Tuesday, June 30, 2009

– Day 180.June 30 – Times of Searching

2009 – Day 180.June 30 – Times of Searching

Passage of the Day: 2nd Kings 2: 1 – 14 …
Linked here for study …

My Journal for Today:
As his readers take in the highlight passage today of Elijah’s journey with Elisha, it was for Swindoll a reminder of what our life of belief has been like. And Swindoll is right, we, along the steps of life, must learn self denial as a believer. Elijah certainly learned that lesson; and for it, we see that he was ushered, by God, directly into heaven.

I don’t know about any reader who might be taking this in; but today’s passage and devotional did take me back to the time when I first confronted the Lord and received His saving grace. It was that Spirit-led occasion on April 13th, 1983, when I surrendered my life in faith and received God’s Spirit into my life. And I was such a babe of belief back then; but God was merciful and led me on the journey He has used to get me to this stage in my walk with Him.

Perhaps you can remember – and I hope you can – when God became real for you; … when you started your quest for Godliness; … when you let God’s Spirit become your guide in life; … and when you first realized that your life was not your own. It was God’s … for His glory! It was the beginning of your surrender of self into the Savior’s hands. It was the initiation of your Luke 9: 23 walk, where you really, for the first time, denied yourself, began to take up the crosses of life every day, and you began to follow Christ – really follow Him.

Then there was the period of development and discipleship in your life, where God began to pour His grace into your humble search for direction and strength. Perhaps you are in that stage of your walk right now. Many of us are; … where we have decided that the only way to be truly used by God is to accept self denial and to let God, in surrender to His will, have His way … in His time. And that may take a long time in our life – some longer than others. But it is the time when we spend time in the wilderness of life, learning God’s lessons through the trials of life.

Then, before we are taken into glory, there is the time of life, when we become God’s instrument of mission or ministry. And this is the time of fruitfulness of life. It is the time when God can and does use us in life for His glory. It is the Matt. 5: 16 time of life, when our lives shine the light of Christ and we can share our faith with others or minister to them, following Christ and taking up His cross daily; and in this time others can see Christ’s robes of righteousness rather than our native sinfulness.

Perhaps some of you are experiencing this latter phase; and you’ve come to see that God can take you anytime; because you are ready to be ushered into glory. But maybe you’re not there yet; and you desire to go into full surrender mode, as did Elijah. And I hope that you do find your place of self denial as Elijah had found. But if you haven’t, I encourage you to give your self up and to fully receive the mantle of leadership from Christ so that He can shape you as He has promised in Phil. 1: 6 into more of the completeness of Christlikeness just this side of heaven. If you’re not there yet, keep on keeping on in self denial; and God will lead you there.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, I’m learning to surrender completely to the molding of your grace so that I can be used more fully for Your glory. Shape me, Lord. Amen

Monday, June 29, 2009

2009 – Day 179.June 29 – Straight Talk

2009 – Day 179.June 29 – Straight Talk

Passage of the Day: 2nd Kings 1 …
Linked for study …

My Journal for Today:
Chuck Swindoll ends his devotional entry for this day in his book, Great Days with the Great Lives, with a stark exhortation which comes from a relook today into 2nd Kings 1. He writes, "Learn a lasting lesson from Elijah. As you stand strong for the truth (of God), watch out for the enemy. He not only plays dirty; he plays for keeps. And he’s playing for your soul.” And to that end I’d warn the born-again believer that Satan will lure the heaven-bound Christian into all forms of “playful” occultism to dilute or damage our testimony/witness and thereby weakening our ministry for God’s kingdom.

Swindoll is right on target that we western Christians have a cultural fascination with any study or practice which might give us a one-up on the future. So, potentially damaging practice like astrology, horoscopes, palm-reading, or the like, have become very popular. New-ageism and concepts like scientology have crept onto the scene; and Satan makes them seem so hyper-intellectual and powerful to help self be in control of self, taking the eyes of the lost off of the Savior. Christians even fall prey to playing with horoscopes or even relying on scientific devices to read minds or to rely on futurists, who claim to have intellectual gifts to see into the future. All of this may seem either very logical or maybe just playful. But my dear reader, any or all of it is anything but playful. It is dangerous! And at the time that the author or authors of 1st or 2nd Kings (once only one book of the Hebrew Bible), told the truth story about Elijah, as well as about God’s prophets, who were confronting a lot of occult thinking. And 2nd Kings 1 is such an account.

And note how Elijah tackled the occult proponents of the god of Ekron, worshippers of Baal-Zebub, which, by the way, was not the god Baal. Elijah went back to his total reliance upon the God of gods, the King of all kings, and the Lord of all lords, … his God … THE God, Jehovah; and he called down the fire of God with his faith to wipe out any or all who partook of these false gods.

As Swindoll writes, “God is displeased with any occult involvement. … God is dishonored by any specific pursuit of the future that does not find its source in His word.” And on the positive side of things, and most importantly, Pastor Chuck points out, "God is delighted when we trust Him only.”

Today popular cultural gurus like Oprah Winfrey or even so-called “Christian” televangelists like Joel Osteen, are trying to get Christians to see that our faith should be in self or merely in faith itself. So, we see Christians duped to think that they can control their future by simply seeing power in their own thoughts or in the words they use. So, these name-it-and-claim-it prophets try to get the world to see the future through the eyes of self, rather than through the truth proclaimed by the Savior through God’s word.

Don’t be duped, my dear one! Stand with Elijah and with our Lord and Savior, Jesus, for the truth. Call down the fire of power from God’s word, not from any stupidity like astrology or any pseudo-scientific ungodliness like scientology. God’s word is the only truth; and only through the Spirit-led power of God’s grace, relying totally on our Savior, can we move into the future with confidence that God is in control.

My Prayer for Today: My Father, keep my eyes on the Son, and keep my head clear of self to follow my Savior. Amen

Sunday, June 28, 2009

2009 – Day 178.June 28 – Consistent Heroism

2009 – Day 178.June 28 – Consistent Heroism

Passage of the Day: 2nd Kings 1 …
Linked for study …

My Journal for Today:
Chuck Swindoll in his devotional entry for today likens the courage displayed by Elijah in 2nd Kings 1 to that of Martin Luther when he went to the Diet of Worms in 1521, being commanded to recant. In both instances neither of these heroic Christians had any thought for their personal safety. They were “men of God;” and they stood in the gap for truth and their faith.

Now, we know from the Bible and history that the outcomes were different for these two stalwarts of the faith. Elijah’s life was spared by God and Luther was burned alive by the church leaders in Worms. But they both, with no regard for their earthly existence, knew that God was foremost and His truth must stand above all false gods or teachings.

And from the living examples of these men, in their moments of truth, we must ask ourselves, given threatening circumstances, would or could we follow these models of heroism? Are we deep enough in our faith to stand for our faith the way Cassie Bernall is reported to have done when a gunman at Columbine High School put a gun to her head and asked her if she believed in God? And when she said, “Yes,” the gunman is said to have shot her dead. Do we have this kind of faith?

Cassie Bernall and Martin Luther, as well as Elijah, are living examples of being totally surrendered to their faith in the face of personal danger. And the former did so while becoming martyrs for their faith. Oh how I desire to have that kind of faith. And to that end I pray …

My Prayer for Today: Lord, may my faith not waver in circumstances where worldly pressures seem overwhelming. May I stand for You whenever or wherever I’m called to do so. Amen

Saturday, June 27, 2009

2009 – Day 177.June 27 – Two Solemn Reminders

2009 – Day 177.June 27 – Two Solemn Reminders

Passage of the Day: 1st Kings 21 …
Linked for study …

My Journal for Today:
From the highlighted passage today, Swindoll, in his devotional for this day, reminds his readers (me) of two awesome reminders.

#1 … THERE IS AN END TO GOD’S PATIENCE! And the truth of Isaiah 55: 8-9 applies here [check it out here!]. Sometimes we see injustice going on in the world; and we can’t figure out why God would allow mankind, especially leaders like Ahab and Jezebel, to do what they do, which is so obviously in opposition to God’s righteousness. Maybe you even feel like that right now when you see the world’s evil growing as it is. I do!

But God’s word is clear; and it says [Gal. 6: 7] “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” And as we see in today’s passage, that is exactly what happened to Ahab and Jezebel; but as is usually God’s way, it took a long time for the rope on God’s presence to come to an end because of God’s character of long-suffering. But it did come, even though the calamity of God’s judgment did not occur in his days but in the days of the next generation.

And right now, as I ponder God’s word in my devotional time, I’m thinking of how the Prophet Habakkuk could not understand why God was so slow in his estimation to bring judgment down upon God’s people for their ungodliness (see Habakkuk 1 - linked here). But God in His time and in His way brought down His wrath upon God’s people who had mocked the Lord for so long with their evil ways; and Habakkuk was given a front row seat to learn a lesson in patience and faith. And we should learn the same lesson by reading and internalizing Habakkuk 3: 17-18 - also linked. But remember – God’s patience and His mercy have limits – His limits – and He will not be mocked!

