All the Good Things

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.” Psalm 84:11 NIV

There are days that I feel off. All I know to do is to lift myself up to God. I ask for Him to show me what I need to see. I ask Him to search my heart. Then I give thanks. I express my love. When I give thanks I can always see the care that He has taken in my life; the things He has set in motion on my behalf. Then I may have to ask for patience and wisdom to continue to leave everything in His hands! Patience to follow His lead and be thankful in all things.

Lord, when I am lost or down I know I can always find you with thanksgiving and praise!

Psalm 84

Everything Is All Right

 Run to meet her and ask her, ‘Are you all right? Is your husband all right? Is your child all right?’” “Everything is all right,” she said. 2 Kings 4: 26 NIV

When I read about the Shunammite woman I am humbled. Her heart is full of hospitality and gratitude. And such faith! God blesses a heart that is right with Him – fearfully right. In the middle of seemingly hopeless circumstances, when most of us would have been tempted to crumble at the loss, she continued in faith. She refused to look at the situation. She continued to put her trust in the promise of God.

Her hospitality had been rewarded. But it was in gracious faithfulness in the midst of a personal storm that she was able to say “Everything is all right.” This storm threatened great personal loss: her one and only son that God had given her. This woman held steadfastly to the character of God.

When circumstances appeared that her son would be taken from her, she held tightly to the reward God had already given her. She did not give way to how things seemed in the natural. She held tightly in faith.

The enemy will try to take our blessings away from us. We have to recognize that the enemy does not have the final word. God does. God Almighty is the One who breathes life into our circumstances. We have to hang onto our faith and close out distractions. Just like Elisha, we have to breathe/call life into our circumstances. Call forth God’s promises.

God, give me faith like the Shunammite woman. I pray I stand steadfastly and humbly without giving up on what You have promised.

2 Kings 4:17-37

What Do You Have in Your House?

 Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?” “Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.” 2 Kings 4:2 NIV

This is such an incredible story. The widow of a prophet came asking for help. Elisha asked what she had. Then he multiplied it so many times that she could pay all her debts, save her home, save her children, AND continue to live off her earnings.

This gave me pause. What do I have in my own house? Our God is a God of miracles. He is a God of multiplication. He will provide a path and generate provision. Do I limit Him in my own mind? Do I think too small? Do I hold on to anything so tightly that he can’t multiply it?

God, help me let go. Show me what I have in my house to offer up to you. Help me bring it all to you and be willing to make that leap of faith to get all the containers I can muster! Breathe on all I have Lord so that it may glorify You, Your might and Your power. I want to bring every care and every concern to You.

2 Kings 4:1-7

The Stew

“Elisha said, “Get some flour.” He put it into the pot and said, “Serve it to the people to eat.” And there was nothing harmful in the pot.” 2 Kings 4:41 NIV

In a time of famine, God told Elisha how to care for the prophets. He gave his servants instructions. However, one of them thought they needed to add a little flavor to the stew. They ventured outside of the instruction God had given. It became a pot of death!

Just like Elisha, we are to care for each other with the resources available. God will provide us the “meal” that sets things right and makes it palatable for us. And when the first fruits come, we are to share. Do not look at the amount. Simply share.

How often do we venture outside of God’s instruction in our own lives? I know I do. I think of something that seems like a good idea at the time. I throw it into the mix without prayerful consideration. It takes me down a path that God did not intend. Suddenly things may come to a screeching halt! But sometimes that is what it takes for God to get my attention.

Then, just like God did for Elisha, he gives me the correction. A little “flour” to add to the mix to settle down the chaos that I invited. God adds His own flavor at the right time and with the right ingredients to the mix of my life. I just have to trust Him.

Lord, thank you for giving me Your instruction, as well as Your correction when I mess up Your recipe for my life. Thank you for Your favor and flavor! Teach me to follow Your instructions in every detail without adding or subtracting a thing.

