This Experience Must Come

walk through woods

Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha…saw him no more. —2 Kings 2:11-12

It is not wrong for you to depend on your “Elijah” for as long as God gives him to you. But remember that the time will come when he must leave and will no longer be your guide and your leader, because God does not intend for him to stay. Even the thought of that causes you to say, “I cannot continue without my ‘Elijah.’ ” Yet God says you must continue.

Alone at Your “Jordan” (2 Kings 2:14). The Jordan River represents the type of separation where you have no fellowship with anyone else, and where no one else can take your responsibility from you. You now have to put to the test what you learned when you were with your “Elijah.” You have been to the Jordan over and over again with Elijah, but now you are facing it alone. There is no use in saying that you cannot go— the experience is here, and you must go. If you truly want to know whether or not God is the God your faith believes Him to be, then go through your “Jordan” alone.

Alone at Your “Jericho” (2 Kings 2:15). Jericho represents the place where you have seen your “Elijah” do great things. Yet when you come alone to your “Jericho,” you have a strong reluctance to take the initiative and trust in God, wanting, instead, for someone else to take it for you. But if you remain true to what you learned while with your “Elijah,” you will receive a sign, as Elisha did, that God is with you.

Alone at Your “Bethel” (2 Kings 2:23). At your “Bethel” you will find yourself at your wits’ end but at the beginning of God’s wisdom. When you come to your wits’ end and feel inclined to panic— don’t! Stand true to God and He will bring out His truth in a way that will make your life an expression of worship. Put into practice what you learned while with your “Elijah”— use his mantle and pray (see 2 Kings 2:13-14). Make a determination to trust in God, and do not even look for Elijah anymore.

The emphasis to-day is placed on the furtherance of an organization; the note is, “We must keep this thing going.” If we are in God’s order the thing will go; if we are not in His order, it won’t. Conformed to His Image, 357 R

Oswald Chambers

Self-Inflicted Adversity

Psalms 119:65-72

The difficulties we face originate from one of three sources. Some are sent to us by the Lord to test our faith, others are the result of Satan’s attacks, and still others are due to our own sinful choices.

As you consider these three causes, which type is the hardest for you to bear? I think most of us would say the last one, because we have nobody to blame but ourselves and it seems as if no good can possibly come from it. After all, the Word of God says we will reap what we have sown (Galatians 6:7), so we see nothing ahead except a painful harvest.

What this kind of thinking fails to take into account is the Lord’s redemptive abilities. Although He never promises to remove all the consequences of sin, He can use our failures to teach us to fear Him, hate evil, and walk in obedience. The difficult lessons we learn can also become our protection from sin in the future. Having suffered the pain of going our own way, we’re more likely not to take that path again.

God often uses our own mistakes as tools to get our attention. He won’t let His beloved children get away with sin, because He knows it robs us of blessings, opportunities, and even character refinement.

As painful as your situation may be, thank your heavenly Father for caring enough to send out His loving discipline. Now it’s up to you. How will you respond to His correction? When we learn from experience, the scars of sin can lead us to restoration and a renewed intimacy with God.

Understanding Ownership

“The earth is the LORD’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.” (Psalm 24:1)

The doctrine of creation is not merely a “scientific” debate. The opposite concepts of natural and evolutionary development versus the fiat creation of an omnipotent, omniscient, and transcendent Being impact every facet of our worldview. God owns the earth; He is its Creator (Genesis 1:1; Psalm 24:1-2; Revelation 4:11; and hundreds of other passages throughout the Bible).

Christians who revere the biblical revelation of God are not to be in conflict with this most basic of all doctrines. God owns the living creatures that inhabit the earth (Psalm 50:10). He owns the metals that establish monetary value in the earth (Haggai 2:8). He claims ownership over our bodies (1 Corinthians 6:19). He even states ownership of our very souls (Ezekiel 18:4). Nothing is excluded from the sphere of His ownership and kingship (1 Chronicles 29:11-12; Isaiah 45:12; Colossians 1:16-17). And we are to manage God’s resources as stewards of the Owner.

