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DAILY RENEWAL – THE CONSEQUENCES OF GREED

DAILY RENEWAL – THE CONSEQUENCES OF GREED

 May 23rd, 2018 || Scripture of the Day

Sometime later, there was an incident involving the vineyard belonging to Naboth the Jezreelite. The vineyard was in Jezreel, close to the palace of Ahab, king of Samaria.

Ahab said to Naboth. “Let me have your vineyard, to use for a vegetable garden, since it is close to my palace. In exchange, I will give you a better vineyard or, if you prefer, I will pay you whatever you prefer.”

But Naboth replied, “The LORD forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my ancestors.” So Ahab went home sullen and angry…

His wife Jezebel came in and asked him, “Why are you so sullen? Why won’t you eat?”…

Jezebel his wife said, “Is this how you act as king over Israel? Get up and eat. Cheer up., I’ll get you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.”

So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name…and sent them to the elders…

“Proclaim a day of fasting and seat Naboth in a prominent place…but seat two scoundrels opposite him and have them bring charges that he has cursed both God and the king. Then take him out and stone him to death.”…

They proclaimed a fast and seated Naboth in a prominent place among the people. Then two scoundrels came and sat opposite him and brought charges against Naboth…so they took him outside the city and stoned him to death…

When Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, he got up and went down to take possession of Naboth’s vineyard.

Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite…say to him, “This is what the LORD says: Have you not murdered a man and seized his property?…in the place where dogs licked up Naboth’s blood, dogs will lick up your blood – yes, yours.”  

I Kings 21:1-19

How much money is enough? How much material possessions is enough to satisfy the human craving? How many houses? How many cars? How much power? Is the craving for power and possessions worth taking another human life? Is it worth jeopardizing one’s life, family and future over? Is it worth the possible disgrace and even imprisonment?

But alas, greed that drives people to into jeopardy and even ultimate disgrace is a rather common plight with humanity. No matter how much we have or control, we are never satisfied! There is an insatiable craving for more in the soul of humans. Ultimately, that craving can drive us to commit unconscionable acts. In a bid to cover up; we lie, destroy others and even murder!

As king, Ahab had the best of everything. He lacked absolutely nothing and yet he still coveted the only possession that Naboth had. Jezebel, Ahab’s wife, ended up ordering the murder of Naboth so that her husband could have Naboth’s vineyard. Needless to say, God brought judgment. Greed and coveting what others have is something that plagues and pollutes the human heart. If left unchecked, it can lead to all kinds of dastardly behaviors and actions.

May God help us to continually examine our hearts and may we be transparent enough to deal with any issues of greed, jealousy and coveting of that which others have. May we be content with our own lot and blessings. The consequences of greed can be quite ghastly.

Prayer: O Lord, please help me to examine my heart. May I be content with my blessings and not covet or be jealous of what others might have or be blessed with. Amen.

Courtesy of RENEWAL CHRISTIAN CENTER 

DAILY RENEWAL – IT NEVER PAYS TO DISOBEY GOD

DAILY RENEWAL – IT NEVER PAYS TO DISOBEY GOD

 May 22nd, 2018 || Scripture of the Day

Wearing sackcloth around their waists and ropes around their heads, they went to the king of Israel and said, “Your servant Ben-Hadad says, ‘Please let me live.’ ”…

“Go and get him,” the king said. When Ben-Hadad came out, Ahab had him come out into his chariot.

“I will return the cities my father took from your father,” Ben Hadad offered ….

Ahab said, “On the basis of a treaty I will set you free.” So he made a treaty with him and let him go.

By the word of the LORD, one of the prophets said to his companion, “Strike me with with your weapon,” but he refused…

The prophet found another man and said, “Strike me, please.” So the man struck him and wounded him. Then the prophet went and stood by the road waiting for the king. He disguised himself with his headband down over his eyes.

As the king passed by, the prophet called out to him, “Your servant went into the thick of the battle, and someone came to me with a captive and said, ‘Guard this man. If he is missing, it will be your life for his life, or you must pay a talent of silver.’

