The Story of a GOURD- The Wonders of God’s Grace and Mercy

And the LORD God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief.  So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd. (Jonah 4:6)

“And the LORD God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd.”  (Jonah 4:6)

One of my favorite Bible stories as a child and even now, is the story about Jonah.  I marvel at how God spoke to the obedient large fish which some say was a whale, but no matter. Just as great a lesson is the story about the GOURD. . .

When I take my grandchildren to the nearby park, we enjoy walking between the small plots in the community garden where we see many flowers, fruits and vegetables and smell the different herbs like basil and rosemary.   One particular day I pointed out a gourd hanging under its thick vine and told them the story of what happened to Jonah when he took God’s message to Nineveh.

The story lesson about the gourd is that of God extending His grace and mercy to Jonah and to us as sinners.  It is a story of God’s loving kindness and tender mercies toward us as individuals, a story about 120,000 people whose leader led his people to repentance of their sins and averted wholesale destruction and judgment of their city, Nineveh in 862 B.C.  It is a story of HOPE for anyone, any family, community, church, village, city, state or nation who will repent of their sinful ways, wicked living and moral decadence and instead, choose to OBEY GOD.

Jonah 3:8-4:11  King James Version (KJV)

But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.

Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?

10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.

And he prayed unto the Lord, and said, I pray thee, O Lord, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.

Therefore now, O Lord, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.

Then said the Lord, Doest thou well to be angry?

So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become of the city.

And the Lord God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd.

But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered.

And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live.

And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death.

10 Then said the Lord, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night:

1And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?

God had GRACE on the one who pitied the gourd instead of the Ninevites. He extended His Grace and long-suffering to Jonah who did not pity the people who would have perished, had they not repented.  God had the LAST WORD:

11 And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?

God is a God of SECOND CHANCES; He saw us in our sins and gave us another chance to accept His Grace.  He is the Judge of all men, but will be merciful to all those who repent of their sins and turn to Him.

Let us learn from God’s example to also extend God’s Love, Grace and Mercy  to the unsaved outside of the sheepfold.

Jesus said,

John 10:14-16 King James Version (KJV)

14 I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.

15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.

16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

John 17:20-24  King James Version (KJV)

20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.

MORE PHOTOS: 

http://heulu.wordpress.com/2012/07/14/birds-garden-and-jonah/

“You also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour” (Luke 12:40).

Shofar:

No IF’S or BUT’S about it!   Charlie’s post is very concise and to the point!
. . . we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ Who gave himself for us. . . These things speak, and exhort . . . (Titus 2:11-15)

Originally posted on Learning From God's Word:

We pray “Thy Kingdom come.” We also pray, “Thy will be done on earth.” (Matthew 6:10). “Seek first His Kingdom” (Matthew 6:33) – This is to be our greatest priority while we are here on earth. We are to wait on the Lord and renew our strength. This has to do with here-and-now. The teaching of the Lord concerning His return is to be the inspiration for our Christian living. “I will come again” (John 14:3). “This Jesus will come” (Acts 1:11). Our life is to be a prayer: “Come, O Lord” (1 Corinthians 16:22). He says, “I am coming soon.” We say, “Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20).  This is to be more than words. This is life , the whole of life, lived in the light of His coming. The return of the Lord is not to be put to the back of our mind. It is to…

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THE RAPTURE- SOONER THAN YOU THINK

Shofar:

images

 (photo image by Agape Geek)

What is the Rapture about and will you be ready for it?

Please read Drgold’s latest post about the Rapture of the Christian believers.

Originally posted on God's Hidden Nuggets for the Endtimes:

The Case for BeingRapture Ready

The Rapture may come sooner than most people think. As there is great increasing turmoil in today’s world, it appears that we may be living in the last days before Jesus’ return for His saints in theRapture. Major conflicts and wars are developing, apocalyptic natural disasters increasing, major pandemics such as Ebola flaring up, and  a major world financial collapse due to great indebtedness is on the horizon. Also gross immorality, debauchery, greed, corruption, violence, and wickedness are on the rise.

