May 17, 2023


Listen to last week’s sermon entitled : How To Rise Above Discouragement found in 1 Kings 19:1-18.


Watch the video here



On May 14, 2023, this special day of celebrating mothers, Pastor Eric opened with a heartfelt wish for all the mothers, expressing his gratitude for the role they play, not only in the home and in society, but also here, at New Beginning Church. He said that mothers are a great source of inspiration and blessings and that they help make this community of faith a more hospitable and friendly place. Pastor Eric went on to say that mothers have an irreplaceable and invaluable part in the church and in life and that he was honoured to be able to recognize and celebrate them.

As Pastor Eric began to prepare for his sermon, he initially felt drawn to preach about a godly mother in the Bible. As he prayed for guidance, however, he began to feel the Lord leading him in a different direction. The more he prayed, the more he felt the Lord nudging him to preach about the prophet Elijah and how his faith enabled him to rise above discouragement.

Elijah had an experience that many mothers, and indeed all people, can relate to. We all go through moments in life that can seem overwhelming, and Elijah was no exception. In these times, it is essential to respond with the right attitude and proper action. Having the right approach in such a situation makes all the difference in getting through a challenging moment.

Pastor Eric then invited us to turn with him to 1 Kings 19, where we explored the story of Elijah’s moment of weakness. We read of how Elijah had been victorious in his battle against the prophets of Baal, but how he had been so overwhelmed by the threats of Jezebel that he fled into the wilderness. Elijah was so alone and desperate that he asked the Lord to take his life. Yet, in his moment of greatest weakness, God came to Elijah with a gentle whisper and provided him with the sustenance he needed. The Lord did not rebuke Elijah for his moment of weakness, but instead showed him compassion and mercy.

In chapter 18, Israel was in a season of spiritual apostasy and idolatry. This was largely due to the influence of King Ahab and his wife, Jezebel. They were strong promoters of a false god named Baal, which was the main religion in Canaan, the Promise Land, at the time. Consequently, many Israelites fell into idolatry and spiritual apostasy. The Baal worshippers were partaking in horrifying rituals, one of which was the human sacrifice of children. This was done as an offering to their god in order to gain favour from him. It was believed that Baal would reward them for their sacrifice, and it was often seen as a form of devotion. This sacrifice of innocent children was seen as a way to show dedication and faith to their god.

Unlike Baal, our God does not require us to sacrifice our children as a form of worship or to receive blessings from Him. Instead, He sent His one and only Son to die for us, so that we might have life and have it in abundance. This is the greatest act of love and grace that we could ever receive, and it shows us just how much God loves us. We can trust in His promises and His unfailing love, and be sure that He will never leave us or forsake us. We don’t have to make the same mistake as the Israelites and sacrifice our children in worship. Instead, we can accept Jesus’ death and live with the assurance of life and God’s blessings.

Read 1 Kings 18:21

Elijah was deeply troubled by the spiritual climate of Israel. The Israelites had abandoned the one true God, turning instead to false gods and rituals that were an abomination to Him. The loyalty of some was divided between following Baal and following the Lord. So, in 1 Kings 18:21,

Elijah approached the Israelites and said, ‘How long will you not decide between two choices? If the Lord is the true God, follow him, but if Baal is the true God, follow him!’ But the people said nothing.

His words were a challenge to the Israelites to choose between the Lord and Baal.

Read Revelation 2:2,4 and 3:15-16

This reminds us of Jesus in the book of Revelation when he is talking to the church at Ephesus and says,

I know how many good things you are doing. I have watched your hard work and your patience; I know you don’t tolerate sin among your members… Yet there is one thing wrong; you don’t love me as at first!

They had become lukewarm. In Revelation 3:15-16, He says,

I know you well – you are neither hot nor cold; I wish you were one or the other! But since you are merely lukewarm, I will spit you out of my mouth!

People who are lukewarm are never consistent. Elijah is saying that they must decide whether they will follow Baal or the Lord.

Elijah had a mission to prove that the false gods worshipped by the Israelites were nothing more than phonies – they were not real. He wanted to show the people that there was only one true God, and he decided the best way to do this was to challenge the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. Elijah set up a test for them, proposing to have two bulls sacrificed. The prophets of Baal would go first and call on their gods to send fire down from the heavens to burn the sacrifice. If their false gods did not answer, then Elijah would call on the Lord to do the same.