#2 … GOD KEEPS HIS WORD! And no political leader, no idolized entertainer or athlete, or no religious leader, who is put up on a pedestal, can escape this reality. Again I repeat the truth of Galatians 6: 7. What goes around, comes around! It is God’s law of just proportionality. We reap what we sow; and no one can rise above that truth. Ahab and Jezebel may have thought they could; but as we read, the hammer finally fell; and as you read, it even hurt the next generation even more than it did theirs. And God’s wrath can be a very ugly scene as God’s word documents for others when His wrath came upon those who were locked out of the ark when the floods came, or those who lived and did evil in Sodom and Gomorrah, or on anyone who mocks God by not receiving his long-suffering grace after the resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ, who was raised from the dead after dying for the sins of mankind.

Please, my dear one, don’t think you mock God by rejecting His saving grace or even, as a born-again Christian, you feel you can sin chronically and repetitively with no consequences. God’s wrath may be long in coming as we see evil being perpetuated in our day; but God will not be mocked; and WE WILL REAP WHAT WE SOW; and so, may God have mercy on His remnant, those of us who cry out to God for His grace, … the remnant who sees the evil but cannot do other than to walk in righteousness or to pray in the truth of 2nd Chron. 7: 14 - [read it here], and to wait on God’s judgment. We may not know when or how; but our culture and our world will reap what they sow; and again … may God have mercy on all as the rain will fall on the just as well as the unjust.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, have mercy on us! Amen

Friday, June 26, 2009

2009 – Day 176.June 26 – Look Up

2009 – Day 176.June 26 – Look Up

Passage of the Day: 1st Kings 19 …
Linked for your study ...

My Journal for Today:
As Elisha left the cave where God had provided re-creation and renewal for His Prophet, we see God’s mercy and grace in abundance and a reminder that God wants us to live and work in community … what we know of as the fellowship of believers … or in this day, the Church.

As we read in 1st Kings 19, God leads Elijah out and provides him with a charge and a companion. In this case we’re introduced to God’s new standard bearer, Elisha, who not only was to be Elijah’s friend and co-minister; but God’s provision of Elisha was given to Elijah to minister to the needs of our Prophet-hero as well.

So, can we see how important it is look up to God and follow Him as God’s word instructs us in Luke 9: 23? For not only will The Lord provide us with a plan, His purpose, and His power; but He will also provide us with our needs in the community we know of as the Church. The promise of Matt. 18: 20 comes to mind here, where Christ says clearly to His disciples, … “For where two or three are gathered together in My Name, I am there in the midst of them.” And there is the exhortation of God’s word in Galatians 6: 9 – 10 as well as Hebrews 10: 24 – 25, which tells us that we should never be Lone Ranger Christians … that we were meant to live and work and have our being in community.

And in this passage today we see how God moves His plan and purpose forward, providing for the passing of the baton of service from Elijah to Elisha; and in the process God provides them both with friendship and a co-ministry companionship. I have experienced this type of torch passing in my life. God brought me to a man of God in my mentor, Dr. Bob, years ago. And he became my friend and biblical guide for a dozen years as he discipled and taught me. Then, he told me, “Bill, it’s time for you to be mentoring others;” and he passed the mantle of leadership to me with a commission to fulfill God’s Great Commission [see Matt. 28: 19 – 20]. Now, I have been given the charge and privilege to mentor several other men in the ministry God led me into a number of years ago; and all of these younger men have been friends, companions, and co-ministry warriors with me.

I pray that, as a “Timothy” in this life, God has provided you with a “Paul” to help shape you more fully into Christ’s image; and then I pray that once you’ve become a “Paul,” God will lead you to pass the torch of ministry on to a “Timothy” by mentoring others to carry the banner of Christ forward.

Look up, dear one, and let God guide you in this trek to Christlikeness and Godliness.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, I look to you to bring me those I need to carry your standard in life. Amen

Thursday, June 25, 2009

2009 – Day 175.June 25 – Come Out

2009 – Day 175.June 25 – Come Out

Passage of the Day: 1st Kings 19: 1 – 18 …
Linked for your study …

My Journal for Today:
Well, if you’ve been coming along with me in this downer period of Elijah’s life, we’ve seen how our Prophet-hero allowed exhaustion to take him into a cave of depression, despair, and deranged vision. However, today we see how God works in such times; and I’ve experienced this kind of discouragement as well as God’s antidote. So, I know first hand that what we read in this passage is truly how God works.

First, if God has a plan for your life, he will give you time and resources to prepare or re-repair yourself for that task. As my mentor used to say, over and over, to me, “God’s calling is His enablement.” And here we see God giving Elijah 40 days of R & R in the cave to get his mind focused back on God’s will and His way. Then, when Elijah’s mind was clear enough to hear the truth, God called our Prophet out of the cave and gave him a little bit of in-service training in how our God communicates.

Elijah came out to the mountain where God’s presence surrounded him; and he sent the world’s noisiness to show Elijah what he [we] should ignore. And the winds came, … then the earth moved; … and then the fires raged; but God was not in those messages. And that reminds me of all the hustle and bustle of our world where we are deluged by all the blowing, inconsequential information of this age; and we are shaken by the tyranny of the urgent trying to rattle and distract us from God’s will; and we are burned by a world that hates God. But God is not in any of that. No, Elijah learned that he needed to listen for God’s still, small voice; and so do we.

I hope you have a quiet place each day where you can delve into God’s word; and you can, in prayer, listen for God’s still, small voice. God will not usually be in all the news you see/hear on CNN. Seldom will God be trying to influence you with the ground shaking events which occur in our lives; and when the world burns us with its evil ways or the oppression of Satan’s demons, God will not be speaking in all those lies. No, my dear one, God usually shows up and is heard in the quiet times when we are specifically seeking to go deep to know Him. He’s there in the still, small voice as you listen for Him in prayer; and he’s heard through His quiet, but powerful, voice which we glean from His word.

Like Swindoll points out in his devotional today, we need to avoid the fatigue and exhaustion which can cloud our ability and desire to seek our Lord’s will and follow His way; and we need to go to a place in our lives where God can more readily speak to our minds/hearts and be heard.

Do you have such a place in your life, my friend? Or are you letting the world wear you out with its demands and the oppression of worldly information, most of which will never enlighten us. We need to be alone with God where we can hear His still, small voice EVERY DAY. We need to develop a discipline of solitude and quietness where we go to listen to God’s Spirit speaking into our lives, convicting and directing us toward God’s will and His way from His word. Find that place, dear one, and hear God speak to your heart. Because, if you seek the quiet voice of the Lord with determination and diligence, He will reveal Himself to you.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, help all who read here to tune their spirits to Your still small voice which I am hearing here this morning. Amen

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

2009 – Day 174.June 24 – When the Darkness Hits

2009 – Day 174.June 24 – When the Darkness Hits

Passage of the Day: 1st Kings 19: 1 – 9 …
Linked for study …

My Journal for Today:
In today’s devotional guidepost from Chuck Swindoll, he tries to help answer the question as to why our Prophet/Hero, Elijah, found himself in the pitiful mess he was in under that broom tree in the wilderness. How could a man who had just been on such a spiritual and personal high fall so low? And the answers should call attention to a number of warning posts for our consideration as Christian warriors.

First, and I think foremost, Elijah had just experienced his highest high spiritually, bringing down the prophets of Baal and calling down fire and rain from God on high. And we simply must learn that we become quite vulnerable to our sense of pride and hyper-ego when are riding the high of victory or success in life. I’m thinking now of a couple of other examples of this in Scripture, … Moses in the OT and the Apostle Paul in the NT. Both of them experienced some deep and discouraging setbacks after they had been riding highs in doing God’s business. And anytime God allows us to go high in life, we need to stay grounded and realize that God’s grace cannot pour into a mindset of pride (read the truth about it in Prov. 3: 34, 1st Peter 5: 6, and James 4: 6).

Secondly, Elijah was physically and emotionally exhausted; and fatigue can make cowards of anyone. The Prophet had been riding on the edge of life spiritually for years, during the drought, and like most of the people, he was expended of physical sustenance. Then he had that ego trip of out outrunning Ahab’s chariot, which likely took place in the mud of a flood. And then he had to run to escape Jezebel’s pursuit. I can remember my old high school football coach quoting the great football coach Vince Lombardi, who was the one who said, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” So, when it came to practicing in the heat of August our coach was preparing us to be in shape for the games in September, knowing that tired football players are vulnerable to defeat. And this was where Elijah found himself, panting in fear and fatigue under that broom tree.

Finally, and I think this is a biggie, … Elijah had separated himself over time from the fellowship of other believers to rally around him and lift him up. I’m thinking now of that marvelous passage in Exodus 17 [linked for you] about Aaron and Hur lifting up the tired arms of Moses so that God could bring victory in battle for God’s people. I think of Jesus surrounding himself with disciples as He walked His walk of ministry all the way to the cross. Man was created for togetherness and fellowship with God and his fellow man. Hence the exhortation in Hebrews 10: 24-25 [also linked for you], not to set ourselves apart from other believers, especially as we see the day of the Lord approaching. And Elijah had become a “Lone Ranger” believer over time; and this made him vulnerable to his spiritual enemies.

