Featured Article: The Smelly Belly

The Smelly Belly“And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land. . . . Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.” (Jonah 1:9, 17)

Jonah had not counted on the fish.
His decision had been made some time before arriving at the Joppa seaport. He had caught a whiff of divine mercy in the assignment and simply was not going to Nineveh to preach. So he purchased the passage and settled down for the journey across the Mediterranean. About the time a few dark clouds began to roll in, Jonah was starting to yawn. Soon he was sound asleep.

That was until the shouts of the incredulous captain burst into his dreams, rebuking him for such gross negligence, and ordering him to join the rest of them in their pleas for supernatural help. When the sailors’ lots sniffed him out as the culprit, Jonah was hit with a torrent of desperate questions. His blunt answer made their blood freeze.

He was a Hebrew, running from the God of heaven, the One who had made the sea and land.

Notice that there was nothing wrong with Jonah’s theology. He was absolutely right. But his attitude remained one of defiance, determination, and resignation. That’s why he calmly suggested that they sacrifice him to the waves. He was totally ready to die in his stubbornness. So, against their desire but desperate to save their lives, they picked him up and heaved him overboard.

Jonah thought it was over. He expected a few seconds of flight, then the splash and shock of cold water, followed by the natural struggle to breathe . . . But wait! Yuck! What was this? Why wasn’t he dead? What was this nasty slime and putrefying stench?!

He was inside God’s surprise.

Actually, Jonah didn’t really dwell on the nauseous odor in his submarine room, but it doesn’t take very deep logic to imagine how it was. The Lord was making sure Jonah’s return to the mission was also a lesson on how miserable life can get for rebellious children.

Yes, the prophet knew a lot of truth about Jehovah. He knew that He created the world and chose Abraham to father the nation of Israel. Yet his Biblical knowledge had not made him wise, which is why he never expected to survive the dive. He still thought he could challenge the will of God and get away with it, refusing to be drawn into the fragrance of God’s grace towards the wicked city.

His smelly experience is graphic instruction for us. With online search engines, digital libraries, and audio sermons at our fingertips, we live surrounded by more Bible information than any generation before us. But we all have Jonah’s stubborn heart beating in our chests, along with the smooth skill of deceiving ourselves to sleep while going away from God’s will for our lives.

May the Lord help us to honestly seek His will.

Dear Father, please give me a heart that obeys Your desires, not just a mind that knows Your attributes. May the aroma of Your goodness always be enough to move me in whatever direction You lead. Amen.

Poem: Traveling on My Knees by Sandra Goodwin

praying on my kneesLast night I took a journey
To a land across the seas;
I did not go by boat or plane,
I traveled on my knees.

I saw so many people there
In deepest depths of sin,
But Jesus told me I should go,
That there were souls to win.

But I said, “Lord, I cannot go
And work with such as these.”
He answered quickly, “Yes, you can,
By traveling on your knees.”

He said, “You pray; I’ll meet the need,
You call and I will hear;
Be concerned about lost souls,
Of those both far and near.”

And so I tried it, knelt in prayer,
Gave up some hours of ease;
I felt the Lord right by my side,
While traveling on my knees.

As I prayed on I saw souls saved
And twisted bodies healed,
And saw God’s workers strength renew
While laboring on the field.

I said, “Yes, Lord, I have a job,
My will Thy will to please;
So I can go and heed Thy call,
By traveling on my knees.”

Prayer & Dates: September 2014

Click the link above to download a PDF of prayer requests and praises as well as the birthdays and anniversaries for September. Note: You will need to login to SecureCloud in order to view this document.  Once you have logged in, click on Files Shared, then Headquarter Happenings, then scroll to the month you would like to view. This step protects people with WWNTBM in restricted access fields.

From the Memo Board: September 2014

Levi LockhartNew Addition

Congratulations to Jeremy & Esther Lockhart on the birth of Levi Bryan on August 14th.  Levi weighed 6 pounds 8 ounces, and was 20 inches long.  Both mom and baby are doing well!  Levi is the fourth child of the Lockharts, and joins his older siblings Allie (8), Bethany (6), and Judah (5).  The family will be returning to Brazil soon, where they plan to begin a new work with the Schrock family.


Housing Allowances

September is a great time to review your Housing Allowance needs, to ensure that you have a high enough allowance to cover your expenses through the remainder of the year.  In October, our Executive Board will be having a meeting.  Should you need to adjust your Housing Allowance for the remainder of 2014, please contact our Office as soon as possible, so that any changes can be voted on in the October meeting.  This is also a good time to begin considering your housing needs for the year 2015.  More information about housing for 2015 will be published in future editions of Headquarter Happenings.


Family Fellowship Week 2014 Messages

Many of the messages from our recent Family Week are now available in audio and video formats.  To download these files, you may login to your SecureCloud account.  The videos are also available on Vimeo by clicking here.  We hope these will be a blessing to those who were unable to attend.

From Our President: September 2014

Danny WhetstoneGalatians 6:2, “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

It is difficult to imagine what life would be like without burdens. Mounce defines burden as “heaviness; a burden, anything grievous, and hard to be borne.” Another definition states that it is “burdensome weight in reference to its pressure, burden, load.” Perhaps if someone asked you to define it, there might be other words that you would use. If someone asked you what a burden feels like, your mind would probably produce many images difficult to describe with words. None of us are exempt. The burden that you bear could be very different from others of which you are aware, but they are heavy nonetheless. Our quick declaration to those burdened down today would be to trust the Lord. Obviously that is true, but is that all? No, we are instructed to “bear ye one another’s burdens.” Harry Ironside says, “The law of Christ is the law of love, and love seeks to help others in their distress and share the load with them.” Our Lord taught that the greatest of all laws was to love God, but there was one law inseparably bound to that one. We are to love our neighbor.

It isn’t always what we say or even do. When a friend carries a heavy burden, simply knowing that you care means so much. How busy would you be today if your shoulders were stooped with care? I noticed when my dad died that nothing else in the world mattered. It was as if the world stood still, and everything in me focused on nothing else. Someone you know might be there today. Do they know you care? Yes, it means that we are at times inconvenienced. Have you ever been in a traffic jam and found yourself complaining because of the delay? Then you saw why you sat still for so long. Maybe someone was seriously injured in an accident. The price you paid for sitting still was far less than than their price, wasn’t it? Every situation is certainly different, but consider what others did during your trial that blessed you, and seek to incorporate those in the lives of others.

It is no small matter to fulfill the law of Christ. Many words are not necessary. Great expenditures are not needed. So, how do we know what to say or do? Love! When care is conveyed, the burdened are blessed. In the end, only the Lord can meet the need of the broken, but we can assure them that they are not alone. When the law of Christ is obeyed, all are blessed even in difficult times.

If your heart is not bent in this direction, perhaps you could schedule some time on a regular basis to ponder the needs of others until caring becomes a natural part of your life. If you do care, pray for our Lord’s wisdom in bearing the burdens of others.

John 13:35, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

In His Service,
Danny A. Whetstone