The Mother Who Put God First
1 Kings 17:8-16
As we celebrate our mothers today, we want to learn some lessons from a mother who decided to put God first, resulting in God’s miraculous provision for her and her family, and restoration of her dead son back to life. God has always used mothers to fulfill His purposes in this world. Mothers conceive and bring forth children, nurture and nourish them to grow to become divine instruments who impact many lives as pastors, teachers, presidents, and business leaders.
The mother in our passage was a widow, known for their poverty in ancient times. She was not a Jew, but a Gentile from Zarephath. Yet God chose her to serve His prophet, and to receive His blessings. No matter where we come from, our social and economic status, God can bless and empower us to bless others, if we put Him first. The widow demonstrated this virtue in four ways:
1. When Elijah first asked her for water, a difficult request because of the drought, she stepped out of her suffering to serve him.
2. She received God’s Word with faith. When Elijah followed up with a more difficult request for bread, she responded that she just had a little for herself and her son to eat, after which they would die. But Elijah told her not to fear but serve him first, because God promised that they would never lack food. She believed.
3. She demonstrated her faith in God’s Word by serving Elijah first. After that she never lacked food. When we put our faith in God’s Word and show that faith through obedience, we make His command our priority, and He fulfills His promises in our lives.
4. She showed hospitality by hosting Elijah in her home. After receiving our miracles, we should make room for God, spending time with Him, caring for what He cares for, obeying, worshipping, serving Him, and putting Him first in all we do. This is important because we live in a fallen world, and our miracles do not end all our troubles. Suddenly, the widow’s son, her only hope for the future, was struck with a terminal illness and was dying. Yet because Elijah was in the house, he prayed for him. God heard his cry and raised up the dead son. When we walk in the presence of God, living for Him, and serving Him, we can commit every problem we face into His hands and He will turn things around for us.
Many times we miss God’s blessings because we do not put Him first. The devil, who does not want us to enjoy the blessed life, can make you feel like you’re making a mistake by putting God first. You could give the little time, money, energy, or resources you have to your spouse, children, or family. But when you use them to fulfill God’s responsibility to His servants and His church, God pays you back by miraculously multiplying what you gave, so you can be an even greater blessing to your family.
May all your sacrifices and investments in God’s house bring you health and healing, divine provision and protection, and restoration of life to anything that is dead in your life. May you never lack, not just because you gave to God, but because you gave to Him first. We serve the God of Elijah who is still blessing abundantly those who put Him first. Shalom!
The God We Serve …!
One of the ways by which we experience divine fulfillment is through serving God. God told Pharaoh to let His people go so they could serve Him (Ex.8:1, 9:1). We are saved from the bondage of sin to serve God. Also, our Savior Jesus came into the world with a mission to serve (Matt.20:28). Christians follow His example.
In order for our service to please God, we must serve by faith in God’s Word, which sets the standards for our service, not by our personal feelings (Heb.11:6). That was how Daniel and his friends served God while in exile in Babylon.
1. We serve God in our body. Because our body is God’s temple (1Cor.6:19), we always need to present our body as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God (Rom.12:1). So Daniel and his friends purposed in their hearts that they would not defile their bodies with the king’s food and wine. We also serve God by purposing in our hearts not to defile our bodies by what we eat, drink, watch, listen to, speak, touch, or engage ourselves in.
2. We serve God through prayer. Prayer is seeking God’s help and solutions for any situation we face on earth. When Daniel and his friends faced the impossible task of telling the king his dream and its interpretation, they committed it to God in prayer, and He answered them (Dan.2:17-19). Their example, and that of Anna who served God with fastings and prayers day and night (Luke 2:37), should motivate us to serve God through the prayer of faith for ourselves, spouses and children, friends and family, our church, leaders, and any difficulties we encounter.
3. We serve God through worship. When God answered their prayer, Daniel worshipped God (Dan.2:20-23). As we focus on God, we can worship Him for who He is and what He does for us (Ps.103:1-5).
