Pattern of Good Works (Titus 2:7)

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Monday, 30 May 2005
Now Playing: Come apart and rest a while !
Topic: Message
There will be limited postings this summer. Please read other worthwhile content from previous months or other sites.


Posted by dondegr1 at 6:13 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 11 November 2006 3:37 PM EST
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Monday, 23 May 2005
In the Midst of the Whirlwind
Now Playing: Are we depending on Him in our stormy winds ?
Topic: Troubles
2 Kings 2:1, 11

And it came to pass, when the Lord was about to take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.

In the Midst of the Whirlwind

Eagles have an interesting flight pattern. Instead of fleeing the winds of stormy weather, they turn to face them. The same winds that blow others away are used by these magnificent birds to lift them higher.

A storm lifted Elijah into the presence of God. Traveling from Gilgal with his disciple Elisha, he was forewarned by the sons of the prophets in Bethel, and again in Jericho, that this was the day God would take him away. But instead of fleeing from this potentially frightening possibility, the prophet continued on, content to let God have His will. When they crossed over the Jordan River, a chariot of fire separated Elisha from his master, and a whirlwind lifted Elijah up and away. The roaring winds of a desert storm, which normally brought destruction, became for Elijah the vehicle by which God elevated him into heaven.

When life's whirlwinds blow through our lives, we have a choice. We can focus on our trials and troubles, or we can use the whirlwind to be lifted up before the Lord in prayer and praise. What others see as a deadly devastation can become that which draws us more completely into God's presence.

Don't run away from the storms of life. They may be God's method of bringing you closer to Him. Instead, spread your wings of prayer and praise. Consider the winds of strife as opportunities to be lifted closer to the Lord.

Don't let your trials blow you down; let them lift you up.

(from W. Kroll)

Posted by dondegr1 at 9:00 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, 23 May 2005 9:01 AM EDT
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In His Steps
Now Playing: What Kind of Example are we setting?
Topic: Daily Walk
2 Kings 2:14

Then he took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, and said, "Where is the Lord God of Elijah?" And when he also had struck the water, it was divided this way and that; and Elisha crossed over.

In His Steps

Someone once said, "The footsteps that a boy usually wants to follow are those that his father hoped he had covered up." But not so with Elijah.

In the time that Elijah had spent with Elisha, he left behind footprints that he hoped his "spiritual son" would be able and willing to follow. Not the least of these was the miraculous way God demonstrated His power through his prophet. Just as the Lord had parted the water of the Jordan River when Elijah struck it with his mantle (v. 8), Elisha soon discovered that God would do the same for him as he walked in Elijah's footsteps.

Every Christian leaves behind footprints. As he walks through the good times as well as times of difficulty, and as he demonstrates God's power and presence in the various situations he encounters as a believer, a Christian leaves indelible impressions upon those who are watching.

If people were to follow in your footsteps, where would they be led? Would they find themselves at places of pleasure more often than at church? Would your footprints lead to questionable activities rather than to godly behavior? Would they discover more intimacy with God because they trod where you had stepped?

As you make your way through life, remember that others are coming behind you. Be sure your feet only take you where you want their feet to take them. Like it or not, you're leaving footprints behind that they will want to follow.

Watch where you step; those you love are close behind.

(from W. Kroll)

Posted by dondegr1 at 8:59 AM EDT
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Saturday, 14 May 2005
God Takes Care of His Own
Now Playing: Do we trust God to provide and protect His children ?
Topic: God's Care
2 Kings 1:10-12

So Elijah answered and said to the captain of fifty, "If I am a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men." And fire came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty. Then he sent to him another captain of fifty with his fifty men. And he answered and said to him: "Man of God, thus has the king said, 'Come down quickly!'" So Elijah answered and said to them, "If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men." And the fire of God came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty.

God Takes Care of His Own

Many years ago on a bitterly cold January night, the inhabitants of the town of Sleswick, Germany, were in great distress. A hostile army was marching on them, and the reports of the conduct of these lawless soldiers struck fear in every resident's heart. In this town, however, lived a grandmother with her widowed daughter and her grandson. As they waited, this aged woman prayed for God to "build a wall of defense around them." At midnight the enemy came pouring into the village, breaking down the doors of the houses. But not even a knock came to this woman's door. In the morning she found out why. The snowfall that night had drifted in front of her door, creating such a massive wall that it was impossible to get to them. "There!" said the grandmother. "God answered my prayers. He raised up a wall around us!"

God does take care of His own. When King Ahaziah sent a regiment of 50 men and their captain to take Elijah by force, God responded to Elijah's predicament by sending down fire that consumed them. The same happened to a second group of 50. It was only when a third group approached Elijah with the fear of the Lord that their lives were spared.

Every Christian walks under the protective watch care of an omnipotent God. There is not a moment when His eye is not on us. Take heart. Until God's purpose for you on earth is completed, no danger can truly threaten you. God will take care of you.

Fear God and you'll have nothing else to fear.