Lucifer’s error was that he thought he could become like the Owner, usurping all the rights and privileges of the Creator (Isaiah 14:12-14). Israel’s error was similar; they behaved as if their possessions were their own property (Malachi 3:8-10). The prodigal son claimed for himself the right of ownership and treated the money as if it were his own (Luke 15:12-14). The unfaithful steward made no effort to be productive (Matthew 25:24).

We have been delegated authority over the creation itself (Genesis 1:28), are required to be faithful with the “mysteries of God” (1 Corinthians 4:1-2), and are expected to administer “the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10). May God preserve us from self-serving stewardship. HMM III

Times of Extraordinary Crisis

Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest —Matthew 9:37-38

Let a flood or a fire hit a populous countryside and no able-bodied citizen feels that he has any right to rest till he has done all he can to save as many as he can. While death stalks farmhouse and village no one dares relax; this is the accepted code by which we live. The critical emergency for some becomes an emergency for all, from the highest government official to the local Boy Scout troop. As long as the flood rages or the fire roars on, no one talks of “normal times.” No times are normal while helpless people cower in the path of destruction.

In times of extraordinary crisis ordinary measures will not suffice. The world lives in such a time of crisis. Christians alone are in a position to rescue the perishing. We dare not settle down to try to live as if things were “normal.” Nothing is normal while sin and lust and death roam the world, pouncing upon one and another till the whole population has been destroyed.

Lord, help me to respond like Isaiah when he saw the extraordinary crisis around him, “Lord… here am I; send me” (Isaiah 6:8). Amen.

Bold Men Needed in the Warfare of the Soul

..Neither count I my life dear to myself… that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. Acts 20:24

The Church at this moment needs men, the right kind of men, bold men. The talk is that we need revival, that we need a new baptism of the Spirit—and God knows we must have both; but God will not revive mice. He will not fill rabbits with the Holy Ghost!

We languish for men who feel themselves expendable in the warfare of the soul, who cannot be frightened by threats of death because they have already died to the allurements of this world. Such men will be free from the compulsions that control and squeeze weaker men.

This kind of freedom is necessary if we are to have prophets in our pulpits again instead of mascots. These free men will serve God and mankind from motives too high to be understood by the rank and file of religious entertainers who today shuttle in and out of the sanctuary.

They will make no decisions out of fear, take no course out of a desire to please, accept no service for financial considerations, perform no religious act out of mere custom; nor will they allow themselves to be influenced by the love of publicity or the desire for reputation.

The true Church has never sounded out public expectations before launching her crusades. Her leaders heard from God, they knew their Lord’s will and did it. Their people followed them—sometimes to triumph, oftener to insults and public persecution—and their sufficient reward was the satisfaction of being right in a wrong world!

Spiritual Suffocation

Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. ROMANS 5:20

How can I illustrate man’s proneness to spiritual suffocation?

I have read that mining companies used to take live caged birds deep into the mines to detect the presence of dangerous gases. If there was a high concentration of poison, the bird would quickly fall down and die in the bottom of the cage.

I consider a bird a miracle created by God—a wonder with wings, created to soar over green meadows and breathe the sweet air of the heavens. But take him underground where there is black damp and pollution and he quickly dies of suffocation!

You can apply that also to the soul of man!

God created man a living soul and intended him to rise and mount up into the eternities and live with God. There is in each of us a longing after immortality. But sin has ruined us. We have listened to that serpent, the devil. We have gone down into the isolated, dark, poison-infested pockets of the world, and lost men are dying everywhere of spiritual suffocation!

Lord, the Bible says that you have “crowned [man] with glory and honour” (Psalm 8:5). Yet so often we don’t act like we deserve that status. We are self-centered and fickle. Lord, cause a revival by Your Spirit and enable us to “soar” as You intended.