Three Steps Down

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth.Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit. —James  5:13-18

Even godly people get down at times. Circumstances may knock us flat. Trials take us by surprise. But the difference between people is not the intensity of the things that we go through, but how we choose to deal with those circumstances. That’s what determines who lives on the peak and who lives in the valley. The good news is that we can make our own choices.

Elijah is a good example of both choosing to live in the valley and how to climb to the mountaintop. Lest we think Elijah is some superhero, James 5:17 reminds us that God’s mighty prophet was a man with a nature like ours. We see him here as he was, not like some glossy, retouched photograph.

Want to know how NOT to handle tough circumstances?

Find a place by yourself

In 1 Kings 19, Elijah had just come off this major victory. He was physically exhausted and emotionally spent. With no energy and no motivation, verse 5 says Elijah just sat under a broom tree (an almost lifeless, leafless shrub). So why was Elijah sitting under that tree? I’ll tell you—the dude wanted to be by himself. Leave me alone. I don’t want any people around. The tragic fact is that depression shuts out the thing we need most—people. When you feel depressed, you stiff-arm those who love you, who want to support you, and who can give you a reality check. 

Friend—those dark clouds are not going to leave you as long as you are trying to do life on your own. Let me ask you four questions. Answer honestly now:

  • Do you have fewer personal friends than you had a year ago? 
  • Are you spending fewer evenings out?
  • When you come home, do you often retreat away from your family? 
  • Are you skipping Small Group or avoiding getting into one?   

Do you see yourself? Well, here’s what you do:

1.      Let God confront you and ask you, “What are you doing here?”
2.      Let God reveal Himself to you. Look for ways that He’s trying to communicate with you.
3.      Let God provide for you. If you’ll let Him, God will nourish you with His Word or through a friend and you’ll find yourself getting stronger.
4.      As He communicates, immediately do what God says.
5.      Get involved with people again.

Ask God to give you the courage to begin today. —James MacDonald

Journal

·         Have I ever taken the time to ask God, “Who are You?” and then listened? What is stopping me from doing that right now?

Prayer: Almighty Father, thank You that You don’t ever give up on me. You pursue me even when I’m hiding and retreating from life. Help me to totally rely on You for the strength to handle any circumstances You allow into my life, no matter how tough. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Always True: 5 Great and Precious Promises of God
Always True: 5 Great and Precious Promises of God 

5 CD Series Set - $35.00

What if you believed—truly believed with all confidence that God is with you? How would today go for you if you knew without a doubt that God is in control? What would be different in your life if you were sure God is watching and good? What would you risk if you were certain God is victorious? 

Just how would believing God’s promises change your life?  

Ask the greatest Christian you’ll ever meet if they hold on to God’s promises and they’ll all say yes. Believing that God will do what He promises leads to a great life. The greatest Christian you’ll every meet knows, treasures, and is resting in the promises of God. They cling to these assurances that God gives His people so they can walk by faith while they wait for Him to work.

So what exactly does God promise?  In this topical study of what will always be true, Pastor James MacDonald will explore five great and precious promises that God keeps. Enter into this study with anticipation and faith that the God who makes these promises is faithful and true... always true.