Lord, You give us rest, but we must actually take You up on the offer, hand back the steering wheel, let You drive. We do appreciate being Your children, You give us the ability to hide under Your wings. You have shown us when there is pain in the night, Joy comes in the morning.
Each of us needs to BE STILL which allows us to focus on You, trust You. Your Spirit Lord in us will guide us.
Lord Jesus, You give rest to all weary and burdened, let us mirror Your gentleness and humility. Restore, rejuvenate and lead us. Remove the inner roadblocks that prevent us from resting in Your Presence, Lord.
Let us take opportunities for silent reflection. Let us be led in order to lead.
Praying for all God’s people to find paths in You, we pray to be a reflection of Your Shine. We are Your soldiers, Lord, we thank You for outfitting us with Your Armor… as your disciple Paul wrote, our feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace, our shield of faith which can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one, our helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
You Jesus are the Word, You are the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Let us Be Still and know Your everlasting PEACE.
I wonder if there will be blueberries in Heaven, I wonder.
I wonder if Blueberry Heaven has time set aside for picking, drifting bush to bush, then REAL Heaven must have ALL TIME ALL FOREVER GIFTED to us, with sweetness of the tree of life giving us different fruit of the season, in its time. I wonder.
I wonder what forever life will be like without bugs that bother, poison ivy that threatens, critters that steal, I wonder. I wonder if fruit won’t rot. I wonder.
I wonder if we will have perfect weather or appreciate and be safely protected, mesmerized by spectacular weather. I wonder with the Light of God, what no night will be like, no sun no sunburn. I really wonder if we will sleep, maybe just power nap deliciously, or decompress spiritually. I wonder.
I know, Blueberry Heaven on earth is finding time for picking on a picture perfect day, with gifted family and friends, with overflowing bounty. I know real Heaven, blueberries or not, is filled with the sweetness of freedom from worry, servitude of worship, and priceless connection with all…
I know Heaven will be wonderfully filled with Wonder for all.
I told our VBS campers that Isaiah was a great prophet, speaking to the people about what God said, AND that Isaiah foretold that Jesus was coming – Jesus the Messiah! I wish I had thought of this rhyming for the class: “Hezekiah Isaiah Messiah – I Tell Ya!” Yes so we need to know that 700 years before Jesus was born, they were talking about Him.
Hezekiah was a king who listened to God (most of the time) and consulted Isaiah to help him know if God approved of this or that. People lived in the moment – but Prophets lived in and on count of the Messiah – He was foretold to come out of a remnant of Judah – to be a Savior for His people AND for the Gentiles.
We know what they only would hope for – we know Jesus DID come. We DID hear from Him – and we will again – and we can always, in His Word. We can tell the world now – like Isaiah did – we can profit in the prophets and savor the Savior…
We can have HOPE. Jesus was their Savior and ours… Messiah – I Tell Ya!
“Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice; he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. In his teaching the islands will put their hope.”
This is what God the Lord says—the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out, who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it: “I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.
2nd Kings 18:5-8
Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. He held fast to the Lord and did not stop following him; he kept the commands the Lord had given Moses. And the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him. From watchtower to fortified city, he defeated the Philistines, as far as Gaza and its territory.
2nd Kings 19:5-7, 14-19, 30-31
When King Hezekiah’s officials came to Isaiah, Isaiah said to them, “Tell your master, ‘This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid of what you have heard—those words with which the underlings of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me. Listen! When he hears a certain report, I will make him want to return to his own country, and there I will have him cut down with the sword.’”
Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: “Lord, the God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Give ear, Lord, and hear; open your eyes, Lord, and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to ridicule the living God.
“It is true, Lord, that the Assyrian kings have laid waste these nations and their lands. They have thrown their gods into the fire and destroyed them, for they were not gods but only wood and stone, fashioned by human hands. Now, Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone, Lord, are God.”
Once more a remnant of the kingdom of Judah will take root below and bear fruit above. For out of Jerusalem will come a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. “The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.”
I had just left from volunteering with Vacation Bible School and what a big fish from little fish surprise: my store clerk was one of my former Vacation Bible School and Sunday School kids. WOW. Tall and grown up, responsible, respectful, remarkable to see little fish grow. He saw my Vacation Bible school t-shirt and said: Hey do you still work at that church? Well, this year was just helping and yes, I could tell God found a good opportunity for me to help 3 nights, no organizing, I just showed up.
We should all find such moments, any and all church opportunities where we can meet up with the little fish and strengthen the swim of big fish. We need to set aside our expectations and be ready for accepting work stations. Just like the vbs game filling up the bucket of water in a relay race, we can help, one action at a time. As volunteers, we should love the opportunity to be fished into service. A small slice of time becomes a big splash of help. Even whomever simply filled the fridge of cool water bottles for our 80 degree nights, that was a Godsend for me!
And we ARE big fish and need to “school” with other fish of all sizes – especially we need show the little fish how we swim with faith all caught up with our Fisherman.
A “Big Fish”, the pastor of this church, came out to play our “catch Jonah” game. He stopped by our station each night to bless and be blessed. I could tell he felt blessed by hearing the children shout “God’s in charge!”. Our game nets were there to catch like the Whale in the story, the parachute to create the stormy sea… God had to redirect Jonah to his task, speak to the people of Nineveh, tell them God wanted them to repent. Jonah probably would have loved to be in any other city but that’s not what God chose. Jonah was called. Not all Godly tasks are fun – but being called to VBS is.
And showing up to games was a good calling for me this year, the teacher collected the items, then we brainstormed the action. I got to teach about God, enough said! Since I had said “I’m ok with the heat” yeah I got the heat: temperature and busy with kids, ready for action, and I was OK, BECAUSE GOD’S IN CHARGE.
With 3 groups 20 minutes each, I filled buckets of water for sponge tosses, crawled like a crab and dried tears. Yes, a little boy cried because water got in his eyes. I wasn’t sure of wearing this head wrap I got from a friend for the island pirate look, but it became the perfect towel to dry his tears. Another time, a girl cried getting lightly whacked by a shoe accidentally. We stopped play and we folded hands and prayed and she came back to play. Prayers answered. God’s in charge.
And what a blessing to watch brilliant sunsets each night while the kids play learned… Jonah wanted to watch the city of Nineveh crumble, but God built the people back up to be rescued. They also got to see the sunset and then the sunrise the next morning. That’s what we should do, always want to be given a chance. And we are, because God’s in charge!!!
Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed. and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
You who bring good news to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good news to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!” See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power, and he rules with a mighty arm.
See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.
I have been watching documentaries on the riches of the Roman ruins from the time around Nero and his successor emperors. What is described is amazing – the chards of rubble they pull up have beautiful frescos – but both time and friction between enemies caused these palaces to crumble and be crumbled. Also buried are over 200 amphitheatres all thru the former Roman Empire. Nothing lasts forever.
Except Jesus – and the Word He is – and that He wrote.
Except one thing He wrote – was gone surely as soon as He wrote it. Surely whatever Jesus wrote in the ground in the middle of accusations of the adulterous woman by Pharisees and scribes (who were actually trying to trap Jesus), was washed away, swept away, kicked away, trampled away. Jesus stoops down and writes on the ground (the dirt or the sand) before speaking. Then He did speak but went down to write again and remained there quiet while the accusers were certainly thinking quietly too. Convicted. He had just challenged them: “the one without sin cast the first stone”.
The stones vs the Rock. No competition.
The accusers left. I wonder if they wondered what He was writing too. [interesting that in this scene, scribes of the law were face to face with the Word Himself – but they were blind to the text of the moment.]
Jesus is our Rock on which we build our hope. We never want to drop Him. He is bigger than us and lowered Himself below us in order to raise us up. We won’t ever lose Him as He never loses us.
The writings of Jesus here were in the dirt or the sand, unlike the stone tablets of the law written for Moses. We don’t know what writing this was but that writing, like the accusations, would have washed away, blown away, been trampled away. Gone. Just like our sins – GONE – by His cleansing and sacrifice to take upon our dirt unto Himself.
Even the stones, had they been used against the woman or not, would have eventually been repurposed or rolled aside, Perhaps crushed and eroded over time. The foundation of a new garden perhaps, or made into a road. Nothing can be more permanent than the Rock Himself. Everything else crumbles in comparison.
By Jesus’s Word, we are assured. By His actions, we are healed. By His writing, we are reminded.
What today can we ask Jesus to wash away – to move out of our sight – to help us start fresh. The woman was released into a new opportunity to not sin again and her stones blocked by the Rock that stood in front of her – not for her to run away – but for her to start again. Her past put aside, Jesus gave her (and us) a clean slate.
New Jesus is free to write on our hearts, because HE cleaned them.
Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
I didn’t always know we would get a sweet gift, the Gift of Jesus. It’s Christmas in July, HAPPILY.
