Taking the Initiative Against Depression

Arise and eat—1 Kings 19:5

The angel in this passage did not give Elijah a vision, or explain the Scriptures to him, or do anything remarkable. He simply told Elijah to do a very ordinary thing, that is, to get up and eat. If we were never depressed, we would not be alive—only material things don’t suffer depression. If human beings were not capable of depression, we would have no capacity for happiness and exaltation. There are things in life that are designed to depress us; for example, things that are associated with death. Whenever you examine yourself, always take into account your capacity for depression.

When the Spirit of God comes to us, He does not give us glorious visions, but He tells us to do the most ordinary things imaginable. Depression tends to turn us away from the everyday things of God’s creation. But whenever God steps in, His inspiration is to do the most natural, simple things-things we would never have imagined God was in, but as we do them we find Him there. The inspiration that comes to us in this way is an initiative against depression. But we must take the first step and do it in the inspiration of God. If, however, we do something simply to overcome our depression, we will only deepen it. But when the Spirit of God leads us instinctively to do something, the moment we do it the depression is gone. As soon as we arise and obey, we enter a higher plane of life.

http://utmost.org/taking-the-initiative-against-depression/

Tozer Devotional-Gentle but Determined Restorers

Gentle but Determined Restorers

It is more than probable that in the whole history of the United States there was never at any one time so much religious activity as there is today.  And it is also very likely that there was never less true spirituality.

. . .

Now, experience has prepared us for the rebuttal we will surely hear from tender-minded friends: “Who are we to judge? We must leave these professed Christians with the Lord and look to our own doorstep. And furthermore, we should be glad for any little bit of good that is being done and not spoil it by faultfinding.”

All that sounds good, but it is an expression of a religious laissez faire which would stand carelessly by and permit the whole church of Christ to degenerate morally and spiritually without daring to raise a hand to help or a voice to warn. So did not the prophets. So did not Christ, or His apostles, or the Reformers; and so will not any man do who has seen heaven opened and beheld visions of God. Elijah could have kept his mouth shut and saved himself a lot of trouble. John the Baptist could have kept silent and saved his head; and every martyr might have pleaded laissez faire and died comfortably in his bed at a ripe old age. But in doing so, they would all have disobeyed God and laid themselves open to a severe judgment in the day of Christ.

http://www.cmalliance.org/devotions/tozer?id=824

The End Of Ahab’s Selfish Family

Elisha the prophet called one of the followers of the prophets and said to him, “Tighten your belt, take this flask of oil in your hand and go to Ramoth in Gilead. When you arrive there, look for Jehu, the son of Jehoshaphat, and when you go in take him into an inner room, away from those who are with him. Then from the flask pour oil on his head, and say, ‘Jehovah declares, I have anointed you to rule over Israel.’ Then open the door and flee without delay.”

So the young man went to Ramoth in Gilead. When he arrived, the officers of the army were sitting together. And he said, “Commander, I have a message for you.” Jehu said, “To which of us?” He replied, “To you, O commander.” Then Jehu rose and went into the house; and the young man poured the oil on his head and said to him, “Jehovah the God of Israel says, ‘I have anointed you to rule over Jehovah’s people, over Israel!'” Then he opened the door and hurried away.

When Jehu came out to the servants of his master, they asked him, “Is all well? Why did this insane fellow come to you?” He answered, “You know the man and his message.” But they said, “You are deceiving us. You must tell us.” Jehu replied, “He said this to me: ‘Jehovah says, I have anointed you to rule over Israel.'” Then each quickly took his garment, laid it at his feet on the bare stairs, and blew the horn and cried, “Jehu is the ruler of Israel.” So Jehu plotted against Joram.

Now Joram, with all the Israelites, had been defending Ramoth in Gilead against Hazael king of Aram, but Joram had gone back to Jezreel to recover from the wounds which he had received from the Arameans when he fought with Hazael king of Aram. So Jehu said, “If it is your will, let no one escape from the city to bring news to Jezreel.” Then Jehu mounted his chariot and went toward Jezreel.

While the watchman was standing on the tower of Jezreel, he saw the cloud of dust about Jehu, as he came, and said, “I see a cloud of dust.” Joram said, “Send a horseman to meet him and ask whether he comes with peaceful purpose.” So the horseman went out to meet him and said, “The ruler of Israel asks, ‘Do you come with peaceful purpose?'” Jehu replied, “What have you to do with peace? Turn and follow me.” So the watchman said, “The messenger went to them, but does not return.” Then Joram sent out a second horseman who went to them and said, “The ruler of Israel asks, ‘Do you come with peaceful purpose?'” Jehu answered, “What have you to do with peace? Turn and follow me.” So the watchman said, “He also went to them but does not return; however, the driving is like the driving of Jehu, for he drives very fast.”

