The online Bible teaching ministry of Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
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Monday, February 6, 2017
Lone Sentinel"The Lord Lives, Whom I Serve"
Lake Huron shoreline, Michigan
Photo by Howard J. Blichfeldt (used by permission)
We still haven't had significant snow this season for fresh photos!
Personal note: Brooksyne's hand surgery for Carpel Tunnel release last Thursday has already relieved her of the numbness and burning sensation in both hands. She continues to recover and will remove her bandages tomorrow, so we thank the Lord for a successful operation and for the prayers and well wishes from many.
Study note: Yesterday I had the opportunity to preach a message about Elijah and this week we'll share a five part teaching from that message, focusing on lessons we can learn from his life.
Message summary: Today we need men and women, teenagers and children, all around the world, who like Elijah will unashamedly declare their faith in the living God. May we personally proclaim, "The Lord lives, whom I serve" and boldly confront our apostate culture. Consider ways that we might go about doing that today.
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"Now Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, 'As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word'" (1 Kings 17:1).
Brooksyne has taught children since she committed her life to Christ in Junior High School. That's now a whopping 45 years and she's had her share of memories from the impromptu expressions of children.
In her Sunday School class they are learning the Ten Commandments and yesterday they recited them from memory up to the 7th commandment which can be hard for children to grasp, especially if they are being raised in godly homes. So she asked the children if they knew what "adultery" meant. (We both remember wondering what that meant.) There was a silence around the table before one little girl raised her hand and in a child-like way expressed the essence of the meaning of adultery.
Once she was teaching on Elijah and, in describing Elijah, she told the children that he was a "bold man." Making sure that she was not talking over their heads, she asked her preschoolers what the word "bold" meant. Mandy quickly raised her hand and answered in her little but confident voice, "He didn't have no hair." (Interestingly, Elisha, who followed Elijah, was indeed a bald man!) Brooksyne very simply and delicately pointed out the difference in the words, "bald" and "bold".
Elijah was among the greatest characters of the Bible. We have no background information on him except for that found in the daily text, "The Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead", which is how he is introduced into the Biblical narrative. There are five character lessons we see in Elijah's confrontation and today we consider:
"Elijah demonstrates a persevering stand for God."
He served God during the notoriously wicked reign of Ahab and Jezebel. He is distinct in the manner of his exit from this world and for later standing with Jesus and Moses at the Mount of Transfiguration.
He is introduced into the Biblical record by boldly approaching the wicked, polytheistic king with an eternally true declaration: "As the Lord, the God of Israel lives..." Today, some 2,850 years later we who follow Christ likewise proclaim, "The Lord lives".
But it's the next phrase in the Scripture text that especially grips my heart as I prepare this encouragement; only three simple, monosyllabic words, "whom I serve". What a bold statement to make before the wicked and powerful king who in the previous chapter was described as one who "did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those before him" (2 Kings 16:30). He had made it very clear how he felt about the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In our day, as believers, we often let fear override our boldness as we attempt to witness. We keep the message subtle so there is no fallout if the recipient rejects our witness. But Elijah took a bold, unambiguous stand for the living God, and suffered or rejoiced in the consequences.
In the next chapter he is ready to confront Ahab again, along with the prophets of Baal, on Mount Carmel. Similar to the opening statement about him in our daily text in 1 Kings 18:15 we read, “As the Lord Almighty lives, whom I serve..." This demonstrates the persevering nature of Elijah's stand.
Prosperity, along with spiritual apostasy (falling away from the faith), characterized the reign of Ahab. This story is an interesting parallel to world conditions today, isn't it! Certainly I know that many in the world live in severe poverty and that here in America, as well as many other countries, we face economic uncertainty but I still assert, for the most part, we live in prosperous conditions.* Ahab, though a descendant of Abraham, didn't want to hear from this prophet and set out to kill him as a result of this prophecy of drought. And there are plenty today who don't want to hear anything from those who represent the living God.
Today we need men and women, teenagers and children, all around the world, who like Elijah will unashamedly declare their faith in the living God. May we personally proclaim, "The Lord lives, whom I serve" and boldly confront our apostate culture. Consider ways that we might go about doing that today.
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, I boldly declare that You are the living God whom I serve. Only a God like You can turn evil into good, exchange sorrow for joy, or offer life beyond the grave. Like Elijah, I want to fearlessly proclaim You to be the Lord and Savior of my life and tell of all Your wondrous deeds. I join with the apostle Paul in asking that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel to those who have not yet heard or comprehended its meaning for their lives. Amen.
* Prosperous Conditions - As our standard of living has risen so has our expectations and sense of entitlement to the "good life". When we do not receive what we feel we are entitled to, we may feel less than prosperous. This is a deception. Most all of us have indoor plumbing, electricity, a roof over our head and many other material blessings that others do not have.
Friday evening we attended a leadership banquet and heard the testimony of Pastor Brian Koch who was involved in a motorcycle accident in 2015 that killed his wife and caused extensive injuries including the loss of a leg. His motorcycle was struck by a drunk driver in an SUV. He has a remarkable testimony of overcoming and freedom from bitterness. A stunning part of his story was the opportunity he had, along with his three sons, to confront the SUV driver. It was during the sentencing phase they looked him right in the eye and told him he had made a bad choice that day by drinking and driving, but they were now exercising their choice to forgive him for his actions. An article about Pastor Koch
At the banquet we sat across from a young couple married just last year, who met in a Master's Commission discipling program in Philadelphia, directed by Joseph Cullen. He's a young man who grew up in our church in Massachusetts.
A group of service techs at JK Mechanical gather for a meeting prior to going out on their service calls. Aren't you thankful for the people who get up each day and work hard to provide a service we all need?
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Wide As The Sky" Video Matt Redman Another song that came to mind as Brooksyne recovered from her surgery and was required to keep her hands lifted up for three days!
We had a divided response to the stunning final of last night's Super Bowl at our small gathering just like the rest of the country; some happy, others not so much. Brooksyne snapped this photo during the final few plays. It certainly is a lesson on never giving up as sometimes there are amazing come-backs! Here is, in my view, the greatest play of the game which demonstrates astounding perseverance! Video
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Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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