I didn’t always know I needed the Lord as much as I do. It’s Christmas in July, THANKFULLY.
I didn’t always know the Lord would take care of me and my family SO MUCH. It’s Christmas in July, LOVED EXTRAVAGANTLY.
I didn’t know today was going to be the day that my work promotion came through (yes today! On 7/25, of all days, LOL). It’s Christmas in July, SURPRISINGLY.
I didn’t know I wouldn’t know what that promotion details would be until Christmas July Eve, haha (7/24, LOL). It’s Christmas in July, PATIENTLY.
I didn’t know the seeming delay in it would test me and make me cool it acceptingly, just to see it land exactly on Christmas in July. The Lord did that testing, PURPOSEFULLY. It’s Christmas in July, NOT SO “COINCIDENTALLY”.
I didn’t know the Lord would teach me so much EVERYDAY. It’s Christmas in July, EDUCATIONALLY.
I didn’t know the Lord would know me before I knew Him. It’s Christmas in July. EXTRAORDINARILY.
I didn’t know the Lord took on my sins BEFORE I committed them. It’s Christmas in July, WHOLEHEARTEDLY.
I didn’t know the Lord would forgive my ignorance on top of my sins. It’s Christmas in July, AGAIN and AGAIN, GRACEFULLY.
I didn’t know Shephard Savior Jesus knew from the beginning He was to be God’s Sheep slaughtered for atonement to save all of us. It’s Christmas in July, OBEDIENTLY.
I didn’t always know Christmas’s REAL meaning in Truth truthfully, only knew it seasonally. I knew it when I knew Christ in me SPIRITUALLY. Then I knew He wants to shine in me, in we. It’s Christmas in July, JOYFULLY.
I didn’t know He LOVED us before we loved Him. I also didn’t know He was coming back again EXPECTANTLY. It’s Christmas in July, “we NEED a little Christmas”, NO DOUBTLEDLY
It’s Christmas in July, BLESSEDLY. It’s Christmas in July, FOREVERLY. It’s Christmas in July, AMAZINGLY.
2nd Kings and Isaiah and Chronicles, they have a triple teaching of King Hezekiah.
We need to know about this king and his relationship with God, because as good as this king was, sometimes his pride got IN THE WAY of the Way. Prayer is powerful, pride however is punishable. And a king’s pride punishes his people too.
King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah are linked… (read the three scriptures below). The King was highly regarded by all the nations. And the prophets were always known for their devotion to the Lord, thus being able to hear Him. Whether the people paid attention is another story!
Pride shows up in us in strange ways. There is a balance of pride in self accomplishments and skills, and humbleness in God blessings of accomplishment and God-given skills. When we humble ourselves to appreciate our skills, we CAN use them as He sees fit. And He DOES bless us with achievements and success.
There is a riddle in these Hezekiah scriptures about a shadow obeying the Lord, shall it go forward or back(?), a riddle it seems also in that the king, in his discussions with the prophet, actually got to pick the sign of how he would KNOW that God heard his prayers! (IMAGINE THAT, us demanding proof from God, LOL) And king Hezekiah picked the “harder” thing for a shadow to do. Wow. The shadow of course obeyed. The king, not so much.
The King prayed to the Lord for healing of a terrible life-threatening illness and he was healed, but his pride stood in the way of his whole country receiving a pardon. He repented and all was forgiven.
Our real King of Kings is JESUS. When He humbled Himself, He took on obscurity and human helplessness. He could have called upon legions of angels in to the scene, instead He obeyed orders. followed God, stepping up or down as the shadow obeyed – and all for the sake of us, HIS PEOPLE. King Hezekiah repented for his people and Jesus took our repentance upon Himself.
Riddle me this, prophetman… WHY? no riddle at all, because Jesus loves us!
2nd Chronicles 32:24-26
In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. He prayed to the Lord, who answered him and gave him a miraculous sign. But Hezekiah’s heart was proud and he did not respond to the kindness shown him; therefore the Lord’s wrath was on him and on Judah and Jerusalem. Then Hezekiah repented of the pride of his heart, as did the people of Jerusalem; therefore the Lord’s wrath did not come on them during the days of Hezekiah.
2nd Kings 20:8-11
Hezekiah had asked Isaiah, “What will be the sign that the Lord will heal me and that I will go up to the temple of the Lord on the third day from now?” Isaiah answered, “This is the Lord’s sign to you that the Lord will do what he has promised: Shall the shadow go forward ten steps, or shall it go back ten steps?”… “It is a simple matter for the shadow to go forward ten steps,” said Hezekiah. “Rather, have it go back ten steps.” Then the prophet Isaiah called on the Lord, and the Lord made the shadow go back the ten steps it had gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.
Isaiah 38:7-8 “‘This is the Lord’s sign to you that the Lord will do what he has promised: I will make the shadow cast by the sun go back the ten steps it has gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.’” So the sunlight went back the ten steps it had gone down.
I walked into being a helper for a friend’s friend’s VBS, never met these folks, but I knew in joy I could just pop into anything. I knew in pride “I could do it all!” – well, yes I could do lots of it, but that’s bad pride thrashing about like a fish out of water. To run VBS, you need a whole school of fish to help. And you need Jesus to tell you which side of the boat to fish on. This summer I am fishing as a worker not the vbs captain. Either way, I could be prideful for my skills but I should not (we should not)… Now, not only should I (we) credit God with our skills, I (we) should swallow pride and taste and see where God NEEDS us to use them.
So, quietly and happily today I made a display suitable for catching HIS fish, a billboard for a fish craft that the kids will make later in the week… Crepe paper twisting is a web idea reused many times – I take no credit but bringing my open eyes and ears to help – my fingers to move more than my mouth.
WE are to be like Jonah (Tuesday’s VBS story), listen and obey.
We are to be caught up in Jesus’s net. Then help lower it again to help Him catch others.
The Bible teaches us examples of people sticking with the Lord (especially in times of trial, illness and just bad times). We MUST put our faith in the Lord! TRUST GOD!
The kings (and common folk) in the book of Kings had prophets to help say what God wanted said. Woes to anyone who fights against the Lord. In the books of kings, there were good kings and bad kings, and A LOT of each. Good ones were good most of the time and bad ones were good some of the time, and so forth – but clearly all kings are all human (just like us) and all were/are being evaluated by God. Did they have FAITH in HIM? Do we? How do we deal with illness and scares?
Now it HAS been a long time working thru the book of Kings, and I had no idea how much history is here! So having a closer look at elaborate intricate history, which IS also THE WORD living to be learned, is just like looking at the weave of an intricate cloth or into a thicket of mesh or just like you would see an insect’s or butterfly’s wings close up, being so intricately and gorgeously detailed. Other times the stories are just a HUGE volume of info that I can’t absorb, perhaps that is why we will have FOREVER to meet everyone and learn their stories. And like stories which we can not comprehend (yet) we will just have to wait to see how it all fits together. It DID become clear, looking at these lists of kings and prophets printed on my new favorite pamphlet from Rose Publishing, that the Bible books overlap many times with multiple descriptions of one era and of certain people (Like Hezekiah and Isaiah). I realize that we can learn one layer deep and then will have the opportunity to learn another layer deep. Like more than skin deep, the Word is deep from deep.
More than skin deep also was a boil on the hand of Hezekiah, king of Judah. The Lord healed him, because HE ASKED. Hezekiah was a king who DID follow God and he did that like no other! And he was good! “Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, theGod of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. He held fast to the Lord and did not stop following him; he kept the commands the Lord had given Moses. And the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook.”
What a great realization – that the Lord was WITH him (and is with us). That is what we must strive to realize as well and strive to be – to hold fast to the Lord and let the Lord BE GOD. He CAN protect and direct. If we let the Lord lead, we DO have Someone and some path to follow. And what a great open fruitful time for a great prophet, Isaiah, to be connected to Hezekiah. Isaiah speaks of the Messiah coming and has an opportunity to open more eyes and ears to the blessings of the Lord. Isaiah wrote (chapter 37:31-32): “This will be the sign for you, Hezekiah: “Once more a remnant of the kingdom of Judah will take root below and bear fruit above. For out of Jerusalem will come a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.”
Isaiah and Hezekiah meet up again at a point where Hezekiah becomes very ill. The recovery was credited to the Lord and any and every recovery we have from illness should be credited to the Lord for HE IS GOOD – and every trial should bring us closer to the Lord – for HE IS GOOD. Hezekiah’s illness became the connection from which he then PRAISED the Lord for making him realize that He really WAS dependent upon God. God first made him put his house in order (which we also should do) and then because Hezekiah prayed and prayed, God delivered him. “In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, “This is what the Lord says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.” Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, “Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: “Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life. Isaiah 38:1-5
Hezekiah wrote this praise to the Lord after his illness and recovery: I said, “In the prime of my life must I go through the gates of death and be robbed of the rest of my years?” I said, “I will not again see the Lord himself in the land of the living; no longer will I look on my fellow man, or be with those who now dwell in this world.Like a shepherd’s tent my house has been pulled down and taken from me.Like a weaver I have rolled up my life, and he has cut me off from the loom; day and night you made an end of me.I waited patiently till dawn, but like a lion he broke all my bones; day and night you made an end of me.I cried like a swift or thrush, I moaned like a mourning dove.My eyes grew weak as I looked to the heavens. I am being threatened; Lord, come to my aid!
