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