Fed by ravens

1Kings 17:2-16

The background of this story is that Ahab was the King of Israel and he did evil in the sight of the Lord, more than all who were before him. (1Kings 16:30) He set up an altar to Baal and worshipped him and made a wooden image. In 1 Kings 16:33 it says that Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the Kings of Israel who were before him. 

Wickedness was at its peak in Israel. God was not happy with them and He spoke to Elijah that there would be a drought.

God gave Elijah specific instructions about what to do regarding the drought to receive God’s provision He told him to hide by the Brook Cherith. Elijah was to drink from the Brook and God commanded the ravens to feed him – and they did! Every morning and every evening they brought him bread and meat – Divine provision.

A bit of information about ravens – the brains of ravens are amongst the largest of any bird species – they are very intelligent, playful, curious and often scavengers. The raven was the first animal to be released from Noah’s ark.

God is not limited by human resources and He is creative in His provision. He could have sent manna, like He provided for the Israelites in the wilderness, but here He chose to use the ravens.

Can I just say that God knows what His people need. Elijah was alone. God knew he needed companionship of a sort, as well as physical sustenance, so He chose to use the ravens. They would have been a welcome antidote to solitude – coming twice a day. Maybe Elijah started to look forward to their regular visits – a break in monotony; companions; confidants etc.

Saints, God is not just going to feed you and then leave you to go mad with loneliness. God cares about your mental health just as much as He cares about your physical sustenance. He is sending His ravens, so to speak, with encouragement and help.

1 Kings 17:7 “And it happened after a while that the Brook dried up, because there has been no rain in the land.”

It was bound to happen but God had a plan. 

When one source dried up (the Brook) God sent him to another source – a widow in Zarephath.

Verse 8 – God told Elijah to go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon. Sidon is a port city in modern day Lebanon.

From the Cherith Brook to Zarephath it was a long journey – about 80 miles away. Jezebel, the wicked wife of Ahab, was from there and it was an ungodly place. It must have seemed to Elijah that God was leading him into a place of danger.

God could have provided him a widow from the next village to feed him – that would have been much easier – but God is not about making things easy for us. We must respond to His Words with tenacity and faith. God knows where our next provision must come from. He knows what He wants doing and the people that need to be involved.

A little widow in Zarephath preparing her last meal with her son, getting ready to die because food and funds had run out was God’s choice to provide for the prophet and receive miracles.

Please, just read that again and reflect on that.

God has His sources. You think your money might come from a certain place yet God may have other ideas.

Sometimes we can be tempted to think our source will be a wealthy person or a multi-million pound company – yet God may have earmarked a widow on the verge of destitution to help you. He is not limited to the funds of this world. But we must be obedient to God’s voice.

Elijah could have said to God, “Why do I have to go all the way to Zarepath to get food? Aren’t there any widows near my brook that could help me?”

There may have been widows nearer Elijah’s location that could help him… and the widow God chose wasn’t really able to help him – but God chose her… and He had a plan.

To be continued…

 

 

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Elisha and the Widow’s Oil

_20170318_1810532 KINGS 4:1-7

This woman was in dire need. Her husband had died and a creditor was coming to take her two sons away to be slaves. This woman’s husband had been the son of a prophet; he was a man who feared the Lord and Elisha had known him. So, the woman appealed to Elisha to help her. She was not in a good situation and she sought the man of God.

Elisha was willing to help her and asked what she had in her house. This woman did not have a house full of belongings. All she had was a jar of oil.

A quick question – what do you have that God can work with? If she only had that jar of oil, that is what God was going to use.

Elisha told her to borrow empty vessels from all of her neighbours, which she did. She shut the door behind her and started pouring out the small jar of oil into ALL of the vessels. Amazingly, the oil just kept on flowing until ALL of the vessels were full.

This was a miracle! This miracle was dependant on the woman’s faith. Elisha told her, “Do not gather just a few.” She was told to make room for God to do the miraculous. I say to you today, “Do not gather just a few.” Expect God to move mightily on your situation. If this woman had gathered just a few vessels she might not have had enough money to repay the debt and live off the rest. Please, brothers and sisters, do not limit God in your actions, in your thinking, in anything …

You do realize , of course, that God did not need the small jar of olive oil to perform the miracle. But He wants us to commit ourselves fully and take a step of faith. He requires us to lay the foundations for a miracle to take place.

This woman was a spiritual woman and she did not hesitate to respond to the instructions of the Lord’s prophet in faith and obedience, even if it seemed crazy to her. Will we do that?  Naaman was asked to bathe in the River Jordan in order to be healed from his leprosy. He went away in a rage when he first heard this, because he thought this idea was ridiculous. But, eventually he did bathe in the River and was healed of his leprosy.

