READ: 1 Kings 18-19
THINK: Wouldn't it be nice if you could stay on a spiritual summit? High times are great, but eventually you come down from the mountain. As a follower of Christ in a God-defying world, you'll face a continual barrage of spiritual battles bringing both trouble and triumph. At times, you may intensely sense God's presence and power. At other times, you gain intense hunger and thirst for God by going through a spiritual drought. Ironically, the greatest spiritual victories are often followed by the toughest challenges. The emotional high of mountaintop experiences makes you vulnerable to spiritual attack and a tendency to take God's presence for granted. But God allows you to go through valleys of uncertainty and despair to test and strengthen the faith expressed in the high times. Don't expect God to always show himself in obvious or extraordinary ways. When it seems you're on your own and you need to know God is there, quiet yourself, take your mind off of troubles and distractions, and allow God to speak His gentle peace.
RESPOND: How did Jezebel try to silence God's voice in Israel (18:4)? Why did Ahab blame Elijah for Israel's troubles (18:18)? Why do ungodly people tend to blame godly people for problems? What challenge did Elijah put before the people? (See 18:21 note.) In what way do many people today "waver between two opinions" (18:21) about whom they will serve? What can you tell about Elijah from his taunting of Baal's prophets? (See 18:27 note.) What do Elijah's actions with the sacrifice reveal about faith and the power of prayer? (See 18:36 note.) What was the purpose of Elijah's confrontation with the prophets of Baal? (See 18:37 note.) What did God's response prove? (See 18:38 note.) What example does Elijah set regarding faith and prayer? (See 18:42 note.) What does it mean to "intercede" in prayer? (See 18:43 note.) What often happens following spiritual "highs" or successes? Why are spiritual victories are often followed by intense challenges? (See 19:3 note.) What can you learn from Elijah's discouragement? (See 19:4 note.) How did God deal with Elijah during this time and why? (See 19:5 note.) What does Elijah's encounter with God on Mount Horeb reveal about how God often speaks in times of trouble? (See 19:11-12 note.)
PRAY: Ask God to build in you a bold faith like Elijah's. Intercede for people who have serious needs or don't know Jesus. Thank Jesus for His presence through discouraging times. Take time to listen for God's reply as you pray.
ACT: Step out in bold a way that will give God an opportunity to reveal His truth, love and power to people who don't know Him at your school, work or home. If you're wavering in your devotion to God, choose today to take a distinct stand for Him. When you have time later, read the article on Effective Praying, p. 446 in the FBSE.
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