The Ax Floated

I have read the different stories about Elijah and Elisha for years. Great stories! Great men of God. Some of my favorites include Elijah blessing a widow woman and her son so they never ran out of food even when she thought she was making her last meal. (1 Kings 17.16) 
Another favorite is when the Word of God came to Elijah for the same widow woman to have a son, that son died, and Elijah prayed for him to live again! (1 Kings 17) He prays for rain (1 Kings 18), was protected by God (2 Kings 1), parted waters with his mantle being placed on the ground (2 Kings 2.8), and conferred his anointing to Elisha who asked for a double portion of Elijah’s anointing! (2 Kings 2.9-15)! 

 

Elisha continued to walk in the same great anointing as Elijah – especially when he cast salt in spring water to heal that water that was causing death, miscarriage, and barrenness in all the animals (2 Kings 2.19-22). Other miracles he prayed for include how he responded to the widow woman whose sons were threatened to be taken and she had no money. Elisha instructed her to obtain containers to put oil in and they were filled and filled until she had enough money to pay her debt, save her sons, and all live on. Abundance! (2 Kings 4.2-7)

Elisha also prayed for a woman to have a child when she was barren, that died, and he prayer for the boy to live again (2 Kings 4.36. He fed others in famine (2 Kings 4.38), and he gave the Word of God to Naahman to be cleansed from leprosy (2 Kings 5.10) Another of my very favorite passages talks of how Elisha was so close to God and aware of His presence and protection that he prayed for his servant’s eyes to be open to see the whole Host of Heaven gathered to fight for the man of God against an army of attackers. (2 Kings 6.15-17)

One of my new favorites is when a man who was cutting trees lost his ax-head in the nearby water. ‘The man of God said, Where did it fall? When shown the place, Elisha cut off a stick and threw it in there, and the iron floated.’ (2 Kings 6.6 )

The iron floated. This is impossible. It defies all the laws of physics, but the man of God never saw anything too hard for his God. No doubt, no hesitation. I want to see my God the same way Elisha saw his God – our same God. He was not stumped by a heavy metal ax that would NEVER float without the God he served making it float. The ax-head was hopelessly lost and contrary to all expectation, it floated because the things that are impossible with man are possible with God. (Mark 10.27)

God can fix anything – finances, addiction, depression, family turmoil, broken relationships and marriages, hard hearts opposing God – and you name it, He can do it.

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Teacher

I have a substitute teacher’s license and have enjoyed teaching the children all their various subjects. To be honest, he younger the age, the more fun it has been to teach. Once, while teaching 1st grade, I told one little girl how smart she was. She asked, “Smarter than you?” I told her I would have to get back to her on that one.

I laugh, but sometimes I also think I am smarter than I really am. Sadly enough, sometimes I even think I am smarter than God. I claim I would do things differently and would have set things up differently and would never let anyone suffer, get sick, or lose people they love. But, I find myself humbled because I am not smarter than anyone, especially God. He reminds me of His Greatness in Job 38 and on:

“And now, finally, God answered Job from the eye of a violent storm. He said: “Why do you ….talk without knowing what you’re talking about? Pull yourself together, Job! Up on your feet! Stand tall! I have some questions for you, and I want some straight answers. Where were you when I created the earth? …Who decided on its size?  …. Are you the one who gave the horse his prowess and adorned him with a shimmering mane? ….Was it through your know-how that the hawk learned to fly, soaring effortlessly on thermal updrafts? Did you command the eagle’s flight, and teach her to build her nest in the heights, ….”  

God continues for chapters talking about all the things He has created and watches over and the truth is that I have never done anything to create anything on earth. I am just a child of God here and enjoying His grace and presence in my life and all the beauty of His creation. And I am in need of a Teacher.

Knowing my need, God has promised to be my Teacher. (Isaiah 28.26) I am trying to be a good student and know that He is always kind and loving and in control and never makes mistakes. I make many mistakes. The little picture for today – “I wish my Teacher knew…” The truth is my Teacher does know. He teaches us about His love and His nature and how to behave in this world towards others. He teaches about grace and mercy and about our battles in life. He even answers most of my questions when I ask with a sincere desire to understand. Our Teacher knows all about our frailty, our weakness, our pain, our confusion, our inability to comprehend at times, and all about our needs.

Keeping my spirit in a teachable posture is my goal at all times.

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Headlines

Today’s headlines are sometimes very shocking:

Volcanic Eruption in Yellowstone to Devastate All of America!

Two Americans Slain on Vacation!

Is the Pilot Intoxicated?

Politicians Tell Poor to Riot and ‘Just Steal the Food’!

Young Men Accused of Stabbing French Policeman!

Korea Testing Nuclear Weapons!

Middle East Shooting Down Drones!

Gas Prices Rising!

Drought/Fire/Rain Ravishing Homes and Farmland – Food Prices Will be Higher!

