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Confidence in Crisis - Part 1: When Nature Dies: The Almost Last Supper

Ron Kelly
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Ron Kelly

Senior Pastor, Village SDA Church, Berrien Springs, Michigan

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  • March 21, 2020
    11:15 AM
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Father we're here before you this morning looking for your presence. Your anointing Spirit Lord to touch and to teach so I'm pray now Lord shield us thank you for your provision through the years and I pray mayor word come alive may our hearts be open they are safe be simple they are progress be obedient we look to you now Lord in Jesus' name amen years ago when I didn't have all of my 4 children I found myself in Chattanooga Tennessee and I was given the opportunity to go for an airplane ride with one of my wife's relatives he was a gifted pilot and had flown for the Drug Enforcement Agency and he would fly over the mountains of Appalachian looking for plots of marijuana now I had not flown a lot and little airplanes relate to the environmental conditions differently than big ones do although most of you have probably been in a big airplane and you've looked out the window and you've seen those wings flapping while you're going through the turbulence they're made to do that most of us don't like running through the potholes of the sky on a large silver bullet some of us have gotten used to it the 1st time you experience though you'd like to be with somebody who you could ask a question and the question you'd like to ask in the question that I've asked at different times this is this normal If the answer is no your stress goes through the roof of the answer's yes you remain with a measure of stress and duress in the midst of the moment but it's not quite as bad so my wife and my 2 boys sat in the back seat of this small Cessna I sat up front with the pilot and on this given day it was very sunny. And I began to learn about thermals the updrafts of the air and the downdrafts of the air and I can remember flying in that little bitty airplane and it wasn't the rough ride like you just hit a pothole it was the fact that you felt like you were on a huge sea with swells of a 1000 feet or more in the airplane with all of a sudden just be you'd feel like you were being pushed into your seat and other times it felt like you were in a slow motion freefall and what was supposed to be a joyous ride turned out to be not very joyous at all especially for the 2 boys who were very little probably 3 and 5 and I turned around at different times I have some pictures that commemorate the moment and you can see stress written on the face of the little children. My pilot however was enjoying this and explaining to us that depending on what the surface of the ground was underneath us related to how much updraft there was and that little airplane was just riding along on these big swells of the unseen air currents when we finally got down to the ground. My wife likes to remind me of how my oldest son finally with a measure of relief on his face looked at her and said I'm sure glad I had my seatbelt on there's something about. Childlike understanding of a circumstance that illustrates to us something very important this morning and that is that God cares for his children whether their understanding is large about the issues going on behind them or whether they're looking with simplicity of heart into circumstances that trouble them I can remember my 1st flight into Midway living not far away from Chicago as I do and the plane bank this way and bank that way and dipped in and I I did turn to my seatmate and say Is this normal she assured me it was this morning friends were in a period of time this not normal we're experiencing in probably 3 or 4 generations something that we've never experienced before maybe never as a nation this kind of biological risk but certainly it's been at least 3 generations maybe 4 since we had to deal with the idea of food scarcity across the nation My grandfather fought in World War 2 both in the Army and in the Navy and during that period of time those who live stateside were familiar with something called a ration card now we don't have ration cards today nor do we have long lines in most places but what we've seen in the supermarkets as of late is a little bit troubling people running to make sure that they have what they need and probably going beyond what they need one health care worker was chastising the residents of a large city not long ago saying look we're working almost nonstop to serve you and when we show up at the supermarket it would be nice if there was some food left for us. So what's in our hearts this morning that's the elemental question are we looking out for ourselves in such a way that actually increases our stress destroys our faith and robs go out of the witness are we able to face this moment of uncertainty in other ones that are coming with confidence this morning I've been titled My message when nature dies the almost last supper I want to talk to this morning about the stories of the Old Testament Scriptures that illustrate the future challenges of God's faithful covenant keeping people and I've chosen this morning to focus on the life of an unknown woman and a very prominent prophet take your Bibles if you would this morning and open them up to the book of 1st kings looking at Chapter 16 1st Kings Chapter 16. Actually 17 1st Kings Chapter 17 Our story is one of a prophet we know very little about Elijah there is no real warm up to his appearance on the prophetic stage he appears out of nowhere the abruptness of his parents and Scriptures must be somewhat akin to the abruptness of his appearance before a had the king of the Northern 10 tribes when a had is confronted by Eliza he's told there's going to be a long time until it rains it's going to be a long time until there's due on the grass the problem was was that the nation of Israel had a past the size and it moved away from its simple fidelity to Christ and he had brought into it drinks no doubt with the help of a Habs Queen jazz a bell the worship of bail now bail was the storm god he was responsible for the rain that fell on the land of Israel and it's no wonder that we should find that there is the showdown between the God whose promise to create seasons in abundance of the ground and this false god concocted by the heathen nations around them. The Bible says In 1st Kings Chapter 17 verse one the life of the tist by was of the settlers of Gilly Ed he said Ahab as the Lord the God of Israel lives before whom I stand Surely this should be neither do no rain these years except by my word the word of the Lord came to him saying go away from here and turn eastward and hide yourself by the brook chair which is in the east of the Jord it should be that you will drink of the brook and I commanded the Ravens to provide