Morning
July 4

2 Kings 4:1-3 (NIV) 1The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, "Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the LORD. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves." 2Elisha replied to her, "How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?" "Your servant has nothing there at all," she said, "except a little oil." 3Elisha said, "Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don't ask for just a few.


There are times when a faithful man of God will fall into financial difficulty. It does not mean he has been unfaithful or does not have faith. It is a test of faith. This man that served in the company of the prophets died in debt. His widow was afraid the collectors would take the sons as slaves in payment for the debt. She asked the prophet of God, Elisha, what to do. He had nothing to give her. When he was called by God, he left everything behind and used his yoke for wood and his plow oxen as a sacrifice.

The man of God asked what she had left. Sometimes we only have a little for God to work with, but He can do a lot with a little. If we are willing to demonstrate our faith by putting that little bit into His hands, He multiplies it. Do you remember the fish and loaves and the widow who fed Elijah? Tell me, what do you have in your house? Come on, voice it! Most of us have plenty. Will we put it in God's hands?

Elisha tells her to borrow as many jars as she can from her neighbors. Faith takes a big basket to market. Expect God to answer in a big way. She poured the little oil she had left and it kept coming out of that jar. It continued to flow until every last jar was full. If she had a million more, they would have all been full. The miracle stops at the end of our faith. When you expect God to move, prepare in a big way. If God has directed it, you will find you'll wish you had prepared more jars. The oil was sold to pay their debts and provide a pension.

Remember: Though the righteous fall into difficulty, God will provide when they place their trust in Him.


Evening
July 4

John 15:18-20 (NIV) 18"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.


When Jesus was a child, he grew in favor with God and man. Early in His ministry, they wondered at the gracious words that came out of His mouth. In the last week they greeted Him like a king. But Jesus knew what was coming. He had seen it in His hometown. He had seen after the feeding of the 5000. He knew the crowds would end up crying, "Crucify Him!" Every time He spoke a truth they did not want to hear, the reaction was the same. As long as the words were to their liking, and they could get something out of it for themselves, they praised Him. But when He spoke the truth about the prejudices and selfishness of the heart, men began to find reasons to believe He was not the One. Their unbelief turned to hatred. Not knowing the Father, they have only one agenda, self-promotion.

Children of God will meet the same reaction. People are attracted to anyone that expresses the fruits of the Spirit. They will speak favorably and act as a friend. The test comes when you must speak the truth to them. When you are an example of putting God first, the loyalty they thought you owed them comes into question. The more they probe, the less they like you until the one time "friendship" turns to hatred. You never changed. Your loyalty was always to God first. They just found out you do not belong to the world. You don't have the same goals or values. Your opinion of sin in their life makes them furious.

Should we expect anything better? If they treated our example, our Master, this way then it is no wonder that the world treats us the same. There are children of God by grace, through faith in Jesus, and there are children of the world. We can love them, but they can only hate us. Pray that they become children of God just as we did.

Remember: When you are persecuted for righteousness sake, rejoice and be glad. Great is your reward in heaven.