Monday, June 28, 2010

Run Like Elijah

"The power of the LORD came upon Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel." I Kings 18:46

I think this display of God's supernatural power is just awesome. It comes briefly after showing His power through sending fire to light a very wet sacrifice on fire, proving that He was God and Baal was not. (some good trash talking from Elijah to the prophets of Baal is in there as well) It also comes just after Elijah had prayed for a three year drought to be lifted. Once a cloud appears, Elijah sends word for Ahab to hitch up his chariot and skeedaddle because it's about to rain something fierce.

I don't know how many horses a typical chariot would have but am guessing the king could afford several so suffice it to say that Elijah was booking it in running "ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel."

I recently ran a half-marathon and while the spirit of the Lord did not give me supernatural speed, it was a good time of seeking His power to complete the race and glorify Him in it. I think Elijah's seeking after God and walking or rather running with Him is something to aspire to. Will God always reveal Himself supernaturally? Probably not, but if we continue to pursue Him and stay in His will, someday, we may run like Elijah.

Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt by Louis Auchincloss

Theodore Roosevelt was one of the most dynamic presidents in the history of our country. After being born in affluence, he established himself as a man's man by becoming the leader of a crew of rough country characters and city men and leading them in the Spanish-American conflict in Cuba. He himself led the charge up San Juan hill which proved to be pivotal in winning the battle.

He also had stints as the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Commissioner of Police in New York City, Governor of New York, Vice President, and ultimately President following the assassination of William McKinley. Throughout his life, he was a diligent reader and even endeavored on writing several books himself. He had a very excitable and strong personality with a constant bent towards leadership and inspiring others to his vision.

The only short coming of this book is the concise almost cliff notes story of his life. He had so many exciting experiences and such vivacity of life that I would liked to gone into more depth and may check out additional accounts of his life.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Inquire of the Lord

David inquired of the LORD, and the LORD answered him, "Go down to Keilah, for I am going to give the Philistines into your hand." -1 Samuel 23:3-5
"David inquired of the LORD, "Shall I pursue this raiding party? Will I overtake them?" "Pursue them," he answered. "You will certainly overtake them and succeed in the rescue." -1 Samuel 30:8 
"David inquired of the LORD, and he answered, "Do not go straight up, but circle around behind them and attack them in front of the balsam trees." -2 Samuel 5:23

David's life is such a great example of a man seeking after God and yet at times really messing things up. At various points during his life we see him "inquiring of the Lord." This is coupled with resulting wisdom and success in his endeavors. At other times, he did not "inquire of the Lord" and reaped negative consequences such as a broken family, adultery, murder, and a plague upon the nation of Israel.

I think his life can very easily be applied to most people today. How often are decisions made without inquiring of the Lord? While sometimes things work out fine, at others the Lord could have provided insight and wisdom into the situation that would have resulted in greater success or avoided poor decisions and heartache. In my own life, I sometimes do well at inquiring of the Lord and seeking His wisdom. It is at these times that I most sense His presence and guidance in my life. At other times, I do not inquire of the Lord and rely on my own understanding and capabilities. Inevitably, mistakes or awkward situations occur that could have been otherwise avoided.

I Thessalonians 5:17 says "pray continually." This fits nicely into inquiring of the Lord. When we are continually in a state of prayer, we inquire of the Lord and have His constant guidance. It is definitely something that takes practice to become skilled at. Next time you're driving in the car, exercising, shopping at the store, or doing other daily tasks, visualize Jesus presence there with you and talk with Him. By building a constant relationship, you can much more easily hear His prompting and feel comfortable inquiring of the Lord.

A really good short book written by a 17th century monk that covers this concept very well is called The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. He writes about learning to experience and know God's presence even in regular tasks like cooking or washing dishes rather than only in dedicated "sacred" times.
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