But what can I say? He has spoken to me, and he himself has done this.I will walk humbly all my years because of this anguish of my soul.Lord, by such things people live; and my spirit finds life in them too. You restored me to health and let me live.
Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back. For the grave cannot praise you, death cannot sing your praise; those who go down to the pit cannot hope for your faithfulness. The living, the living—they praise you, as I am doing today; parents tell their children about your faithfulness. The Lord will save me, and we will sing with stringed instruments all the days of our lives in the temple of the Lord.
We ALSO can call on the Lord – in the pain and in the preventative stages – and in all moments…
So, there’s a cute manufacturing anomaly that this particular Jesus doll has, a stuffed Hallmark doll sitting on my dresser. He has his arm as outstretched (really He came out of the box this way) as if to direct you to look at something or to walk you a particular way. He leads especially with a comforting look, the doll AND the Lord.
I think one of the ways we know that we are not IN CHARGE of the universe (or our corner of God’s plan) is that we were born into this world as helpless babies. We can do LOTS when we turn adults, eventually less as aging people and yet some have a physically productive lifestyle right up until death. But as babies, we require upbringing, WE NEED DIRECTION and nurturing. As adults we require a different upbringing, and continual direction because in “God’s eyes” we are YOUNG in HIS Kingdom.
Now with my grown/growing children older and older, I am the one surprised by what comes from them after all this time feeding and teaching and correction. What incredible flip of the roles to hear them shushing me, thinking mom needs this correction and mom needs teaching and how I am left behind technologically too… and I get tired at night when they are in their prime, but that’s because I wake up 530am they wake up much much later.
In human years, I came first so I have a few years on them, but in God’s universe and Kingdom years, we are all but a blip. We are formed of God’s dust, therefore He knew and knows where that dust came from, where our dust fits in His dustpan and how He wants to lead our dust HOME, following the trails left by our One and Only Dust-Saver Dust-Savior.
Direction. Leadership. Dust Collector.
I’ve been reminded especially lately, watching others, of the trials that believers endure. Hardships, pain. But one thing we NEVER lack is Jesus giving direction, His Direction.
His Directive from the Lord God, Our Father, is for sharing His grace and mercy, given without fail.
Others can give advice, but Jesus IS the Answer.
Not only is Jesus the Direction, Jesus IS the Map.
A good song to remind us the trials of a bumpy ride on earth may be blessings in disguise – this is not our home and we draw closer to Him.
Lyrics BLESSINGS, Laura Story
We pray for blessings We pray for peace Comfort for family, protection while we sleep We pray for healing, for prosperity We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
And all the while, You hear each spoken need Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things
‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops? What if Your healing comes through tears? What if a thousand sleepless nights Are what it takes to know You’re near? And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?
We pray for wisdom Your voice to hear And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love As if every promise from Your Word is not enough And all the while, You hear each desperate plea And long that we’d have faith to believe
‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops? What if Your healing comes through tears? And what if the thousand sleepless nights Are what it takes to know You’re near? And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise? When friends betray us And when darkness seems to win We know that pain reminds this heart That this is not, this is not our home It’s not our home
‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops? What if Your healing comes through tears? And what if the thousand sleepless nights Are what it takes to know You’re near? What if my greatest disappointments Or the aching of this life Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy And what if trials of this life The rain, the storms, the hardest nights Are Your mercies in disguise?
If there’s one commandment God was serious about, in the old testament divided kingdom of Israel/Judah and serious about NOW (surely He is serious about them all), it was/is to NOT build and worship false idols. The bad seeds replace the good seeds. It makes us dependent upon man and his schemes rather than God and His Salvation. We do this on a small scale and sometimes on a big scale. God says: Don’t do that.
We need to NOT drift. We need to tend to our good seeds planted in us. We need to rely upon Him. Keep track from derailments.
Summer time flies away, and like my garden, we need to weed out and block out the opportunities for the distractions to get a foothold in us. Then before we know it, the distractions take up the time and the water and the nourishments God intended for our time with Him. The weeds, however pretty like purple morning glories, twist up the stems and leaf out depriving the plants and block the fruits from forming well. There will be no harvest to enjoy or store for winter. The weeds create a tangled mess and will have to be tossed. The garden a jungle. Our lives lost in the thicket of sin.
One true opportunity God gives our gardens (AND US) is to BEGIN AGAIN. When garden weeds are killed by winter’s coldness, we start fresh. When we shun the distractions, they walk away. Our lives can be renewed DAILY by taking up our crosses and being less us and more Him. EVERY DAY IS A NEW DAY.
The Israelites may have been exiled again, but we CAN come back, we HAVE a new beginning in Christ. We can walk back His Way. He will forgive and our life begins again.
That’s why God wants all of our attention. We need to stay on track. He wants us close where He can protect us. Have Him call you into the station house on time.
Someday this world will end, we won’t have a second chance that day. So TODAY, let us walk God’s Way.
2nd Kings 17:7-23
For so it was, that the children of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, which had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods, And walked in the statutes of the heathen, whom the Lord cast out from before the children of Israel, and of the kings of Israel, which they had made.
And the children of Israel did secretly those things that were not right against the Lord their God, and they built them high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city. And they set them up images and groves in every high hill, and under every green tree: And there they burnt incense in all the high places, as did the heathen whom the Lord carried away before them; and wrought wicked things to provoke the Lord to anger: For they served idols, whereof the Lord had said unto them, Ye shall not do this thing.
Yet the Lord testified against Israel, and against Judah, by all the prophets, and by all the seers, saying, Turn ye from your evil ways, and keep my commandments and my statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets.
Notwithstanding they would not hear, but hardened their necks, like to the neck of their fathers, that did not believe in the Lord their God. And they rejected his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their fathers, and his testimonies which he testified against them; and they followed vanity, and became vain, and went after the heathen that were round about them, concerning whom the Lord had charged them, that they should not do like them.
And they left all the commandments of the Lord their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made a grove, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal. And they caused their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire, and used divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger.
Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel, and removed them out of his sight: there was none left but the tribe of Judah only. Also Judah kept not the commandments of the Lord their God, but walked in the statutes of Israel which they made. And the Lord rejected all the seed of Israel, and afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of spoilers, until he had cast them out of his sight.
For he rent Israel from the house of David; and they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king: and Jeroboam drave Israel from following the Lord, and made them sin a great sin.
For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they departed not from them; Until the Lord removed Israel out of his sight, as he had said by all his servants the prophets. So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day.
It was a blessing to be a part of a personal parade, something that tapped into something that was/is much bigger then all of us, a collective outpouring of love and support to cheer a young cancer fighter, and his family. The parade concept started from his mom asking for support and grew to hundreds of firetrucks, trucks, motorcycles, and cars, many with decorations and especially scare monsters with masks from the Halloween movies, horror genre… His mom thought he would enjoy pummeling the cars with water balloons. Well, he has been short time long suffering and could only sit in his chair, he seemed in much pain, but the many kids around him took on extra strength FOR him, to get the job done. SPLAT.
The firetrucks were silent as not to disturb – all the folks were so respectful and some gave gifts. I decorated the old Subaru with some Christmas in July decorations, easy for me to pull together in a rush, I have nothing scarier than rushing the Christmas season LOL (And Santa was there too, with his bike! So yeah, it was fine!!) And with extra decorations from my friend we got just as many water balloons pummeled at our car as all the scary monster cars… FUN. FUN.
Sadness is in the rapid decline due to cancer. Always that unanswered question: why God, do kids have to get sick? I don’t have an answer. God knows we all think it. God knows we cherish our kids even more because of it. In my grandparents era, many children died early due to many reasons – and in a broken world, we should not expect perfection in one slice, but we do wish it… I have no answer but maybe a thought that only the bodies of children are young, but their spirits are old, like ours too. Our whole 120 max years is still minimal compared to eternity before and after, so adults are not less kids than kids in God’s eyes… maybe… in earthly world, yes we age in a flash of time. But in God’s eyes, all time is His.
This does not change the pain of lost and suffering children on earth, God have mercy. God also knows this pain all too well, and from the beginning of His son in purposeful offering being slain.