While your servant was busy here and there, the man disappeared.”

“That is your sentence,” the king of Israel said. “You have pronounced it yourself.”

Then the prophet quickly removed the headband from his eyes, and the king of Israel recognized him as one of the prophets. He said to the king, “This is what the LORD says: ‘You have set free a man I had determined should die. Therefore it is your life for his life, your people for his people. Sullen and angry, the king of Israel went to his palace in Samaria.   

I Kings 20:32-43

Ahab was one of the most ungodly kings of Israel but God graciously gave him victory over the king of Syria and God expected him to put the king to death. But for material gain and political expediency, Ahab refused to kill Ben-Hadad and set him free with a treaty. The result? God pronounced judgment on Ahab and Israel.

The truth is: It never pays to disobey God.

It always pays to listen, follow instructions and obey. Disobedience can cost us the very blessings that we are disobeying God to keep. Ahab disobeyed God so he could get more territory to rule over but he ended up losing the very kingdom he was trying to expand.

Would you take a moment to reflect over your life? Is there any area in which you are being disobedient to God because you do not want to give it up? Do you realize that without God’s protective hand on it, you would not be able to keep it anyway?

May you and I be so in love with Jesus that there would be no known area of disobedience in our lives because it never pays to disobey God. May the Holy Spirit give us the grace to obey.

Prayer: Father, I ask for the grace to continually walk in obedience with you. Amen.

Courtesy of RENEWAL CHRISTIAN CENTER 

DAILY RENEWAL – A BIG GOD, TWO LITTLE FLOCKS OF GOATS, AND A VAST ARMY

DAILY RENEWAL – A BIG GOD, TWO LITTLE FLOCKS OF GOATS, AND A VAST ARMY

 May 21st, 2018 || Scripture of the Day

So it was, in the spring of that year, that Ben-Hadad mustered the Syrians and went up to Aphek to fight against Israel….

Now the children of Israel encamped before them like two little flocks of goats, while the Syrians filled the countryside…And they encamped opposite each other for seven days. So it was that on the seventh day the battle was joined; and the children of Israel killed one hundred thousand foot soldiers of the syrians in one day. But the rest fled to Aphek, into the city; then a wall fell on twenty-seven thousand of the men who were left.

And Ben-Hadad fled and went into the city, into an inner chamber.  

Then his servants said to him, “Look now, we have heard that the kings of the house of Israel are merciful kings. Please let us put sackcloth around our waists and ropes around our heads and go out to the King of Israel; perhaps he will spare our life.”

So they wore sackcloth around their waists and put ropes around their heads, and came to the King of Israel and said, “Your  servant Ben-Hadad says, ‘Please let me live.’ ”

And he said, “Is he still alive? He is my brother.”

I  Kings 20:29-32

Ben-Hadad started off boasting against Israel because Syria had a vastly superior army. What he did not know was that Israel did not depend on the vastness of their army but rather on the vastness of their God. Israel knew that God could save by the few or many as Jonathan the son of King Saul once said to his armor bearer. Israel knew that God could whittle down a vast army of 32,000 soldiers to a paltry 300 men and still give them victory as He did with Gideon.

Israel knew as the Psalmist says in Psalm 20:7 that “Some trust in chariots and some in horses but we will remember the Name of the LORD.”

God had already assured them of victory so even though they “Looked like two little flocks of goats, while the Syrians filled the countryside,” a victorious outcome was already theirs because the Mighty God was leading them in battle. The miracle of two little flocks of goats killing 100,000 enemy soldiers and twenty-seven thousand others crushed by a divinely orchestrated falling wall; along with their king wearing sackcloth and ropes tied around his head pleading for his life was a divinely orchestrated victory.

The vastness and enormity of your situation in light of your strength and ability to fight on, might make you look like two tiny flocks of goats facing a vast army that fills the countryside. You don’t have much of a weapon but the enemy has numerous horses and chariots. But hold on. Listen and look up to Jesus the author and finisher of your faith. He is with you all the way.

