Swallowed By a Huge Fish

People today fall over even the simplest things that don’t make sense to them in Scripture. One of the recent ones that came up in a conversation with a family member is the fact that the Bible states Jonah (another prophet like Amos) was swallowed by a huge fish. 

Jonah 1:17 NET “The LORD sent a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights.”

This has never been a stumbling block for me because more than a decade ago I was leading a  planning retreat of 6 or 7 pastors and leaders of a group of churches in Russia. We were in a cabin by the ocean and there was always lots of fish to eat – breakfast, lunch, and supper. While there I saw a picture of a large fish pulled out of the same waters. It took a crane to lift the fish up on to the shore. It was certainly large enough to swallow a prophet or anyone for that matter.

The Hebrew word for fish is not used in a modern, biological sense here. Rather, it refers to a large marine creature — and there are certainly known monsters of the deep large enough to swallow a man whole.

In her booklet The Bible Today, Grace Kellogg identifies at least two of them: the sulfur-bottom (or blue) whale and the whale shark. Nether of these creatures has any teeth. They feed by opening their enormous mouths, dropping their lower jaws, and moving through the water at high speed, straining food as they go.

A 100-foot sulfur-bottom whale was recorded off Cape Cod in the 1930s. Its mouth was 10 or 12 feet wide — so big it could easily swallow a horse. These whales have four to six compartments in their stomachs, any one of which could house a group of full-grown men. The nasal cavity of this whale contains an enormous air storage chamber as well, often measuring seven feel high, seven feet wide, and 14 feet long. If this creature had an unwelcome guest on board that caused a headache, the whale would swim to the nearest land to discharge the offender, just as the huge fish did with Jonah.

Interesting as these facts are, we do not need marine biology to prove that a sovereign God can direct the elements of His creation to accomplish His purposes. If we do not believe that God could and did prepare a giant fish to discipline a prophet, then we will have trouble believing that a dead man named Jesus of Nazareth came back to life. Do not forget — it is the three days of Jonah in the belly of a huge fish that Jesus used to predict His own resurrection after three days in the grave.

Matthew 12:39-40 NET “But [Jesus] answered them, ‘An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish for three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights.’”

Matthew 16:4 NET “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.”

1 Corinthians 15:4 NET “… and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures”

I have seen the resurrected and risen Jesus Christ in the flesh. I have heard His voice. I have touched Him as He hugged me. The date – November 9, 1976. The night that I was gloriously saved and born again. I know He is alive after three days in the grave because I saw, heard, and touched Him.

1 John 1:1-4 NET “This is what we proclaim to you: what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and our hands have touched (concerning the word of life – and the life was revealed, and we have seen and testify and announce to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us). What we have seen and heard we announce to you too, so that you may have fellowship with us (and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ). Thus we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.”



Matthew 6:9-13 NET

“So pray this way: Our Father in heaven, may your name be honoured, may your kingdom come, may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we ourselves have forgiven our debtors.

And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”

Believers (especially older believers) pray this prayer regularly – often by heart

Non-believers know this prayer as well

They say it at funerals

They learned it when growing up – a family thing

At one time, it started the morning off at school  (I date myself)

But there are a number of strange things about the Lord’s Prayer and how it is used or not used today

    • We don’t follow Jesus’ instructions

“When you pray, pray like this…” (“So pray this way…”) Read more


Yesterday I wrote about “Passion” and how misplaced the passion of many believers is. Today I want to share about a concern and a thought that hit me yesterday when reading my Bible. The word that summaries this blog is “indifference.”

I was reading the Parable of the Wedding Feast … a parable about the Kingdom:

Matthew 22:1-14 “Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: “The kingdom of heaven can be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his slaves to summon those who had been invited to the banquet, but they would not come. Again he sent other slaves, saying, ʻTell those who have been invited, “Look! The feast I have prepared for you is ready. My oxen and fattened cattle have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.”ʼ But they were indifferent and went away, one to his farm, another to his business. The rest seized his slaves, insolently mistreated them, and killed them. The king was furious! He sent his soldiers, and they put those murderers to death and set their city on fire. Then he said to his slaves, ʻThe wedding is ready, but the ones who had been invited were not worthy. So go into the main streets and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.ʼ And those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all they found, both bad and good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to see the wedding guests, he saw a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. And he said to him, ʻFriend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes?ʼ But he had nothing to say. Then the king said to his attendants, ʻTie him up hand and foot and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth!ʼ For many are called, but few are chosen.”

The dictionary defines “indifference” as: lack of interest or concern: unimportance; little or no concern: the quality or condition of being indifferent.

Those who were “indifferent” simply walked away and did not accept the invitation of the king to come to the celebrations for his son’s wedding. They were busy. Their focus was elsewhere. They lacked interest. They were not concerned, apparently, that they were directly insulting the king which might not be a good idea in the long run. 