Then Joram said, “Get my chariot ready,” and when it was ready he went to meet Jehu and found him in the field of Naboth the Jezreelite. When Joram saw Jehu, he said, “Do you come with peaceful purpose, Jehu?” Then Joram turned to flee, but Jehu drew his bow and struck Joram between the shoulders, so that the arrow went through his heart, and he fell down in his chariot.

Then Jehu said to Bidkar, his charioteer, “Take him up and throw him into the field of Naboth the Jezreelite, for I well remember that, as you and I rode together after Ahab, his father, Jehovah pronounced this sentence upon him: ‘Surely I saw yesterday the blood of Naboth and his sons, and I will punish you on this same piece of land.’ So throw him into this piece of land, as Jehovah said.”

Then Jehu arrived at Jezreel. As soon as Jezebel heard of it, she painted her eyes, arranged her hair, and looked out of the window. As Jehu came in at the gate, she said, “Is all well with you, you traitor, you murderer of your master?” But he looked up to the window and cried, “Who is on my side? who?” Two or three slaves looked down at him, and he said, “Throw her down.” And they threw her down and the horses trampled on her. When Jehu had gone in and had had something to eat and drink, he gave this command, “Look after this woman and bury her, for she is a king’s daughter.” But when they went to bury her, they found no more of her than the skull, the feet, and the hands. When they went back and told Jehu, he said, “This is what Jehovah declared by his servant Elijah when he said, ‘On the piece of land at Jezreel the dogs shall eat Jezebel’s flesh, and her body shall be as refuse on the surface of the field, so that no one can say, This is Jezebel.'”

http://kids.ochristian.com/Childrens-Bible/The-End-Of-Ahabs-Selfish-Family.shtml

The Mantle Of Elijah

When Jehovah took up Elijah to heaven in a whirlwind, he was going with Elisha from Gilgal. And Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here, for Jehovah has sent me as far as Bethel.” But Elisha said, “As surely as Jehovah lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So they went down to Bethel.

Then the followers of the prophets at Bethel came out to Elisha and said, “Do you know that to-day Jehovah will take away your master from you?” He said, “Yes, I know it; say no more.” And Elijah said to him, “Elisha, stay here, for Jehovah has sent me to Jericho.” But he said, “As surely as Jehovah lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So they came to Jericho.

Then the followers of the prophets at Jericho came near to Elisha and said, “Do you know that to-day Jehovah will take your master from you?” He answered, “Yes, I know it; say no more.” And Elijah said to him, “Stay here, for Jehovah has sent me to the Jordan.” But he said, “As surely as Jehovah lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So they both went on.

Fifty followers of the prophets stood opposite them at a distance, while they two stood by the Jordan. Then Elijah rolled up his mantle and with it struck the waters; and they were divided, so that they two went over on dry ground. When they had gone over, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you before I am taken from you.” Elisha said, “Let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.” He replied, “You have asked what is difficult; but if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall come to you; but if you do not, it shall not come.”

As they were going on their way talking, a fiery chariot with horses of fire suddenly came and separated the two; and Elijah went up in a whirlwind to heaven. When Elisha saw it, he cried, “My father, my father! the chariots and the horsemen of Israel!” And he saw Elijah no more, but he took hold of his own robes and tore them in two. Then he took up the mantle that had fallen from Elijah.

http://kids.ochristian.com/Childrens-Bible/The-Mantle-Of-Elijah.shtml

Ahab The Thief

Now Naboth, the Jezreelite, had a vineyard in Jezreel next to the palace of Ahab, who ruled at Samaria. So Ahab said to Naboth, “Give me your vineyard, that I may have it as a vegetable-garden, for it is near my palace; and I will give you a better vineyard for it; or, if it is more pleasing to you, I will pay you its value in money.” But Naboth answered Ahab, “May Jehovah save me from the crime of giving you what has come down to me from my fathers!”

So Ahab went into his house sullen and in bad humor because of what Naboth had said to him. And he lay down on his bed and covered his face and would eat no food.

But Jezebel his wife came to him and said, “Why are you in such bad humor that you will not eat?” He replied, “Because I made this offer to Naboth, ‘Give me your vineyard for its value in money, or else, if it is more pleasing to you, I will give you another vineyard for it.’ But he answered, ‘I will not give you my vineyard.'” Then Jezebel his wife said to him, “Are you not the one who now rules in Israel? Rise, eat, and set your mind at rest. I will give you the vineyard of Naboth.”