God knows these pains and yet the children who are lost from earth have not been lost to Him. This also does mean all of us are God’s kids and our earthly loss is painful but means His Heavenly gain (sometimes a little sooner than we expected) is a gain. His heavenly gain is our heavenly gain forever…
In the end there is no end. Time will catch up with itself since time will dissolve. There is no reason for us to rush time even though often we want to slow it down.
Forever and a day, God WILL have His Way.
May we have health, oh yes, health we pray.
Health until that very day when we will pass away,
Let us know that is will always be according to God’s Say.
God bless the little children.
God, please bless this family with peace and comfort.
(modified from the call to worship I prepared this morning for outside church service- now a good reflection for a busy summery summer day. I finish this day OUTSIDE with the cat in her tent – and a covering over myself against mosquitos – not that it is dusk. The fireflies, the new bunnies, the stillness of a sticky summer night – these ARE the summer moments we have been waiting for – it IS like camping but not leaving the house – it IS like God KNOWS Summer and put it into place whether we were ready for it or not… Summer – He knows we need it – He knew I needed it – I knew too…)
God knows Summer!
This was a day the Lord had made – today – and it was a beautiful day in a beautiful summer that God has made. Summer is a favorite season.
This IS the warmth that we all have been waiting for, those cold winter months are long gone. Gardens and beaches, playgrounds and baseball – swimming and summer… Time for vacations and being OUTSIDE!
Bright greens of trees and lawns, fresh summer fruits and HOPE everlasting that is renewed in us with a fresh filling. We are long past Easter but the blessings of promised forever life are never changed and this enjoyment of the fruits of summer should remind us of God’s faithfulness -.God got us to this day.
We have so much to be thankful for – and count our blessings! Not everything is perfect nor will it be on earth, but like seeing His SPECTACULAR RAINBOW after our storms, HE WILL PUT THINGS RIGHT, so we still have to remember to PRAISE HIM today for giving us each day and those forever days – when all will be put right (in HIS new Kingdom) by the amazing Power of Jesus crushing all that is wrong and setting in place all that is right.
We are but visitors here on earth, belonging to His Home above – and like another favorite of summer: camping, we all know that we will get Home and get a good shower to clean us up – a good meal (supper at the table) – and able to live forever at HOME in LOVE. Thank You Jesus.
Let us, this summer and always, let the Holy Spirit in ourselves shine bright for all to see and be a messenger of HOPE. Let us share that energy and knowledge of future wholeness with people who need Him desperately – immediately – and forever. Let us praise Him ALWAYS.
Lord, be our light and warmth – You will forever be our summer sweetness.
Bounce back. I think God was just making a point that Elisha had REALLY been a man of God when even in his death, a miraculous raising from the dead could happen. Here is the scripture:
Elisha died and was buried. Now Moabite raiders used to enter the country every spring. Once while some Israelites were burying a man, suddenly they saw a band of raiders; so they threw the man’s body into Elisha’s tomb. When the body touched Elisha’s bones, the man came to life and stood up on his feet.2nd Kings 13:20-21
I find when I count my blessings, I worry less. I can see where God was faithful and where He just decided to save the day (like when driving in traffic and escaping an accident, He sends angels of bumper buffers).
Just as mornings are refreshing after sleep, we bounce back into life with a fresh chance at it. It’s amazing that feeling of a Saturday or any fresh day after a tired night. And oh, the preparation is tremendous but the feeling of a vacation day is the best.
I find when I know I have made preparations, I worry less. I find when I make mental separation from being needy, I worry less. And most definitely when I place my trust in God, He comes through. Remembering this is how we should step into a new situation or an old situation with a new perspective.
Why? Why trust? Because we are to trust in God to cover us, place us, provide for us, teach us.
Why? Why God? He brought us into this world to love us and be loved. He teaches us and we learn A LOT when living on the edge of security, especially with bills, pledges of payments, over spending or just stretching seemingly thin. Or with health, or with time. That’s when, during and before issues, we should be realizing that we are dependent upon Him.
Worries in a worry nation are amplified when things are good because the evil one has his sights on chaos and disruption. Let us worry less, pray more, make preparations and yet separation from worldly needs. God knows, all we need is HIM. He encourages us to remain FAITHFUL. He is ALWAYS faithful to us.
The dead man came to life not due to anyone asking, not the man, not Elisha, and not the folks burying him. He was tossed away but God found a Way.
We have many places to put our money – and more places where it simply flies away. Where do we best place our money? Wherever GOD wants it. It’s not just the church needing/wanting/using money, it’s a tool for blessings that can be misdirected – and yet we live in this world, so we need to use money for this world too… We do need to take care of our houses where we live – we also need to take care of our “houses” from WHERE WE GIVE.
Us too, where do we place ourselves? Are we being appropriate with our time? Do we give? How about our hope and encouragements, where do we share those? Are we stewards of attitude? How fake or real we are will be seen by God. He knows, therefore why try to hold back. Relationships need good foundations, not just walkways.
The money in this scripture (2nd Kings was held back 23 years and not used as directed for repairs to the breeches of the house of the Lord. Where it was broken is where it was to be attended to, and yet no one did that, but when asked again, the money faithfully came back to the intended purpose. If you make a promise, keep it. This house of the Lord was important as a focal point for the people to come and make the sacrifices – our houses of the Lord now are not for our sacrifice for forgiveness because Jesus accomplished that and gifted that to us – but our houses of worship are still meant to be for worship – not fluff.
No gold ornaments or trinkets, no flashy stuff for the church was to be made with the repair money, not softscape before hardscape… And the workers were paid faithfully for their work. The priest didn’t bargain with them, they just paid them. It’s all in the attitude, just pay the bills. Put effort into infrastructure over fluff.
We bargain too, don’t we. We bargain with people who make less than us where we should be generous. We bargain with God, who gives us everything. When has God not kept you calm in a storm? All praise and honor are His, His love and generosity are what feeds peoples generosity, we should give thanks. His skills are gifted to others, which we benefit from, we should praise Him.
We make flashy things and pass that off as important, again what is real is better. And giving your importance to real stuff to workers is better than layering soft gold to impress people who pass by, barely noticing.
Our joy, peace, hope are from Him, we should mind that and be good stewards of our attitude. We should give our best to not be flashy. We should keep our promises. We should pay our workers.
This means our kids and our workers too – if we ask them to do something and they do it – we should not move the bar and make a sliding target. Keep it simple and keep it real. CLEAN AGREEMENTS…
And always consult God.
2nd Kings 12: 1- 15
In the seventh year of Jehu Jehoash began to reign; and forty years reigned he in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Zibiah of Beersheba.
And Jehoash did that which was right in the sight of the Lord all his days wherein Jehoiada the priest instructed him. But the high places were not taken away: the people still sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places.
And Jehoash said to the priests, All the money of the dedicated things that is brought into the house of the Lord, even the money of every one that passeth the account, the money that every man is set at, and all the money that cometh into any man’s heart to bring into the house of the Lord,
Let the priests take it to them, every man of his acquaintance: and let them repair the breaches of the house, wheresoever any breach shall be found. But it was so, that in the three and twentieth year of king Jehoash the priests had not repaired the breaches of the house.
Then king Jehoash called for Jehoiada the priest, and the other priests, and said unto them, Why repair ye not the breaches of the house? now therefore receive no more money of your acquaintance, but deliver it for the breaches of the house.
And the priests consented to receive no more money of the people, neither to repair the breaches of the house. But Jehoiada the priest took a chest, and bored a hole in the lid of it, and set it beside the altar, on the right side as one cometh into the house of the Lord: and the priests that kept the door put therein all the money that was brought into the house of the Lord.
And it was so, when they saw that there was much money in the chest, that the king’s scribe and the high priest came up, and they put up in bags, and told the money that was found in the house of the Lord. And they gave the money, being told, into the hands of them that did the work, that had the oversight of the house of the Lord: and they laid it out to the carpenters and builders, that wrought upon the house of the Lord, And to masons, and hewers of stone, and to buy timber and hewed stone to repair the breaches of the house of the Lord, and for all that was laid out for the house to repair it.
Howbeit there were not made for the house of the Lord bowls of silver, snuffers, basons, trumpets, any vessels of gold, or vessels of silver, of the money that was brought into the house of the Lord: But they gave that to the workmen, and repaired therewith the house of the Lord. Moreover they reckoned not with the men, into whose hand they delivered the money to be bestowed on workmen: for they dealt faithfully.
My glossy timeline pamphlets about the Kings and Prophets (Rose Publishing bought on Amazon) are great references for times of learning. When I place them for cross reference into my own life, they show me what Jesus is trying to teach me, He IS the connection Old Testament to New Testament to Forever – a cross reference by His cross to cross into our lives of gaps and overlaps. We can refer to and reference Him – HE WANTS to FILL US with the knowledge of HIM.
