I am with you ∙

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. – Isaiah 41:10

Isaiah 41:10-13

 10 Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

 11 Behold, all those who are angered at you will be shamed and dishonored; Those who contend with you will be as nothing and will perish.

 12 You will seek those who quarrel with you, but will not find them, those who war with you will be as nothing and non-existent.

 13 For I am the LORD your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’

The early days of the American War for Independence were bleak. In 1777, after a string of defeats, Philadelphia had fallen, the brutal winter at Valley Forge approached, and the situation appeared desperate. George Washington sent out communiqués to his commanders. He wrote, “We should never despair, our situation before has been unpromising and has changed for the better, so I trust, it will again. If new difficulties arise, we must only put forth new exertions and proportion our efforts to the exigency of the times.”

We live in fearful, tumultuous times filled with forebodings of doom. It seems as though everything is coming apart. America has seen difficult times before. Some were historic days of tragedy December 07, 1941, and September 11, 2001. More extended periods are characterized by one traumatic event after another. Social, religious, and political norms imploded after decades of pressure reached a breaking point.

In 1968, it seemed America was on the verge of a collective nervous breakdown. Social unrest was rampant. Clashes erupted over cultural values, race, and the Vietnam War movement. Two men considered heroic figures by large portions of the population were tragically assassinated: Rev. Martin Luther King and Democratic presidential candidate Robert Kennedy.

“In some ways, historians say, America nearly lost its mind and its soul. In other ways, historians argue, the nation reinvented itself and became a more-tolerant, less-constrained place, more willing to let people express their individuality and challenge authority. Overall, the upheavals of that year, both positive and negative, made it clear that once social change reaches a critical mass, it can’t be stopped” (Kenneth T. Walsh).

“It was a hinge point in history, one of the most consequential and tumultuous years in the American experience, and it changed the country forever” (Kenneth T. Walsh).

America rose above the tumult and upheaval. But it was sullied by intense cynicism regarding government and traditional institutions. Dark days lay ahead, but there was hope that the future could be brighter and better.

But now, over 50 years later, it seems like America is on a collision course with an apocalyptic destiny. Many lament that there is no path forward, the Earth itself appears to be in fatal decline, and new technologies threaten traditional industries and occupations as never before (The Washington Post).

However, the Father does not change. He remains steadfast and unmovable. He holds each of us fast in His strong right hand as we walk through times of darkness and uncertainty. He is there for us, and He will take us exactly where He wants us to go.

Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.”

REFLECT & PRAY

“Each of us will face fear at some point; it is what we do with it that matters most. We must claim our position as God’s children. We have the power to overcome fear when we apply His Word to our lives” (Stanley).

Father, thank You for being ever-present with me, and I need not fear. Embrace me with the security and comfort that You alone can provide.

INSIGHT

Fear is an emotional foreboding or dread of impending distress, misfortune, or terror. Fear includes anxiety and loss of courage in the face of an unpleasant or dangerous situation. It frequently results in dread and terror.

“We are fragile mortals, given to fears of every sort. We have a built-in insecurity that no amount of whistling in the dark can mollify. We seek assurance concerning the things that frighten us the most” (Table Talk). Often, our greatest fears are not due to external forces. They lurk and erupt like volcanoes from the inner recesses of our beleaguered souls and wounded hearts.

The Scriptures are replete with repeated encouragement to “fear not” and “not be afraid.”

Zephaniah 3:16 Do not be afraid, O Zion; do not let your hands fall limp.

Every child of the King can be assured that the Father is with them. He will strengthen them in the midst of their difficulties and trials. Ultimately, their enemies will come to nothing (Gary Smith).

Isaiah 41:10-13

 10 Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

 13 For I am the LORD your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’

The Hebrew language does not employ underlining or bolding to indicate the most important words or thoughts in a sentence or paragraph. Instead, Hebrew syntax uses word placement or repetition. Hence, the most important word or phrases are often repeated or placed at the beginning or the end of a sentence.

