June 17

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“Then the Lord gave special strength to Elijah. He tucked his cloak into his belt and ran ahead of Ahab’s chariot all the way to the entrance of Jezreel.” (1 Kings 18:46 NLT).

From: June 17, 2019

RUNNING LIFE’S RACE WITH GOD’S STRENGTH

After using Elijah to defeat the prophets of Baal in a fire from heaven contest, and sending rain in response to the prophet’s prayer, the Lord strengthened Elijah to outrun Ahab’s chariot. Some have suggested that he ran the 16 miles from Mount Carmel to Jezreel before the king’s chariot to honor Ahab as the king of Israel. But a better explanation might be informed by the word given through David, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God” (Psa. 20:7).
 
Ahab’s false religion was defeated on Mount Carmel and his false reliance on worldly power was defeated in a foot race on the way back to Jezreel. The zeal of the Lord empowered Elijah to outrun a chariot to show what He can do through one man who truly trusts in Him.
 
I am reminded of the words of Olympic gold medalist and missionary, Eric Liddell, who answered the question of why he ran saying, “God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.” Surely Elijah must have felt the Lord’s pleasure as he fulfilled the purpose for which God had made him.
 
PRAYER: Dear Father, help us to learn to run life’s race with Your strength and not depending on our own. As we say “Yes” to whatever You call us to do, may the power to will and the power to do always come from You. We give You this day. In Jesus’ name, amen.

“Then Barnabas went on to Tarsus to look for Saul” (Acts 11:25 NLT).

From: June 17, 2018

WOULD SAUL HAVE BECOME PAUL WITHOUT BARNABAS?
When the apostles in Jerusalem heard about the great number of Gentiles coming to the Lord at Antioch, they sent their trusted representative, Barnabas, to the city. His real name was Joseph, but he had been nicknamed “Barnabas” by the apostles, which according to Acts 4:36 meant “Son of Encouragement.” He was from the tribe of Levi and grew up on the Island of Cyprus. He once sold a field and gave all the money to the apostles (Acts 4:37).
 
When Barnabas went to Antioch and saw how the Lord was moving there, he was overjoyed. He immediately decided to take the 4-day journey to Tarsus to look for Saul.
 
Why? The Bible doesn’t answer this question. But perhaps it was because he had heard Saul (whose name was changed to “Paul”) describe the word that Ananias had first spoken over him. For the Lord had told Ananias, “Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel” (Acts 9:15). Certainly, the first great gospel movement among the Gentiles was at Antioch.
 
Regardless, Barnabas went to get Saul when he saw the great need for disciple-makers in Antioch. The two of them worked together there for a full year.
 
It was Barnabas who introduced Saul to the apostles when they had at first refused to see him. And it was Barnabas that went to find him when his help was needed at Antioch. Would “Saul” have ever become “Paul” without Barnabas?
 
Do you have a “Barnabas” in your life, who encourages you to get out of your comfort zone and pursue God’s calling?

“Now those who were scattered after the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch” (Acts 11:19 NKJV).

From: June 17, 2017

Jesus had instructed His disciples that they were to be His witnesses to the “end of the earth” (Acts 1:8), yet it wasn’t until after the persecution in Jerusalem that they truly began to fulfill His call. As they scattered throughout the Roman world, great numbers of people turned to the Lord, especially among the Gentiles. Persecution had actually resulted in proliferation. The gospel went out across the world!
 
Are you going through a season of trouble? Perhaps the Lord is moving you out of your comfort zone to a place where the gospel can spread. Sometimes the Lord scatters us, in order to scatter the gospel seed to those whose hearts He has prepared to hear.

‘And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.”’ (1 Kings 18:21 ESV)

From: June 17, 2016

The prophet Elijah challenged the people of Israel to stop “limping,” or wavering back and forth between “two different opinions.” He called them to choose who they would follow. As Joshua before him had challenged, “Choose this day whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:15). Then, Elijah proceeded to challenge the 450 prophets of Baal, to prove whose god was truly God. Regardless of modern thinking, not every religious “opinion” is equal. Some are true and some are false. And Elijah’s God proved Himself true. Are you still “limping” along thinking all paths to God are equal, that all “opinions” are true? How long will you continue wavering with such fallacious thinking? There is only one God, and one way revealed to us to follow Him and that is Jesus Christ (John 14:6). Choose this day whom you will follow.

“The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch” (Acts 11:26)

From: June 17, 2011

The ruins of this ancient Roman city are found in modern Turkey. Historians call it the “cradle of Gentile Christianity.” It was here that Barnabas brought Paul to help teach. The name Christian or “little Christs” was given because of the way these new followers gave glory to Christ in everything they did.