March 24, 2020: The Testing of Your Faith, Oh No Not again!
I Kings 17:17-24
God had demonstrated that he could make the jar of flour and the jug of oil last for months if needed. All the widow woman had to do was to trust in the word of Elijah and give him her last meal. God would do the rest as he provided for her and her son for several weeks until the drought was over.
The Scripture says that is was sometime later that the widow woman was to undergo another test. Before she only thought she was at the end of her rope, but she was not. The first time we meet her she was only about to run out of food, but this time she was going to have to face a test of a different kind. Her only son was going to die today.
No one had ever seen a dead person come back from the dead. This would be a first in human history. Note how angry she was toward Elijah. This widow woman was going to witness a first in human history. Pay careful attention to the details in this account. Her boy dies. The evidence is clear he is dead. She grows angry at Elijah and spews her hatred on him. Hear her words, “What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?”
She reached the wrong conclusion about her circumstances. She thought that God was out to get her for her sin when he was pursuing her to show his overwhelming grace. Did she have faith to believe her boy would come back form the dead? Not on your life. She had no faith at this point. Does God refuse to hear her cries and sobs? He heard and then prepared to do something about it.
“Give me your son!” Elijah commanded. Before she had only to give him her last meal but now, she must give up her only son that was dead. What more could God want?
Watch carefully. Elijah takes the boy up to his room and cries out to God. Elijah took only what he had and presented it to God and look what happened. The widow woman presented her dead, lifeless boy to God and Elijah cried out to God and the widow woman was given back her son.
Because this woman gave all she had that was precious to her she received a miracle of incredible proportions. Did she have faith that her boy would rise from the dead? No! Did she have faith to believe that God would do anything? No!
It was the faith of someone else that took the boy and presented him to God that brought this miracle. I wonder what might happen if we took the circumstances that looked bleak and hopeless and presented them to God? Could life come out of death? Could joy come out of gloom? Could hope spring from the valley of despair?
What place of hopelessness do you have to give to God? What circumstances are causing you to lash out at God? Why not present them to God and lay them at his feet as Elijah did the dead boy. Could God bring you joy and hope again? The widow woman had no idea, but she gave her lifeless son to Elijah and look what happened.
Tomorrow we will examine another person who was the recipient of a miracle even though they could not believe.
March 23, 2020: The Testing of your Faith
I Kings 17:7-24
It had not rained for almost three and a half years in Israel. The economy shot, food scarce, and no jobs. It was the worst possible situation for a widow woman with a young son. Then along comes a prophet of God and asks her to cook him a meal.
Her reply was something to remember. “I have only enough to feed my son and after we eat this little amount we are going to die.” You would think that a prophet of God would be more compassionate than Elijah, but no, he had the audacity to ask her to cook him a meal first and then cook a meal for her son.
How could God ask her to cook his prophet a meal before caring for her own son? This is what we see all throughout Scripture; God is always pushing us and stretching us to grow stronger in our faith. This is a test for this widow woman who was at the end of her rope. She had lost her husband some years before and now she is staring at the stark reality of losing not just her life but the life of her son as well.
Why would God ask her to give her last food to his prophet instead of to her son? Some would accuse God of being heavy handed but this is not the case. God was going to show this widow woman how He would provide for her in the months to come.
The Scripture said, “She went away and did as Elijah had told her. There was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the LORD spoken by Elijah.” (1 Kings 17:15-16)
We have seen it in our day have we not? People scared that they will run out of food and supplies so they go to the store and buy out everything they can. They become hoarders instead of givers This is not to be the way of the believer in this day. We are called to be open-handed to others trusting that God will supply our needs.
In this day of uncertainty, we have one thing that is certain, God will provide for those who are His. This widow woman discovered that God could be trusted even in situations that look bleak and hopeless.
Where is God asking you to give more than usual these days? What step of faith do you need to take to have your faith strengthened? Go ahead, do what the widow woman did, and watch what God will do.
Let us be like the widow woman who went and did as Elijah had told her. However, be warned, your step of faith will require you to take a greater step tomorrow. Tune in tomorrow as we see how God leads this widow woman to even greater faith.