The things God asks us to do may not always make sense but we must trust Him. He knows what He is doing.

God is our loving Heavenly Father and He wants to provide for us, His children, when we are in need. Psalm 34:10 says, “…those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.” God provided enough oil for the lady to pay the debt and enough for her whole family to live off. God is not only a generous provider ,but He  has unlimited resources.

Psalm 24:1 says, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it”. Our Father in Heaven owns everything that is in the world – the animals and the crops etc. He sends the rain and makes the sun shine – He brings the perfect conditions for harvest. He is a rich Heavenly Father who delights in giving us all things.

Romans 8:32 says, “He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all – how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things.”

More about the feeding of the Five Thousand

John 6:1-15

The disciples wanted to send the crowds away so they could fend for themselves. But Jesus said in John 6:35 , “I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to me will never go hungry and will never thirst.” He also said in John 6:37, “Whoever comes to Me I will never drive away.”

Jesus will never turn away someone who is earnestly seeking Him. That is not His heart at all. He will never turn you away.

Why didn’t the people have some lunch with them like the young boy? Possible this was because they were desperate . As soon as the crowd heard where he was they rushed to follow Him. They didn’t want to risk missing Him by stopping for food. They were hungry and expectant for a miracle from Jesus.

Are you hungry today for a miracle from Jesus? Are you desperate enough to run to him with your problems?

In Matthew 14:16, Jesus said, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”

In other words, Jesus was saying, “I have everything they need. They don’t need to look elsewhere, not even for food.”

Jesus is the source of every blessing. We may feel that we have little resources and little ability, but God can take our small contribution of whatever it is and multiply it to meet every need. All God needs is a willing heart. The boy willingly gave up his lunch and Jesus blessed and multiplied it.

Jesus asked Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat” (John 6:5). This was to test him. Philip only saw the impossibility: “even 8 months wages will not be enough to give each person even one bite of bread.”

Are we like Philip? Do we only see the impossibility of the situation? For example, “The cancer has spread, there’s no hope of a cure”, “We just don’t have enough money for that”, “I’m too old for a new job” etc.

NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH GOD!

Andrew had more faith than Philip. He brought the young boy with five small loaves of barley bread and two small fish – not enough to solve the problem in the natural, but enough for Jesus to work with.

Jesus wants to heal you

In Matthew 8:1-4 a leper came and worshipped Jesus.  He said,  “Lord,  if You are willing, You can make me clean.”

What’s interesting is that the leper did not doubt Jesus’ ability to heal him,  but he wasn’t sure whether Jesus was willing.

Isn’t that just like us!  We believe Jesus can heal the sick.  We know He is able.  The thing we often struggle with is whether Jesus is willing to heal us.

Jesus said to the leper, “I am willing ;be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

Please receive this message today that Jesus is willing to heal YOU! The devil comes  to kill,  steal and destroy but Jesus came so you can have life in all its fullness.

Jesus is saying to you, “I am willing,  be cleansed”

“I am willing, be healed”

“I am willing,  be delivered”

Receive this today and be blessed.

Daughter

Jesus called the woman He healed in Mark 5 “daughter”. This woman had been excluded from normal family life and had become an outcast in society.  So Jesus,  by calling her daughter was reaffirming her,  bringing her into that close relationship.  The woman with the issue of blood was restored physically,  emotionally and spiritually. She had suffered rejection because of her condition,  but Jesus accepted her as his child.

Jesus commended her faith in Him and said to her “Go in peace and be healed of your affliction” The Greek word for peace here is “eirene”,  which means peace,  prosperity,  rest,  set at one again.  This lady had been set to rights again.

A girl healed and a woman restored to life

It was a lovely meeting at Restore, the worship was powerful and I spoke about a girl restored to life and a woman healed from Mark 5.  Some points – The woman with the issue of blood was a hopeless case – the doctors couldn’t heal her. She was also classed as ceremonially unclean and anyone she touched became unclean. She knew when she touched Jesus’ garment she would, according to the Jewish law (Leviticus 15:25-33) make Him unclean, but she was desperate and she touched Jesus anyway. Here’s where grace triumphed over the law – instead of the woman making Jesus unclean, He healed her and made her clean. The law says, “You:re unclean,”. Grace says , “I’ll make you clean.” Also, Jesus was already on His way to pray for a girl who was dying, yet He delayed that to heal this lady. IT IS NO MORE DIFFICULT FOR JESUS TO RAISE A DEAD PERSON THAN IT IS FOR HIM TO HEAL A SICK PERSON! It doesnt matter to God what stage your illness is – He can heal you at any stage! God holds our eternity in His hands, if He says it’s not over IT IS NOT OVER!! JESUS HAS THE LAST WORD ON YOUR LIFE!! Arise and be healed, arise and be set free, arise and be restored.!

