June 20

1 Kings 17:14-15 (NIV) 14For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: 'The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the LORD gives rain on the land.'" 15She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family.

Once the Kerith Ravine dried up, the Lord sent Elijah to the home of a Gentile woman. If you thought ravens were stingy, try humans. But a few verses earlier the LORD said He had commanded her to feed Elijah. Elijah gave her a real faith test by asking her to feed him first and then cook their meal from the little left in her jar. If the LORD had not commanded her to do this, I doubt she would have even considered it. Even though there was a promise that a miracle would happen, consider that this woman is not Jewish. The prophet before her had been camping out in a ravine for months. Who is going to give their last meal to him instead of feeding their own child? But just as the LORD commanded the ravens, so He commanded her.

When she obeyed, she found the promise was true. One pastor tells of the surprise she must have experienced each time she reached in to scrape the bottom of the jars. Just enough for another meal, again, and again, and again!

We have the same experience when we abide in Christ. We think we have scraped the bottom of the mercy and grace jar with a certain brother. We reach into the life of Christ within us and, low and behold, there is just enough for the present situation. Then another situation comes along. The last time, we know we scraped the bottom and had just barely enough. Here this brother is offending us again. How can we possible find the mercy to forgive him? But we reach into the earthen vessel that holds the treasure and what do you know! It is just enough to meet the present circumstance.

Consider: If you will give love and mercy and grace to those around you first, there will always be enough for you when you have a need. Even when you think you have run out, reach down in there again and you will find it in Christ, the One who lives within you.

June 20

John 11:25-27 (NIV) 25Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" 27"Yes, Lord," she told him, "I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world."

Jesus was the close friend of a family in Bethany just two miles outside of Jerusalem. The family consisted of a brother and two sisters. The brother, Lazarus had died. Though the women sent word to Jesus during Lazarus' illness, Jesus waited until Lazarus had been dead for four days before He came. Traditionally the Jews mourned for a solid week when a loved one died. The first three days were designated as days of weeping. It was after that period had passed that Jesus finally came to them.

The women both had the same comment, which makes one wonder if they had voiced this to each other. "Lord, if you had been here, our brother would not have died." Jesus loved them, and that is why He waited. Without the painful experience, they would never have fully believed Jesus' next "I AM" revelation. "I am the resurrection and the life."

He had raised the dead daughter of the Jewish ruler, and the son of a widow in Nain, but never someone dead this many days. This would be the next irrefutable sign that He was the Messiah. The Jews believed the spirit of the dead waited around for four days to re-enter the body, but in the heat of Palestine the face would be so decomposed by that time that the spirit would give up. Lazarus walked out of his tomb unmarred by illness, death, and decomposition.

There are times in our lives when we do not understand why Jesus does not show up. He is working toward something greater in our hearts. He would rather see you know Him than to answer your every request. Pain is often the teacher that leads us to a greater revelation of Christ. It is not that Jesus gives life and resurrection, it is that He gives us Himself.

Consider: He is the resurrection and the life. Do you believe this?