for you there so he went he did according to the word of the Lord for he went and lived by the brook charity which is east of Jordan and the Ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread meat in the evening and he would drink from the brook but it happened after a while that the brook China because there was no rain in the land in 1982 Rachel Carson published what would become the 1st seminal work on issues of environmental dynamics in Western world's chain tally book Silent Spring was 2 years before I was born the profiting of the title suggests that some point time the natural cycle of this earth would be destroyed by man's ravaging of the natural environment. A generation later when I was in college I can remember that the element that we were dealing with was acid rain in my speech class I felt it almost my duty to dialogue about what our industrial pollutants especially our power plants were doing to change the chemistry of the sky and kill lakes in upper New York State and now a generation later as my children are going through and finishing up college we deal with a whole new plight we call the Global Warming indeed there is a generation especially amongst the young who are growing in frustration and desperation relative to the treatment of the planet and the future inheritance or lack of that will be theirs there's no doubt that the Bible talks about the fact that this world will grow old like a garment. And there's no doubt that eventually whether it's man caused or God intervened that there will be trauma on the face of the Earth similar to the trauma that's told in this story so I want to ask you how did you relate to the idea of not being able to go out and shop as frequently or even just the perceived idea that there might not be food on the shelf for you when you're going to or when I showed up the Wal-Mart in our small community earlier this week there was a police car parked out front the lights were on we got into the store I went on the market on the the home good side as opposed to the side where the food is just so happened that it was the food side where the police had been and their one of the aisles of the market there been a fight now I don't know if the fight was over food in this society the population densities not like it is on the east of the West Coast but I know later on when I was shopping with my wife the police car was still out there and I heard things falling to the floor Little did I realize it was a person a few hours away throwing them at the stock or turned out she was related to the person that had been in a fight I told my wife wait here I didn't know what was going on and I peered around the corner and found a lane later ask somebody what had been happening you probably were involved in a physical altercation to get your food but isn't it strange how people's behavior change at a threat to what degree perceived and what degree real We're all waiting hoping and praying to find out what's it like in your heart at the moment when you sense that things might be shutting down and closing up at the moment when all the regular supply lines are the support structures in place look fragile and uncertain. When we look at the lives of their lives it's very important we understand there is no person in the Bible amongst or for whom miracles of food were performed the more you say to yourself why does it matter it matters because Eliza becomes a symbol he becomes a prototype as it were of not only an individual or prophetic line of announcers of righteousness and calling back to faithfulness but of a whole generation. Taking Bibles and turn to the last book of the Old Testament the book of Malikai and Malakai chapter 4 we have another prophetic call to return to faithfulness to God in this call from which silence will follow for several 100 years before the appearance of Jesus there is admonition and there is warning for short chapters but the last chapter with 6 short versus tells us that Elijah is role supersedes and goes beyond the moment in time that he was experiencing on his way to a little town called 0 fat. Malakai chapter 4 behold the day is coming burning like a furnace and all the arrogant and every evil doers will be chaff and that day is coming and it will set them ablaze says the Lord of Hosts so leave them neither root number ants now as the Old Testament prophets do they mingle together prophecies relative to the final eschatological or end time element of prophecy and in this case we're going to see also the Messianic prophecy of Jesus Jesus will fulfill both roles he came 1st as the Redeemer the one to provide and exhibit the full expression of grace to come back later his 2nd time as the final judge an arbiter of righteousness when the door of grace is closed when the story of probation is ended Jesus will return and he will be the judge and the earth not being cleansed by water because by fire will face its maker and its Redeemer the sad part of the is that the object of grace will be ended this is where Malakai takes us in verse one verse 2 that is for you who fear my name the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings and you will go forth and skip about like calves of the stall this is a reference no doubt to the final end of all things when those who have sojourned on planet Earth and receive the gift of salvation will receive their heavenly inheritance the dark night of sin will be over we will be living in the rooms prepared for us in the house of God you'll tread down the wicked for they will be ashes into the soles of your feet on the day which I am preparing says the Lord of Hosts this is actually good news friends because in effect what this says is as falsely taught in modern Christian. Is that there is no ad infinitum annihilate experience of suffering for those that reject God. A growing understanding in Christian circles is that those who refuse to give to salvation are allowed to not exist annihilationism some calling God would not forever make them endure his presence and for those that reject him the fire that cleanses the earth of the 2nd Coming will reduce the sin problem to ashes Unfortunately those sinners that have clung to sin will be reduced with it 1st for Remember the Law of Moses my servant It appears that at the end of time it is the Word of God That is the important element of preparation my servant even the statues and ordinances which I commanded him in horrid another name for Sinai verse 5 before Behold I am going to send you Eliza the prophet before the coming and terrible day of the Lord He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their father so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse the story that we're getting ready to look into the land to suffering under the curse of God there's no rain which means there's no crops which eventually means eventually means they'll be no streams and eventually no wells with water in them what we're looking at in this