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“Prayer can never be in excess.” http://ts1.mm.bing.net/th?id=I.4511275563746776&pid=1.7&w=96&h=146&c=7&rs=1

~ C. H. Spurgeon

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Back in 2007, I preached about the prophet Elijah’s classic confrontation with the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. That same week, I received Dan Puckett’s article about that show-down through Life Action revival link. Where are the Elijahs today?

If Elijah Were Here, What Would It Look Like?
Dan Puckett 

Elijah was a prophet. He was a man of God. He had one mission: to speak for God.

Elijah was a plumb line of heaven’s counsel dropped into the affairs of men. Elijah was not concerned with political correctness; matter of fact, he did not care about politics at all.

In Elijah’s day Ahab was king and Jezebel was queen. They were wicked people who had no heart for God. Ahab was aware of the Living God of Heaven, but Jezebel had her imported religious system of Baal worship and overwhelmed Ahab.

Baal was the fire god. The worship system was intricate and complicated, requiring hundreds of priests. There was a Baal temple and sacrifices, roughly paralleling the worship instituted by Jehovah God.

The people were fickle. They counted bigness of organization, ceremony of worship, and size of following as overall effectiveness, and neglected the one true God to follow the idol of Baal. Another thing false religion always seems to offer is a little more latitude in lifestyle, for those stuffy “Ten Commandments” can be restrictive.

King Ahab pursued the false religion of Baal to the point that God commented in 1 Kings 16:33, “Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him.”

Elijah came on the scene with a simple message to Ahab, “As the LORD God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word” (1 Kings 17:1).

Elijah’s message held no immediate threat. It was a declaration that there was a living God, and He was taking action. It was weeks or maybe months before the effects pronounced by Elijah became critical. In the meantime, after Elijah delivered the message from God, he went into hiding at the command of God. Elijah was in exile.

The drought continued—crops failed, livestock suffered, and the people were scrambling to survive. Ahab and his people were hunting for Elijah, seeing him as their enemy and the cause of their difficulty. They never once looked to or for God in order to repent and beg for mercy. Matter of fact, as the situation worsened, their hatred for God increased.

Today the man Elijah is not here, but the message is. In our day, we have the Word of the Living God, the Holy Bible, at our disposal. The message is clear; God has not changed. God withdrew Elijah from the view of God’s enemies for a time. In our day, the enemies of God have pushed and are pushing the Word of God out of public view. We people do not seem to mind. God seems a little restrictive: He demands fealty and control. Nothing has changed.

We are in a spiritual drought. The withering of our family and social structure is a direct result of the lack of the Word of God being implanted and nurtured in the hearts of people. God could have intervened earlier in Elijah’s day, but He waited until the “famine was severe” (1 Kings 18:2).

God moved in Elijah’s day with a direct confrontation between Elijah and the false prophets (1 Kings 18:38-39) on their turf. God won!

Today those who recognize the severe famine we are in must persevere in faithfulness. Obadiah was a servant of God working for Ahab during those days. Obadiah remained loyal to God (1 Kings 18:4). We must as well.

Elijah’s story gives us great hope. Things were bad in the land, very bad, but God broke through. We may not all be Elijahs, but we can be like Obadiah, “Start where we are, use what we have, do what we can.” Our only hope is God. Our means are the Word of God and prayer. Pray always. Speak the Word of God at every opportunity. God is alive; He will win!

About the author: Dan Puckett is a member of Life Action’s speaker team, which consists of 15-20 individuals who are passionate about the message of personal renewal and corporate revival.

Some people have got the beauty of the rose of Sharon, and there are others who have the fragrance, too. Spent too hours today in prayer, seeking that I might have the fragrance.

~ Dr. Andrew Bonar

A great part of my time is getting my heart in tune for prayer. It is the divine link that connects earth with heaven

~ Robert Murray M’Cheyne

Apostasy begins in the closet. No man ever backslid from the life and power of Christianity who continued constant and fervent in private prayer. He who prays without ceasing is likely to rejoice evermore! 

~ Adam Clarke

Our prayer expresses our commitment to Christ. By talking to God we affirm our basic decision to depend on Him.

~ David Hubbard, The Problem With Prayer Is51.

But sadly, few make prayer a part of their daily experience. They pray only if extra time is available or their emotions draw them to prayer. Oh, that Christians would see prayer in its proper perspective!

Prayer is not optional. On the contrary, it is quite obligatory. Where there is an absence of prayer there will be an absence of power. Where there is frequency of prayer there will be a continuing display of God’s power (Dick Eastwood, The Hour That Changes The World12). 

Thanksgiving—The Remedy for a Rotten Attitude

Children-Manti-Colombia
Children playing in the government-run facility for flood victims

My experience with Third-World poverty last week reminded me that we are so much more blessed than we realize.

