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Love the little sign graphic,
"God is good all the time."

But it's missing the call and response so often said in churches:

Leader: God is good
Congregation: All the time
Leader: All the time
Congregation: God is good

Don't know why but that put such a smile on my face. Also, I agree with Mike, Elijah rocks!

1 Kings 18:1-46

In both the Old Testament and the New we see God defending Himself, declaring that it is He and He alone that is being challenged: Not Elijah nor Peter, but God. Many times we think we have to ague others into believing or obeying God because that is the only way they will come into the Kingdom. Yes Mike, the only thing we need to put forth is what Paul stated after he experienced getting beat up time and time again trying to argue people into the Kingdom,” For I resolved to know nothing (to be acquainted with nothing, to make a display of the knowledge of nothing, and to be conscious of nothing) among you except Jesus Christ (the Messiah) and Him crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:2 AMP)”


Elijah had hints of frustration in doing what God called him to do when he states in the showdown that He is the only one left of God’s prophet (22) after Obadiah told him that he had hid 100 prophets in two caves. This is a lesson for us when we feel that we are the only one on our job, block, school that is calling on Jesus Christ. We are not. Obadiah also feared God while serving a wicked king. Too often we become frustrated and whine and moan about our supervisors, teachers and family members who are unbelievers while we are standing and toiling in the midst of them. We blame them for our inability to not truly serve God, but here we see a man who did. Let us not skip over Obadiah’s testimony.


Several years ago I became sad when I took notice of how many believers call on God like these prophets of false gods. Eigh-hundred and fifty prophets, 450 belonging to Baal and 400 belonging to Asherah called out all morning and past the afternoon trying to get their gods attention. Many Believers have taken this model and call out to the God, the Most High as if He is one of the Baals. Elijah didn’t do any incantations, he didn’t rebuke and bind. He didn’t pick up His bible in one-hand and raise it over his head shaking it at God. In fact Elijah in all appearances made God’s job harder, he drenched the burn offering with a scarce commodity, water. Without lighting a match or drying out the wood and offering, God came down and did his thing and Elijah didn’t have to beg Him.

Keep on asking and it will be given you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking [reverently] and [the door] will be opened to you. For everyone who keeps on asking receives; and he who keeps on seeking finds; and to him who keeps on knocking, [the door] will be opened. Or what man is there of you, if his son asks him for a loaf of bread, will hand him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will hand him a serpent? If you then, evil as you are, know how to give good and advantageous gifts to your children, how much more will your Father Who is in heaven [perfect as He is] give good and advantageous things to those who keep on asking Him! (Matthew 7:7-11 AMP)
We are to ask, not yell-jump up and down, shout at God, etc, etc, etc.

Elijah praying and the small cloud showing up after seven times seeking, which to him meant rain storm, is also a lesson for us, with God nothing is ever what it seems to be. What would the U.S. weather service have forecasted if there was only one small cloud in the sky?

We serve a great God!

1Kings18

"So Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him, and Ahab went to meet Elijah. When he saw Elijah, he said to him, "Is that you, you troubler of Israel?" NIV

Ahab is a blamer. No thought in his mind that he could be to blame.

"At noon Elijah began to taunt them. "Shout louder!" he said. "Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened." NIV

Psa 121:4 Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

"Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD had come, saying, "Your name shall be Israel." NIV

The altar was not built for North or South, but all Israel.

"At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: "O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again." NIV

A humble prayer unlike the Baal prayers. YOU are God...YOUR servant...YOUR command...YOU, O Lord, are God....YOU are turning....

"When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, "The LORD -he is God! The LORD -he is God!" NIV

Literally:

"Jehova is Elohim" The personal God of Israel is the Powerful Creator God. The personal God of Israel is the one True God.

Remmeber back in Genesis that up until creation was finished - Hebrew word for God in text is always Elohim. After Creation is completed it is Jehova.

JEHOVA (or YAHWEH):is the covenant name of God, the personal God of Israel.

ELOHIM: God as Creator, Preserver, Transcendent, Mighty and Strong.

Amen and Amen.

