Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. (James 4:8)

Posts tagged ‘Elijah’

Let’s Hear it For the Bald Guy!

Bald Head

Image courtesy of Suat Eman/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

The Old Testament book of II Kings opens with the prophet Elijah being taken to heaven in a chariot of fire while his apprentice, Elisha looks on in amazement. Elijah had asked Elisha what he wanted and he asked for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. That was the first indicator of Elisha’s humility and the amazing miracles that Elisha would perform during his ministry as recorded in the next few chapters.

Besides his bald headedness, which should appeal to many men out there, what stands out about Elisha’s story is his humility as he predicts future events, performs miracles and brings the dead back to life. How many of us, if gifted with such great spiritual abilities would refuse to profit from the miracles, even when sent by assertive military commanders? We live in a time that these activities would surely be exploited by the media, even if one tried to avoid the exposure. Consider some of the things Elisha did:

• Made bad water good in Jericho by throwing salt into the spring (II Kings 2:19-22)
• Filled a barren valley with water for Israel’s army (II Kings 3:9-20)
• Provided an abundance of oil for a widow and her children to pay off her debts and survive (II Kings 4:1-7)
• Raised a boy from the dead (II Kings 4:18-37)
• Made poison stew edible (II Kings 4:38-41)
• Fed over 100 people with 20 loaves of bread (II Kings 4:42-44)
• Healed a Syrian commander from leprosy (II Kings 5:1-14)
• Made an iron axe head float on the water (II Kings 6:1-7)
• Blinded and took the Syrian army captive (II Kings 6:18-23)

I often marvel at the miracles I read about in the Bible and know that we serve the same God and have the same Spirit that these men and women had, and yet we don’t hear about miracles of this magnitude. I believe that miracles do still happen but not like this. Why is that? For one thing, now that God has delivered His Word to humanity, we have the information we need to have a saving relationship with Him.

Another reason for the absence of great miracles is the lack of focus on God by the spiritual leaders of our day. It seems that even humble pastors become obsessed with the number of people that come to their churches. I once heard another pastor’s wife refer to this as “chenis envy.” As their churches grow, they seem to become more focused on selling their books and DVDs. Over time, something happens and the ministry to lost sheep becomes an opportunity for gain as the seduction of fame and fortune overcomes so many of the well-meaning church leaders.

Whatever the reason, the thing we need to remember that we do serve the same loving and awesome God who sanctioned the prophets of old. If His Holy Spirit lives in you, the possibilities are endless! Keep your focus on God and have the faith to know that His Spirit will be with you to empower you in every situation life hands you.

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to two boys with a third on the way (!), a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside.

Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, studied Christian Apologetics at Simon Greenleaf University, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon.

Hear the Voice

Lisening

Photo by iMorpheus on Flickr.

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

Have you ever heard God speak to you? Sometimes life would be so much easier if we could just hear a voice tell us what to do next. Although it does not always work that way, there are ways to tune up your heart and soul to hear the voice of God just like Elijah and the prophets of old.

First of all, you need to know what God has already said to humanity by reading His Word, the Bible. It is quite all right if you don’t understand it all, jot down your questions in a journal and keep on reading. The interesting thing about reading the Bible is that each time you read it, you are in a slightly different place, so different elements will stand out in your mind. Write those things down in your journal, too.

The next thing you need to do is to follow Jesus on His terms, as the Bible teaches. In the 10th chapter of the Gospel of John, Jesus compares Himself to a good shepherd who cares enough about His flock to lay down His life for them. The important part about this analogy is that His sheep know the voice of their Shepherd and will run away from any other voices who call them. We cannot expect to hear His voice if we don’t even belong to Him! Romans 10:9 spells out how to belong to Jesus: “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe with your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (NKJV)

Finally, we live in a very noisy world, so turn off the noise and listen. As Elijah learned in his mountaintop experience with God in I Kings 19:8-13, the voice of God was not heard in a loud windstorm, an earthquake or in a fire, but rather in a still, small voice; a whisper. Once we are familiar with God as He has revealed Himself through the Bible, we need to spend time in prayer, talking with God. Some of that time needs to be spent quietly listening. Allow God’s voice to speak into your thoughts through your open heart. Allow yourself some peace and quiet throughout your day, like when you are driving in your car or working out. Music is great, I love music, but sometimes we need to just turn everything off and listen to the silence. That is where you will hear God when He chooses to speak.

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to two boys with a third on the way (!), a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside.

Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, studied Christian Apologetics at Simon Greenleaf University, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon.

I Love this Guy!

Elijah cropped

Cropped photo from tsheko on Flickr.

By Lisa Nordell-Detres

Elijah is my favorite prophet from the Bible for many reasons, but here are the top three characteristics that endear Elijah to my heart.

First of all, Elijah boldly stood up for God at a time in Israel’s history when it looked as if he was the only one left who would. King Ahab and his queen Jezebel (ring any bells?) were in power and one of the first things they did was to round up all the Jewish priests who served God and slaughter them. No wonder Elijah felt so alone! Elijah told Ahab that there would be a severe drought in Israel because of Ahab’s wicked decisions.

Secondly, Elijah listened to God. One of the key concepts in the 1 Kings account of Elijah is that “the word of the LORD came to Elijah.” Each time this is stated in the passage, Elijah listened and more importantly, he obeyed; he acted according to God’s instructions.

How many times in our lives are we prompted to do something that we know is the right thing to do, but we are too busy, too afraid or too self-involved to carry out our orders? We will delve deeper into the art of hearing God later, but think about this question in the meantime.

The third quality about Elijah that I find intriguing is that this man of God suffered from depression. The important thing to remember about Elijah’s depression is that while he did withdraw from people when he was depressed, he never withdrew from God. Even at his lowest moment in 1 Kings 19:4, Elijah cried out to God. OK, he did ask God to kill him right then, but he sought God even in the depths of despair and left the actions to God. Knowing Elijah’s state, God sent an angel to tend to Elijah’s physical needs while he recuperated.

If you read on about the life of Elijah, not only did God not kill him then, God never did allow Elijah to see death, but rather took him straight to heaven! Remember to seek God at all times, especially when all seems to be lost. God be with you!

Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to two boys with a third on the way (!), a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside.

Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, studied Christian Apologetics at Simon Greenleaf University, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon.

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