No Greater Joy

No Greater Joy

Sunday, May 30, 2010

I will treasure each day...

I've been so preoccupied with other happenings in my house lately that I have pretty well neglected my blog. I guess that is a welcoming sign of spring. Tonight seems a good night to blog. I tend to view many of my days as rather bland, however I've come to appreciate what I define as bland.

I am holding up two families in prayer and ask that anyone reading this join me in praying. First, the Mitchell family. I don't personally know them. Their oldest son was in our church youth group and I do know Mrs. Mitchell's sister and brother in law. Mrs. Mitchell was driving with her 11 and 13 year old daughters last week when she was involved in a car accident. All 3 died.

The second is the Bowen family. They lost their son yesterday. He just graduated from high school. Details haven't been released yet, but I can only begin to imagine the details of pain in that family, too.

Each day we have is truly a gift given, not to be taken for granted. I wish it didn't take such sad events to remind me of that. On a positive note, all of these people had given their lives to Christ at some point so what is sad for us is a great rejoicing for them. I shall not worry about tomorrow but delight in today.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

When you leave this place who will you serve? (Part 2)

Here's the rest of what I shared at the women's retreat during one of my sessions.

Read 1 Kings 18:13-16
Obadiah tells of his good works and expresses his fear of Ahab. Elijah promises to present himself to Ahab.
“Look at me!” What is your true motivation behind your service to the Lord?

Read 1 Kings 18:17-22
Obadiah finally goes to get Ahab and there is another confrontation between Ahab and Elijah. All of Israel is to be assembled to watch the 450 false prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah on Mount Carmel. The offerings were prepared as Elijah had asked. Verse 21: Elijah confronted the unbelieving people as well.
1 Kings 18:23-40
The prophets called on Baal for HOURS (v. 26 & 29) with (my favorite part) NO answer! The water was used to show there was no trick. The water probably came from a stream if not the Mediterranean Sea. The false prophets were killed according to the Law (Deut. 18:20). Before the rain could return, the fire had to fall. This is a picture of Christ at the cross. God’s judgment was on the sacrifice, not the people. All sacrifices were supposed to be at the Temple in Jerusalem. Elijah was repairing the altar, though not ideal, because God had commanded him to. Sometimes our situations and lives aren’t how God originally intended, but God can still use them.
Grace: Romans 11:6 “But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.”
Warren Wiersbe: “We’re not saved by God’s love. God loves the whole world and the whole world is not saved. We’re saved by God’s grace and grace is love that pays a price.”
Grace defined: God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense; God dealing with us in a relationship based on His love and treating us in a way we do not deserve!
Romans 3:23-25(Prov. 14:12 & Jn. 14:6)
Challenge: 1 Kings 18:21 – “…How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him.” What are the opinions in your life right now? Israel hadn’t totally rejected God, but were trying to combine worship of God with worship of Baal. Are you doing that?
Romans 12:2 “…do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
What level of commitment are you to God? Ahab, Obadiah, or Elijah?

What can we do to become more like Elijah?
1. Use your spiritual gifts
Romans 12:6 “since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly”
1 Cor. 12:7 “But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” V. 11 “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.” V. 12 – 31 lay out the purpose of gifts – unity of the body
2. Mentoring/Being Mentored
Titus 2:3-5 “Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the Word of God will not be dishonored.” Be an example and learn from godly examples. Sin is a daily battle and we do not need to fight unprepared! Obadiah recognized Elijah in 1 Kings 18:7 “Elijah my master”…who do we recognize among us in our day? What can we learn from them?
3. Know God’s Word!!
Jesus gave the ultimate example when He was tempted in the wilderness. Matt. 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13 He used the Word of God against Satan. We cannot use what we do not know! Become as familiar with your Bible as many are with their TV lineups!
4. Pray as though it’s up to you!1 Kings 18:37 “Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that You, O Lord, are God, and that You have turned their heart back again.”
James 5:13 “Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray.”
James 5:16b-18 “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit.”
How have you let your time-line define your life?
Have you allowed the events of your life to draw you closer to God or push you away from Him?James 1:2-4, 12 “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing…Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”

Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever.” Do you believe this today as much as you did the day you received Him? If you’ve never received Him, what’s holding you back?
Does your life reflect your priorities?
Are they in the right order?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

When You Leave This Place Who Will You Serve? (Part 1)

At our women's retreat last October I spoke on this topic. I really enjoyed preparing for it so I thought I'd share it with you. Here's the beginning part. I did not type out the verses, so you'll need a Bible or use This is also from my notes so not in the best form for blogging, but I'm putting it on here anyway! :P

What are your top 5 priorities in life at this moment?
Read 1 Kings 18:1-12
Elijah confronted Ahab in 17:1 that there would be a drought and left. He was going to confront Ahab once again. God had withheld rain from Israel because of their disbelief (Deut. 28:1-2, 12). Rain would be sent once again because of God’s grace. There is no repentance from Ahab, he was worried about his horses more than the people. Obadiah was Ahab’s chief servant (not the minor prophet). He’s a “secret believer”.

Ahab had allowed Queen Jezebel (his wife; a Phoenician princess who was also a priestess of Baal) to massacre prophets of the Lord, and he was promoting idolatry in the land. Elijah obeyed even though he could have died. He was in full obedience whereas Obadiah feared the Lord and had not bowed to Baal, but not like Moses in Heb. 11:24-26. Obadiah feared for his life and did not trust the Lord to protect him or the word of Elijah.

God is looking for fully followers that are fully committed to Him!
Ahab: no commitment – he allowed worship of Baal and other idols; no regard for God
Obadiah: partial commitment; quick to point out his good works, yet no boldness in his faith
Elijah: fully committed; trusted God to keep His promises and boldly proclaimed the truth of God

1 Corinthians 10:14-22
Life lesson: Partaking in a religious feast was to be taking part with the thing worshiped at the feast. You are opening yourself up to evil by partaking with pagans. Today we often do things to support our friends and family, even if they’re not in line with our faith, and we justify this by saying we are showing love toward them or through our love we can win them to Christ. Paul is very clear about his intent with the gospel in 1 Cor. 9:19-27 yet he was never lawless , he gave up luxuries so he might empathize with the people but yet always submitted to God. There’s a distinction in humbling yourself to reach the lost vs. participating in ungodly practices with the lost. You will be more recognized as a true follower of God because you choose to follow Him…which means standing alone or being different…than participating with non-believers for “their sake”.
Romans 8:18 “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” –The Hope of the Christian.