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Following Elijah’s stunning victory over the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18, he turns his attention to drought that continued to linger over the land. Back in 1 Kings 17, Elijah had announced a drought on the land because of the apostasy of the people. They had backed into Baalism and paganism. And their failure to remain faithful to the Lord carried the judgment of God removing his word from the people, signified by the lack of rain or dew. This was also a polemic against Baal, the storm god. The Baal cycle would be broken and the LORD would show himself to be God.

"With which person in the Bible do you most identify?" This is a question I have often asked others in the church over the years. Most of us lack even enough self-awareness to able to answer the question. Others among us have a propensity to appeal to the best characters in Scripture.

One of the greatest gifts we can give others is a commitment to pray for them, a commitment that will also bring us great joy. But it’s easy to just pray through a list of petitions instead of first thanking God for their faith and fruitful ministry. Paul’s thanksgiving and prayer for the Colossians is a powerful reminder of how important both praise and petition are as we pray for one another. Like Paul, let us grow accustomed to regularly thanking God for our fellow believers as we pray for them.

Praise to God

What do we do when suffering breaks into our lives like an unwelcome intruder, when a diagnosis comes at an inconvenient time, when we feel disillusioned and full of despair? Where do we turn when we are scared, sad, and sobered at the fragility of our lives or the lives of our loved ones?

Liu Jingwen and Her Quiet Strength 

 

The saying is well-known: “Behind a great man there is a great woman.” In the case of Chinese pastor and theologian Wang Mingdao, someone suggested that eighty percent of Wang’s achievement was due to his wife. Was it an exaggeration?

 

A Mature Young Lady

Blandina – God’s Strength in Weakness

When the Roman authorities hung Blandina to a pole and exposed her to a crowd of blood-thirsty spectators, they thought they could frighten anyone who rebelled to their rules. What they didn’t know is that they were holding her up as an example that gave new strength and courage to other Christians.

The Persecution at Lyons    

Recently, Christians have agonized over accounts of false devotion to talented but corrupt church leaders. In outwardly successful churches and ministries, leaders have covered up sin, blamed victims, and blocked investigations to protect gifted but fatally flawed pastors and their ministries. To correct our mistakes and restore our integrity, we need the whole of Scripture, including a minor but revealing episode in the life of David that can help us distinguish between wise service to God from foolish service to men.

Command these things

1 Timothy 4:11: “Command and teach these things.”

1 Timothy 5:7: “Command these things as well, so that they may be without reproach.”

1 Timothy 6:3: “Teach and urge these duties.”

Hannah Arendt was a political philosopher.  She was the author of several books and was professor at New School for Social Research and was a visiting Fellow of the committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. I have been reading her 1951 book titled, The Origins of Totalitarianism.  It should be required reading for citizens of the United States. The lessons are as profound as they are simple. For instance, Arendt points up two illusions that plague democratically ruled countries.

In November I became the Majority Inspector of Elections in my county.  My first foray into the jungle of election administration was during the primaries. I served with three others at our election site and I learned a lesson or two that I would like to pass along. But let me clear up the why question before I start. Why did I do it?  Why did I seek the position?  Was I convicted that I should get involved at a local level, in other words, apply the doctrine of the lesser magistrate?

It is often the case that a minister only begins to really appreciate the value of his books when the time comes for him to part with them. Sometimes it happens when he runs out of space on his shelves and he is forced to thin them out. Or it may be when it comes to his retirement and he is downsizing his house and there simply isn’t the same amount of space in his new accommodation. Either way, he finds himself struggling to decide which ones to keep and which to let go. It begins to dawn on him that these volumes mean more to him than he may have previously realised.

The first question and answer of the Heidelberg Catechism has resonated with generations of people familiar with it.

 

Q. What is your only comfort in life and in death?

If Christians are to have any impact on the world, they must think and act biblically!

Alliance Friends provide sound, biblical teaching through broadcasting, events, and publishing. As a Friend you share the Gospel, providing the opportunity for the Holy Spirit to change minds, touch hearts, and help bring change to believers and non-believers alike. Whether it’s through daily devotionals, websites, events, or broadcasts and podcasts—Alliance Friends underwrite trustworthy resources that encourage, embolden, and equip the Church.

“So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” – Romans 8:12-13

“The guy upstairs.” “The big man in the sky.” These are just two of the more common, modern slang terms for God. Aside from being utterly irreverent, they transgress the Second Commandment of having no graven images of God in that they grossly mistake this important attribute of God: His omnipresence. Thinking of God just hanging out with the angels in heaven while we puny humans go about our business on earth is absolutely horrible, yet I wonder if Christians all too often slip into this frame of thinking. Yet the Bible is clear: God is omnipresent.

Is your prayer life merely a lengthy list of requests that so often seem to go unanswered? Sarah Ivill never tires of considering the Christian’s privilege to pray directly to the Father, through the Son, by the Holy Spirit. Equally amazing is the fact that God initiates that relationship with us, made possible by Jesus’ finished work on the cross.  You’ll hear the wonder in her voice as Sarah ponders how our prayers in eternity will consist of unceasing praise to our God.