2 Kings 4:38-41, 42-44

The Sword

“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Matthew 10:34 NIV

My definition of peace: calm that supercedes all things–atmosphere, circumstances, situations. It looks beyond the immediate to embrace with certainty and confidence a better state of being based on God’s promises to me. It is based on holding fast to God and not holding on to anything else.  Everything else changes right before our eyes. Our wealth. Our job. Our health. Our home. Even our family.  God is the only constant.

So what is the sword that Jesus Christ came to bring? In looking at the context of this chapter, my heart tells me that the sword was proclaiming the truth.  This truth, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God in the flesh with the full authority of His heavenly Father, was going to rip apart the fabric of the Jewish culture.  The disciples were sent only to the Israelites in this chapter.  They were instructed not to go to any Gentiles.  If not accepted they were told to leave, knock the dust off their feet, and move on. I am so very thankful this gift was extended to Gentiles as well!

It reminds me of the tearing of the curtain in the temple at the time of Christ’s crucifixion.  It was torn from top to bottom, not bottom to top.  The barrier between heaven and earth was ripped apart by the Father Himself when Jesus breathed His last breath.

So we have the choice.  We can accept the truth or reject it.  We can accept that Jesus was the Word of God in the flesh. He is the Son of God. He is the perfect Lamb of God slain for each and every one of us. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  He died on a cross and rose again three days later conquering death for us.

If we can accept this truth, we are free. We are more than conquerors. We are victorious. We are redeemed from the sin of this world by His sword: the Truth.  There and only there can we find peace.

Father, thank you for sending Your Truth to set us free.

Matthew 10:16-42

Riches

Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. 1 Timothy 6:17 NASB

God places a vision in each of our hearts.  Our culture and all the distractions around us tend to cloud that vision and take us off point.  Then there are those ugly habits we pick up along the way that cause us to compare ourselves to each other, either thinking that we all have to (1)conform, or (2)compete with each other.  We begin to judge each other, as well as ourselves.

That is not God’s intention.  We are to pursue the vision that He has placed in our heart.  We don’t need to add to it or subtract from it.  Simply embrace and become His piece of art, walking in His design.  It is an intimate journey to walk fully in His will for our lives.  We are interconnected in purpose and design. When we wander outside of that purpose it causes delays, loss, grief and frustration.

The more we focus on the vision God has placed in our hearts and the more we crystallize it through speaking it, the more real it becomes.  The impossible becomes possible.  Through prayer and meditation on His Word, the steps to make it come to fruition become more clear.  Sometimes it becomes clear one step at a time.  Sometimes a business plan develops.  Regardless, all we have to do is stay focused on God and His vision for our life.

Father, thank you for your intimate and unique vision for each one of us.  Teach us to walk in that vision, fully embracing who You made us to be. Help us to recognize the riches  you have placed within each one of us.  Give us the desire to invest those riches according to Your design.

James 1:9-18, 1 John 3:16-20

Faith Saves

But Jesus said to the woman, Your faith has saved you; go (enter) into peace [in freedom from all the distresses that are experienced as the result of sin]. Luke 7:50 AMP

Sometimes I can’t see the forest for the trees.  I get so caught up in a minor detail that I may miss the bigger picture.  I may miss a theme or lose track of elements in a design.

Jesus was masterful in weaving stories to demonstrate larger concepts in a very concrete way.  The woman who washed his feet in perfume was a live example.

How often have I missed an opportunity to honor Christ in some way? Was I so busy rushing around that I didn’t pause to honor His presence? Did I jump into something before prayerful consideration? Was I unwilling to wait for His answer? Did I take matters into my own hands?

I love how this woman seized the opportunity to lavishly honor Him in service.  It didn’t make sense. It wasn’t logical.  It was passionate. It was sacrificial.  It was humbling to the point that others thought she was foolish.  And she didn’t care.

Lord, thank you for loving me beyond reason.  I pray I never hold back from loving You!

Luke 7:36-50