The Presence

7th October

““Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.”

1 Kings 19:11-13

God asked Elijah a question two times, “what are you doing here?” Elijah response was the same both times. A defensive yet completely human response. He was scared. He was scared because Jezebel had issued a death warrant for his life and he was the only God-fearing prophet let to represent the One True God. However, God’s questions searched deeper into Elijah’s heart than just what he was physically doing on Mount Sinai.

In verse 4 of chapter 19 Elijah prays to God that his life might end, comparing his life to that of his ancestors. He had enough of being chased by King Ahab and Jezebel and he felt drained that Israel had turned their back on God. Yet God had clearly given Elijah a clear call to defend Him and turn the people back to Him. When God encountered Elijah on the mountain, His question could be interpreted as “why are you running away from what I am calling you to do?”

As God tells Elijah to go out and meet Him, He sent three signs of judgement (wind, earthquakes and fire were often seen as signs of God’s judgements), yet in each of those signs, He was not there. Instead God was found in the still small voice, in the gentle whisper. This highlights that God was not angry with Elijah but understood what he was going through. Not only was God gracious in His response to Elijah but also promised him 7,000 more faithful Israelites and an assistant to help, Elisha.

When we feel alone, scared and even daunted by the task God has given us to do, let us remember this story. Let us remember that God is gracious, He doesn’t get angry with us and more importantly, He equips us to do the task He has called us to do. Where God leads, He equips. Where He guides, He provides!!

Don’t Give up

7th September

But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you can trust those who have taught you. You have been taught the Holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus.

2 Timothy 3:14-15

Don’ give up. Don’t let this world dictate how you live but stand firm in the knowledge of who you are in Christ and what His word says about you. God’s word is so powerful that even 2000 years after it was written, it is still impacting people’s live. Many have tried to destroy it, tear it apart and say it’s worthless, yet nothing could be further from the truth. His word is a real and alive today as it was when it was written. It is not empty words but life. When we see calamity and disaster around us, it is the sure foundation on which our hope rests. It gives us the surety to trust in Jesus Christ and gives us wisdom to receive the truth and gift of salvation.

Paul’s final words to his young disciple was to stay steadfast and faithful to the things he had been taught through the scriptures. Most probably it was his mother and grandmother who educated him in the scriptures, as this was referenced 2 Timothy 1:5. Yet whoever it was that did teach him, had a deep reverence for the word of God and was also trusted by Paul.

May God’s word strengthen you today, may it be a source of wisdom and hope for you too. May it stand as a direction post to Jesus and His salvation, His grace and His love. May you know all that Jesus has for your life. May His word give you strength to remain faithful.

Remembering God’s Faithfulness

25th August

O God our God, did you not drive out those who lived in this land when Israel arrived? And did you not give this land forever to the descendants of your friend Abraham?……Whenever we are faced with any calamity such as war, plague, or famine, we can come to stand in your presence ….We can cry out to you to save us, and you will hear us.

2 Chronicles 20:7-9

Remembering God’s faithfulness in times of trouble is a key way to knowing that, in His faithfulness and mercy, He will protect and watch over us as He has promised. God is faithful. Period. There is never a time in history nor will there ever be, when God has stopped being faithful. He is faithful in our weakness and even when we don’t deserve it.

Jehoshaphat, although a God fearing man, previously had partnered with King Ahab (a not so Godly man) of Israel. Because of this bad allegiance, when King Ahab and King Jehoshaphat went to war together (against the will of God), not only did they loose the war but King Ahab also lost his life. God was greatly grieved that Jehoshaphat has not listened to Him and many people needlessly died on the battle field. Yet even still, God showed mercy once again to Jehoshaphat, rescued him and forgave Him.

However, unlike King Ahab, Jehoshaphat completely had full trust in His merciful God. He completely trusted Him to save their nation because of God’s faithfulness throughout their history and because God has promised them the land they were living in. He knew that if they cried out, God would hear.

When we are faced with situations where the outcome is out of our hands, we should not try to fix it on our own, but completely surrender it to God, knowing that just as He has helped us in the past, so He will continue to do in the future. Leaning on God’s promises and faithfulness in the past gives us a solid foundation to trust Him with our future. If the road ahead is unclear, trust God even more and let His light direct your steps.

The God-Fearing Household Of Samson…

13th May

When her son was born, she named him Samson. And the Lord blessed him as he grew up. And the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him…”.”

Judges 13:24-25a

At the time of Samson’s birth, the nation of Israel were in persecution from the Philistines due to their rebellion against God. Yet through the birth of Samson, things looked like they might change.

Samson grew up in what was probably one of the few God-fearing households in Israel. His parents had received a divine message from the Angel of the Lord and they were making sure to obey His instructions for the birth and life of their son.

However one day, his parents worst nightmare came true. After visiting the Philistine city of Timnah, he came across a young Philistine woman, whom he fell in love with and wanted to marry. He approached his parents in what seems as an act of arrogance and defiance, showing the opposite God-fearing attitude his parents had, “A young Philistine woman in Timnah caught my eye. I want to marry her. Get her for me.” Of course his parents objected to this as they didn’t want Samson to marry outside of their tribe and more importantly didn’t want him to marry a pagan woman. Yet in a reply of sheer pride and arrogance, Samson showed no respect for God or his parents, “Get her for me! She looks good to me.”

How often in our own lives, even though we are surrounded by Godly people, Godly attitudes and even have experienced God for ourselves, do we disobey Him by the temptations of our eyes and the weaknesses of our desires. Samson’s parents most assuredly did their best to raise Samson with a fear and reverence of God, yet it seemed to no avail. However, even in Samson’s rebellion and even in ours, God always has a plan to glorify Himself, “His mother and father didn’t realise the Lord was at work in this…”

God never stops being faithful, even in our deepest rebellion. He is always ready to welcome us back and in the midst of our sin, He’s making a way out.

The Generational Faithfulness Of God

25th – 26th April

Weekend Edition

For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and His faithfulness continues to each generation.”

Psalm 100:5

Throughout the Bible, there are so many verses about God’s faithfulness and goodness. Why is it that so? Is it because we need reminding on a regular basis of the goodness and faithfulness of our Lord? Or is it because God doesn’t want us to forget that His faithfulness ‘continues to each generation’? Or is it simply because the authors that wrote about God’s faithfulness experienced it on a regular basis and wanted to share their experience with us, the readers?

Well you could answer yes to all the above questions. The underlying truth is, that God is faithful and His love continues forever! This verse is almost like a summary of the whole Bible. It is not about our doings or works, it is about who God is. A life spent getting to know God’s character and learning more about the attributes of God, as stated in this verse, is a life well spent. The simple truth of God’s goodness, faithfulness and love, is a wonderful message for us today, but also for the generations to come.

Let us join the writer of this wonderful psalm and pass on the news to our children, friends and foes. God is faithful. God is love. God is good. His character does not change when ours does. His mood does not change when ours does. His love for us is not dependent on our love for Him. He is faithful even when we are not.

Surely that is reason enough to enter His courts with joy and thanksgiving!! Shake off your worries and woes and rejoice in the goodness of God!