Those That Serve—January 8, 2017

1 Kings 18Vol. 2, No. 2 – 2017

Elijah climbed to the top of Mount Carmel and fell to the ground and prayed.  1 Kings 18:42

Last year I began to write a mid-month blog. I want to continue that framework this year and continue to think toward people God uses. We live in a world that is the product of decisions of people—not all of the decisions are good. Leadership in our world is unreliable at best; there is good, however, there is a lot to be done and the One leader that is dependable.

Thomas Paine wrote in a Revolutionary War pamphlet, The Crisis, “These are times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in the crisis, shrink from the service of their country, but he that stands it now, deserves  the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheaply, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value.”

A believer in Almighty God may be tempted to “adjust” the verbiage; however, the principle remains. We live in a nation that is in deep turmoil. The division of the people is profound. Absolute truth contends with the secular and pagan philosophies. Leaders seek to have authority over that which is not theirs to have. Some leaders are profound—they recognize their accountability and seek to be righteous, just, and respectful toward people that God has placed them over.

The percentages for each “side” are not small—and they are fairly evenly divided. Thus, it seems to the rational person that progress may not be attainable. However, is that true?

Elijah faced 450 prophets of Baal. He was one person, and he blew the prophets of Baal off Mount Carmel. King Ahab just goes on drinking, eating, and mingling with the decadent attendants of his administration. Elijah bends his knee in prayer to the Almighty God, the One True Leader.

Elijah, the following leader of God, prays for God to release the famine. God does exactly that.

The sky was soon black with clouds. A heavy wind brought a terrific rainstorm  . . ..The Lord gave special strength to Elijah. 1 Kings 18:45-46

The person God uses seeks His power, His leadership. History depicts the chronology of developing power; manpower, animal power, waterpower, steam power, dynamite/TNT, and even atomic power. However, there is no power equal to prayer power—to the power residing in Almighty God.

Leonard Ravenhill speaks of the lack of prayer power in the Church:

The Church has many organizers, but few agonizers; many who pay, but few who pray; many resters, but few wrestlers; many who are enterprising, but few who are interceding. Do not mistake action for unction, commotion for creation, nor rattles for revivals.

Institutions, businesses, and governments follow suit being no different; thus, the prevailing philosophy in our nation is man-centered. While there are those on the other side of the divide that are nominally God-centered, there are too many asleep at the switch to make the difference expected.

Are you one of them?

Prayer is simple; it is quietly opening a door
Slipping into the presence of God
There in the stillness, listen to His voice
Perhaps to petition, or listen
Being in His presence begins your prayer

Mid-Month Blog—Those That Serve—December 15, 2016

Vol. 1, No. 121 Kings 18M – 2016

If the Lord is God, follow Him! If Baal is God, follow him! But the people were completely silent.  1 Kings 18:21

The silence was deafening. They raved all afternoon until the time of the evening sacrifice, but still there was no reply, no voice, no answer. The only sound was perhaps the sandal of Elijah as his feet scooted along the ground in his busyness before the One who was his Supreme Leader.

The false leader (god) had his chance; now Almighty God would demonstrate His power and authority.

It is interesting what Elijah does not do:

  1. He does not lecture
  2. He does not pronounce a three-point sermon
  3. He does not admonish
  4. He does not force something “fresh” upon them to “blend” with the times

It is also interesting what Elijah does:

  1. He repairs the altar—he does not leave it in ruins (vs 30)
  2. He takes 12 stones—each represents a tribe in Israel (vs 31) [their future is tied to their heritage]
  3. He pours water upon the wood laid for fire—four jars, three times [picturing the attempts to extinguish the work of God]
  4. He speaks about their practice—their drift from that which God established
  5. He reminds them that God is eternal—he reminds of what lasts (vs 37)
  6. He states his case—in terms of their spiritual heritage
  7. He prays—Lord, your people need to know You  . . . Lord, your people need to be brought back to You (vss 36-37)

Often those who contest God play games. God always wins.

Leaders of government, institutions, churches, and businesses often play games to accomplish what they want. They often rely on the latest fads of color, programs, and secular appeal. However, the reliable is that which is shown dependable; and, the reliable is based on absolute truth, integrity, justice, and righteousness.

What should leaders do to develop following leaders; the latest of fads, or use the reliable truths imbedded in success God’s way?

Let us be thankful and please God by worshiping Him with holy fear and awe. For our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:28-29

Mid-Month Blog—Leader Alone—November 15, 2016

Vol. 1, No. 11M – 20161 Kings 18

How long are you going to waver between two opinions? 1 Kings 18:21

I heard an illustration used by a pastor regarding the feeling of being alone:

Imagine, if you will, being on the home court of the Cleveland Cavaliers, surrounded by 35,000 vibrant fans, all dresses in wine and gold. You are expected to play the “Cavs.” However, there is a problem. You are by yourself; and they have strength in their bench as well.

When the announcer gives the list of starters, your team list is short—one, you. The announcer asks the audience supporting the visiting team to stand and clap—no one does. It is simply silence—dead silence.

Elijah felt the rumble of the feet of the opposing “team.”

Mount Carmel, the arena, is an intimidating place for a lonely prophet (leadership often has that feeling). The confrontation ensues, and the environment is heated and strong.

  1. Elijah is seen as a “trouble-maker”—many leaders are seen that way
  2. Elijah goes against the politically correct flow—however, even dead fish go with the flow
  3. Elijah did not read the opinion polls—however, most opinion polls are fraudulent
  4. Elijah is blamed for the problems of the day—but then, the Christians seem to hold that mark
  5. Elijah faces horrendous odds, 850:1—but then God’s people have always faced large opposition
  6. Elijah fights for the soul of the nation—but the nation wants man’s hope and change
  7. Elijah challenges the people—but the nations media attempts to drown him out

Elijah, the leader chosen by God, shouts out: Stop wavering—pick—then follow! Elijah, the leader, gives the people a shove—get off the fence!

Leaders God is willing to use confront all odds. They appeal to the power of the One they serve.

Our nation, businesses, and institutions are all looking for a few good leaders; leaders who will commit to follow the One who has integrity, righteousness, justice, and absolute truth before all others.

Who are you committed to, first of all? Leaders develop following leaders—they will mimic the life you model.

We are Christ’s ambassadors, and God is using us to speak to you. We urge you, as though Christ himself were here pleading with you. Be reconciled to God! 2 Corinthians 5:20

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