“…I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.” (Jonah 2:2).
Jonah chapter 2 is another one of my favorite Scriptures! You See, Right in the Midst of Trouble, Jonah Still Prayed Unto the Lord! He Forgot about his Situation and Fully Turned His Attention to God! Can you imagine what would happen if today the church did the very same thing? If we sought God no matter our situation? If we still fell on bended knee no matter how many times the rug has been pulled out from beneath us? If we still talked to God no matter how badly others are talking about us? If we still went to church even if we had to walk there? If we would still read the Bible even when we’ve lost the job? Can you imagine if we still sought God regardless of our current circumstances!? Just think what would become of our lives if we prayed as the Bible admonishes us to: “Pray At All Times” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 GNT) Just imagine how strong our relationship with God would become if we indeed prayed at all times. And that includes praying when the car breaks down; the kids are failing in school; the marriage is holding on by its last string; the job just laid you off; the doctor just gave you a cancerous diagnosis; your parent passes away; your sibling is strung out on drugs; your church is emptying out; your bank accounts can’t even keep the bare minimum anymore; Medicaid said no; Medicare won’t cover; there’s dust in the cupboards and only Arm and Hammer in the fridge! Would you still be able to pray to God, even in these times?! Would you still trust Him? Would you still lean on Him? Would you still believe Him? Would you still praise and worship Him? Would you still have Faith in Him? Would you still thank Him?
When you study the content of Jonah’s prayer in Jonah 2:2-9, you’ll discover that he wasn’t praying the ‘give me or get me out of this prayer’, but a Prayer of Worship and Thanksgiving (“…But I’m Worshiping you, God, calling out in Thanksgiving!…” (Jonah 2:9 MSG) However, what happens next is Absolutely Dynamic; the Bible says, “And the LORD Commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.” (Jonah 2:10 NIV). What a Mighty Deliverance! BUT, if you look at what Jonah Worshiped in the Midst Of to Get It, you’ll have to ask yourself, ‘do I really want it that bad?’ Because to get This Kind of Deliverance, You’ve Got to Possess the Ability to Worship In the Worst Of It! Yes, that means to pray, worship and thank God while the eviction notice is on the front door; the pink slip after 20 years was just handed to you; the doctor has nothing else he can do for your disease; your teenage son tells you he has a baby on the way; your daughter comes home with a tattoo across her forehead; there’s nothing in the fridge but the light-bulb; the toilet water won’t go down, the heat won’t come up, the car won’t start and the bills won’t stop! YES, You Have To Still Pray, Praise, Worship and Thank God In the Midst of It All! So How Bad Do You Really Want It?!
First off, it was due to Jonah’s Disobedience that he was in Trouble in the first place! So Jonah was where he Deserved to be, and God Put Him There, the Bible says, “Now the Lord had Prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah…”(Jonah 1:17). Like Jonah, many of us are where we are due to our OWN disobedience! BUT the very next verse says, “Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God Out Of the Fish’s Belly.” (Jonah 2:1). Truth be told, sometimes Deliverance Looks Downright Disgusting! I know you thought God was going to bring you out driving a 2019 so and so…NOPE…with a brand new house…NOPE…with a 7 figure income…NOPE…with the spouse dipped in honey…NOPE…with a world-wide ministry…NOPE…totally debt free…NOPE…a size 36-24-36…NOPE! Your Deliverance Is NOT Going To Look Pretty! After all, did you really think Jonah would spend 3 days and 3 nights in the belly of fish and come up smelling like roses? Truth is, I hate to even walk past the scent of a fish market, let alone have to be in the belly of a great fish for 3 days and 3 nights! So, no, Jonah wasn’t coming out fresh and clean! And neither are you going to come out of all you’ve been in smelling like Febreeze!
