Discover Your ‘Elijah Potential’

Daily Devotion | Day 300

“Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit” (James 5:17-18, NKJV).

Elijah is an interesting character in the Scriptures. As we noted in one of our earlier messages, Elijah is one of only two people in the Bible (the other being Enoch) who did not experience death. God took him to heaven alive (2 Kings 2:11). According to angel Gabriel’s prophecy, John the Baptist was to prepare the way of the Lord “in the spirit and power of Elijah” (Luke 1:13-17). When Jesus was transformed on the mountain, Elijah (and Moses) appeared and talked with Him (Matthew 17:1-3).

In today’s opening Bible passage, James presents Elijah to Christians as an example of effective prayer life. James had many options to choose from, but the Holy Spirit inspired him to focus on Elijah. Our purpose today is to understand that we all have been endowed by God with enormous potential, and that through a fervent prayer life, we can develop and unleash this potential for the glory of God and for the benefit of the Church, society and individuals (including ourselves).

James starts by telling us that Elijah was a man like us. This point is crucial. James is aware that Elijah was noted for astonishing miraculous deeds. James knows that people can easily distance themselves from Elijah with the objection, “Well, that was Elijah. He was special, but I am not. God gave him great power, but I don’t have that kind of power. So, don’t expect me to do anything close to what Elijah did.” To dispel this (false) belief, James puts it on the record that Elijah was a man like us.

After getting rid of this mental obstacle, he says that Elijah prayed fervently that there would be no rain in Israel and he prevailed. For three and a half years there was no rain in Israel. To put things in context, let’s hear from Elijah himself: “As the LORD God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word” (1 Kings 17:1). When the three and half years were over, Elijah prayed again and the heavens gave rain (1 Kings 18:41-45).

James’ point is that God has blessed each one of us with enormous potential to accomplish marvelous deeds. Elijah knew his potential and put it to work. His secret was fervent prayer. Through prayer we too can tap into our God-given potential and unleash it for His glory. What often gets in our way is that we’re happy to place others on a pedestal while we underestimate our own greatness. In most cases, it’s been drilled into our consciousness that we’re a bunch of miserable sinners and weaklings incapable of great feat.

From our mother’s womb we’re labeled as corrupt sinners who are under condemnation by default. Even when we grow up to believe in Christ,  it doesn’t stop. We’re taught prayers, songs and rituals which reinforce the idea that we’re fundamentally weak and corrupt.

Consequently, we’ve come to believe (falsely) that extraordinary/miraculous deeds are  beyond our reach. Where they occur, they’re reserved for a select few who are the exception to the norm. In so doing, we have unconsciously buried our potential to rise beyond the limitations of the flesh and enjoy what our good Father has graciously given us. If we’re going to walk with God, we need to adopt a worldview that is consistent with the Bible. 

Elijah was a man like you. The Lord has endowed you with the ability to make the seemingly impossible, possible (Matthew 17:20). Believe God’s word and discover what can happen when you pray fervently. 

Grace and peace be yours in Christ Jesus. Amen. 

For further study:  1 Kings 18:20-40 and Acts 4:23-31

Done: From Asking to Receiving

Daily Devotion | Day 293

“Therefore, I [Jesus] say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them” (Mark 11:24, NKJV).

The goal of asking is to receive. Unfortunately, many people are stuck with the reality of asking. They can’t seem to move beyond asking and receive what they desire. They ask a lot, but they receive little, if at all. Why? The Bible gives us the answers, but we won’t attempt to tackle all the possible reasons here. From my experience, people focus too much on asking but they neglect everything else Jesus said about the subject of prayer. Yes, Jesus told us to ask (Matthew 7:7). But that’s just part of what He said.

Today, we want to look at two keys Jesus gave us for receiving what we desire. They are not the only keys, but they are critical, especially the second one. They are as follows:

1. Ask. This is obvious. If you want something, ask for it. Here, it’s important to know exactly what you want and make your request accordingly. But, as already noted, many Christians are stuck at this stage. They sincerely ask, but they sincerely don’t receive. And they keep asking, hoping that one of these days they’ll prevail. What they forget is that asking goes with other things. 

2. Believe you have received: Few ever make it to this point. Yet, this is the most crucial stage of the prayer request. Jesus says, “whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them.” This is huge. Jesus will not believe for you. His job is to supply; yours is to believe that you have received. Don’t stop at asking, Jesus says. Right after you’ve asked for something, believe that you’ve received it. If you skip this step, you’re likely not to receive what you wanted.

What does it mean to believe that you’ve received? It means when you pray for something, take it for granted that it’s done. From that point, let your thoughts, your words and your actions indicate that you believe it’s done. You need to start acting as though you already had what you asked. Consider the following example.

You remember what happened at the wedding at Cana (John 2:1-11). Mary asked Jesus to ‘supply’ wine to save the wedding. At that point, Jesus wasn’t ready to perform a miracle, and He made that clear to Mary. Someone would have turned away. Mary, however, wasn’t shaken by Jesus’ response. She went ahead and told the servants to do whatever Jesus told them to do.

