Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Be an Elijah

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms.  Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.  Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.” – James 5:13-18

As a church, I think one of the greatest ways we doubt God is in healing.  We pray for our friends and family to be healed, and they sometimes get better, and sometimes get sick again, and sometimes die sick.  Yes, death is part of God’s plan, and sickness opens the door to Heaven sometimes. 
But when our brothers and sisters are sick, how often do we DO WHAT GODS WORD SAYS.  How often do we take them before the spiritual leaders of the church, anoint them with oil in the name of Jesus, and pray over them that their sins be forgiven and God release them from that sickness? Rarely.

Yet, God’s word says this is the path to them being healed.  Confession leads to healing! 
“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”  Oh, don’t go looking for someone who is without sin in this world to pray.  You’ll never find them!  Look for those who are righteous!  We who have been saved by the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, are the righteous!  Our fervent – never give up – prayers can change circumstances.  I’ve seen it far too many times.  Yet, our faith puts a leash on our prayer life, because we only trust God for the things we can believe He will do. 

Stop putting God in a box!  Take Him out of the boxed in reality of your mind and realize that with God, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.  Realize that He is the same God that listened to Elijah’s prayers, and He is listening to yours.  James 4:2 clearly says that we do not have the things we desire because we do not ASK.  We don’t ask because we have no faith that God will give us our petitions.  And yes, some of our petitions are based on our own selfish desires, and no friend, you won’t get them.  God is a good Father, and He knows when the million dollar lottery will cause you to walk away from Him, turn on your friends and family (or they would turn on you), and He forbids such evil to come into your life. 
We’ve all read Psalms 37:4, which says “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”  But we’ve misunderstood this verse to say that whatever our heart desires, God will give.  NO.  When you delight in the Lord, he gives you the DESIRES of your heart, and they align with His purpose for you, which is to give you a hope and a future, making you into what He designed you to be.  It’s not the foolish desires of your heart he fulfills.  How horrible that would be if He did that for each and every person who prayed for them! Think about that for a while. 

Elijah prayed EARNESTLY (continually, without fail, never giving up on God) that it would not rain, and God stopped the rain for three and a half years!  But why did God do it?  Because when Elijah asked for it, it was to make a believer out of Ahab. His words concerning the matter point to God’s abilities, not his own.  He said in 1 Kings 17:1 “As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word.”  Immediately God provided water for him, and food. He continued to provide for him during the drought.  Elijah had a full ministry within the drought years.  This was God’s purpose!  It wasn’t simply to say “OK Elijah, whatever you want son, I’ll just give it to you.” No, Elijah was praying in accordance to God’s desires that had been placed in his heart.  And God delivered!
Elijah seems like a man far above any man we know today.  Who of us could pray this prayer and God answer, we think.  Yet, God’s word clearly says “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours”.  Now, why would James make that point if it wasn’t to say to us, to even say to me, “Faithie, you CAN BE an Elijah!”.  The only difference is us, in me even, and Elijah, is that we have not allowed God to invade our hearts to the point of changing out desires into His so that all our actions become God’s actions.

If you want to see the impossible, believe in the one who can do the impossible.  Let Him give you desires in your heart to see His will. 

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