Another Earthquake Hits California!

I have been inundated with troublesome news, but THESE are  a few of God’s Headlines: 

“…God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4.19)

“greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.” (1 John 4.4)

“thanks be to God, Who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15.57)

“For God so loved the world, He gave His Only Son, that whoever believes on Him will never perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3.16)

“..thanks be unto God, Who always causes us to triumph in Christ.” (2 Corinthians 2.14)

“..no weapon that is formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue that shall rise against you in judgment you shall show to be in the wrong. This [peace, righteousness, security, triumph over opposition] is the heritage of the servants of the Lord.” (Isaiah 54.17)

“there is no Rock like our God.” (I Samuel 2.2)

“…and surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28.20)

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]” (John 16.33)

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last (the Before all and the End of all). (Revelation 22.13)

“The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our God and of His Christ, and He shall reign for ever and ever.'” (Revelation 11.15) 

I am certain you know more of God’s great headlines.

Amen to God’s Headlines.

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Great Reward

I am still of the age that I need to work. It is a bummer, but I am grateful to have work and God blesses me tremendously. I am ‘rewarded’ well for my efforts.

In life, I want other rewards too sometimes. I have the mentality that when I do something good, I should be rewarded. The ‘karma’ thing. Do good – good comes back, do bad – and, you know. I have come to realize that this does not always work this way. Sometimes you just have to reconcile to do good because it is the right thing to do, God has commanded us to, and this is really the people we want to be. The good thing is its own reward. God promises to reward us though – “he who sows righteousness (moral and spiritual rectitude in every area and relation) shall have a sure reward [permanent and satisfying].” (Proverbs 11.18)

Sometime I wonder what my ‘reward’ will be at the end of life? I know I will be in heaven with Jesus and those I love. Will I have a mansion in Glory? Will the good deeds I did on Earth be noticed and the times I fell short not diminish the end result of a life lived? Jesus promises rewards – “for the Son of Man is going to come in the glory (majesty, splendor) of His Father with His angels, and then He will render account and reward every man in accordance with what he has done.” (Matthew 16.27)

When I arrive in heaven, I want God to say, ‘Welcome, good and faithful servant.’ I have the image of casting my crown at the feet of Jesus – Who washed the feet of His disciples to demonstrate how we should  treat others. I have a vision of walking streets of gold and never crying again, never feeling sad or lonely, never having another worry. I have hope of seeing everyone I have loved and even seeing the animals God gave me to love here. After all, He placed more animals on the Ark than people, so their Creator is my Creator and I know He  loves the animals too.

But the most important and precious Reward I have ever received in my life is God, Himself. God told Abraham He would be his Great Reward – “after these things the Word of the Lord came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy Shield, and thy exceeding great Reward.” (Genesis 15.1)

I used to be upset about this. I wanted a family and financial success and ‘other things, ‘ just more ‘things.’ Now, I humbly tell God with a grateful heart how much I love Him and am so happy He pursued me and saved me and has walked with me all these years of life and never let me down. How could I have ever thought anything on this Earth could be more valuable to me than God?

He is my Great Reward and it has been the best Reward I could have ever imagined. Being a child of the Living God – I almost can’t believe it because it is so great.

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Signs

I love rainbows.  Every time I get in a jam or confused about life and feel like I really need a sign He is still there, it seems God manages to put a rainbow in the sky. This is absolutely true – He even put them in the Ohio sky when it was not even raining!

I guess if I had great faith, I would never need a sign, but sometimes I do and sometimes I ask for one. I just want to know it is Him and not me and my crazy imaginations. The Bible tells me of those who also wanted a sign – like Gideon in Judges 6.17 – ‘Gideon said to Him, If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You Who talks with me.’

Even Hezekiah asked for a sign – “Hezekiah said to Isaiah, What shall be the sign that the Lord will heal me and that I shall go up into the house of the Lord on the third day?” 1 Kings 20.8

I believe if we need a sign, He will give us one, but I also believe that the ‘signs’ are truly all around us. For instance, the sun came up again today, gravity is still holding us on the planet, the birds are still singing, the whales are in their ocean, the fruit trees are still producing luscious fruit, gardens are still producing abundant crops from mere seeds, babies are still being born, little bees are still making honey, and He’s still talking to us and more!

I admit I falter in faith at times, one of my favorite passages in the Bible is about Paul and the ones he’s traveling with  – “20 And when neither sun nor stars were visible for many days and no small tempest kept raging about us, all hope of our being saved was finally abandoned.

21 Then as they had eaten nothing for a long time, Paul came forward into their midst and said, Men, you should have listened to me, and should not have put to sea from Crete and brought on this disaster and harm and misery and loss.

22 But [even] now I beg you to be in good spirits and take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you but only of the ship.