It’s clear to me that I have many gaps in my Biblical knowledge, specifically the Old Testament, these gaps are so clear that I can see right through them! However I am starting to place sticker-sized tidbits of knowledge on the clear empty spaces, and even get to start to overlap the stickies. Sometimes the stickers fall off and I learn again of something I learned – but that is why there are endless stickers and endless opportunities to learn. I don’t feel ashamed of these gaps, I feel like I am in a position to be educated and have the rest of FOREVER to fill in the gaps. Not a rush to rush thru the physical pages but to absorb something of everything, to make my own sticker placements, rather than try to learn everything at once which will glob all the stickers together into a ball and not be usable at all.
The stories are remarkable and only tidbits of those are shared in the Word – I don’t read much commentary (yet), as this first time thru the old testament I will try to read first in my own hearing and eyes and synapse connections and make my own stickers. I don’t understand but a fraction of these readings in the Book of Kings but know they are important. I occasionally come to a story that I heard about in VBS, like rebuilding walls of a temple (again), and can build up those sticker walls of knowledge. I do try to look up authors and see what stories overlap in different books, and the truth of Truth I found in this statement from a chronology: the author of Kings was “writing not in order to accurately describe the past as a historian would (which is a modern concept) – rather he is telling the story of the past in order to illuminate the present day in which he lived.”
Oh! Yes of course! We are given the Biblical stories to understand that the Word’s teaching is intended to teach and reach, and STAY STICKY for our life sticker books. We ALSO can and should apply the knowledge of these writings to illuminate the present day that WE LIVE IN NOW. Of course there is 100% Truth learning about Jesus in the New Testament as well as the Old Testament. (they are called TESTAMENTS for a reason). It hearing the stories and IS SEEING HIM Walk His Way thru and out of historical prophecy that gave the believers and us knowledge of Him as the Messiah when He would come, AND chronicled those activities of the peoples to show they were following God’s Plan, AND lay down groundwork demonstrations of fulfilled prophecy when Jesus came.
Like someone giving you sticker books with the outlines of where the stickers go, Jesus as the Word is that outline, and then Jesus being the stickers too for the sticker book you finally get to fill in the places and spaces. And in the overlap, and how you place the sticker, you see your own life in the pages too. We should read the Bible and see what sticks! Read it again and fill in more.
Gaps now overlapped. Truth now told. Understandings now understood.
We won’t get to finish our understandings on this planet but have our “triptik” for revelations of days to come, and of forever. And oh how special we are holding onto the bonus pages of when He will return – we see in the Word (the book of Revelations) spaces for stickers of His Return – His Millenium – His Winning Way – and that gemstone New Jerusalem headed our way by His Way. God knows we are going to love stickers like those!!!
Jesus, I am sticking with Him! Because He stuck with us first!
It is the sorrow of Elisha the prophet to see the back and forth sinful evil of these kings (and those assassinating them) in the DIVIDED kingdom and from and between their enemies. It’s a mess. In 2nd Kings, estimated around 800 BC, we learn Elisha wept over knowledge that one soldier from Syria, Ben-Hadad, would kill his own ruler, take over, and also he predicted would cruelly kill many Israelites. He did. God knew.
Elisha wept knowing all this in advance. Jesus also wept for the lost while He walked the earth, His tears knew the big and small of division. He knew the oppression in the past and the crumbling future.
***We must continue to share His Hope * He will crush all evil. ***
Jesus IS the Word, and our human dividedness is from our brokenness. His brokenness came to rescue us for our sins. In His brokenness of death for all to know and see, these chapters are seemingly (hypothetically) “as if” Jesus’s guts are split open. Split wide open. Messy. His Message (the bible scriptures) recount all the pain and grief in the world back then which surely was breaking more than just Elisha’s heart but all who saw the mess, and how it continued and continues. God’s made efforts to keep the line of David preserved – to secure the success of salvation – but the people of the day were dragged thru the muddy mess of painful waste of life and wars. Elisha must have been DISGUSTED with what was revealed to him.
DIRECTED. Even so, of the awful back and forth turmoil we see in the 2nd Kings scriptures (and plenty more to read thru), one can APPRECIATE the GIFT of the existence of Prophets to remind us (and them) of God’s great Power and Direction. In those who follow the Lord, the hope is kindled for a restored kingdom – and witnesses to His Power knew that God’s Promises were kept. All were directed to follow God, even thru the dark times.
Evil is not new. Dark times are not new. Today’s turmoil is not new. Tomorrow’s PROMISE is our NEW HOPE. And if God never changes, and Jesus exists always (Alpha and Omega), then LOVE never shyed away from stepping out into the world. DELIVERED. Holy Spirit, He’s here to Help!
DELIVERED – old testament Nahum is another prophet who also talks about evil taking over peoples and lands, all like Babylon, destined for destruction. But for us, we are to hold onto hope until we will be delivered, hold onto the truth: “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him”, and evil will crumble.” YES. God will win!
Fast forward nearly a thousand years from 2nd Kings division and strife. A new testament testimony comes from Paul to the Jews and Romans, to reach even Caesar. Paul, even in captivity, chains for the cross, was called by God to be a messenger of HOPE. (remember Paul was Saul, a zealous killer of the early church Nazarenes, those who followed The Way as early Christians, until JESUS HIMSELF appeared to Saul and changed his evil ways to become a messenger of the One True Way.) And Paul said: “now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our ancestors that I am on trial today. This is the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night.” Yes, those 12 tribes were falling apart in the divided kingdom, but God kept their hope intact.
We need to be messengers of HOPE.
Paul got to see the Divided, Disgusted, Dark sides of the world, even in himself, but then by being DIRECTED by God, Paul was saw the opportunity for people to be DELIVERED. He and we are delivered from and delivered sent, just like a letter of the Word. Sent.
We will see God’s justice – just stay tuned… God will provide refuge for all who humble themselves.
God is good. Sing His Praises. Be a messenger of HOPE.
(If you are in trouble or trials, hold onto God. He has been holding on to you.)
A friend of mine said he was always intending to write his faith walk story. I HOPE HE DOES. I encourage you all to write. We can write about our faith history as His Story and importantly write about how God keeps walking us Home. His Story is surely about us getting Home back to be with Him.
I have had a very busy few weeks (!) and I expect that to continue – but right now I have one moment tonight to sit outside in the cool of the evening and rest and read God’s Word and turn to my faith writing. Oh so many connections we find in daily life with God’s Word, putting the Word in our Walk step by step… amazing…
Tonight I was truly pondering what “sitting with the Word” meant and realized that God “sat” down with and pondered WITH the Word too, as Jesus IS the Word. Jesus, One with the Father, doing this Work of the One Who sent Him, this meant and means He took/takes God’s mission into Walking Word Form. The sins of the past are long gone as left behind on this new road to wholeness.
Think how God surely missed Adam and Eve after the fall, missed them (and us, whom He pre-knew, separated by sin before we were even born), missed them walking with Him in fellowship in the cool of the evening… and so He made a plan of substitution of sacrifice that was written “on paper” yet truly came to fruition as Lived by the Word, thru the Word… Lifted off the page. Walking faith this day, taking in a moment WITH the Word, Jesus is walking us back to our collective wholeness with God. We write right and walk right by His Righteousness.
God took time to write HIS story because Jesus IS the Word. Let’s write our own HIS story of how He helps us as opposed to writing our story of where we went wrong. Let’s live the FORWARD story not the back story.
The Beginning and the End is Jesus and so what is next to keep writing and righting? The future. Because WE ARE NOT DONE WALKING OR LIVING YET! Our Future (Heavenly Homebound Homebodies) IS the Best that’s yet to come.
Walk with Jesus, keep writing HIS Story into our HISTORY.
I always marvel at the concept that things were so much better in the past, because it’s dependent upon how far back you look at life. Are we talking the Fifties? My Dad said Happy Days was fictional, it wasn’t really like that. Are we talking 1700’s? I am sure unless you were wealthy that you worked day and night and never sat down to check Facebook.
It is a fair claim that some things were better for some people then and some other things are better for some people now. Some groups of people had it better off and some did not. Some individuals made the most of any situation they were in then, and some do that now.
Make the best of it. That’s a scripture too, actually lots of scriptures, actually the whole book. “Whistle while you work” or “Grin and bear it” – attitude is EVERYTHING. Friday? That’s TGIF, but only because Saturday is off, it’s different for different people who work Saturday. The other week I was off on Friday so Thursday was my Friday. I used to have a plaque saying that said “Everyone need a Saturday on a Wednesday.”
Attitude, it’s all in attitude. Attitude like Free Will is something God puts in our hands, with tweaking by His Spirit. He can help us refocus and recognize blessings where others see bad stuff. God can reframe challenges into skill-building experiences that serve us better than the fault took us down. We can rise in His Strength. We can make the BIGGEST realization that “I AM A CHILD OF GOD!””
