The Lord Gives and The Lord Takes Away; May…
The Lord Gives and The Lord Takes Away; May His Name Be Praised!
Life Lessons Devotional Series, Friday May 19, 2023
Scripture: 1 Kings 17: 17 Some time later the son of the woman who owned the house became ill. He grew worse and worse, and finally stopped breathing. 18 She said to Elijah, “What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?” 19 “Give me your son,” Elijah replied. He took him from her arms, carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his bed. 20 Then he cried out to the Lord, “Lord my God, have you brought tragedy even on this widow I am staying with, by causing her son to die?” 21 Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried out to the Lord, “Lord my God, let this boy’s life return to him!” 22 The Lord heard Elijah’s cry, and the boy’s life returned to him, and he lived. 23 Elijah picked up the child and carried him down from the room into the house. He gave him to his mother and said, “Look, your son is alive!” 24 Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord from your mouth is the truth.”
Life Lesson: On the heels of every miracle will come another time of testing that can cause you to question the faithfulness and provision of God for your life. Always remember that He who has been faithful to you in the past is the same today as He was yesterday!
– Note that the above account is recorded immediately subsequent to the account of God’s miraculous provision for the widow and her son. Yes, it does say, “Some time later” and this friend is always the case following an experience of God’s miraculous provision for us, even today.
– Every year I am humbled, yet also tested by the fact that our congregation, though mighty in faith, prayer and loving relationships; we who are few look to God for His miraculous provision to make our budget and every year the Lord far surpasses our expectations! It is nothing less than a miracle how the Lord faithfully provides each year, yet each year is a new challenge to believe that God will provide!
– God had miraculously provided for the widow and her son, all was well and good. Then suddenly, inexplicably, her son tragically dies. How could this happen? Did God only save their lives yesterday to take her son’s life today? Can this be real? We decry, “It’s not right! It’s not fair!” Yet the righteous words of Job who tragically lost it all including all of his children testifies, Job 1: 20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”
– Job’s response to the sudden tragedy he experienced of unsurpassed loss was to worship God! It is the devil’s work to steal, kill and destroy, John 10:10 and it is the devil’s intention to destroy our faith in God by doing so, Job 1:11. But Jesus assures us that He has come that we might have life and have it to the full, John 10:10! The life to the full is the confidence of His resurrection power flowing through our veins! Never believe the devil lies, Luke 8: 50; choose instead to trust in the Savior’s love!
Stand with Boldness and Faith in the Supremacy of…
Stand with Boldness and Faith in the Supremacy of Christ and Make Your Appeal to God!
Life Lessons Devotional Series, Thursday May 18, 2023
Scripture: Acts 4: 23 On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: “‘Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
26 The kings of the earth rise up
and the rulers band together
against the Lord
and against his anointed one.’ 27 Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. 29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
Life Lesson: The call of the Lord upon His church is never to align ourselves with the godless and wicked demands that will inevitably come from the world, but to stand with boldness and faith in the supremacy of Christ and make our appeal to God, not the world; and invite the unlimited power of God to move in us and through us to transform lives!
– Peter and John were warned by the authorities of their day to cease and to desist in spreading the Gospel message. This was a requirement they would not obey. Their response to the demand of their rulers was this, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” Church, I believe this is something we have failed to do in our day and age.
– We have listened to the authorities’ demands and cowered instead of standing resolute in Jesus’ name. We have acquiesced to the immoral demands of our depraved society instead of preaching holiness, without which no person will ever see God, Heb. 12:14!
– The raging of the nations against the truth of God’s Word is nothing new! How then shall we respond? We must do what Peter and John did, gather together with other believers and pray! Pray in the knowledge that while the nations plot evil and rage violently, God is sovereign! The raging of the nations, and the globalists, is a firecracker compared to the world ending inferno of God’s judgment and wrath!
– If we will not stand in the power of God, we will not stand at all! Take your eyes off of today’s Sodom and Gomorrah and fix your eyes on the exalted Savior! There is no question as to who will win this battle! The victory is won in Jesus’ name! Amen!
Our Insufficiency is the Fertile Soil in which God…
Our Insufficiency is the Fertile Soil in which God Plants His Abundance!
