Jul 292010

So, do you ever wonder how God treats us when we have a lack of faith? Last time we talked, we were discovering that Elijah, even after the huge and dramatic evidence he had of God’s working in his life, forgot all of it in just one moment of weakness. Seems foolish. Seems human, actually! Seems just like what we do!

Okay, let’s catch up with Elijah. After hearing that the queen had sworn to kill him by the next day, he ran about a hundred miles to Beersheba, the very southern edge of the country! Then he traveled another day’s journey into the desert-

He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.”  Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep. 1 Kings 19

Wow, what a loser! I’ll bet God was ready to give him an earful!

All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.”  He looked around, and there by his head was a cake of bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.

Wait a minute! Gentle treatment and a fresh, hot meal? Okay, fattening him up for the kill, right?

The angel of the LORD came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.”

Okay, another hot meal and some sympathy! Strange punishment, wouldn’t you say? “You may be running”, God says, “but I’ll still care for you.”

Then Elijah gets up and travels forty days and nights and crawls into a cave up on the side of Mount Horeb, way down close to the Red Sea, where the Ten Commandments were given. Where Moses said to God,”Let me see what you look like”.

The next morning, God says to Elijah, “What are you doing way down here?”

Elijah replies,”Look, I’ve worked for You, I’m the only one left that follows You, and they’re trying to kill me too!”
So God redirects his attention by saying,”I’m about to walk by your little cave, so get out here and see something!”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire.

Elijah, scared to death, crawled back into the cave! Finally he heard a quiet whisper and recognized the voice of God. He pulled his coat over his head and came out of the cave. “Why are you here?” God said again.

Elijah replies, “Look, I’ve worked for you, …..”

“Enough of that already!” God says. “I’ve got big plans for you. Get back to work! Oh, by the way, I know of 7000 other guys who are still with me. You are not alone!”

No condemnation. Only loving support. No rejection. Only acceptance. No denial. Only re-affirmation.

“Yes, I can do big things,” God says,”but I want you to look at Me, not the fire, not the earthquake, not the wind. Know Me! Love Me! I will power you up to keep you working for Me, even when scary things happen. Look at Me! I will give you what you need to trust Me.

Father, keep my eyes on You so that you can gift me with the strength and faith to stand, even when I feel like falling. Thank You for never letting me go, even when I look away from You and fail.

Read the whole story including these quotes in 1 Kings 17-19.

shared 7/23/10

Jul 232010

Three years ago, he came down from the hills and strode boldly into the kings throne room and stated that there would be no rain, period! What a dramatic way to challenge the false god of Baal, who supposedly promoted fertility. But today?  Today was a major winner for Elijah! Let’s make a list:

1. Challenged false prophets and won by calling fire down from heaven and the true God.

2. Participating in the execution of over 800 false prophets.

3. Prayed for rain and got a huge downpour.

4. Ran in front of  king Ahab’s chariot through the rain for a distance longer than today’s full marathons!

Boy, Elijah was totally on a faith high, wasn’t he? Yeah, how could he pack that many miracles and drama into one day? God had truly used Elijah to exercise His power! While he was cooling down after the long run, Ahab was telling his wife all about his day. When she heard that all of the prophets (her prophets) had been executed, she sent a message to Elijah that she would kill him within one day! Of course, Elijah, faith champion that he was, went directly to the palace and……. well, actually-

Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there,  while he himself went a day’s journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life;  1 Kings 19

Okay, now wait just a minute! Didn’t he just have the best day of his career as a prophet? Hadn’t he and his worship of the true God been vindicated before the entire nation? Didn’t he win? Didn’t he have the most dramatic evidence ever of God’s power in his life? He had no excuse at all to doubt, did he?

Do you remember that text that talks about the tiny amount of faith needed?

He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you. Luke 17

That’s a famous text in which Jesus is talking about faith to His disciples.  But, do you know what happened right before that?

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”

Yeah, that’s right! The disciples finally got one thing right! No, actually two. They realized that they needed more faith. Good. So do I! But here’s the kicker- they finally figured out where to get it! We can’t self-generate faith! It comes from God. We just need to ask Him for it and keep pointed toward Him to receive it!

Are there discouraging things happening in your life right now? Job problems, family problems, money problems? Just remember that if Elijah could have a faith failure, If Elijah could stumble even after a day like he had, it’s not so amazing that we become discouraged and lose faith, is it?

Father, I feel my failing faith! You are both the object and the source of my faith! Gift me with enough to move my mole hill or mountain today!

Jul 192010

Since I wrote last, our workplace has become more tense as business challenges caused income loss for some. It is so easy to succumb to a range of very human and normal emotions when bad things are happening: fear, anger, discouragement. It is so easy for us to let these emotions drive us to strike out in word and deed, hurting those around us.

