Pattern of Good Works (Titus 2:7)

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Tuesday, 3 May 2005
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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Friday, 22 April 2005
I Alone am Left
Now Playing: God has allowed EVERYTHING for a purpose...
Topic: Self-Pity
Author: Woodrow Kroll
Source: Lessons on Living from Elijah
Scripture: 1 Kings 19:10 Psalms 23:4 Hebrews 13:5

I Alone Am Left

1 Kings 19:10

So he said, "I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life."

I Alone Am Left

Upon returning from one of his globe-encircling voyages, Sir Francis Drake, the great explorer, anchored his ship in the little Thames River. A dangerous storm arose and it seemed that his ship would flounder. Someone standing near the old, weather-beaten seaman heard him say through gritted teeth, "Must I who have escaped the rage of the ocean be drowned in a ditch?"

Often a Christian who has withstood the assaults of Satan in severe trials and temptations falters because of a minor difficulty. Elijah found himself in such a position. He had confronted Ahab, king of Israel. He had stood up to 450 prophets of Baal. He had challenged the people of Israel to renew their commitment to the Lord. Then he was faced with the wrath of a vengeful woman, Jezebel. Not only did he flee, but he also began to feel sorry for himself. He concluded, "I alone am left; and they seek to take my life."

When we focus on the negative aspects of our situation, it's easy to slip into self-pity. Life is filled with many hardships and injustices. But as Elijah was about to learn, God's people are never left alone. God has promised not to keep us from the valleys, but to walk through them with us (Ps. 23:4). He has promised us not the absence of problems, but the guarantee of His presence (Heb. 13:5).

If you fall victim to self-pity, don't allow yourself to stay bogged down there. Whatever your circumstances, God is with you. The two of you together are sufficient for any situation.

You are never left alone when you are alone with God.

(from W. Kroll)

Posted by dondegr1 at 11:04 AM EDT
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What are You Doing Here ?
Now Playing: What has God called you to do for Him ?
Topic: God's Purposes
Author: Woodrow Kroll
Source: Lessons on Living from Elijah
Scripture: 1 Kings 19:9

What Are You Doing Here?

1 Kings 19:9

And there he went into a cave, and spent the night in that place; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"

What Are You Doing Here?

A woman named Maria stopped by Back to the Bible and asked for a tour. While she was waiting in the lobby, she spoke with a member of our staff for a few minutes. She shared that she used to be a power broker on Wall Street and mingled with Donald Trump and Ronald Reagan and folks like that. But when she became a believer, she realized that there is more to living than just "making a living." Now she owns a fishing lodge in northern Minnesota. She spends her days canoeing, reading and helping her visitors to relax. She wants to develop her lodge into a retreat center for pastors and other Christians. She concluded, "This is the ministry God has called me to."

On Mount Horeb, God confronted Elijah with his ministry as well. When God asked him, "What are you doing here?" He knew the answer. He knew that Elijah had fled his responsibilities and left behind his ministry. But He wanted Elijah to realize that too. God's question was designed to cause Elijah to think about his ultimate purpose in life.

All Christians need to ask themselves, "What am I doing here? Why am I alive? What does God have for me to do?" There is no believer who does not have a God-given purpose for his life. In fact, God designs each of us with a specific purpose in mind. Our goal should be to find that purpose and fulfill it.

Why are you here? Is it to evangelize and edify young people through your church's Sunday school program? Is it to assist family and friends as they serve on a foreign mission field? Is it to minister to those sick in the hospital or confined to a nursing home? Is it to visit the fatherless and widows, or the prisoners? If you don't know, ask God to show you. You can never be fulfilled as a Christian until you know what God saved you to do and then do it.

God's purpose gives life meaning.

(from W. Kroll)

Posted by dondegr1 at 11:01 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 14 May 2005 1:09 PM EDT
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Strength for the Journey
Now Playing: Are we living on our own strength or asking God for help ?
Topic: Provision
Author: Woodrow Kroll
Source: Lessons on Living from Elijah
Scripture: 1 Kings 19:8 1 Kings 18:20-40 1 Kings 19:1-3 Philippians 4:13

Strength for the Journey

1 Kings 19:8

"So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God."

