Just another story…

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280When people say the Bible is boring, I have to question if we’re reading the same book.  Okay, so I get a bit bogged down in Leviticus when they’re talking about how to deal with infectious skin diseases, but truthfully, some of the accounts sound like a script straight out of Hollywood.

For example, the well-known story about the widow and her son barely scraping by during (one of) the terrible famines, a consequence brought about by the prophet Elijah at Yahweh’s behest, another attempt to get His people’s attention. God sends His man to this particular household, to a widow and her son, to ask for, guess what—food!  The response he gets is expected.

“But she said, ‘I swear by the Lord your God that I don’t have a single piece of bread in the house. And I have only a handful of flour left in the jar and a little cooking oil in the bottom of the jug. I was just gathering a few sticks to cook this last meal, and then my son and I will die.’”

Elijah convinces her that, if she provides him with food and water, God would continue to miraculously multiply her supply to sustain her through the crisis.

What did she have to lose?

“So she did as Elijah said, and she and Elijah and her family continued to eat for many days.” 

In Act Two, as if the famine wasn’t enough stress, this kind lady’s only son gets sick and dies.  She confronts the prophet, who has become a boarder during this time.  This widow is now overwhelmed with grief.  Her boy is dead, which back then had more implications than just the loss of a loved one.  Her future just got a whole lot more impoverished, both emotionally, and financially.

“Then she said to Elijah, ‘O man of God, what have you done to me? Have you come here to point out my sins and kill my son?’”

I love Elijah’s reply.  There’s no “oops”.  He doesn’t wring his hands.  In fact, there isn’t even a note of surprise or worry. 

“But Elijah replied, ‘Give me your son.’”

Once again, what did the mother have to lose?  Elijah takes the lifeless body up to his own room and prays. 

“The Lord heard Elijah’s prayer, and the life of the child returned, and he revived!  Then the woman told Elijah, ‘Now I know for sure that you are a man of God, and that the LORD truly speaks through you.’”

Which I find to be an interesting reaction from this mother.  Wasn’t the first miracle of the ever-flowing oil and grain enough to convince her of God’s presence working through His prophet? 

Different miracles

The first miracle was a life-sustaining one.  It had to do with maintenance. And it wasn’t like they had a five-course meal everyday, either.  Just enough oil and grain to keep them going, to sustain the life they had until the famine had passed.   

The second miracle was a life-giving one.  That which was dead has been resurrected.  Where life had been extinguished, life had been reborn.    

This gives me pause…

What do I have to lose?

God knows the level of my faith and intimacy with Him.  He also knows how fickle human beings like me (like you?) can be, allowing complacency to set in as what we once wondered at becomes normalcy and therefore taken for granted.  And He knows what is needed to take our faith and intimacy with Him to the next level, to jump start us out of that spiritual malaise. 

In other words, He not only knows how to maintain my dreams, even my faith, but also how to resurrect them and give them new life.

Of course, the first step is to hand it over to Him.

1 Kings 17:12; Hebrews 7:25 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Not the person I thought…

quillHere’s something new.  My bloggish buddy, The Excitement Plan, posted this poem with her own interpretation, which I thought was so very great that I asked if I could share her thoughts on my “Not My Poetry” place.  

Not the Person I Thought~~

Continue reading “Not the person I thought…”

In Acceptance Lieth Peace


This is a poem that I got from Elihu’s Corner, by a poet named Amy Carmichael.  I have contemplated the difference between holy surrender and apathetic resignation, and his particular post (in which I found Carmichael’s poem) speaks eloquently and insightfully to this issue:

He said, ‘I will forget the dying faces;
The empty places,
They shall be filled again.
O voices moaning deep within me, cease.’
But vain the word; vain, vain:
Not in forgetting lieth peace.

He said, ‘I will crowd action upon action,
The strife of faction
Shall stir me and sustain;
O tears that drown the fire of manhood cease.’
But vain the word; vain, vain:
Not in endeavour lieth peace.

He said, ‘I will withdraw me and be quiet,
Why meddle in life’s riot?
Shut be my door to pain.
Desire, thou dost befool me, thou shalt cease.’
But vain the word; vain, vain:
Not in aloofness lieth peace.

He said, ‘I will submit; I am defeated.
God hath depleted
My life of its rich gain.
O futile murmurings, why will ye not cease?’
But vain the word; vain, vain:
Not in submission lieth peace.

He said, ‘I will accept the breaking sorrow
Which God tomorrow
Will to His son explain.’
Then did the turmoil deep within me cease.
Not vain the word, not vain;
For in Acceptance lieth peace.

Find me on page 12

wood 2

Billy Graham was probably one of the first evangelists to use that new social media known as television.   I remember watching with a certain sense of awe as hundreds of people left their seats in a huge auditorium, making their way to the stage upon Dr. Graham’s invitation to give their lives over to Jesus Christ, as ‘Just As I Am’ was playing in the background.  Even watching on TV, it was seriously impressive.

Impact: to influence, alter the course of something (or more importantly, someone.)  Yup, that pretty well describes Billy Graham’s ministry.  Funny to think that he touched more lives during his lifetime than Jesus did during His own.  And yet, who had the most impact?