Do not fear” is repeated and occurs at the section’s beginning and end of Isaiah 41:10-13. Because the Father is actively involved and present in the midst of difficult circumstances, they have no reason to fear. Hard times are certain, but a fearful response, although natural for people, children of the King can avoid it entirely.  “The exhortation not to fear is part of the bedrock of faith” (Friesen).

In the words of Franklin D. Roosevelt, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”

Fear will come calling, but the children of the King should refuse to entertain it. “Do not fear” can become the credo of every child of the King. The Father is with us and upholds us with His strong right hand. 

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The fellowship of the unashamed ∙

Never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord. . . With the strength God gives you, be ready to suffer with me for the sake of the Good News. – 2 Timothy 1:8

Isaiah 50:4-7

 4 The Sovereign LORD has given me his words of wisdom, so that I know how to comfort the weary. Morning by morning he wakens me and opens my understanding to his will.

 5 The Sovereign LORD has spoken to me, and I have listened. I have not rebelled or turned away.

 7 Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore, I have set my face like flint, determined to do his will. And I know that I will not be ashamed.

On the Jerry Seinfeld show in 1990, Jerry Seinfeld joked: “Surveys show that the number one fear of Americans is public speaking. Number two is death. Death is number two. That means that at a funeral, the average American would rather be in the casket than doing the eulogy.”

No one questioned the survey. Because for most of us, in our hearts, we know it is true. Almost immediately, a new phrase, “Public speaking is more painful than death,” joined “Yada, Yada, Yada” in American vernacular.

How often, when seeking to share the truth of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, do we suffer spiritual laryngitis, freeze, and shrink back?

The Father in His wisdom, has a solution. The children of the King are to share a standard curriculum. Morning by morning, we are to spend quality time with the Father. This intimate association deepens our relationship with Him. It is the time of sharing, hearing, learning, and being prepared for what lies ahead. Such times sweeten the heart. Our words and actions grow out of our daily, direct interaction with the Father.

REFLECT & PRAY

If you know and feel certain that God has your back, then you can set your face like a flint. Be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Father, for you know that nothing you do for him is ever useless (1 Corinthians 15:58) (Stanley).

Father, the thought of receiving a wake-up call from you each morning thrills my heart.

INSIGHT

The Father His empowers His servants. His empowerment makes each servant courageous and determined. He has set his face like flint. He is utterly resolved to do the Father’s will. He is strong and fearless and will not shrink back or be deflected. He will not even flinch.

Isaiah 50:7 Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not in be disgraced. Therefore, I have set my face like flint, determined to do his will. And I know that I will not be ashamed.

The Hebrew term translated as ashamed is bosh. It means to be characterized by feelings of shame, guilt, embarrassment, disappointment, or remorse. It has overtones of being or feeling worthless.

Can you imagine the apostle Paul ever recoiling, shrinking back in weakness and fear? Was he ever reticent or at a loss for words?

1 Corinthians 2:3-5

 3 I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling,

 4 and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,

 5 so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Even though he had human limitations, Paul stood tall in the Spirit. He relied upon the power of the Holy Spirit and the gospel itself.

Ephesians 6:11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.

“The Fellowship of the Unashamed” is a prayer that has inspired many to stand strong in their faith and to live unashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This prayer was found among the papers of a young African pastor who was martyred in Zimbabwe some 100+ years ago.

According to Southern Nazarene University, the prayer was passed on by missionary Louise Robinson Chapman who served in Africa from 1920-1940.

As a young preacher from Zimbabwe so memorably expressed it:

I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed. I have Holy Spirit power.

The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I am a disciple of His. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away or be still.

My past is redeemed. My present makes sense. My future is secure. I’m finished with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, worldly talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, praise, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, am uplifted by prayer and labor by power.

My pace is set. My gait is fast. My goal is heaven. My road is narrow. My way rough. My companions few. My guide is reliable, and my mission is clear.

I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded or delayed.

I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, pander at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I won’t give up, shut up, or let up until I’ve stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and preached up for the cause of Christ.

I am a disciple of Jesus. I must go till He comes, give ’til I drop, preach till all know, and work till He stops me. And when He comes for His own, He’ll have no problem recognizing me. My banner will be clear! clear!

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© Dr. H 2023

Where is My Land?

