Sunday

Reading Through The Bible - JONAH







Some Books of the bible are very short and some are very long but this one is one of the shortest.








JONAH  -  OLD TESTAMENT  -  PROPHECY

32nd book of the OT 
32nd book of the Bible



It starts with hearing the Word of God -  and immediate disobedience to that Word.

Jonah chapter 1 v 1-2   The Word

"Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 

  “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me." 


Jonah chapter 1 v 3   The Disobedience

"But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord."




What is it?

The Book of Jonah is one of the Minor Prophets in the Old Testament which means it is Prophecy.

The Overview Bible  tells us the following

"Jonah is the most widely known of the Minor Prophets, the last 12 books of the Old Testament. When God had a message for the people, He spoke through the prophets. His word came in visions, oracles, dreams, parables, and the like. Most of these book were written to the people of Israel and Judah, but Jonah, Obadiah, and Nahum are more concerned with surrounding nations.

These Minor Prophet books record those messages. They outline the people’s sins, the consequences of those sins, and the proper response to God. 

Well, except the book of Jonah. It’s a story, not a sermon. It focuses on the prophet, not the people. And Jonah contains hardly any prophecy at all . . . only one line: “Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown” (Jonah 3:4). Among the books of the Bible, Jonah is a bit of an oddball."





How Long is it?

It only has 4 chapters yet the story of Jonah is one of the most famous from the Bible.

The Story of Jonah & the whale is regularly taught to children.






When was it Written?

It is generally said to have been written in 780 BC and the Ninevites repented 
by 775 BC.




Who Wrote it?

Jonah

The first verse of the book tells us who Jonah was

"Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai"

 


The Book of 2nd Kings also mentions Jonah in 
ch.14 v 25

"He [King Jeroboam the son of Joash] restored the territory of Israel from the entrance of Hamath to the Sea of the Arabah, according to the word of the Lord God of Israel, which He had spoken through His servant Jonah the son of Amittai, the prophet who was from Gath Hepher"

telling us that Jonah was a prophet and came from Gath Hepher.





Who was it Written to?

It was written to the people of Nineveh as we see from what God said to Jonah in the second verse of chapter 1:

 "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me."






Why was it Written? 

It was written because God saw the evil of a nation but wanted to give them the chance to repent and also wanted Jonah to learn more about God's compassion and love.
It is also because it carries a very important message about Jesus' death and resurrection.
 


The Overview Bible  tells us the following

"Jonah’s life events told some of Christ’s story, and his message foreshadowed Christ’s message: repent!
But Jonah isn’t all about repentance. It’s also a story of God’s compassion for all peoples, not just Israel."


Teach Sunday School  tells us the following

"The Book contains not only one of the most famous Bible miracles but it is also a great study on what can happen when we behave like snobs ."





Who refers to Jonah in the New Testament?


Jesus refers to Jonah in Matthew 12 v 39-41 when he is replying to the scribes and pharisees who have asked him for a sign.

"But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 
 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 
 The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here. "





What other books of the bible would have been written around the same time as Jonah or connected to it?


Hosea & Amos were also preaching during Jeroboam's reign.

Nahum was also written about the wrath of God on Nineveh although this was many years later.







How does it end?


In chapter 4 we see Jonah's anger and how God deals with this using a plant and the heat of the sun.
The message Jonah and the reader gets is that

 God is a compassionate God.

But Jonah should have remembered this because he had experienced this compassion earlier in chapter 2 v 2








Simple Brief Outline

The Overview Bible  gives us the following:

Jonah has only four chapters, which makes it easy to outline the book chapter-by-chapter:
  1. God directs Jonah,  Jonah disobeys (Jonah 1)
  2. God has compassion on Jonah (Jonah 2)
  3. Jonah preaches to Nineveh,  Nineveh repents (Jonah 3)
  4. God has compassion on Nineveh,  but Jonah does not (Jonah 4)









OTHER BOOKS OF THE BIBLE ARE ADDED REGULARLY AND AN UPDATED LIST CAN BE FOUND AT OUR READING THE BIBLE PAGE 











Monday

St. Patrick's Breastplate - Coffee & Conversation





This is mostly known in it's abbreviated form

which is really simply a small section of a hymn written from the actual piece of writing
 by Saint Patrick.



Below I will give the full hymn and abbreviated version and explain a little about it all.







A poem apparently written by St. Patrick in the 8th century was in the form of a prayer of protection.

I presume it then received the title of "Breastplate" as that would have been the main protection of the body in a suit of armour.   Then from that I would think of the Spiritual armour we are told to put on in Ephesians chapter 6 v 10-18 where the breastplate is described as the Breastplate of Righteousness and what better protection do we have than the Righteousness of our Lord Jesus.

In the 19th Century it was written as a hymn by Mrs Cecil Frances Alexander who is well-known as the writer of many many hymns of which
 "All Things Bright and Beautiful"
 "There is a Green Hill Far Away"
and
 "Once in Royal David's City"
are probably the most famous.


It was known as the very popular hymn "I bind Unto Myself Today"


I bind unto myself today
The strong name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this day to me for ever,
By power of faith, Christ's Incarnation;
His baptism in the Jordan River;
His death on cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spic├Ęd tomb;
His riding up the heavenly way;
His coming at the day of doom;
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
Of the great love of the Cherubim;
The sweet 'Well done' in judgment hour;
The service of the Seraphim,
Confessors' faith, Apostles' word,
The Patriarchs' prayers, the Prophets' scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord,
And purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the starlit heaven,
The glorious sun's life-giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind's tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea,
Around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, his shield to ward,
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.

Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar my course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours
Against their fierce hostility,
I bind to me these holy powers.

Against all Satan's spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart's idolatry,
Against the wizard's evil craft,
Against the death-wound and the burning
The choking wave and the poisoned shaft,
Protect me, Christ, till thy returning.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the name,
The strong name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three,
Of whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
salvation is of Christ the Lord.

Mrs Cecil Frances Alexander (1818 - 1895)


One section of this hymn is what we more commonly find named as St. Patrick's Breastplate today when it is cited in articles and embroidered or cross stitched as a decoration or when it is printed on cards.


Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.







A lovely prayer for any of us to make to God 

but in one way I feel that so much is lost when we use just this small section 

we are leaving out 
all those other great attributes and actions of Jesus


His

Birth
Baptism
Death
Resurrection
Ascension
Second coming


and that's just the first verse






You may also enjoy 


You can download a free pdf copy of the full prayer
ST. PATRICK'S BREASTPLATE: PRAYER FOR PROTECTION
at the following website



Sunday

Reading Through The Bible - COLOSSIANS








Some Books of the bible are very short and some are very long but this one is one of the shortest.








COLOSSIANS  -  NEW TESTAMENT  -  EPISTLE

12th book of the NT 
51st book of the Bible



It starts with Paul wanting to direct the Colossians to learn more about God and to be fruitful in His ministry.






Something for us always to be considering about ourselves.





What is it?

The Book of Colossians is one of the Epistles in the New Testament which means it is a Letter.



How Long is it?

It has 4 chapters.



When was it Written?

It is generally thought to have been written between 60 & 62 AD



Who Wrote it?

Apostle Paul - it is the 7th of his letters

Chapter 1 v 1  tells us

"Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother"

 

So Paul wrote the letter but was including Timothy who they knew (or knew of) which would mean that Timothy would be in agreement with the contents or knowledgeable of them.





Who was it Written to?

It was written to the the people who made up the church at Colossae as we see in chapter 1 verse 2:

"To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in Colosse:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."




Why was it Written? 

It was written to give advice about grounding themselves in Christ and to warn the people about false teachers and against the doctrine of Gnosticism.   

The Overview Bible  tells us the following

"Paul writes the church at Colossae a letter about who they are in Christ, and how to walk in Christ."


Teach Sunday School  tells us the following


"The Colossian church was trying to mix Greek Philosophy with Christian Theology.  The result was called Gnostic philosophy.  Among other things it taught that the physical world was evil and Jesus was a spirit and not a man."


One verse which helps to sum up advice on how the Colossians can walk worthy lives is found in
 chapter 3 v 2





Teach Sunday School  tells us the following


"In chapters 3 & 4 he teaches the people about love.  He feels that if they put on the love of Christ they will stop getting distracted by false doctrines."



As Paul saw it, love was the best virtue they could have as we see here in chapter 3 v 14









What specific encouragement is there here that is not covered in most of the letters?


Paul spoke about the role of husbands and wives in  ch. 3 v 18-19











How does it end?


With more advice which is very apt for us today as well

 





Outline of Colossians? 

  1. Who we are in Christ (Col 1–2)
    • Christ: our head (Col 1)
    • Christ: our God (Col 2)
  2. How to walk in Christ (Col 3–4)
    • Christ: our life (Col 3)
    • Christ: our Master (Col 4)








OTHER BOOKS OF THE BIBLE ARE ADDED REGULARLY AND AN UPDATED LIST CAN BE FOUND AT OUR READING THE BIBLE PAGE 












Thursday

Saint Patrick - The Church at Saul






A frequently asked question regarding St. Patrick is 

"Where in Northern Ireland will you find a church to commemorate St. Patrick?"

The answer is "lots of places"


 I want to take you to County Down where there is a small place called Saul and there you will find not one of the Cathedral's named after the Irish Patron Saint but a beautiful small church.



As you approach the church up the long narrow driveway






you will see the sign introducing you to St. Patrick's Memorial Church, which is open to the public daily and has a service each Sunday.







It tells us that St. Patrick built the first Christian church in Ireland on this same site in 432 AD







The church is small and beautifully made from light coloured stone.   
Simple & elegant with a very tall round tower.








The adjacent small graveyard is also well looked after and just a few steps away from the arched front doorway to the church.










Even the front of this church is simple and elegant with it's arched doorway and brickwork framing the door and then as you lift your eyes up there is a small stained glass window.








As you look to the front of the church after entering you will not be disappointed because the interior is also elegant and simple and this was a welcoming place to walk into and stand and gaze around, which we did for quite some time.



There are three sections at the front but also there is the wooden stand just off centre which






holds the book of Sunday Service readings and if you look closely you may be able to see that it was open at the readings for the Sunday after Trinity which would fall within the week from 25th September to 1st October.
We were there on 25th September (our oldest son's birthday - it was his choice of where we would visit that day)

The Psalm for the day was Psalm 78 and the reading listed was from Ezekiel 18.









The left section at the front comprised of a simple wooden pulpit.








The right section at the front was the area where the Bible would be read.










In the centre at the front was the altar table and another beautiful simple stained glass window.  This time arched and depicting St. Patrick.








Also in the church there is some information about the church.








Looking from the front back towards the entrance we saw the quaint compact organ for the weekly church services.


The stonework inside and outside made this little church just perfect.







As you can see from the side view of the outside the church is not very long and the windows are narrow yet with the sun shining in through these windows there was plenty of light inside.







It is on this side wall that we find the foundation stone of the new church built in 1933 on the old original site - a beautiful commemoration to St. Patrick.







Other Posts related to St. Patrick can be found on our