Your vast and enormous situation might be in the form of the salvation of a loved one for whom you have been praying for years; It could be a difficult financial situation; It could a difficult boss at work or an overwhelming job situation and environment; it could be a messy marital situation or even an impossible legal situation; it could be a deadly disease ravaging your body. Like Caleb and Joshua, don’t look at the giants on the land, look at the Giant of the God you serve.

Don’t be intimidated by the vastness of your problem; be encouraged by the vastness of your God and keep fighting on. You might look like two tiny flocks of goats and the enemy might look like a vast among spread among the countryside, but you serve a big God. Don’t give up. Fight on. Get up everyday and determine to fight on. God will bring you the victory.

Prayer: Father, I thank you for the assurance that it is not by my might or by my power, but by your Spirit. The mountain I face will be levelled in the Mighty Name of Jesus. Amen.

Courtesy of RENEWAL CHRISTIAN CENTER 

DAILY RENEWAL – OUR GOD IS GOD THE VALLEY; AND GOD OF THE PLAINS.

DAILY RENEWAL – OUR GOD IS GOD THE VALLEY; AND GOD OF THE PLAINS.

 May 20th, 2018 || Scripture of the Day

And the prophet came to the King of Israel and said to him, “Go, strengthen yourself; take note, and see what you should do, for in the spring of the year the King of Syria will come up against you.

Then the servants of the King of Syria said to him, “Their gods are gods of the hills. Therefore they were stronger than we; but if we fight against them in the plain, surely we will be stronger than they. So do this thing: Dismiss the kings, each from his position, and put captains in their places; and you shall muster an army like the army that you have lost, horse for horse and chariot for chariot. Then we will fight against them in the plain; surely we will be stronger than they.” And he listened to their voice and did so.

So it was that in the spring of the year, that Ben-Hadad mustered the Syrians and went up to Aphek to fight against Israel…

Now the children of Israel encamped before them like two little flocks of goats, while the Syrians filled the countryside.

Then a man of God came and spoke to the King of Israel, and said, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Because the Syrians have said, “The Lord is God of the hills, but He is not God of the valleys, “therefore I will deliver all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am the LORD.’…

So it was that on the seventh day the battle was joined; and the children of Israel killed  one hundred thousand soldiers of the Syrians in one day. But the rest fled to Aphek, into the city; then a wall fell on twenty-seven thousand of the men who were left.

And Ben-Hadad fled and went into the city, into an inner chamber.   

I Kings 20:22-30

Really? Our Almighty Creator God is only victorious in the hills and not in the valleys? The God of all creation and all nature can prevail only in the Mountains and not in the Valleys? The God who parted the Red Sea? The God who parted the Jordan? The God who caused the Wall of Jericho to tumble down with no human implement touching it? The God who shut the mouth of lions to protect Daniel?

The God who turned a fiery furnace of fire into an air-conditioned environment to protect His children? The God who caused both the Sun and the Moon to stand still at the request of Joshua so that the enemies of God could be annihilated? The God who caused barren Hannah to conceive? The God who spoke and calmed the stormy sea of Galilee? The God who brought money out of the mouth of a fish?

You see: If you have an idea of who God is, but have no intimate relationship with Him, you will only be privy to some of His reported acts but you will never fully understand the larger spectrum of His unbridled power, His immeasurable grace and His insatiable desire to bless and prosper His children whether in Mountain or Valley situations. Our God is God both in the mountain and in the valley.

Ben-Hadad had no idea who God is: To him, God’s power was limited like that of his false gods to the plains. But God showed him otherwise through the sound defeat they suffered.

Many times, the Enemy confuses us to believe that the power of God is limited and that there are certain situations that are too difficult to believe God for! No! Never believe that!

The God who heals illnesses and diseases can also give financial miracles; He can save “unsavable” loved ones; He can turn impossible legal messes around in our favor; He can fight our battles for us on our jobs and businesses; He can bring us that spouse we have been praying for so long; He can cause barren wombs to be fruitful. Our God is God of the Valleys and God of the Plains. Your situation is covered by Him! Fight on in faith!

