VIDEO Underestimating God

I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal. 1 Kings 19:18

After his confrontation with the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel in 1 Kings 18, Elijah fled into the wilderness where he collapsed in exhaustion and discouragement. He told the Lord, “I alone am left.” He thought Ahab and Jezebel had killed off every righteous person in Israel; and Elijah, in despair, asked God to take his life too. Instead the Lord gave him some food and water, made sure he got rest and sleep, provided an assistant, and sent him off on a new assignment. He also told him, in effect, “By the way, Elijah. That statement about being the only one left…. You’re wrong about that. I have 7,000 followers in Israel. You are mistaken by 6,999.”

Whenever we grow discouraged, it can mean we are underestimating God. He has operations going of which we know little. He has plans that don’t depend on our view of things. Sometimes we need some good nourishment, a little sleep, a faithful friend, and a new assignment. Don’t give up. God’s plan is right on schedule.

Should we feel at times disheartened and discouraged, a simple movement of heart toward God will renew our powers. Francois Fenelon


Don’t Underestimate God’s Grace – The Kingsmen

 

Jesus Knows Why

When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching. Matthew 7:28

I have friends who’ve received partial healing but still struggle with painful aspects of their diseases. Other friends have been healed of an addiction but still struggle with feelings of inadequacy and self-loathing. And I wonder, Why doesn’t God heal them completelyonce and for all?

In Mark 8:22–26, we read the story of Jesus healing a man born blind. Jesus first took the man away from the village. Then He spit on the man’s eyes and “put his hands on him.” The man said he now saw people who looked “like trees walking around.” Then Jesus touched the man’s eyes again, and this time he saw “everything clearly.”

In His ministry, Jesus’s words and actions often amazed and baffled the crowd and His followers (Matthew 7:28; Luke 8:10; 11:14) and even drove many of them away (John 6:60–66). No doubt this two-part miracle also caused confusion. Why not immediately heal this man?

We don’t know why. But Jesus knew what the man—and the disciples who viewed his healing—needed in that moment. And He knows what we need today to draw us closer in our relationship with Him. Though we won’t always understand, we can trust that God is working in our lives and the lives of our loved ones. And He will give us the strength, courage, and clarity we need to persevere in following Him.

Dear Lord, thank You for knowing us so well and for providing what we need most. Give us eyes to see You and a heart to understand Your Word.

Open our eyes, Lord, we want to see Jesus. Robert Cull

By Alyson Kieda 

INSIGHT

Although God is able to heal all diseases and injuries, it’s not always His will to do so. God empowered the apostle Paul to heal many (Acts 14:8–10; 19:12), yet he wrote to Timothy about Trophimus whom he left “sick in Miletus” (2 Timothy 4:20). Likewise, Paul advised Timothy to take medicinal wine for his stomach problem and frequent ailments (1 Timothy 5:23). In this case, medicine was recommended instead of divine healing. Second Corinthians makes reference to Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” (12:7), which many scholars believe was some type of physical ailment. Interestingly God didn’t remove it even after Paul’s repeated prayers for deliverance. The Lord’s response was, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (v. 9).

God has His own purposes for granting full healing, partial healing, or withholding healing altogether. In what situation do you need to trust in the sufficient grace of God?

Dennis Fisher

He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands

Daniel 2:20-22

How many of us have listened to the global or national news and wondered, What in the world is going on? Without a firm foundation of biblical truth, we can easily be overcome with fear and despair. Despite the upheaval in political and financial realms, Christians can find peace in the knowledge that our God is sovereign over every nation and ruler on earth.

Though the future of a nation appears to be in the hands of its rulers and lawmakers, an omnipotent hand is orchestrating a good and glorious plan: The Lord is the one who “removes kings and establishes kings” (Dan. 2:21). Ultimately, every governmental leader is put into office, not by voters, political campaigns, or personal abilities, but by the hand of God.

Nothing that the Lord does is carried out in isolation. He’s working all things according to His divine plan. We tend to think that a ruler has to be righteous for God to use Him, but Proverbs 21:1 tells us the Lord can direct the heart of any national leader wherever He wishes. In fact, He describes two pagan kings—Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus—as “My servant” (Jer. 25:9) and “My shepherd” (Isa. 44:28). Unbeknownst to them, God guided their paths to fulfill His purposes for Israel.

When the news threatens to dislodge your peace or cause despair, remember who holds the nations and rulers in His hand. The Lord’s plans for this world are moving along according to His divine purposes, and no unrighteous ruler can thwart Him. Just keep singing, “He’s got the whole world in His hands.”

A Still, Small Voice

“And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.” (1 Kings 19:12)

Elijah was in hiding for his life, even though God had spectacularly answered his prayer with fire from heaven. Jezebel, however, had not been intimidated by Elijah’s victory and swore she would kill him. He fell into such depression that he wanted to die. If Jezebel could not be impressed with fire from heaven, how could Elijah ever hope to defeat her and her armies? Not even an angel could remove his doubts.

But then was sent “a great and strong wind,” and “after the wind an earthquake” (1 Kings 19:11). But the Lord was not in the wind or the earthquake or the fire. God finally reached Elijah with “a still small voice,” and that voice assured him that God was well in control of all circumstances. Similarly, Moses told the children of Israel, as they faced the Red Sea: “Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD” (Exodus 14:13).

It was prophesied of the Lord Jesus that “he shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.” Nevertheless, it was also promised “he shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth” (Isaiah 42:2, 4; see also Matthew 12:19-20).