The 450 prophets of Baal called on their gods from morning to evening, and even cut themselves trying desperately to get Baal’s attention, but there was no response. Elijah mockingly reminded them that perhaps their gods were out to lunch, sleeping, or had gone on a journey. After the false god did not answer, Elijah prepared the sacrifice, asked the worshippers of Baal to fill four barrels with water, and to pour the water over the carcass and the wood, not once but three times. He then called on the Lord. Immediately fire came down from the heavens and burned the sacrifice, proving once and for all that the God of Israel was the only true God. Elijah’s actions on Mount Carmel served to remind the people of Israel that they should worship the Lord and not succumb to false gods. It was a powerful reminder that the Lord is the one true God, and that all the false gods are just phonies.

Pastor Eric reminded us that prayer is a powerful tool that we should use more often in our daily lives. When we are heading off to work or school and know that we are going to face difficult people or a rough crowd, we should pray that the Lord will use us to show people that there is a God and that His name is Jesus. We should remember that God is with us every step of the way, regardless of the situation or environment we are in. When we pray, we should ask the Lord to give us the strength and courage to stand firm in our faith and be a positive influence to those around us. By doing this, we can show people that God is real and that He loves us deeply.

Elijah’s prayer was not a show or a display of spiritual power. It was a humble, desperate cry for help. Elijah had a deep faith that God would answer his prayer and the fire came. It was a miraculous display of God’s power and love. The fire not only consumed the carcass, but also the altar, the stones, the dust, and the water in the trench around the altar. This was a powerful demonstration of God’s power. It showed that He was listening to Elijah’s prayer and was answering it with a miraculous display of power. The people of Israel who witnessed this event fell to the ground and came back to the Lord. Elijah told them to grab the prophets of Baal and not let one single one escape. So, the people did as Elijah had said obeyed and grabbed the prophets of Baal and brought them to Kishon Brook, and killed them there.

This story relates to Mother’s Day today because some of us feel like we must prove to our children who the true God is. Unfortunately, this is becoming more and more difficult due to the constant barrage of messages from the world that our children are exposed to. We must remain vigilant and committed to teaching our children the truth so that they may grow up to be strong and faithful people of God.

Read 1 Kings 19:1-4

This passage states,

When Ahab told Queen Jezebel what Elijah had done, and that he had slaughtered the prophets of Baal, she sent this message to Elijah: ‘You killed my prophets, and now I swear by the gods that I am going to kill you by this time tomorrow night.’ So Elijah fled for his life; he went to Beersheba, a city of Judah, and left his servant there. Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day, and sat down under a broom bush and prayed that he might die. ‘I’ve had enough,’ he told the Lord. ‘Take away my life. I’ve got to die sometimes, and it might as well be now.

Pastor Eric then shared some valuable insights to be gleaned from Elijah’s moment of weakness. He reminded us that God is gracious and merciful, even in our moments of doubt and despair. He made it clear that Elijah’s shortcomings are a source of strength and courage for us all and that no one should feel ashamed of their own moments of weakness. He reminded us that the path of faith isn’t always easy, but it is worth the journey. He showed us that in the midst of our doubts and fears, we can look to Elijah as a model of faith, courage, and resilience. We can draw strength from his example and keep striving forward on our own spiritual paths. Ultimately, Pastor Eric taught us that even spiritual heroes have moments of weakness, but that doesn’t make them any less of a hero. We can take comfort in knowing that God is always with us, even in our darkest hours. We should never be afraid to reach out for help, for the leaders of New Beginning Church are there to help us as best they can and God is always there to answer our call.

We must remember that:

Every Mount Carmel experience has its broom bush moments

Elijah’s experience serves as a powerful example that life is often full of ups and downs. In 1 Kings 18, he was a hero; he proclaimed to the people that they must choose between worshipping God or Baal and then destroyed the Baal prophets in an impressive display of faith. But just one chapter later, he was feeling so defeated that he wished to die. He had gone from a Mount Carmel victory to feeling despair under a broom tree in a short period of time.

This highlights the importance of resilience and the power of faith in difficult times. We can draw strength from Elijah’s story, knowing that no matter how low we feel, we can still find hope and courage to stand up again. We must remember that no matter how bad the situation may seem, it will not last forever, and faith can help us persevere.

Suicidal thoughts are real, and they are a frightening and lonely thing to bear. Unfortunately, some people are afraid to share their thoughts out of fear of being judged. But we want to make it clear that if you are struggling with thoughts of ending your life, it’s okay to come and talk to us. Elijah is just one example of many who felt the same way you do. We are here to listen, and we won’t judge you. We are here to provide support and understanding the best way we can. If we can’t help you, we’ll direct you to the people who can. We care about your well-being and want to help you through this difficult time. So don’t keep your thoughts to yourself, come and talk to us. We are here for you.

