…in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, until the destroying storms pass by. Psalm 57 I know for myself, sometimes 40 days can feel like 40 years. I believe the body can not be sustained without first sustaining the spirit. This is achieved most effectively when first and foremost our graciousness for the opportunities of each day is presented before God. Each day given is an opportunity to choose God’s will and accept the wisdom of his grace. Then on the days when every possible storm passes by our first response will be to take refuge in the strength of God’s word as we wait it out. For God’s wisdom will surely be the reward.
‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:1-11
How long will you go limping with two different opinions? 1Kings 18:20-40 Other translations use falter or waver but neither provides the imagery like the word limping. The word is used again when the author describes the prophets of Baal limping around the altar as they call out his name. The people of Israel wanted to have it both ways; a kind of “eat my cake and have it too” theology. God wasn’t having it. Everyday, we have to wholeheartedly make up our minds as to who we will serve, lest we find our selves limping; lacking in strength, structure and without recourse, working harder than we really have to.
Happy are they who trust in the Lord, they do not resort to evil spirits or turn to false gods. Psalm 40
“As the Lord of hosts lives,… I will surely show myself to him (King Ahab) today. 1Kings 18:1-19 After three years, upon Elijah’a return from Zarepath, he meets Obadiah. When asked to go back to the king with the message that Elijah has returned, Obadiah, wants nothing to do with it for fear of his own life. Elijah assures him that this day was not about Obadiah’s life, he would have to trust God and deliver the message. Fear hinders courage in the best of us. Yet, walking in Christ isn’t about walking in courage. In spite of our fears, it’s about walking in faith of the knowledge of a God that keeps promises. For the God that is at work in Elijah is the same God at work in us (Philippians 2:12-30).
You have come to me to bring my sin to remembrance… 1 Kings 17:1-24 The widow had done everything the man of God (Elijah) asked her to do. For this her son dies? What at first thought to be a blessing (the presence of God), now appears to be lost hope. As a widow, the son represents life. Her hope being that in his maturity, he would care for her in her old age. Certainly now her obedience would not be diminished! Like so many things in life what happened to the widow happens to all of us. We blame our selves for situations beyond our control. Yet, the challenge put before God I believe can only come from our confidence in knowing who God is. Elijah knew what to do. Perhaps in part, the reason God sent him there; specifically to the widow in the first place. God has no desire to conjure up past sins but rather to redeem and reconcile those who in obedience, call upon his name. As surely as he restored the life of the widow through the life of the son, we too shall be restored.
Remember your word to your servant; because you have given me hope. This is my comfort in trouble, that your promise gives me life Psalm 119:49-72
Eternal God in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, no strength known but the strength of love; So mightily spread abroad your Spirit, that all peoples may be gathered under you banner of peace. Lord in your mercy; hear our prayer.
…go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee. Mark 16:1-8 (9-20) Peter is specifically singled out. Scripture does not say for certain, but is it possible that if the women at the tomb and the disciples were witness to Peter’s denial of Christ, or even heard of it by hearsay, they’d already judged him a betrayer? Whatever the climate, it seems clear that Jesus intended to see Peter in Galilee along with the other disciples; not by himself, not secretly. Peter was already forgiven before Christ died on that cross never discounting, nor disqualifying Peter’s place among the disciples. Told in all four gospels, Peter’s denial sticks out in the scripture even today. Yet what also sticks out is that perhaps in his repentance, at least temporarily, Peter may have abandoned himself as a disciple, but Christ never once abandoned Peter, and – in spite of our own fears, neither will God abandon us.
…the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion… Philippians 1:11 Perhaps you can recall the day you first accepted the knowledge, life, death and resurrection of Christ as your salvation. Perhaps as well you recall the joy of having confessed shortcomings and now have the presence of the remembrance of Christ to help guide you through this journey. Perhaps you even recall the first time you mustered up the courage to share this experience with someone else. You’ve walked with high hopes, high expectations and no doubt “high” returns. You’ve considered the poor and needy and humbled yourself so as to understand that you also stand among them. Yet, even as no one else sees or understands, know that God sees and understands. He is merciful and well pleased. As the good work which God began in us guides us to one day see him face to face, we will also hear him say well done.
They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha Mark 15:22-32 Ever been there? It’s a place where there is no “life” and the life you do encounter, passes by to mock, scorn and abuse. It’s been my experience that from a physical point of view this is a tough place to be. Everything seems to get worse before it gets better. If you remain too long you begin to feel like those dried bones for which the place Golgotha is named. We don’t always have the choice not to be there. However, it’s times like these when we must remember to put aside where we are and continue to rejoice in who we are. We live in the spirit of Christ. We find our strength in God’s faithfulness and knowledge of him. For although physically, places like these are everywhere, spiritually in Christ we rise, move and have our being.
Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord Psalm 31:24
Put your trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and feed on its riches. Psalm 37:1-18 Look around. Has not the earth provided? Was it not freely given; from the smallest of molecules to the tallest of plant-life and the largest of formations? God has placed us here and we’ve not disappointed in our ability to use such a gift to create and delight in the tools we use for our own pleasures. Yet there is one delight we often forget; our delight in the giver’s gift of the spirit within. Let not the spirit within be persuaded by the tools of pleasures made from our own hands. We must delight our selves in the one who was first to give the gift of the spirit that dwells within us and yearns jealously to be reconciled with that gift (James 4:5). All other delights wither like the grass and fade away.