So in Elijah’s broom tree pity party, we see the result of allowing pride, fatigue, and loneliness into our minds and lives. And the vigilance lesson is rather straight forward. As warriors for God, we simply cannot allow ourselves the luxury of become prideful when God brings victory in our lives. We must stay disciplined in our physical/emotional lives so that we avoid abject fatigue from making us cowards in battle. And finally we simply must stay connected to other Christians who, when we might get tired or disoriented from battle, can lift us up and keep us going.

Do you have these factors in mind as you have prayerfully put together a battle plan for life? Because if you don’t have a plan to remain humble, in shape, and connected, you can bet Satan has a plan to help you become prideful, broken down physically, and disconnected from God’s people. He will do all he can to see you become prideful, fatigued, and disoriented so that he can take you to some broom tree and hear you give up on being a warrior for God.

My Prayer for Today: Oh, Lord, help me to stay focused on You, … to remain vigilant and in shape for battle, … and always to stay connected to the family of God. Amen

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

2009 – Day 173.June 23 – The Blues

2009 – Day 173.June 23 – The Blues

Passage of the Day: 1st Kings 19: 1 – 9 …
Linked for study …

My Journal for Today:
If you’ve been following along with my study of Swindoll’s exposition of Elijah’s life, we’ve seen this Prophet of God building for the big fight. God took him off to a quiet safe place in Cherith and took him through a boot camp experience. Elijah then worked out with the widow and her child, where God used Elijah’s humility to bring back to life back to the Widow’s child. And then it was off to the heavyweight championship where our fighter for God took on and defeated 450 pagan prophets and then out ran Ahab’s chariot to boot. In that episode we saw how Elijah saw God’s promise and hope in the form one little cloud.

But now our Prophet has become weary as he takes on Jezebel, the wife of the king; and this dangerous lady seems to get the better of our hero, chasing him into the desert in fear. So, what’s with this? What has happened to our champion warrior who seems to turn tail and run? Well, it the beauty and balance of God’s word to show us the real deal, … the warts as well as the wonderful. And here we see our man, Elijah, who has likely become so tired that he can’t see straight; and he’s been taken down for the count.

In fact, in this scenario, we see that sometimes God doesn’t give His faithful warriors what they ask for in prayer. No, the Lord hears Elijah’s pitiful cry to die. Elijah, is under the tree crying for God to take him home. But instead of giving our pitifully prophet what he asks for; God gives Elijah exactly what His warrior needed. Elijah prayed for death and God gave our Prophet life. Elijah had taken his eyes off of His Savior and was looking inward toward self, which is often the most dangerous place to be looking in life.

And right now, as I do very often in my quiet place with God, my life-giving Lord has taken me back to the chorus of the old friend and faithful hymn, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, which states …

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full in His wonderful face;
And the things of the world will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Swindoll is right, it is not uncommon for us to take our eyes off of the giver and look to the gift. Or we can let our fears drive our vision into self, taking our eyes off of our Savior. And that is where Elijah found himself after those great victories. He was tired and became despondent and desperate with self pity. But God came to him just as Jesus promised He would in Matt. 11: 28 – 30 … where our Lord says to His disciples … "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

And God’s “NO” to Elijah's prayer to die was exactly what our downed hero needed to hear; and it’s often what we often need to internalize in a pity party. Thankfully God doesn’t always say “YES” to all of our prayers, especially when we’re seeing only self and not looking into the face of our Savior. And so God allowed Elijah his little pity party before he sat our fallen hero down; and let our burdened warrior get a dose of God’s R&R, … a time of rest and recreation, which brought our man back to the faith which had brought God’s truth to His people.

And my dear one, we can find God in the midst of the world’s troubles too. We just need to find a broom tree and sit down with God and get through our pity party, letting God reveal Himself to us so that we can go on by looking at God’s glory and grace rather than seeing only the darkness of the world.

Go back today, if you’re down and out, and sing that old hymn to yourself, or pull it up on your Ipod as I have this morning, and be lifted up with its wonderful message. "And the things of this world will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”

My Prayer for Today: Your face is so glorious, Lord; and when I look to You, I am lifted up. Amen

Monday, June 22, 2009

2009 – Day 172.June 22 – The Big Leagues

2009 – Day 172.June 22 – The Big Leagues

Passage of the Day: 1st Kings 18: 41 – 46 …
Linked for study …

My Journal for Today:
You know, it’s pretty easy to read or study this passage Swindoll has had me look at for these last two days and get the impression that Elijah was some sort of superman of the faith. After all he stared down and executed 450 prophets of Baal. He had the faith to know that God was bringing rain again when he saw one little cloud. And somehow he was able to run faster than a chariot quite a distance (some commentaries say it was miles). Wow! What a guy! How could I be like an Elijah?

But fortunately from God’s word – His absolute truth – we also have a New Testament account which recounts this portion in the life of Elijah and puts it into proper perspective. James, the brother of Jesus, in the book by his authorship (see James 5: 16b – 18) does not picture Elijah as anyone other than the man he was. It says, “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours…” And in those words we can come to the realization, thousands of years after Elijah’s confrontation with Ahab, we can pray to the same God to Whom Elijah prayed; and we can know that God loves our humility just as much as he loved the humble nature of His prophet. We can know that Elijah put on his tunic the same way we put on our clothes every day – covering the body of a sinner who was surrendered to his God. And as we read in 1st Kings, reinforced by the book of James, we can see that God can use any man (or woman) for His will and purpose as long as that one, like Elijah, is surrendered and humble before the Lord.

As Swindoll writes, ”No wonder Elijah is the kind of man we admire. Isn’t it exciting to know we serve the same God he served? Isn’t it thrilling to think we can trust the same God he trusted? … And what kind of God is that? He’s the God who makes promises and keeps them?”

I hope that anyone who’s reading me write this is as convicted and uplifted by that truth as am I. So, what is going on in your life right now to prevent you from going to the same God who brought the rains defeating drought for Elijah; … the same God who turned water into wine for Jesus; … the same God who raised His Son from the dead? My dear one, we’re in the big leagues of prayer. We can go to God’s throne of grace today and seek help or guidance or even victory over some fear-striking event in our life; but like Elijah we’ve got to look for the clouds on the horizon; and we’ve got to believe – and yes, I mean really BELIEVE - that the rains are on the way.

My Prayer for Today: I believe, Lord. Amen

Sunday, June 21, 2009

– Day 171.June 21 – Living Expectantly

2009 – Day 171.June 21 – Living Expectantly

Passage of the Day: 1st Kings 18: 41 – 46 …
Linked for study …

My Journal for Today:
I read today’s highlight Scripture passage and Swindoll’s devotional entry and I’m convicted to the core. In today’s scenario we see a refreshing, almost childlike Elijah, filled with expectation and faith. He sees a small cloud on the horizon; and even after three plus years of drought, he just knows that God’s promised rains are coming.

Swindoll points to the faith of child, asking his readers if we’ve ever heard a child pray. They have such boundless faith, praying for wondrous things and expecting them to happen. So Swindoll asks, “Do you live expectantly? Do the little things excite you? Do you imagine the improbable and expect the impossible?” And to those questions, with conviction, I must say, “No, no, and no!” I’m afraid all too often I’m the cynical and overly serious type; and I have a tendency to look for a cloud in every silver lining rather than having the eyes of expectancy we see in Elijah.

All too often I’m a “glass have empty” kind of guy; and I need to loosen up, … to chill out, … and to lighten up. I need to expect God to be God and to move in ways that will cause mankind to see that they need a God Who will shake things up so that we need Him and to see that He’s our only hope … our only answer.

Right now, in these times, we’re in the midst of a financial drought; and it may, like the drought of Elijah’s day, last for a long time. But what I (we) need to be doing is to look off into the horizon and look for a small cloud which will bring God’s promised rains. God has promised that he will bring the rains of His providence and provide for His children. And now it’s time for me to expect that he’ll do just that.

Look, my friends. There’s a small cloud out there on the horizon. Do you see it?

My Prayer for Today: Lord, You said that you’ll never forsake me. You’ve said that You’re going ahead of me. You’ve said that You’ll meet all my needs. And on all counts, You have been there for me. You are showing me the way; and You have provided all I need (and more). And now I look expectantly ahead to what You are going to do to bring glory to Your Name. Amen

Saturday, June 20, 2009

2009 – Day 170.June 20 – Invincible

2009 – Day 170.June 20 – Invincible

Passage of the Day: 1st Kings 18: 22 – 40 …
Linked for study ...

My Journal for Today:
Swindoll brings up a good point as we revisit this passage about Elijah’s confrontation with the prophets of Baal. Essentially my devotional shepherd asks, “Where does a Christian feel most invincible?" And the answer is simple. Any man (or woman) of God, as was Elijah, feels most invincible when he/she is centered in the will of God.

You can have joy even having just lost your job – IF – you know that you’re in the will of God. You can have peace in a raging storm – IF – you’re in Christ’s boat and you know that He’s in total control of the storm. But the opposite is also true. We will be nervous as Christians – maybe even riddled with anxiety - even when the world is flooding us with positive – WHEN – we know that we’re convicted by God’s Spirit being outside the will of God. Have you been there in either, or both, of these circumstances? I sure have. And I know that I only can feel invincible when I’m totally centered in the will of God.