Friday attitude is different than Monday, God made Fridays TGIF! But God made Mondays too. Actually, you already know, GOD made EVERYDAY – but gave people the opportunity to name them – and He gives us the opportunity to make the best of our attitude too. Today, let’s embrace TODAY and make the most of it.
Today remember YOU ARE GOD’S VERY GOOD CREATION. YOU ARE LOVED!!!
God made you HIS!
HAPPY FRIDAY! (as my friend Sheila always says)
Psalm 37:16 of David
It is better to be godly and have little than to be evil and rich. For the strength of the wicked will be shattered, but the Lord takes care of the godly. Day by day the Lord takes care of the innocent, and they will receive an inheritance that lasts forever. They will not be disgraced in hard times; even in famine they will have more than enough.
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
“Stand up straight and realize who you are, that you tower over your circumstances. You are a child of God. Stand up straight.”
Maya Angelou, Rainbow in the Cloud: The Wisdom and Spirit of Maya Angelou
“You Say” by Lauren Daigle
I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I’m not enough.
Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up.
Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low.
Remind me once again just who I am because I need to know.
You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
And you say I am held when I am falling short
And when I don’t belong, oh You say I am Yours
And I believe (I)
Oh, I believe (I)
What You say of me (I)
The only thing that matters now is everything You think of me.
In You I find my worth, in You I find my identity.
You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing.
You say I am strong when I think I am weak.
And you say I am held when I am falling short.
When I don’t belong, oh You say I am Yours
And I believe (I)
Oh, I believe (I)
What You say of me (I)
Oh, I believe.
Taking all I have, and now I’m laying it at Your feet.
You have every failure, God, You have every victory.
I heard sage knowledge/advice: “They have to want it more than you want it for them.” This pertains in many situations and especially in that particular (undisclosed) conversation premise that I was in.
I thought Hmmmm… this ALSO refers to faith. To us. To others.
The only time this does not pertain is when and the other person is Jesus. Because in truth Jesus wants things for you much much more than you want them for yourself.
Want, need, emergency or perception? We do know that people are impacted by needs. We certainly are. We also see God has gotten us safe thus far!!!
This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves.
There’s a BIZARRE story (2nd Kings 6-7) in Prophet Elisha’s time, for the emergency needs in Samaria, besieged by the Arameans. The famine was so bad the people were eating each other, EWWW! The prices skyrocketed. The king of Israel blamed God, the God of Prophet Elisha, and went to kill him. Elisha knew of their plans as God revealed such. God also revealed a reprise to Elisha, that on the following day, food would cost pennies in comparison. Elisha didn’t say how, but to a soldier scoffing he avowed that both it was true and however, that soldier would not eat of it.
This DID happen, but from a whole other scenario that God made happen. He scared the army of Arameans with noises and they abandoned camp. At the same time, four lepers, who figured they had nothing to lose anyway, decided to go towards that area and wow, the enemy camp was empty of people but full of food. They ate and felt guilty about keeping this secret to themselves, so they got word to the king of Israel and he doubted (feared an ambush) but he investigated. Was true, so much food and no ambush or siege. The mocking soldier from the day before was sent to investigate, however he was trampled to death by the hungry crowds. Like Elisha said in prophesy, he did not eat.
Wow… prophecy fulfilled in multi-layer multi-player style only God could orchestrate. We see solutions come from left field sometimes, don’t we. How did God do that? We need to say how we saw God work things out in our lives. We need to believe more than disbelieve. We need to hunger for His answers first, food second. We need to know He works things out. This rescue was biggest impact and biggest news.
We have many prayers for our non-Christian friends, even scoffers like the soldier, hoping they believe, but they REALLY have to want to believe by themselves. And it’s the Spirit rising within them that makes all the difference. We fan the flames and yet they have to ask for the fire within themselves to open up so it gets needed air, they have to accept the feeding of Jesus’s fire fueled within themselves and ask Him to keep them running in His Path… there’s an even bigger rescue and bigger impact coming, let’s pray the mockers wake up and smell the faith.
This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves.
Instead of scoffing, they have to want it. More than we want it for them, they have to want faith to believe. More than God? No. God loved us before we love Him. God sets understanding all eternity within us, but we can’t understand until He explains, shows, leads… When Jesus returns, He and we will feast at the Heavenly banquet – certainly those who do not believe will not eat. Even the lepers and outcasts will eat because they believed, but those scoffers will die forever and not.
They have to want it. God wants them to want it too. God wants this EVEN MORE.
Let us ask God to help share news of His Banquet. He will. We must keep spreading the Good News while God is spreading the tablecloth and making room at the table for each of us.
Lead on Lord.
Famine in Besieged Samaria
Some time later, Ben-Hadad king of Aram mobilized his entire army and marched up and laid siege to Samaria. There was a great famine in the city; the siege lasted so long that a donkey’s head sold for eighty shekels of silver, and a quarter of a cab of seed pods for five shekels.
As the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried to him, “Help me, my lord the king!”
The king replied, “If the Lord does not help you, where can I get help for you? From the threshing floor? From the winepress?” Then he asked her, “What’s the matter?”
She answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him today, and tomorrow we’ll eat my son.’ So we cooked my son and ate him. The next day I said to her, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him,’ but she had hidden him.”
When the king heard the woman’s words, he tore his robes. As he went along the wall, the people looked, and they saw that, under his robes, he had sackcloth on his body. He said, “May God deal with me, be it ever so severely, if the head of Elisha son of Shaphat remains on his shoulders today!”
Now Elisha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him. The king sent a messenger ahead, but before he arrived, Elisha said to the elders, “Don’t you see how this murderer is sending someone to cut off my head? Look, when the messenger comes, shut the door and hold it shut against him. Is not the sound of his master’s footsteps behind him?” While he was still talking to them, the messenger came down to him.
The king said, “This disaster is from the Lord. Why should I wait for the Lord any longer?”
Elisha replied, “Hear the word of the Lord. This is what the Lord says: About this time tomorrow, a seah of the finest flour will sell for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.”
The officer on whose arm the king was leaning said to the man of God, “Look, even if the Lord should open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?”
“You will see it with your own eyes,” answered Elisha, “but you will not eat any of it!”
The Siege Lifted
Now there were four men with leprosy at the entrance of the city gate. They said to each other, “Why stay here until we die? If we say, ‘We’ll go into the city’—the famine is there, and we will die. And if we stay here, we will die. So let’s go over to the camp of the Arameans and surrender. If they spare us, we live; if they kill us, then we die.”
At dusk they got up and went to the camp of the Arameans. When they reached the edge of the camp, no one was there, for the Lord had caused the Arameans to hear the sound of chariots and horses and a great army, so that they said to one another, “Look, the king of Israel has hired the Hittite and Egyptian kings to attack us!” So they got up and fled in the dusk and abandoned their tents and their horses and donkeys. They left the camp as it was and ran for their lives.
The men who had leprosy reached the edge of the camp, entered one of the tents and ate and drank. Then they took silver, gold and clothes, and went off and hid them. They returned and entered another tent and took some things from it and hid them also.
Then they said to each other, “What we’re doing is not right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves. If we wait until daylight, punishment will overtake us. Let’s go at once and report this to the royal palace.”
So they went and called out to the city gatekeepers and told them, “We went into the Aramean camp and no one was there—not a sound of anyone—only tethered horses and donkeys, and the tents left just as they were.” The gatekeepers shouted the news, and it was reported within the palace. The king got up in the night and said to his officers, “I will tell you what the Arameans have done to us. They know we are starving; so they have left the camp to hide in the countryside, thinking, ‘They will surely come out, and then we will take them alive and get into the city.’”
One of his officers answered, “Have some men take five of the horses that are left in the city. Their plight will be like that of all the Israelites left here—yes, they will only be like all these Israelites who are doomed. So let us send them to find out what happened.”
So they selected two chariots with their horses, and the king sent them after the Aramean army. He commanded the drivers, “Go and find out what has happened.” They followed them as far as the Jordan, and they found the whole road strewn with the clothing and equipment the Arameans had thrown away in their headlong flight. So the messengers returned and reported to the king. Then the people went out and plundered the camp of the Arameans. So a seah of the finest flour sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley sold for a shekel, as the Lord had said.
Now the king had put the officer on whose arm he leaned in charge of the gate, and the people trampled him in the gateway, and he died, just as the man of God had foretold when the king came down to his house. It happened as the man of God had said to the king: “About this time tomorrow, a seah of the finest flour will sell for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria.”
The officer had said to the man of God, “Look, even if the Lord should open the floodgates of the heavens, could this happen?” The man of God had replied, “You will see it with your own eyes, but you will not eat any of it!” And that is exactly what happened to him, for the people trampled him in the gateway, and he died.
A reprise of this devotion I wrote – realizing that to God’s eyes, our problems are not insurmountable… Sometimes they are even good problems to have so that God can fix them or make us realize what to do to keep our eye on Him.
