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And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.” 42 So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees.

43 “Go and look toward the sea,” he told his servant. And he went up and looked.

“There is nothing there,” he said.

Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.”

44 The seventh time the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.”

So Elijah said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’”

45 Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rains started falling and Ahab rode off to Jezreel. 46 The power of the Lord came on Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.

1 Kings 18:42-46
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There are a couple of points I want to pull out of this that I think is relevant when pursuing God for revival.
1.  We hear
Elijah HEARD the sound of rain, before there was any rain, before there were any clouds.  Sometimes we get a sense of what God is doing in the visible well before there are any visible signs, any tangible results.  We have to have faith in that sense of the invisible working of God and run with it.  I hear the sound of approaching rain.  When I think of HKC and pray I hear the sound of young people crying out to God.  I hear church place filled with young people.   That is the rain I hear.   We have to grab ahold of what we hear God saying in the secret place and by faith believe that.
2.  We pray.
God does extraordinary things when ordinary people pray.
3.  We see.
Elijah’s servant saw a cloud the size of a mans fist.  We often see small signs of God moving, small changes that are indicators of what He is doing.  Let’s not despise the days of small beginnings but let those things encourage us.
For revival to come we must grow in our vertical relationship with God.  We’re going to grow bigger, stronger, more faithfilled and more faithful.  We’re going to have adventures and step out of the boat.  But in revival we’re also going to grow in numbers, horizontally, as our hearts grow bigger with the vision God has we will step out and be that catalyst for growth.  How do we grow?  How do we see that more?  Simple.  We invite people.  We bring people.  We ask people.  We talk about the awesome things God is doing in our lives and at church and we bring people.
We’re going to be a people who know God and make Him known.  In Daniel 11 it says that the people that know their God will be strong and do exploits.  The greatest exploit we can do is to bring people to Jesus.   In John 4 Jesus says open your eyes and see the harvest.  The servant had to open his eyes to see the cloud and we need to open our eyes to see how God has positioned us and the great things he wants to do, not just to us, but through us.
4.  We prepare.
Elijah told his servant to go and prepare Ahab for the mighty rain approaching.
Are you prepared practically for growth?  For rain?
verse 45 says Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rains started falling.
are you ready for the rain?
can you hear the sound of approaching rain?
will you pray for God to move?
can you see what God is already doing and what God will do?
will you go deeper and get more hungry, for yourself and for those in your world?
will you bring someone, many someones next year.
because if we do.  it will rain.  we will get wet.  and man its going to be glorious!
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The challenge between Elijah on Mt Carmel tells of the Greater Story. Jesus came and lived and died so that you could be friends with God. He stretched His arms out on the cross, on the top of another mountain, and proved that nothing is impossible for God, and that God deserves all the glory, all our lives. It wasn’t the blood of bulls that was shed and sacrificed but the blood of a perfect man who laid His life down for me and for you. It wasn’t 3 jars of water that made it impossible for Jesus but 3 days in the grave – but it could not stop God’s power! Jesus died on the top of that hill and proved once and for all that God’s love is real and that God’s grace is real and that God is real.

And His death issues the same challenge as Elijah did. If the Lord is God, follow Him.

I love the story of Elijah on Mt Carmel.

By the way – i hate that word, story.   Its not a fairy tale or a make believe “story” but a real life account of something that really happened in history.

But doesn’t it just blow your mind.  It’s the greatest showdown.  God vs Baal.  Elijah, the lone ranger, vs the Baal prophets.

Fire from heaven.

Drama and humour.

But how is this relevant for us here today?

  1. Nothing is impossible for God.  No amount of water could stop God from boom showing up.  Though all the circumstances said NO WAY, God came by fire.  He proved Himself regardless.    In our life, no matter what the circumstance says God can and will and does move.
  1. It’s for His glory. There was no way that that altar could catch on fire by itself.  The odds were stacked against it.  In our lives we got to live for His glory.  We don’t create the fire, we don’t make the fire, we don’t own the fire.  Anything great that God does – GOD does.  Not us.   Live for His glory and the fire will come.

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SAMSUNG CSCAs Christians we want to hear God speak.  Our hearts long for connection with Him.

There is a great parallel linking between when God passed by Elijah on the mountain in 1 Kings 19 and when God appeared to Moses on the mountain in Exodus 19.

Exodus 19:16-20 describes: “On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, with a thick cloud over the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp trembled. Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the LORD descended on it in fire. The smoke billowed up from it like smoke from a furnace, the whole mountain trembled violently, and the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder. Then Moses spoke and the voice of God answered him.”