Elijah was a man of faith and courage, but even he was not immune to fear and loneliness. Sitting beneath the broom tree, he prayed to the Lord to take his life. But in that moment of great despair, he was reminded of the power of God on Mount Carmel. The broom tree was a symbol of his vulnerability and weakness, but Mount Carmel was a reminder of the power and faithfulness of the Lord. It is a reminder that with God, anything is possible. We can draw strength from God in the face of any difficulty and adversity, no matter how overwhelming it may seem. With His help, we can overcome any trial. It is a testimony to the world that God is the Almighty and is the only One who can provide us with what we need. The broom tree is a reminder of our human limitations and weaknesses. It is a place that reminds us that without God, we can do nothing.

Read Psalm 46:1

Pastor Eric emphasized the fact that despair can happen to any of us, even those as faith-filled as Elijah. We all face storms and life’s ups and downs, and it is important to remember that our experiences on Mount Carmel are not permanent. That is why it is essential to remember not to make decisions in haste, and to trust in the Lord for strength and courage in the times when we feel at our lowest. The Bible tells us that God is our strength and refuge in times of trouble, and we can find hope and comfort in His presence.

Pastor Eric was very happy when he received good feedback from someone, as it is always a great thing to hear positive words about what we do. He said that in times like these when we are receiving a lot of compliments, we should remember to thank the Lord for using us in that capacity. It is also important to try to put the compliments out of our minds, as someone has wisely said, “If we live by people’s compliments, we will die by their criticism.” Thus, it is important that we keep a humble attitude.

Elijah’s story is one that affects us all. Pastor Eric reminded us that even when the people around us appear to be living victorious lives, they may be suffering from pain, loneliness, and misery. Our children, spouses, parents, and friends may be on Mount Carmel, but that doesn’t mean they are exempt from the difficulties of life. It is important to take the time to reach out and check in with our loved ones, to ensure that we are doing what we can to help them in their struggles. It is easy to overlook the suffering of those around us, especially when they are achieving great things, but we must remember that even when things seem to be going well, we must not forget to show them compassion and understanding.

We often hear of famous people, celebrities, and even people in our own lives that have experienced deep discouragement and depression resulting in them taking their own lives. While on the outside, they appear to be succeeding, few people know of their inner turmoil. We must be mindful not to assume that because people appear to be doing well, they are not suffering in any way. Despite the success they may be achieving, they could still be dealing with pain inside. We should not be so quick to judge and instead pay attention, take the time to listen, and offer them support. In times of darkness, we can be a beacon of light and help those in need around us.

Elijah was at the peak of his life, but he was still struggling with dark and discouraging thoughts. Some say he experienced burnout; he felt so discouraged and felt like he was the only one who had stayed faithful to the Lord and not bowed to Baal. He was so lonely, yet he displayed such courage in 1 Kings 18. However, in chapter 19, Elijah seemed overwhelmed with fear and discouragement. How could he have gone from being so strong and brave to feeling so weak and broken?

Elijah was the man who declared a drought upon the land of Israel and it did not rain for 3 ½ years. In addition to this, God commanded ravens to bring him food during this time. He also performed a miracle: He raised the widow’s son back to life, showing that he was truly a man of faith. Elijah’s courage and obedience to God demonstrate that he was a man of great faith and strength. However, when Pastor Eric turned to 1 Kings 19, he was surprised. The Elijah presented in this chapter was not the audacious leader of faith, but a scared and broken man, running from the threat of death posed by Jezebel. This stark contrast is a reminder that even the most powerful and devoted individuals can be prone to weakness and falter under the weight of their circumstances. Elijah was a man of faith, but he was not burnout-proof.

This goes to show that even courageous people can experience fear and doubt in the face of adversity and threat. That is why it is so important for us to be there for each other. It is why, even if a person is currently experiencing success, we must continue to pray for them, support them, and be a source of encouragement. In the same way, this serves as a reminder to us that even if we are on top of the world right now, we should never become complacent. We must always remember that our successes today do not guarantee success tomorrow. We must remain humble. We must remember not to get too comfortable. When we become too comfortable, we can make costly mistakes. We must be vigilant and stay on top of our spiritual responsibilities by continuing to read and learn God’s Word. It is only when we become familiar with His Word that we can truly understand His will and purpose for our lives. Reading and studying the Bible on a regular basis helps us to grow in wisdom and discernment and also provides us with a greater understanding of His will and plan for us. Keeping up with our spiritual growth is important to ensuring that we are making the right decisions in our lives and avoiding costly mistakes.

