WEEK 23, Day 2, Tuesday, 5 June 2018

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Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Tuesday, 5 June 18:

1. 1 Kings 19:1-3 — After Elijah had been used as an instrument to display God’s mighty power, and after he had killed all the prophets, then he was afraid of Jezebel’s threats. She must have been incredibly powerful and ruthless. What does it take for you to lose heart?

2. 1 Kings 19:1-4 — In a time of total distress, Elijah ran to the Lord and was strengthened by God. Where do you turn during times like this?

3. 1 Kings 19:4-8 — God calls us to perform missions that are impossible for us under our own strength. He then provides what we cannot provide for ourselves. He does this to reveal Himself.

4. 1 Kings 19:10 – “… I only, am left….” When you remain faithful to God while the world rejects God, you will feel alone, but you are not alone. Allow God to unite you with the body of believers.

5. 1 Kings 19:12 — “And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.” You must be ready to hear the whisper of God in the midst of the world’s turmoil. You cannot hear the whisper of God unless you are really listening, unless you are willing to go to places of silence for that very purpose. If you are caught up in the noise of the world and expecting God to shout over it to provide you His word for you, you should learn from Elijah. We tend to look for God through great miraculous acts but often miss that He speaks to us through His word in a low whisper. It seems that we are so wrapped up in the daily hustle and bustle of the world, so distracted, and so worried that we are never quiet and still enough to just listen.

6. 1 Kings 19:14 – “…and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” In his service to the Lord, Elijah had experienced incredible highs and lows, and now he is experiencing intense discouragement. Elijah had just called down fire from heaven, and now he is in fear for his life, feeling isolated and alone. Elijah’s focus had shifted from God to God’s enemies. Only God could comfort Elijah, and God did. When discouraged, get alone with God.

7. 1 Kings 19:15 — “You shall anoint Hazael to be king over Syria.” God places all kings in power for His purposes. If you want a different leader, go to God.

8. 1 Kings 19:17 – “And the one who escapes from the sword of Hazael shall Jehu put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha put to death.” God’s prophets wielded the sword upon God’s command.

9. 1 Kings 19:18 — “Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.” Though you may think no one remains totally committed to obedience to God anymore, you are wrong. God accounts for all His faithful and will take care of them. If you don’t see faithful people around you, you might be in the wrong place with the wrong people, you may be operating deep within enemy lines on a special mission from God, or you might not be paying close enough attention.

10. 1 Kings 19:19, 20 — Elisha was called by God to change his entire life for God, to give up a profitable business to serve God.

11. 1 Kings 19:13, 19-21 — “Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him….. So Elisha… took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant.” Without notice, Elijah called Elisha to a new life as a Prophet of God. This was an unexpected, life changing moment. Elisha could not continue to live the life he had been living and follow God’s direction too. God’s plan for Elisha was far greater than Elisha’s plan for Elisha. Elisha was at the moment of decision: do I stay who I am (a decent, hardworking, respected, God fearing man) and build a good life for myself, or do I deny self and follow God wholeheartedly? Do I ask God to bless my life and what I am doing, or do I seek to know God’s plan and become a part of what He is already doing for His own glory? Elisha cut all ties with his former life and left himself no “Plan B” or “out option.” He was all in. Elisha made his choice — no turning back. His old life was over; he was all in for the Lord. Gal 3:26-27 says: “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” God threw the cloak of Christ on you – now, what will you do?

12. 1 Kings 20:14 – “Then he said, ‘Who shall begin the battle?’ He answered, ’You’.” What a powerful verse! God’s plan requires a faithful servant to lead the way. Too often, God’s people are all waiting for someone else to step up. Who shall begin the battle? Why not you?

13. 1 Kings 20:22 — “Come, strengthen yourself, and consider well what you have to do, for in the spring the king of Syria will come up against you.” The war is not won in a single battle. Don’t grow complacent in your successes; prepare immediately for the next battle.

14. 1 Kings 20:23 — “But let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they.” No strategy can overcome the power of God.

15. 1 Kings 20:28 — “I will give all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am the LORD.” God gives you victories for His glory, not for your glory. Never make the mistake of trying to share glory with God in your successes.

16. 1 Kings 20:35-43 — God expects instant, willing, total obedience.

17. 1 Kings 20:42 — “Thus says the LORD, ‘Because you have let go out of your hand the man whom I had devoted to destruction, therefore your life shall be for his life, and your people for his people.’” Once again, partial obedience to God is disobedience to God, not something God takes lightly. Either God is honored by you as God or not. He cannot be a God in your life and not Sovereign in your life. Casual sin is cosmic treason against The Almighty.

18. Proverbs 5:11-14 — You will either suffer the pain of discipline now or the pain of regret later.

19. Proverbs 5:22 — “The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is held fast in the cords of his sin.” Do not be trapped by sin.

20. 2 Corinthians 8:2 — “…for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.” Do you respond to tests of affliction with joy and generosity towards others?

21. 2 Corinthians 8:3 — “For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints.” Do you beg for the opportunity to give and give beyond your means? Christian giving is radical.

22. 2 Corinthians 8:5 — “They gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.” What we give to others is a reflection of what we have given to God.

23. 2 Corinthians 8:6 — “…see that you excel in this act of grace also.” We only live by God’s grace, the undeserved gift of His Son, Jesus. Do you in turn excel in grace towards others? Grace also includes surrendering your rights to others who mistreat you unjustly.

24. 2 Corinthians 8:7 — “But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you —see that you excel in this act of grace also.” We are encouraged to excel in everything, yes, everything; particularly, we are coached to excel in giving. So, how much to give? Paul says to use Jesus as our example – “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich (2 Corinthians 8:7).” How much faith does it take to give like that? The churches in Macedonia, though suffering extreme poverty and affliction, gave generously and joyously, considering it an honor to give grace to others in the name of Jesus Christ. They had no problem giving because they had already given themselves to God and understood that is was all for His glory. Have you ever considered why, though we in America are so well off, we find it so difficult for us to give generously? What does that say about our perspective on God and our appreciation of the grace that has been bestowed upon us through Jesus?

25. 2 Corinthians 8:9 — “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.” Like Jesus, are you willing to become poor that others might be rich?

26. 2 Corinthians 8:18-19 — “With him we are sending the brother who is famous among all the churches for his preaching of the gospel. And not only that, but he has been appointed by the churches to travel with us as we carry out this act of grace that is being ministered by us, for the glory of the Lord himself and to show our good will.” Paul did not work alone; he was part of a ministry team, comprised of people with different talents and skills and supported by the church. Who is on your ministry team?

27. 2 Corinthians 8:28 — “…we aim at what is honorable not only in the Lord’s sight but also in the sight of man.” How we are perceived by others does matter. Go out of your way not to offend while staying within the bounds of God’s commands.

“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 5 June: Make special effort to connect and unite with fellow believers today. Expand your network of Christian fellowship if possible. Commit to serving God together. Share with each other to see a greater vision of what God is doing where you are. (1 Kings 19:10, 18; 2 Cor 8:18-19)

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