I see this today in the Christian Church and among believers. People come to the weekly assembly late and thus miss part or all of the worship to the King. And, they lack any consideration for others who are worshipping as they walk in late and interrupt what is already in progress. People texting (or even sleeping) while the teacher or preacher is bringing a message that they believe God gave them for those assembled. Not participating in the before-service and/or after-service fellowship for what I am sure are good reasons … But apparently indifferent to the need for fellowship and the benefit of building solid relationships within the local Body of Christ, the Church. 

Paul writes and tells us that we should be the opposite of indifferent. Romans 12:11 is my favourite verse in this regard…

NET “Do not lag in zeal, be enthusiastic in spirit, serve the Lord.”

TPT “Be enthusiastic to serve the Lord, keeping your passion toward him boiling hot! Radiate with the glow of the Holy Spirit and let him fill you with excitement as you serve him.”

MSG. “Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant.”

Some things to note from the story:

A wedding feast could go on for days with much food and merriment. An invitation from the king would be considered both an honour and a command, but the citizens of this country at first refused the invitation, even though the king had describes the many pleasures of the feast.

Some invited guests were not only indifferent and ignored or scorned the king’s invitation but also reacted violently against his messengers. The king reacted as ancient rulers often did; he sent his troops to destroy those murderers. To treat the king’s messengers with contempt and indifference was to treat the king himself with contempt and indifference.

The invitation to the wedding feast was given to everyone — both bad and good —  because the original invitees had refused the invitation. This detail indicated that the Gentiles were now being offered salvation because the Jews had rejected the Gospel.

Even though the final invitation to the celebration was broadcast indiscriminately, guests still had to meet certain conditions to participate in the feast, including wearing wedding clothes, which were probably given to the guests by the king himself (Esther 6:8-9; Ezekiel 16:10-13). When the king found a man without his wedding garment, the man was summarily tied up and thrown out of the palace.

So, in summary:

The king in the parable wants the wedding to be well attended. He wants his people to celebrate this great family event with him and his son (future king). So, he sends his servants out to invite a certain group of people who were indifferent to the invite and to the inviter. Then the king sent servants to invite whoever they meet, everyone they encounter. And many prepare and come to the celebration. In the midst of the crowd, however, there is one man who has come without preparing, without dressing for the occasion. He was immediately tossed. The king wanted everyone to come but also wanted those who choose to accept his invitation to come properly dressed for the occasion. In other words, it is not a “do your own thing.” There was some preparation needed before attending.

Those listening, the priests and teachers of the law, understood that the message was that the call of the Gospel when out to the whole world, but to the Jewish people first. Relatively few accepted the Lord’s invitation to eternal life, so the invitation was extended to the Gentiles as well. However, to participate in the great feast of God, one must not only be called but also put on the king’s wedding clothes — the righteousness of Christ — accepted by grace through faith. Those without such a garment, although invited, reveal they are not the chosen.

So, everyone is called but few choose to accept the calling, the invitation. And, apparently, one of the key reasons is indifference. Which we have seen means: lack of interest or concern: unimportance; little or no concern: the quality or condition of being indifferent.

Sometimes My Heart Is Wrong!

Sometimes My Heart Is Wrong!


Over the years I have noted that:

I can pick up a book to read – my goal is a book a week – and it just does not speak to me and can even be very boring for me so I shoe it back on the shelve and choose a different one

I can listen to or read a teaching from some of my favourite preachers and it is dead and boring so I turn it off to put it down and do something else

People forward U Tube videos to me that spoke to them, ministered to them and touched their heart – and I simply don’t connect with them; they don’t speak to me

People forward songs – same reaction with an occasional exception – Shirley forwarded one last week which was powerful … burr put it down t seldom do they speak to me

I guard my time very carefully and don’t want to waste it and so I read, watch, and listen selectively as I want to hear God as I believe He always has a lot to say

And what God is saying is always very important to me so I don’t want to waste my time on other people’s opinions Read more

Knowing the Bible Stories

A New England teacher quizzed a group of collage-bound high school juniors and seniors on the Bible The quiz preceded a Bible as Literature class he planned to teach at what was generally considered one of the better public schools in the nation. Among the more unusual answers from these students were, “Sodom and Gomorrah were lovers,” and “Jezebel was Ahab’s donkey.”

Other students thought that the four horsemen appeared on the Acropolis; that the New Testament Gospels were written by Matthew, Mark, Luther, and John; that Eve was created from an apple; and that Jesus was baptized by Moses.

The answer that took the misinformation prize was given by a fellow who was academically in the top 5 percent of his class. The question, “What was Golgotha?” The answer, “Golgotha was the name of the giant who slew the apostle David.”