23 For this [very] night there stood by my side an angel of the God to Whom I belong and Whom I serve and worship,

24 And he said, Do not be frightened, Paul! It is necessary for you to stand before Caesar; and behold, God has given you all those who are sailing with you.” Acts 27.20-24. And all those who are sailing with us! 

I wish I could always say, “God said, I believe.” Very simple, but I am working on it.

The signs of Him are all around us and if we need one more or two more or three more, I believe He will give them to us. He wants us to know that we know that we know He is real and Who and What He says He is in His Word.

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He Left Them

It must have been remarkable to see Jesus after thinking He was not alive any longer. Witnessing the brutal treatment and crucifixion had to be devastating. The Bible tells us He appeared to His disciples and many others after He rose from the dead, but after forty days, He ascended into heaven. He left them – again. But this time, not without leaving them the promised Holy Spirit.

Jesus assured them, “I will not leave you as orphans [comfortless, desolate, bereaved, forlorn, helpless]; I will come [back] to you.” (John 14.18)

The Holy Spirit is part of the Trinity,  but it seems I don’t hear much about the Holy Spirit. In fact, some others never heard of Him as I read Acts 19.2 – “…and he asked them, Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed [on Jesus as the Christ]? And they said, No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”

The Holy Spirit is a free gift – “If you … know how to give good gifts …to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask and continue to ask Him!” (Luke 11.13)
What does the Holy Spirit help us with?
1. Hope and love – “Such hope never  disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us. (Romans 5.5)
2. Freedom from condemnation “For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has freed me from the law of sin and of death.” (Romans 8.2)
3. Comforter, Helper, Counselor, Intercessor, Advocate, Standby, Teacher – “but the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things.” (John 14.26)
4. Prayer Partner – “So too the [Holy] Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf with unspeakable yearnings and groaninga too deep for utterance. (Romans 8.26)
5. Infuser of Power – “but you shall receive power (ability, efficiency, and might) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses….to the ends (the very bounds) of the earth.” (Acts 1.8)
6. Gifts of faith and healing – “to another [wonder-working] faith by the same [Holy] Spirit, to another the extraordinary powers of healing by the one Spirit..” (1 Corinthians 12.9)
7. Allows us access to the Father – “For it is through Him that we …have ….access by one [Holy] Spirit to the Father [so that we are able to approach Him]. (Ephesians 2.18)
8. Keeps us and guards us – “Guard and keep [with the greatest care] the precious and excellently adapted [Truth] which has been entrusted [to you], by the [help of the] Holy Spirit Who makes His home in us. (2 Timothy 1.14)
and more!
The Holy Spirit is Great Gift to us by the Father Who wants to make His home in us. I always ask to see all Three in the Trinity more clearly and reap the benefits of the sacrifice of my Savior.
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Freedom

Happy 4th of July! This day we celebrate our Independence and Freedom from a tyranical government to embark on a new nation! With the help of God and men of prayer, we established a land for the free and a home for the brave.

It has been a very long time since I have heard this song, but I love the Battle Hymn of the Republic.

“Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword
His truth is marching on…..

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free
While God is marching on

Glory, Glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
His truth is marching on”

Yes! God wants all men to be free. Not only free in their daily lives, but in their spirit as well. He died to make men holy and well and free and forgiven and more. “…The Lord sets free the prisoners…” Psalm 146.7

2 Peter 1:2 tell me, “May grace (God’s favor) and peace (which is perfect well-being, all necessary good, all spiritual prosperity, and freedom from fears and agitating passions and moral conflicts) be multiplied to you in [the full, personal, precise, and correct] knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.”

I recently heard someone who struggles with addition pretty much say, “It’s never beatable – it’s always a problem; even when you do not engage in your addiction.” I believe God can do anything. I believe He can break any chain that has us bound. I believe He is able to heal the deepest pain and help anyone overcome the most heart and mind wrenching situations. He wants everyone free.

“…..Blessed (celebrated with praises) is the King Who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven [freedom there from all the distresses that are experienced as the result of sin] and glory (majesty and splendor) in the highest [heaven]!” Luke 19:38

My bondage had its roots in deep seated anger. When I asked God to show me the reasons for my bondage to depression and anxiety and defeat, He showed me; not to condemn me, but to set me free – “So if the Son liberates you [makes you free men], then you are really and unquestionably free.” John 8:36

Galatians 3:13 reminds me “Christ purchased our freedom [redeeming us] from the curse (doom) of the Law [and its condemnation] by [Himself] becoming a curse for us.”

He paid too high a price to have my soul just stirred at times, but never really changed – or set free like He died to do.

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Change

I hate change. I know hate is a very strong word, but then, the truth is, I have very strong feelings about change. I don’t hate all change. I like when change involves buying a new car or landing a new job that is better than the one that ‘changed’ – another way of saying, ‘than the one I lost.’