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings. – James 1:1

Genesis 12:1-7

 1 The LORD had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you.

 2 I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others.

 3 I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.”

 4 So Abram departed as the LORD had instructed . . ..

 5 He took his wife, Sarai . . . and headed for the land of Canaan. When they arrived in Canaan,

 7 Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “I will give this land to your descendants.” And Abram built an altar there and dedicated it to the LORD, who had appeared to him.

Deuteronomy 28:49-67

 49 The LORD will bring a distant nation against you from the end of the earth, and it will swoop down on you like a vulture. It is a nation whose language you do not understand,

 52 They will attack your cities until all the fortified walls in your land – the walls you trusted to protect you – are knocked down. They will attack all the towns in the land the LORD your God has given you.

 62 Though you become as numerous as the stars in the sky, few of you will be left because you would not listen to the LORD your God.

 64 For the LORD will scatter you among all the nations from one end of the earth to the other. There you will worship foreign gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known, gods made of wood and stone!

 65 There among those nations you will find no peace or place to rest. And the LORD will cause your heart to tremble, your eyesight to fail, and your soul to despair.

 66 Your life will constantly hang in the balance. You will live night and day in fear, unsure if you will survive.

 67 In the morning you will say, “If only it were night!” And in the evening you will say, “If only it were morning!” For you will be terrified by the awful horrors you see around you.

In California, about 25 miles southwest of Los Angeles, there is a city called Manhattan Beach. It is an oceanside community on the Pacific Ocean. An idyllic plot of land referred to as a black family-owned Bruce’s Beach. Simply because of racial prejudice, the land was condemned. The city took control of the property through eminent domain. The city officials offered the couple $14,500 and claimed they needed the land for a public park. In 1927, the family moved out of Bruce’s Beach, and the city demolished the buildings two years later. For generations, the family asked, Where is My Land?

The descendants of Willa and Charles Bruce sought restitution for nearly a century. The question on their minds was simple: Where is My Land? In September 2021, a bill was signed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom, allowing the beach to be transferred back to the descendants. Newsom said, “I want to apologize to the Bruce family for the injustice that was done to them. We haven’t always had a proud past.” The Bruce’s great-grandsons decided to sell the property back to the county for close to $20 million.

REFLECT & PRAY

2 Timothy 2:13 If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is.

Father thank you for keeping your promises. Even when we become faithless, You remain faithful.

INSIGHT

During the time of the writing of the New Testament, the term dispersion (Greek diaspora) was a common Jewish expression to refer to Jewish people scattered throughout the Roman Empire not living in Palestine. The dispersion began with the Assyrian’s destruction of the Northern Kingdom in 722. People of Israel were deported and forced to live in various locations with the Assyrian empire. In 586, the two Southern Tribes of Judah were exiled to Babylon. In 70 A.D., when the Romans defeated the last remnants of the Jewish army at Masada, a worldwide dispersion began. With the Jewish people out of the land of Israel, other people moved in and took possession of the land the Lord had promised the nation of Israel.

Isaiah 66:8 Who has ever seen anything as strange as this? Who ever heard of such a thing? Has a nation ever been born in a single day? Has a country ever come forth in a mere moment?

For some 2000 years, the Jewish people have asked: Where is My Land? In 1948, an answer came, and the modern nation of Israel was born in one day, May 14, 1948. The Father’s promise was finally fulfilled. Yet, the majority of the Jewish people are in the diaspora, scattered around the world.

Ezekiel 37:21 Thus says the Lord GOD, I will gather the people of Israel from among the nations. I will bring them home to their own land from the places where they have been scattered.

“The day of Israel’s restoration will be a time of great rejoicing in Jerusalem. All . . . who love her and who have wept with her will share in the ecstasy and jubilation of that moment. Enriched by the glory of the Gentiles, she in turn will give prosperity, nourishment, comfort, and rejuvenation to all who come to her. Then it will be obvious to all that Jehovah is committed to the welfare of His own and the punishment of His enemies” (MacDonald).

Isaiah 66:9-14

 9 “Would I ever bring this nation to the point of birth and then not deliver it?” asks the LORD. “No! I would never keep this nation from being born,” says your God.