In case you think this is an isolated instance of biblical illiteracy, let me quote the finding of a recent Gallup poll:

    • 82% of the people surveyed believe that the Bible is either the literal or “inspired” Word of God.
    • More than half who responded to the survey said they read the Bible at least monthly — Yet half couldn’t name even one of the four Gospels.
    • Fewer than half knew who delivered the Sermon on the Mount.

USA Today reported a poll showing that only 11 percent of Americans read the Bible every day. More than half read it less than once a month or not at all.

The Barna Research Group conducted a survey that focused only on “born again” Christians and came up with the following statistics:

    • Only 18 percent — less than two in every ten — read the Bible every day
    • Worse of all, 23 percent — almost one in four professing Christians — say they never read the Word of God.

The Bible is available in more than 1,800 languages, and yet someone has observed that the worst dust storm in history would happen if all church members who were neglecting their Bibles dusted them off simultaneously. 

A Simple Faith

I read about a very religious father whose son was studying for the ministry. The boy had decided to go to Europe for an advanced degree, and the father worried that his simple faith would be spoiled by sophisticated, unbelieving professors. “Don’t let the take Jonah away from you,” he admonished, figuring the swallowed-by-a-great-fish story might be the first part of the Bible to go. Two years later when the son returned, the father asked, “Do you still have Jonah in your Bible?”

The son laughed. “Jonah! That story isn’t even in your Bible.”

The father replied, “It certainly is! What do you mean?”

Again the son laughed and insisted, “It’s not in your Bible. God ahead, show it to me.”

The old man fumbled through his Bible, looking for the Book of Jonah, but he couldn’t find it. At last he checked the table of contents for the prophet page. When he turned there, he discovered the three pages composing Jonah had ben carefully cut from his Bible.

“I did it before I went away,” said the son. “What’s the difference between my losing the Book of Jonah through studying under non-believers or your losing it through neglect? 

Someone has observed that the worst dust storm in history would happen if all church members who were neglecting their Bibles dusted them off simultaneously. 

Sometimes I Live Without Hope



In the last few weeks I have come to realize how many people – including believers – live without hope

They feel hopeless

They sense that they are hopeless

They live with this nagging feeling that no matter what they do nothing is going to change – hopeless

On my recent trip to Montreal I met with a man who is in his early forties … “without hope”

In his mind:

  • No future
  • No open door to a bright future
  • No way out
  • No potential for change
  • No possibility of overcoming “life”

In a recent visit with one of my sons: Read more

Feeling Confident In Life – Part Six

As you grow more self-confident you will find your confidence has a contagious quality. It will spread throughout your sphere of influence. The Bible provides some interesting examples of “confidence contagion.”

For instance, how many giant-killers are in Saul’s army? None. When Goliath defied the armies of God, they quaked in fear (1 Samuel 17:11). David, who came to bring food to his brothers, sized up the situation, went out in faith, and killed the giant. After David the giant-killer became king, how many giant-killers arose in Israel? Quite a few. They were almost a common commodity in the army under David’s leadership. 

1 Chronicles 20:4-8 “And after this there arose war with the Philistines at Gezer. Then Sibbecai the Hushathite struck down Sippai, who was one of the descendants of the giants, and the Philistines were subdued. And there was again war with the Philistines, and Elhanan the son of Jair struck down Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, the shaft of whose spear was like a weaver’s beam. And there was again war at Gath, where there was a man of great stature, who had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number, and he also was descended from the giants. And when he taunted Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea, David’s brother, struck him down. These were descended from the giants in Gath, and they fell by the hand of David and by the hand of his servants.”

Why do you suppose there were no giant-killers in Saul’s army? Surely one reason is that Saul himself was not a giant-killer. However, under David’s leadership they were numerous, because David was a giant-killer. This illustrates a tremendous principle, a principle that runs throughout the Bible — it takes one to make one! When you develop confidence, those around you – friends, family, fellow church members – will increase in their own confidence levels. Confidence breeds confidence. 

Everyone needs to be affirmed both as a person and as a believer. Affirmation allows our self-confidence to grow. It is easy to give a generic compliment such as “You’re great to work with.” But a comment that really means something to a person is specific and mentions a certain quality: “I appreciate your efficiency in relational skills, and this is very important to the success of the group.” We don’t help others by passing on empty compliments or avoiding the necessary task of sharing needed constructive criticism. Unfortunately too often we are stingy with honest praise. Built up those you relate to and encourage them by verbalizing their worth and value in front of others. Remember, praise in public and criticize in private.

Confidence can provide the momentum you need to be the person God meant you to be. It cannot substitute for character, or skill, or knowledge, but it enhances these qualities so that you can be a person who makes a difference in the life of others. When you have people knowledge and skills and the momentum that confidence brings, then things begin to happen in your relationships.