Compare this to when God revealed Himself to Elijah on the mountaintop.

1 Kings 19:11-13 says : Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake;  and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.   So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

Elijah, being a prophet of God, versed in Jewish history and the presence of God would have known about how God works around mountains.  Perhaps he expected, since God had sent him to a mountain that he would hear the thunderous might of His voice, described in psalms as a multitude of waterfalls and thunders.

But God pulled the unexpected on Elijah. He spoke to Moses with power and noise but He spoke to Elijah with stillness and a whisper.  Rather than manifest Himself in all His brilliant glory and splendid power, He chose to use His still quiet voice..

God doesn’t always whisper. Sometimes He shouts and creates quite a moment. When God visited Moses and the multitudes at Mt. Sinai, he didn’t use His “inside voice.”  

It’s important to hear God how He is speaking though.    Sometimes God speaks with great volume… other times He speaks so softly we have to be listening to hear Him.

Dont go looking for the noise and discounting the quiet if that is how God is speaking today. Dont try and turn up the volume when God is whispering.  Listen. God speaks.  

 

 

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”Simply trust God. If you come to Him, He will give you all that you need to serve Him. You really need to believe that God keeps His word. The more you trust Him, the more He will be able to give you. If you were lost in an uncrossable desert, bread would fall from heaven for you alone.

Fear nothing but to fail God. And do not even fear that so much that you let it upset you. Learn to live with your failures, and bear with the failures of your neighbours. Do you know what would be best for you? Stop trying to appear so mentally and spiritually perfect to God and man. There is a lot of refined selfishness and complacency in not allowing your faults to be revealed. Be simple with God. Live day by day, not in your own strength but by completely surrendering to God.”

Fenelon from 100 Days in the Secret Place

 

I found this piece of writing to be saturated with faith. From beginning to full stop it resonates faith faith faith.  Total dependence upon God and His provision, love, grace – everything we need.

The bible DOES say “Seek FIRST the Kingdom of God and all these things will be added to you” – referring to the things mentioned previously in the biblical passage – clothing, food, basic necessities. 

What is seeking God look like?  Judah Smith in a recent podcast i listened to said its as simple as drawing close to God.  Not just in a 1/2 hour devotional time, or on Sunday at church, but throughout your day, your life.  That God is God and that awareness that He is with you and near you.  Including Him in your day. 

Dedicated time to God is important.   Jesus drew Himself away to pray and seek God.  Its where you learn to hear His voice, know His heart.

There is something you get in the secret place that you can get no where else. Do everything you can to establish a secret history with Jesus. ~ Banning Liebscher

 

The sentence by Fenelon – “If you were lost in an uncrossable desert, bread would fall from heaven for you alone” is so unwavering and relentless in its faith.

It at first made me blink and think – is that really so???

Elijah the prophet was fed by ravens who brought him meat and bread for breakfast and tea. The widow’s flour bin and oil jar never ran out in the drought. The crowd were fed with 5 fish and 2 loaves of bread.

So – was that a specific time moment – then, and this is now?

God is the same today, yesterday and tomorrow.

Was it just for special “bible people” but not for ordinary folk like me…? God is no respecter of persons.

So therefore I am going to conclude that God is my provider. And I will trust Him.

 

What is the uncrossable desert?

It can be a real place… but it can also be whatever impossible looking situation we face. Illness. Money. Jobs. Relationships. At that point of need God is there and ABLE to meet you.  At that place of need Jesus is there to fill you and sustain you and help you.

“Refined selfishness” – now that is a label! We think we have it covered so often… Really we’re just better at putting the makeup on… When we live honestly before God and with our family and friends God is able to work through us more and more – He can shine through our weaknesses. We are all cracked pots filled with the treasure of God. When we cover the cracks the light cant shine through. We must be vulnerable and real, as it allows the presence and grace of God to work through us.  People need us to be real.  Our neighbours need us to be real.  Not so they see our flaws, but so they see the Jesus we lean on and believe in.  So they can receive grace too.

God desires to do impossible things through improbable people to show His unlimited grace to those who will believe.