In our human impatience, we think God should always move immediately in great strength. Unless there are large numbers of converts and displays of power, we grow discouraged, like Elijah. But God more often speaks in a still, small voice and works in a quiet way. “And therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you, . . . And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left” (Isaiah 30:18, 21). HMM

Surely, My kingdom is not of this world

John 18:28-40

We shall now attend our dear Redeemer to the judgment seat of the Roman ruler.

John 18:28

For the passover had not yet been celebrated. Our Lord observed a kind of paschal feast one day before the usual time, but the real passover he kept in a higher manner, being then made to be the Lamb of God, whose blood procures the salvation of the chosen. The Jewish counsellors little knew that they were already far too defiled to have any real fellowship with God’s passover, and were unconsciously slaughtering the true Lamb, whose flesh they were not privileged to eat.

John 18:30

They would hurry Pilate to pronounce sentence without a trial, as if the mere fact of their bringing a charge was quite enough. In what a hurry man is to do despite to his God!

John 18:31-35

Well might he ask this. What, indeed, hadst thou done, O blessed Master, that men should clamour for thy blood?

John 18:36

Thus our Lord wit- nessed a good confession, and showed Pilate that his claims were spiritual, and that he was no rival of Cæsar.

John 18:38

Poor Pilate! he was interested and favourably impressed, and went out to try and clear his prisoner, towards whom he had a mingled feeling of wonder, pity, and awe.

John 18:39

By this he hoped to succeed in delivering Jesus, but vain was the attempt. His enemies meant to put him to death, and would not be turned from their purpose.

John 18:40

Thus having valued the Lord Jesus at the price of a slave, they now prefer a robber to him, and are anxious to see him die a felons death. Well does Herbert put it:—

 

“Pilate, a stranger, holdeth off; but they

Mine own dear people, cry ‘away, away,’

With noise confusèd frightening the day.

Was ever grief like mine?”

 

Rejected and despised of men,

Behold a man of woe!

And grief his close companion still

Through all his life below!

 

Yet all the griefs he felt were ours,

Ours were the woes he bore;

Pangs, not his own, his spotless soul

With bitter anguish tore.

 

We held him as condemn’d of heaven,

An outcast from his God;

While for our sins he groaned, he bled,

Beneath his Father’s rod.

 

His sacred blood hath wash’d our souls

From sin’s polluting stain;

His stripes have heal’d us, and his death

Revived our souls again.

 

Do you have Two-way Traffic?

Straightway the father of the child cried, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief. (Mark 9:24)

In the uncertainty of our times, the traffic between faith and unbelief is tragically heavy, as the Scriptures declared it would be. But we may encourage our hearts with the knowledge that the traffic does not always move in the direction of unbelief—sometimes it moves the other way!

Every now and then the cheering news comes of some “liberal” who gets sick to his stomach of the mixture of applied psychology and cheap poetry, and comes home like the prodigal to the Father’s house. It is true that the movement from orthodoxy to liberalism is usually slow; almost too slow to be perceived. I have never heard of a single instance where any person accepted modernism as a result of a spiritual experience.

But the movement back to faith is likely to be sudden, often explosive. A man or woman is converted to Christ by a sudden encounter with God and spiritual things!

The simple fact that the believer always experiences something and the unbeliever never does should tell us a great deal. Only the true Christian is sure the sun has risen!

 

Do You have Non-Toxic Christianity?

Most professed followers of Christ live a “non-toxic” brand of Christianity. That is, their “Christian” lifestyle tends to be easy, upbeat, convenient, and compatible. Their lives exhibit little, if any, self-sacrifice, discipline, humility, an otherworldly outlook, a zeal for souls, or a fear, as well as, love for God. There is little guilt and no punishment, and the payoff in heaven is virtually certain.

 

Let me propose five root causes:

 

1. Religious Individualism – We have come to believe that religious authority lies in us rather than in the Bible or in church leadership. Thus, we have become our own final court of appeal as to what is right or wrong: “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.” (Judges 17:6)

 

2. Shallow Superficiality – Most of us have only a scant acquaintance with Biblical truth, because our exposure to, and understanding of the Scriptures lacks discipline, focus and scholarship. If the Word of God is not spoon-fed to us in “touchy-feelie” bite-size portions, we soon loose interest.

 

For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear… ” (2 Timothy 4:3, 4a)

 

3. Religious Consumerism – Exercising our ‘divine right’ as religious consumers, we buy as much Christianity as we seem to want. The cost is low and customer satisfaction seems guaranteed. If our present religious “provider” fails to cater to our whimsical fancy, we flutter across town to one that will.

 

4. Cultural Christianity – Our values, norms and modes of interpreting reality have been entirely emancipated from any dependence upon God. Overwhelmed as we are by the pervading culture, we have accommodated our beliefs to fit in with its norms and values to the point that our Christian witness has lost its authenticity. Thus, the persecution mentioned in 1 Timothy 3:12 is alien to our experience: “Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”

 

5. Frenzied Materialism – While we slave away at obtaining the “finer” things in life, we openly profess a strong distaste for materialism. Yet we have become amazingly adept at learning how to deliberate an uneasy union between the spiritual and material.

 

QUESTION: How would you evaluate your brand of Christianity? Is it of the non-toxic variety that offends and affects no one? If so, what changes do you need to make at this time?

 

 

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