Strength for the Journey

One New Year's Day in the Tournament of Roses parade, a beautiful float suddenly sputtered and quit. After checking for mechanical problems, the crew discovered that the vehicle pulling the float was simply out of fuel. The whole parade was held up until someone could get a can of gasoline. The most amusing thing about this whole fiasco was that the float represented the Standard Oil Company. With its vast oil resources, its truck ran out of gas!

Elijah had run out of gas as well. He had victoriously confronted the prophets of Baal and revived the people of Israel (1 Kings 18:20-40). He had raced King Ahab back to Jezreel and won (v. 46). Then he had fled from the wrath of Queen Jezebel and gone a day's journey into the wilderness (19:1-3). Now he was faced with another journey, this time to meet with God on Mount Horeb, but he didn't have the strength to do it on his own. God sent an angel of the Lord, who said to Elijah, "The journey is too great for you" (v. 7). Then God gave Elijah supernatural strength, and in that strength he traveled for 40 days and 40 nights.

Believers are not able to live the victorious Christian life on their own strength either. God knows that. But He is also able to give us the strength we need. The apostle Paul said, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Phil. 4:13). God has unlimited resources, but unless we appropriate them to our lives, they do us no good.

Don't settle for a stalled-out Christian life. While you are inadequate in yourself, God is more than sufficient for all your needs. Call on Him today and you'll experience all the strength you need for the journey.

Be filled with the Spirit and you'll never run out of gas.

(from W. Kroll)

Posted by dondegr1 at 10:59 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 22 April 2005 11:02 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 19 April 2005
Arise and Eat
Now Playing: Are we seeking what God wants for us ?
Topic: Provision
Author: Woodrow Kroll
Source: Lessons on Living from Elijah
Scripture: 1 Kings 19:5-6

Arise and Eat

1 Kings 19:5-6

Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, "Arise and eat." Then he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank, and lay down again.

Arise and Eat

A missionary passed a field where lepers were at work. He noticed two in particular who were sowing peas. Because of their disease, one had no hands and the other had no feet. The one who lacked hands, however, was carrying upon his back the other who had no feet. He, in turn, carried the bag of seed and dropped a pea every now and then, which the other pressed into the ground with his feet. Together they got the job done, something neither could do by himself.

Elijah was equally pressed into cooperation with an angel of the Lord. The angel provided food and water, but it was Elijah who had to "arise and eat." While God made sure that Elijah received what he lacked, He was not about to spoon-feed the prophet. Elijah had to eat for himself. It was when he worked together with the angel, each doing his part, that Elijah received the nourishment and strength he needed for the task before him.

Christians tend to fall into one of two extremes: either we expect God to do it all, or we feel like the whole load is on our shoulders and we burn out trying to do more than we should. In reality, the Christian life is a matter of cooperation. As God's Spirit works to produce Christ's character in our lives, we work to allow that character to be reflected in the things we say and do. Together we bring glory to the Father.

Take a few moments to reflect on your Christian life. Are you trying to do it all? Are you sitting back and expecting God to do everything? Or are you working together with the Holy Spirit to accomplish in and through you the will of your Heavenly Father? Remember, God provides, but we "arise and eat."

What God supplies, we must apply.

(from W. Kroll)

Posted by dondegr1 at 11:56 AM EDT
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Is It Enough ?
Now Playing: Are we willing to accept God's plan and provision ?
Topic: Testing
Author: Woodrow Kroll
Source: Lessons on Living from Elijah
Scripture: 2 Corinthians 5:10 1 Kings 19:4

Is It Enough?

1 Kings 19:4

"But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, "It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!"

Is It Enough?

George Sweeting related that the famous Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh once felt called to be an evangelist. He had grown up in a Christian home and in 1878, at the age of 24, enrolled in a school for evangelism in Brussels. After graduating, he preached for a year. Then for reasons unknown, van Gogh forsook his call. In 1889 he began to paint like a driven man, finishing 200 paintings in two years. Then at age 37, confused, impoverished and ill, he borrowed a gun and ended his life. He decided he had had enough.

Elijah, too, reached the point in his life when he felt it was enough. Rather than commit suicide, however, he asked God to take his life. But God had other plans for Elijah. He knew that some of the prophet's greatest successes still lay ahead of him: anointing the king of Syria and the king of Israel, training Elisha as his successor, and miraculously crossing the Jordan on a dry river bed. Instead of taking his life, God strengthened him and sent Elijah back to active duty.