Our Father has a plan for us when things go bad, and it has nothing to do with our abilities! In fact, it makes no sense, humanly speaking.

Karrie Roberts, a new Christian solo artist, blessed me recently with the following lyrics:

I’m running back to your promises one more time,

Lord that’s all I can hold on to,

I gotta say this has taken me by surprise, but nothing surprises you.

Before a heartache can ever touch my life,

it has to go through Your hands,

and even though I keep asking why, I keep asking why,

No matter what, I’m gonna love You,

no matter what I’m gonna need You,

I know You can find a way to keep me from the pain but if not,

I’ll trust you, no matter what, no matter what.

When I’m stuck and there’s nothing else by myself,

I’m just sitting in silence,

there’s no way I can make it without Your help,

I wont even try it.

I know You have Your reasons for everything,

so I will keep believing, whatever I might be feeling,

God you are my hope, and you will be my strength,

No matter what, I’m gonna love You,

no matter what I’m gonna need You,

I know You can find a way to keep me from the pain but if not,

I’ll trust you, no matter what, no matter what.

Choose to listen to the entire song if you wish >

Did you ever think about that? Did you ever think that every challenge we face has been previewed by our Father? That every struggle we experience has been evaluated in advance by the One who loves us more than we can imagine? What will it take for me to say, “OK, God, I’m stuck! I can’t do a thing!” Do you know how excited He gets when we finally admit that?

Father, I love You! Give me the strength to trust you, no matter what!

shared 7/19/10.

Jul 152010

So many people are stressed by our current economic conditions! Unemployment on the rise, bank failures, home foreclosures, the list goes on and on. In healthcare, we are feeling the crunch as well. People are beginning to make more decisions about what healthcare they request based on what they can afford. Many hospitals have had to reduce staff. In my department, we have pulled together to be as efficient as we can be. Nevertheless, the last weeks have been stressful as we thought about our jobs, our paychecks, and our futures.

As an aside, that has been the primary reason for my less frequent posts. However, I am trying to catch up because sharing God’s words is what we should to more of when in crisis, not less!

I tend to walk very fast and take steps two and three at a time. when I look down directly at my feet, I lose my rhythm and stumble. When I keep my focus on where I am going, a move forward smoothly and quickly.

God knows about focus. He knows that what we focus on will control our lives. He asks us to look at Him always, and especially when circumstances are scary.

I am looking forward to a visit with a cousin who is an excellent optometrist. He faces the constant challenge of helping people to see the right things at the right distance with the right clarity. Focusing on one thing can often cause other things to become blurry.

God knows that our challenges will shrink and blur as we focus on Him. Do we actually think that anything surprises God? Does He have a blind side? Do our challenges sneak up on Him?

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. Matthew 6

No, nothing surprises Him! He knows what we need! Take a few minutes and read Matthew 6:25 to the end of the chapter. Worrying is not a pastime He expects us to take up.  Let’s talk about this more soon. Father, keep my eyes on You this week. Let others see my rhythm never faltering because of You!

Jul 032010

Seems like vampires are very prevalent in the media these days. One of the most recent examples is the Twilight Saga film series, two of which hit the box office in late 2009 and have already grossed over 1 billion dollars. The third was set to be released this last Wednesday, June 30.

The fictional vampire is most often a human-like creature that requires blood to survive, primarily human blood. They are sometimes viewed as humans who have died and become “undead” at night and prey on human victims.

While many view such things as harmless, often, the evil one uses such things to confuse us and cloud the truth. Sometimes the most dangerous things are those that are the most similar to truth!

Vampires. The Undead. Beings who come back to life at night and subsist on blood, mostly human.

Christians believe that only God holds the power over life after death.  Look out folks! everything else is from the devil!

The blood. What about the blood? the mythical vampires selfishly TAKE the blood of their unwilling victims in order to survive.

Jesus voluntarily gave [yeah, I know that’s redundant], freely GAVE, His life, His blood so that we may live.

His death is proof of His unselfish love. A vampire living is proof of its selfishness and evil.

“and with your blood you purchased men” Revelation 5

The contemporary worship band, Casting Crowns, shares this incredible message:

Giver of every breath I breathe
Author of all eternity
Giver of every perfect thing
To You be the glory
Maker of Heaven and of Earth
No one can comprehend Your worth
King over all the universe
To You be the glory

And I am alive because I’m alive in You

It’s all because of Jesus I’m alive
It’s all because the blood of Jesus Christ
That covers me and raised this dead man’s life
It’s all because of Jesus I’m alive
I’m alive, I’m alive

Don’t be fooled by counterfeit trickery. It’s all about the blood of Jesus. Not to appease an angry Father, but to prove the extent of His love for us!

Father, lead me day by day to reflect Your love just a little more.

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