As we reread today, Elijah was totally in the will of God; and you could tell it, couldn’t you? As Swindoll points out, in this passage today, Elijah speaks out eight times to the prophets or to the people; and in each instance, Elijah is assertive and confident. As Swindoll writes, “[Elijah] didn’t shift; he didn’t stutter; he didn’t suggest.” No, our hero was in command mode; because he knew God was in control; and he was soundly centered in the will of God.

I hope you’re feeling grounded in God’s will today. I know that right now, as I write this, I’m feeling that. Here, in my quiet place, where I come each morning, I am exactly where I need to be to begin my day, pursuing God’s truth, praising His Name, and praying for God’s guidance and protection. As I experience almost every day, coming to this place to begin my day takes me to a place where I know I’m grounded in God’s will, seeking His way from His word. So, the rest of my day, though I may find myself in a storm of challenge, I can more likely hold onto the joy and peace and strength I feel right now.

I hope (and I will pray below) that any who are with me here will begin each day, finding the invincible feeling of being in the center of God’s will, especially as we are immersed in the truth of God’s word.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, help any who read this to come to Your place of honor each morning – in Your word – and to find the joy and peace and strength which come from starting the day with You. Amen

Friday, June 19, 2009

2009 – Day 169.June 19 – One Prayer of Faith

2009 – Day 169.June 19 – One Prayer of Faith

Passage of the Day: 1st Kings 18: 22 – 40 …
Linked for study …

My Journal for Today:
Game on! And the odds are stacked. One lonely prophet, speaking out against a tyrant king and his wicked wife, as well as to over 800 pagan prophets and priestesses and thousands of unbelieving Israelites. But the one Prophet, our hero, Elijah, actually had the odds stacked in his favor; because he was praying to the King of kings and the Lord of lords and the One Who could (and did) bring down fire and rain to show His incomparable power.

And my dear friend, Elijah’s God is the same God to Whom you and I pray. BUT … that’s assuming that we are praying to our God. And Swindoll asks the operant question in his devotional for this date. He writes, “Do you, personally, pray?” And he presses the issue, asking if his readers set aside time each day to pray to the God Who can bring down any stronghold in this life, … the One Who can deal with any challenge we face, … the One, Who Peter declared (in 1st Pet. 5: 7) cares for you and me.

I’ll let you answer that question for yourself; but if we are not seeking God’s will in prayer and we are not praying to overcome the forces of our spiritual enemies in this life, we are out there on our own; and very personally, I could get through a day without doing what God has commanded me to do in Philippians 4: 6 – 7. And I’m also absolutely shameless in asking other prayer-warrior Christians to pray for me, especially leading in ministry the way God has called me to lead.

I have a very powerful enemy (Satan) who hates me; and he has a very powerful system (the world) to come against me. And even more frightfully, I have a deceitful heart (see Jer. 17: 9) which is capable of being duped by Satan and the world. So, without praying and being prayed for, I would be out there on the battle fields of life … all alone.

But I’m not! And neither are you. We, as described in 1st John 4: 4 have a force in our prayer Who is “greater in us than he that is in the world.” We can say with truth, the declaration of Romans 8: 31, “If God be for us, who can stand against us.”

We pray to the same God who overcame the world in a confrontation with evil even greater than the one we read about today with Elijah. When Christ confronted evil on the cross and rose from the grave victorious over sin, he gave to me the ability to come directly to Himself anytime, … anywhere. And when I do, I can call upon the same power which brought down fire and rain for Elijah.

So, after you read this, go directly to God; and lay out your needs for Him. And keep doing it every day and as often as you need to. God will hear; and you can know that He will bring good into your life because you believe in Him (see Romans 8: 28).

My Prayer for Today: Oh, praise You Lord, …I praise You that I can come here and pray to my God! Amen

Thursday, June 18, 2009

2009 – Day 168.June 18 – Divided Allegiance

2009 – Day 168.June 18 – Divided Allegiance

Passage of the Day: 1st Kings 18: 16 – 21 …
Linked for study …

My Journal for Today:
Elijah laid it out to God’s people, didn’t he? And his message was, “Get off the fence, Israel; and serve only the one true God?” And today, in the mire of cultural drift, even in the church of Jesus Christ, we can’t serve two masters. That was Jesus’ message in Matthew 6: 24 [linked] It was God’s message to His church at Laodicea in Revelations 3: 15-16 [also linked]; and it is the clear message God had for His people through Elijah in today’s passage.

We cannot serve both the world and our God! The Apostle John made that clear in his exhortation to Christians in 1st John 2: 15 – 16 [one that you should have memorized and internalized]. We can’t express a love of the world and a love of God at the same time. It is, as Swindoll calls it, “divided allegiance;” and it will never work for the Christian.

Maybe today you are a leader in your church and you see worldliness creeping into your midst. CALL IT OUT! Make it known to the Pastor or the Elders in your church.

Maybe you see the world’s ways becoming the objectives of your work place. CALL IT OUT! Stand in the gap for righteousness where you work?

Maybe you see worldliness getting to your kids through their cell phones, the TV, or the internet. CALL IT OUT !!. Be a Godly leader in your home, … one who sets clear and Godly boundaries, protecting your kids from evil.

Yes, I know this can be challenging at best and almost impossible at worst. But you are not alone when you call out evil and label it for what it is. You are being an Elijah where you live, move, and have your being. You are standing for God against our enemies in the spiritual warfare we face every day. And it is highly possible if you don’t stand for righteousness where you live or work or worship, no one else will; and in your silence, Satan wins the day.

So, my Elijah-like believer, CALL IT OUT; and be a standard bearer for righteous today!

My Prayer for Today: Lord, You are the way, the truth, and the life. May I stand for You and only You in my world. Amen

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

2009 – Day 167.June 17 – No Doubt

2009 – Day 167.June 17 – No Doubt

Passage of the Day: 1st Samuel 18 …
Passage linked here …

My Journal for Today:
This is the great story of Elijah’s coming out party. Three years of drought is a long time to be without water in a land which can be dry and barren anyway. And now, as we read in verse 1 of 1st Kings 18, God was going to show up – BIGTIME! Elijah gets the word of God he had been waiting for; and the Prophet heads to the court of Ahab.

But note that in the intervening three years of the drought and famine, Elijah, even experiencing the same privation of the people, never wavered in his faith. This “man of God” was a true man of faith. And we see why God’s Spirit came upon this man who was to be God’s spokesperson in one of the great biblical confrontations between God’s goodness and man’s false and selfish beliefs.

As we read in this passage, God had set the stage for Elijah to show that the Prophet’s faithfulness was not misplaced. As Swindoll points out, any natural calamity has a tendency to bring mankind back into a seeking posture to find God’s will and His way. When God’s display of power in a hurricane or flood or earthquake or some other “natural” disaster comes upon man, he has a tendency to begin asking the “WHY” questions and seeking after answers. Therefore, what Elijah was about to show the court of Ahab’s soothsayers was being done in the context of God’s people seeking after the truth and most certainly seeking after relief from the drought of three years.

In my life, after years of brokenness and emotional pain, God brought me to a place where I was seeking after spiritual strength, recognizing that I needed some force beyond myself to deal with my inabilities and core weaknesses. And so, God set the table for me to come after Him, seeking after truth and THE WAY out of my pit of despair. And as with Elijah, God used a wondrous display of His moving in my life to break into my consciousness [long story for another time]. And on April 13th, 1983, God demonstrated clearly through a set of circumstances that His way was the only way for me to break free from my past patterns of habitual sin. And that’s what Elijah was all about, demonstrating God’s power to the court of Ahab.

I hope and pray that anyone who reads this has developed the realization, and preferably the deep and abiding faith, that God’s way is the only way. I pray that you have come to surrender to God’s Spirit, Who is the only way, the only truth, and the only life. Because if you haven’t or you don’t, one day, like the court of Ahab, you will bow your knee to the God of the only way in life.

My Prayer for Today: You, Lord, are the only Way, … the only Truth, … and most certainly, … the only Life. Amen

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

2009 – Day 166.June 16 – The God of Impossibilities

2009 – Day 166.June 16 – The God of Impossibilities

Passage of the Day: 1st Kings 17: 24 …
23 And Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper room into the house, and gave him to his mother. And Elijah said, “See, your son lives!” 24 Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now by this I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is the truth.”

My Journal for Today:
Almost every day when I come here to journal my devotional thoughts, God, the Holy Spirit, helps me to use Chuck Swindoll’s devotional to come up with my own, more personalized journal entries. However, today his words are so pertinent, … so personal, that I simply must quote them as my journal entry for today. Therefore, here is what Swindoll writes on page 173 of his book, Great Days with the Great Lives …

“All over the world, around us every day, are people who are looking for the truth to be lived out in the lives of those who claim it. Just as the widow watched Elijah, there are people watching you. They hear what you say you believe; but they are watching to see what you do.
Remember, you are here by God’s appointment, you are in His keeping, you are under His training, for His time. Give Him the corpse of your life, and ask Him to revive those lifeless areas that need to be revived. If the situation calls for it, trust Him for a miracle, in His time, if it be His will for your life.
On the bed of your life place the remains of your broken and scarred past; the emptiness of your poor character traits; the habits, even the addictions that have so long controlled you; the limited vision that continues to characterize you; the slight irritation that nags or the large one that looms; the anger or violence or lust or greed or discontentment or selfishness or the ugliness of pride. Lay any of these before the Father, and stretch yourself out under His shadow as you ask Him to bring about remarkable, even miraculous changes in your life?”