story here and what we're reading in the words of Malikai is that there will be a end time scenario that mimics or that takes the symbol or the experience the type of the past and turns it into the final reality of Deliverance the final call to repentance is their lives are going to be brought back from the dead Elijah didn't die we know there is a logic in to be sent back down to the earth to do a special work or does Elijah become a representative of a group of people at the end of time in the midst of apostasy in spiritual chaos call the people of God back into a covenant relationship with Him There is no doubt that the latter must be the experience taken by those internal to Matthew 17. Matthew 17 Jesus comments on Alijah some people mistook Jesus for Elijah or Alija for Jesus Matthew Chapter 17 different times when people are asking some are suggesting that the promise of Malikai has been meant in Jesus that Elijah is here the disciples themselves have dialogues with Jesus about Alija and in Matthew Chapter 17 the Mount of Transfiguration has happened and he's in dialogue with them about it his disciples 1st 9 as they were coming down the mountain Jesus commanded them saying Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man has risen from the dead and other words with Peter James and John Johnson on the Mount your chance figuration nobody was to look at or know about until after Jesus had been resurrected his disciples asked him in verse 10 Why then do the scribes say that Alija must come 1st now I just showed you in the book Malakai what it says Eliza has to come 1st verse 11 and he answered and he said he Elijah is coming and will restore all things but then he says something very interesting in verse 12 but I say unto you that Elijah already came and they did not recognize him but they did to him whatever they wished so the Son of man is going to suffer at their hands in the disciples understood that he had spoken to them about John the Baptist Why does the story in 1st King 17 matter to us why does a woman who's about out of food and is asked to feed a prophet of God before she feeds their own son how does it have relevance in the 21st century I'm showing you how right now. The spirit and the power of the prophet Elijah was in the preaching in the ministry of John the Baptist and Alijah becomes a symbol of an announcement by God by few or by many Jesus says that John fulfilled the role but that there is a other fulfillment even lie Jesus ministry coming we say why does that matter why it matters is because the Bible also declares that this earth is growing all that it's going to die and that their search will come under the convulsions of the judgment of God in the 7 last plagues why does it matter because God's people living in the end time will have a food scarcity issue there will be a shortage of provision for the world's needs and we need to understand what God did for Elijah knowing that God will do again for those who carry for the ministry of Elijah So let's go back to 1st kings and 1st Kings Chapter 16 or 17 we find an amazing story of provision of food over and over again now those of us growing up in America last 2 generations of which I represent being 56 years old we've never had a day at least most of us to might be some watching for whom this is not true but for most of us we never had a day when we doubted whether or not we need I know that in some places in America this is not the case and it is incumbent it is our duty to do something about that but in most homes that have known a middle class experience even and some that have no lower than that there's been provision through hot lunches at school even breakfast and suppers community organizations in a land of what it is a sad some would be wanted but when we come to the story of Elijah and we read the 7 plagues of Revelation we find out that scarcity will come upon the earth in the future and will come upon at the very time that the Ministry of a large is going forward amongst God's faithful remnant. So why does a lie just like matter so much because for those who don't know where their next meal's coming from they need to know the God of the lie just as God knew him so here's a logic he sent to a brook he shows up in the house of a had and by the way in the book of James Chapter 5 or 17 it says that Elijah prayed earnestly that it wouldn't rain quite a prayer raining down on yourself privation and hardship What was it about Elijah the James would record that he prayed earnestly that it wouldn't rain do you want to close down all the supermarkets in Judea and some sense you could say yes because he knew the spiritual demise of the nation was greater than the physical suffering of wondering where your next meal was coming from so here we are living in a cold in 1000 moment how are we looking at is it possible that God is allowing his remnant church and those of the world to realize that the solutions are beyond man at times and that the ultimate provision of God comes from heaven I have a relative that works in Wall Street interests and I can remember as a young man years ago sitting across from him at a picnic table at a family reunion talking about dynamics of security and financial issues but he cut right to the chase when he dealing in the millions of dollars said to me everything's Ok as long as the sun comes out in the rain for us in other words he understood the real provision came from above and while he may be at the top of the mountain the financial security and the end all of us are depending on the goodness of God to set up the seasons in the cycles and made provision for the germination of seeds the cultivation the ground for the harvest of life everybody listen to me today need to understand there is a limit on the provision man can make for himself and underneath it like the great superstructures of a long bridge. Spending a moment of insecurity while sin is reigning is the God of heaven who's declared after the flood of Noah that he would never again cover the whole earth until he came there would be seed time and hermit we're not dealing with issues of nature dying at the moment although during the 7 last plagues this is what will happen the earth will be ravished the question is is the spiritual preparation of my life such that I have will have confidence that is in a crisis mode or that I will have confidence in the mode in the moment of crisis so look at Elijah's life he's there by the brook sheriff he's isolated in a ravine far from the center of Israel's governmental life in jazz real there moaning and evenin the Ravens come whenever he wants a drink he goes down to the brook and he gets fresh clean water the truth of the matter is the prophet needs his faith to grow the chapters are coming in his future life are bigger and greater than the experience of faith he's had this far and God is graduating him through a series of lessons to make him a stronger more confident man for the moments