One way to help ourselves is to practice self-care. Some people don’t practice self-care until they have reached a crisis point. Pastor Eric believes it is important to consider our physical, emotional, relational, financial, and spiritual health on a regular basis, rather than waiting until we have burned out and have no energy left. Self-care doesn’t just mean taking time to relax. It means paying attention to our physical needs by eating nutritious foods, staying hydrated, and getting enough rest. It is also important to take care of our emotional well-being by taking time to reflect, practice self-compassion, and build meaningful relationships. Additionally, we should make sure to pay attention to our financial and spiritual health. It is important to take time to think about how our money is being spent and to take time to meet with God and seek His guidance. We should make sure to practice self-care on a regular basis or else risk pushing ourselves to the brink of burnout. Practicing self-care is a proactive way of taking care of ourselves, rather than waiting until we are empty and exhausted. Taking the time to nurture our physical, emotional, relational, financial, and spiritual health will help us to be healthier and more balanced in our lives.

We need to stop listening to Jezebel

Read Revelation 2:20

We need to be mindful of people like Jezebel. She promoted the worship of Baal and everyone who listened to her was led astray. Revelation 2:20 states, “Yet I have this against you: You are permitting that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach my servants that sex sin is not a serious matter; she urges them to practice immorality and to eat meat that has been sacrificed to idols.” Some have suggested that the name Jezebel here is used as a kind of illustration or metaphorical reference, and not actually the name of a real person, but it describes a woman who walked in the same pattern as Old Testament Jezebel. This woman was a self-proclaimed prophet and she was promoting sexual immorality and eating foods that were sacrificed to false gods. She was trying to lead the people of Israel away from the one true God. The Church of Thyatira allowed her to do so, allowing her practices to be followed. This was not God’s will so Jesus rebuked the Church for being lenient. He warned the people to not listen to her and instead stay true to God’s will. This was further highlighted in 1 Kings 19:2 where Jezebel sent a message to Elijah saying, “You killed my prophets, and now I swear by the gods that I am going to kill you by this time tomorrow night.” We all know that when we receive a package from Jezebel, it is never a good thing. She speaks death threats to Elijah and her intimidating words are enough to scare him. Elijah is known for his courage and faith. This shows us that it is possible to be influenced by dark thoughts even if we are strong. That’s why it is important to be conscious of what we think and listen to. We must be sure to avoid listening to Jezebel, as her words are not conducive to a healthy, positive life. It is essential to protect our minds and hearts from the power of Jezebel’s darkness. By being mindful of our thoughts and careful of what we listen to, we can be sure to stay on the path of light and goodness, safe from the threats of Jezebel.

Jezebel’s message to Elijah in 1 Kings 19:2 was a powerful one. It penetrated Elijah’s heart as he listened to her during a vulnerable state in his life. Jezebel is a type of liar, deceiver, seducer, and tempter who seeks to kill, steal, and destroy. If we allow the seed of Jezebel to penetrate us, it will not only grow but also permeate every area of our lives. The devil knows this and seeks to use her tactics to cause destruction in our lives. Therefore, it is important to be aware of Jezebel’s tactics and guard our hearts against her influence. We must be on the lookout for any seed that Jezebel may try to plant in us and take action to protect ourselves. Only then can we truly be free from her influence.

Read Romans 12:2

We have all heard Jezebel’s voice in our heads at one point or another. We have all been tempted by lies, fear, intimidation, and seduction. We have all had thoughts, dreams, and ideas that seem to come from nowhere. But we must not forget the truth: we are not in trouble because the devil has proposed something to us, but because we acted on it. The best way to combat Jezebel’s voice is to renew our minds with the Word of God. It is through His Word that we can be transformed and reject the lies that the enemy wants to plant in our minds. Paul wrote in Romans 12:2, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing, and perfect will.” We must remember that it is not the devil who gets us into trouble, but our own choices. We can choose to listen to the lies of Jezebel or take refuge in the Word of God. We can choose to be transformed by His truth and reject the lies of the enemy. So, how many times have we listened to Jezebel? That is a question only we can answer.

