Monday, 27 September 2010

Praise God for the traffic lights!

I had set out in plenty of time to get to church tonight but there seemed to be a lot of obstructions on the journey; cars pulling out in front of me, people crossing the road, traffic lights changing to red as I neared them; and I felt sure I was going to be late. As I drove I was suddenly reminded of the Christian walk.
I may have set out along that narrow path in plenty of time, heading in the right direction and happily moving forward hoping to make my destination in plenty of time.
Suddenly an obstruction - no, not a car pulling out in front of me but a sudden block on my prayer life.
I've been so busy recently that I've not spent the time in prayer that I should have done. Oh I've said hello to the Lord as I've made the short journey to work but have I really spent time with him, getting to know not just what he wants me to do for him but giving to him some of my anxieties and the little niggles of the day. I know he's just waiting for me to spend some extra time with him but all too soon I'm tired and it's time for bed, I read a few verses of scripture then fall asleep.
Has this ever happened to you?
Phil 4:6 says Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
Prayer is our lifeline and we need to come daily before the throne of grace not letting anything obstruct our way.

I really could do with spending some extra time in the word this week, I'm speaking in church on Sunday and could do with the time to prepare but people and places seem to be obstructing me and so far I've had something to do everyday and so haven't spent time reading scripture, hearing what the Lord is saying to me.
Has this ever happended to you?
2 Tim 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness ..
I need to be spending more time reading God's word in order for him to instruct me.

My prayer time has suffered this week, spending time in the word has suffered this week, that narrow path is suddenly becoming a little bit wider and the traffic lights are now on red obstructing me, telling me to stop. To stop trying to fit more into my week than I can possibly do.
Has this happened to you?
But I say Praise God for the traffic lights. Instead of finding that my week is full of obstructions, as I stop and begin to think about all that is obstructing me I'm reminded that I need to seek the Lord. I need to tell him I'm sorry for trying to cram so much into my week that I am leaving him out of it.
The lights are on now on amber and I am getting ready to walk a closer week with Jesus.
The lights turn to green and I'm off again, but this time keeping to that narrow path. Any obstructions that come my way I will hand over to my Lord. Instead of rushing ahead of him into the week and not giving enough time for him in prayer and studying the word I will say as the psalmist said Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path (Psalm 119:105).

If this has happened to you then I would say, Praise God for the traffic lights. Stop and just simply spend time in the presence of Jesus.
Psalm 16:11 says Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Step over to the KJV

They've some good reading so step on over to the KJV blog, give it a try.
You can also find me over there on Thursday 23rd. I'd be happy if you dropped by and maybe left a comment, it would be nice to know who's reading. Have a blessed week.

Monday, 20 September 2010

You're Not Alone

You may have read this if you get to visit the KJV blog but for those of you who don't I pray you will be encouraged.