Prayer: Father, I will press on with the battle because I know my situation is totally covered by your grace and power. Amen.

Courtesy of RENEWAL CHRISTIAN CENTER 

DAILY RENEWAL – WHO CAN STAND AGAINST THE LORD ALMIGHTY?

DAILY RENEWAL – WHO CAN STAND AGAINST THE LORD ALMIGHTY?

 May 19th, 2018 || Scripture of the Day

Meanwhile a prophet came to Ahab and announced, “This is what the LORD says: ‘Do you see this vast army? I will give it into your hand today and then you will know that I am the LORD.’  ”

“But who will do this,” asked Ahab. The prophet replied, “This is what the LORD says: ‘The junior officers under the provincial commanders will do it.’ ” “And who will start the battle,” he asked. The prophet answered. “You will.”

So Ahab summoned the 232 junior officers…then he assembled the rest of the Israelites, 7000 in all…they set out at noon while Ben-Hadad and the 32 kings allied with him were in their tents getting drunk…

Now Ben-Hadad had dispatched scouts, who reported, “Men are advancing from Samaria.” He said, “If they have come out for peace, take them alive; if they have come out for war, take them alive.”

The junior officers under the provincial commanders marched out of the city with the army behind them and each one struck down his opponent. At that, the Arameans fled with the Israelites in pursuit. But Ben-Hadad king of Aram escaped on horseback with some of his horsemen. The king of Israel advanced and overpowered the horses and chariots and inflicted heavy losses on the Arameans.   

I Kings 20:13-21

Ben-Hadad had defiantly boasted about how he was going to defeat Israel and carry the king of Israel’s wives and children into captivity along with all the gold and silver in the land. What Ben-Hadad did not factor in was what the God of Israel could do for His people. He did not know that the Almighty God was the ultimate defence of Israel.

God sent a prophet with a word to Ahab that He would give Ben-Hadad into the hands of Israel using Junior Officers. While Ben-Hadad was busy getting drunk, Israel attacked and routed the Aramean forces under the leadership of 32 allied kings. Ben-Hadad escaped on horseback.

I am struck by two things:

First: What would have happened if Ahab had acquiesced to the threats of Ben-Hadad and had sent off his wives and children along with his gold and silver into the hands of Ben-Hadad? Obviously, He would never have experienced the victory that God had in store for him against Ahab and his 32 allied kings.

We must never give in to the threats and demands of the Enemy. We must look up unto Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith. God will never abandon us. We are the work of His hands and He will always stand with us in whatever battle we face no matter how formidable the Enemy might prove to be. Who can stand against the LORD God Almighty? If God be for us, who can be against us?

Second, I am at a loss about the unfathomable grace of God! Ahab was a wicked and godless king but God mercifully came to His rescue when the enemy rose up against him. Understanding the grace of God – God’s unmerited favor, love and compassion would cause our hearts to be at peace. If God is so gracious to such a wicked king, why would he withhold His grace from us? When we find ourselves in dire straights, let us remember that the God of all grace is always with us. Never cave in to the threats of the Enemy because the grace of God will always be sufficient for you.

Prayer: Father, I confess that in the face of threats from the Enemy, my heart gets troubled. But I know that you are always with me and you will always fight my battles. Thank you that I can always stand still and count on your deliverance. Amen.

Courtesy of RENEWAL CHRISTIAN CENTER 

DAILY RENEWAL – DON’T CAVE IN THE THREATS OF THE ENEMY – YOUR GOD IS ABLE

DAILY RENEWAL – DON’T CAVE IN THE THREATS OF THE ENEMY – YOUR GOD IS ABLE

 May 18th, 2018 || Scripture of the Day

Now Ben-Hadad King of Aram mustered his entire army. Accompanied by thirty-two kings with their horses and chariots, he went up and besieged Samaria and attacked it. He sent messengers into the city to Ahab king of Israel, saying, “This is what Ben-Hadad says: “Your silver and gold are mine and the best of your wives and children are mine.”

