Maybe You Need a Break

Elijah's spirits were at the bottom. He had just prayed down fire from heaven and had 450 prophets of Baal slaughtered and what was his reward? The queen sent him this message:

"May the gods also kill me if by this time tomorrow I have failed to take your life like those you killed" (1 Kings 19:2 NLT).

Elijah prayed to die. "I have had enough, Lord. Take my life." Then he lay down and went to sleep. 

While he was asleep, an angel touched him and told him "Get up and eat." He got up and saw some bread baked on hot stones and a jar of water. God provided for him despite his weak faith.

Elijah still wasn't ready to move on and laid back down. The angel again touched him and told him to eat some more because he had a long journey ahead of him. Elijah ate enough bread to sustain him during 40 days and nights-all the way to the mountain of God. 

After we've spent a lot of physical or emotional energy, there can be a natural let-down. We can then realize it is a normal response and won't last forever. However, it is necessary to restore inner resources. It may mean we need to do what Elijah did-eat and sleep. 

Thank You, Lord, that You tenderly care for us when we're weary.

"I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint" (Jeremiah 31:25).

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Helen's Frightening Journey

In Living Faith, Helen Roseveare tells of finding herself driving a small van behind a huge truck on a 350-mile stretch in Africa. She tried to sound the horn to encourage him to find a spot along the narrow winding shoulder where he could pull off and allow her to pass. The horn failed.

Aggravated, she sat doggedly behind the truck hoping at each bend in the road he would glimpse her in his rearview mirror and give her the right of way. But he was throwing a massive cloud of red dust as he churned forward, and it was impossible for him to see behind him. Again and again she tried to attract his attention but to no avail.

An hour and a half later, dusk fell and she leaned forward to switch on her headlights. To her horror she realized that "no horn" meant "no lights!" The truck ahead lit up and for four hours, she drove forward in the lights of that truck.

It was frightening. She dared not lose him or lag behind. She could not stay too close in case he braked suddenly or lost control and skidded. Yet she must stay as close as she possibly could.

At last, nearing eleven o'clock, he drew up at a wayside rest area, and she gratefully pulled in behind him. She was almost exhausted with the strain, but she was also exhilarated with the success! She had followed him exactly all the way. She staggered out, went over to the driver, and thanked him for his (quite unconscious) leadership!

Helen was being cared for even when she was unaware of her need. Her inability to pass was God's protection.

Dear Lord, when we cannot change an unpleasant situation, we will trust that You are allowing it for purposes only You can see.

"I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them" (Isaiah 42:16).

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Arguing Didn't Work 

“Maybe you need to think about your motives!" Donna's friend said when she said her attempts to talk to her husband about salvation were ending in disaster. Donna had a nagging feeling that her words held an uncomfortable amount of truth. Her friend's parting comment was, "Remember to pray without ceasing!"

When Donna got home, she read 1 Thessalonians 5:17 which says, "Pray continually."  Then she read it in context: "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

After Donna accepted Christ, her husband supported her. He didn't complain when she attended church and listened respectfully when she discussed her walk with Christ.

But Donna began to envy couples who attended church services together. This spiritual aspect was missing from their marriage, and she resented it. She started questioning his beliefs, and pointing out, not always kindly, how much better he would handle problems if he shared her beliefs. 

"I believe in God," he would say. "Why do I have to believe that Christianity is the only way to worship Him?"

Donna argued and complained. Then she read those verses that reminded her that God's will is for her to be joyful. Nagging, complaining, and resentment definitely did not express joy. Her inept attempt to bring him to salvation was taking the joy from their marriage. 

She said, "I have found it's much more effective to be a loving wife, share insightful messages, ask him to pray for someone, and share praises. Expressing the joy of God's love to my husband has ended my resentment and has reopened our paths of communication. I now see that the desperation with which I had prayed was as much for the fulfillment of my needs as it was for his salvation. 

Thank You, Lord, that responsibility to save others is ultimately in Your hands. 

"Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives" (1 Peter 3:1-2).

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The Call (and an Invitation to Our Prayer Team)

A gentleman who reads these devotionals (and who I know to be a man of much prayer) told me that when he retired, he asked the Lord what He wanted him to do with the rest of his life. He was reading in the book of Joshua and decided to end that day's reading at the end of the 12th chapter.

He was about to close his Bible, but he sensed an urge to read into the 13th chapter. The first verse said, "Now Joshua was old and stricken in years, and the Lord said to Joshua, thou art old and stricken in years and yet there is much land to possess."

He closed his Bible, thanked the Lord for His revelation and set out to conquer the land of Canaan in his own life. He wrote, "I would now say that I have been more spiritually productive in my work for the Lord in these waning years than I had been in all my productive years. To God be the glory."

Anna, the first older woman mentioned in the New Testament, "was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying" (Luke 2:37). What a fruitful life she must have had!

She reminds me of another Anna. Anna Bebermeyer lived in a nursing home where for years she pleaded with God to close a certain bar in her hometown, Warrenton, Missouri. The devastation it was doing to the young people grieved her, and she begged God to remove this evil influence. One day the restaurant unexpectedly announced it was closing its bar. What a miracle, but God wasn't finished.

Anna's pastor's wife put a notice in the newspaper inviting anyone who wanted to learn more about the Bible to come to a Bible class. Soon her living room was too crowded, so she went to the local restaurant and asked if they could meet there.

They agreed and put the group in the very room where only days before liquor had been sold. Our God delights in giving exceedingly abundantly beyond what we ask or think.

"They will still bear fruit in old age" (Psalm 92:14).

Thank you, Lord, for those who leave us examples of faith and fruit-bearing.

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Your Life Can Have Purpose

"Only one life, 'twill soon be past;

Only what's done for Christ will last."

We live differently when we remember that the eternal is what is important. We order our lives around what is truly real rather than what will someday appear as it actually is--as unreal as shadows. 

C. S. Lewis describes the reality of the eternal in The Last Battle. The children were leaving Narnia, the "Shadowlands," and going to the forever land. Their reflections on the land they were leaving may resemble our thoughts when we enter heaven and reflect on our earthly life. 

As the children looked back, they recognized that their former life was like a shadow compared with the realities ahead of them. Lord Digory tried to describe the forever land.

"'More like the real thing,' said Lord Digory softly...and of course it is different; as different as a real thing is from a shadow or as waking life is from a dream."

God told Moses to bring His people out of Egypt. Moses asked, "Who should I say sent me?"

God said to tell them "I AM THAT I AM" had sent him. (Exodus 3:14 KJV). It was as though He said, "I am the Great Cause, the Significance of all that is; I am the only One who is absolutely real." All else, compared to God, is unreal, temporary.

"God is the absolutely real one; when he enters a person's life, it is we who are suddenly aware of our tentative and fragile existence," states William Dyrness.

Dear God, I acknowledge that You are real, and when I live in You, life is rich and full of meaning. Outside of You all is meaningless. 

"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal" (2 Corinthians 4:18).

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