I remember hearing Dr. Graham say (and I paraphrase) that once in Heaven, he expected to pick up the angelic Continue reading “Find me on page 12”

#Wind –friend or foe?

(Excerpt from God Loves Birds, by Dawn Jones)

Rogers and Hammerstein, the famous composers of the old time musical, Oklahoma!, immortalized the words, “and watch a hawk making lazy circles in the sky.”  Sitting at my table outside I happened to look up into the blue above me and saw just that. Of course, it could have been a turkey vulture, a little challenging for me to tell at that distance, and naturally it wouldn’t have quite the same poetic ring to it as in the song. Regardless, the beauty of it was mesmerizing.  This bird was expressing part of her innate wiring, and doing it with seemingly effortlessness and grace. 

The other interesting observation in this scenario was that the cloud movement was indicating the wind was decidedly out of the northwest.  The bird, however, was completely unhampered by the direction or the velocity of the airflow, and in fact, when she was apparently done with that particular circumference, commenced heading into a direct headwind! 

Now, granted, I’m a Purdue Boilermaker, but decidedly not from their renown aeronautical engineering department.  Even so, I seem to know that this bird’s impressive flight pattern had something intrinsically to do with the set of her wings, rather than merely the direction and strength of the air current. She has no control over the wind, but full control of her feathers.  She understands and has mastered how to work with the wind, or better, to make the wind work for her.  It is her nature to do so.  And unlike us humans, she doesn’t even know how to complain if the wind seems to be going the wrong way, or how to whine if the wind seems too strong.

We humans, however, are of a higher order.  We are well versed and abundantly proficient in the art of complaining and whining.  And, unfortunately, it is not even an acquired art—it has been hard-wired into our code since, well…since we left the first Garden.  Our original two parents somehow couldn’t see fit to work within God’s set perimeter, even though back then there weren’t even ten commandments, only one: don’t eat from that tree, just that one, only one.  All the plethora of foliage and fruit were available and in abundance and could be enjoyed without restraint, but just not that one.  And we all know the rest.  (Not that I could have done any better.  I probably would have built a tree house up inside of it and invited my husband in for afternoon tea with forbidden-fruit turnovers.)

There’s just something about wanting what we are not supposed to have.  Or are warned against.  Or belongs to someone else.  Or are supposed to wait for in the future.  And we have a penchant for whining when we can’t get it…now.  Consider:

  • That certain house, or car, or job
  • Or maybe retirement!
  • Children, or grandchildren,
  • Or maybe getting the children out of the house!
  • Social reputation, positions and status
  • Or maybe solitude and quiet!
  • Friends and relationships, or even marriage,
  • Or a better, more satisfying, more stable marriage!

According to that same perspective, we complain when the “wind” of our expectations blows in a way that appears contrary to our desires:

  • Economic recession and financial loss
  • Health issues, both personal and with our loved ones
  • Unexpected bills and other un-planned-for responsibilities (children, aging parents, to name a few)
  • Even the so-called “Acts of God” (what a bum rap THAT is!) that leave untold pain and destruction in their wake.

The lists of things we choose to be discontent about are as long as they are differently perceived by each person.  And just when we think we may have conquered one, there are plenty more in the queue waiting to pop up on our emotional screen.  Despite this challenge, God calls us to contentedness, and promises that such a discipline brings great gain. (1)  Linda Dillow, in her wonderful book entitled Be Still My Anxious Heart, writes about acquiring this skill of contentedness in all areas of life, such as employment, relationships, even in our own physical uniqueness.  It takes time, and it takes effort to surrender our “wannabes” to God’s, but both the time and the effort are well worth the end product of contentedness.

However, lest we misunderstand, contentedness and surrender are not equal to resignation.  True heart surrender to our heavenly Father’s plan and purpose—however strange and nonconforming it may be to our own—brings a peace that He really has everything under control, things are progressing according to His design, and since I don’t have to figure it all out (I’ve tried, and it’s painful), I can trust Him to tell me where to step next.  Resignation, on the other hand, is giving up.  Quitting.  Taking my ball and going home.  Instead of peace, I open myself up to bitterness, jealousy, and unforgiveness.  And these guys are very, very dangerous playmates indeed.  They tend to bring more unwanted guests into our lives, and sometimes we might not even be aware of them! (2)

One of these all too familiar hangers-on is stress.  My husband tells me that stress is caused by unmet expectations.  And everything in our modern psychology tells us that we need to decrease our stress.  Logically, then, it would seem to follow that we need to modify our expectations, and learn to use our emotional and mental energy to harness the unexpected, the disappointing, the uncomfortable and downright painful things that life occasions for us.  Thankfully, we have the very best Teacher to help us do just that.  God’s Holy Spirit residing in each believing Christian is available for immediate access. (3) It is in learning to listen for His voice that we can release ourselves from the grip of gripe and the power of self-pity.

In this we place life’s uncontrol-ables, all of them and without reservation, into the capable hands of the One Who controls both the direction and the velocity of the winds of life.  For in truth, only He can teach us to spread our wings… and fly. (4)

  • 1 Timothy 6:6
  • James 3:16
  • Ephesians 3:16; John 14:26
  • Isaiah 41:10
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