Now I know you are a man of God

The drought had taken its toll and food could not be found. It didn’t matter if you were well off or not. There just wasn’t anything. She was a widow with little income or property to speak of. Now she looked upon her son and the bit of oil and flour she had. It was not going to be the greatest meal of her life, but it was going to be the most important. For it would be the last. They would have to enjoy it like no other. Then into her life walked one of the greatest prophets that ever walked the earth, a man of immense power. He had prayed and the rain had stopped. He had defeated 450 of Baal’s priest. He challenged the king himself. All she had to do was obey this man, feed him and she would go without hunger. To her credit she had just enough faith and the oil and flour never ran out.

Unfortunately her son died. Now this woman, who had been living by faith, lost all faith. She was angry as she accused the prophet and God. “What have you against me, O man of God? You have come to me to bring my sin to remembrance and to cause the death of my son!” (1 kings 17:18) Had the widow forgotten that her son and her would already be dead were it not for Elijah. Perhaps she felt God owed her something for taking care of His prophet. Perhaps there was something in her past that caused her great guilt. The bible does not give us any revelation concerning her statement. But the anger and passion is evident. It is also evident that she now doubted if He was a man of God. She may have said “O man of God” sarcastically, for later she would say “Now I know that you are a man of God.” (1 kings 17:24)

How many times has God done something miraculous in our lives? How many times has He saved us? How many times has He guided us? We know that God is real and we have known his power at a personal level. Yet as soon as something goes wrong, that little “monster” called doubt shows his ugly head. It is human nature to forget the good of the recent past and fret over the difficulties of the present. We are all guilty of this. Yet God in His mercy continues to work in our lives. Perhaps each new dilemma is God just trying to teach us faith yet again, since we appear to be poor students.

Elijah took the boy and carried him to the upper room. There he prayed to the God that had never failed him and the boy that was dead breathed again. Now the widow said a most famous line “Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is truth.” (1 kings 17:24) How could she have ever doubted Elijah and how can we ever doubt our God?

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When giving is not easy

Elijah against 450 priests

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Can we trust God more than the train?

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; Proverbs 3:5

There I was speeding through the Bronx on an elevated train way above the ground. Children were playing and having a great time. Mothers seemed relaxed and contented. The driver of the train was nowhere in sight. But I was happy as can be and without a care in the world. I figured I was 100% safe. No reason to be concerned with who might be driving the train, his or her physical condition or capabilities; I was not worried about the condition of the train or the old tracks. What could go wrong? I trusted the construction of a system whose parts in some cases dated back to the 1800’s and an anonymous driver. As a species we are actually more trusting than what we think. We trust our waiters, our cooks, our babysitters, and our doctors. However when it comes to God how often does our trust fail?

Why do we doubt God even if we have experienced his power first hand? The Israelites had experienced the power of God who liberated them from Egypt with a mighty hand. But when they came face to face with the giants in Canaan they could not believe that God would provide a victory. Sarah had experienced the protection and guidance of God but upon being told that she would have a child, also did not believe and only laughed. I have also doubted God and yet I have personally experienced God’s blessing and care. Why do we spend so much time doubting?

Perhaps part of the doubt comes from our own feelings of inadequacies. The Israelites felt small next to those Giants and Sarah was sure she was too old. Often in finding our faith we must come to grips with the reality that when we cannot continue the fight, our God can. That when the problem is too great He can solve it and when it is impossible for us it is still possible for Him. The giants were thoroughly defeated, and Sarah would rejoice to see her baby born.

Everyday God is acting in our lives in miraculous ways. Let us trust Him. He is more reliable than the NYC subway system and has been around a whole lot longer. He is not anonymous and hears you when you call. He arrives on time and will definitely take us where we need to go.

Experience to believe

 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. John 9:3

Sometimes we need a personal experience to believe.  It is not enough to hear or see or read about ideas.  It appears that all of these leave us with some doubt, but when we experience, we believe.

There was once a man who had been blind from birth. (John 9) The disciples asked Jesus who had sinned, the man or his parents.  The assumption was that since something bad had happened in this case sickness, someone must have deserved it.  Turns out the man was not being punished at all. God had a profound plan that would impact this man for the rest of his life. It would also impact all those that knew the blind man.

Jesus took an interesting approach with this blind man and I always wondered why.  In so many occasions Jesus simply spoke and the person was healed.  On some occasions an entire group was healed like in the case of the 10 lepers. On other occasions Jesus did not even see or know the person.  From a distance of perhaps several towns away he could just say they were healed and it was so. But Jesus really went all out with this blind man.  He wanted to increase the experience. Jesus goes through this whole process where he spits on the ground and creates some mud.  He then takes the mud and rubs it in the man’s eye.  Definitely not a modern prescribed medical procedure. He then tells the man to wash his eyes.  It’s as if Jesus just wants to make this experience as long as he can, long enough for the man to never forget.  When the man finally washes out his eyes he is healed.

The Pharisees torture the man with their questioning on several occasions, arguing that Jesus was not of God.  It would have made most men doubt. But later when Jesus reveals to the former blind man his true identity, the man immediately confesses belief in Jesus.  He accepts Jesus as his Messiah.

Often in our life our faith is tested and we need more than to be just told what to believe or not believe.  Sometimes we need personal experiences that strengthen our faith so that when we are tested we do not waver in our convictions.  These experiences can be long and painful.  Such was the case with the bind man who had suffered blindness from birth.  But his blindness led to a salvation and a faith that he would not so easily relinquish. Perhaps a difficult time we are passing through will end in a miracle that will help us to never lose faith. God knows that sometimes we need the experience to believe!

Calling all thrill seekers

And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. Matthew 14:29

There are so many exciting things to do in this world: where to begin, mountain climbing, skydiving, hang gliding, bull fighting, surfing, and of course walking on water? Wait there is something different about the last one. Well it certainly seems impossible, but with God all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26)

How exciting it must have been for Peter to be out there on the water, the waves splashing against his legs, the winds pushing his body and the fish swimming below. He must have felt super human. What a thrill. No man had done this before, except for Jesus. If you could call him a man, he definitely was not just a man. Speaking of Jesus, he was the reason Peter was walking on water. Jesus had given Peter the authority and the permission to walk on water. No telling what we can do when Jesus gives us the authority and the permission. All Peter did was asked!

All was going well but then Peter got a little distracted. The wind must have been coming in pretty strong. You thinking at home, “no big deal just a little wind”. But that was enough to cause some doubt. Peter took his look away from Jesus and lost faith. Before he knew it, he was sinking.

A little distraction is all it takes. Some of us have dealt with pretty big distractions in our lives. They can all cause us to loose faith. Sickness, death, job loss, personal problems, attacks of the enemy that comes in so many different forms. They all take our eyes away from our source of strength and hope, Jesus. They can cause us all to doubt. Then we are not so invincible. Moving mountains become a little difficult and we fail. Well there is a solution.

Peter called out for Jesus. When walking on water is no longer possible in our lives, call on Jesus. He can pull you out of the water. He can get you out of trouble and get you back on track doing all the exciting things you need to be doing for God, yourself and all the love ones in your life.

The bible does not record Peter walking on water again, but he did do other incredible things. Peter broke out of prison with an Angel (Acts 12:5-10), healed the sick with his shadow (Acts 5:12-16), and when he preached, thousands would be saved. (Acts 2:14-41) If you have found it difficult to do great things of late call on Jesus, put your faith in Him and do not let the struggles in life get you down or distract you. Soon enough you’ll be walking on water again and going on other exciting adventures!