Watch it till the end…God bless
Watch it till the end…God bless
And it happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land. 1 Kings 17:7
Late one evening, businessman Allan Emery checked into a hotel after a long, delayed flight, and he was discouraged. He expected to lose his best customer the next day. Preparing for bed, Emery opened his Bible and said, “Lord, if You have something to say to me, some encouragement, let me have it now.” He turned to the story of Elijah in 1 Kings 17 and read about how Elijah’s brook dried up. But the Lord had another mission for Elijah, and he was soon in Zarephath, witnessing another miracle that kept a family alive—a bin of flour that was never used up and a jar of oil that never ran dry. When the brook ran dry, the jar of oil started flowing.
God never leaves us stranded, forsaken, or abandoned. If the brook dries up, it’s because He has a jar of oil waiting for us. When a disappointment strikes us, we must trust Him for the next move. When a dream crashes around us, look for God’s direction and a new challenge.
There is always a next step with God; and there are always new blessings—grace upon grace—to claim from His guiding hand.
In the twenty years since that night I have had numerous “dried up brooks,” but my attitude toward them has been one of expectancy, for I know God is faithful to me just as He was to Elijah. Allan Emery
When we are troubled or in pain, we turn to people who will listen patiently to our cries of distress. But I wonder how often we seek to be the person who steps up to share a hurting friend’s burden.
In today’s reading, the apostle Paul encouraged believers to put on a heart of compassion, kindness, and patience. In other words, we don’t come from the womb pre-equipped with these traits. Rather, we receive on-the-job training in imitating Jesus Christ as we bear with and forgive one another. The Holy Spirit is more than willing to instruct us in the proper ways to grow spiritual fruit. The heavenly Father then provides opportunities for us to try out our newly developed skills.
We tend to classify patience rather narrowly as “waiting.” That’s certainly part of the definition, but so are concepts like endurance, perseverance, and persistence. When we’re relating to others as Paul challenged us to do, we are not simply waiting for them to become better versions of themselves. We are enduring their hardship alongside them or persisting in our attempts to offer aid. We’re caring, listening, and serving however we can. In a world that insists on doing everything quickly, patience is an amazing gift to give another person.
By placing patience on the list of spiritual fruit (Gal. 5:22-23), God indicated that every believer could develop this trait. Whatever additional gifts and talents you possess, patience is an attribute that you can put on. Practice it for the glory of God and as a way to serve your fellow man.
“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12)
There is a great contrast between now and then. We see only dimly now, but at least we see! We only know partially, but we do know! What we shall see and know in the future is already ours, but only in hope and promise. “For what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?” (Romans 8:24).
The Christian life knows many such paradoxes. We now “are the sons of God,” and yet we are “waiting for the adoption” (vv. 14, 23). Us “he also glorified,” but still “we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (vv. 30, 17). Right now in Christ, “we have redemption through his blood,” but the Holy Spirit is “the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession” (Ephesians 1:7, 14). We only have “the firstfruits of the Spirit” while we are awaiting “the redemption of our body” (Romans 8:23), but by “the Holy Spirit of God” we “are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30), and therefore we already possess “redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:14). Similarly, the Father already “hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (v. 13), but “we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).
Salvation has past, present, and future dimensions in all its aspects. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life” (John 3:36) as a present possession on the basis of a transaction already accomplished; yet still we must be encouraged to “lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called” (1 Timothy 6:12). We know our Savior by faith, but the day will come when we truly know Him as He knows us! HMM
1 Samuel 16:1
It was both natural and right that the prophet should lament Saul’s sin, but he must not repine at the Lord’s punishment of him, but rather bestir himself to be God’s messenger to the better king who would one day prove a great blessing to Israel. We must lament that any should so sin as to incur God’s anger, but at his judgments upon them we must not rebel, for the Judge of all the earth must do right. When the wicked are cast into hell, the saints in heaven do not murmur out of pity to the offenders; but, in obedient sympathy with the most Holy God, they adore with reverential awe.