We do need to read and lead with the prayers of Psalm 63 to strengthen us – especially when making the big moves in life.
O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary. Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. Psalm 63:1-8
When we look at things from God’s vantage point, mountains are REALLY molehills, and we can climb them with HIS help… And HE gives us the power and energy to soar higher than we could have ever dreamed. Amen.
Mountains into Molehills, Travelogue Reprise The best thing about being so high up into the heavens above earth is that IT IS CLEAR and you can see how God fills in the rough spots and only the tops of mountains are visible… (these are the Swiss Alps). And that is so true with my life and maybe yours. When we look at things from God’s vantage point, mountains are REALLY molehills, and we can climb them with HIS help… And HE gives us the power and energy to soar higher than we could have ever dreamed. Amen.
As soon as my cat, sitting at my feet, senses I am drifting back to dreamlike snoozing when I should be getting up, she walks back up to awaken me. I’m 99% sure there are angels armies and cat corrallers everywhere in the unseen realm of heaven’s warriors around us. I think the angel then tells the cat to sit, as I return to scripture reading and writing (especially in the chapters about angel armies). The cat then sits until she is summoned by angels (or by hunger) to move on – and/or back to moving me, so that I move on with my day.
Angel armies surround us, ready to battle evil (and sleepiness) and simply to get us from here to there. God has us on a journey not a jungle gym of life simply to keep us busy while we wait for Jesus to return. God wants us working His fields – planting seeds and working for harvest. God needs us to know what we don’t see, feel assured of His provisions, and maintain our cool in the attacks of the day. Elisha saw chariots of fire in the revelation that God showed him. When Elisha the prophet knew of these, he knew when NOT to fight because of fear, but to stand down in freedom of protection. TO HAVE FAITH!
“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he (Elisha’s servant] may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
Fierce enough to stand down. Free enough to free.
Prophet Elisha was informed by the Lord of the movements of the king of Aram preparing to fight the land of Israel, and this frustrated the king of Aram, so he called upon an army of his Arameans to target the prophet, surround the city where Elisha was. Instead of fighting the battle, even though there were plenty of resources in the heavenly realm to overcome that army, Elisha asked the Lord to blind the army (temporarily) until he could lead them out of town. It was a trap but more of a snare. Then instead of slaughtering them in their vulnerable state, he instructed the king of Israel to feed them! The army perhaps realized GRACE as well as the unbelievable relocation into another land. All must have feared and respected the God working with Elisha – helping Israel to survive. The Arameans were allowed to leave peacefully and the Arameans did not invade the land of Israel’s king (and Elisha) again. Peace by no bloodshed but the power of God.
Are we free enough to stand down from fighting and have mercy on our enemies? Are we strong in the Lord enough to lead our enemies away from a battle and thus preserve our walk and those of the followers around us? We don’t defeat them, we save them too.
We too have the power of God protecting us from ultimate death so can we day to day pick up the mercy and grace and provide for our enemies who are led astray by commands of evil forces. Can we become wiser warriors, following God and knowing He is in control, rather than be worry warriors, following scarry sights? Acting as if we weren’t in God’s Hands.
We are free enough to be fearful or faith-like. Let us choose FAITH.
Let us pick up our crosses, not our crossbows. Because the Lord has led us, we can lead others – even our enemies.
Let us serve each other and thus serve the Lord. Let others know us by our LOVE.
God’s got this.
2nd Kings 8
Elisha Traps Blinded Arameans
Now the king of Aram was at war with Israel. After conferring with his officers, he said, “I will set up my camp in such and such a place.”
The man of God sent word to the king of Israel: “Beware of passing that place, because the Arameans are going down there.” So the king of Israel checked on the place indicated by the man of God. Time and again Elisha warned the king, so that he was on his guard in such places.
This enraged the king of Aram. He summoned his officers and demanded of them, “Tell me! Which of us is on the side of the king of Israel?”
“None of us, my lord the king,” said one of his officers, “but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom.”
“Go, find out where he is,” the king ordered, “so I can send men and capture him.” The report came back: “He is in Dothan.” Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city.
When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.
“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”
And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, “Strike this army with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked.
Elisha told them, “This is not the road and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will lead you to the man you are looking for.” And he led them to Samaria. After they entered the city, Elisha said, “Lord, open the eyes of these men so they can see.” Then the Lord opened their eyes and they looked, and there they were, inside Samaria. When the king of Israel saw them, he asked Elisha, “Shall I kill them, my father? Shall I kill them?”
“Do not kill them,” he answered. “Would you kill those you have captured with your own sword or bow? Set food and water before them so that they may eat and drink and then go back to their master.” So he prepared a great feast for them, and after they had finished eating and drinking, he sent them away, and they returned to their master. So the bands from Aram stopped raiding Israel’s territory.
On the 4th of July we say “Let Freedom Reign” but one of our biggest freedoms is the freedom to forgive. It IS God given freedom to forgive and be forgiven. It is also God’s command to forgive. Freedom isn’t free, it costs the price of forgiveness.
In earthly living, ignorance, oversight, and accidents happen. Especially when you borrow something, you want to be especially cautious in how you treat it. If you are holding materials for someone, if you are borrowing a neighbor’s tools, if you are giving someone a ride – that’s certainly worth being extra careful. You are often borrowing trust. If you are watching a house or pet, there is trust in all ways, including by the pet…
Accidents do happen and repayments may be a substituted if it is material. Yet if it is our word that is broken, then owning up and asking FORGIVENESS is the best response. Likewise, GIVING FORGIVENESS is the best thing we can do. And pray. PRAY. Pray…
Elisha’s story as a prophet includes a tiny incident where an axhead was lost, flew off the stick into the water, OOPS! Instantly the woodcutter seems to have felt bad, so he asked Elisha immediately. Good thing Elisha was there. That’s their equivalent to asking God’s help instantly, since Elisha was so revered. We too should ask for God’s help in all things, including lost things. We need to remember He is already present. We can ask on other’s behalfs too. AND WE SHOULD ASK HIS FORGIVENESS ANYTIME WE CAN.
In this lost and found story is the substitution of tossing a piece of wood into the water and instead seeing the valuable ax iron float back up. This was not offered as a neat trick, but it was symbolic in many ways (especially if you consult scholars and connective minds all over the media streams. It could connect to many scenarios. Trust me the scholars have not left any rock unturned or wood tossed)… We should try to scratch the surface of understanding within our own Holy Spirit seeking, and importantly, being an old testament teaching, we find this connects to TRUSTING GOD at minimum and at maximum to Jesus as substitute for our sins. FORGIVENESS.
There is more value in freedom of forgiveness and in friendship than all earthly things that fade away. Just think of the family feuds over pennies or plates, furniture or farms. Reliability too is a family value. Either you are or aren’t reliable in their eyes and them in yours… We always seem to remember those wrecks. And yet, think of misunderstandings where forgiveness would be the MOST generous of gifts.
Forgiveness is Priceless.
Then think of unforgivable things, and that’s where we have to substitute Jesus forgiveness, because even the impossible forgiveness floats will float. Toss Jesus in and find He was already in the mix waiting for us.
Consult the Lord first. Before hiding the incident, consult the Lord. Before over-thinking, consult the Lord. Before borrowing or lending, consult the Lord. And trust Him even and especially if you don’t trust the situation.
At the beginning of this story, the workers asked Elisha to come with them before they started working. That’s another important aspect we sometimes overlook. Ask help in advance. I remember a trip to an event and my driver offered a prayer for safe travels before we went out of the parking lot. Ask guidance. It WILL be given.
We know that God can do all things. Let us align with God. Forgiveness is His freedom gift to us.
We know people and situations are broken. Let us align with God.
God’s got this.
Let’s “Let Forgiveness Reign”.
2nd Kings 6
An Axhead Floats
The company of the prophets said to Elisha, “Look, the place where we meet with you is too small for us. Let us go to the Jordan, where each of us can get a pole; and let us build a place there for us to meet.”
And he said, “Go.”
Then one of them said, “Won’t you please come with your servants?”
“I will,” Elisha replied. And he went with them.
They went to the Jordan and began to cut down trees. As one of them was cutting down a tree, the iron axhead fell into the water. “Oh no, my lord!” he cried out. “It was borrowed!”
The man of God asked, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, Elisha cut a stick and threw it there, and made the iron float. “Lift it out,” he said. Then the man reached out his hand and took it.
Funny thing after a week of remembering the upcoming anniversary of my Dad’s death, I TOTALLY FORGOT about it on the day… OOPS, I FORGOT… and yet I thought about my Dad A LOT that day, because I thought about his LIFE!
Everyday I think about my Dad. All week I had been watching Hogan’s Heros, which I used to watch with my Dad. (I fall asleep exhausted on the couch too, like my Dad.)
