is the correct way to take, in our entire lifetime walk through our world.

Please forgive us for at times we may find it difficult to discern which way You wants us to take. But we know that when it is very obvious, responding to Your instructions is safer and more fruitful.

However Your prophets although are faithful and obedient like 'doves' could also be full of faults and foolishness. Some may choose to stay instead of going out to deliver the messages, while others may choose to run away just like Jonah. We pray that You too, pursue and guide Your chosen prophets.

Your prophets could be attacked if they persisted in preaching hard truths. Others were vehemently opposed and warned to stop prophesying as people cannot bear all Your words. There are prophets who would be rejected, mocked, and thrown into a deep pit to die. We pray for them to be protected, guided, corrected, taken care of, and provided with necessities as they respond to deliver Your messages.

We pray too, for Your continuous love for us, the whole world, despite we uncontrollably sin against You again and again. We pray that Your wrath will not come upon us, but instead send Your Holy Spirit to help us to be obedient, faithful, and accepting Your offer of salvation so that all can have joy and real rest for eternity in heaven together with You.


Through Lord Jesus Christ we pray. Amen!"
Picture posted by flina, Digital Art / Photomanipulation / Emotional, ©2010-2018 flina - In the Garden
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https://www.deviantart.com/flina/art/In-the-Garden-166201263


Reflection - God's Call - Receiving and responding to His word
Question from source (book): "God in Pursuit", Chapter 1, Question 1, Page 16.
By Robert M. Solomon, Bishop of the Methodist Church in Singapore from 2000 - 2012





Also from the same author, Robert M. Solomon

'Faithful to the end', A Preacher's Exposition of 2 Timothy, @ 2014 by Robert M. Solomon

'Faithful to the end', A Preacher's Exposition of 2 Timothy, @ 2014 by Robert M. Solomon<br>
Reflection - Faithful to the end (Links)
https://veryfatoldman.blogspot.com/2017/06/reflection-faithful-to-end-links.html



"Finding rest for the soul" Responding to Jesus' Invitation in Matthew 11:28-29, © 2016 by Robert M. Solomon

Reflection - Finding rest for the soul (Links)
Reflection - Finding rest for the soul (Links)
https://veryfatoldman.blogspot.com/2018/10/reflection-finding-rest-for-soul-links.html

 


Reference
[1] From "God in Pursuit" Lessons from the Book of Jonah, Copyright © 2017 by Robert M. Solomon, ISBN 978-1-62707-801-6, Part I: Jonah 1:1-17, Chapter 1 "God Calls", Page 3-10.

[2] Jen Viegas, 10 Animals That Can Predict Disasters, posted on 18 December 2014 at 12:00 PM EST, https://www.seeker.com/10-animals-that-can-predict-disasters-1769382660.html

[3] St. Jerome, Commentary on Jonah, ed. John Litteral, trans. Robin MacGregor, Ancient Bible Commentaries in English (Ashland, Kentucky: Litteral's Christian Library Publications, 2014), 6-7.

[4] Marcus Nathan Adler, trans. The itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela (London Oxford University Press, 1907), 28.

[5] Paula Marsteller, Does God Tell Us Who to Marry?, https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/does-god-tell-us-who-to-marry


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