[NOTE: By persoanl God of Israel - it is meant in a "relationship" sense, not an "ownership" sense.]


Kings 18:1-46
Very interesting that this Challenge, what Mike calls the WWF Championship, to the prophets of Baal, and Baal’s cohort, Asherah, was the challenge of who had control of the water. Baal means “master” or “owner” {"Baal." Encyclopedia Mythica from Encyclopedia Mythica Online.[Accessed June 17, 2005].} and is associated with rain. Elijah had told Ahab in chapter seventeen there would be no rain for several years as per the Word of the Lord, so God was declaring that He was in charge not Baal. The whole alter, challenge thing takes on a completely new light for me with that little bit of information I found out about Baal. As the prophets danced, cajoled, begged Baal to set their offering on fire, they were asking Baal to do what they claimed he controlled. “Baal put your money where your mouth is!” Oops Baal had no mouth he is a rock or piece of wood.

Now when Elijah got ready to do his thing by preparing the alter he was going to use, that pouring of water over the offering until it pulled up in the trenches was a slap in the face to Baal. But when the fire came down and burnt up the offering, rocks, and lapped up the water, God was saying, “I’m more than enough to defeat Baal,” He humiliated the puny god they served.

Of the things I see in this is that we don’t have to jump up and down, cry, beg, scream and holler for God to do what He says He will do. If we speak the Word of the Lord, which is settled in heaven, God keeps His Word. In fact I believe if we find ourselves shouting, begging, stomping and cutting to try to get God’s attention maybe we better check the god we are calling on and/or the Word we are claiming that God spoke.

Acts 11:1-30
The proof of the Gospel’s effect is changed lives despite what we want to believe. It’s amazing how we stand in judgement of others and their relationship to the Gospel. I don’t’ think we have a hard time believing that God changes lives; we accept that. What we have a hard time believing is that God will change the lives of people we don’t like for whatever reasons we may harbor. Funny but God never comes and asks our opinion on who he should grant salvation too. I know He hasn’t asked me yet. I guess we have to learn to “just get over” it.

It’s funny but every time I think about the Apostle Paul I’m reminded of a reformed cigarette smoker especially one who had a three-four pack a day habit. They become like ravenous wolves when chastising people who smoke in their face, or around babies, or around anything. In New York City smoking in banned all over the place so folks have to hang out in the streets and hang off the balcony to pick up some nicotine.
Psalm 135:1-21
Talk about idols and false gods, this Psalm hits the idols and their worshipers’ right between the eyes with their uselessness.

15 Their idols are merely things of silver and gold,
shaped by human hands.

16 They cannot talk, though they have mouths,
or see, though they have eyes!

17 They cannot hear with their ears
or smell with their noses.

18 And those who make them are just like them,
as are all who trust in them.

That eighteenth verse says to me in Ramona’s translation or paraphrase, “You are what you worship.” Sooooo, if what ever we have, I have, in front of me that I put my trust in other than God, I become. Yikes!!

Proverbs 17:12-13

I’m feeling Mike’s comments on verse thirteen about evil not leaving one’s house when good is repaid by evil, but I think that verse thirteen sits under verse twelve, meeting a bear with her cubs is safer than confronting a fool caught in his folly. I think that they are connected because one would have to be a fool to pay good with evil. Choices and decisions affect not only the person who is in control of the choice, but there is also a ripple effect upon everyone around them even strangers: the “fool” who drives under the influence and kills not only himself/herself but also innocent bystanders who happen to be on the road with him/her.

