building on the foundation of Jesus Christ

Archive for the tag “Elijah”

If Then Statement

Have you noticed lately there has been an emphasis on prayer? Priscilla Shirer wrote the Armor of God Bible Study a couple of years ago, which begins with prayer as the first step to putting on the armor. The movie War Room came out about that same time, which is about getting on our knees before God; crying out to Him. Anne Graham Lotz just recently released a book called The Daniel Prayer; again about getting on our knees before God. There must be something to this that we need to understand for these times. I think we are at a crossroads in our culture today. I think God is preparing us to be battle ready for whatever is coming next.

I also think in order to be ready; our hearts have to be right before God. In James 5:16 we are told that the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James goes on to write in the following verses that Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.

Pastor James MacDonald is currently preaching a series on Breakthrough Prayer. Pastor James pointed out a few things in the Book of James that needs to be considered. In James 4:16 we are told to confess our sins to one another so that we will be healed – spiritually. Sin is a blockage to prayer. Elijah was in the midst of a battle. He didn’t pray for Ahab and Jezebel to be struck by lightning – he could have – they were a thorn in his side to his effective ministry. He prayed so that the people would be humbled. Pastor James mentioned that “Elijah prayed a little step on a long journey to bring God’s Kingdom purpose.”

We get caught up in our lives and forget this is a long journey in God’s Kingdom. We have just a small part while we are here for this short amount of time. But God has the long range view. We get messed up with this short life with all the complications, thorns in our side and our panties in a twist. It’s hard not to. But if our hearts are lined with God’s; we would pray like Elijah and ask for God’s Kingdom purpose to be fulfilled in our time. We could be instruments that God uses that would change kingdoms and nations just like Elijah.

I am currently reading Beth Moore’s Audacious. There is a chapter titled “You would ask me.” In this chapter, Beth writes about Jesus’ encounter at the well with the Samaritan woman (John 4:4-54). Beth points out this small statement in verse ten “If you only knew” (NLT). The next phrase that stands out to Beth is “You would ask me.” If we only knew then we would ask Jesus.” There’s a promise in this passage as well. “I would give you.” If we only knew then we would ask Jesus and He would give it to you.

If we don’t know, then how are we supposed to ask for it? There’s a catch in the belief system. The prayer of a righteous person; He gives us the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4); when we are aligned with God’s heart and know His will. Beth wrote: “The axis of our approach shifts dramatically when we know beyond a doubt that we’re perfectly aligned, asking God for something He is more than anxious to give than we are to receive.” There are some things that God is only going to do through prayer. He would do it if only we would ask.

It all starts with us. Our hearts have to be right. We can have confidence in prayer because of God’s character. He is a good Father and loves His children more than we could ever know or understand. Understand this – God answers, but sometimes it may take a while before the answer comes. Pastor Dhariaus Daniels recently pointed out in a message during Code Orange Revival at Elevation Church that the Israelites cried out to God; God talked to Moses. There was no message back to the people of God. The Israelites continued to cry out and God continued to work on Moses to take the assignment. Sometimes the prayer isn’t being answered immediately because God is working on something or someone behind the scenes. Our call is to persist in prayer until the answer is received or we get an assurance from God that He has heard and the answer is coming. The prayer of the righteous is heard and in God’s time and in God’s way; it will be done. Have confidence in God’s character and His love.

If you only knew + you would ask Me = I would give you. This is the formula for fervent prayer that will change things. Pastor James pointed out in his recent message: “Great prayers come from people like us who choose to pursue God in fervent prayer.”

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8 (NLT)

Source: Elizabeth Moore, Audacious (Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing, 2015) pages 124-129.
James MacDonald, Harvest Bible Chapel, message series Breakthrough Prayer.


Six Years and Counting

What a difference six years can make. Today is the anniversary of my Mom’s move into her heavenly home. It was extremely heartbreaking to see her depart from this earthly existence. I was by her side as she took her last breath. I remember the moment all too well. I don’t know if that feeling will ever go away. The feeling of loss created a hole in my heart. The hole that I experienced on that day seems to have closed a bit more this year. The heartache is not as acute. I still miss her presence. I still miss her touch. But the pain has lessened with each passing year.

Years ago, I asked for eyes to see. I wanted spiritual insight. I believe God has opened my eyes in certain areas. But in some things I am still blind. Each year that passes though, I believe I am growing. The last four years have been significant in my growth. God put me in a place where I learned more about Him. I am still learning to trust Him in different areas of my life. He has made circumstances to see greater growth. I want to see change happening. I want to be different than I was the last year. Mom once told me I lacked compassion. It was hard to hear, but true nonetheless. God allows certain trials for our growth. I was reading in my “Streams in the Desert” devotional last night which said about trials: “The grandest character is grown in hardship.” Also written in the devotional was this: “Stand up in the place where the dear Lord has put you, and there do your best.”

Pastor James MacDonald spoke this past weekend about problems we face. We have two options concerning our problems. Rationalization or reflection. Rationalization offers excuses. Reflection offers growth. Reflection gives us insight to our problem. Is the problem sin related? What’s my responsibility for the problem? Repent of any actions that have led to the problem. And handle any restitution for wrongdoing. In my past, I could say I easily offer rationalization for any problems I faced. It wasn’t my fault. But upon reflection of my past, I can easily say, most of my problems were my own fault based on my own weaknesses which led to wrong decisions.