The point here is, Mary asked Jesus for something and she believed she had received it regardless of Jesus’ initial response. Mary had not seen wine with her naked eyes, yet she took it for granted that wine had been provided. Right after asking, she started acting as though her request had been granted. In the end, she got exactly what she believed.

This is the point Jesus is making in today’s passage. He says, if you believe you’ve received it, you will have it. Asking is good, but believing is better. Asking doesn’t produce results. Believing does.

It’s time to move past asking. Start receiving.

Blessing: May the Lord surround you with songs of deliverance. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

For further study: Luke 18:35-42, John 2:1-11 and Romans 4:13-22

Miracles Are Born, When Faith Is Conceived

Daily Devotional|Day 256

“When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. For she said, ‘If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.’ Immediately her fountain of blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction” (Mark 5:27-29, NKJV).

Miracles are born when faith is conceived. Faith is a simple thing. Miracles are simple, too. When you have faith, you will have a corresponding assurance in your heart that what you believe shall happen. The life of Jesus shows us how different people experienced miracles in their lives through faith. In nearly all cases, it was a simple thing. Where miracles happened, most of the time Jesus was actively doing something (laying hands, for example) for the people who needed help. In today’s story, however, we have a different scenario. A woman came in quietly and received her healing miracle before anyone knew it. Let’s break down what happened. We will learn that miracles are born when faith is conceived.

 In the story, we will identify four (4) related stages in the woman’s miraculous experience and apply them to our lives:

1. Hearing: The woman had suffered hemorrhage for twelve years. She had spent all her money on different physicians but her situation only got worse (Mark 5:25-26). Mark tells us that this woman heard about Jesus. Whatever she heard must have been encouraging/good news. Let’s pause for a moment. The Bible says, faith comes by hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17; see also Galatians 3:2-5). This was the first stage. The woman heard.

2. Believing: When the woman heard the good news about Jesus, she moved to the next stage. She believed. Believed what? She believed that it was a simple thing for Jesus to restore her also. Many people hear good things about Jesus, but not everyone believes Him. When you hear the Word of God, it generates faith in you. But it is up to you to take advantage of what you’ve heard and cling to it with unwavering faith. When you arrive at this point, you won’t see limitations. You will see possibilities.

3. Seeing: When you truly believe the Lord will do something you desire, you will naturally ‘see’ yourself already in possession of the thing you desire. When the woman believed, she said to herself, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.” When you look carefully at this statement, you will notice that the woman ‘saw’ herself healed. She ‘saw’ the result she desired before it manifested physically. The Bible says, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). The woman’s healing was invisible at that time, but she ‘saw’ healing because that is the nature of faith. Before something is visible to the naked eye, faith can ‘see’ it and capture an image of it. 

4. Acting: Faith without works is dead (James 2:26). The woman’s faith was not passive. She didn’t just believe and sit back, hoping something will happen. She acted upon her faith. She conceived the idea that if she touched the clothes of Jesus, she would be healed. And she did exactly that. She acted on the ‘faith image’ in her heart. It was a simple thing; touch Jesus’ clothes. She laid aside all excuses, searched for Jesus, located Him, came behind Him and touched His clothes. And, bam!! Immediately, the flow of blood dried up.

 Miracles are born, when faith is conceived. Understand how faith works. When you want something from God, it’s a simple thing. Just hear and believe His word about that situation. When your faith is alive, naturally, you will ‘see’ yourself in possession of what you believe. Finally, act and speak in a manner that is consistent with what you believe.

And may the Lord be gracious unto you! Amen.

For further studyHebrews 11:1-29

Simple Faith, Big Results

Daily Devotional: Day 104

The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed” (Matthew 8:8, NKJV).

A Roman centurion reported to Jesus that his servant was paralyzed and tormented. Jesus, therefore, assured the centurion that he would go with him and heal his servant. But strangely, the centurion answered that he wasn’t worthy for Jesus to enter his house. He told Jesus to only speak a word, and his servant would be healed.

The centurion was a high-ranking military officer in ancient Rome. He understood how authority worked. He was used to giving orders as well as obeying orders. In his line of work, a man in a position of authority got things done by speaking a simple word of command. The centurion approached Jesus with this understanding of authority and words. He believed that Jesus was a Man with great spiritual authority. Consequently, he believed that it wasn’t necessary for Jesus to walk all the way to his house to get his servant healed. He believed that all Jesus had to do was to use His authority, give the command, and the miracle would happen. Jesus was amazed at the simplicity and depth of the centurion’s faith.

One word with authority is better than a thousand words with no authority.

 When you have the right authority, and you know that you have authority, you won’t need a lot of words to get things done. All you need is to speak a word and your authority will back the word for the right outcome to be produced. Understanding this biblical principle is vital for our faith and prayer life. We don’t have to do a lot to move God to do something for us. Faith is a simple exercise. We don’t need to jump through emotional loops to get God to move. Once we understand spiritual authority like the centurion did, our prayer life will become simple but effective. Let’s trust in the authority and power of Jesus’ Name. That’ll suffice.

Prayer:

Father, thank you for the authority we have through the new birth. Thank you for the power and authority of Jesus’ Name. Help me to operate in simple faith, trusting in your supernatural ability to hear and deliver me. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

For further study: 1 Kings 18:20-40