ETERNITY WITH GOD!

Being with God for all eternity would be like a totally complete state of peace and satisfaction. Such a state is not attainable by mankind alone, since as we know, man is a creature who is never satisfied—-we always want more.

The best method for me to describe this is by example. Some time ago, my primary care physician referred me to a hematologist because of abnormal laboratory results. On the day of my appointment, when I was almost at the office, I looked at the referral form and realized that I was almost an hour early. I telephoned to check and see if I could come on in anyway and I heard this message…. “office of hematology and oncology”. I thought, “this is a cancer doctor”. Of course I had heard this same salutation when I initially made the appointment. This time, however, my heart suddenly began to race and I felt this overwhelmingly sense of anxiety and fear. As I entered the office, I noticed the waiting room was practically full. My perception was that not a single person was at ease, not a smile was visible. As I sat down, I said to myself, “I will not submit to any feelings of anxiety, fear, or worry; fear is not of God; I am a child of God; I trust Him; and I am covered by His grace”.

Even more quickly than the negative feelings had come, I felt an instant sense of calm and peace. It could be likened to a sudden feeling of warmth on an extremely cold winter day. I would imagine that being with God for all eternity would be like having that feeling of warmth all the time. It could also be likened to the feelings of a child who is totally secure and happy being in the arms of a loving parent.

 

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7

The Widow of Zarephath – 14 Key Points for Bible Study October 17, 2015

Key Scriptures: I Kings 17:8-24; Luke 4: 25-26

Supporting Scriptures: I Kings 17:1-7; Ex.16:4, 8a; Jer. 1:5; Is. 55:8; Phil. 4:6; I John 5:14b

Her Character: “A foreigner facing starvation, she showed extraordinary hospitality to one of God’s prophets, providing a safe harbor for him”.  (2; pg. 123)

  1. GOD’S OMNISCIENCE

I Kings 17:1—“… As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives,

whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.”

  1. WE CAN STAND ON GOD’S PROMISES

I Kings 17:4— “You will drink from the brook, and I have ordered the ravens to feed you there”.

I Kings 17:5-6— “So he did what the Lord had told him…the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook”.

NOTE: When Going Thru Remember What God Has Already Done

See Exodus 16: 4, 8a—–“Then the Lord said to Moses, I will rain down bread from heaven for you….you will know it was the Lord when He gives you meat to eat in the evening and all the bread you want in the morning,..”

  1. GOD IS ALWAYS AT WORK AND CAN USE ANYONE

I Kings 17: 7-9— “…later the brook dried up because there was no rain in the land…Then the word of the Lord came to him: Go at once to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food.”

NOTE: EVEN UNBELIEVER’S CAN BE USED BY GOD

# 1: See NIV Footnote I Kings 17:9—Zarephath was a coastal town in the territory ruled by Jezebel’s father, Ethbaal. God sent Elijah to the area where Baal worship was predominant. The widow was therefore from a pagan nation and completely outside of God’s own people.

#2: See Luke 4:25-26 (Jesus said) “I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time….yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon.”

NIV footnote Luke 4:26-27—“Jesus’ point was that when Israel rejected God’s messenger of redemption (Elijah), God sent him to the Gentiles.”

  1. WE MUST WALK BY FAITH

I Kings 17:10— “So he went to Zarephath”.

  1. FAITH REQUIRES OBEDIENCE

I Kings 17:10b-11—“…..a widow was there…he asked… would you bring me a little water in a jar…and bring me, please, a piece of bread.”

NOTE: ELIJAH FOLLOWED GOD’S INSTRUCTIONS BY APPROACHING THE WIDOW.

  1. GOD IS ALWAYS WITH US

I Kings 17: 12a— “As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, (NIV Footnote I Kings 5:7—-“in polytheistic Cultures, it was common practice for the people of one nation to recognize the deities of another nation”.

I Kings 17:12b—“I don’t have any bread only a handful of  flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug….to take home and  make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die”.