when he's going to need it Alija himself as well as the widow that he's about to me are both on faith journeys so you have those who have great spiritual advantage and you have those living in Tire and Sidon who some would decry spiritually ignorant Eliza goes to the brook one day and notices it's losing its flow eventual there's no water left what is Alija do does it cry out in fear and despair to God I hardly think so but he does call out to God and God directs him to change he's going to move now from the eastern side of the country and go all the way up to the far north west to the place where he Wyndham reign supreme take your Bibles if you have them and let's turn to the book of 1st kings 1st Kings Chapter 16 I believe it is go back just a chapter or 2. And what we find is that in this chapter we see where justice bills heritage is from go back to verse 31 talking about a habit he says it came about in 1st kings 631 as though it had been a trivial thing for him to walk in the sense of Jeroboam which had been idol worship that he marry jazz Adele the daughter of death bail king of the side own eons and he went to serve bail and worshipped him what a place for God to send a lie Joe He's going to take him from the recesses of the remote parts of the Nation of Israel and he's going to send him right underneath the shadow of just the bells father into the place where this bail worship has its origination hardly the place you would think that you would want to be hid but I want to assure you at the end of time God has the ability to hide his people where ever he wants to hide them and it's not going to be that you can make it to a mountain or you can make it to a cave although some will be there it will be the fact that when God lays his hand upon you your covering will be as secure and beyond that any that could be created or designed or engineer by any of the by any of the military mightiest minds on the face of the planet God will hide the Alija right under the shadow of jazz a Bells father and he will be safe and secure there for a period of time what happens while he's there is he's fed for probably 2 years out of the miraculous supply of a jar of meal flour that won't run out and oil that won't give up. But that's not the end of his provision of food it's as if God can't say enough about the generation of Elijah is that will come on seeing the remnant of his people that will announce apostasy an invitation to restoring the cover God will do story after story of his provision turned over to Chapter 19 and 1st kings It's as if God can't put enough exclamation points on the element of his being able to provide what happens he has a showdown on Mount Carmel 850 prophets of evil against he alone nobody in the nation will speak up and say yes we've learned something after 3 and a half years of drought it's not tell the fire falls and consumes the stones the water and the sacrifice the light your runs down off the mountain instead of looking out for himself here asleep pray that it wouldn't rain we know he prays 7 times that it would now why God's honor is at stake the way you behave in these moments of crisis has something to do with the projection of witness without words when we act like there is no god to provide for us and we're looking out for ourselves 1st and foremost we're weakening our own confidence as we strengthen our own dependence on self it's a common it's a God that's losing strength as a confidence on ourselves with self centeredness and self focus at the center that's actually the root problem and logic comes down off Mount Carmel sleeps in the gate of jazz real doesn't get much before somebody shakes them and wakes him up in the midst of the rain and says Listen she's going to get you and you better get outta here the exact messages you destroyed 850 by tomorrow the same time you'll be 851 now live you would think would be prepared but he had a wrong idea in his idea what happened on the mountain would shake and wake even just as though he did not know the roots in the depths of evil that were woven into our heart in the weakness of a hand. And so Elijah is not spiritually prepared for the moment when he senses his life is in danger again after carrying that burden for a period of time trusting in God and yet always aware he was a marked man he thinks he's finally going to be able to lay that down in the problems fixed but it's not what does he do he jumps up and in terror runs away verse 6 and onward Well 5 he lay down 1st kings $1000.00 he lay down and slept under a juniper tree this is after running as far as he could run in his strength and behold there was an angel touching him and he said to him Arise and eat this is miracle number 3 if you want to call it that if you can call 2 years or 3 years of constant provision by the Ravens and by a jar of oil in a jar of flour that won't run out if you can call this number 3 this might actually be 1333 then he looked and behold there was by his head a bread cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water so he ate and he drink and he lay down again God wakes him up and says I know you're hungry the angel of the Lord came again verse 7 and he touched him and he said arise in eat because the journey is too great for you and he rose and he ate and he drank what I want to see is it in this 3rd cycle of food miracles for Elijah God is saying for those at the end of time who go through the trauma of being wanted in a time of privation and starvation for many that he will provide bread and water will be sure this is no accident that this prophet of all prophets have associated with him miracles of food there's no sense for us acting like we're going to starve as long as our Father is on the throne and while there may be privation and hardship it is not to be the privation and hardship of soul and spirit that worries constantly as if someone doesn't know the number of hairs on our head but the story's not over. He gets fed by the Ravens he gets fed by the poor widdle he gets fed by the angel 2 times and finally if it's not enough God says I'll make it to where you can live without food it says in the rest of verse a. That he went in the strength of that food 40 days and 40 nights the horrible the Mountain of God Now I'm not so certain or uncertain I should say that the experience of Jesus where he went 40 days without food by the way friends at the end of their 40 days there was a miraculous angelic provision for his food and the same Jesus who gave food for $5000.00 Jews and their families and food for 4000 mainly Gentiles and their families the same Jesus is spread food out on the desert floor the same Jesus who made water flow from a rock this same Jesus he turned the poisonous gourds into good food for Elijah the same Jesus who is well able to produce food I'm not so uncertain the gods in time people may find themselves in a moment at the very end of time when like Jesus they might go 40 days without food but it