Wednesday, December 19, 2018


Devotion: 1 Kings 18:1-2

The drought that the Lord sent upon Israel because of their sin of idolatry had grown quite severe in the days of King Ahab. Ahab, for his part, was the chief idolator. Ahab was the reason that Elijah, the prophet, the man of God, appeared on the scene and declared in no uncertain terms that there would be no rain except by his word. Such a statement could lead to the mistaken idea that somehow Elijah was graced with supernatural abilities that he could use at his own whim. This mistaken idea unfortunately lives in the church today regarding the matter of spiritual gifts. Yet, the Apostle Paul is clear that the use of spiritual gifts is for the benefit of the whole body of Christ, that is, the Church (see Romans 12:3-8). These gifts are given for the glory of God in service of Christ's Church. So it is with Elijah's various miracles. They are not for his glory, but for the glory of his God and in the service of the correction of God's people.
In due time, the Lord lifts the drought as we read:
"After many days the word of the LORD came to Elijah, in the third year, saying, 'Go, show yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain upon the earth.' So Elijah went to show himself to Ahab. Now the famine was severe in Samaria." -1 Kings 18:1-2 ESV
So what do we make of the Lord's choice to lift the drought from his people? First, the Lord's decision shows that while God is just, He is also merciful. Elijah sojourned in a foreign land for a time while the Lord withheld rain from the region. We are told that the famine had grown very severe. God's people, disobedient and sinful as they were, were suffering and our merciful God moved to alleviate said suffering. Note that the movement of God in mercy was not predicated on the  prior repentance of either the king or the people. God's movement to return Elijah to Israel (specifically the capital city, Samaria, of the northern kingdom and its surrounding area) was not a response, but purely on the Lord's own initiative. Put plainly, the Lord does NOT wait for us to move first and then move.
At this point the most common objection will be regarding so-called 'free-will.' The counter-argument will be stated that God did not create us to be robots and therefore we are free to either choose or reject Him. Now, that may have been true for the First Adam, but the children of Adam have not had that luxury. We are locked into the flesh by the sin of Adam and so the Apostle can affirm, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" [Romans 3:23-24]. Our sin is not merely potential (original sin) but actual. We are broken and alienated from God, as incapable of making our way back to God as we are incapable of causing it to rain apart from His mercy and grace. Indeed, the Apostle is clear, "And you were dead in the trespasses and sins" [Ephesians 2:1]. The dead cannot help themselves, but rely on the only one who can raise the dead to new life--the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who raised Jesus from the dead!
Elijah has no power on his own, but relies upon the Lord to manifest His own glory through the prophet. God has a big plan for just how rain will return to the land. Yet, the point before all that is that the Lord Himself, the very one who caused the drought and subsequent famine to chastise His people for their idolatry would be the very one out of His abundant mercy, to bring it to an end. The people did not repent. The people did not cry out to God. God simply showed His divinely good character and rained mercy upon them.
It is the Lord who turns to us in mercy and grace in Jesus Christ. He does this out of His own abundant kindness and on His own initiative. So is there nothing to do if we find ourselves being chastised by the Lord? No, we are called to repent and lament and turn to the Lord in times of great need. The prophet Hosea put is this way:
"Come, let us return to the LORD; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him. Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth." -Hosea 6:1-3 ESV
May the mercy of our God rain upon you through the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The song this week is "Come Thou Long Expected Jesus" from Red Mountain Music. 

News for You:

  • The Candlelight Christmas Eve service will be 12/24 at 7 p.m. Please come and celebrate the birth of the Savior with us!
  • A big thank you to all the adults and children who made our Christmas Pageant a great success!
  • Note: I am in the process of migrating my blog to our new website. If you would like to catch up on past posts you can find them at

Wednesday, December 5, 2018


Devotion: 1 Kings 17:17-24

There are three major eras in the Bible in which miracles take place through human agency. In other words, God works through human beings to perform wonders and signs, things that seemingly defy the natural order of creation takes place in three distinct time sets. On a side note, God as Creator is free and able to act in His creation however he pleases, "Our God is in the heavens, he does all the he pleases" (Psalm 115:3 or you can hear Shai Linne rap about it).
These three eras begin with Moses and Joshua as they lead the people of Israel out of Egypt and into the land of Canaan. The second era covers the prophets Elijah and Elisha as they proclaim the Word of the Lord in the midst of gross apostasy. The final era covers Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God and his Apostles who proclaimed the Gospel. I am never quite sure what to do with miracle claims outside of those three eras and I will leave it to you, gentle reader, to make up your own mind about such claims when they crop up today.
At any rate, while the announcement of Elijah concerning the drought is a miracle, the personal miracle this week is closer to the miracles of Jesus. Indeed, this story will find parallels in the Gospel accounts of raising Jairus' daughter (Mark 5:21-43) and the raising of the son of the widow of Nain (Luke 7:11-17).
So let's recall that Elijah had been sent to stay with the pagan widow of Zarephath. God had provided food miraculously for them all. And then a crisis hits.
"After this the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, became ill. And his illness was so severe that there was no breath left in him. And she said to Elijah, 'What have you against me, O man of God? You have come to me to bring my sin to remembrance and to cause the death of my son!' " -1 Kings 17:17-18 ESV
The widow is distraught as her son is dying. She blames the man of God for bringing her sin to remembrance, most likely the Lord's remembrance. As a result, since she regards YHWH as Elijah's God and does not know nor worship Him, she assumes the Lord is very much like the pagan idols she worships. She fears that her sin has cost her son. She is angry and scared.
"And he said to her, 'Give me your son.' And he took him from her arms and carried him up into the upper chamber where he lodged, and laid him on his own bed. And he cried to the LORD, 'O LORD my God, have you brought calamity even upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by killing her son?' Then he stretched himself upon the child three times and cried to the LORD, 'O LORD my God, let this child’s life come into him again.' And the LORD listened to the voice of Elijah. And the life of the child came into him again, and he revived." -1 Kings 17:19-22 ESV
Elijah, for his part does not become defensive when confronted by the widow. He takes her son and prays over him, and stretches himself out over him three times. He correctly trusts YHWH, the Creator, to have the power over life and death. YHWH listens to His prophet and the boy lives, a miracle if ever there was one. The breath of life once more courses through him and he revives.
"And Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper chamber into the house and delivered him to his mother. And Elijah said, 'See, your son lives.' And the woman said to Elijah, 'Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in your mouth is truth.' " -1 Kings 17:23-24 ESV
The return of her son brings about faith of a sort in the widow. Miracles are meant to lead to faith. Miracles are never ends, but means to faith. The Lord did what he pleased and the woman believed. May we pray to be used by God in ordinary and, perhaps, extraordinary ways to bring others to faith in the power of the Lord!

The music this week is "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence" performed by Red Mountain Music.

News for You:

  • Adam's Road Piano will be coming to CPC on 12/6 at 7 p.m. Please join us for a night of music and testimony!
  • The Women's Ministry is hosting a Women's Breakfast and Cookie Exchange on 12/8. Look for details in the bulletin or at the Welcome Center at CPC.
  • The monthly Men's Breakfast will be meeting in the youth room at 6 a.m. on 12/8.
  • Our children are putting on a Christmas Play during morning worship on 12/16.
  • The Candlelight Christmas Eve service will be 12/24 at 7 p.m. Please come and celebrate the birth of the Savior with us! 
  • Check out more at the new and improved!