And I also agree with Swindoll’s inquiry of his readers at this point, the question being, “Do we really believe that we serve, in Swindoll’s words, a … God of impossibilities, the One Who has limitless power, Who has never – and will never – meet an intimidating obstacle He cannot overcome, an aggressive enemy He cannot overwhelm, a final decision He cannot override, or a powerful person He cannot overshadow?”

What we see in Elijah, my dear one, is what we should see in us. This very week I had the opportunity to pray for a young 17 old boy who had sustained a brain hemorrhage and “flat-lined.” In reality, the doctors had pronounced him dead, save the resuscitation equipment keeping his lungs pumping and his heart beating. He had no measureable brain function. So, I prayed, along with my fellow church Elders that the boy be brought back to life. However, within seconds after the machines were shut down, the boy took two last breaths and all life ceased, not to be brought back as was the boy from Elijah’s prayer. So, the question becomes, “Was our faith not as strong as Elijah’s or was it God’s will to take this boy home to be with Christ?”

My brother or sister believers, it is not faith which I believe in. I believe in the God Who gives me the faith. He is God; and if He chooses to take life from someone, even a 17 year old boy or a babe with cancer, who am I to question God’s motives? In Elijah’s case, God was glorified by the boy being resurrected to life. In the case of the 17 year old Christian boy this week who died, He was glorified by the boy being taken home to be with Jesus. God is God; and I am not. He has His ways in His timing; and all I am called to do is to believe in Him and to pray to Him without questioning His ways. I may wonder why or when God does something. But my faith is in God, not in faith.

Therefore, once again I declare for this journal record, God is God, ... the God of impossibilities and the God of possibilities, ... and I am not.

My Prayer for Today: My Lord, you are my Lord! I question not your sovereignty. I simply know that I can trust You … no matter what! Amen

Monday, June 15, 2009

2009 – Day 165.June 15 – Faith Personified

Passage of the Day: 1st Kings 17: 24 …
23 And Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper room into the house, and gave him to his mother. And Elijah said, “See, your son lives!” 24 Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now by this I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is the truth.”

My Journal for Today:
In our study and devotional scenario these past days in Elijah’s interaction with this desperate widow, we have witnessed FAITH PERSONIFIED. Chuck Swindoll put it this way …

”Elijah approached the impossible with calmness and contentment, with gentleness and self-control, with faith and humility. … [In fact] Elijah was heroic in exploits of faith; but he remained a model of humility.”

And I agree with the good Pastor Swindoll that if we want to be a “man [or woman] of God,” as Elijah was accurately labeled by the widow, we too must have the character traits exhibited by this Godly prophet. And I join with Swindoll to charge us all to be praying that God does business with our hearts to produce the character of faith which we’ve seen exhibited in Elijah as we’ve studied his life these past days.

So, to help with this self inventory, I ask myself these questions; and you can listen in and use them for your faith inventory if you feel so led …

>>> Am I calm and self-controlled in the face of dire circumstances?
>>> Am I content, knowing that God provides me with what I need to handle life?
>>> Do I have the faith to look to God first when I can’t handle what life throws at me?
>>> Do others see God working through me when I face impossible odds?
>>> When I am victorious, do I make sure God gets the glory

Well, having asked myself these questions and seriously meditated on the answers, I know that I still have a lot of growing to do to answer them in a way God would smile at my answers. So, as Swindoll suggests, it’s time for me to get some serious “knee-work” done, pleading that God will do business in my life to help me become His servant as was the likes of Elijah. And then I’ve simply got to go to work in the disciplines of the faith to develop “habits” of Christlikeness which allow me to become a “man of God.”

My Prayer for Today: Lord, … okay, I plea with You to make me over to exhibit Elijah’s faithfulness and give me Your power through my humility to glorify you by my decisions and actions. Amen

Sunday, June 14, 2009

2009 – Day 164.June 14 – A Humble Servant

2009 – Day 164.June 14 – A Humble Servant

Passage of the Day: 1st Kings 17: 21 - 23 …
21 And he stretched himself out on the child three times, and cried out to the LORD and said, “O LORD my God, I pray, let this child’s soul come back to him.” 22 Then the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came back to him, and he revived. … 23 And Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper room into the house, and gave him to his mother. And Elijah said, “See, your son lives!”

My Journal for Today: What a scenario! God answers Elijah’s humble prayer in private so that his faith can be built to even greater heights; and then God answers the woman’s humble surrender of her son to Elijah, who had quietly asked for his lifeless body to be place in his arms and had taken him to a quiet place to be alone with God.

And as Swindoll points out, no words of Scripture, which are used to describe this scene, can do justice to the emotions which Elijah must’ve felt and then the mother when she saw her boy come back to life. To say “Wow!” falls so short for what transpired, doesn’t it? And if you read ahead in Elijah’s prophetic life, you can see why he had such great faith in going back to confront the court of Ahab.

And the element of character which Swindoll emphasizes in today’s bit of this story is Elijah’s humility. When he brought the boy down to the mother, stirring with life, he took no credit. He simply and humbly handed him back to the mother, saying, “See, your son lives!” He did NOT think or say, “Look what I was able to do.” No, by just stating the obvious to the mother, God gets all the credit, … just as He should.

Tomorrow (I’ve read ahead a bit in Swindoll’s book), we’re going to see the results of Elijah’s humble faith; so come back and read about that. But right now we need to focus on how our faith should work; and Elijah becomes our model here. All he did was humble himself before His Lord, giving over a totally out of control situation to a totally in control God; and then God did what He needed to do to show Himself to His children.

And therein lies the faith lesson here. God can pour His grace and power into a child with humble faith; but His grace will never be seen in one who acts in prideful arrogance. You can read this truth in Proverbs 3: 34, which is repeated in the NT in James 4: 6 or 1st Peter 5: 6, … that “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Elijah was a humble servant; and God poured His grace into this humble servant’s attitude of surrender and used a moment in history to show all who believe, like you and me, the result of humble faith. Most certainly that mother got the message. Prayerfully we do too.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, the lesson is not lost on this one. So, help me to remain humble before your throne of grace. Amen

Saturday, June 13, 2009

2009 – Day 163.June 13 – All Your Heart

Passage of the Day: 1st Kings 17: 20 – 22 …
19 And he said to her, “Give me your son.” So he took him out of her arms and carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his own bed. 20 Then he cried out to the LORD and said, “O LORD my God, have You also brought tragedy on the widow with whom I lodge, by killing her son?” 21 And he stretched himself out on the child three times, and cried out to the LORD and said, “O LORD my God, I pray, let this child’s soul come back to him.” 22 Then the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came back to him, and he revived.

My Journal for Today:
Today I’m taken back to this incredible prayer and act of faith on the part of Elijah, … who had no Scriptural precedence to lean on, as we so often do when we’re faced with impossible odds. All Elijah had was his faith; and with that faith and his own past experience with God, he took the lifeless child to his quiet place and put the boy in God’s hands.

And Swindoll, as do I, puts that question to us if we’re willing and able to do what Elijah did when we have insurmountable odds facing us in our lives. We call ourselves Christians; and we may even be active in church ministry; but do we have a “leave the impossible at God’s altar of faith” type of faith.

Perhaps you feel you are really in a spiritual dilemma; or maybe you’re going through a whopper of a storm in your life. And you look out of your boat, like Jesus’ disciples did on the Sea of Galilee, and you can’t see Jesus. All you see are the winds and the waves about to engulf your life. But faintly you see a figure out on the water and you hear a voice calling you, … “Come to Me,” He says. Now the questions is, “Do I have enough faith to step out of the boat and go to the One I think I hear calling me?” Do I have the faith of Elijah and am I ready to surrender to my Lord in the face of the impossible odds?

Maybe you’ve determined, as Swindoll writes, the following:
>>> I’m here by God’s appointment.
>>> I’m in God’s keeping.
>>> I’m under His training.
>>> He will show me His purposes in His name.

And by God’s appointment, in God’s keeping, under His training, and for His time, … are we ready to trust our God, Who is the same God Elijah prayed to for life?

I’ll let you ponder on that one as I pray …

My Prayer for Today: Lord, give me the faith of Elijah as I pick up today’s crosses and follow You. Amen

Friday, June 12, 2009

2009 – Day 162.June 12 – Alone With God

2009 – Day 162.June 12 – Alone With God

Passage of the Day: 1st Kings 17: 19 – 22 …
19 And he said to her, “Give me your son.” So he took him out of her arms and carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his own bed. 20 Then he cried out to the LORD and said, “O LORD my God, have You also brought tragedy on the widow with whom I lodge, by killing her son?” 21 And he stretched himself out on the child three times, and cried out to the LORD and said, “O LORD my God, I pray, let this child’s soul come back to him.” 22 Then the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came back to him, and he revived.