March 21. 2020: A Sinking Ship and a Strong Savior
Matthew 8:23-27 (NIV)
23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. 27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”
Jesus often does things that we find perplexing. Here was the situation of the disciples. They were in the boat. Jesus had fallen asleep and all of sudden a furious storm erupts on the sea. The storm was of such magnitude the disciples were scared to death.
Remember the disciples has been on this sea all their lives. They had seen storms before but nothing like this one. There was no warning. It came out of nowhere and now they were knee deep in sea water ready to sink with the boat.
The disciples go to Jesus, probably as a last resort. They had managed to survive other storms why not this one? All bets were off now. They ran to Jesus and they find him fast asleep on the boat. How could Jesus be asleep during such a storm? Did he care for them at all? If so, why was he asleep?
They shake him awake and he looks at them and they cry out, “Lord save us! We are going to drown!”
Take a real close look at what Jesus does first. I would have thought he would have rebuked the storm first, but not Jesus, he rebukes the disciples standing knee deep in sea water, with the storm raging around them. He even goes so far a to rebuke their lack of faith. Wait just a minute here Jesus, can’t you see our condition? We are drowning. Take a good look around the evidence is overwhelming, we are doomed.
He quickly rebukes their lack of faith and then as they sit perplexed, wondering what he meant by their lack of faith, they watch him speak a word and the storm is stilled. Not a wave or a ripple is seen. Instant calm.
They now are in the midst of a supernatural calm. There had never been a peace like this before. But they were right in the middle of it. Something happens after the storm is stilled that confuses many who read the account. The storm is over but notice the disciples are even more afraid of Jesus than they were of the storm.
The disciples were going to learn and so will we that being with Jesus during the storm is safer than not knowing Jesus when everything is quiet.
May you find his presence more comforting than smooth sailing.
Proverbs 17:22 (KJV)
22 A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.
When is the last time you laughed? When is the last time you just let go and laughed until you cried? I submit that no one can really laugh unless they know Jesus. Without Jesus you are worried about many things. Now, just because you know Jesus does not guarantee you will laugh. There are many who believe in Jesus, but their faith seems to make them sour on life instead.
Remember what our Lord told us about our chief enemy? He said our enemy has come to rob steal and destroy. He robs us of our assurance by deceiving us into thinking that our standing before God only survives if can hold on to the faith. This deception leads us to worry about everything. What happens if I no longer believe? What happens if I stumble and fall into sin? What happens if something enters my life and I cannot handle it?
Can my faith handle any of these challenges? Let me be honest with you, your faith is not large enough are strong enough to handle any of these challenges. Left to yourself your faith would crumble and leave you in a heap of unbelief.
Hold it! Hold it! Do not despair yet dear child of God. What I have said is quite true. Your faith has nothing to do with your assurance. Consider these verses that follow.
3 And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac.
Isaac means laughter. God wanted to tell Abraham and Sarah that the end of their life would bring them much laughter. This is true for us as well dear saint. I know what you are going through presently may be trying the very fabric of your faith but take heed God is designing the end of your life to bring you into greater joy than you can possibly know in this life.
10 Hear, O LORD, and have mercy upon me: LORD, be thou my helper. 11 Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth and girded me with gladness; 12 To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee forever.
There is a day coming when we who know Jesus Christ will look back on all these days and the Spirit of the Lord will overcome us and we will see all the ways that God was watching over us. As we are escorted through the events of our lives, we will see His marvelous hand of grace overseeing everything that happened to us.
As we see the events of our lives, we will see repeatedly His marvelous protection and slowly, almost imperceptibly a smile will break out on our face. The smile will turn to brief chuckles, the chuckles will be overtaken by outbursts of laughter soon to be overcome by expressions of great praise and gladness because of what our God has done and is doing for us.
Saints get ready to laugh like you never have before. I know there are many of you that think I am speaking heresy. Be assured that I am not. You will have to wait until tomorrow for me to prove my case from the Scriptures. Hope you laugh between now and then.
Laughing because of Jesus and His Grace,
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