(from W. Kroll)

Posted by dondegr1 at 12:59 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 14 May 2005 1:01 PM EDT
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Is there No God?
Now Playing: Not trusting in God will cost a person dearly !
Topic: Unbelief
2 Kings 1:2-3

Now Ahaziah fell through the lattice of his upper room in Samaria, and was injured; so he sent messengers and said to them, "Go, inquire of Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron, whether I shall recover from this injury." But the angel of the Lord said to Elijah the Tishbite, "Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and say to them, 'Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going to inquire of Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron?'"

Is There No God?

Shortly after the outspoken atheist Robert G. Ingersoll was defeated in his race for governor of Illinois, he was spouting off about his atheism on board a train from Chicago to Peoria. He turned to a gentleman near him and demanded, "Tell me one great result that Christianity has ever accomplished." Not wishing to get into an argument with the boaster, the man hesitated to answer. For a moment it was silent in the car. Then an elderly lady who sat right behind him touched his arm with a trembling hand and said, "Sir, I do not know who you are, but I think I can tell you of one glorious thing which Christianity has done." "What is it, Madam?" asked Ingersoll. "It has kept Robert G. Ingersoll from being governor of the State of Illinois," she replied.

Those who choose to deny God always pay a great price. When King Ahaziah was injured and sent a messenger to inquire of the god of Ekron concerning his recovery, God sent Elijah to respond. "Because you have failed to trust the Lord," Elijah proclaimed, "you will die." And he did (v. 17). Ahaziah's unbelief cost him his life.

Unbelievers are not the only ones who stand to lose from their lack of faith. Christians sometimes profess to believe in Christ, but their actions fail to demonstrate they truly trust Him. Such inconsistency will cost them dearly in terms of peace and joy. It could even cause them to lose some of their heavenly rewards.

Let your walk match your talk. If you trust the Lord for your salvation, trust Him for all the other areas of your life as well. When you get God's counsel, you've got the best counsel there is.

Unbelief is never cheap; it costs more than it pays.

(from W. Kroll)

Posted by dondegr1 at 12:57 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 14 May 2005 1:02 PM EDT
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Blessed Enemy
Now Playing: God can even use our enemies for our blessing !
Topic: Ways of God
1 Kings 21:20-22

Then Ahab said to Elijah, "Have you found me, O my enemy?" And he answered, "I have found you, because you have sold yourself to do evil in the sight of the Lord: 'Behold, I will bring calamity on you. I will take away your posterity, and will cut off from Ahab every male in Israel, both bond and free. I will make your house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah, because of the provocation with which you have provoked Me to anger, and made Israel sin.'"

Blessed Enemy

Those who might be called our enemies can actually do us great service. Socrates noted that every man needs a faithful friend and a bitter enemy—the one to advise him, and the other to make him look about him. Benjamin Franklin said, "Love your enemies, for they tell you your faults." And the Greek philosopher Antisthenes admonished, "Pay attention to your enemies, for they are the first to discover your mistakes."

Elijah could have helped King Ahab to discover his mistakes, if the king would have permitted him to do so. Ahab was surrounded by false prophets who were telling him only what they thought he wanted to hear. His wife, Jezebel, was leading him down the path of destruction by her zealous attempt to establish Baal worship in Israel. Elijah was his only hope, but the king dismissed him because he was an "enemy."

If a Christian is living for the Lord, he will have enemies. This will not be because he has cultivated them; it's simply the natural response of the world to the Gospel. But such a situation can be turned to our advantage. The Lord can use even our enemies to accomplish His will in our lives.

If you have an enemy, listen to him or her carefully. See if underneath their bitterness or anger there might not be a grain of truth in their complaint with you. Enemies often identify our faults much better than our friends do. Why not try listening to them? It may in the long run make you more Christlike.

Cherish your enemies; they may be blessings in disguise.

(from W. Kroll)

Posted by dondegr1 at 12:54 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 14 May 2005 1:00 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 3 May 2005
No Turning Back
Now Playing: Let's not turn back from serving the Lord wholeheartedly...
Topic: Struggles
1 Kings 19:19-21

So he departed from there, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he was with the twelfth. Then Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle on him. And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah, and said, "Please let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you." And he said to him, "Go back again, for what have I done to you?" So Elisha turned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen and slaughtered them and boiled their flesh, using the oxen's equipment, and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and followed Elijah, and served him.

No Turning Back

On December 21, 1620, the Mayflower dropped anchor in Plymouth Bay. It had been a grueling voyage across the Atlantic, taking the small ship 66 days to make the perilous crossing. There had been disease, anxiety and even childbirth among the 102 courageous passengers. Furthermore, they arrived on the bleak New England shore during a hard winter that ultimately claimed the lives of half their number. But when spring came and the captain of the Mayflower offered free passage to anyone desiring to return, not a single person accepted. These folks had made a commitment and they were not turning back.

Elijah's call to Elisha brought the same response. As a farmer, Elisha had been plowing with 12 yoke of oxen. When Elijah threw his mantle on this hardworking plowboy, Elisha took the very means of his livelihood, a yoke of oxen, and slaughtered them to provide a farewell feast for his friends. In doing so, he cut the ties to his old life and demonstrated his commitment to the ministry ahead of him.

Christians need to take this same step of commitment. We cannot live effectively for Christ if one foot is in the faith and the other is in the world. We need to make a clean break with the past and live for the Lord.