The king of Israel answered, “Just as you say, my lord the king. All I have is yours.”

The messengers came again and said, “This is what Ben-Hadad says: “I sent to demand your silver and gold, your wives and your children. But about this time tomorrow, I am going to send my officials to search your palace and the houses of your officials. They will seize everything you value and carry it away.”

The king of Israel summoned all the elders of the land…

The elders and the people all answered, “Don’t listen to him or agree to his demands…

Then Ben-Hadad sent another message to Ahab: “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if enough dust remains in Samaria to give each of my men a handful.”

The king of Israel answered, “Tell him: ‘One who puts on his armor should not boast like one who takes it off.’ ”

Ben-Hadad heard this message while he and the kings were drinking in their tents, and so he ordered his men, “Prepare to attack.” So they prepared to attack the city.

I kings 20:1-12

“ I sent to demand your gold and silver, your wives and children. But about this time tomorrow, I am going to send my officials to search your palace and the houses of your officials. They will seize everything you value and carry it away.”

The demands of Ben-Hadad was common practice in those days. Kings would attack other nations and carry off everything they could lay hands on. Overnight, royals could be captured and sent into slavery. That is what the King of Israel, Ahab, faced.

Ahab agreed to have the best of his wives and children, as well as his gold and silver to be taken by the invading king, Ben-Hadad. He caved in with no resistance whatsoever. This emboldened Ben-Hadad to make even more demand. After, consulting with the elders, however, Ahab mustered courage to reject the demands of Ben-Hadad. This caused Ben-Hadad to threaten Ahab with total annihilation. But his boasting was rather premature. It was not to be!

There are some noteworthy lessons here:

First, our Enemy (Satan) always starts by making “small” demands of us. If we give in, he will come back with bigger demands that can completely wipe us off because we caved in to his earlier demands. No matter how difficult your situation might be, never give in to the suggestions of the enemy simply because you want to survive. If you do, he will come back to completely deplete you.

Second: When you find yourself in a jam, seek godly counsel from trusted people around you.

Never go it alone. Godly counsel will enable you to see other possibilities and strengthen you to withstand the threats and attacks of the adversary.

Finally, the reply of Ahab to Ben-Hadad is rather insightful: “One who puts on his armor should not boast like one who takes it off.” In other words, don’t boast about what you will accomplish in battle before you even set out for the battle.

Two applications: First, Never be boastful about tomorrow. Always be humble because you can never guarantee a positive outcome for tomorrow. Everything is by the grace of God.

Second: Our mortal enemy, Satan is very boastful when he comes against us with his threats. He would want us to believe that he has already wiped us out so we have no future to look forward to. But remind Satan that his boast has no basis because Jesus has already defeated him. His boasting is only to comfort his pitiful soul! Satan cannot overcome our Defender!

You are a child of the King of Kings! You are a child of the Lion of the tribe of Judah. Let this truth uphold you. Don’t cave in to the threats of the enemy; Your God is able!

Prayer: Father, I thank you that I am more than a conqueror through Jesus my Lord. Amen.

Courtesy of RENEWAL CHRISTIAN CENTER 

DAILY RENEWAL – GOD CALLS HARDWORKING PEOPLE; NOT LAZY PEOPLE

DAILY RENEWAL – GOD CALLS HARDWORKING PEOPLE; NOT LAZY PEOPLE

 May 17th, 2018 || Scripture of the Day

So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. “Let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,” he said, “and then I will come with you.”…

So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned his plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and he became his servant.    

I Kings 19:19-21

The scene was definitely dramatic. Elijah was tired of continuing with his responsibilities as God’s prophet to a defiant nation so God asked him to anoint Elisha as his successor. Elijah found Elisha plowing in the field and he threw his cloak upon him, signifying that the mantle of succession had been placed upon Elisha’s shoulders. Elisha immediately recognized the call from God, severed ties with his old way of life and became Elijah’s servant.