My Journal for Today: Wow! Elijah was out there on a limb all by himself on this one. As Swindoll points out today, our Prophet hero had no scriptural precedence to go on. Up to this point in time in recorded Scripture or Hebrew tradition we know of, Elijah had nothing to go on but his faith when the widow handed the lifeless body of her son over to him; and it was exactly that – Elijah’s faith in His God – which he leaned on.

Have you ever been in a place where all you have to go on is your faith? Sometimes, as it points out in Isaiah 55: 8 -9 [linked here] God doesn’t give us a “here’s what you do” manual from the Bible. All he gives to us is His principles from His living, recorded word. And we have to apply those principles – in faith – or just turn the situation over to God completely – in faith. That’s where Elijah was with the lifeless boy in his arms.

So, he took the boy to God; and he pleaded desperately for the boy’s life; and God, hearing the plea, brought the boy back to life. But you may ask, “Why did God do this resurrection; but when my wife died of cancer, God didn’t answer my plea to have her healed?” And that’s the rub of faith, isn’t it? There’s no step-by-step manual on each life as to why God spares one and takes another. If we had such a manual, the concept of “faith” would be null and void. So, all we can do is trust that God loves all of His children; and we have to leave it to God to decide whom He takes and whom He heals.

I know; … that seems so naked and incomplete from our human viewpoint; but that’s why we must bring our pleas to God in faith; and then, as I indicated yesterday, we have to trust in the truth of Romans 8: 28 - that principle that stretches us to the end of our limits at times. Oh, I hope I can be like Elijah in this passage when facing such life/death events; but if God chooses to take my dear one, I pray that I can also have the faith of a brother in Christ who recently lost His wife to cancer, declaring, “I guess God needed her more in heaven that He needed to leave her here with me.”

Now that’s faith!

My Prayer for Today: Oh, Lord, I desire to have Elijah’s faith when I simply can’t know Your will. Amen

Thursday, June 11, 2009

2009 – Day 161.June 11 – Discipline When Tragedy Strikes

2009 – Day 161.June 11 – Discipline When Tragedy Strikes

Passage of the Day: 1st Kings 17: 17 – 19 …
17 Now it happened after these things that the son of the woman who owned the house became sick. And his sickness was so serious that there was no breath left in him. 18 So she said to Elijah, “What have I to do with you, O man of God? Have you come to me to bring my sin to remembrance, and to kill my son?” 19 And he said to her, “Give me your son.” So he took him out of her arms and carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his own bed.

My Journal for Today: As Chuck Swindoll points out in today’s devotional entry, this passage brings out several very telling things about Elijah, his faith, and his discipline. And first Swindoll points to Elijah’s “gentleness” in the face of the widow’s misdirected anger. Gentleness (i.e., meekness) is one of those Christlike qualities, a fruit of God’s Spirit, which is present in all Spirit-filled believers. But it is not always present to the degree of Christlikeness which allows one like Elijah to take the woman’s anger without reacting back in anger. That kind of meekness takes time to develop in most believers. Elijah had learned, likely through his time in Cherith before coming into the widow’s life, that a crisis requires leaning on God rather than reacting with human emotions. And that’s exactly what Elijah did. He gently asked that the woman give her lifeless child over to Elijah’s arms and in faith let Elijah go to God.

And as we see, the woman, though she had taken all her emotions out on Elijah, in response to the Prophet’s request, she seemed to know that she must submit to Elijah’s request and thereby submit her child to Elijah’s God. But then we see something we need to learn and incorporate into our lives. Elijah took the child to a place of solitude to “do business” with God. He carried the child to an “upper room.”

And Chuck Swindoll asks a telling question of his readers. He writes, “Do you have a room like that – a place where you meet with God, … where you and the Lord do regular business together?” And he recommends, and I second the charge, that you find or develop such a “quiet place,” … a place where you get alone with God – DAILY – and delve into God’s word together with God’s Spirit, … a place where you can “get on your knees” and bring your life to God, … a place where you can seek the mind of God.

I have such a place; and I’m right there now. As I type this, I’ve gone to my personal quiet place; and I’ve been delving, with Chuck Swindoll’s help, for God’s wisdom; and I firmly believe that my words here today come from one (yours truly) who is getting insight from God’s Spirit which is way beyond my own ability to reason or think. Hence, as I do so often during my morning devotional times, I am receiving the results of my prayer for wisdom, as spoken of in James 1: 5-6 [linked her for you]. Before I dig for God’s truth (see Job 28 - also linked), I pray that God will reveal Himself and His mind to me; and when I write like I am this morning, I sense that God is pouring His grace of enlightenment into and through me.

Dear one, I’m not smart enough to write what I’m typing here. That’s God’s Spirit giving me these thoughts. That’s not pride or haughtiness. That is simply confidence in what God promises and the results of faith in what God has taught me over many years of devotional discipline. I’ve been getting alone with God every morning now since 1988; and that’s why I get up each morning expecting that God is going to be there in my quiet place to give me His grace and truth when I seek it from my Lord. And my God shows up <u>every morning to do just that! And wouldn't you want to go to a place where you know that God was going to be there for you every day? I think so!

Like Swindoll, I hope you have an “upper room” where you can go to be with God and let Him do business with your soul; and not just in crisis times as we read about Elijah, but EVERY DAY so that God can shape you into a seeker after His wisdom and a warrior who can do business for God as we read Elijah doing with the boy in today’s scenario. God will be there when you diligently seek Him. Get a place where you can meet with Him everyday; and you’ll find what I have found. He’ll be there for you and with you.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, thank You for being here with me today. Amen

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

2009 – Day 160.June 10 – Confidence in God

2009 – Day 160.June 10 – Confidence in God

Passage of the Day: 1st Kings 17: 17 – 19 …
17 Now it happened after these things that the son of the woman who owned the house became sick. And his sickness was so serious that there was no breath left in him. 18 So she said to Elijah, “What have I to do with you, O man of God? Have you come to me to bring my sin to remembrance, and to kill my son?” 19 And he said to her, “Give me your son.” So he took him out of her arms and carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his own bed.

My Journal for Today: Wow! If you’ve been with me in my devotionals for these past days, we’ve seen Elijah following God in obedience through one pressure cooker after another. Swindoll uses another word picture to describe it today. It’s as if Elijah has been put into a vice and God is making it tighter and tighter.

The Prophet confronted Ahab just as God had asked; and the vice tightened. So, God told him to go to Chrerith and things got tighter with the brook drying up. Then he was led to Zarapeth, where he encountered this widow who was without food; and Elijah showed great faith again helping the woman to see that his God would provide for them. Now, God seems to tighten the vice even tighter as the woman brings here lifeless son to Elijah, blaming him (and by extension, God) for this horror.

BUT (and there’s that wonderful contrast word that my Pastor loves to point out in Scripture); … BUT … Elijah doesn’t wilt under this added pressure. He doesn’t rebuke the woman for her inaccurate point of view. He doesn’t try to reason with the widow, somehow knowing that words are going to be inadequate at this point. No, Elijah simply, and confidently, asks the woman to place her burden, the son, in his arms; and having confidence in God, he goes into action.

If you read on in 1st Kings, you’ll note that Elijah is going to take this horrible burden to His God; but we’ll be looking at that faith-based response in a day or so; but for now, just take heed of how God is leading Elijah and preparing him for God’s plan for Elijah’s life. Have you ever been in a bad situation; and you pray to God for relief and things get even worse? And then you pray for God to lift your burden; and the vice of circumstances gets even tighter. Well, that is where we find Elijah; and it’s where we could find ourselves; or maybe it’s already happened to you in your life. Or maybe you’re right there now.

The question for us, as I’ve raised in the past in the “university of life” which my devotionals have been for me, is “Do we or do we not believe the truth of Romans 8: 28?” Now, I fully expect that you know the truth which that verse expounds, that “… all things work together for good for those who love God and are the called according to His purpose.” Elijah believed that truth. Do we? Because when we do, we will not panic when the vice of life tightens down on us. When we’re face with life or death issues, we will know that God is there with us, just as Elijah handles the horror of this scenario.

That is my prayer for me today; and it’s my prayer for you as well.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, whatever you put me through today, I know that You are right here with me. Amen

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

2009 – Day 159.June 9 – Incredible Associations

2009 – Day 159.June 9 – Incredible Associations

Passage of the Day: 1st Kings 17: 8 – 16 …
Passage linked for study …

My Journal for Today: So, our “man of God,” Elijah does what God commands and goes from Cherith to Zarapeth and seeks out the widow, whom God had available for him at the gate to the city. But when Elijah requested food and drink, the widow related what an impossible task this would be for her due to the paucity of food stuffs and water available for her own family, let alone for a guest.

BUT – Elijah’s faith had been made ready in Cherith; and he was able to focus with faith on the circumstances to show this widow what a great God they worshipped. And as we read in 1st Kings 17: 14, the Prophet does what a Prophet of God had been prepared by God to do, … prophesy. And he declares that the food will not run out for this widow and her family and she will also have water during the drought. And as long as Elijah was there with the widow serving his needs, that is exactly what happened.