Just look at Mark 7:33-35, the Bible reads: “And taking him aside from the crowd [privately], He thrust His fingers into the man’s ears and spat and touched his tongue; And looking up to heaven, He sighed as He said, Ephphatha, which means, Be opened! And his ears were opened, his tongue was loosed, and he began to speak distinctly and as he should.” (AMP). Sweetheart, your deliverance is Not going to come with the latest fad-prophet sprinkling fairy dust over you and waving a pearly white magic wand! NOPE! Ear Wax and Spit Baby! So Do You Still Want To Be Delivered?! Listen for the two important truths here: One, the man’s ears were opened! “So faith comes from HEARING…” (Romans 10:17 AMP) Now, you may not like the method God uses to deliver you, but you will love hearing by faith what He has to say to you! The deliverance may be downright disgusting, but won’t it be worth it to hear God say: “…All these blessings will come down on you and spread out beyond you because you have responded to the Voice of God, your God: God’s blessing inside the city, God’s blessing in the country; God’s blessing on your children, the crops of your land, the young of your livestock, the calves of your herds, the lambs of your flocks. God’s blessing on your basket and bread bowl; God’s blessing in your coming in, God’s blessing in your going out. God will defeat your enemies who attack you. They’ll come at you on one road and run away on seven roads. God will order a blessing on your barns and workplaces; he’ll bless you in the land that God, your God, is giving you. God will form you as a people holy to him, just as he promised you, if you keep the commandments of God, your God, and live the way he has shown you. All the peoples on Earth will see you living under the Name of God and hold you in respectful awe. God will lavish you with good things: children from your womb, offspring from your animals, and crops from your land, the land that God promised your ancestors that he would give you. God will throw open the doors of his sky vaults and pour rain on your land on schedule and bless the work you take in hand. You will lend to many nations but you yourself won’t have to take out a loan. God will make you the head, not the tail; you’ll always be the top dog, never the bottom dog, as you obediently listen to and diligently keep the commands of God, your God, that I am commanding you today…” (Deuteronomy 28:1-14, MSG) Wouldn’t a Dirty Deliverance Be Worth Hearing That?! Secondly, his tongue was loosed! The Bible says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” (Proverbs 18:21 AMP); It further shares, “You will also decide and decree a thing, and it will be established for you; and the light [of God’s favor] will shine upon your ways.” (Job 22:28 AMP) Having your tongue loosed, means you get to decree life over your life and change it with the creative power your God has given you in your ability to open your mouth and speak it! The Bible says, “…and speaks of the nonexistent things that [He has foretold and promised] as if they [already] existed.” (Romans 4:17 AMPC) Once your deliverance takes place and your lips are loosed, regardless to what your situation may still look like, you open your mouth and declare the nonexistent things God foretold and promised you and you speak them as if they already exist! “I’m healed; I’m whole; I’m debt-free; my marriage is repaired; my children are returning from straying; my bank accounts look like phone numbers with the 1 and area code attached! I’m cancer free; the mortgage company said yes; the grant was approved; I’m driving the car off the lot; God is sending me the mate He custom designed just for me; the business proposal has been approved; the tuition is free; the church is full; my household is saved; my family is delivered; the addiction has been arrested by the Holy Ghost; the anointing is fresh; the gifts are stirred; closed doors of opportunity are unlocking as I speak; the promotion is mine; the elevation is mine; the doctors diagnosis is being reversed; the blood-work is coming back in my favor; the x-rays are clear; the chemo, radiation and dialysis are stopping; I’m graduating!” You see that’s the beauty of deliverance, no matter how dirty it is, you get to receive the restoration of your hearing and speech! It may be dirty, but thank God for deliverance anyhow!
Need another Dirty Deliverance Example? Just Look at Mark 8:23-25, the Bible reads: “And He caught the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village; and when He had spit on his eyes and put His hands upon him, He asked him, Do you [possibly] see anything? And he looked up and said, I see people, but [they look] like trees, walking. Then He put His hands on his eyes again; and the man looked intently [that is, fixed his eyes on definite objects], and he was Restored and saw Everything Distinctly [even what was at a distance].” (AMP). There’s That Spit Anointing Again! Who Knew Jesus Was Such A Dirty Deliverer?! But this deliverance comes with the blessing of restored vision! Not just physical, but spiritual! All those dreams that you had that were so big and clear before life happened and you stuffed them on the shelf, are coming off the shelf! You will be like Joseph, have one dream that’s big, then dream again and it gets even bigger! You may not like the dirty deliverance, but you will love the results! Things that were so foggy and unclear are going to be 20/20 before 2020 even gets here! You were blind to God’s favor; blind to ways being made on your behalf; blind to the miracles coming down your street and to your house, but oh what happens when God delivers your vision! Another thing I love about this text is that it says, “…he was Restored and saw Everything Distinctly [even what was at a DISTANCE].” Once you’re delivered and your vision is restored you will not only see the blessings and favor of the Lord on your life, but you’ll be able to see the blessings on multiple generations to come! Your deliverance and restoration are not just for you, but for your posterity that hasn’t even been born yet!