There are many striking things about the call of Elisha but one arresting thing is that Elisha was very busy working when God placed the call of service upon him. Elisha seemed to running  a busy farming enterprise. He was busy overseeing twelve men who were ploughing with twelve yoke of oxen and he himself was ploughing with the twelfth pair!

Elisha was busily engaged with his workers on the farm. Elijah did not find him sitting under a tree sipping some soda whilst his workers were busy ploughing. No! Elisha was as busy as the regular workers. This is a principle worth noting: God calls busy and engaged people.  God calls hardworking people; not lazy people.

We see this all through Scripture:

David was a busy shepherd when called to be king.

Moses was a busy shepherd when he encountered God in the burning bush

The disciples were busy fishermen and tax collectors when called by Jesus.

Paul was a busy prosecutor, a prosecutor energetically tracking down Christians when he encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus.

Jesus Himself worked so hard that He once fell asleep in a boat totally exhausted from His labors.

Do you have a burning desire to be used by God in any capacity? Then ask yourself if you are willing to work hard to accomplish God’s Kingdom agenda. God uses hard working people; not lazy ones!

Prayer: Dear Lord, I am available for your use. Please help me to give you my all as you use me. Amen.

Courtesy of RENEWAL CHRISTIAN CENTER 

DAILY RENEWAL – TAKE GOD AT HIS WORD

DAILY RENEWAL – TAKE GOD AT HIS WORD

 May 16th,2018 || Scripture of the Day

The LORD said to Moses at Mount Sinai, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: “When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a Sabbath to the LORD. For six years sow your fields and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. But in the seventh year, the land is to have a year of Sabbath rest, a Sabbath to the LORD. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards

…Follow my decrees and be careful to obey my laws …and you will eat your fill and live there in safety. You may ask, “What will we eat in the seventh year if we do not plant or harvest our crops?” I will send you such a blessing in the sixth year that the land will yield enough for three years. While you plant during the eighth year, you will eat from the old crop and will continue to eat from it until the harvest of the ninth year comes in.

Leviticus 25:1-4; 18-22

Our existential needs and economic survival is one of the most passionate drives of human life. The age-old question of would I have food, clothing and shelter for tomorrow drives an understandable panic into our lives and pushes us to hold tightly unto every penny we make and forget about God’s promise that He will take care of our tomorrows. This is what makes it so difficult for many of us to give to God and follow His word concerning trusting Him with our resources.

The Israelites were no different. God asked them not to cultivate their fields in the seventh year as a form of offering to God. The natural question was: “What are we going to eat if we give the seventh year as an offering to you by not planting crops?” God’s answer was simple: “If you trust me enough to obey my word, I will bless you so much that one year’s crops will feed you for three years.”

Do you trust God enough to release to Him what His word commands us to give to Him financially? It can be frightening when you start out but God will bless you just as His word declares. God is a giver, not a taker. He only receives to multiply back to us many times over. Take God at His word and start blessing His Kingdom with your time, talents and treasures and watch Him surprise you pleasantly!

Prayer: Father, please help me to take you at your word. Help me to release and not hold back from you. I want to be generous in using my time, talents and treasures for your Kingdom. Thank you. In Jesus’ Mighty Name I pray. Amen.

Courtesy of RENEWAL CHRISTIAN CENTER 

DAILY RENEWAL – GOD DEMANDS YOUR ALL

DAILY RENEWAL – GOD DEMANDS YOUR ALL

May 15th, 2018 || Scripture of the Day

So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. “Let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,” he said, “and then I will come with you..”

“Go back, “Elijah replied, “What have I done to you?”

So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant.    

I Kings19: 19-21

One of my favorite hymns is a song of dedication which I sing on almost a daily basis in my quiet time:

Take my life and let it be consecrated Lord to thee

Take my moments and my days, let them flow in ceaseless praise

Take my silver and my gold; not a mite will I withhold

Take my intellect and use; every moment as thou shalt choose.