won't matter because the God who made the human body can sustain it without us putting anything in our mouse it's important for us to realize God is not God is arm is not short he's the creator of all things and whether he needs the Senate by the Ravens or by the poor or whether he needs to send it by the angels or whether he says I'm going to show you don't even need it now at all and what's more important about this to her I believe is the tenderness of God providing for Alija when he's really running away from his duty but enough about Alija let's look at the widow of Arafat with this her last supper 1st Kings Chapter 17 Eliza has run out of the provision of the Ravens and he's run out of the water a chair and how he makes his way those many miles from the east side of Israel to the north west side of Israel and into the region of Tire and Sidon we don't know he had enough and when he gets there an interesting experience is going to happen. God has told him that when the brook dried up other provision was on its way verse 9 1st kings night arise Godas airfare which belongs to sign in the New Testament it's referred to as a rap that's the Greek rendition of the name and stay there for behold I have commanded a widow there to provide for you now superbly important that we understand something in about these verses we just read. When the nation of Israel was in apostasy they had no interest in the voice of Alija except to find it and extinguish it somehow thinking that he was the actual point of problem God says if I can't use my people that are declared to be my people I'll use my people that nobody recognizes are my people you may feel a pew in a church every weekend you may sit in a 7 day have a church service regularly that does not mean that you have a childlike simplicity of faith and a willingness to obey the declare yourself to be a humble faithful child of God It's not orthodoxy of belief it's not Chenier of belonging to the religious clubs there's something about this woman who has found in Eliza's God some kind of communion that makes her willing to obey even though her circumstances are dire Now some would suggest that she recognized that Alija was a foreigner and even a profit by his dress and his dialect. That may be at the same time it doesn't change the storyline the god has people outside of the well declared flocks that are to declare his faithfulness as opposed to their own faithfulness to the world God is commanded the direction here cannot suggest someone who just sort of has a gift for hospitality and is going to recognize somehow in the prophetic appearance of Elijah that she should do something good no god does not direct his children to do things unless they have entered in to a covenant relationship with them and they have distinctly been able to hear his voice so here's this woman not a part of the faithfulness or unfaithfulness of Israel at the current moment and yet known to God to be someone who will obey and so Elijah goes on his way realizing in God's goodness to him the provision for him is not going to be in the house of a rich pagan it's going to be in the home of a faithful poor woman to suffer her suffering along with him this is a kindness to Alijah in the same way that he had the wrong idea of how karma would turn out and then everything would be better God decided to give him an understanding that the solution now will not look like a solution to you but it is I commanded a widow there to provide for you no one can go passes verse without saying to themselves do I know the voice of God good enough to be varied to do the kind of things that this spiritual a supposedly ignorant woman is called to do because what God is going to do is he's going to say in effect set your son on the sidelines put my prophet in the position of favor feed him the last meal and don't be afraid we don't know how much of that was communicated to her but we do know this she was directed to me the prophets need. Verse 10 heroes and he went to 0 fath and when he came to the gate of the city behold a woman was there gathering sticks and he called her and he said please give me a little water in a jar that I may drink we don't know but that a large might have been hesitating because the situation looked more dire than even imagined here she is probably in the garb of the widow there she is out by the gate maybe there because she's not quite ready to embrace the stranger for whom she will have to share her last little bit of fare and yet sort of knowing that maybe God's going to do something in larger looks and says she picking up 2 sticks why because she's going to take the last 2 ingredients out of olive oil and meal and feed the last 2 people her and her son but Elijah says after she starts away from him perhaps God impresses him go farther do what I said and he calls out to her and he says would you bring me a little bit of bread in your hand as well this appears to be the straw that breaks the camel's back the woman straightens up turns around looks it Alija and in effect says How dare you ask me to do this. Can't you tell by looking at me can't you tell by what's written on my face isn't it evident to you that I'm the wrong person to ask for anything but a lie just response is born of faith for he's clearly heard the voice that she heard that this rendezvous with food was dabbing as the Lord your God lives I have no bread she said only a handful of flour in the bowl and a little boy oil in the jar and behold I am gathering a few sticks that I may go in prepared for me and my son that we made an ally just said to her Don't fear. If there's a message that comes out of Eliza's life for which much resonate in the experience and the belief system of God's people at the end of time is don't fear why was she afraid. If God commanded her that he was to use her to take care of the prophet why was she afraid I pastored to you she was afraid because she had not moved to be ready to do what God said instead she had refused she wasn't completely out of the orbit of his impression she was out it again but she had not made preparation for his coming you say well him she made out of nowhere and that may be true we don't know if she had a dream we don't know if she had a vision we don't know of an angel came to her and said he's coming but we do know that God commanded her to make provision she had not prepared and when God prompts you to do something and you don't do it the result is is that your faith gets smaller and your negativity gets larger and then you're even willing to complain and go against where God is already convicted you do I don't have any food I have enough for me and my boy and how dare you ask me to pray provided for you before I provide it for him but I just says Don't fear he cuts to the chase of the spiritual disease that's in effect now I want to tell you there's very few people that will admit they're afraid I've heard some very interesting things people taking very