Read 1 Kings 19:9-10

Elijah was filled with fear at the threats of Jezebel, so he ran. In 1 Kings 19:9, the Lord asks him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’, implying he should not be there. “He replied, ‘I have worked very hard for the Lord God of the heavens; but the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you and torn down your altars and killed your prophets, and only I am left, and now they are trying to kill me too’” (1 Kings 19:10). Elijah does not say that Jezebel wants to kill him, but rather that ‘they’ are trying to kill him. Here, fear is exaggerating what is actually happening and if we allow it, that fear can spread like wildfire. In this way, Jezebel can plant a seed of fear in us and it will quickly amplify. We must be careful not to allow fear to take over our lives, as it can easily distort the truth and lead us down a path of destruction. The devil is always looking for ways to sow discord and chaos into our minds and hearts. If we are not vigilant and intentional about our thoughts, it can quickly take root and begin to spread into different areas of our lives. Unchecked, it can lead to a spiral of negative thinking and destructive behaviour. We must guard our hearts and minds with the truth of God’s Word so that it can act as a filter for our thoughts. If we remain focused on the truth, we will be able to recognize the devil’s lies and reject them. We must remember that the devil cannot do anything without God’s permission, so we can trust that God is always in control and will protect us from the devil’s schemes.

There is renewal through God’s whisper

Read 1 Kings 19:11-18

This passage states, “‘Go out and stand before me on the mountain,’ the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain; it was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind, there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake, there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire, there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his scarf and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And a voice said, ‘Why are you here, Elijah?’ he replied again, ‘I have been working very hard for the Lord God of the armies of heaven, but the people have broken their covenant and have torn down your altars; they have killed every one of your prophets except me; and now they are trying to kill me too.’ Then the Lord told him, ‘Go back by the desert road to Damascus, and when you arrive, anoint Hazael to be king of Syria. Then anoint Jehu (son of Nimshi) to be king of Israel, and anoint Elisha (the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah) to replace you as my prophet. Anyone who escapes from Hazael shall be killed by Jehu, and those who escape Jehu shall be killed by Elisha! And incidentally, there are 7,000 men in Israel who have never bowed to Baal nor kissed him!’”

Elijah was confused and felt alone in his plight, but God reassured him that there were still 7,000 men in Israel who had not bowed to Baal or kissed him. The Lord then spoke to the people and told them to anoint some individuals, telling them that there was still a plan for them. This was a reminder that even when it may seem like all hope is lost, God still has a mission and purpose for us. Through His gentle whisper, the Lord revealed to Elijah that He still had a plan and a mission for him and all of God’s people. God’s will is always greater than our own, and it can be seen in this moment of divine intervention. We may have thought we were at our end, but God still has work for us to do. The Lord did not manifest Himself to Elijah in the wind, the earthquake, or the fire, but in a gentle whisper. God gently whispers to our hearts, “I have not forgotten you.” His love and mercy are always present, and He will guide us in His ways.

Elijah was in need of the gentle whisper of the Lord. Unfortunately, many of us are unable to hear such a whisper, instead only hearing loud thunder and feeling pain. C.S. Lewis said it best when he stated,

God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.

Pain can often be difficult to bear, but it can also sometimes awaken our ears to hear the Lord’s gentle whisper.

We should not only call out to the Lord when we experience pain in our lives. God is inviting us to hear His gentle whisper and listen to His voice. Elijah needed this moment of renewal, and it was that gentle voice that brought it about. He was reminded of the goodness and the love of God. He is there for us even in the hardest of times. God is always calling us to listen to His voice and to find strength and guidance in Him, no matter what we are going through. We can take comfort in knowing that He is there for us, and we can rely on Him for strength and hope. He will give us the courage to go through our struggles and the hope to look forward to a better future.

Read Matthew 6:6

No matter who we are, whether we are a mother, father, son, or daughter, storms can be difficult and trying. We need to find that quiet place mentioned in Matthew 6:6 that will help us make it through the storm. The verse states, “But when you pray, go away by yourself, all alone, and shut the door behind you and pray to your Father secretly, and you Father, who knows your secrets, will reward you.” By reading the Bible and spending time in the presence of the Lord, worshipping and praising Him, He will speak to us, and it will bring renewal. It is important to remember that no matter what storm we are going through, the Lord is always there, and He will provide us with the comfort and peace we need to make it through. Though it may seem like it at times, God is not finished with us. When we come to see our lives from God’s point of view, the things that caused us to be afraid will be put into the proper perspective. What Jezebel may say will no longer matter. We are not alone in our struggles, for God says He has 7,000 people who are just like us. This is a reminder that the Lord will not abandon us in our time of need. We must remember that we are never truly alone and that God is always with us.