Jesus warned ‘For then shall be Great Tribulation, such as was not since the BEGINNING of the world to this time..’ Mt24:21. Jesus said ‘And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth DISTRESS OF NATIONS, WITH PERPLEXITY; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth:…

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DO YOU KNOW GOD, BUT DOES HE KNOW YOU?

judgment-day

“And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Mt 7:23

 

DO YOU REALLY KNOW GOD, OR YOU JUST KNOW ABOUT GOD?

Many people will say that they ‘know about’ God, but they don’t really KNOW God.

To know God is to know Jesus and be a follower of Christ.  Jesus came to reveal God to us and teach us about God’s plan and purpose for man. Jesus as God in the flesh came to show us His great love for us as our Heavenly Father, Redeemer and Savior.

Jesus said:

I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.  (John 14:6-7)

I and my Father are one.  (John 10:30)

We are called to follow Jesus, not anyone else.  He said,  “Follow me” and described the path we would take- a straight and narrow one.

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.  (Mt 7:13-15)

Knowing a person is far different from just knowing about him.  It means having a personal relationship of love and trust, of listening and obeying Him, in this case, Jesus, who is our closest friend and closer than a brother (Prov 18:24).

Jesus is the Good Shepherd (John 10:1-16).

 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.  (John 10:11,14)

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.

But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.

To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.

And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.   (John 10:1-4)

Separated Unto God

Those who know God live in this world, but are not of the world.  They are separated unto God, i.e., do not identify themselves with worldliness in appearance, character and behavior.

Before Jesus was crucified He prayed to the Father on our behalf:

And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.

I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.

They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.  (John 17:13-18)

 

Those who know Jesus know about Him AND know Him also.  They have a personal relationship with Him because they know Him and believe His teachings and what He stood for as He spoke the Word of God. They love God and are separated unto Him and are not lovers of the world.

 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  1John 2:15

If we say that we know God, we will love his Word, study and meditate on it to learn how to please Him and be approved by Him. We will learn to discern Truth from error and false teachings. The Bible tells us the importance of knowing God’s Word for ourselves and warns us of false teachers, Satan and deception.  We need God’s Word to build our faith.

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.  (Rom 10:17)

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Ps 119:105)

This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.  (Joshua 1:8)

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.   (2 Tim 2:15)

If we love God we will obey Him.

If ye love me, keep my commandments. 

Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.  (John 14:15, 23-24))

The Important Question is ‘Does GOD know YOU?’

The Parable of 10 Wise and Foolish Virgins points out an important revelation. All 10 virgins waited for the return of The Lord; all 10 fell asleep, but woke up when He was on His way. Five ran out of oil and went to get some and when they returned the door to the marriage was shut. This is what Jesus said when He answered them at the door:

And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.

Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.

But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.

Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.  (Mt 25:10-13)

Thus, KNOWING GOD is much more than just knowing about  Him.  It is a LIFE AND DEATH  matter of KNOWING HIM, and GOD KNOWING YOU AND I PERSONALLY, that He has our names written in the Book of Life.  (Rev 20:15; 21:27) And we must know that He is who He said He is, that every word in the Bible is Truth.  If Jesus said He is returning, He WILL return and we need to be READY to meet Him when He comes.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.  (John 14:3)

 

 

The Many Layers of End Times Deception: Deception in the Church

Shofar:

TAKE HEED, FOLKS!

Here is another article on deception in the church related to my recent post http://heulu.wordpress.com/2014/09/08/surviving-as-a-christian/ 

See also my TAB BAR- DECEPTION HOT LINE

Originally posted on End Times Prophecy Report:

STRANDS OF END TIMES DECEPTION: Many and multi-layered

STRANDS OF END TIMES DECEPTION: Many and multi-layered

Deception Surrounds the True Believer

One of the unique challenges to living in the end times is dealing with the multiple layers of deception which surround the true believer.  Most Christians know that when asked about the end times, Jesus first warned of the deception that would be taking place.