decided actions they say beyond a shadow of a doubt I'm afraid but the words out of the mouth are I'm not afraid. Listen in the same way I'd rather see a sermon than hear one any day our actions are speaking far louder than our words are don't tell me you're not afraid when you take the actions that say loud and clear like a siren I'm scared I don't know what the future holds and this is how I'm going to handle it. Don't be afraid I just said the woman did not reply back to her self-awareness I am not afraid she simply listened as he went on make me a little piece of bread 1st. And bring it out to me and afterwards you may make one for yourself and for your son thus says the Lord God of Israel the bowl of flour shall not be exhausted nor shall the jar of oil be empty until the day that the Lord sends rain on the face of the hour now you need to understand something if you want security if you want real confidence there's a few things that are very elemental in the story that if you approach the day to day living if you miss the opportunity for the application of the spiritual principles in the presence of Christ in your life you'll be in huge trouble. This woman was confronted with the simplicity of choosing to obey or not obey no doubt hanging over her was a death sentence the absence of obedience meant for certainty the long slow demise of starvation of want and privation God already spoken to her and said Don't put yourself 1st she had exercise hospitality in the past this was not a simple exercise of hospitality though how many times as this woman wondered do or sell what am I going to tell my boy when I take the last scoop when I take that jar and I take that that Clay lid off it and I dump in into the mixing bowl for the last time what am I going to tell my boy there's no daddy in the picture there is no neighbor looking out for us there's no welfare system there's nobody that's going to put a card on my door that says if you need anything let me know because nobody else has much more than she does. This woman has played through all of this this maternal bond that would say put your child 1st. God like the story of Abraham and Isaac is actually saying offer up your experience to me since I have expressively commanded you to not put your child 1st listen France how many people have gone into the mission field with a group of children to come out with less than they started and how many follow them in the next generation knowing that's how it turned out. When we say I'm going to put me and my own ahead of God's clear direction when selfishness eggs over at an individual or a corporate level you can be certain that confidence is on its way out even though momentary comfort is on its way up this woman was called to put God's work 1st and in this time of financial duress not only of scarcity of potential access to food God is calling his remnant church to put his work forward to move his work with its best know blemished offerings you're tempted your hours have been cut back some perhaps an ottoman faithful in tithes and offerings there is no doubt that this pause on the activity of man is God pulling some of the weeds out of the garden of our of our social and individual and collective hearts saying you know what these are choking out what matters most the end of the road is in front of you and I want you to understand that I am your provision not you yourselves this should be the best year for the church in regards to the commitment of time and talent and treasure for all persons listening should recognize that God is saying we are almost home there was a rich businessman years ago in the age of sailing ships. And he made good money as a trader sending his boats out on the open sea. One day someone brought to him a message it was handwritten and he was breathing rapidly at the door and on it it said such and such ship sunk the courier was surprised when the man went and found a way to write out a large donation to the church the boy was stunned he turned to the Korean He said Don't you understand what this message says Lay not up your treasure on earth he recognize in the moment of tragedy a call to spiritual child and this is where God's church is at this moment we've seen in these last week or 2 we've seen the ability for removal it's to be rapid once the issue is whether or not their final movements of that I'm quite confident they are not. But they are a wakeup call to God's people so that when this birth pangs when this contraction anticipating future deliverance pauses for a mob God's people can be quick about their work and focused on what they're doing this is not a moment when we say to ourselves I'm going to restrict my commitments to the Cause of God If ever there was a moment when God is saying move forward with greater fidelity greater generosity greater giving him time talent and treasure it's now God specifically directs this woman to step aside for her own needs so he can step in to show her what real confidence looks like simplicity and obedience to the voice of God can and never will be replaced for building real confidence it's important that you read your Bible it's important that you pray but if you don't listen in that dynamic if you cannot hear the voice behind you saying this is the way walk in it and I'm not talking about an audible voice I'm talking about the growing conviction that comes to the heart of a man a woman or a child as they actually enter into the presence of the most high there are millions of God's people some of them not inside the ranks of spiritual Israel at this moment who are waiting for a word of direction they're waiting for a prophetic encounter they're looking for someone to bring the principles of nobility and generosity the dynamics of real rig religion back into the civic arena they're looking for real Christians that work at school appliqué God is actually calling us in this moment to recognize the obligations we have to learn to discern its voice. For I tell you to have a relationship with the church without having a relationship with God is to lose more confidence with every passing day not that the church is in the way of a relationship with God but it could never substitute for one God is calling each of us to discern that Abrahamic encounter were God calls us to move forward with an ever growing sense of conviction it's been weighed on you are God wants you to do more not less God wants you to put him 1st 2nd but learning to distance that voice is a certainty for momentary pleasure and comfort and future crisis of confidence what will you do friends with your relationship with Jesus simple enough no matter how educated no matter how well heeled know how to man no matter how well cultured how well financed how well networked is your relationship with God one that you can obey as a child and go away in the confidence that a father up above is looking down in love and he knows just what you need this is really the issue in this chapter