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My God is…Ready to relent from punishing Jonah 4:2

Jonah 4:2 – He prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord! Is not this what I said while I was still in my own country? Bible Series Jonah sepiaThat is why I fled to Tarshish at the beginning; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and ready to relent from punishing.

The reluctant witness

Jonah was a reluctant witness. He didn’t want to go to Nineveh. Why not? Didn’t he want others to know about God? Not the Ninevites. They were evil, and Jonah didn’t think that they deserved to be saved. What I love is that Jonah was sure of the character of his God. Even though Jonah was being sent to Nineveh to tell them that they were doing evil in the site of the Lord, Jonah knew that if they showed remorse and changed there ways that God would have pity on them. That’s why Jonah tried to sail to Tarshish and get out of telling the prophecy. Jonah didn’t want the Ninevites to escape destruction.

Jonah is a witness to us too

While Jonah didn’t want to go to Nineveh, his faith can increase our faith. He didn’t run to Tarshish because he didn’t believe in God, but because he knew God so well. Because of Jonah’s testimony, we are able to see that he had faith that our God was gracious, merciful, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love, and ready to relent from punishing. These are amazing things to know about our God, and Jonah didn’t just think them, he knew them. Jonah was so sure that God was all of these things, he went to Tarshish, because He knew God would give Nineveh a second chance.

We can rest assured

Has your faith ever increased because of the witness of someone else. Has someone sharing their testimony (why they know God is God) strengthened your faith? It has happened to me. That’s part of the reason it’s important for us to be in relationships with other believers. Their faith in the one true God helps to build and confirm our faith. We hear their stories about God’s work in their lives, and our faith increases. We are assured of His presence. Through the testimonies in scripture, the Holy Spirit’s testimony and the testimony of other believers, we are able to get a fuller picture of the character of our Lord.

Sharing your story

Since the testimony in scripture, from the Holy Spirit and our loved ones is so important to our faith, we too are called to share our testimony. To share what the Lord has done in our lives. You don’t have to preach it from the mountain tops necessarily (but kudos if you do), but even in a quiet conversation with a friend who is struggling, the Holy Spirit working through your faith can help to increase and strengthen your friend’s faith.

Acts 22:14-16 – Then he said, ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear his own voice;  for you will be his witness to all the world of what you have seen and heard. And now why do you delay? Get up, be baptized, and have your sins washed away, calling on his name.’

And now why do you delay?

 

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My God is…Testifying John 3:33

John 3:33 Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. 

John the Baptist denies he is the Messiah

In John 3 we see John the Baptist telling his followers that he is not the Messiah. They had been getting worked up, because John the Baptist was losing his followers to Jesus. It was important that he make sure they understood who Jesus was, and the verse above is solidifying that idea. “Whoever receives his (Jesus’) testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true.”

Testify Brother!

Why do we want people to testify? Why do we need it? If two kids are yelling in the other room, you call them in and ask, “what happened?” You want to hear their testimony. Sometimes their stories don’t match, so you call in someone else who was in the room and ask what they know. Why? Because you want to get to the truth. You want to know what you’ve heard is reliable.

Doubt it!

I don’t know about you, but I go through times in my life when my faith is not as strong. I have even been known to have moments where the devil gets into my head and makes me think, “Jill, Isn’t all this Christian stuff hogwash?” Then I might think to myself, “Is it?”. No it isn’t Hogwash, and I’ll tell you the testimonies that I trust.

Scripture

In John 5 we hear Jesus telling us about the testimonies we can trust. One is the scripture. In scriptures, we hear testimonies about our Lord. Jesus says in John 5:39, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me”. The scriptures bear witness to who Jesus is, both Old and New testament.

John the Baptist Testifies

Have you ever been to one of those churches? The kind where the pastor is so compelling you’re pretty sure he could talk you into almost anything short of drinking the Kool-Aid? The kind of preacher who you know in your heart is telling the truth and the Holy Spirit is working through His words. This is how John the Baptist was to His followers. They were sure his words were true, so it meant a lot when he pointed these loyal followers to follow Jesus. He was humble enough to know that Jesus was more important, and that for their sake he must testify to the Truth. In John 5:33 Jesus says, “ You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth.”

God Testifies

John 5:37 says, “And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness about me.” When Jesus was baptized, God was testifying. The Father and the Holy Spirit were present. Matthew 3:16-17 God the father speaks about who Jesus is, “And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold,the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

Actions sometimes speak louder than words

Jesus’ actions, miracles, signs and wonders all pointed to Him as our Messiah, our savior. In John 5:36 Jesus says, “For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me.” I find the more I pay attention to the miracles and blessings around me, the more I see (like when you buy a car, suddenly there are more of them on the road). I become more aware of my Lord at work in the world around me, and in my life.

Personal Testimonies

All of these ways to know Jesus as the truth are amazing, but one that I truly cherish is being able to hear the personal testimonies of other believers. God is still at work among us and that is a wonderful, faith building thing.

Don’t Neglect this Salvation! Hebrews 2:1-4, “Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.

Testify! Have you been called to be a witness?

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2012 in John, My God is Testifying

 

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