Will you trust Him today?

rain 2

The coming revival must begin with a great revival of prayer. It is in the closet, with the door shut, that the sound of abundance of rain will first be heard. – Andrew Murray

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"You might be thinking you’re unimpressive and unqualified. That’s good. God performs the most impressive feats through the most unimpressive people. God likes to wet the wood before he sets it on fire. That way, everybody knows who made it burn." ~ Steven Furtick

bj

*** some thoughts from: Jesus Culture Awakening / Bill Johnson preaching

God lights the fire but we have to keep it burning.

we only love God because He loved us first

all we can ever do is respond through what He has initiated

a renewed mind is seeing things through God’s eyes, with His perspective

when you can begin to run when you see the cloud the size of a mans hand, you’ll bring the rain

see the oak tree in the acorn

if you cant be happy and rejoicing over the headache gone… then you cant be trusted with empty wheelchairs //

digging

Then Elijah said to all the people, "Come here to me." They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the LORD, which was in ruins.  Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD had come, saying, "Your name shall be Israel."  With the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD, and he dug a trench around it large enough to hold two seahs of seed.  He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, "Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood."  "Do it again," he said, and they did it again.     "Do it a third time," he ordered, and they did it the third time.  The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench.  At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: "O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again."  Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.  When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, "The LORD -he is God! The LORD -he is God!" 1 Kings 18:30-39

 

one night i read this to my young daughter – the kids adventure bible version that is.

but it struck me afresh – before the fire of God could come there was a lot of work to do. 

elijah had to prepare the altar.  digging.  building.  hard physical labour.  work.  he had to get the altar ready for the fire to come.

likewise in our own lives , we need to be lives ready for the fire to fall.  we need to prepare our own heart and outward lived lives for God to use and demonstrate His power and glory.  there is work to be done.  building.  digging.  work. 

we often put our hands up and say YES God, but are we ready to do the leg work, and the prayer work, and the heart work, and the servant work, and the transformation work???

article_images-the_gospel_of_discouragement_971372362

The angel of the LORD came back a second time and touched him and said, "Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you."  So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he travelled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night.  1 Kings 19:7-9

This journey we read about Elijah taking took him 40 days and 40 nights.  He was strengthened supernaturally by the food the angel fed him with.

The thing is, the Did You Know – that journey from where he was to Horeb usually took 3 days by foot.

Yet it took Elijah 40 days and 40 nights.

I love how the bible asks us to read between the lines. 

Nowhere does it explain WHY it took Elijah so long to reach the mountain of God, where he had a phenomena encounter with God and was restored into ministry.

Perhaps it took that time for his heart to heal from the fear and discouragement.

He had lost his way, and perhaps it look time for him to find it again.

Perhaps it took great physical, emotional and spiritual effort to just put one foot in front of the other.

Yet he did it. He persevered.  He walked.  He endured.  He reached his destination.

Often when we’re returning to God we want to snap our fingers and be instantly restored.   When you think about it provisionally (am i using that word in the right spiritual context????) we are – we are saved, covered by grace and forgiveness, children of God, with the righteousness of Jesus Christ as our own righteousness… yet when we walk away it takes time and effort to walk back and change our own mind and mindsets and re-find faith.

The good news is that Elijah got there.  the angel sustained him.  God made the way.  Elijah didn’t give up. 

If we put one foot in front of the other, if we make forward motion, if we do the things we used to do first love wise (to slip into Revelation – letters to the churches) then we will get there and encounter God…

 

After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 1 Kings 19:12

 

and on the mountain Elijah met with God.

Other translations read:
… a still small voice
… a soft whisper
… a sound of a gentle blowing
… a gentle and quiet whisper
… a sound of sheer silence
… sound of a soft breath
I find the translation of this phrase loaded. In the King James Version "a still small voice". What a phrase! What imagery! The all powerful, all mighty God whispering to his people. To one single person. It is all about a relationship like that. One on one with God. That is God’s original design. God desires to be near to us, one on one, so close that only whispering is needed. I want to hear the whisper. I want to respond to the still small voice. "Come near to God and he will come near to you." (James 4:8)  His glory is overwhelming but his voice can sometimes be small, gentle, quiet, and soft in order to draw us in close to hear his words intimately and clearly.  Sound of a Soft Breath

 

 

Elijah was discouraged. God determined to give him courage by revealing himself. On Mount Horeb, he caused all kinds of amazing things by his presence, but desiote the awesomeness of the wind, the rocks breaking and the earth shaking, Elijah knew the difference between God causing something and God’s very presence. God’s presence was in the whisper after the storm. Perhaps that should suggest something to us. Maybe God does not reveal Himself to us in the midst of the mayhem we are living through. Maybe we really discover Him when we have determined to keep watch through the storm, and we see Him clearest once the storm passes.  youversion note

 

i’m so amazed at the graciousness of God.  we are such flawed humans – with our attitudes and fears and insecurities and doubts and weaknesses and prides and everything.  yet God CHOOSES to use us and He encourages us and graces us to serve Him.  He knows our heart so well and so we can trust Him with it. 

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