God is still on the throne

There are a lot of changes afield in education. Examinations are changing – many which had a large component of coursework are now 100% exam, also the way schools are run are changing.

In particular, my child’s secondary school is becoming part of a multi-academy trust, and a new Church school is being created in our town.

Change can be a good thing, similarly it can be a bad thing. People often become unsettled when thinking about change.

However, when thinking about this I am reminded that God holds the destiny and purpose of my children in His hands. He is not on the throne panicking because things have changed in education. God knows the end from the beginning. He knew about all of these things when my daughter started attending secondary school, in fact even before she was born, and His purpose is not going to be thwarted because of these changes.

God knows the plan He has for my children , and nothing will stop Him from accomplishing that purpose in their lives.

Relax! You can trust Him. He is still on the throne and His purpose will not change.

Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (NIV)

 

Modern day miracle workers

1 Corinthians 12:27,28 says, “Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.”

One of the things God laid on my heart for 2017 was “notable miracles” , so I want to reflect on that today. The Greek word used here for “miracle” is “dunamis”, which is from the word “dunamai” meaning force. Dunamis specifically means a miraculous power, ability, mighty (deed), worker of miracle, power , strength, violence and mighty (wonderful) work.

When I think about this the Scripture from Matthew 11:12 comes to mind : “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.”

God has equipped the Church with everything it needs. How many times do we hear people say, “I’m okay, under the circumstances”. We are not supposed to be merely surviving, from day to day. We should be seizing the opportunities and seeking God to be overcomers in our situations and in our towns.

I have been thinking about miracles and healings and God spoke to me that He has appointed people in His Church who are workers of miracles, who have that specific gift. How many do you know in your Church? If we ever needed that gift, we need it nowadays. Many people are getting diagnosed with cancer and other incurable conditions. We raise money to aid cancer research and run marathons but can I remind you that God has placed people in His Church who have this spiritual gift of miracles and gifts of healings. We need to identify these people and we need them to be exercising these gifts. People need miracles and they need healing. It is not for us to think that this gift is reserved for the “Healing Evangelist “, or one or two special people. No! Why not you?

It is not a “gift of healing”, actually in the Greek it is translated as “Charismata lamaton”, which means “gifts of healings”. I have heard people say that they seem to have an anointing to pray for certain types of diseases , but not always others. Some people seem to be especially effective when praying for people to be healed from tumours, for example.

The gifts of healings, miracles and faith are closely related.

Please pray with me that these people are identified in every Church. If you feel God is speaking to you that you are gifted in this way, start to pray ,in faith, for the sick wherever you can. As you exercise these gifts God will increase them.

This is the year for notable miracles to be done in our town and beyond!

We need to see people healed from cancer; sight restored to blind people; hopeless cases receiving hope; lame people walking; tumours disappearing; rare conditions healed;people saved and set free.

I have just picked up a book from my bookshelf and I want to quote from it. It is a book entitled “Visions from Heaven”, by Wendy Alec, one of the founders of God TV. In it is found the following:-

” There has been a violent onslaught of infirmity against My children by the enemy in this past season. The enemy senses the mighty move of healing that is about to be released in power and might upon the earth. Millions of my healing angels are preparing to come to Earth. Heaven’s storehouses of healing are about to be emptied in the greatest, most powerful move of My healing hand that the Earth has ever seen….. THE TIDE IS TURNING. THE TIDE IS TURNING… Tell my children that what I said in my Word is true. It stands. It stood 2000 years ago when I walked the Earth…. I am the Lord that healeth thee….Nothing is impossible with my Father. Tell my children – NOTHING is impossible with my Father – EVERY disease, every affliction, every cancer, every deaf ear and blind eye, if My children will only believe… My Father and I are about to release the most powerful, unstoppable tsunami of healing and creative miracles from the windows of Heaven upon the Earth. Mighty flames of fire – called as healing evangelists in this last hour are rising. The dead will be raised, the blind will see, the deaf will hear, and AIDS and cancers healed will be commonplace.”

“Kidneys will be created, new lungs transplanted from Heaven, hearts created, deformities will be healed, backs straightened, cripples will walk by the thousands in the arenas in the healing crusades of this last hour.”

“And the healing anointing will not be confined to the evangelists, but there will be a great impartation of healing and creative miracles that will flow even to the very least of my brethren, and they shall go out into the highways and byways and even as their shadow falls on the sick, so I tell you, My child, the sick shall be restored and healed.”

I receive this in Jesus’ Name. I want to see miracles of the power and magnitude as when Jesus walked on Earth. It is possible because the same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in you and I!