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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Bench, Mastersonville Furniture, Mastersonville PA
 Doesn't this bench look like a great place to sit, enjoy a cup of coffee, and fellowship with a friend on a crisp fall day!

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"Whom I Serve"

"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).

Little girl raising hand Brooksyne has taught children since she committed her life to Christ in Junior High School. That's now a whopping 40 years and she's stored up many funny memories from the impromptu expressions of children.

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 with much confidence answered, "He didn't have no hair." (Interestingly, Elisha, who followed Elijah, was indeed a bald man!)

Elijah is certainly among the greatest characters of the Bible.  We have no background information on him except for the information found in the daily text, "the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead", which is how he is introduced into the Biblical narrative.

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. 

Elijah before King Ahab He is introduced in 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".  And He is alive forevermore!

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 stand to take before the wicked and powerful king who made it very clear how he felt about the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In our day we, as believers, often let fear drive us 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.

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.  How can we go about doing that today?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man
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.  May I 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.

Note: We are traveling to New England this morning and will continue to post daily encouragement messages but not necessarily each weekday.

* 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.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"I Will Serve You"  Video    Instrumental version

"The Longer I Serve Him"  Video  The Cathedrals

"Lord, I Offer My Life To You"  Video  Don Moen

"Today, I Choose To Follow You"  Video  Brian Doerksen

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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