there are 2 faced journeys coming together at the moment a widow with very little spiritual culture and a prophet who had the privilege of encountering God in a deep prayer life their lives are coming together the question in faith of one is meeting up with the confidence of another and the outcome is going to be not only that she and her boy but he eats with them for many days afterwards most commentators think for 2 years so $365.00 times 3 times to how many thousands of meals come out of a jar that would have gone dry if she would have made their supper as mom and boy the Last Supper how many times the boy run to the jar and say Mommy I've got another scoop. How many times did he tip the olive oil container over and say mommy here's some more oh well what a story of faith the truth of the matter is her faith is tested again though because the boy dies one story of conquest in confidence with God does not thus make all future conquest Nolan void one chapter follows another she wonders in the midst of it all even with this dynamic provision if somehow her sinfulness isn't in the way Elijah takes the boy up the stairs he stretches out on the boy prays 3 times and delivers the boy back to his mother another amazing story of deliverance in other words this boy probably succumb to the things that are striking fear into the hearts of people right now we won't know till the other side of heaven whether it was the flu or SARS or swine we won't know if it's coded or Corona. All we know is that what couldn't happen by way of starvation in circumstance was a function of biological surrender at some level and the boy dies God is not caught off guard and the faith of the prophet and the fate of the mother is growing what an amazing journey now let's take the elements of simplicity and sincerity and let's make sure we understand the flow from fear to faith from insecurity to security whenever God wants to take and create confidence in somebody he moves them from a circle of comfort into a posture of discomfort if you reject the journey of movie if the convenience and the comfort of the moment you're in is what you prize if God cannot move you out of your circle of comfort into a posture of discomfort your confidence will never grow. God takes us from comfort moves us into discomfort and then we have a decision to make the decision is either to obey the conviction that he's laid upon us to move forward in faith whatever we understand that faith to be and by the way friends in precept and principle in the word and by communion with God like people God will never call us to something that he cannot affirm in spirit and by other godly individuals but when God moves us from come for in the discomfort we get to make a decision if the decision is to obedience the outcome is a greater confidence and such illogic can go from being fed by a raven to a widow to an angel and not being fed at all and all along the way God is showing himself faithful which is where faith comes from but if you're not willing to move if you've got the Teflon lining over your heart your spiritual sensitivities if you're a person of steel if like Peter the ideas God is putting before you aren't acceptable I mean on the night before the crucifixion Jesus says you need to be converted Jesus says you're going to be shaken and by the way the spirit prophecy reminds us that everything that can be shaken will be shaken so how much is shaken right now in the last few weeks watching countries close down and cities go into quarantine how much is shaken are the actions of God's people and of those listening this morning that may not have declared them such to be so are they in a position right now where they're moving according to fear or faith is confidence growing or weakening it will depend on the fact of whether or not in simplicity and sincerity we choose to hear the voice and let God move us into a posture of discomfort so that in obedience we can move into an experience a greater confidence God moves you from comfort to discomfort to greater confidence when I was a boy there were certain things my mother required me to do. I heard somebody telling a story like this recently they said when I was a boy it was my job to go out get the dog every night the problem was the sun was set and the inky shadows of the night were all lurching eerily around me my mom would say to me this person said here I'll stand at the door while you go to get him and so she stood there with that sense of a motherly set of eyes looking over and he would race out to where the dog was and return night by night this ritual is repeated for a period of time until eventually he realized that his mother wasn't standing there anymore and she stood there and after he started out she left this at 1st struck a new measure of discomfort maybe terror fear into him but eventually he got to the place where he could make the journey to get the dog from the ravages of night and bring the dog in how many moments in our life has fateful parents like a faithful God and this faithful God is still parenting us brought us into situations maybe it's talking to somebody you want to talk to maybe it's making a commitment you don't want to make maybe it's giving up something you don't want to give up the biggest problem in moving from a posture of fear and lack of confidence to confidence is accepting the middle stage that God is actually saying something to you and calling you into a posture of discomfort Yes I want you to release your hold on that yes I want you to embrace this most of us will put up a firewall that keeps us from ever getting out of comfort into discomfort but for the coming crisis it's coming on this earth and I don't have the power to say to you that it's not God it is goodness is allowing little moments in which the spiritual sinew the fabric the we've and the warp of our faith has been tightened the tapestry strengthen the muscle. Strained stretched and stronger indeed when this story is over the live shows up to meet a Hab outside the cities of Israel the counters set the mold is there that long ago I got on an airplane actually just about 2 months ago and has that airplane big Airbus a $320.00 as it lifted itself off the asphalt in the sea man at O'Hare International Airport and crested itself up to its 30 some 1000 plus flight pattern on its way to Houston Texas I sat back to relax so often these trips involve lack of sleep the night before I was sitting there in my seat about an hour into the flight when all the sudden the plane shuddered vibrated there was a big thud something seem wrong indeed something was wrong someone said they saw smoke at the right side I just happened to be sitting in the exit row for all of those moments when the steward or the flight attendant had given their directions and you know you needed to pay attention of a sudden I'm thinking to myself This may be a moment in time where I actually needed to have paid attention to what was going on