1 Samuel 16:4-6
Even prophets err when they judge by appearances. Men are not to be valued by their looks but by their hearts.
1 Samuel 16:11
He who was retiring and pious was but little esteemed at home. Parents make great mistakes when they undervalue good children because they do not happen to be brilliant and pushing. Despised ones should be comforted when they remember that the Lord knows all about them, and will bring them forward in due time. Verily, there are last who shall be first.
1 Samuel 16:13
The horn of oil indicated plenteous grace. We all need the power of the Holy Spirit; may he dwell in us richly, then shall we be kings and priests unto God.
1 Samuel 16:14
We have seen what divine love did for David, and we now learn what divine anger did for Saul. The one thing most needful above all others, is the favour of the Lord. Have that, and we are blessed; be without it, and we are miserable.
1 Samuel 16:23
Saul was probably a monomaniac through remorse of conscience, and needed music to relieve his mind. How much happier was the shepherd youth who had music in his heart and was filled with the good Spirit. God grant that we may live in the fear of God, and so enjoy abiding peace, for even in this life sinful conduct is the root of countless ills.
But few among the carnal wise,
But few of nobler race,
Obtain the favour of thine eyes,
Almighty King of Grace.
Nature has all her glories lost,
When brought before thy throne;
No flesh shall in thy presence boast,
But in the Lord alone.
2 Timothy 1:11, 12
What triggers demonic attacks against you, your dream, your vision, your calling, your business, your family, your church, or your ministry? What makes the devil so upset that he rises up to resist you and your efforts? If God chose you, why are you experiencing so many hassles and difficulties along the way to your goal of fulfilling all He has called you to do?
In Second Timothy 1:11 and 12, Paul gives us incredible insight into what triggers a demonic attack. He says, “Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For the which cause I also suffer these things….” In this verse, Paul writes about his specific calling in the Body of Christ. He affirms to us that he is called and appointed to be a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. Then notice that he immediately follows by saying, “For the which cause I also suffer these things…” (2 Timothy 1:12).
The word “suffer” is the Greek word pascho, and first and foremost it means to suffer as a result of outside forces or outside circumstances. It could include physical suffering due to persecution; mental suffering due to outside pressures; financial suffering due to monetary hardships; or any inconvenience that stems from something outside of oneself or outside of one’s control. Thus, the word pascho would depict any suffering or inconvenience due to forces beyond oneself.
When Paul wrote this verse, he used a tense in the Greek that lets us know he was experiencing these inconveniences at the very moment he was writing this epistle. At that time, Paul was in Rome, sitting in a prison cell, awaiting his own execution, and being accused of crimes that he had not committed. Because Satan couldn’t find a way to personally destroy Paul, the enemy was manipulating outside forces against Paul and his ministry. The apostle’s situation had been created by outside pressures that had nothing to do with himself but that the devil had orchestrated to use against him.
Satan was terrified of Paul’s calling! The reason Paul was recurrently attacked is that the devil was fearful of the enormous progress Paul would make if he didn’t face opposition. Paul let us know that his anointing, his calling, and his potential were the factors that triggered these demonic attacks. It’s almost as though Paul was saying, “Do you want to know why I’ve suffered so many crazy things during the course of my ministry? Because I am appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.”
You see, Satan was scared stiff of what would happen if Paul operated 100 percent in his call. How much would he be able to accomplish if he had no resistance? If Paul was able to do the incredible things he did for God’s Kingdom in the face of such opposition, what kind of Gospel advancements would he make if there was no opposition? This thought was so chilling to the devil that he threw every possible obstacle in Paul’s path to slow him down, to discredit him, to destroy his friendships, and, if possible, to even kill him. Satan hated the call on Paul’s life.