If God has called you to a particular kind of service, commit yourself unreservedly to it. Let your past be the past. Put it behind you and move forward with God. There's no greater ingredient for success in serving God.

There's no room for turning around in Christ's service.

(from W. Kroll)

Posted by dondegr1 at 9:47 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 4 June 2005 8:53 PM EDT
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All is Not Lost
Now Playing: Are we taking courage in the Lord each day ?
Topic: Confidence
1 Kings 19:18

"Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him."

All Is Not Lost

During the Boer War (1899-1902), a man was convicted of a very unusual crime. He was found guilty of being a "discourager." The South African town of Ladysmith was under attack, and this traitor would move up and down the lines of soldiers who were defending the city and do everything he could to discourage them. He would point out the enemy's strength, the difficulty of defending against them and the inevitable capture of the city. He didn't use a gun in his attack; it wasn't necessary. His weapon was the power of discouragement.

Satan is just such a discourager. He is not mentioned by name in this passage, but it's obvious he had disheartened Elijah. He convinced the prophet that all was lost. Over and over he told Elijah that "he alone was left." And Elijah came to believe that. But when it came time for Elijah to go back into the thick of things again, God revealed the truth to him. Instead of Satan's lie that "he alone was left," there were actually 7,000 people in Israel who had not followed after the false god Baal.

Satan is always ready to make things appear worse than they are if he can use it to discourage us. He continually tries to feed false information to believers so they might become discouraged, and too often he succeeds. God, however, offers the solution to Satan's lies—the exceeding great and precious promises of His Word. In the Bible we find more than enough optimism to overcome the Devil's pessimism.

If your life is filled with "doom and gloom," remember this may well be Satan's way of destroying your effectiveness for the Lord. How can you counter the Devil's devices? Turn to the promises of God's Word. Let the Bible be your encouragement today.

When God lifts you up, Satan can never put you down.

(from W. Kroll)

Posted by dondegr1 at 9:45 AM EDT
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Face Your Fears
Now Playing: Are we finding our strength in God ? "perfect love casteth our fear"
Topic: Fear
1 Kings 19:15-16

Then the Lord said to him: "Go, return on your way to the Wilderness of Damascus; and when you arrive, anoint Hazael as king over Syria. Also you shall anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi as king over Israel. And Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place."

Face Your Fears

Biologists say that fear is not only a universal emotion, but the first of the emotions to be developed in man and beast. If you have ever picked up a baby bird fallen from its nest, you have felt the rapid, terrified beating of its heart. Even though it has had no experience with you or any other person, it is fearful.

All of creation is under the dominion of fear. Man comes into this world stamped with fear before he is born, and those fears are multiplied as he increases in knowledge and experience. But it can be a mistake to make decisions based on fear.

Elijah made the mistake of giving in to his fears—and he fled from his homeland and his responsibilities. But when he renewed his commitment to God on Mount Horeb, the Lord turned him around and sent him back to face what he left behind. God knew the only way Elijah would conquer his fears was to confront them. Running away would never do it.

Many Christians have fled from their duties because of fears. Pastors have left churches, missionaries have come home from the field, mothers and fathers have left their families—all because of their fears: fear of failure, fear of pain, fear of suffering. But we can never overcome our fears if we have our back toward them, running away. We have to face them.

If you have allowed fear to cause you to flee from something you know you should do, turn around and face it. In God's power and by His will, you can have victory over your fears.

Never turn your back on your fears.

(from W. Kroll)

Posted by dondegr1 at 9:43 AM EDT
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Blessed Quietness
Now Playing: How much time do we spend alone with God ?
Topic: Communion
1 Kings 19:11-12

Then He said, "Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord." And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.

Blessed Quietness

Years ago when people had ice boxes instead of refrigerators, a man working in an ice plant lost a valuable watch in the sawdust in which the ice was stored. His fellow workmen searched with him, but were unable to find it. They left the plant for lunch and returned to find a young boy with the watch. When they inquired how he found it, the boy replied, "I just lay down in the sawdust and heard it ticking." With all the noisy machinery turned off and a person predisposed to listen, the watch wasn't hard to find at all.

As Elijah stood on Mount Horeb, he was treated to a spectacular display of God's power. A great wind reduced mighty boulders to pebbles. An earthquake shook the ground. Then the mountain was bathed in fire. Each of these was a manifestation of God's power, but they were not God. It was not until all the noise had stopped that Elijah found God Himself—in a still, small voice.

Today it's hard to get away from the noise. The hubbub of the city, the noise of the factory, the cry of children, the blare of the radio or television—all contribute to a cacophony. In the midst of these things, intimate communion with God is nearly impossible. That's why it's essential that we seek a quiet retreat where we can hear God's still, small voice.

Find a place today where you can shut out the noise of the world. Ask God to calm your mind and remove the clamor that so often fills it. Tune your heart to listen for His voice and discover His intimacy. Get alone. Be still. Stay quiet. Hear God.

Intimacy with God comes in whispers, not shouts.

(from W. Kroll)

Posted by dondegr1 at 9:41 AM EDT
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