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Guilty by Annoyance

Raoul’s Two Cents: November 3, 2023

Fish Swallows Prophet. Prophet Swallows Pride

WARNING: Religious topic. Skip down to the jokes if you aren’t interested.

Unless you live in a cave, you must know about the ongoing war between the Israelites and the Palestinians. The hatred between the Jews and the Muslims predates any other rivalry in our time. But did you know that around 782 to 753 B.C. God told a Jew to warn an Arab nation of impending doom? Nineveh was an ancient Assyrian city of Upper Mesopotamia, located on the outskirts of Mosul in modern-day northern Iraq. It had a square area of about 60 miles and a population of 120,000. In other words this is a factual event — not a fish story … well, you know what I mean.

My church is going through the book of Jonah and we are in Chapter 3 where we find Jonah in dry land. He had been kept miraculously alive in the belly of a “big fish.” If you aren’t familiar with the story, Jonah was a prophet of God and he was instructed by God to warn the people of Nineveh (modern day Iraq) that they would be destroyed in 40 days. That didn’t register well with Jonah because those Ninevite terrorists were his arch rival. Jonah was told to turn RIGHT but he defiantly boarded a fishing boat and turned LEFT. Of course God knew where to find Jonah so he caused a great storm in the middle of the ocean and the crew of the sinking fishing vessel started throwing everything overboard until Jonah confessed that he was the cause of the storm. The crew tossed him over and he was lunch for a big fish. Which is where we find our hero on the beach in Chapter 3.

Still sulking because God handpicked him (out of all the people in the world) to warn the evil Ninevite empire, he climbed on top of his soapbox and addressed his enemies:

“You bunch of bloody bastards! You’re all gonna die in 40 days!”

Did you notice that Jonah didn’t advice them to repent? He really wanted them demolished. Well wouldn’t you know it, those “bloody bastards” repented and they were spared. In the ending scene Jonah is deep in self-pity and self-centered righteousness. Jonah, this teenie weenie little prophet, was mad at the all powerful omnipresent God of the universe:

“I knew it! You saved those scoundrels who tortured my people for years! Now I’ll never get my revenge!”

Poor Jonah. He didn’t realize that just as God was teaching the Ninevites to repent, God was also teaching Jonah a lesson on humility. Instead of zapping this cussing fish food for his immaturity, God was loving and patient … so many lessons and mirrors that surface from this story. Do you see yourself?
(Sidebar: In case you’re interested, Nineveh’s repentance didn’t last long and they were ultimately destroyed after 2 generations later in 612 B.C.)

Follow Up on Buddy

Last week I shared that I was to have a dialogue with an atheist named Buddy. Many offered prayers for a successful sharing of the Gospel (thank you!). Well, I did Facetime (a video conference over the phone) with Buddy while he was in his hospital bed and we hit it off very well. It was a bit awkward because I found out he reads my TGIF email (Yes Buddy, I know you’re reading this). No, I didn’t read off a formulaic script to lead him to accept Christ. I let him get to know me first. Buddy was reportedly getting better so the urgency was set a few notches back. But I’ve been praying for him all this week because if God were to take him before our next meeting I would never forgive myself for missing out on the opportunity to lead him to Christ. In fact, I half-jokingly told him, not to die until next Friday.

So Buddy, as you read this email, please know that you have an appointment with God today (no not me! silly! — the BIG guy). I pray that God will use me as his mouthpiece to you. I pray you (unlike Jonah) see the mirror. The Jonah story is about you. This email is about you. God is not zapping you to smithereens because He loves you too much and is giving you an opportunity to accept Jesus as your Lord and savior.

And for the rest of you, if you still are wondering what all this Jesus stuff is about, click here to find out more.

But this is just me.

TGIF people!

Raoul

“But God said to Jonah,
‘Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?’
‘It is,’ he said. ‘And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.”

–Jonah 4: 9

JOKE OF THE WEEK

Thanks to Pat of Washington, D.C.

Original art by Raoul Pascual.

Video of the Week

Thanks to Ed of Studio City, CA for this AI-assisted Final Beatles Song

Parting Shots

Thanks to Maling of New Manila, Philippines

Thanks to Art of Sierra Madre. CA

I found these

The Traveling Boy

My good friend (and jokester) Terry and I came up with these.

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4 Comments

  1. Heather

    November 3, 2023 at 11:26 am

    There is a beginning middle and an end to everything. And the dash between the year birth and the year of death is what you do between those dates. If you’re lucky you fill your life with people that want you to thrive and you marry the person that turns out to be your best friend. And your children repeat the same life with the time they have here on earth. That is the real success in anyone’s life. That you can look back and savor your life your parents your friends the best job you ever had. And the list goes on…..

    Reply

  2. Tom

    November 3, 2023 at 11:26 am

    Congratularions on Buddy. Hope it worked. Wonderful Reflection on Jonah, best I ever read or heard. Much more to the story than I thought. Enjoy Standard Time Return.
    Tom of Pasadena

    Reply

  3. Drexel

    November 3, 2023 at 12:01 pm

    With all respect to your story my Friend….I thought the start of Islam was about year 610 CE from the prophet Muhammad….You are suggesting it was around 780 BC…..something not inline….so, worshiping God started with the Jews over 4,000 years ago. Then 2020 years ago came along the prophet Christ who’s followers believe was the ‘Son of God’ – then 600 + years later was another prophet Muhammad….Interesting to me how both the Christians & Muslims grew rapidly from the middle east north to Europe.

    A defining point was in 1095, Pope Urban makes a speech in Paris, saying ‘the Muslims are coming” that led to the Crusades calling all Christians in Europe to war against Muslims in order to reclaim the Holy Land….

    It is most interesting that the area of Palestine for century’s was far larger than ‘Israel’ today with the Jews/Christians & Muslims all living together with limited civil authority as Jerusalem was considered a sacred place for all of the then identified religions.

    ….and now, 2000 years later we continue to have a mess….

    Drexel

    Reply

    • Raoul Pascual

      November 3, 2023 at 12:12 pm

      Hi Drexel,

      First or all, love your knowledge of history. Pretty impressive.

      You’re dates are probably right. But I did not say that Islam started in 780 BC. Islam may have started in 610 as you say. There is no conflict. The enemies of Israel believed in other gods prior to Islam — Magog, Babel, Dagon, Baal, etc. Israel’s mortal enemies can be traced all the way back to Abraham. The Israelites are ancestors of Isaac (his mother was Sarah). Islam believing Arabs and all the other opposing ancient religions came from the half brother Ishmael from the maid servant Hagar. But even within his own legitimate kids, the Israelites also had enemies from the 2nd generation — the twin brothers Esau and Jacob. It’s a complex family history. If you read Genesis, you’ll learn a lot about the origins of the war in the middle east.

      Reply

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