“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.”
Matthew 24:4

And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
Matthew 24:11

For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
Matthew 24:24

Three warnings about deception within the space of 20 verses in Matthew 24.

The Church is the Center of Deception

The deception is everywhere and the deception…

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Forgiveness

Shofar:

Such a heart-warming story that I had to reblog it!  Love and forgiveness, grace and mercy, that’s what God’s love is all about!

Originally posted on booklovers1:

Once upon a time two brothers who lived on adjoining farms fell into conflict. It was the first serious rift in 40 years of farming side by side, sharing machinery, and trading labour and goods as needed without a hitch. Then the long collaboration fell apart. It began with a small misunderstanding and it grew into a major difference, and finally it exploded into an exchange of bitter words followed by weeks of silence. File:Wooden bridge over tarang river.jpg

One morning there was a knock on John’s door. He opened it to find a man with a carpenter’s toolbox. “I’m looking for a few days work” he said. “Perhaps you would have a few small jobs here and there. Could I help you?”

“Yes,” said the older brother. “I do have a job for you. Look across the creek at that farm. That’s my neighbor, in fact, it’s my younger brother. Last week there was…

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SURVIVING AS A CHRISTIAN

HAVE FAITH IN GOD
HAVE FAITH IN GOD
FAITH vs FEAR
FAITH is needed to survive as a Christian.  FEAR is the enemy of FAITH.
 
There are two things about fear, actually three to be concerned with.
 
The first thing to fear is FEAR ITSELF.  Fear is the opposite of our faith in God!  Fear defeats any faith we may have.  It is the enemy to ‘our hope and encouragement and success’, even our survival itself as a Christian believer.
 
God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.’  (2Ti1:7)
Fear comes from Satan, the father of lies who seeks to put us down with anything and everything that he can conjure up.
The thief cometh but for to steal, and kill, and destroy. . .’ (John 10:10a)  but Jesus came ‘that they (we) may have life, and may have it abundantly.’  (John 10:10b)
The second thing to fear, for the unwary, is the CHURCH they may be attending.   Do you know that the church can serve as an enemy to our souls? Fear the church that does not preach and teach the Gospel of Christ and the whole counsel of God, that does not teach that there is only ONE WAY to be saved which is through the blood of Jesus.  Fear the church that does not explain the way to salvation and eternal life through repentance of sins and believing in God’s Word.  Fear the church that has compromised with the world and adopted its views to ‘go with the flow’ and is leading their members down the broad way that leads to destruction. Jesus said:
‘Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.’   Mt7:13,14.
RUN from the church that never mentions sin and repentance, hell and coming judgment, the signs of the end times, and soon return of Christ.
The third and most important fear is a godly fear, FEAR GOD, this fear meaning to honor and reverence God and His Word.  This is what the Bible says about the fear of the LORD:
 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.  Prov 1:7
 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.  Prov 9:10
FEAR GOD should be number one on this short list.  If we fear God and live by His Word we can have faith to live above those things that discourage and defeat us.  This is why it is important to be in a church where Bible study is taught by Bible-believing pastors and leaders who teach from the Bible, and not preach ear-tickling, feel good sermons, and the latest false teachings that are going around as new revelation.  
We overcome worldly fears by the Word of God which builds up our faith. These are some of the many promises in the Bible regarding God helping us in time of need:
 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Psa 46:1
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.  Rom 10:17 
 Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.  Jer 33:3 
 I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.  Psa 34:4 
 

Faith is the opposite of Fear. Here is more on Faith:

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.  Heb 11:6.
‘… faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.’   Rom 10:17
 
the man in right standing with God [the just, the righteous] shall live by and out of faith and he who through and by faith is declared righteous and in right standing with God shall live. [Hab. 2:4]  Gal 3:11 AMP Bible
 
To ‘endure to the end’ and survive as Christians, we will need GREATER FAITH, which will only come by serious personal study and taking heed of God’s Word, especially if there is little or no emphasis on Bible study in your church.  
 