Life Lessons Devotional Series, Wednesday May 17, 2023
Scripture: 1 Kings 17: 12 “As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.” 13 Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’” 15 She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. 16 For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.
Life Lesson: Our insufficiency is the fertile soil in which God plants His abundance! Do not fear having too little, rather see it as an opportunity to trust God for His provision.
– The impoverished widow had been called by the Lord to provide for God’s servant. The question that she as well as most who have been likewise called by the Lord wrestle with is, how? How do I give out of my limited resources?
– Paul wrote concerning this in 2 Cor. 9: 6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;
their righteousness endures forever.”
10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
– So now, we are confronted with what to believe? Do we trust God and give out of our meager resources or do we horde all we can for ourselves? This contrast is even more crucial than we usually understand when it comes to our walk of faith. Christ told a parable of a master who commended his “dishonest manager” for acting shrewdly in settling accounts owed by generously reducing their debt load. There we read, Luke 16: 10 “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11 So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?” The implication of the question is far more profound than we would like to admit.
– Generosity is a virtue anyone can practice, however many refuse to be generous and subsequently pay a terrible price for it, Luke 16:19-31, Luke 12:13-21, Malachi 3:6-10. The widow, despite her meager resources chose to trust in the word of the Lord and subsequently she received a miracle for her faith that abundantly provided for both her and her son!
God Chooses the Ordinary Through Which to Do Extraordinary…
God Chooses the Ordinary Through Which to Do Extraordinary Works!
Life Lessons Devotional Series, Tuesday May 16, 2023
Scripture: Acts 4: 13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. 14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. 15 So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together. 16 “What are we going to do with these men?” they asked. “Everyone living in Jerusalem knows they have performed a notable sign, and we cannot deny it. 17 But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn them to speak no longer to anyone in this name.” 18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
Life Lesson: The intimacy of our walk with Jesus will be reflected in our witness. The closer you walk with Christ the more like Him you will become and the more like Him you become, the more astonishing will be your witness.
– Peter and John were both “unschooled, ordinary men”, yet the works that were wrought by their faith in Christ were anything but ordinary!
– They walked in the power of Christ, they preached in the authority of Christ, they healed in the name of Jesus! Their lives revolved around Christ, and His power encircled them!
– They were unschooled and ordinary. Praise God! God had not chosen them become of their elitist position in society. Jesus did not call them because they were popular, wealthy, good looking, or charismatic!
– God chooses the ordinary through which to do extraordinary works! 1 Cor. 1: 26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him.
– It was the Sanhedrin who were intimidated, not Peter and John! Psalm 112 tells us, 6 Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever. 7 They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord. 8 Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear; in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.
– The same power that healed the man who had been lame since birth empowered and enabled God’s witnesses to stand resolute, fearless, and to speak with boldness! It is our daily walk with Jesus that is the Source of our strength! Amen!
Go And Do Likewise!
Go And Do Likewise!
Life Lessons Devotional Series, Monday May 15, 2023
Scripture: 1 Kings 17: 7 Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land. 8 Then the word of the Lord came to him: 9 “Go at once to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and stay there. I have directed a widow there to supply you with food.” 10 So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, “Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?” 11 As she was going to get it, he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.” 12 “As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.” 13 Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’”
Life Lesson: When your natural resources dry up that is the optimal time to trust in the Lord for His miraculous provision in your life!
– God had provided for Elijah during the beginning of the drought, leading him to a fresh flowing river and causing ravens to bring him meat both day and night. However, the time came when the provisions God had given to His servant dried up.
– Let me posit to you a question, when the provisions God has given to you dry up or are no longer available to you, how do you respond? Is it now time to grumble and complain? To rail against God for not meeting your needs in accordance with His glorious riches? Or is it maybe time for God to redirect you to the new thing God has for you?
– Elijah shows us how the person of faith responds in such situations, by waiting upon the Lord, hearing from God, trusting in God’s directing, and moving in the direction God was leading him. Bear in mind, Elijah did not lose faith due to the disappearance of the physical manifestation of God’s provision for him.