The largest locomotive in the New York Central system, while standing still, can be prevented from moving by a single, one-inch block of wood placed in front of each of the eight drive wheels! The same locomotive, moving at 100 miles-per-hour can crash through a wall of steel-reinforced concrete five feet thick. The only difference is momentum. Confidence gives you the momentum that makes the difference.

You remember the childhood story about the train engine that did because he thought he could. Some of the larger engines were defeated when they saw the hill. Then came the little train hustling down the track repeating to himself, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can” and he began to pass al the other locomotives who were saying, “It can’t be done.” As he got closer to the top his speed got slower and slower, but as he reached the crest, he said, “I though I could, I thought I could, I thought I could….”

The little engine made it, but not because he had more power or more skills. The little engine made it because he thought he could; he had more confidence. Many times we feel like little insignificant engines. But if we hone our skills and talents, then add a good dose of confidence, we can climb hills and overcome obstacles and barriers that could have stopped us dead in our tracks. Why pull off the track and stop when we can conquer those mountains with the momentum of confidence in our engines? 

Sometimes I Don’t Enjoy Praying


Before I was born again prayer was non-existent in my life

Oh, I prayed the prayers along with everyone else from the book of prayers during the Sunday morning service

Prayers that 50+ years later I can still repeat by memory (head) – but not from my heart

Then I met Jesus and prayer took on whole new dynamic (November 9th, 1976)

It was a very personal and private conversation between Jesus and me 

A time for solitude and stillness when I reconnected with my own heart and the heart of the Father who loves me unconditionally

A very special – and sometimes quiet – time when I experienced God’s peace and His presence that was different than what I experienced during any other time  Read more

Feeling Confident In Life – Part Four

We have seen that to feel confident and appear confident in relationships and in life in general we need to:

1> Establish your worth according to God’s value system.

2> Focus on God and not on our situation

A> Confidence is not the result of an absence of problems.

B> Confidence is a result of trusting God in our problems.

C> Victories yesterday give more confidence for today.

3> Develop friendships with confident people

4> Put a few wins under your belt

Another way to develop confidence is to put a few wins under your belt. Start with building on small successes and little by little you will tackle bigger and bigger challenges. 

A few successful victories under your belt gives you the impetus to keep starching your abilities. If you keep winning, you may see yourself as a no-limits person. Repeated failures produce the opposite effect. You begin to see yourself as a hopeless loser. The best way to develop rational, well-balanced confidence is to go after a few victories immediately following a failure. Don’t allow yourself the luxury of wallowing in self-pity.

A great confidence booster is a personal victory list of past successes and achievements. This is a biblical concept. There are two Bible characters who practiced this: Samson, who became a total failure, and David, who became a great success.

In Judges 16:20 we see Samson’s victory list:  “And she [Delilah] said, ‘The Philistines are upon you, Samson!’ And he awoke from his sleep and said, ‘I will go out as at other times and shake myself free.’ But he did not know that the LORD had left him.”

Now let’s read David’s victory list in 1 Samuel 17:37: “And David said, ‘The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.’ And Saul said to David, ‘Go, and the LORD be with you!’”

There are two strong similarities between these two men. They were both chosen, ordained, and anointed by God, and they were both leaders of Israel at a time when Israel was battling agains the Philistines. But this is where it stops; Samson and David also had three distinct differences. These differences made one a winner (and confident) and the other a loser.

The first thing we notice about Samson is that he wanted to please himself. He lived life in the flesh, depending on his own strength and felt no need to rely on God, even when going into battle. He chose the road that always leads to ultimate defeat. Unlike Samson, David desired to please God. He knew that, left to his own resources, he was already defeated. So he called upon the Lord and went to battle with divine help. His weakness became God’s strength and he was assured victory.

Samson’s alienation from God not only led to his defeat, it ended his leadership. For David, however, this episode with Goliath was the beginning of his leadership. It was the incident that brought him into a position where God could greatly use him. Victory lists should give us confidence, not cockiness.

5> Quit comparing yourself with others

Another way to increase your confidence is to quit comparing yourself with others. Comparisons always leaves you found wanting. If you are better than the person you are comparing yourself to, this makes you proud — not more confident. If you are not as good as the person you are comparing yourself to then you become depressed and, again, not more confident. 

The following little story illustrates the point. A milk truck passes two cows grazing in a pasture. On the side of the truck are the words, “Pasteurized, homogenized, standardized, Vitamin A added.” Noticing this, one cow says to the other, “Makes you kind of feel inadequate, doesn’t it?” I think we have all known that feeling of inadequacy when we compare what we can offer with what someone else offers.