Everyone tells me change is inevitable. Changes are happening all around us, everyday and in every way. New highways, new shopping malls, removing forests, and more. I am certain all of us love when a new baby is added to the family or a change in location brings us closer to the ones we love. Marriage brings about welcome changes too. The changes I hate are watching the ones I love age and grow weaker, when good friends move away, when I lose a favorite relative or a home that I cherished for years, or when a relationship I thought would last forever does not. When some of my best memories bring a feeling of sadness to my heart, then I know the changes that are happening are not the ones I welcome.

There is One Thing in this Universe that does not and never will change. God. He is “Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, says the Lord God, He Who is and Who was and Who is to come, the Almighty (the Ruler of all).” Revelation 1:8. He is the God of our past, our present, and our future.

God is (our) Rock, (our) Fortress, and (our) Deliverer; (our) God, (our) keen and firm Strength in Whom (we) will trust and take refuge, (our) Shield, and the Horn of (our) salvation, (our) High Tower. (Psalm 18.2). Our Rock that is solid and never changes.

And, (Though) the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; … (God’s) kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of (His) peace be removed, says the Lord Who has compassion on you. Isaiah 54.10. No matter what happens around us, He is the same.

The God we love never changes – He is always faithful, He is always loving, He is always kind, He is always gentle, He is always patient, He always answers prayers. He is always the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He is always the Resurrection, the Bread of Life, the Living Water. Always. He never changes. We can count on this from now until all of eternity.

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Bella and True Love

I work at a veterinary clinic near Orlando, Florida. Here is where I met Bella. It seemed a routine recheck for a dog that had been bitten by a rattlesnake three days earlier and taken to a local emergency clinic for care. There she received two units of antivenin and her blood work was assessed to make certain the effects of the poison interfering with her ability to clot her blood were no longer a threat.

Snakes are a serious threat in Florida and may be seen in plain view anywhere, anytime. I read the emergency clinic report dutifully and did my exam. Bella was bitten in the facial area – the swelling can be seen under her left ear. I informed the owner of the resulting wounds that would most likely occur because of the poison and the care they may require. Snake bites are deceptively small, but the danger is huge and the resulting damage to the tissues affected by the poison can be quite extensive. She said she would do anything necessary to save her dog. Then I began to cry.

Bella’s owner shared the details of the incident. Bella was was bitten because the rattlesnake – not a pygmy rattler, but a BIG rattlesnake with SEVEN rattles the owner said – was actually striking at her. Bella, sensing danger, put herself in harms way to protect her owner and took the bite. My heart melted as I stroked Bella’s face and told her what a very good girl she is. She gave me kisses as her owner and I continued our talk.

What a remarkable story. A loyal dog saved her owner and now a loyal owner is determined to save her dog. Hats off to all the great dogs in the world and especially to Bella!

This story reminds me how my Savior knew the danger I faced and He took all of the danger for me to live. It may not have been a ‘snake bite,’ but my Savior did put Himself in harm’s way to save me. He died on a Cross so I do not have to die and I do not need to save Him back, but have dedicated my life to sharing His Good News with everyone I meet.

Hebrews 2.9 reminds me – “but we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”  “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable Gift! ” 2 Corinthians 9.15.

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Peace

I understand that when a hurricane comes, birds instinctively find the ‘eye’ of the storm. I have been told that skies are often clear above the eye and winds are relatively light because it is actually the calmest section of any hurricane. The eye is so calm because the strong surface winds that converge towards the center never reach it. Smart little winged creatures! They travel within the eye.

Recently, I have enjoyed finding a place of rest in the midst of what in past times in life would have been overwhelming to me.  I am not by nature a calm person. I wonder how I have lived so many years without true peace? I do not know why I have been so anxious in life, however, this seems to be a season in my life that finally the truth of God’s Words is penetrating in a real and deep way. It has not come easily though, I have be honest.

A truth in the Bible hit me like a ton of bricks the other day. Jesus gives us His peace. “Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]” John 14.27.

I must have read this verse hundreds, if not thousands, of times over the 45 years I have read the Bible. But I never had true peace. I pretended to and wished I had, but the truth is , I had turmoil, anxiety, worry, and more. I bragged about making worrying an Olympic sport. Very foolish really.

Peace- I cannot even grasp the true meaning of the word or find words to define ‘peace.’ Free of anxiety, tranquil, no emotional upset, and other words may be available, but not truly express the still feeling that is glorious deep inside oneself that is called ‘peace.’ This is what God wants for us and God gives to us – as a free gift.

God’s Word also tells us, “Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition ([a]definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God. And God’s peace [shall be yours, that [b]tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall [c]garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4.6-7. (emphasis mine) Another version calls it ‘the peace that passes understanding.” 

I pray for you and all of the ones you love to be blessed in a new way today with God’s peace.

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