As we serve God in our bodies, in prayer, and in worship, we will be tested. These tests are not to destroy us, but to bring us testimonies when we overcome.
1. Though they were tempted to eat the king’s food, they refused at a great risk, but within 10 days, they looked better than those who did (Dan.1:15, 18-20). The God we serve will always show us the way out of every temptation to defile our bodies (1Cor.10:13), and bring us out victorious.
2. Their prayer life was attacked, but Daniel did not allow the threat stop him from praying (Dan.6:5,10). Though he was thrown into a lion’s den, God delivered him (Dan.6:20-21). The God we serve through prayer, will deliver us from every demonic and satanic attack.
3. They were commanded to worship a golden image, but they refused and rather chose to obey God’s command not to worship any idol (Ex.20:3-5). As a punishment, they were thrown into fire, but God delivered them, in fulfillment of Isaiah 43:2. The fire could not burn them. When they came out the king promoted them (Dan.3:30). The God we serve will deliver us from every fire, and what our enemies planned to use to destroy us, He will turn it into our promotion.
Though COVID-19 has disrupted our lives, we should not allow it, or any other problem, threat, or attack we face, to disrupt our service to God. As we faithfully serve God through yielding our bodies to Him, prayer and worship, the God we serve will perform a miracle of healing, deliverance, provision, protection, and promotion. The God we serve will not disappoint us, He will richly reward our dedicated service. We will celebrate our miracles!
The Pathway To Glory
The resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ represents His glorification at the end of His life and ministry on earth. Glory is the height of prosperity or achievement, marked by magnificience or great beauty, something we all want to achieve in all areas of our lives. However, there are two pathways to glory.
1. One leads to human glory, which is vanity. Jesus describes it as a broad way that leads to a destructive end (Matt.7:13). It’s a way that seems right but the end is death (Prov.14:12).
2. The second pathway is narrow and difficult, but leads to life and God’s glory (Matt.7:14).
All who hope in the glory of God also rejoice when going through tribulations, because they are able to persevere, build godly character and receive the fulfillment of their hope of glory (Rom.5:2-5). That was the pathway Jesus chose, persevering through betrayal, beating, crucifixion, and death, and in the end, He was crowned with glory and honor (Heb.2:9). Jesus shows us the way that leads to God’s glory.
1. First is to set our hope in the glory of God (Rom.5:2), not on human glory.
2. Then look to Jesus, who, because of the joy of God’s glory set before Him, endured the cross and was glorified (Heb.12:2).
3. In following Christ’s example,
a. We put our personal reputation aside and fulfill God’s purpose for our lives (Phil.2:7).
b. We humble ourselves before God (v.😎.
c. We are obedient to God even when it hurts (v.😎.
d. We surrender to God’s will and receive strength to persevere in our trials and difficult situations (Luke 22:41-43). In the end, we are crowned with God’s glory.
Examples who chose Christ’s pathway, and were not disappointed include
1. Joseph who endured shame and pain of prison for doing what pleased God. God remembered him and brought him out to glory in Egypt.
2. Zechariah and Elizabeth were fully righteous and served God. In the end God answered their prayer for a child.
3. Job refused to curse God and die. Rather, he endured pain, but in the end God restored to him double for everything he lost.
4. Hannah gave her only son to God’s service in fulfillment of her vow, but God gave her back five more children.
5. Noah lived a righteous life even though the whole world lived in sin. He obeyed God and built an ark. God destroyed the world with flood, but remembered Noah and his family.
You may be going through tribulations and difficulties right now, but don’t give up. Keep your eyes on God’s glory that you’ll gain in the end, and receive God’s strength to persevere, build a godly character and see your your hope fulfilled in the end. God’s glory will be greater than
all the difficulties you endured along the way (Rom. 8:18).
You will never be disappointed for putting your hope in God. He will be glorified through your testimony of His healing, deliverance, protection, success, victory, and breakthrough. You will not miss your crown of glory. Shalom!
Alive And Seated With Christ!
As we continue to walk in the power of the resurrection, God’s Word reminds us to live as people who are alive and seated with Christ.