So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name and sealed them with his seal and sent the letters to the leaders and officials who lived in Naboth’s city. In the letters she wrote, “Proclaim a fast and put Naboth in front of the people. Then set up two base men before him and let them bring this charge against him: ‘You cursed God and the ruler of Israel.’ Then carry him out and stone him to death.”

The leaders and officials of Naboth’s city did as Jezebel commanded in her letters to them. They proclaimed a fast and put Naboth in front of the people. Then the two base men came in and sat before him, and the scoundrels in the presence of the people said, “Naboth cursed God and the ruler of Israel.” Then they carried him out of the city and stoned him to death. And they told Jezebel, “Naboth has been stoned to death.”

As soon as Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned to death, she said to Ahab, “Rise, take the vineyard of Naboth which he refused to sell you, for Naboth is not alive but dead.” As soon as Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, he went down to the vineyard of Naboth to take it. But this command came from Jehovah to Elijah, the Tishbite, “Rise, go down to meet Ahab, the ruler of Israel, who lives in Samaria; he is just now in the vineyard of Naboth, where he has gone to take it. Say to him, ‘This is the message of Jehovah, “Have you killed and also taken his vineyard? In the very place where the dogs licked the blood of Naboth there they shall also lick your blood.”‘” Ahab said to Elijah, “Have you found me, O my enemy?” He answered, “I have. And Jehovah has declared: ‘The dogs shall eat Jezebel in the district of Jezreel.'” When Ahab heard those words, he tore his clothes and put sackcloth on his flesh and ate no food.

http://kids.ochristian.com/Childrens-Bible/Ahab-The-Thief.shtml

God’s Low Whisper

Now when Ahab told Jezebel that Elijah had put the prophets to death with the sword, she sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “As surely as you are Elijah and I am Jezebel, may the gods do to me what they will and more too, if I do not make your life as the life of one of those prophets by to-morrow about this time.”

Then he was afraid and fled for his life. And he came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. But he went on a day’s journey into the wilderness and sat down under a desert tree, and he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O Jehovah, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers.”

Then he lay down and slept under the desert tree, but an angel touched him and said to him, “Rise, eat!” When he looked, he saw there at his head a loaf, baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank and lay down again. But the angel of Jehovah came again the second time and touched him and said, “Rise, eat, or else the journey will be too long for you.” So he rose and ate and drank and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb the mountain of God.

Then Jehovah passed by, and a very violent wind tore the mountain apart and broke the rocks in pieces before Jehovah; but Jehovah was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake; but Jehovah was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire; but Jehovah was not in the fire. After the fire there was the sound of a low whisper. As soon as Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then he heard a voice saying, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He replied, “I have been very jealous for Jehovah the God of hosts, for the Israelites have forsaken thee, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword, and I only am left; and they seek to take my life.”

Then Jehovah said to him, “On your way back go to the wilderness of Damascus, and when you arrive there, anoint Hazael to rule over Aram, Jehu, the son of Nimshi, to rule over Israel, and Elisha, the son of Shaphat, to be prophet in your place. Then every one who escapes the sword of Hazael, Jehu shall put to death; and every one who escapes the sword of Jehu, Elisha shall put to death. Yet I will spare seven thousand in Israel–all who have not worshipped Baal and kissed his image.”

After he had left, Elijah found Elisha the son of Shaphat, as he was ploughing with twelve pairs of oxen. When Elijah went up to him and threw his mantle upon him, he left the oxen and ran after Elijah and said, “Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.” Elijah said to him, “Go back, for what have I done to you?” So Elisha turned back and took one pair of oxen and offered them as a sacrifice and, using the wooden ploughs and yokes as fuel, boiled their flesh, and gave it to the people to eat. Then he arose and followed Elijah and served him.

http://kids.ochristian.com/Childrens-Bible/Gods-Low-Whisper.shtml

The Prophet Of Fire

In the third year of the famine this command came from Jehovah to Elijah: “Go, show yourself to Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth.” So Elijah went to show himself to Ahab.

The famine was so severe in Samaria that Ahab had called Obadiah, the overseer of the palace. Obadiah was very loyal to Jehovah; for when Jezebel tried to kill the prophets of Jehovah, he took a hundred and hid them in a cave and kept them supplied with bread and water. Ahab said to Obadiah, “Come, let us go through the land to all the springs and to all the brooks, in the hope that we may find grass, so that we can save the horses and mules and not lose all of them.” So they divided the land between them, Ahab going in one direction and Obadiah in another.