And Swindoll asks the pointed question … if his readers have ever had a person in their life, one who simply would not look at the world though lenses of impossibility. And I ask, “Have you ever been around or influenced by someone like that?” I have; and shortly after I became a Christian, groping for strength and truth in my life, I was led to my home church and to a mentor, a retired physician and a Godly man who reveled in seemingly impossible tasks, seeing them as great opportunities to go to the Lord in faith. He was blessed with the gift of prophesy as a motivational gift; and he was so steeped in God’s word that he could bring up a truth from Scripture when things seemed bleak to show me what God would say to the challenges from my life that I laid before him. He was like the Apostle Paul when he declared to his followers in Corinth (see 1st Cor. 11: 1), “You can imitate me because I imitate Christ.”

I hope you know and have access to someone like that in your life. If not, I would charge you to pray for and seek out such a man of God [or a Godly woman for you Sisters in Christ]; and I would challenge you to seek council from such a Godly mentor. Because following someone like that can change the way you view the world, moving you from fear to faith, … from seeing impossible circumstances to possibility thinking.

I know it’s not easy to find such an “Elijah” in this world; but I’ve seen them in my church; and so I know they are out there. And when you find and follow a mentor like Elijah or an apostle Paul so that you can imitate their faith and obedience to God’s word. Find and follow such a mentor and you will begin to see God’s possibilities in the face of seemingly impossible circumstances. So, I pray you find such a faith leader to walk you through the valley of the shadow of death into the pasture of promise (as I’m sure you know God says in Psalm 23 - linked for your study).

My Prayer for Today: Thank you, Lord, for leading me to this place of faith; now I pray for the same for anyone who reads what You’ve given me to share this day. Amen

Monday, June 08, 2009

2009 – Day 158.June 8 – Crucible For Christ

2009 – Day 158.June 8 – Crucible For Christ

Passage of the Day: 1st Kings 17: 8-9 …
8 Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying, 9 “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.”

My Journal for Today: Okay, if you’ve been with me these first days of June, Elijah has been taken by God to this quiet place, Cherith, where he was safely away from the limelight of Ahab’s threatening court; and we saw, through Swindoll, that God was using solitude, silence, and obscurity at the brook in Cherith to retool the Prophet for what would lie ahead. Now, in today’s passage, we see God telling Elijah to move on. However, the testing and retooling of Elijah is not over.

I would not have seen it without Swindoll’s teaching help; but the place God leads Elijah next, Zarapeth, is apparently a Hebrew term with a root which means “crucible.” Maybe, as Swindoll points out, there may have been some metal-works plant there; but no matter why the town was named as it way, it’s interesting that this town where Elijah would go was a place where God could turn up the heat of reshaping Elijah’s life to make him even stronger for his work of witness for God which lies ahead.

I agree with Swindoll that God often takes us from crucible to crucible in the process of sanctification in our lives as Christians. And the word picture of a crucible is an apt one; isn’t it? When precious metals are being purified for reshaping into beautiful pieces of jewelry, they are put in a crucible, which is heated to the place where the raw metal is liquefied, causing the “dross” (i.e., impurities) to float to the top, where the master metal-worker can skim off the dross, leaving the purified metal, which is now ready for the reshaping process by a master jeweler.

That’s what God was doing with Elijah; and perhaps that’s what He’s doing in your life. Certainly when I look back over the process of discipleship in my life, I can see that God took me from one crucible and reshaping process to another, many of which were like the quiet brook at Cherith for Elijah, where God used solitude and discipline to reshape me. But other times were more like what Elijah would face in Zarapeth, where the heat was turned up; and in those “crucible” times I had to experience some very tough times so that God could make me more focused in my ability to serve Him. Often, in this process of sanctification, I, like Elijah, was led from crucible to crucible to crucible; and I would wonder when God was going to have me shaped into an image He could use for His glory.

And my friends, if I interpret Phil. 1: 6 [linked here] correctly, that reshaping process will never be over in this life; and I will be taken through the various crucibles of life so that God, the Master Jeweler, can keep remaking (i.e., “completing”) me into that final image when I’m in glory and made over into a more perfected reflection of the Perfect Servant of God, … my Lord Jesus.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, be merciful as You reshape me in the crucibles of life. Amen

Sunday, June 07, 2009

2009 – Day 157.June 7 – Our Obstacle Course

Passage of the Day: 1st Kings 17: 5 – 7 …
2 Then the word of the LORD came to him [Elijah], saying, 3 “Get away from here and turn eastward, and hide by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. 4 And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” 5 So he went and did according to the word of the LORD, for he went and stayed by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. 6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the brook. 7 And it happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.

My Journal for Today:
Today I read Chuck Swindoll’s devotional for this day in his book, Great Days with the Great Lives; and normally, I just use this as a guide for what God, the Holy Spirit, gives me to share as my devotional journal entry. But today, I was touched to the core by what Pastor Swindoll had to share; and I would discredit this fine teaching effort to do anything other than just quote what this faithful shepherd has to share. So, I quote this dear servant exactly as he has written the following about Elijah’s bootcamp experience.

Chuck Swindoll: Part of every boot camp experience is the grueling, grinding, and sometimes daunting obstacle course. It is neither fun nor easy, but its demanding discipline prepares the recruit for whatever situations he or she may face in the future, particularly under enemy fire. In the spiritual life, before we can truly benefit from “the hidden life” that God uses to prepare us for whatever future He has planned for us, we must overcome at least four major obstacles. I think of them as four rough membranes of the flesh: pride, fear, resentment, and long-standing habits. Conquering these layers of resistance will prepare us for the future and harden us for combat with the adversary.

In a very real sense, God has designed a boot camp for His children; but it doesn’t last just eight or ten weeks. Nor is it a weekend seminar we can take or a day-long workshop we can attend. God’s training course takes place periodically throughout the Christian life. And there, in the very center of obstacles and pain and solitude, we come to realize how alive God is in our lives – how alive and in charge. He will invade us, reduce us, break us, and crush us, so that we will become the people He intends us to be.

No matter how many years we walk with the Lord, we must still, at times, pass through our own Gethsemane. It happens every time He sends us to the brook to live the hidden life. It happens every time He disorients us as He displaces us; every time He pulls out all the props; every time He takes away more of the comforts; every time He removes most of the “rights” we once enjoyed. And He does all this so that He can mold us in the person that we otherwise never would be. He knows what He’s about.

Elijah went to Cherith as an energetic spokesman for God – a Prophet. He emerged from Chrerith as a deeper man of God. All this happened because he was left beside a brook that dried up. Alone, but not forgotten. Tested, but not abandoned.

Wow! What could I add to that? Nothing, I assure you; but I pray that, like me, you are enlightened by Pastor Swindoll to realize that God is giving us all our boot camp obstacles, as He did with Elijah, to prepare us for what lies ahead and to prepare us to be his witness in this world, … a witness who can shine His light and glorify the Holy Father.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, thank You for the obstacles You put us through to shape our witness for You. Amen

Saturday, June 06, 2009

2009 – Day 156.June 6 – Laying A Foundation of Courage

2009 – Day 156.June 6 – Laying A Foundation of Courage

Passage of the Day: 1st Kings 17: 1 – 7 …
Linked for study …

James 5: 17 – 18 …
17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.

My Journal for Today: As I’ve been reading that passage in 1st Kings the last few days, I’m getting the idea that God has to put His army through spiritual bootcamp before they can become seasoned and disciplined and dedicated – TO GOD - and not to self.

Swindoll points out that Robert E. Lee’s biographer wrote, “Had [Lee’s] life been epitomized in one sentence from THE BOOK he read so often, it would have been in the words, ‘If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.’ “ [I hope you recognize that immediately as Luke 9: 23, a verse I repeat often in my devotional entries.]

Robert E. Lee was a man who recognized that to be a follower after God, one must be disciplined in godliness. And that’s what makes praying and living toward Christlikeness so challenging. Elijah prayed a tough prayer … that God would stop the rains; and then he had to live through the outcome of God answering that prayer along with all those who denied God. Yes, when the drought came for three and one-half years, Elijah had to live trough the extended drought just like the rebellious Hebrews did.

Have you ever prayed a prayer, asking God to make you a more Godly man or woman? But in the back of your mind, you were praying silently, “But, Lord, please don’t take away my creature comforts.” Or maybe you were afraid to pray for humility or patience because you knew what God might have to do to develop those Christlike qualities in your life. In today’s MacDonald’s mentality, self denial is not a popular virtue. In fact we’re being given all kinds of tools to promote instant gratification. The I-Phone generation has an “APP” for everything. We simply don’t honor the truth that God must lead us though the valley of the shadow of death to do what He promises in Phil. 1: 6 [linked], … and that is, to complete us into the image of our Savior. [Notice - I just hyperlinked you to Phil. 1: 6 to save you the time and effort to go get your Bible, look up the passage, and study it. Shame on me! ;>) ]

Are you praying that God will turn around the evil in the world? That’s a good prayer; but do you realize what it’s going to take in terms of our own lives, as followers of God, to rid the world of the evil that is growing ever darker day-by-day? It’s going to take a major spiritual earthquake [what we pray for as “revival”] to get the attention of the unGodly in this world. And in case you haven’t noticed, when an earthquake hits, the believers as well as the non-believers suffer.

