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Day 8: Take One More Step

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Bible Readings for Day 8: Take One More Step–1 Kings 18-19.

Sometimes loving God with all our strength simply means that we take one more step. When our strength is gone, one more step can seem insurmountable. When we have walked as far as we can, one more step is not as easy as it sounds. It’s too risky. And we don’t know how it’s going to turn out. I’m thankful there are examples in Scripture that capture our human condition.

Meet Elijah. Although little is known about his background, we learn from 1-2 Kings that King Ahab and his wife, Jezebel, hated Elijah because of her affections for Baal worship. During Ahab’s reign, Elijah was used by God to orchestrate a great display of His power against Baal and the killing of 450 priests of Baal. He served God with vigor and courage regardless of the circumstances and obvious risk.

But soon after these events we are presented with a different view. We find Elijah running from Jezebel. Fear motivated his flight, but there was more to Elijah’s fleeing. He was exhausted. In fact, he was more than exhausted. He had had all he could take. All the mighty works and superhuman feats performed by the Lord through Elijah had been to no avail. The people were unchanged; the diabolical queen, undaunted.

Can you relate to Elijah? When was the last time at least some of these could have been your words. Have you ever been so desperate for a glimpse of God’s hand in your life that you were willing to do whatever you needed to do (even go without food) and go wherever you needed to go?

God knew Elijah needed Him. We see God move heaven and earth for this man to be encouraged. He is not forgotten. He is not alone. God met him with the perfect balance of mercy, purpose, and sovereignty. Elijah was instructed to go back. “Get back in there, Elijah.” God also gave him the task of anointing kings, which communicated that the troubles Elijah saw that day in Israel would soon come to an end. God would prevail over wickedness. He then acknowledged Elijah’s loneliness by instructing him to anoint Elisha as his replacement.

God knows you and I need Him too. At times when we are absolutely exhausted and despondent, He is our refuge.

Listen for His voice. Take one more step, straight into Him arms.

Cheri

Take One More Step from Cheri Strange on Vimeo.

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Day 5: The Problem of Diffidence

Day 5 The Problem of Diffidence

Bible Readings for Day 5: The Problem of Diffidence– Judges 4:6-9; Jeremiah 1:1-10

God’s Call to wholehearted pursuit and fruitful living is not limited to kings with perfect backgrounds and life handed to them on a platter. He calls regular people, like you and me, to God-sized tasks. Today our focus turns to those who were given the opportunity for greatness but refused to heed the call or welcome the challenge.

Barak received a call from God but gave up the opportunity. During the period before the kings, when God appointed various individuals to serve as judges over the people, Deborah received a word from the Lord concerning Barak. She sent for him and he came before her. She told Barak God was sending him out to capture an enemy, Sisera, the commander of Canaan’s army.

Can you imagine? God is ready to turn this regular guy into an instant hero whose tale of victory would be told through the ages. All Barak needs to do is show up. Instead, he acts like my girls going to the restroom at a restaurant: “If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go.”

I believe Barak suffered from more than a juvenile uncertainty of self. He responded out of a twisted belief that God could work through someone like Deborah but not through him. This inaccurate assessment of God’s ability to greatly use a regular guy cost Barak his distinction as a hero.

Why was God offering this honor to Barak in the first place? We don’t know. Maybe God had more planned for Barak after Sisera’s defeat that required an experienced hero. Maybe he wanted to reveal himself more to Barak through the victory. Maybe God was simply being generous to a regular guy who had done nothing to deserve it. We will never know, because Barak refused to embrace the opportunity.

When was the last time you felt you were less that God’s treasured possession? When have you sensed God could use someone like her (some other person) but not plain, ordinary, mistake-ridden you?

Let us not forfeit the opportunity to become heroines because we disbelieved God’s ability to give us His shield of victory and His willingness to stoop down to make His name great through us.

Cheri

The Problem of Diffidence from Cheri Strange on Vimeo.

 

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Day 4: Sin Hinders Love

Day 4 Sin Hinders Love

Bible Readings for Day 4: Sin Hinders Love — Luke 7:36-50; 1 John 1:8-9

If God draws us to a relationship that loves Him wholeheartedly and supplies what we need to do it, then why don’t we do it? What keeps us content in our tiny puddles of mediocrity convinced that living life to the full and the business of loving God wholeheartedly is for the few?

For many of us, our largest hindrance is sin. It could involve an unhealthy relationship, a critical spirit (with a mouth to match), destructive and addictive habits, or something more serious. Maybe it’s simply how we choose to react to a situation that drives us to sin. Of course, all of us fall into sin from time to time (1 John 1:8).

Sometimes we do more than fall into sin—we run to it with reckless abandon. Other times we find ourselves engulfed by it, uncertain how it happened.

Committing the sinful act is only part of what makes sin our greatest hindrance to loving God completely. What we do with our sin and what we do as a result of it can also contribute to lives that settle for less than we should. If we want to protect ourselves from halfhearted pursuit and small aspiration, we must confess our sins before the Lord.

The promise of forgiveness is all encompassing and without limitations. There is no way we can fail one too many times or surpass His willingness to wipe away our ugliness. If we confess our sin, regardless of what it is, God will forgive us. If you confess yours, you can rest assured. You will be forgiven.

Cheri

Sin Hinders Love from Cheri Strange on Vimeo.

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