– God’s new directive must have seemed very strange to Elijah. Why would God send him to a widow who without question must have been struggling just to survive? You can’t get something from someone who has nothing! Or can you? Remember Peter’s words to the beggar who looked to them for a financial handout? “Silver and gold I do not have”, Peter said to him. However, what Peter did have to give was so very much more than what the man was expecting! This redirect from God would transform his life even as it did the widow!
– The widow’s natural resources were also drying up! Yet God sent Elijah to her and God had directed the widow to give him what she had! She had nothing extra to give! This was her time to trust in the Lord for His miraculous provision in her life! Go and do likewise!
It is the Truth that Sets us Free!
It is the Truth that Sets us Free!
Life Lessons Devotional Series, Thursday May 11, 2023
Scripture: Acts 4: 13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. 14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. 15 So they ordered them to withdraw from the Sanhedrin and then conferred together. 16 “What are we going to do with these men?” they asked. “Everyone living in Jerusalem knows they have performed a notable sign, and we cannot deny it. 17 But to stop this thing from spreading any further among the people, we must warn them to speak no longer to anyone in this name.” 18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” 21 After further threats they let them go. They could not decide how to punish them, because all the people were praising God for what had happened. 22 For the man who was miraculously healed was over forty years old.
Life Lesson: What is truly astonishing is not that Peter and John opened their mouths and dared to speak when standing before the Sanhedrin, it was the words they spoke through the authority of Jesus name and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that is astonishing!
– Church, I am convinced that too many words are spoken today from people professing faith that have no authority or power because the message is coming from the minds of “men” rather than the heart of God!
– Look around and you will soon find many on the television, radio, internet and in local churches who are proclaiming a message under the guise of Christianity that is neither reflective of the Word of God and more sadly even contradictory to it.
– Peter and John were heavily scrutinized for their message and their proclamation of faith in Jesus’ Name. However, their message was not conveyed in the authority of the flesh as was evident by the miraculous power revealed in the 40-year-old man suddenly healed from his infirmity from birth!
– They did not rely on wise and persuasive words when speaking to the Sanhedrin, rather they spoke in the same authority that had brought about the transformation in the lame man. Here’s the rub, how is it then that so many today are making their appeal to the audiences who are listening, speaking words their itching ears long to hear, rather than proclaiming the unadulterated word of the Lord in the power of the Spirit?
– Peter and John had a choice as do we today, declare by faith the Word of God through the infilling of the Spirit or acquiesce to the spirit of the age. Truth has no comprise with the world, the flesh and the devil. It is the truth that sets people free! Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life! Full stop!
Unexpected and Miraculous Ways!
Unexpected and Miraculous Ways!
Life Lessons Devotional Series, Wednesday May 10, 2023
Scripture: 1 Kings 17: 2 Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah: 3 “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. 4 You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there.”
5 So he did what the Lord had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. 6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.
Life Lesson: Faithful devotion to the call of God upon your life will require personal sacrifice. However, the cost of following Christ will be far surpassed by the supernatural provisions you will experience.
– Elijah had faithfully delivered God’s message to the king, a message that would make Elijah public enemy number one and place him on the kings most wanted list. Isn’t it encouraging to know that our faithful witness will often times bring condemnation from the world, the flesh and the devil? Don’t look for applause when faithfully serving the Lord.
– Not only was Elijah hated by many for his testimony, he was also pushed out into isolation and made to survive off the land that Elijah knew God was punishing with drought and subsequent famine.
– So, this giant of the faith was a social outcast after obediently serving the Lord. For many the stress of living as an outlaw and the discouragement of being derided by your countrymen would be far too great, however Elijah was far from being all alone. God was with His servant and provided for Elijah by supernaturally leading him to a flowing river and causing ravens to bring him meat both morning and evening.
– So, while other natural resources were drying up, Elijah was given water to drink and while starvation was slowly taking hold of the land, Elijah would both day and night receive a protein meal to sustain him and from scavenging birds no less! Ravens don’t share their food; they are carrion birds and have often been associated with ill omen and even death.
– God provided for His servant in a most unexpected and miraculous way! How many of you can testify that God provides in unexpected and miraculous ways?! Faithful service will require real sacrifice but the rewards of faithful service far surpass what we give up as the Lord intervenes in unexpected and miraculous ways!