By nature I’m a “chicken.” I don’t like pain; and I don’t like to suffer. But I’ve come to realize that my only way to Christlikeness is to bring myself – INTENTIONALLY – to surrender to God’s Luke 9: 23 bootcamp. It means, like Elijah learned, I must deny myself and take up the disciplines of the faith, and follow my Lord – NO MATTER WHERE HE GOES. If that means, getting in to His word daily, then that’s what I must do. If it means developing a deeper prayer life, then that’s what I must do. If it means suffering in the heat and pressure of life, … well, you’re getting the picture.

I hope you’re praying for a better world; but I hope you don’t shy away from that prayer because you don’t want to experience what is going to be necessary for God to rain down His revival of His plan for mankind.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, I’m a chicken; and I hate to see my loved ones suffer. Come quickly! Amen

Friday, June 05, 2009

2009 – Day 155.June 5 – Tough Spots

Passage of the Day: 1st Kings 17: 5 – 7 …
2 Then the word of the LORD came to him [Elijah], saying, 3 “Get away from here and turn eastward, and hide by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. 4 And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” 5 So he went and did according to the word of the LORD, for he went and stayed by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. 6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the brook. 7 And it happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.

My Journal for Today:
Ever been in a tough spot? Of course we have; … and what is our first, and very natural feeling, when we encounter such tough circumstances? Well, it’s usually one of entitlement. We FEEL (and I emphasize that it’s a feeling) that we are entitled to be able to avoid the tough spot, whatever it is. Swindoll gives several good, and pertinent, examples.

And the first is Elijah’s dilemma. When we have ample water, we come to feel that we are entitled to water; and we FEEL that it would be unfair for the One who provided the water to take it away. Perhaps you’ve had other situations in life which challenged your sense of entitlement. Maybe God has given you a wonderful spouse; and you most certainly feel it wouldn’t be fair for God to take this life partner. Perhaps God has blessed you with children. Surely He would take your child before He takes you home? Maybe you’ve got a great job, which provides you with what you’re family needs in the way of finances. Would God do something, as He seems to be doing right now in our world, to cause the world to see that God owns it all and He’s in control of the world’s economy?

So, once we have something, we have a tendency to feel entitled to keep it. Isn’t that the natural FEELING? Of course it is; BUT (and this is one big “BUT”) God, the giver is fully entitled to be God, the taker. And we know that happens; and it may be happening in your life right now. And that’s why we need to have emblazoned on our hearts the truth of Deuteronomy 31: 6 or Joshua 1: 5, which also inspired Hebrews 13: 5. Do you know those parallel verses from God’s truth book? They are God speaking through three separate authors saying the same thing, that “God will never leave you, nor forsake you.”

And apparently before Elijah was to go back and confront King Ahab with God’s prophesies, Elijah needed to learn and internalize that truth. Hence, we see the brook drying up which had been Elijah’s source of refreshment. And now Elijah’s faith is tested, just like ours is tested when something in our life, to which we felt entitled, is taken? It’s the test of 1st Cor. 10: 13 [linked for you], where God states His faithfulness, that He will never allow His children to be placed in circumstances where, with Him, we can bear up under the pressure, whatever it is. BUT, do we believe it?

I hope you have learned that lesson, and you believe in its truth, BEFORE you are tested by having something dear you assume will be there tomorrow is taken from your life. Because when the stream is drying up, or maybe you realize that you’re losing your spouse to cancer, you’re going to need to realize that God is right there with you during the challenges of your loss.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, help me to know and remember that You will always be with me. Amen

Thursday, June 04, 2009

2009 – Day 154.June 4 – The Brook Has Dried Up

2009 – Day 154.June 4 – The Brook Has Dried Up

Passage of the Day: 1st Kings 17: 5 – 7 …
2 Then the word of the LORD came to him [Elijah], saying, 3 “Get away from here and turn eastward, and hide by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. 4 And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” 5 So he went and did according to the word of the LORD, for he went and stayed by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. 6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the brook. 7 And it happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.

My Journal for Today: Has your brook dried up? It had for Elijah. Here God had led Elijah to this lush oasis in the wilderness where he was protected and provided for; but in time the spring providing him with water dried up. And so it is with some of us.

Perhaps you’re a new mom and the joy of a new child has dried up and is covered with poopy diapers, baby feedings, and a perpetually crying babe. Maybe you’re a family leader whose bank account is drying up. Swindoll relates the great story of John Bunyan, the famous Christian author, who was jailed for preaching against the godlessness of the establishment in his day; and while in prison where his brook had dried up, he was inspired to write Pilgrim’s Progress, the timeless allegory which has touched the life of generations of Christian readers.

And right now – at this very moment in my quiet time with God this morning – my Ipod has given me the song I’m listening to right now and one which I hear almost daily in my morning, sitting by a brook of life which seems to be drying up all around me. The song is sung by the beautiful voice of Alisha Dishong, … the old hymn, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus. She sings to me …

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face;
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.

Yes, the brook of our culture seems to dwindling; and more and more we cannot draw water from this world. So, what do we Christians do in this world which dwindles of Christian sustenance? Well the reality of that old Christian hymn rings true. What we do is turn – and keep – our eyes on Jesus, because as Swindoll points out, our dwindling brook of Christian values in this world “does not cancel out God’s providential plan.” And Swindoll is right, as evidenced by what happened to John Bunyan or to Elijah.

When the waters that we thirst for are drying up, we need to get ready for God to provide exactly what we need in and through His truth – i.e., His word – and through life as well. John Bunyan was inspired by prison to write his famous Christian allegory. Elijah, by the brook drying up, was being prepared to prophesy to God’s people. And we’ll be reading in subsequent devotionals about the power that came from Elijah holding on to faith in the midst of the brook drying up.

When things get really dry and we turn our eyes on Jesus, rather than our circumstances, God is likely trying to show us that the things of this earth " … will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” So, take heart, my fellow Christian. The brook may be drying up; but God will provide.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, take me from the dwindling brook of this life; and show me the sustaining grace of your living waters. Amen

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

2009 – Day 153.June 3 – God’s Protection and Provision

2009 – Day 153.June 3 – God’s Protection and Provision

Passage of the Day: 1st Kings 17: 4 - 6 …
2 Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying, 3 “Get away from here and turn eastward, and hide by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. 4 And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” … 5 So he went and did according to the word of the LORD, for he went and stayed by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. 6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the brook. 7 And it happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.

My Journal for Today:
Chuck Swindoll really likes to get all God has for him (and us) out of a passage; and so, here we are again in these first few verses of 1st Kings 17, dwelling on this boot camp experience God had arranged for Elijah where the Lord had the Prophet to a quiet place in the wilderness where he’d be secure, secluded, and surrendered to God’s will.

And the first thing we note is Elijah’s response to God’s leading, reading in verse 5 that upon being called to do so, Elijah went to the Brook Cherith without question. There was no, “What’s this all about, Lord?” God said, “Go,” and Elijah went where God said to go. And I love the way Swindoll speculates about what Elijah may have perceived God saying. He writes that it would be as if God said, “[Elijah] You need to get out of the spotlight. You need to come up in the mountains, alone with Me, where you can hear My voice clearly. We need more time together, Elijah, and you need more training.”

How about you? Do you feel God saying to you, “[Insert your name here], I need more time with you. You need to carve out more quiet time with Me. We need to be alone together so that I can get closer to you, and so that I can lead you more clearly through my Word.” So many men which I’ve been blessed to lead in ministry over the years have said to me, “Bill, I know that I need more quiet time with God in His word; BUT I … [and I’ll bet you can fill in the blank here with reasons (really EXCUSES) why you don’t have enough time with God or why your time with Him is not deep enough].”

God wanted Elijah to be protected and prepared by the solitude and provision He laid out for His Prophet. God knew that Elijah was going to face some really tough times ahead; and so God made a way for a bootcamp of solitude and character building for Elijah. But Elijah had to CHOOSE to respond. God didn’t force the Prophet to follow Him. No, Elijah simply responded obediently and immediately to God’s lead and followed His Lord; and God came through with the provisions and the promises which Elijah was going to need in Spiritual warfare for the near and more distant future.

My dear one, as you read this, I hope you get it that God is saying to all of us that we need to get away from the tyranny of the urgent, from the hubbub of worldly information, and from the deceitfulness of our own hearts so that we can be refreshed by the living waters which come only from God’s Word.

Are you getting alone with God in a quiet place EVERY DAY and letting God feed you and give you drink from His word? Blessed one, EVERY DAY we face the wiles of the devil, the terror of the world, and the call of our own flesh to do things Satan’s way rather than God’s way. And EVERY DAY we need to have a brief “boot camp” in solitude where we are refreshed by God’s living truth and rearmed for battle for the day ahead. That is what Elijah learned by the Brook of Cherith; and it is the lesson we must learn and activate in our battle plan living for each day of our lives.

My Prayer for Today: Lord, as I type this, You are filling me with Your living waters and giving me the armor I need for the day of battle ahead. I praise You for this quiet place of protection and for Your provision for my day. Amen