11 Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.
— 1 Kings 19:11-12

Elijah saw God in the grand, miraculous works He did. 

He had just shown Israel that God is the true God and destroyed the false prophets, and then prayed for rain after 3 years of drought. The fire fell from heaven and rain soaked the earth. Elijah knew God's power. 

But I wonder if he knew God's safety and security, His intimacy. Although Elijah appeared fearless, he ran away at the first sign of a death threat because he believed he was alone. How many times have we experienced victory and then gave into temptation or fear? 

So he journeyed alone into the wilderness, to a mountain where God displayed His power. But God wasn't IN these displays. He was in the still, small voice. I believe God was showing Elijah where to find His heart and where to find security--not just His power. 

Security isn't found in power but in intimacy. It's found in love. In the place where everything else is quieted and it's just you and God; and you can pour out your heart to Him; that's where His security lies. That's where He can speak to your heart. 

More than just comfort, God assured Elijah that he wasn't alone. It wasn't just Elijah facing the world and trying to turn Israel back to God. God promised there would always be a remnant. This was no measly handful of people serving God, He had 4,000 people reserved for Himself! Elijah was not alone. 

You are not alone. You're secure, upheld by a God who is capable of the greatest power and the greatest love. 

Take moments to hear His still, small voice and you will know Him in a deeper way. Take notice of the people around you who have been strategically placed in your life. 

Putting Yourself In Another's Position

Luke records the story of a man with an advanced case of leprosy. How traumatic, painful and humiliating this must have been for him. But one day, Jesus came to the man’s town. When the man saw Jesus, he fell to the ground. He humbly said to Jesus, “Lord, if You want to, You can make me well.” Jesus then reached out His hand…touched the man…and said, “I want to.” Immediately the leprosy left him.
— Luke 5:12-13

This story shows us that God has empathy for His children. As Christians, we are to have the same compassion—the same empathy toward those whom we encounter. 

Empathy is defined as:  "The ability to understand and share the feelings of others."

Continuing the ministry of Jesus is what we're called to as Christians. God could have sovereignly chosen to have Jesus' life continue (in human form) until today, but had He done this, Jesus wouldn't have been able to meet every single need—of every single person—throughout the entire world. So He chose us to carry on this same ministry of Jesus! In Luke 10:19, Jesus bestows us with power over satan: "Behold, I have given you authority over ALL the power of the enemy…", and in Mark 16, He says, "These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe in Me: They will cast out demons in My name…(and) be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed."

So with this type of authority and power, we are fully-equipped to meet the needs of others. But we'll never get to exercise these supernatural abilities unless we allow empathy to show us that there is a need.

Ephesians 5:21 tells us to simply, "Honor Christ and put others first." And Philippians 2:3-5 says to, Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. You must have the same attitude that Jesus had. ‭‭If we keep these Christ-like principles in mind, empathy will become like second nature to us and putting ourselves in another's position will simply be a reflex.

Here are 7 Tips to help you Put Yourself in Another's Position:

1. Notice others. 

2. Engage them. 

3. Listen intently. 

4. Pray silently as they talk. 

5. Ask the Holy Spirit for discernment. 

6. Be mindful of your body language. 

7. Grieve with them.

The man walking down the street…the woman pumping gas into the car next to you…the waiter who takes your order. Everyone has a story. Everyone has experienced hardships, betrayal, hurts and traumas. If we keep this in mind with everyone whom we encounter, we begin to understand more about the heart of Christ and continue the ministry He began!

Unlikely Blessings

2 The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a successful man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. 3 And his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all he did to prosper in his hand...
22 And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners who were in the prison; whatever they did there, it was his doing. 23 The keeper of the prison did not look into anything that was under Joseph’s authority, because the Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made it prosper.
— Genesis 39:2-3, 22-23

Life can repeat cycles of ups and downs. 

In Joseph's case, depending on the perspective, it could either look like a life of hardship and unfairness or of incredible blessing. He was sold into Potiphar's house as a slave but then became the keeper of everything Potiphar owned because the Lord blessed everything that came into his hand. 

But he was in the home of an Egyptian, separated from his family and homeland, living among pagans. Quite an unlikely place for blessings. 

Yet as a living, breathing testimony of God and His goodness, he walked about influencing the entire household. 

Then his life cycles to the next hardship; the next portion of unfairness. He did the right thing, he had integrity--not just with his master but unto God--and got punished for a filthy lie. He was thrown into a prison where people were put either to be executed or forgotten. He was forgotten. 

He was in prison. But the Lord was still with Joseph and showed him mercy. Quite an unlikely place for blessings. God blessed him and he had favor there, in the prison. Whatever he did, the Lord prospered him. 

He could have chosen to see only the downfalls and thought of how unfair it all was. Separated from his family because his brothers envied him; thrown in prison because he had integrity; forgotten by everyone who knew his existence. Sounds pretty unfair to me. 

But God wasn't leading him into ruts; He was leading him into various blessings in unlikely places. God promises that He will be with us wherever we go. That does not mean that we won't ever go into dark places, but that God will always always always be there.

Micah 7:8 says, "When I fall I will arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me." God is with us in the darkest places, shedding all the light we need. It's up to us whether we will choose to have the perspective of blessing or cursing. God can use anything for blessings. Will you let Him? What is your perspective?

Waiting For the Stirring

Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. 3 In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. . .Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” 7 The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”
— John 5:2-7

What kind of life satisfies, if all you do is wait for the occasional stirring that might bring you out of your pain? 

These people gathered together because they all had pain and this was the place to receive healing. They probably spent a lot of time talking to one another about their pain--sympathizing, sharing stories of hurts, sharing dreams of what they could do if only they were healed. 

This man waited 38 years. Maybe he got comfortable in that environment thinking, "Even if I never make it to the pool at least I have company here." Jesus asked if he wanted to be healed; quite a deep question when you're used to living a certain way for decades. You become accustomed to your lifestyle of waiting for the stirring. Perhaps he had forgotten that there could be another way to find healing because he was so intent on making it to the stirring. 

We should not wait around for the stirring of the spirit to receive healing, wholeness, and relationship when Jesus is standing right here with a willing heart and extended hand.

Sometimes it helps to be in the right environment but with a God who is everywhere at once, why would we wait until that spontaneous stirring? He's extending His hand and asking, "Do you want to be made well? Because I'm willing and able to heal if you only have the heart to receive."

I love that when Jesus finds the man again, it's in the temple. That tells me the man did have a heart to be healed and to be near to God because the lame weren't allowed in the temple. For 38 years he wasn't allowed to step foot in the temple. Perhaps he'd listened to the teachings from outside, collecting scraps of information. He couldn't enjoy worship and prayer with friends. But since the Word came to him and healed him, he was now free. He received physical healing and now he could seek spiritual healing as well.  So should our lives be when the Word comes and heals our hearts. 

We're free to seek Him and He will come. With or without a stirring.