I loved todays devotional. The story of Elijah is powerful and mighty. The part that surprises me the most is after doing God's work and God showing himself to all, Elijah fears Jezebel and hides in a cave. How such a powerful man can fear this terrible woman(Jezebel). After all he was a man of God.
"I think sometimes we underestimate the power of simply telling our story. It is our story - and after we tell it, how can anyone really criticize it? Or argue with it? It is our story. Let us tell it. And let us tell our story often and with great love. I believe God can work wonders when we simply tell our stories..."
Because of this I feel compelled to share me testimony....Here it is:


Before I gave my life to the Lord
I lived for myself. Raised and educated in a very religious family.
I felt empty, without a purpose in life. At the age of 19 when studying abroad in Dominican Republic, I became very sick and was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis.
I had to leave the University and my studies to come back to Miami for treatment. I was mad at God and believed it was His fault.
It seemed now; all there was in my life was pain and anguish.
I had been a very athletic person and now was feeling so sick and incapable of doing anything.
All my dreams were shattered. I felt hopeless.
In the following 9 years I became a wife, had a total hip replacement and then I became a mom.
During all this time I still battled with pain and emptiness.
When I was 28 I realized I needed a savior and I relinquished myself, my pain and sorrows to Him. I developed a personal relationship with Jesus Christ my Savior.
What I received was much more than what I could ever give to Him.
Some of these things that I received were peace, joy and contentment no matter what my circumstances. No matter how bad the pain was, now I had a purpose beyond myself! To please and serve a mighty God!
I did not understand why this had happened to me- so I asked God to cure me. Many times I asked Him and He would not.
Some time after that I read a passage in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Paul says:
7”And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
8For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
9And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong”.

Now, I understood He would be glorified in my weaknesses. He could use me in my condition. I felt a calling to His service. Now I knew this could be a blessing in my life!


The following years God gave me a strength and faith that many have wondered about. I say this for His glory and not mine. Many people would tell me how they were blessed by my strength and joy in difficult times.
The fingers of my hands became deformed and they became a witnessing tool. For many people would ask me what happened to them, and all I could do is thank the Lord and tell them about the strength He had given me through all the pain. How He was with me all the time.
As the years went by, my health grew worst and I became plagued with many complications of Rheumatoid Arthritis. But His joy was always with me. His faith would grow in me and make me stronger.
Whenever I felt weak, I would ask Him for strength and faith. These are gifts from Him. Just ask Him and you will receive it. I have friends that tell me, when they are down –they think of me and my situation. Then they feel blessed and realize if Carmen feels joy in her problems then I too can feel joy. This is for His glory, for it is not I, but Him in me!
In 1999 I was diagnosed with Kidney failure and for the following 9 months had to receive Dialysis 3 times a week to survive.
The night my Doctors told me I had kidney failure I struggled with God all night long. Asking Him why? I had faith that He would heal my kidneys. I believed it so. Why did He permit this? I did not understand. All night I struggled and fought with Him. When the dawn came I was exhausted and in the silence of the morning He gave me a verse.
Habakkuk 3:17-19
17 “Though the fig tree may not blossom,
Nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail,
And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold,
And there be no herd in the stalls—

18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
19 The LORD God is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer’s feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills”.
This verse gave me peace. That day I told God I would try to live that verse. No matter what happened I would rejoice in HIM, the God of my salvation!
He would be my strength and He would lift my spirits.

This was to be my mission statement in life. This was my goal. Now more than ever I had a purpose! I would glorify Him no matter how dark things would get.


Nine months latter, on mother’s day I received a kidney. The transplant was a success. I had a new lease on life. Even though I had to take 98 pills a week I felt great! I felt healthy and relatively pain free. Even the medications would make my arthritis less painful. I had energy again.

Three years later I had to have a hysterectomy. I had complications from the surgery, became very sick and almost died. While recuperating from my condition I was told I had liver disease and will need a liver transplant in the following years. As you can imagine I felt terrible. I got so sick my appetite was gone and I became very fragile and weak.


These were very hard times in my life. I wondered what else could go wrong. But still, my faith was strong. My eyes were on HIM!
In those days someone told me –due to all my scars from the 6 operations I had in the past (to long to mention-don’t want to bore you) I must look like a Frankenstein. I thought about this and then I received a thought in my mind, which I knew came from God: “I am not a Frankenstein – I am God’s canvas and He is painting His masterpiece in me”.
This verse is a promise from God.
Isaiah 26:3
“Thou will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusts in thee”
Another one of His promises which gives me peace is
Psalm23:4 and 6
4 Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
6 Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
forever.