Beth Moore’s teaching on “The God who sees” tells us from the story of Hagar found in Genesis 16 how God poses questions in order to reveal our hearts. God asked Hagar “Where did you come from and where are you going?” (Found in verse 8.) Beth says we are caught in the middle of those two questions in the right now moment. God has a strategy in the right now. He has revelation in the right now. But it takes reflection to come to the right understanding of what God is doing in the trial. Hagar was sent back to the place where she once was. But she didn’t go back the same. She had a new revelation of God as the God who sees.

Elijah had a moment when God questioned him after he ran away from the evil Queen Jezebel. Two times God asked Elijah “What are you doing here?” (1 Kings 19:9,13) Elijah offered a rationalization for staying in a cave. But God had a better option. Elijah had a task to do to move the Kingdom forward. We’re all called to tasks to move the Kingdom forward. It’s a matter of reflection of where we are right now. What is God showing us in this right now? It takes time to reflect and be aware of what God is up to in each of our lives. We can’t live in the past. We can’t live in the future. We can plan based on what we know right now. But we always have to defer to God’s plan and His future. It’s God’s story and we’re called to be a part of it. Loss comes, but there is always a brighter hope and a brighter future. Stand up in the right now and see God work through those tough times. He’s into building character!

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. James 1:2-4 (NLT)

Expectantly Waiting

A few months ago, I thought a flower bed had not survived the cold winter. I was encouraged the other day when I began to clean up my yard and noticed what I thought was dead was in fact a new beginning. When I looked closer at my flower bed, it was only dormant. The green was just beginning to peak through at the bottom of the plant. I thought I was going to have to start over. The plant was just waiting for the sun to shine and the temperature to increase. Growth happens after a dormant period. When everything is still and the plant is hunkered down for the long winter months, the growth is waiting on the right circumstances to pop out and become the beautiful landscape that it was designed to be.

My pastor had spoken the previous Sunday on Elijah. I was greatly encouraged by his message that God had inspired him to preach. I had been feeling a little down about my circumstances. The pastor spoke of the time when Elijah was just starting on the road to becoming the great prophet. Elijah had just spoken to Ahab, the King of Israel, about a drought that God was going to send upon the land. Once the word was given, God told Elijah to go to the Kerith Ravine. Elijah went underground (so to speak). While Elijah was waiting, God told him that the brook would be there for water and the ravens would feed him. Elijah waited for a long time. Scripture doesn’t give exact details except “some time later” the brook dried up. We know the drought was supposed to happen for three years. How long it took for the brook to dry up, I don’t know for sure.

I imagine the brook was like the stream that ran at the back of my parent’s property when they lived in the mountains. It didn’t carry much water most of the time except after a heavy rain. When I envision brook at Kerith, I think it was enough to meet Elijah’s need for that time. While Elijah waited, I wonder if he ever got discouraged. I mean really. Waiting by a small brook, having birds feed him day in and day out. No contact with others. Just him, the birds and the stream. It had to have been lonely, right? My pastor said this was the time of Elijah’s preparation. God had some work to do in Elijah before God could use him. Scripture is silent about Elijah’s conversations with God during those times. Being human, he had to have been having some conversations, don’t you think? When God when? Why God why? How God how? Elijah had to learn trust. Elijah had to learn patience. Yuck.

God had given me an opportunity to leave my job three years ago. My brook has been running for the last three years. I have had everything I have needed for that time. I left my job with the expectation that something else was right around the corner. That’s not what happened though. I have been in the midst of conversations with God for the last few weeks. I was reminded this is my season of preparation – this is the season of winter when I am still and wait for God’s timing. I was reminded when the brook dries up there was another provision for Elijah. As I wait, I am encouraged that new growth happens when everything looks dead on the outside, but the inside is transforming. It was the right message for the right time. Thank you Jesus for the reminder, you always have a plan even when it looks like nothing is happening.

I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalms 27:13-14

Greater Things

I have heard two messages in the last week that tie in with this season of my life. God has placed a new theme over the last few years called “greater things.” He is calling me to greater things. The sermon I heard first was from Steven Furtick at Elevation Church. The scripture was 1 Kings 19:19-21. In this scripture we see Elijah placing his cloak on Elisha – Elijah is passing the mantle. Elisha took up the cloak and followed Elijah. Elisha went on to do greater things than Elijah. But Elisha first had to burn his plow. He had to get rid of the thing that would tempt him to go back. He was called to a higher purpose than plowing fields. Everything changes when the mantel is passed to us.

Then the next message was from Beth Moore from her simulcast on Saturday (September 15). Her message began with “the Lord speaks; many, many women spread the good news!” Psalm 68:11 (NET) The story continues with Elisha and two women (found in 2 Kings 4:1-33). One woman had almost nothing, and the other had almost everything. Both needed a miracle. The one with nothing knew she needed a miracle. The other thought she had everything and didn’t need a miracle. Girl A had nothing but a little oil. All she needed was more jars. With more jars, she received a blessing of a personal testimony for God’s unending supply to fulfill needs. Girl Z had about everything but lacked a son. She didn’t want to be disappointed again and decided “doing fine” was good enough. We are not called to a “fine” life but a faith life. If we have everything we need, then we are not living a big enough life. We have taken faith out of faithfulness. We have given ourselves over to fear instead of faith. (From my notes from Beth)

The mantle has been passed. There’s nothing to go back to. God has called each of us to tell, and it’s my turn to tell my story. Time is getting short. This is the season for being prepared to offer people the hope of which God gives in abundance. God has an unending supply of everything needed for an abundant life. The only thing that will keep the oil (the Spirit of Truth) from flowing is a closed jar (mouth).

Let this jar of clay shine the brightest light through all the cracks so that others may be drawn to the Light.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Corinthians 4:7

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