1 Kings 17:1
After encountering the prophet Elijah King Ahab may well have thought, “of all the nerve! Who does this guy think he is?” Bursting onto the scene as if out of nowhere Elijah confronted Israel’s wicked king with a message that would soon disrupt life throughout the region.
The validity of the prophecy rested with the Source not the mouthpiece. Elijah was a man of great faith who spent time alone with the Lord and listened to Him carefully. The prophet could pass the message on with boldness and authority because he knew and trusted the One from whom it came.
We can’t expect our Father to communicate with us in exactly the same way that He spoke to the Old Testament prophets but the process of receiving His message hasn’t changed. It starts with being alone in His presence and listening as He speaks through His word. But it shouldn’t end there.
Prophets had the responsibility of telling the people what the Lord revealed to them. Similarly we’re to share with others what we learn from God’s word. Devotional time with the Lord is not just about our own interests and needs. The Father reveals His truths to us so we can share them with others.
Begin each day alone with God in His word and in prayer listening as He speaks to your heart. Believe what He says in Scripture apply it to your life and then share with someone else what He has revealed. Be bold and remember that the authority of your message comes from Him.
God is infinite. It’s difficult for us, with our limited human minds, to imagine exactly what that means, but it’s important to think about His greatness. His love is immeasurable. And He is boundless in righteousness, mercy and justice. Time and space can’t contain Him.
Can we go anywhere that our God is not? There may be times when we feel as if we want to hide from Him, thankfully, there’s nowhere we can go that is out of His reach. The last thing we should want is to be separated from Him. As believers, we are forever connected to the Father because He is eternal. He calls Himself the Alpha and Omega, which means the beginning and the end. That is not to say the Lord started at some point in eternity past and ends somewhere in the future. Instead, it means that when time and space began, He is the one who created it. When it ends, He will still be there – He is the one “who is and who was and who is to come”. This was a revolutionary concept for the crowd of Jews to whome Christ announced “Before Abraham was born, I am”. They understood that Jesus, in saying He was one with Yahweh claimed to be eternal – and they attempted to kill Him for what they considered blasphemy.
Not only is God infinite and eternal, He is also unchanging. So much of what we believe is based upon this characteristic of God. We can trust in His promises because they never change and we can trust in His love it never ends.
A woman unlocks her front door and walks into an empty house. She drops her purse and bags onto the couch and immediately turns on some music. Have you ever wondered what impulse makes people want to break the silence of a quiet home? The sights and sounds of TVs and radios temporarily meet our need to feel we’re not alone.
God desires an intimate relationship with each person so He created us with a yearning for His presence. Though He alone can fill that void people attempt to satisfy their longing with all kinds of relationships and activities. But filling that spot with anything other than the Lord is at best a short term solution.
The Bible urges us to stop our frenzied search for satisfaction in what the world offers and instead recognize that we should turn to Jesus Christ. Yet so many people pursue substitutes for His presence. Friends, hobbies and busy schedules provide momentary pleasure while using up precious time that should be spent in quietness before God. And all too often when the amusement of one good thing wears off we seek a new activity or person to fill the gap.
Nothng besides the Lord can adequately fill the spot in our life that God has reserved for Himself – noise and busyness will satisfy for just a little while. Our Father’s empowering presence is the only genuine solution. For believers the Holy Spirit is already present within. What we must do is settle ourselves before God and He will make Himself known to us.
Faith can be lulled to sleep when we are focused on our own comfort rather than God’s plan. Abraham didn’t fall into this trap. He traded the familiar for the unknown and received many blessings.
Living by faith is the right answer when God calls you to move forward. His call can come to us at any age and in any situation. Abraham was 75 when he began his journey. David was a shepherd boy when he was anointed to be king. Paul encountered the Lord on his way to arrest Jewish believers in Damascus, after his conversion, he became the Lord’s representative to the Gentiles. Our call may not be so dramatic, but it will always involved moving forward by faith.
Following God will also include times of testing. Abraham like all of us had some successes and some failures. The initial call to leave his country was met with strong belief and immediate action. As a result the Lord promised a great blessing for him and his descendants. But encountering a famine brought a different response from Abraham – a sojourn to Egypt deception about his relationship with Sarah and chastisment from Pharaoh. Our response to God’s commands really matters. Through our actions we can bring blessing or heartache.
Obeying the Lord can be uncomfortable. Those close to us may question our motives or disagree with our decisions. And we may not want to do what God asks. But faith will keep us moving forward in obedience. It helps us stay the course and experience the blessings found in a relationship with Christ.
When Nehemiah was cupbearer to the king, his heart was deeply stirred over the plight of the Israelites back home and the condition of their city. With the king’s permission, he set out to rebuild Jerusalem. He encountered numerous obstacles but refused to let them distract him from the task.
From his example, we learn the importance of:
Being in the center of God’s will. When Nehemiah cried out in prayer about his people and homeland (Neh. 1:4-11), the Lord showed him exactly what to do. Then God caused the king to be favorably disposed toward the request and to provide everything needed. Knowing we are right where God wants us will give us confidence to move through trials without being sidetracked.
Remembering what the goal is. Nehemiah knew that the Lord’s priority for him was to rebuild the city. God has also planned things for us to do, and His work is always of great value. We are not to underestimate our part, no matter how small it seems to us.
Accomplishing each task. Following every crisis, Nehemiah returned to the task at hand. By keeping the Lord’s goal in mind, we’ll be able to stay in our God-appointed place, carry out each step, and remain on course.
Accurately identifying our distractions. Those who seek to interrupt our work, divert our attention, or attack us personally are not from God. With the Father’s help, Nehemiah recognized whom to heed and whom to ignore.
Think about people and situations that are likely to distract you. Being aware of their potential to get you off track can help you stay focused.