You see, deliverance comes when you can Worship God in the Midst of the Worst of your Troubles! Understand that there’s No Doubt About Your Deliverance Coming, You Just Need to Accept the Fact, In Advance, That Your Deliverance Will Come, But It Won’t Come Clean! You’ll often have to get Dirty Before You Get Delivered! Can I Prove It? The Bible says, “Elisha sent out a servant to meet him with this message: “Go to the River Jordan and immerse yourself seven times. Your skin will be healed and you’ll be as good as new.” Naaman lost his temper. He turned on his heel saying, “I thought he’d personally come out and meet me, call on the name of GOD, wave his hand over the diseased spot, and get rid of the disease. The Damascus rivers, Abana and Pharpar, are Cleaner by far than any of the rivers in Israel. Why not Bathe in them? I’d at least get Clean.” He stomped off, mad as a hornet. But his servants caught up with him and said, “Father, if the prophet had asked you to do something hard and heroic, wouldn’t you have done it? So why not this simple ‘wash and be clean’?” So he did it. He went down and immersed himself in the Jordan seven times, following the orders of the Holy Man. His skin was healed; it was like the skin of a little baby. He was as good as new.” (2 Kings 5:10-14 MSG). Are You Willing To Get Delivered Even When You Don’t Get To Choose The Method of Your Deliverance? Are You Willing To Get Delivered Even When You Don’t Get to Choose the Prophet? Are you willing to be delivered where no one can see it and talk about? Are you willing to be delivered when God uses a nobody to declare the Word of healing to you? Are you willing to get delivered even if you have to do something “beneath” your title, office or position in order to get it? How Bad Do You Really Want To Be Delivered!? Because Naaman dipped seven times in the dirty Jordan River, will you quit at 2 because it’s just asking too much of you? But at least Naaman was above ground, dipped seven dirty times and came up clean, Jonah lie in the belly of a great fish for 3 days and 3 nights! Listen, if you can’t handle 7 dips, you’ll lose your natural mind over 3 days and 3 nights! So, how bad do you really want to be delivered?!
Honestly, Do You have Enough Guts to get Dirty Before You get Delivered?! Can you Worship and Give Thanksgiving right in the Belly of the Fish, Before you get set Free on Dry Ground?! Truth is, Anybody can Worship and Give Thanks AFTERWARDS, But the Beginning of Deliverance is Doing It DURING?! And since we’re talking about Worship, how about we visit Jonah’s Church, enter into his Sanctuary, and take a good look around at What Jonah Worshiped in the Midst Of! Jonah 2:2-6, Describes Jonah’s Fish Temple of Worship: The Bible says, “In trouble, deep trouble, I prayed to God. He answered me. From the belly of the grave I cried, ’Help!’ You heard my cry. You threw me into ocean’s depths, into a watery grave, With ocean waves, ocean breakers crashing over me. I said, ’I’ve been thrown away, thrown out, out of your sight. I’ll never again lay eyes on your Holy Temple.’ Ocean gripped me by the throat. The ancient Abyss grabbed me and held tight. My head was all tangled in seaweed at the bottom of the sea where the mountains take root. I was as far down as a body can go, and the gates were slamming shut behind me forever…” (MSG).
And you think you’ve got problems??!! You have the audacity to complain about your church?! In the winter you can’t worship because it’s too cold; in the summer you can’t worship because it’s too hot; in the spring you can’t worship because of your allergies; in the fall you can’t worship because it’s holiday season! The ushers push you in a pew; the trustees pull you and all your money apart; the choir never sings your song; the musicians are too loud; service is too long; the kids are too busy! Everything in the church hinders your worship, but nothing you face at your church can compare to what Jonah had to worship through in his! Jonah worshiped in the midst of fish guts and seaweed, and you get an attitude because the church has 2 services instead of 1?! Are you kidding me?!
Look at what Jonah worshiped in the midst of! But yet in still, you cancel your worship due to rolling eyes and attitudes; over what someone said or didn’t say; because they didn’t sing your song or preach you happy; because it’s raining outside; because they sat in your seat; because of what the doctors said. Tell yourself from this day forward, the devil is a liar! I’ll let nothing and no one cancel my worship again! Not their words, facial expressions, opinions, criticisms, discouragement, or bitterness! Why do I refuse to let it cancel my worship? Because I can say with Jonah, “…Yet you pulled me up from that grave alive, O God, my God! When my life was slipping away, I remembered God, And my prayer got through to you, made it all the way to your Holy Temple. Those who worship hollow gods, god-frauds, walk away from their only true love. But I’m worshiping you, God, calling out in thanksgiving! And I’ll do what I promised I’d do! Salvation belongs to God!” (vss. 1-9 MSG)
If Jonah can worship God in the midst of all of this, surely you can worship God in the midst of your mess! God does not stop being Sovereign because of your Situation! He can do anything, anywhere for any one of His children! That’s why you need to understand the power of your worship. It summons all of Heaven to meet you in Hell, Just ask Jonah, “…I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.” (vs. 2). If Jonah Can Cry Out to God In the Midst of a Belly of Hell, Surely You Can Walk Into Your Pretty Sanctuary and Worship God? Surely! He lay in fish guts while you sit on cushioned seats and you still can’t worship God? His music was the indigestion of a fish, while you have a whole minstrel section and yet you still can’t worship God? He was at the bottom of the ocean and you sit elevated in your prestigious pulpit seating and yet you still can’t worship God? How is it that Jonah can give God his all right where he was, and yet you haven’t given God anything and you’re in a better position than Jonah?!