Jesus said, 
The words that I speak to you, they are spirit and they are life.   John 6:63b  
Related links:

 

Satanism: America’s Religion

Shofar:

‘. . .God does not exist for us; we exist for God.”  Excellent post!

‘the thief (Satan) comes to steal, kill and destroy’ (John 10:10a)  

It is Satan who blinds people from the Truth and robs them of the gift of salvation and eternal life.  Satan is at work in the churches,  not only in the unchurched world.  DECEPTION is his main strategy and many are fooled by Satan by listening to false teachings from his charismatic agents of  ‘feel good religion’ and the popular prosperity gospel.

Be sure to read this post:

http://heulu.wordpress.com/2013/09/04/why-do-people-resist-god/

Originally posted on Waxing Philosophical:

I think Satanism is probably the largest religion in America. Don’t discount me just yet, let me explain. Not the Satanism in movies where they draw upside down pentagrams, turn their crosses 180 degrees and sacrifice goats. No, the Satanism we practice here is LaVeyan Satanism, and it is so very insidious because it looks like the American dream.

UnitedSatanicAmerica_wave

Though LaVeyan Satanism certainly encompasses more than this, I am going to focus on this aspect of it. This is taken from the wiki about LaVeyan Satanism, “The religion of Satanism, as LaVey espouses it, is centered almost exclusively upon the concept of being one’s own god; as such, values and attachments such as love, affection, and caring, along with opposing concepts such as hate and wrath, are to be disseminated at the discretion of the individual Satanist.”

This is our religion America. At last we have found our true calling…

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AGENDA 21- THE COMING NEW WORLD ORDER vs GOD’S AGENDA

Shofar:

Drgold’s post- AGENDA 21 is the precursor to the Antichrist Beast System found in Revelation 13. For Christians in the New World Order, their faith will be severely challenged, tested and redefined by new laws and pressure put on its leaders and pastors for compliance to AGENDA 21. Being a Christian will not be popular. . .

Originally posted on God's Hidden Nuggets for the Endtimes:

AGENDA 21- EARTH’S SUSTAINABILITY AND DEPOPULATION  

All governments and kingdoms must have rules or laws to remain viable. Without rules or laws, it is anarchy. Also rules or laws without any consequences are just plain good advice. There is a coming New World Order of control, containment, confiscation, martial law and a police state. There will be definite rules and laws that will dictate our daily lives, our every movement, what we must do and follow, based on the foundational principles developed in theAgenda 21 of the UN Initiative in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

Agenda 21,masterminded in 1992, laid the groundwork and scope of theNew World Order.The ‘21’ in Agenda 21 refers to this present 21st Century.  What America is experiencing today is moving us from the planning to the implementation stage of the New World Order-the present thrust coming…

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The Man Who Was Mad At God!

Shofar:

I am reblogging this because 2 years ago I didn’t even know how to post a photo. It helps the viewer to see how high the condominium is and where the penthouse is situated.

Originally posted on God's Enduring Love:

I LIVED IN THIS CONDO ACROSS FROM ALA MOANA  BEACH PARK, Honolulu Hawaii.

I LIVED IN THIS CONDO ACROSS FROM ALA MOANA BEACH PARK, Honolulu Hawaii.

 (REBLOGGING THIS STORY WITH PHOTO- originally posted Sept. 2, 2012)

After our children had all grown and flown the nest, Wyman and I moved out of our large 9 bedroom 5 bath home to a luxurious, 32 floors and 350-unit condominium near  Waikiki.  On the 3rd floor level was a spacious well-manicured lawn, beautiful landscaped garden with a walking path, and large swimming pool and hot tub.  There was also a well-equipped party room, and next to it was a glassed in, fully equipped exercise room.  Being retired, Wyman liked to exercise daily during the mid-mornings.  One day while exercising, there was just one other person in the room with him, an 80-year old Japanese man.  Wyman knew this man, who at one time was a very prominent real estate developer, lawyer and city councilman in Honolulu.  He struck…

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