the flight attendant came walking very rapidly down the aisle from the front of the airplane leaned in over a person or 2 looked out the window all the while you could hear noises you should hear the plane had a low level vibration and she walked back up to the front she picked up their phone she's talking to the people on the other side of the locked door. Pretty soon I'm watching her all the time pretty soon she sits down in a little jump seat and puts her seatbelt on which if you've ever noticed flight attendants don't do that except for when you're landing and taking off and all of the sudden I said to myself we have a problem now I'm not an airplane mechanic I'm not an aeronautical engineer and I'm not a pilot but I've flown enough to know what noises are normal on an airplane and what noises are fortunately not long after that flight attendant sat down in her jump seat and I heard something else that brought a service to me over the loudspeaker came the voice of the captain he had no stress he had no fear he did have to deliver a message that I wasn't really excited to hear he told us that the engine on the right side of the airplane had gone out now there's only 2 and while these large General Electric or Pratt Whitney engines I don't know who make them while they're powerful it's not really all that comforting to know that one of the 2 main elements of propulsion is no longer working on your airplane he told us he was going to be checking in with the appropriate people and not long later he came on and he said this is what we're doing we're going to land this airplane in Little Rock Arkansas that I don't know that I've ever landed at Little Rock Arkansas airport and just turned out that this airline didn't have any gate at the Little Rock Arkansas airport and what it what did happen was is that as we came in we had this wonderful escort by all these line green machines that look like they could go anywhere and do anything when that airplane finally landed and it was on the ground all of us felt a little bit different measure of comfort or the weight had just moments before 5 miles above the face of the earth but the voice of the captain had the power to either make us more afraid. Or to assure us that all would be well the engine on the right was not totally caput they throttled it way back so that at least it wasn't a huge wind sock and slowly with one engine he brought that big Airbus a $320.00 back down onto the ground and finally when they brought their little ladder on the back of their pickup truck their little set of stairs and we came down off the airplane all of us were thrilled to put our feet on terra firma friends there are turbulent times in front of us there are going to be moments when it looks like some of this support and sustenance of the church or your life individually is going to go out but I fear to assure you today that even when nature itself dies and it looks like we're at the end Christians are not to be known as the people who because they have the inside prophetic track whether from the spirit of prophecy or the Bible itself make sure they've snatched up everything there is to snatch up so that their bread and water can be sheer The truth of the matter is God is our refuge and strength he is the fortress around us it is its hand that covers us it is provision that makes for our needs and at this moment in our history we're getting a little wake up call that we should be attentive to the higher motivations and the higher callings of reaching a lost world may we like the widow observe that with simplicity in obedience obey the growing convictions of God in our lives make God's work and lost world may as organized church and your local congregation sense that your commitments are renewed your focus is restored may in your home there be the renewing of the morning and evening altar and sacrifice and May we come to a moment where we sense in our prayer communion with God that his presence is enough and his provision is complete. Whether it's Ravens or widows or angels for 40 days without food god is not caught off guard for the future of what's coming the question is do we care for all those who don't know there's a God like that might appeal to you this morning is that we have a desire to recommit to the message a mission of Christ so that they too can know that it is well with their source so that they too can know there's a God they can love and trust so that as the birth pangs of Deliverance which will be trauma to the unsaved and witness to those that are waiting for their salvation so that more could have the confidence of Christ and visions that we all have not as we become the best food hoarders and the 1st one to look out for ourselves but as for those who follow the other 1st principle and let the beauty of Christ at the moment of the greatest self focus be the greatest other focused element of our individual and corporate witness may God help each of us as we go forward into a crisis to have an ever increasing confidence that is provision for his children is complete and sure and that none will ever be without where the Heavenly Father who barely mirrors the intentions and desires of the Heavenly of an earthly mother or father would give to their own children may God bless those who move forward waiting to see what will happen next. I closing him 5. As well. As. Holmes for. Coming laying. You just. You know marriage is close. To. His soul. You. Did was. Told. No no no no. No no hold. Good. Lovin no. Load. O.. Fires. You. Oh sure it. You. Are. Choosing to. See. M do you will come pray Lord that you'll take his feeble and afraid self focused self-centered by nature we're praying Lord that love would cast out off here that we would understand that we've been brought into the finest and most faithful family and all the const most I'm praying Lord that will take the little steps that will show yourself to be alive but God who desires no visible representation of who he s. is looking for a personal intimate encounter I'm asking Lord that our prayer life our time in the word will be followed by submission to the growing convictions that you place into our ordinary life and we may not have a dream a vision or in Gelett counter but nonetheless we can come to hear the voice of peace the voice of conviction and duty. Save us Lord from moving by fear may we be covenant people who understand that this is a wake up call and that you're moving us into a greater focus a greater fidelity and pray now Lord redeem your people may this crisis not be wasted I pray especially for those who are sick and those who are afraid to very near to both of them I ask the Mayor Ford grossing movies from comfort to discomfort to confidence in Jesus name I pray in this media was brought to you by audio to a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse you would like to listen to more sermon leave w.w.w. audio verse or.

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