And an added bonus: You don’t have to look for God in worship, if you worship, He’ll come looking for you! “…true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the FATHER SEEKS.” John 4:23 (NIV). People of God, Learn How to Worship Your Way Through, And Before You Know It, You’ll Worship Your Way Out! It May Be a Dirty Deliverance, But It’s Guaranteed To Give You a Clean Slate!
“God will lead you into a deliverance where the means that delivers you will be those who would destroy you.” (Edwin Louis Cole)
“…unless you long for deliverance you shall not have it.” (John Owen)
“Before you ever get a problem, God has already got your deliverance planned.” (Joyce Meyer)
“The wise man in the storm prays to God, not for safety from danger, but for deliverance from fear. It is the storm within which endangers him, not the storm without.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
“God hears and He sees, and you are not alone in your struggles. Remain firm and stable, for God has your deliverance planned.” (Joyce Meyer)
“God is in control and therefore in EVERYTHING I can give thanks not because of the situation but because of the One who directs and rules over it.” (Kay Arthur)
“God wants you to be delivered from what you have done and from what has been done to you. Both are equally important to Him.” (Joyce Meyer)
“When the Power of God is Present, Healing and Deliverance are Just Like Breathing.” (T.B. Joshua)
“The nature of the enemy’s warfare in your life is to cause you to become discouraged and to cast away your confidence. Not that you would necessarily discard your salvation, but you could give up your hope of God’s deliverance. The enemy wants to numb you into a coping kind of Christianity that has given up hope of seeing God’s resurrection power. Don’t give up!” (Bob Sorge)
“Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible. There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible. Faith begins where man’s power ends.” (George Muller)
“Don’t worry. God is never blind to your tears, never deaf to your prayers, and never silent to your pain. He sees, He hears, and He will deliver.”
“Sometimes God will deliver you from the fire, and other times God will make you fireproof.” (Joel Osteen)
“I’m determined to stand whether God will deliver me or not.” (Bob Dylan)
“We all know the disappointments that come when we base anticipation on what we and other humans can deliver. God will never have a problem delivering.” (James MacDonald)
“God Who delivers us from the guilt of sin through faith in Jesus Christ, is able to deliver the believer from the power of sin as well.” (J. Edwin Orr)
“What’s damaged you as a child does not have to destroy you as an adult. God can deliver you from all your hurt and pain. Enter into God’s delivery room!” (Jasmine Harris)
“Don’t rush the time of God. He knows what is best for us and when it is best for us. Continue to wait, but know that He is faithful and He will deliver.” (Lisa Osteen Comes)
Psalm 50:15, “And call on Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall honor and glorify Me.” (AMPC)
Psalm 59:1, “Deliver me from my enemies, O my God; defend and protect me from those who rise up against me.” (AMPC)
Psalm 32:7, “You are a hiding place for me; You, Lord, preserve me from trouble, You surround me with songs and shouts of deliverance. Selah [pause, and calmly think of that]!” (AMPC)
Psalm 70:1, “Make haste, O God, to deliver me; make haste to help me, O Lord!” (AMPC)
Jeremiah 15:21, “And I will deliver you out of the hands of the wicked, and I will redeem you out of the palms of the terrible and ruthless tyrants.” (AMPC)
Job 5:17-18, “So, what a blessing when God steps in and corrects you! Mind you, don’t despise the discipline of Almighty God! True, He wounds, but He also dresses the wound; the same hand that hurts you, heals you. From one disaster after another He delivers you; no matter what the calamity, the evil can’t touch you.” (MSG)
Galatians 1:3-5, “Grace and spiritual blessing be to you and [soul] peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah), Who gave (yielded) Himself up [to atone] for our sins [and to save and sanctify us], in order to rescue and deliver us from this present wicked age and world order, in accordance with the will and purpose and plan of our God and Father – To Him [be ascribed all] the glory through all the ages of the ages and the eternities of the eternities! Amen (so be it).” (AMPC)
Daniel 3:17, “If our God Whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, He will deliver us out of your hand, O king.” (AMPC)
Genesis 45:7, “And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.” (KJV)
Much Love, Dr. Shermaine #EnjoyTheRead #BeInspired #BeEncouraged #BeEmpowered #BeChallenged
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