Friday, January 23, 2009

The Journey

Now more than ever people everywhere are worried. Rightfully so, there seems to be a lot to worry about. Loss of job, war, health care, gas, the future. However, I'd like to share some thoughts about the subject of worry and the journey to where God wants you.

Principle of the Path

Your direction in life determines your destination. Simple, I know, but too often we don't stop and really acknowledge this. Because we think "intentions" or "beliefs" can get us to our destination. For example, you may be packed up with the right gear and have every intention to go to the beach. But if you get on 65 North, you will not end up in Florida. Direction plays a huge role.

So the question becomes, "what determines our direction?"
The answer.....attention.
What you pay attention to points you life in a direction and that direction determines your destination.

1 Kings 19:1-21
Read this on your own for the sake of keeping this short. I'll give the highlights of what I believe God has shown me that I would like to encourage you with.
Keep in mind this story has four key characters: Ahab, Jezebel, Elijah and God.

Why do we find ourselves worrying in times of crisis? Looking at the life of Elijah, I want to share some simple truths.

First, Elijah was not thinking realistically and clearly. (1 Kings 19:3-4)
Many times we, like Elijah, fail to consider the source of the threat.
Our response should be, "God is the one who has control over me, not Jezebel."
The same with your job, your kids, your boss, the government, those who speak evil towards you. Don't give them a second thought.

Secondly, Elijah failed to remember the past victories. (1 Kings 19:2)
We see a man in the previous chapter who did such awesome things for God, yet tuck his tail and run at the threat of tomorrow.
We do that too. Just like we can look at Elijah's life and say, "man! look what God has done for you! Remember His faithfulness!" I bet there are things in your life that I can point out to you and say, "look how God has carried you." I can say it for myself, too. The problem is we tend to set our attention on the threat of tomorrow, like Elijah, instead of standing on the victories of yesterday.

Third, Elijah separated himself from strengthening relationships. (1 Kings 19:3-4)
The scripture says, "left his servant" and "he himself" went alone "a day's journey."
For some reason there is something in us that when we are worried or hurt we want to distance ourselves from the very people God has put in our lives to help us on the journey. Don't go alone.

Fourth, Elijah was physically exhausted and emotionally spent. (1 Kings 19: 5-8)
This is huge. I could go into detail explaining this because at this point, who can blame him? I personally can't imagine what Elijah went through in all the years of running and hiding from those who sought to kill him. Here is the simple point, when you're worried your language and mentality changes. You say things like, " I don't know what I'm gonna do" or "I'm just gonna have to..." or " I've tried everything else, I just...."
Just like, Elijah, his focus was on what he had done and what he was doing. We tend to rely on our own abilities instead of God's faithfulness, although we don't say that. Because we "intend" to live by faith, but the "direction" of our lives prove otherwise.

How God Responds

First, God allowed Elijah a time of rest and refreshment. (1 Kings 19: 5-8)
God takes care of our every need. It's true, He's a loving Father who sees us and knows what we need.

Secondly, God communicated wisely with Elijah. (1 Kings 19:9)
God asks him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"
Isn't that true with us. What are we doing here in a state of worry? Why have we come to this place of desperation or confusion? How do we end up emotionally where we are at?
What are we doing here?
If you read the story like I use to, then the question come off harsh with disgust, cause really, what is he doing? But that's not how God asks it. Remember God is a loving, providing Father and He asks in that tone. (as stated in verse 13, gentle breeze)
In verse 11-13 it looks like God is showing off with a wind, earthquake, and fire display but why?
This part of the scripture I never fully grasped why God did what He did; however let me share some thoughts that seem to fit.
It's almost as God is saying; "Elijah, Ahab is like this wind, blowing trouble. Jezebel is like this earthquake causing intimidation and you are like this fire fast to burn out. But I, the one true God speak through the gentle breeze. My words and ways far outlast all those around you."
In this display God then gives him vision and a job to do. It's as if God is saying, "you're not alone, and I still have a plan for you." (verses 15-18)

Lastly, God gave Elijah a close friendship, spiritual son relationship. (1 Kings 19: 19-21)
For me personally, I'm looking at the Word of God through a entire set of new lenses. That of the Father/Son relationship.
See in this "journey" of life, the true test to see if something successful becomes significant is in the next generation.
I may be a successful parent now, but whether or not I was significant will show through my grandchildren: how my children raise their children.
God, I believe, wants us to see past our current worry, or situation and look down the road to the people He's put in our lives. In doing so we not only gain a successor, we gain a close, personal friend---someone who loves us and understands us enough to minister and encourage us. Just like Elisha did for Elijah.

The journey is long, but it's not to be filled with fear or worry or lack of direction.
Give God your attention.
Let Him give you direction.
Take someone with you to the destination.


  1. This was an AWESOME message, hon! It was so great to hear you preach again.

  2. This is a phenomenal message, Vince. Wow. Can you send me the notes on email of someway so that I can easily print them and keep this?


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