The reason Paul was never defeated by these attacks is that he had made a decision. He decided he would not stop or give up until he had apprehended that for which Christ Jesus had apprehended him (Philippians 3:12). Likewise, the only way you’ll be able to resist the devil’s attacks and successfully achieve all God has called you to do is by determining never to stop until you have accomplished your divine assignment. Jesus taught that those who “endure to the end” are the ones who will receive the prize (Matthew 24:13).
If you want to overcome all the attacks the devil tries to wage against you through outside forces, you will have to be determined to outlast every attack! Determination is a key factor in finishing one’s race of faith.
Of course, no one can successfully resist the devil’s attacks without the power of the Holy Spirit, but neither is the power of the Holy Spirit enough by itself. For that power to be effective, it must work in a committed person. God’s power works in people who have resolve. It works proficiently through people who have decided they will never turn back until the assignment is finished. God delights in using people who are steadfast and unmoving in their conviction, tenacious and diehard in their commitment. He takes pleasure in those who have stamina, spunk, and a dogged determination to hold on to the vision He put in their hearts.
The most common reason people don’t make it all the way to the end is that they weren’t totally committed to completing the task assigned to them. Maybe they tried it or gave it a shot, but their commitment wasn’t strong enough, and that’s why they didn’t make it.
There are many things Satan can do to try to elbow us out of the race, but the only one who can decide to quit is you or me. Satan can’t make us quit. That choice lies in our hands alone.
If you make the decision to stay in faith and “slug it out” with the power of God at your side, you can do exactly what God called you to do. But you must begin with a rock-solid, hard-core decision to do it, do it, and keep doing it until it’s done. Make any lesser choice, and you will never fulfill your God-given purpose.
Lord, help me stay focused on my calling and remain determined to do what You’ve told me to do, even if I am assaulted by outside forces that seem to be beyond my control. I know the devil hopes to slow me down or even to stop me by orchestrating outside pressures to come against me. But I also know that Your Spirit works mightily in me, giving me all the power I need to resist every assault the devil tries to bring against me. Help me to be completely determined and committed to keep pushing ahead and to never let go until I’ve accomplished my God-given mission!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
I boldly confess that I will not stop or give up until I have apprehended that for which Christ Jesus apprehended me! I will resist the devil’s attacks and successfully achieve all God has called me to do, for I have determined that I will never stop until I have finished the task. I have the stamina, spunk, and doggedness it takes to get the job done. I have made the decision to stay in faith and slug it out with the power of God at my side. I can and will do exactly what God called me to do!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
As a serious follower of Christ, here are five questions you may want to ask yourself:
1. Have I forsaken that which is dearest to me to follow Him — regardless of the cost?
“Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:33b)
2. Do my priorities, intentions, and inner attitudes reflect a settled resolve to become like Jesus?
“All the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant – dog dung. I‘ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by Him.” (Philippians 3:7, 8 – The Message)
3. Am I choosing to forfeit things normally sought out by the masses in order to follow Him?
“What is highly valued among men is detestable in God‘s sight… [Therefore,] enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Luke 16:15b, Matthew 7:13, 14))
4. Am I systematically and progressively rearranging my affairs to get His training? To become His pupil?
“Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately… as wise (sensible, intelligent people)… Do not be vague and thoughtless and foolish, but understanding and firmly grasping what the will of the Lord is.” (Ephesians 5:15, 17 – Amplified)
5. Is my manner of life, as a determined follower of Christ, obvious to the thoughtful people around me? Is it obvious to me?
“This should be your ambition: to live a quiet life, minding your own business and doing your own work, just as we told you before. As a result, people who are not Christians will trust and respect you… ” (1 Thessalonians 4:11, 12a – Living)
Conclusion: “The cross-shaped yoke of Christ is… an instrument of liberation and power to those who live in it with Him and learn the meekness and lowliness of heart that brings rest to the soul… [It is] the fulfillment of the highest human possibilities and is life on the highest plane.”