Still Not Alone

1 Kings 20-21

1 Kings 20 13 NIV sgl

I neglected to mention at the end of yesterday’s “You are Not Alone” devotion that one excellent way to battle the weary, lonely depression that sometimes falls upon those who speak for God is to find a partner in ministry – work together with one you can mentor.  At the end of chapter 19 Elijah found Elisha.  Some Bible scholars suggest they worked together about 6 years, but I found another that thought it could have been closer to 23 years.  Regardless of the length of time, I believe it is safe to say the apprenticeship was a mutual blessing to both Elijah and Elisha – and likely multiplied the work that either one could have done on their own.  Elisha will have a very long and powerful ministry for the LORD, but what would it have looked like if he had not had the opportunity to serve under Elijah?  Who are you serving under?  Who are you mentoring?

It is interesting that in the next chapter neither Elijah nor Elisha are mentioned, but at least twice a prophet or son of a prophet speaks to evil King Ahab – once to tell him how to be victorious over the attacking Ben-Hadad of Aram, and once to reprimand him for being too leniant on Ben-Hadad when God delivered him into Ahab’s hand.  This is further proof that Elijah was indeed not the only one left to stand for and speak for God.  And proof, that while Elijah had very faithfully performed many deeds and sermons for God – God did not need Elijah.  The Almighty can call any man or woman – or rock – to work for Him.  I do believe when the city walls fall down on 27,000 fleeing enemy soldiers God’s rocks were at work – perhaps others would have merely called it a coincidence or an earthquake (1 Kings 20:30).

It can truly be amazing who and what God uses – even the evilest king who had ever lived.  Sure, enough, when God wanted to show HIS strength against the advancing foreign army – He tells Ahab the winning battle plans through a prophet and Ahab somewhat surprisingly listens and follows along – to a point.  And, in the last chapter of today’s reading we will even see Ahab repentant – for a time.  There is no heart God can’t soften and change or use for His glory.

But, you are just asking for trouble if you choose to hang out with the bad girls (or in Ahab’s case, his wicked wife).   They have done a lot of evil things but how many commandments do they manage to break when Ahab decides he would love to have a vegetable garden for his second palace?  Once, again, sin snowballs.  One leads to another and it grows larger and larger. With serious consequences.

Following the violent murder of innocent Naboth and the stealing of his property, Elijah is sent to condemn Ahab and Jezebel and foretell their own violent deaths – only partially put on hold by Ahab’s repentant spirit.  Isn’t it good to know that God still sees the  cruelty and injustice of the world today and His timeline is put in place to make all things right.  There will be a time when all humanity meets their judge and will be held accountable for all their deeds and the condition of their hearts.  Until that day may we faithfully carry His word – knowing that we are not alone!

Marcia Railton

 

Today’s Bible reading can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Kings+20-21&version=NIV

Tomorrow’s Bible reading will be 1 Kings 22 & 2 Chronicles 18 as we continue the seekgrowlove.com 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

Counted Among the Wise

 

Proverbs 19

Proverbs 19 20

Much like a Chick-Fil-A employee, it has been my pleasure to write devotions to share with you this week! And much like a Chick-Fil-A customer, I’ve been enjoying feasting on these golden nuggets in the word of God! Sadly, like ordering every item on the menu (which now includes a Mac and Cheese that is crazy good!), there was no way to digest all the wise and invaluable verses found in Proverbs 13-19 in this format. While I have tried to find themes in the chapters and apply stories to illustrate them, I hope you have been looking at the verses I’ve skipped. There are what Sir Anthony Buzzard calls “Refrigerator Verses” like 16:3: “Commit to the LORD whatever you do and your plans will succeed.” Nice, sweet, and hopeful. And there are some that are not exactly what I’d hang on the fridge or embroider on a pillow, like Verse 17:12: “Better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than a fool in his folly.”  Well, on second thought….
But all are valuable for developing wisdom, speaking words that breathe life into others, subduing anger, avoiding folly and foolishness, and learning to allow God to guide your steps and guard your heart.
One last theme I want to pull from the Proverbs, from chapter 19, is the importance of mentorship. The role of mentorship has many names: teacher, advisor, counselor, coach, preceptor, pastor, shepherd…. whatever the name, the job is the same.  The mentor pours her time and knowledge into the mentee (the student, learner, pupil, novice…). Verse 20 tells us to listen to wise advice and offers a promise if we do.  Verse 27 warns of what will happen if we don’t. Verse 16 states both.
Most of my preceptors in my nursing classes and as a new nurse were much younger than I was. I may have a little more “experience on the planet”, but I was very new to the world of nursing. Likewise, if you are a minor reading this, don’t think you are just the student. In looking at 1 Timothy 4:11-13 and Titus 2: 1-8, all believers are to serve as mentors to those who are newer to the faith, whether they are older or younger than you.
Awhile back, Josiah Cain wrote for the FUEL blog that one of the four benefits of being a Christian is being surrounded by like-minded people. Growing up in the Church of God and moving a lot in the military, I have been blessed with many amazing, loving, godly men and women who have served as my mentors. Now that I have children, I am blessed again in that my children have no shortage of people to whom they can turn for godly mentorship. I have explained to my children when looking to a mentor, they should look to people who clearly love God and Jesus, use scripture as their moral compass, and put wisdom over feelings in handling tough situations. I sincerely hope my children and others see that in me, especially since bowing out of mentorship is not optional.
God has blessed us with so much: each other, Chick-Fil-A, mentors, the coming Kingdom, His Word, and of course, His Son Jesus Christ! Let us spend our time on this earth studying the word, building wisdom, worshiping, praying, and encouraging one another. All this will certainly be our pleasure!
Maria Knowlton

Pass it On

2 Timothy 2

2 Tim 2 2

2nd Timothy 2:2 – the pass it on verse.  “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.”  It’s not enough to believe it, know it and even share it.  We must be intentional about to whom and how we share it – so that it will continue to be taught long after our fleeting breath is gone.  Are you sharing God’s Word?  Good!  Are you teaching from His Word?  Great!  ALSO, prayerfully consider who and how you ought to be mentoring to do the tasks God has given, both now and in the future.

 

Or, maybe you aren’t currently sharing God’s Word and teaching from His Word.  Maybe you feel you just don’t know enough to start.  Or, you know you can’t do it as well as those you see doing it in your church now because you aren’t as experienced as they are.  After all, you don’t have the training to be a pastor or a Sunday School teacher.  That’s okay.  If you have the heart and desire and are ready to grow – ask those who are working how you can be involved!   Learn from them now before they are gone.

 

And – keep at it – even when hardships come (2:3)

Strive to please Christ – your commanding officer (2:4)

Remember the rules (2:5)

Endure – so you can reign (2:12)

Do your best for God (2:15)

Use His Word wisely (2:15)

Avoid false teachers and godless chatter (2:16,17)

Be holy and useful – no matter what your shape, size, age, job is (2:20,21).

Run away from evil (2:22)

Run after what is right and stick with God’s people (2:22)

Stop arguing (2:23)

Be a kind teacher (2:24)

Gently instruct even those against you (2:25)

 

Here near the end of Paul’s life he had so much Godly wisdom that he was faithfully passing on to Timothy – so that Timothy could pass it on to those he was teaching and training – so that it would be passed down the generations to you and to me.  What will you do with it today?  Read 2 Timothy 2 and see what God wants you to do to pass it on.

 

Marcia Railton