Before we were saved by Christ, we were dead in our sins. We were alive physically, but spiritually dead: separated from God. Under the control and influence of the devil and the world, we lived in disobedience to God (v.1-3).
It was in this hopeless and helpless condition that God’s love, mercy and grace located us and saved us through Christ (v.4-5). So when we receive Christ, we are restored into fellowship with God, and the life-giving Spirit of God is infused into us. When we come alive in Christ, His life-giving Spirit is also infused into every area of our lives: health, marriages, careers, businesses, dreams, potentials, and ministry. Therefore, don’t let anything in you die, place it in God’s mighty hand through prayer, and He will bring life into it.
Not only are believers alive in Christ, we are also seated with Him (v.6). Knowing this empowers us to overcome every worry, anxiety or distress. Seated with Christ means that we are seated in
1. The place of rest. Christ is seated after finishing His work on the cross. So we relax and enjoy His finished work for us.
2. The place security – far above every power, principality, might and dominion (Eph.1:20-21). We no longer live under the power of sin or the devil.
3. The place of fulfillment and honor. We are seated in the highest place, so we do not fight for acceptance, prestige or fame. Rather, we are fulfilled, content and satisfied in God.
Because we are seated with Christ, we set our minds on things in heaven where Christ is seated, not on the things of this world (Col.3:1-4).
1. We worship the Lamb who died to save us, resurrected to give us life, and seated us in heaven with Himself.
2. We put heaven’s priorities into daily practice, like sharing the gospel with others so they can also believe and be saved.
3. We look at life from God’s perspective, putting our faith in His Word and desiring to please Him always.
4. Focusing on what is eternal, such as building for ourselves treasures in heaven, instead of attachment to material things.
5. We do good works by joyfully praying for others, encouraging, supporting, and serving them with love, kindness and gentleness.
May God release His life-giving Spirit into your health, womb, marriage relationships, studies, carreer, business and ministry, and bring them back to life. May you prevail over every sickness, pain, shame, failure, demonic and satanic attacks, because you’re seated with Christ above them all. You’re more than a conqueror in Christ!
Discover the Power of the Resurrection
The resurrection of Christ from the dead is the very foundation of Christianity (1Cor.15:12-14). It sets Christ and all who believe in Him apart from every prophet, guru, or religion.
As we celebrate this glorious day, we need to discover the power behind the resurrection and how it can impact our lives.
In our passage, three women on their way to anoint Jesus’ body in the tomb were worried about how they were going to roll the stone away. This was because the stone was very large (v.4), sealed to the tomb, and soldiers placed there to guard it (Mt.27:66). Many times our troubles and problems look exactly like that: big, formidable, and well guarded by demons and other satanic powers, giving us fear, worry, and anxiety. But by the power of the resurrection, we can overcome them because God’s power is greater and stronger than every problem and the power behind it. I would like to share three ways by which we can discover this power:
1. *By faith in God’s Word.* Many Old Testament passages and Jesus’s own words showed that Christ would suffer and die, but will rise again (eg. Ps.16:9-10 and Mt.20:18-19). Yet the disciples didn’t remember nor believe the last part. This resulted in worrying, weeping, and mourning, even when Christ had already risen (Mk.16:10-11). Whatever God promises in His Word to do, He has the power to do it. So by faith in God’s Word, we can discover His power to heal our sicknesses, fight our battles, provide for us, protect and deliver us from evil, make a way for us, give us success, and even raise dead lives, dreams and potentials back to life. So more than ever, this is the time to feed our faith by studying and meditating on God’s Word.
2. *By the power of the Holy Spirit.* The women needed the stone removed before they could go into the tomb, but Jesus did not need that to rise from the dead and come out. The power of the Holy Spirit raised Him up and brought Him out (Rom.8:11), in spite of the large stone, the seal and the guards. He could even enter the place where the disciples were gathered without going through the door (John 20:19,26). No matter the spiritual, physical, and human barriers and limitations that have been placed in your life, womb, studies, marriage, business, or ministry, you will prevail over them through the power of the Holy Spirit, just as Jesus did. So do not grieve the Holy Spirit, but let Him fill you and release God’s power in you to overcome any power sitting on your miracle.