 10 “Rejoice with Jerusalem! Be glad with her, all you who love her and all you who mourn for her.”

 11 “Drink deeply of her glory even as an infant drinks at its mother’s comforting breasts.”

 12 This is what the LORD says: “I will give Jerusalem a river of peace and prosperity. The wealth of the nations will flow to her. Her children will be nursed at her breasts, carried in her arms, and held on her lap.”

 13 “I will comfort you there in Jerusalem as a mother comforts her child.”

 14 When you see these things, your heart will rejoice. You will flourish like the grass! Everyone will see the LORD’s hand of blessing on his servants – and his anger against his enemies.

Isaiah 66:8 Who has ever seen anything as strange as this? Who ever heard of such a thing? Has a nation ever been born in a single day? Has a country ever come forth in a mere moment? But Jerusalem’s children will be born before the birth pains begin.

Look carefully at what this verse says, the mother in view (the nation of Israel) gives birth to a child effortlessly without effort before labor pains even begin.  “This event is unusual both with respect to the speed of the delivery and the total absence of any pain” (Gary Smith). This is a remarkable birth, a miracle. This predicts that the Father God will do something clearly impossible. Because what God has promised and he will do.

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© Dr. H 2023

If He Has to Reach Way Down

Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand. – Psalms 37:24

Psalms 37:1-38

 1 A psalm of David. Don’t worry about the wicked or envy those who do wrong.

 2 For like grass, they soon fade away. Like spring flowers, they soon wither.

 3 Trust in the LORD and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.

 4 Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires.

 5 Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust him, and he will help you.

 7 Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.

 8 Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper – it only leads to harm.

 12 The wicked plot against the godly; they snarl at them in defiance.

 13 But the Lord just laughs, for he sees their day of judgment coming.

 16 It is better to be godly and have little than to be evil and rich.

 23 The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.

 24 Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand.

 25 Once I was young, and now I am old. Yet I have never seen the godly abandoned or their children begging for bread.

 27 Turn from evil and do good . . ..

 28 For the LORD loves justice, and he will never abandon the godly. . ..

 35 I have seen wicked and ruthless people flourishing like a tree in its native soil.

 36 But when I looked again, they were gone! Though I searched for them, I could not find them!

 37 Look at those who are honest and good, for a wonderful future awaits those who love peace.

 38 But the rebellious will be destroyed; they have no future.

The worship music of the nation of Israel is found in the Old Testament book of Psalms. It reveals the suffering, joy, expectations, hope, faith, and triumph of the heartfelt songs of the Nation of Israel.

Through the centuries, Christian people have developed their own hymnologies. Typically they reflect the local language, cadence, musical rhythm, and sounds found within their culture, folklore, and ethnic memory.

The gospel music of the African American experience and culture has captured and retained the spirit, soul, and worship of the Old Testament Psalms. Much of the most beautiful, heartfelt music was born from severe grief and suffering. 

African-American Gospel Music is harmonious and deliberately stimulating. The call-and-response idioms evoke participation. It makes one want to sing along. It ushers people into the presence of God in worship. It is a living experience, constantly changing, always giving, and always becoming the foundation that provides moral, physical, and spiritual support. It is a shining beacon of hope, a fantastic journey of joy divine, and a triumphal victory in God that comes from the depths of the human soul.

Down through the centuries, African-American Gospel Music has remained enthralling and captivating. It proclaims and reminds us that the Father God is on our side. Thomas A. Dorsey is considered the “Father of Gospel Music.” He combined Christian praise with the rhythms of jazz and blues. Among Dorsey’s best and most memorable songs are “Precious Lord” and “Peace in The Valley.” Both of these songs were written after the tragic death of his wife and newborn son. Their message provides assurance and consolation to which listeners and singers can relate across cultural, ethnic, and racial borders (gospelmusicheritage.org).

Jesus Will Pick You Up

If he has to reach (way down) Jesus (Jesus will pick you up)

If he has to reach (way down) Jesus (Jesus will pick you up)

If he has to reach (way down) Jesus (Jesus will pick you up)

Jesus (Jesus will pick you up if he has to reach way down)

If you go out and party all night long

Singing in the choir on Sunday morning

Like you done nothing wrong

If you can’t sing the way you used to

It’s because you’re doing the same thing that sinners do.