I don't believe suicide causes a Christian to lose his salvation, but it clearly cuts short the service a believer can offer to the Lord. Since our rewards in heaven are based on the deeds of our lives right now (2 Cor. 5:10), all missed opportunities will mean an eternal loss that cannot be made up. Therefore, while life may become discouraging, it is always too soon to say, "Enough!"

Perhaps you feel like saying, "It is enough!" If not tempted to take your life, you may at least feel like you no longer want to walk with the Lord. God understands, and if you place your life completely in His loving hands, He can give you the grace to start over. Who knows? God may have the most productive years of your life planned for your future.

Our quitting point is God's beginning point.

(from W. Kroll)

Posted by dondegr1 at 11:55 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 3 May 2005 11:00 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 13 April 2005

Author: Woodrow Kroll
Source: Lessons on Living from Elijah
Scripture: 1 Kings 18:42-44

Seven Times Praying

1 Kings 18:42-44

So Ahab went up to eat and drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; then he bowed down on the ground, and put his face between his knees, and said to his servant, "Go up now, look toward the sea." So he went up and looked, and said, "There is nothing." And seven times he said, "Go again." Then it came to pass the seventh time, that he said, "There is a cloud, as small as a man's hand, rising out of the sea!"

Seven Times Praying

Concerning answers to prayer George Mueller wrote, "Never give up until the answer comes. I have been praying every day for 52 years for two men, sons of a friend of my youth. They are not converted yet, but they will be! . . . The great fault of the children of God is that they do not continue in prayer; they do not go on praying; they do not persevere. If they desire anything for God's glory, they should pray until they get it."

Elijah believed in persistent praying. Seven times he bowed in prayer; seven times he sent his servant to see if God had answered yet. While there is nothing magical about the number seven, it is the number associated with completeness in the Bible. When this seventh prayer was offered, the servant came back with the report that a cloud was on the horizon. Elijah kept praying until his prayer was completed.

A prayer is never complete until God has answered. We need to keep praying until we have the assurance in our hearts that God's answer has been given or is on the way. To stop praying too soon may forfeit the very thing we're praying for.

Don't be a quitter. Keep on with your prayers until they're complete. Let God's answer be your final amen! Oh, those two men for whom George Mueller prayed for so long? One became a Christian at Mueller's funeral; the other some years later. Keep on praying.

Prayer is never complete until God has answered.

(from W. Kroll)

Posted by dondegr1 at 10:51 AM EDT
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Powerful Hand of the Lord
Now Playing: Do we have genuine confidence in God ?
Topic: God's Power
Author: Woodrow Kroll
Source: Lessons on Living from Elijah
Scripture: 1 Kings 18:45-46

The Powerful Hand of the Lord

1 Kings 18:45-46

"Now it happened in the meantime that the sky became black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy rain. So Ahab rode away and went to Jezreel. Then the hand of the Lord came upon Elijah; and he girded up his loins and ran ahead of Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel."

The Powerful Hand of the Lord

For skiers, the problem is not swooshing downhill with the thrill of speed and precision. It's going back uphill again. That's why ski lifts were invented. But now a new ski innovation has been introduced to the world of downhill skiing. Known as ski sailing, it enables a skier with the aid of a sail, or parachute-type device, to ski uphill using the power of the wind. By virtue of the wind, the power behind you becomes greater than the hill above you.

Elijah also knew what it was like to experience a power beyond himself to accomplish what God required. As the rains descended, it became a race to see who would first arrive back at Jezreel to announce the news of Baal's defeat. It was not under his own power, but by "the hand of the Lord" that Elijah outdistanced Ahab, even though the king had a horse and chariot and Elijah was on foot.

When confronted with difficult tasks, we often hesitate because we fail to take into account the divine power we have behind us. When God's hand is upon us, no challenge is too great for us. Others may have advantages we don't possess. They may be more experienced, more knowledgeable or more talented, but all of that is irrelevant if God's hand is upon us. Human resources are no match for God's power.

If you are disadvantaged today, facing difficulties beyond your abilities, don't give up. Ask God to apply His powerful hand to your situation. With the power of God filling your sails, no slope is too steep. Others may appear to have the upper hand, but God has the more powerful hand.

If your life is an uphill slope, set your sails to catch God's power.

(from W. Kroll)

Posted by dondegr1 at 10:48 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 13 April 2005 10:50 AM EDT
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