NOTE: NO MATTER THE SITUATION, SEEMINGLY GOOD OR BAD, LOOK FOR GOD IN IT—HE IS THERE!

“When Elijah came and asked the widow for bread, it appeared as though he were asking her to give up the last food she had for herself and her son. Actually, he provided her with sustenance that would last until the famine was over”. (2; pg. 124)

Often when we are in the midst of crisis, we can only see the immediate. As believers, we must stand on faith, trust and know that God has the answer.

  1. BOLDLY SHARE GOD WITH OTHERS

I Kings 17:13-14—“Elijah said..don’t be afraid..make a small cake of bread for me..then make something for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord God of Israel says: The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord gives rain on the land.”

  1. OBEDIENCE BRINGS REWARDS

I Kings 17: 15—“She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family.”

THOUGHT QUESTION: WHY DO YOU THINK THE WIDOW DID AS ELIJAH INSTUCTED?

  1. GOD’S PROMISES ARE ALWAYS FULFILLED

I Kings 17: 16— “For the jar of flour was not used up and

the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.

  1. GOD KNOWS

I Kings 17:17— “Sometime later, the son of the woman

….became ill….and finally stopped breathing.

NOTE: SEE JER. 1:5— “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you”.

  1. SHOULD WE QUESTION GOD?

I Kings 17:18b—“She said to Elijah…did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son”.

I Kings 17:20— “he (Elijah) cried out to the Lord…have you brought tragedy also upon this widow…by causing her son to die?”

NOTE: Is 55:8—“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.

  1. TAKE EVERYTHING TO GOD IN PRAYER

I Kings 17:21—“Then he…. cried to the Lord, O Lord my God, let this boy’s life return to him”.

NOTE: Phil. 4:6—“Don’t be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God”.

  1. GOD LISTENS

I Kings 17:22—“The Lord heard Elijah’s cry and the boy’s life returned to him and he lived…..He gave him to his mother and said look your son is alive”.

NOTE: I John 5:14b—“….if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us”.

  1. GODS WANTS A PERSONAL, INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP WITH US

I Kings 17:24—“Then the woman said to Elijah, NOW I KNOW that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord from your mouth is the truth”.

  1. NIV Study Bible, Zondervan, 1995
  2. Women of The Bible, 52 Bible Studies For Individuals And Groups,

Jean E. Syswerda, Zondervan 1999

Competence Through Christ – 2 Corinthians 3:4-6

2 Corinthians 3: 4-6 (NIV)

Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant – not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

One of the many messages that I have received from study of scripture is that as we grow into mature Christians we become as Paul states “ministers of a new covenant”, made competent by God. From this original posting and even up to now, I sometimes feel quite the opposite of competent, very immature and lacking confidence. These negative thoughts and feelings are heightened by the belief systems of others. I read a chapter in a book by Jetola Anderson entitled Presumed Incompetent in which she depicted a black woman wearing a suit getting on a plane who was assumed by some as being the flight attendant.

As a woman and African-American I too have had a large share of other’s assumptions and presumed incompetence. There are times when I do feel confident, valued and competent but what I am learning is that relying on my own skills and talents will only take me so far.  The assumptions that others make about my abilities, the erroneous presumptions by others are also traps that take me away from the real mission. Jetola Anderson suggested surrounding oneself with positive people, uplifting literature and I wholeheartedly agree. To become ministers of this new covenant I have to surround myself with God the Father, Jesus our Lord, and the Holy Spirit and to do this by reading the word of God. It’s here that I am learning that it’s not about my abilities, talents or skills. Boasting, getting or receiving recommendations or praise are not the important factors. Recognizing that my competence comes from God, that the Holy Spirit has enabled me and “I can do everything through him who gives me strength”; Philippians 4:13. My mission is to spread the good news about Jesus Christ.

At my church (Pinellas Community Church), we have a card that I think states how the mission can be put into practice. It reads: “Dear Lord, Today as I go about my everyday life, help me see how my passion, for You can make an impact for good.”

Originally posted June 2010