If you’re in the pulpit preaching so bold

Preaching for the money and not caring for the soul

If you cn’t preach my brother the way you use to

It’s ‘cause you’re doing the same thing that sinners do.

This earthly and poignant song exposes our sinful attitudes and tendencies yet provides confident expectation of the grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ.

REFLECT & PRAY

The Father provides a steady hand to each child of the King.

Father thank You that when I fail, You never let me go. No matter how low I go, You reach down and pick me up!

INSIGHT

Life is full of difficulty in our fallen world. What matters is how we respond. Although disappointment is inevitable, being discouraged is always a choice (Harvard Business Review). David explains that the Father often prevents things from going from bad to worse. We can have hope and courage that the Father has our back, and we can depend on Him and trust Him. No matter how far we fall, the Lord Jesus Christ will reach way down and pick you up. We are secure.

Psalms 37:24 Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand.

The Hebrew word translated as falls or stumbles is napal which means be cast down, fall away, prostrate, or fail. Curiously, the term nephilim, meaning giants, is derived from this term.

The Hebrew word translated as cast or hurled headlong, or stumble is tul which means to be thrown forcefully, hurl, overcome or cast. This word is used in the book of Jonah, translated as throw, hurl, or prepared.

What does this Psalm actually say about the Father?

Psalms 37:23 The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.

The Lord leads a person in the right way, in the way they should. “The psalmist is not saying that, in fact, God guides all people in the way they should go, since it is quite evident that many do not accept God’s guidance. To avoid this possible misunderstanding, FRCL translates ‘When a man’s conduct pleases him, the Lord enables him to go through life with confidence,’ and NIV has ‘If the Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm’” (UBS).

Great comfort and safety are available to each child of the King, knowing that our heavenly Father holds her hands firmly and securely. Take a moment and visualize a small child walking with his father holding hands. The little child is holding on with all of its strength, but it is still weak and limited. The Father, on the other hand, is powerful and has a firm grip on his child. If the child slips and begins to fall, he may let go. But the Father will not.

It is as though the Father is saying, “I’ve got this, don’t worry. I am here for you.” But there’s more. He’s not only present but also there to direct and guide us. He is laser-focused on each of us and takes great joy and delight in all the details of our lives.

Psalms 37:23-24 is prescient of our 21st-century American culture. In many ways, the world in which we live is terrifying. Through it all, the Lord sustains us. Even though we may fall, the Father has a firm grip on us. God is our helper.

2 Timothy 2:13 If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny who he is.

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© Dr. H 2023

I have had enough LORD

I have had enough LORD

Listen to me, descendants of Jacob, all you who remain in Israel. I have cared for you since you were born. Yes, I carried you before you were born. I will be your God throughout your lifetime, until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you. – Isaiah 46:3-4

1 Kings 19:2-18

 2 Jezebel sent this message to Elijah: “May the gods strike me and even kill me if by this time tomorrow I have not killed you just as you killed them.”

 3 Elijah was afraid and fled for his life. He went to Beersheba, a town in Judah, and he left his servant there.

 4 Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.”

 5 Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree. But as he was sleeping, an angel touched him and told him, “Get up and eat!”

 6 He looked around and there beside his head was some bread baked on hot stones and a jar of water! So he ate and drank and lay down again.

 7 Then the angel of the LORD came again and touched him and said, “Get up and eat some more, or the journey ahead will be too much for you.”

 8 So he got up and ate and drank, and the food gave him enough strength to travel forty days and forty nights to Mount Sinai, the mountain of God.

 9 There he came to a cave, where he spent the night. But the LORD said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

 10 Elijah replied, “I have zealously served the LORD God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”

 11 “Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the LORD told him. And as Elijah stood there, the LORD passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.

