Sunday, April 30, 2017

Hope in the Highs and Lows (Stories of Hope Series)

Hope in the Highs and Lows
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The following are my Bible study notes based on my pastor's sermon.

Hope in the Highs and Lows

Scripture Passage:  1 Kings 19

Supporting Scripture:  Romans 15:4 - The Bible offers us hope and encouragement.
For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. - Romans 15:4
We all have highs and lows in life, including Elijah.

In the high times, don't take your eyes off of God.  Don't forget the One who allows us to experience the high times, the One who pours out our blessings.

In the low spots, get your eyes on Jesus.
Now Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword.  Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and even more, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.”  And he was afraid and arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there.  But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree; and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take my life, for I am not better than my fathers.” - 1 Kings 19:1-4
Elijah was in a low spot.

1.  When people feel hopeless, they don't think clearly.

2.  In Elijah's case, he was away from any positive influence during this time.  In our own lives, when we feel hopeless, we tend to stop answering phone messages, attending normal social gatherings, etc.

Isolation is not healthy.

Another thing to remember is that we are most vulnerable to lows after we've experienced a high.

3.  Elijah was exhausted.  Sleep deprivation is not healthy.  When we don't get enough sleep - when we are tired and hungry - things seem worse than they are.

4.  Elijah wallowed in self pity.

Let's not look down on people who ask God to take their lives.  Many strong God-followers in the Bible did the same thing.

In Elijah's case, God did not give him a sermon or shame him.

What did God do?
He lay down and slept under a juniper tree; and behold, there was an angel touching him, and he said to him, “Arise, eat.”  Then he looked and behold, there was at his head a bread cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank and lay down again.  The angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise, eat, because the journey is too great for you.” So he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mountain of God. Then he came there to a cave and lodged there; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” - 1 Kings 19:5-9
1.  God came to Elijah.  God will come to us.  
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. - Psalm 34:18
When people hurt, sometimes they just need a touch, a hug, or an embrace.

2.  God listened to Elijah.

3.  God gave Elijah a Word. (verse 7)

God touched Elijah and gave him food.  Nourishment is important.  Healthy eating habits help us when we are feeling hopeless.  Bad eating habits make us feel worse and magnify low moments in our lives.  Rest is also important.

What does God say to us?

1.  We have God's ministry of provision and protection in the highs and the lows.  

We should also remember that prosperity is not necessarily our great teacher.  Adversity is our great teacher.

2.  We must be immersed in truth to defeat lies.

3.  We must go forward with God after victory and also after defeat.

There is a next chapter in our lives.  There is a new assignment for us.  There is a new anointing.
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. - 1 Corinthians 15:58
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