June 24

1 Kings 19:2-4 (NIV) 2So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, "May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them." 3Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4while he himself went a day's journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. "I have had enough, LORD," he said. "Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors."

When Ahab relayed to Jezebel the message of Elijah's victory on Mt. Carmel, she promised to do to Elijah what he had done to the prophets of Baal. In doing so, she made an oath common at the time. She vowed that if she couldn't do it to him, then the gods could do it to her. God took her up on that. We need to watch carefully the vows that come from our lips. God does.

It is hard to imagine her heart being so hard that, even after hearing of a mighty miracle of God, she would attempt to murder the instrument of that miracle. Elijah took her threat seriously. He faced the false prophets, but he was afraid to face Jezebel and her army. Going off into the desert, he found a bit of shade to rest under and asked God to take him home. He must have thought that after the great victory, things would suddenly change. The people knew Jehovah was God, so why didn't they overthrow Ahab and Jezebel? Elijah was burned out. He had fought for his life and the cause of the LORD and came to the climactic point, yet nothing seemed to have changed. Even great men of God despair of life. In God's time there will be a change in the nation. Elijah had to train a disciple before he could go to his heavenly home. Despair comes upon us at times, but don't give up. There are things yet to be done. (To be continued.)

Remember: When you are discouraged and downhearted, remember that God is sovereign over all. Circumstances will change in His perfect time.

June 24

John 13:34-35 (NIV) 34"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

Jesus had just given His disciples a great illustration on serving each other. He told them that they were to serve each other as He had served them. How can you really serve a person from the heart if you do not love them from the heart? The competition that the world engenders is based on self-love. It was what they were expressing when they fought about who would be first in the coming Kingdom. In that expression, they were no different from those in the world. How can anyone see the good news we have to bring when they see our lives are no different from theirs?

In the Old Testament, we have the instruction to love our neighbor as our self. How is this then a new command? First, it is not restricted to my neighbor. Jesus expounded on that in Luke 10. Second, the manner in which we are to love is that of Jesus' love for us. It is not optional in either Testament. It is a command. To refuse to do so is to refuse to obey God.

This one characteristic is to distinguish us from the world. Think about it. How many people do you know that express a love toward you strong enough to give their life? That is certainly a rare thing in this world. The contrast is the world's selfishness and self-seeking. If you were to see the type of love Jesus has for us in a person, you would certainly notice that he or she had something very different. This is the chief form of evangelism that Jesus had in mind. It is easy to find any number of other forms of evangelism that cost much less, but will they know we are truly disciples if we do not pay the price of genuine love? All forms of evangelism must be accompanied with Jesus' love in order to have the recognition that it is from above.

Prayer: Lord, help me to love with Your love.