 12 And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper.

 13 When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And a voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

 14 He replied again, “I have zealously served the LORD God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”

 18 Yet I will preserve 7,000 others in Israel who have never bowed down to Baal or kissed him!”

A serious illness can be overwhelming for the entire family. Hospice care was created to provide assistance. Hospice offers individualized care to patients and families in their homes. It offers patient care including symptom management, emotional support, spiritual support and psychosocial intervention.

But it is important to know that hospice is not curative but palliative. It is focused on the patient’s quality of life on their journey to end-of-life. It is for terminally ill patients who typically live less than 6 months. In 2017, hospice care patients on average lived for 76.1 days.

When it comes to spiritual, emotional, and relational problems, repair and restoration are always possible. They are not terminal. They can be mended and restored with the proper guidance, encouragement, and willingness to do the hard work to recover.

It is much like recovering from a serious accident or surgery. After medical intervention, it takes time, effort, often physical therapy to recover. But recovery is doable. For children of the King, this is possible because of His supernatural activity in repairing and rebuilding hearts and spirits.

In our day and time, many often give up hope and want to throw in the towel. They wish they were dead. So it was with Elijah. He was tired, hungry, worn out, fearful, and emotionally and physically drained. He literally ran away from his problems.

The Father nurtured him back to physical, emotional, and spiritual health. First, He sent an angel. He himself was also came and spoke directly to Elijah. Earlier He sent ravens to provide food for him (1 Kings 17:4-6).

REFLECT & PRAY

It is not over until the Father says it is over! He calls us out of the doldrums of despair.

Father how many times have I lost all hope, thrown in the towel, and literally or figuratively run away from it all. Strengthen me and encourage me to run the race You have set before me, and finish well.

INSIGHT

The Father took care of Elijah’s physical depletion. Often, but not always, physical restoration precedes spiritual restoration and service.

1 Kings 19:7-8

 7 Then the angel of the LORD came again and touched him and said, “Get up and eat some more, or the journey ahead will be too much for you.”

 8 So he got up and ate and drank, and the food gave him enough strength to travel forty days and forty nights to Mount Sinai, the mountain of God.

The Father refreshed Elijah’s vision in a totally unanticipated personal, calming fashion. Before He spoke, there was a rock shattering powerful wind. It was followed by a tumultuous earthquake and then a consuming fire. But the Father was not in any of these spectacular displays of His power. It is so natural to ask for and expect a dramatic sign from Him. But His ways are not our ways.

“There followed a faint whisper, a voice quiet, and hushed, and low. Elijah knew it instantly. It was God!” (EBC). It was the sound of a gentle, soft, whisper (1 Kings 19:12)

The Father knew exactly what Elijah needed, being so broken, heartsick, and hiding in a cave. He spoke with a gentle, almost silent whisper. Can you imagine what he heard? Perhaps it was only one word, repeated as necessary, “Elijah.” He was being called out of the doldrums of despair.

The still small voice could be literally translated a voice/sound of calm soft/quiet (UBS). The phrase has been rendered “a gentle whisper” (NIV, NLT), “a soft murmuring sound” (NJPSV), and “a gentle breeze” (CEV), and even “a sound of sheer silence” (NRSV) (UBS).

This phrase is translated from three Hebrew words qol demamah daq. Qol voice, noise, sound; demamah still, whisper, calm, silence; daq thin, low, small, fine, soft with a sense of being quiet and soothing.

When the Father spoke, His first words were a question.

1 Kings 19:13 “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

Elijah could have said, “I am tired, frightened, and had enough; I am totally over it. I just cannot take it anymore.” But instead Elijah just complained and whined about how tough things were, but in the midst of it all he tried to remain faithful. On top of that, he felt that he was all alone.

Elijah was off-track. But the situation was not terminal and could be repaired. The Father did not entertain or comment on Elijah’s self-pity, self-justification and rationalizations. He was gentle and gracious. The Father still had work for Elijah to complete. He gave him new marching orders and specific instructions as to what to do. And most of all, He assured Elijah that he was not alone.

In order to get back on track with his spiritual life and responsibilities, he had to change his way of thinking, get over his pity party. He had to go back the way he had come and pick up where he left off.

You see all he needed was a gentle reminder of who he was and Whom he served.

1 Kings 17:1 As the LORD, the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand

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