3. *By committing everything into God’s hands.* Just before He died, Jesus committed His spirit into God’s hands (Luke 23:46). So even though He died and was burried, His spirit was alive with God. On the third day the Holy Spirit restored life to Christ’s dead body and He resurrected. If by faith in God’s Word and the power of the Holy Spirit we commit everything that concerns us to the Lord in prayer, God will respond by releasing His power to meet that need. You will never be ashamed for entrusting your problem, need or battle into God’s hands (2Tim.1:12). The God who did not abandon Jesus in the grave will not leave nor forsake you in your problem.
As we celebrate Christ’s resurrection, be assured that the same power that raised Him from the dead is available to you as a child of God (Eph.1:18-21). Discover the resurrection power by faith in God’s promises, the Holy Spirit, and prayer, and you will prevail. Then you will also be ushered into a glorious victory and celebration. Your day is coming because Christ is risen indeed!
From Prayer to Praise
As we celebrate the Triumphant Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, God’s Word reminds us of the significance of Hosanna!
The word Hosanna comes from the Hebrew word _Hoshiana_ , which means “save now” found in Psalm 118:25. It was a plea or cry for help when no one else could help, like a drowning man crying for rescue.
If there is any time to cry for help, it would be in this COVID-19 crisis, when no one has the ability to stop it. In addition to the pandemic, many are going through crises in their health, marriages and families, finances and businesses, ministries and churches, that seem to defy solutions. Only a prayer, plea or cry to God can bring the needed solutions.
In Psalm 118, the people cried to God because
1. He hears and answers prayer (v.5).
2. He is on their side, so they turned fear into faith in Him (v.6-7).
3. They trusted in God and put their confidence in Him instead of man (v.8-9). God was at center of their lives as Ps.118:8 is said to be the central verse in the Bible.
4. They were in expectation of the blessed One who was coming to deliver them (v.26).
The above reasons can help us to also cry to the Lord in this pandemic, and any difficult situation in which we find ourselves.
In the fullness of time God sent the Messiah they were expecting. When we cry for healing, deliverance, peace, prosperity, success, anointing, wisdom, etc, God gives us Jesus. He is the answer to every prayer, and in Him all God’s promises are yes and Amen!
When Jesus came, the people saw all His good works, preaching the gospel, healing the sick, delivering those under demonic and satanic oppression, and raising the dead (Acts 10:38). So as they followed Jesus to Jerusalem, their Hosanna was not a cry for help, but a joyful shout of praise and gratitude to God for sending the Messiah, the Son of David, and for all the mighty works they had seen (Luke 19:37-38).
Today, God’s Word reminds us to keep crying for Him to stop the corona virus, heal the sick, protect us and our families, especially our health workers on the frontline, intervene in our marriages, turn the wayward in our families to Himself, prosper our work and businesses, give us success in our studies and projects. As we pray with faith, trust, confidence in God, He will answer. Then our prayers will turn into joyful shouts of praise, as we experience God’s mighty works, miracles, healing, deliverance, favor, open doors, peace, and prosperity.
We are also reminded that our Lord Jesus who rode on a donkey to Jerusalem, will soon return on earth as King, riding on a horse, with the angels and the shout of trumpets. He will not come to die again but to judge those who rejected Him, and to take those who received Him, loved and served Him faithfully to our heavenly home, where we’ll praise God forever.
May your cry to Almighty God for help, healing, salvation, protection, provision, deliverance and success turn to joyful praise, adoration, and thanksgiving to God. He is on your side and His ears are open to your cry. He will bring you out of your trouble, sickness, barenness, singlehood, failure, demonic attacks, and give you a new song of victory and praise. Many will hear your testimony and praise, fear God, and put their trust in Him. Your praise will impact many lives for Christ. Hosanna in the Highest!!!