Whenever I stare Third-World poverty in the face I receive a painful attitude adjustment. This happened to me last week when I visited a refuge for disaster victims in the small community of Manatí, Colombia. Approximately 1,500 people—all of whom lost their homes during floods two years ago—now live in crude storage units equipped with running water and makeshift latrines.

I stuck my head in one of the apartment doors just to see the conditions. A single mother lived in one room with her eight children. Some pigs and dogs, looking uncomfortable in the South American humidity, sought shade near a window nearby. Most kids in the camp played with old jars, plastic bins and sticks, but I noticed one dirty-faced girl with a used doll. She had created a home for her Barbie in the dirt outside her front door.

The people of Manatí know nothing about hot water, air conditioning or flush toilets. They certainly don’t have smartphones, flat-screen televisions, washing machines or Internet access. They’ve never heard of digital books, granite countertops, spa treatments, GPS devices, Jacuzzis, gourmet kitchens or Netflix. They can’t imagine paying $4 for a cup of coffee or $10 for a movie ticket. Being able to own a car is unthinkable.

They are part of the 50 percent of the world’s population living on less than $2.50 per day.

Before my tour of the compound in Manatí I spoke to a group of women, many of them abused or abandoned by their husbands. They gathered in a tent on the camp property to hear the gospel. I used a scratchy sound system mounted on a motorcycle to share the message of Jesus with them. When I looked into their worn faces I was reminded of how fortunate I am to have an education, Christian parents and the basic blessings of life.

I wish every American could spend at least one week a year in a developing country. It would make all of us more grateful if we could understand that the majority of people in this world are baffled by the comforts we enjoy.

As you gather with friends and family to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, I hope you will ponder these stark truths about world poverty:

  • 2 billion people in this world have no access to electricity.
  • According to UNICEF, 30,000 children die every day due to poverty.
  • Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names. 72 million children who should be in school are not enrolled.
  • One in three children in the world live without adequate shelter.
  • 1.4 million children die each year from lack of access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation.
  • Millions of women spend an average of four hours daily walking to get water.
  • Approximately 790 million people in the developing world are still chronically undernourished.

In light of these realities, our worries—even in what we call a weak economy—seem silly. We have absolutely nothing to complain about. Instead we should be on our knees thanking God for His goodness.

Thanksgiving has the power to adjust our selfish hearts and recalibrate our whiny attitudes. When we thank the Lord, we subdue the pride in our hearts and crush our craving for entitlement.

For the rest of the article…

3 Tips for a More Biblical

Thanksgiving!

3 Tips for a More Biblical Thanksgiving
Looking backwards with thanksgiving helps us look towards the future with anticipation.

No U.S. holiday is as distinctive as Thanksgiving.

In our busy, deadline-fixated age, expressing gratitude to our heavenly Father is too easily squeezed out of our lives, but it is important.

First, I think human beings are ‘hardwired’ to do this. Even atheists seem to have unsettling moments when they feel an irresistible urge to thank someone ‘up there.’ One of the problems with atheism occurs when pain is avoided or pleasure gained – having no one to give thanks to leaves you with an itch you cannot scratch.

But there is more than a primeval urge to justify thanking God. On almost every page of the Bible, we see this as a theme. The Old Testament reverberates with the sound of people praising God; Israel’s history is full of thanksgiving to God for showing them mercy and delivering them from disaster.

The New Testament is no less full of thanksgiving. Jesus himself offers up thanks to God the Father, most importantly at the Last Supper (Matthew 26:26-27), where the word used for thanksgiving is Eucharist, still used in many churches for communion. Paul not only regularly gives thanks; he actually commands it of others.

This gives us some guidelines for ‘biblical’ thanksgiving:

First, biblical thanksgiving is innocent.

In giving thanks to God, there should be no motive other than pure gratitude. Thanksgiving is giving thanks and that alone. Of all the different types of prayer, this is least likely to be contaminated by our own conscious or subconscious desire to manipulate God.

Second, biblical thanksgiving is intelligent.

It involves looking back over the past – whether the last week or an entire life – and identifying things for which we are grateful. Thanksgiving is neglected today partly because modern Western culture is so obsessed with the future. But to give thanks to God is to look backwards, not forwards, and to express gratitude for the good things that have come our way.

Third, thanksgiving should be inclusive.

It’s easy just to say, ‘Thank you, God’ for the health and wealth we have. But do we also give God thanks for friends, family, housing, holidays, or a hundred other lesser things? Let’s give him thanks for all the little things in life, too.

For the rest of the article…

Samuel Chadwick put it this way…

In these days there is no time to pray; but without time, and a lot of it, we shall never learn to pray. It ought to be possible to give God one hour out of twenty-four all to Himself (quoted in J. Oswald Sanders, Prayer Power Unlimited108).

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