1 Kings 19:9-12 And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah? And he said I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left: and they seek my life to take it away.
And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake; And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice....
After reading this verse it got me thinking about Elijah and how he appeared to be on his own. In these last days, contending for the faith will most probably get tougher and we may even find ourselves in situations where even fellowship becomes difficult, but our God never changes and in Heb 13:6 says "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee".
Elijah had had a difficult time. He'd had to flee to Mount Horeb, going through the wilderness, to escape Jezebel who was out for revenge and wanted to kill him. Elijah had killed the false prophets and Jezebel was not a happy woman. King Ahad had married Jezebel and went to serve Baal, but God had raised up Elijah at this time and he was sent to warn Ahab of God's judgement. Ahab, however, took no notice and continued the idol worship, disobeying God and bringing evil on his nation. Elijah was told to tell Ahab that there would be no rain for several years and sure enough, because it was God's word, drought came.
Throughout this time of dryness God was still faithful and worked miracles. He told Elijah to hide by the brook Cherith and that he would get water from the brook and ravens would being him food.
When the brook dried up Elijah was sent to Zaraphath where he met a widow. She was gathering sticks and was about to prepare her last meal when Elijah asked for a drink of water and a morsel of bread. It must have been a difficult thing for the widow to do - how would I react if I only had enough food for one more meal - would I have made excuses or just said I didn't have enough to share, I wonder! - but the widow was willing to share her food with Elijah and what a miracle - she was assured that the handful of meal and oil that she had would last until the rain came.
Many times over the years, the Lord has met my need from supplying food and money to pay bills, to opening a cupboard door and reading this account reminded me of just how the Lord continues to provide and meet our every need no matter what it is we are going through.
Paul says in Phil 4:19 "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus and even Heb 4:16 tells us we can come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Our heavenly father knows, even before we ask what things we have need of (Matt 6:8), whether it be food, clothing or maybe just a word of comfort - the Lord knows and will meet the need.
Sometimes it can takes a miracle before a person can see the truth. It may be that Elijah's fame had gone before him and the widow had heard that Ahab thought he'd only brought news of doom and gloom, perhaps she thought Elijah had come to remind her of her sin and to punish her. Even though the small handful of meal continued to feed them, perhaps there was a small doubt in her mind about Elijah - she'd heard the other prophets speak and they never got it right so what made Elijah different?
The widow's son became ill (this was why she thought Elijah had come to punish her). Elijah took the child and stretched himself upon him and cried out to the Lord 3 times and the child revived. Another miracle - the woman knew by this that Elijah was a man of God and the word of the Lord that he spoke was truth.
It had taken a miracle for her to see the truth but this speaks to me of our continual need to call upon the Lord in prayer. Prayer is our lifeline. It may be that we pray for a loved one to be saved and answers don't come immediately, we may pray for guidance and nothing happens or that someone is healed and they don't appear to be. Does this mean we give up and don't bother to cry out to the Lord, or perhaps we even think - 'Oh it's not in God's will' - but or no answer is coming remember 1 Thess 5:17 which says to us "Rejoice evermore, pray without ceasing, In everything give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
God eventually sent Elijah back to King Ahab to tell him it would soon rain. The prophets, together with the people gathered at Mount Carmel. The people were challenged as to who they would follow, Baal or the true LORD. An alter was set up, a bull was placed upon it and the false prophets went to work calling on their gods to answer. Can you imagine the commotion - they shouted and danced all day - they cut themselves until their blood flowed but by the time of the evening sacrifice there was still no answer. All of their antics did them no good, the LORD had not spoken to them. Elijah told the people to come nearer - he repaired the alter that had been torn down, took 12 stones to represent Israel, piled on the wood, and cut the bull into pieces ready for sacrifice. Well, I think the people must have then thought Elijah had gone mad - he asked for 12 barrels full of water - not just 1 - 12 barrels, to be poured over the sacrifice and over the wood, and it even trickled over to fill the trench around about.
Everything was soaked, but Elijah had done all according to what God had told him, and then - he prayed.
What must it have been like ... fire came down from the Lord and consumed everything on the alter, even the water was dried up and, the people fell on their faces knowing this was the true God and they turned back to him.
How close we must stay to the Lord because how easy it can be to turn away from the him, but we have a faithful God, he gives us the opportunity to turn back to him and start afresh.

Elijah then told the people to seize the false prophets and kill them (Deut 18:10) Elijah's prayer was answered - the rain came. Ahab told Jezebel what had happened and she sought revenge by wanting Elijah killed, which was why he fled into the wilderness and on to Mount Horeb. Elijah must have stood in the entrance to the cave tired, discouraged and possibly feeling sorry for himself. He thought he was the only one left that was true to the Lord and during this moment when he was possibly at his lowest ebb, the word of the Lord came to him - a strong wind that broke even the rocks to pieces passed by but the Lord wasn't in that - he wasn't in the earthquake either nor the fire that came after but He was in the still small voice - the quiet after the storm. Elijah wasn't alone, God hadn't forsaken him.
He'd been fed, for the 40 days and 40 nights journey across the wilderness - refreshed and strenthened for that next leg of the journey and now he was being told that the Lord had others, besides him, who were true to the living God.
Never doubt that the Lord is not in control of every situation. If you're feeling you're the only one contending for the faith, if you feel discouraged, tired, read about Elijah's experience for yourself and take heart that you're not alone.
Let the Lord refresh and strengthen you for the next leg of your journey with him. The Lord doesn't just speak to us in a powerful way, or in church services that are hyped up, or in the signs and wonders that we see - but he often comes to us in the stillness, in the quietness of hearts that are humbled and broken before him.
In these last days we really need to be watching and listening and keeping our eyes fixed firmly upon Jesus Christ, our Saviour, the true and living God.
Take a step back from the noise of the TV, the children and family demands on you, the hustle and bustle of busy lives - find that quiet time and as you spend time in His word listen for the still small voice.
As you humble yourself before Him, listen quietly for His guidance as you meditate upon the word."He hath showed thee o man, what is good, and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy and walk humbly with thy God" (Micah 6:8)