The Francis Asbury Society

FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 2/19

Posted on | February 19, 2016 | Comments Off on FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 2/19

Scripture reading: Acts 9:1–22

God Says You Can Begin Again!

Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh.” (Jonah 3:1–2)

 

At a missionary retreat in Kenya a few years ago, Katy and I found ourselves sitting with a couple who had been faithfully serving the Lord for years near the Somali border. They were pouring out their lives in a very difficult and dangerous area, seeking to evangelize a resistant, Muslim people group. We were sobered as we realized the level of commitment and devotion required for such a ministry. We asked them to tell us their story.

Speaking of their lives before they responded to God’s call to missionary service, the wife described her former self as a “women’s libber.” She told about a tragic divorce that preceded her current marriage and of an ongoing battle with depression which at times rendered her almost immobile. The husband then described his earlier life as an Episcopal priest in a liberal church in the U.S., famous for its support of the homosexual agenda. He told how pornography had almost destroyed his marriage. They both wept as they spoke of a daughter about to graduate from a Bible college in Europe who was secretly living with a non-believer whom she planned to marry as soon as graduation was over.

As the conversation ended, Katy and I just sat there, stunned. This was not the story we had expected to hear! As we hugged them, they both seemed a bit embarrassed about revealing so many skeletons in their closets. But we only hugged them tighter. Far from being scandalized, we were awed at the power of grace to redeem and restore. We were reminded of the Gospel promise, where sin abounded, grace abounded much more (Romans 5:20).

It always amazes me who God chooses to be in his family. And it astounds me even more to realize whom he selects to be his ambassadors and preachers! Our friends in Kenya caused me to remember again the story of Jonah. What a basket case he was! This rascal spent the first part of his life running from God, refusing to surrender his will to the One who created him. But though Jonah had given up on God, God had not given up on Jonah and sent him a whale-o-gram to get his attention! There’s nothing quite like sitting in fishy gastric juice for three days at the bottom of the ocean to bring someone to a point of surrender. Finally, Jonah humbled himself, confessed his sin and agreed to do whatever God asked. Jonah’s change of heart made the fish sick, who promptly vomited him up. (Prophets often have that effect on people!) Then God spoke to him again: Arise, go to Nineveh (1:1–2; 3:1–2). This time Jonah obeyed, and God used the reluctant prophet to bring about one of the greatest revivals in history! Thank God for second chances.

Is there some area in your life where you are resisting God’s will? Don’t wait for God to send you a whale-o-gram! Humble yourself. Today he is offering you a second chance. I can’t promise that tomorrow he will offer you a third. Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation (II Corinthians 6:2).

 

We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive. —C. S. Lewis

 

point to ponder Yesterday is gone forever. Tomorrow never comes. Today is the only moment you have to respond to God’s call.

prayer focus  If you are running from God, surrender your will to his in prayer. He is offering you a second chance; tomorrow he may not offer you a third.

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