Take my will and make it thine; it shall be no longer mine

Take my heart it is thine own; it shall be thy royal throne

I sing it as a reminder that the call to follow Christ demands total abandonment and dedication. Whatever blessings we have must be held with a light rather than a tight fist because it belongs to our Lord Jesus and we must be willing to part with it if He so demands! This is an unfailing principle we see all through Scripture, even in the life of Jesus Himself who left everything in Heaven and made Himself nothing; taking on the form of a servant (slave) Phil. 2:7). Paul and the disciples also left everything to follow Jesus. Abraham left everything for a land which he did not even know!

The call of Elisha was no different. He severed ties with everything that tied him to his farming business and left it all to become Elijah’s servant. To him, and all the others too numerous to recount in this short writing, leaving everything to follow God was well worth it. One notable exception is the rich young ruler who rejected the word of Jesus to give his possessions to the poor and to come and follow Jesus. The Bible says he went away sad because he was not willing to give up his great wealth (Mark 10). He lost the treasures of Heaven.

Frankly, we live in an age where we are unwilling to give up anything of value for the sake of God’s Kingdom agenda. We want to follow Jesus and we want God to use us but we are simply unwilling to divest ourselves of anything that God might demand of us, which in most cases tend to weigh us down in our walk with God anyway. Passing the test of divestiture when it comes to our dearest possessions is an unchanging spiritual principle that God uses to sift the willing from the not so willing. Will you pass that test? Think carefully about it.

Prayer: Father, I confess that there are many things that I am simply unwilling to give up even as I follow you. My cry today is that you will help me to hold every possession very lightly, recognizing that you alone are the true owner of my time, talents and treasures. Amen.

Courtesy of RENEWAL CHRISTIAN CENTER

DAILY RENEWAL – YOU ARE NOT ALONE

DAILY RENEWAL – YOU ARE NOT ALONE

May 14th, 2018 || Scripture of the Day

Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah? “He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left and now they are trying to kill me too. The LORD said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Jehu, son of Nimshi king over Israel and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. Yet, I reserve seven thousand in Israel – all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.

I Kings 19:13-18

Elijah had experienced the power of God in a spectacular and unparalleled manner. At his word, the rains were shut off and Israel experienced a three-and-a-half-year drought. Elijah was miraculously fed by ravens. At his word, the widow with whom God directed him to sojourn during the drought experienced an unending supply of food which came out of her very last meal.

Through his powerful intercession, Elijah petitioned God and brought back the widow’s dead son to life. Through his petition, God brought fire down from Heaven to consume the sacrifice. Elijah also prayed and the rains came down to quench the drought. Elijah was so full of the Holy Spirit’s power that he outran the horse and chariot of Ahab as Ahab raced to get home before the rains overtook him. Elijah was the top pedigree of a true, hungry and powerful servant of God.

With all that Elijah had been used by God for, it was easy to think that he “was it.” How could such a powerful person ever doubt God’s protective power? But he did. Elijah felt overworked by God, fell into a “depressive state” and wished that he were dead. He pitifully surmised that he was the only one of God’s prophets left. Everyone had turned their backs on God and there was no one else whom God could depend on for His Kingdom agenda. But boy, was he wrong! God plainly said to him, “I reserve seven thousand in Israel – all whose knees have not bowed to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.”

There are two valuable lessons to think over:

First: Keep strong but humble as you serve the LORD. You are not the only one who has not bowed to Baal. There are seven thousand others with you on the journey. God knows what you do not know so never presume anything.

Second: Be careful what you ask for. God might just do it to your surprise! Elijah said he was tired and wanted to quit – in fact he wanted to die. God was rather gracious and did not allow him to die. God asked him to anoint Elisha to replace him and graciously took him to heaven. Remember what the Bible says, “The tongue has the power of life and death.” (Proverbs 18:21).

Prayer: Lord, I thank you that I am never alone because you have promised never to leave nor forsake me. I am confident that because you started this good work in me you will faithfully complete it. Amen.

Courtesy of RENEWAL CHRISTIAN CENTER