These past weeks at work, in my spare time, I have been preparing something like my Dad would do, I made photo albums for 2 friends who have retired. I ran around and snapped photos of many many people, in groups and solo… Fun, I loved it, I love creating chaos of care… The new people thought I was nuts, the vintage workers didn’t expect any different from me… Wacky is how I roll, and after 20 years I get away with it… My Dad worked over 50 years, so when people commend me for only 20, I instantly think of my Dad’s much longer longevity. (This is true of our Heavenly Father too – when people commend us for achieving something we should think of Our Father Whom all Good things are from).
So as I put the finishing touches on the books and mailed them, I thought: “This is something my Dad would have made: personal and unique and so they feel appreciated”… That’s how my Dad cared for people, AS INDIVIDUALS, and EVERYONE each as an IMPORTANT person. His saying was “You can tell the value of someone if you can sit down and have a cup of coffee with them.”
I think of my Dad in taking care of work business too, lots of work everyday and all year, and to be done with purpose not laziness nor overstepping on people. I always think about my Dad including and engaging people’s participation, as well as him being an advocate for those who are not always heard. Taking care of people even when they are not “your people”, because everyone is “our people”.
I remembered my Dad when someone called me the “work historian”, as I keep photo albums of work potlucks and parties. I remember years and names, personalities and especially growth of young workers into big bosses. I don’t think it’s weird, I think it’s normal, my Dad would have been his “work historian” too except there was an over 60-year worker longer-term than he was over 50 years – and so she was the “historian”, LOL, 60 years… My Dad always spoke of this person in admiration.
My Dad also spoke of his goals in life – to work longer than his father did at his railroad job – and to have his kids graduate college. Those values transfer to me – and I joyfully work hard to pay the rent and raise my kids. And I remember that he gave us some of his retirement mini nest egg to pay the down payment on our house, to pay some of my kids education, to fund some of my kids school trips. THAT’S just what my Dad would have wanted to share that money for.
The morning my Dad passed away a year ago, my son was at school and my daughter was taking a train up to the big city to see friends. Busy kids… They were living their lives, THAT’S just like my Dad would have wanted. We had been there to see him before he went downhill and that was a blessing. Then that morning when he was close to death, I hightailed it up to support my mom and brother, THAT’S just like my Dad would have wanted.
But all day on the one year anniversary, I forgot about my Dad’s death, but I am blessed because I thought A LOT about his LIFE. I even chatted with my mom and she didn’t mention it (not until a later email from her), but instead we chatted about random good things AND THAT’S just EXACTLY like my Dad would have wanted…
I am looking forward to seeing my Dad again in AfterLIFE. THAT’S just like OUR Heavenly Father would want! And so do we.
LIFE – much longer, better, and important to live than death.
Find Joy in the Journey.
Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay. You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
I’m going to tell you a SECRET: “Some things ARE best kept secret!”
There are 3 kinds of secrets, well 4, kind that you keep from others, ones they keep from you, ones you TRY to keep from God but He knows everything so don’t bother, and the ones He keeps from us. The more we look into Him, the more we learn, including WHY He keeps us uninformed. We will see ALL when we get to heaven, not so much now. Only on a “need to know basis”. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, be grateful He has us take things one day at a time.
Keep a secret if it will harm a relationship between others. Keep a secret if the other person still wouldn’t understand it after explanation, and especially if they might twist it. Share volumous overflow info with ONLY a select few, spare the others. ESPECIALLY don’t tell someone something if they WON’T keep it secret. Always speak truthful, but sometimes less info is better.
The best secrets? Ones God wants hidden in your heart. The most numerous secrets? Everything God hasn’t revealed. If God can keep it secret, so can you!
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9
And do ask God, especially ask God…
Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Isaiah 55:4
A well off woman who had most everything did not ask for a child because she feared heartbreak. This woman, thru Word of Elisha, received a pregnancy and the child from God after the Prophet Elisha foretold her. But the child died. She then traveled back to Elisha and only to Elisha to speak about this tragedy. She seeked God even if she saw no resolution. She had to tell Elisha in her brokenness and because she experienced what she saw as failing hope, as she warned him. We know people who fear the worse, unfortunately she also experienced the worst. We ache for families who have lost a child, there is no heartbreak we could imagine more severe. The comfort we share is the real hope of seeing them again in heaven. I pray hope in the truth of God watching each child as His Own FOREVER.
Hope is what God shares with us, ESPECIALLY GOD. Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.
Prophet Elisha stayed very close to God found out many secrets from God in his lifetime and prophesied for God. The people knew He was in close contact. However there are many times when God doesn’t tell us all the info and in this story (posted below) God didn’t tell Elisha the child died. Elisha realized this, and as soon as he heard, he sprung into action. We don’t know what the woman prayed, but we know she, Elisha didn’t display his prayer at that moment but “He went in, shut the door on the two of them and prayed to the Lord.” Our prayer life should include these private moments as well as actions too.
The child was resurrected. The mother restored to holding her child. All to God’s glory thru Elisha’s actions.
Restored Resurrected Rescued Reminded
We are REMINDED by a resurrection story that is beautiful here, that we too will have resurrection and so will the children lost as well. We are to see this story is related to Jesus as well, He was the firstborn of the dead, resurrected not just for this earth but for eternity as well. Jesus went ahead of us to a secret place where He took our sins away. He went so we don’t have to go there. We believe in Him, we rely on Him. The mother didn’t tell anyone but the man of God about her grief. God already knew. God knows our pain. We do need to share it with Him, in pain, sorrow, anger, denial, and hopefully hope. He wants us to KNOW HIS HOPE.
Let us NOT keep His Hope a secret.
Because of Jesus. The breath of the Spirit lives in us and in our loved ones. We will live on. Tell Everyone about this blessed hope.
2nd Kings 4:8-38
The Shunammite’s Son Restored to Life
One day Elisha went to Shunem. And a well-to-do woman was there, who urged him to stay for a meal. So whenever he came by, he stopped there to eat. She said to her husband, “I know that this man who often comes our way is a holy man of God. Let’s make a small room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him. Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us.”
One day when Elisha came, he went up to his room and lay down there. He said to his servant Gehazi, “Call the Shunammite.” So he called her, and she stood before him. Elisha said to him, “Tell her, ‘You have gone to all this trouble for us. Now what can be done for you? Can we speak on your behalf to the king or the commander of the army?’”
She replied, “I have a home among my own people.”
“What can be done for her?” Elisha asked.
Gehazi said, “She has no son, and her husband is old.”
Then Elisha said, “Call her.” So he called her, and she stood in the doorway. “About this time next year,” Elisha said, “you will hold a son in your arms.”
“No, my lord!” she objected. “Please, man of God, don’t mislead your servant!”
But the woman became pregnant, and the next year about that same time she gave birth to a son, just as Elisha had told her.
The child grew, and one day he went out to his father, who was with the reapers. He said to his father, “My head! My head!”
His father told a servant, “Carry him to his mother.” After the servant had lifted him up and carried him to his mother, the boy sat on her lap until noon, and then he died. She went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, then shut the door and went out.
She called her husband and said, “Please send me one of the servants and a donkey so I can go to the man of God quickly and return.”
“Why go to him today?” he asked. “It’s not the New Moon or the Sabbath.”
“That’s all right,” she said.
She saddled the donkey and said to her servant, “Lead on; don’t slow down for me unless I tell you.” So she set out and came to the man of God at Mount Carmel.
When he saw her in the distance, the man of God said to his servant Gehazi, “Look! There’s the Shunammite! 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.
When she reached the man of God at the mountain, she took hold of his feet. Gehazi came over to push her away, but the man of God said, “Leave her alone! She is in bitter distress, but the Lord has hidden it from me and has not told me why.”
“Did I ask you for a son, my lord?” she said. “Didn’t I tell you, ‘Don’t raise my hopes’?”
Elisha said to Gehazi, “Tuck your cloak into your belt, take my staff in your hand and run. Don’t greet anyone you meet, and if anyone greets you, do not answer. Lay my staff on the boy’s face.”
But the child’s mother said, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So he got up and followed her.
Gehazi went on ahead and laid the staff on the boy’s face, but there was no sound or response. So Gehazi went back to meet Elisha and told him, “The boy has not awakened.”
When Elisha reached the house, there was the boy lying dead on his couch. He went in, shut the door on the two of them and prayed to the Lord. Then he got on the bed and lay on the boy, mouth to mouth, eyes to eyes, hands to hands. As he stretched himself out on him, the boy’s body grew warm. Elisha turned away and walked back and forth in the room and then got on the bed and stretched out on him once more. The boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes.
Elisha summoned Gehazi and said, “Call the Shunammite.” And he did. When she came, he said, “Take your son.” She came in, fell at his feet and bowed to the ground. Then she took her son and went out.