I would continue to have ups and downs, but was never alone. God was with me. A couple months later I was informed I was diabetic. This was caused by the anti rejection medications I take. This was a disease I did not want to get. It is very serious and I knew dangerous. Many people I knew suffered from it and it is a relentless disease. I had always said it was the worst disease a person could get because of the complications it can bring. And now it was happening to me! Here I really lost it!
Upon hearing the news I locked myself in the bathroom and cried as I never had cried before. I was so mad and I became bitter. Two times I cursed my body. The body God had given me. I didn’t want to live. I hated my body and asked God to strike me dead. Here again I was struggling with Him. I forgot my promise to Him. I did not want to do it anymore.
What followed was repentance. I felt terrible, for what I had said. How could I do this? I remembered His verse in
Psalm 139:13, 14
“For you created my innermost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well”.
Of course He forgave me. He is a merciful God. His mercies are new every morning. Even though I knew I was forgiven I fell into a severe depression and in the following 5 months I lost 50 lbs. I could hardly eat or drink. My family thought I was going to die because I looked so sick. Some of my friends even thought I was anorexic. I seemed to fall deeper and deeper into depression.
Depression is a totally diabolical state. It’s like your enemy is in control of you thoughts. Telling you- you have no value. You are nothing. Slowly you feel you are disappearing.
I believed I was going to die. I was going to leave my loved ones. I wanted to die. I would tell God every morning –“why don’t you take me today”? I was weak and pitiful. Filled with anger and despair. I felt alone in this world.
During all this time I knew God was near. I just did not know how to reach Him. But He was carrying me the whole time. He was my only hope. I was drowning in a dark whole and He was the only rope I had to hold on to. He kept me from letting go. I would read His psalms. Only they would comfort me.
I would cry in my bible and beg the Lord to take this sorrow away and help me. I knew I would not survive much longer.
Everyone looked at me as if I was a ghost or at least I felt that way. My family was in anguish to see me in that condition.
Then one day, my sisters prayed over me and asked God to take that sorrow away. To heal me and give me back the joy of my salvation.
That night God also used a friend who reminded me of a passage in the bible I had read hundreds of times.
Mathew 14:29-31
“… Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "
She proceeded to tell me that Peter walked on water while his eyes were on Christ. When he started to put his eyes on the wind and water which (in this case) were his circumstances, he started to sink.
She said: “Carmen-put your eyes on Jesus. LOOK UP! Don’t look down. If you do this you will be cured”. All of a sudden it dawned on me. All I did was think about my circumstances and problems. So now I knew I must think only about Him and His word.
The next day, it was gone. I woke up and knew I was cured. The despair and sorrow had left me. I was free! God had done a miracle. He had cured me.
Since then I have tried my best to follow that advice, even though, I continue to have more and more health problems. Since then I have been diagnosed with hypertension and some liver complications. But, my eyes are set on HIM and His promises. He is in control of my life and I know He loves me. He is a mighty Lord and a strong foe against darkness. He is victorious in battle. I serve Him with a grateful heart for all he has done for me.
I thank Him for every tear and anguish I have suffered. For this has made me strong. It has made my hope lie in Him and not in men.
Many times Doctors have told my husband I would not make it. And for His glory He has made them liars. There are two verses that never leave me. They are as present in my life as the Lord is.
Philippians 4:8, 9
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things…And the God of peace will be with you”
And whenever I get bad news I always remember this verse:
Jeremiah29:11
“For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.
God has been kind to me. He has been a true gentleman. When I was in dark places He protected me from the enemy of my soul. He is my all in all, my knight in shining amour. Without Him I would have never made it. Today I continue my life with the promise I made to God.
Like the book of Habakkuk says:
“No matter what happened I would rejoice in HIM, the God of my salvation!
He will be my strength and He will lift my spirits”


Today I would like to leave you with a love sonnet from God from

Romans 8:37-39
37… in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
38For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Never Forget- God loves you. He will never leave you. He is always by your side, even when you can't feel Him.


God bless you. IN HIM carmen<

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