While Obadiah was on the way, Elijah suddenly met him. As soon as Obadiah knew him, he fell on his face and said, “Is it you, my lord Elijah?” He answered, “It is; go, tell your master: ‘Elijah is here.'” But Obadiah said, “What sin have I done, that you would give your servant over to Ahab to kill me? As surely as Jehovah your God lives, there is no nation nor kingdom where my lord has not sent to find you; and when they said, ‘He is not here,’ he made each of the kingdoms and nations take an oath, that no one had found you. Now you say, ‘Go, tell your lord, Elijah is here!’ As soon as I have left you the spirit of Jehovah will carry you to a place unknown to me, so that when I come and tell Ahab and he cannot find you, he will put me to death, although I, your servant, have been loyal to Jehovah from my youth! Have you not been told what I did when Jezebel killed the prophets of Jehovah, how I hid a hundred by fifties in a cave and fed them continually with bread and water?” Elijah answered, “As surely as Jehovah of hosts lives, before whom I stand, I will show myself to Ahab to-day.”

So Obadiah went to Ahab and told him; and Ahab went to meet Elijah. As soon as Ahab saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is it you, you who have brought trouble to Israel?” He answered, “I have not brought trouble on Israel, but you and your father’s house have; because you have failed to follow the commands of Jehovah and have run after the Phoenician gods. Now therefore call together to me at Mount Carmel all the Israelites and the four hundred and fifty prophets of the god Baal who eat at Jezebel’s table.”

So Ahab sent for all the Israelites and gathered the prophets together at Mount Carmel. Then Elijah came to the people and said, “How long are you going to falter between worshipping Jehovah or Baal? If Jehovah is the true God, follow him, but if Baal, then follow him.” But the people were silent. Then Elijah said to the people, “I, even I only, am left as a prophet of Jehovah, but there are four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal. Let us take two oxen; let them choose one ox for themselves and cut it in pieces and lay it on the wood, without lighting any fire, and I will dress the other ox and lay it on wood, without lighting any fire. Then you call on your god and I will call on Jehovah. The god who answers by fire is the true God.” All the people answered and said, “It is a fair offer.”

Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one of the oxen for yourselves and dress it first, for you are many, and call on your god, without lighting any fire.” So they took the ox which he gave them and dressed it, and called on their god from morning until noon, saying, “O Baal, hear us.” But there was no voice nor answer, although they leaped about the altar which they had built.

When it was noon, Elijah mocked them, saying, “Call loudly, for he is a god; either he is thinking, or he has gone out, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened!” Then they called loudly and cut themselves, as was their custom, with swords and lances until the blood gushed out upon them. When noon was past, they cried out in frenzy until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice; but there was neither voice nor answer nor was any attention paid to their cry.

Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” And all the people drew near to him, and he rebuilt the altar of Jehovah which had been thrown down. Then around the altar he made a ditch that would hold about two bushels of seed. When he had placed the pieces of wood in order, he cut up the ox and laid it on the wood. Then he said, “Fill four jars with water and pour it on the burnt-offering and on the pieces of wood.” And he said, “Do it the second time”; and they did it the second time. He said, “Do it the third time”; and they did it the third time, so that the water ran round the altar. And he also filled the ditch with water.

When it was time to offer the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O Jehovah, God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy command. Hear me, O Jehovah, hear me, that this people may know that thou, Jehovah, art God, and that thou mayst win their hearts.”

Then the fire of Jehovah fell and burned up the burnt-offering and the wood, the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and cried, “Jehovah, he is God; Jehovah, he is God.” But Elijah commanded them, “Take the prophets of Baal; do not let one of them escape!” So they took them down to the Brook Kishon and there put them to death.

Then Elijah said to Ahab, “Go, eat and drink; for there are signs of a heavy rain.” So Ahab went to eat and drink. But Elijah went up to the top of Carmel and crouched down upon the earth, with his face between his knees. And he said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” So he went up and looked and said, “There is nothing.” But seven times he said, “Go again.” So the servant went back seven times, but the seventh time he said, “There is a cloud as small as a man’s hand rising out of the sea.” Then Elijah said, “Go, say to Ahab, ‘Make ready your chariot; go down, that the rain may not stop you.'” In a little while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy rain. And as Ahab rode toward Jezreel, Elijah was given divine strength, so that he tightened his belt and ran before Ahab to the entrance to Jezreel.

http://kids.ochristian.com/Childrens-Bible/The-Prophet-Of-Fire.shtml