Double For Your Trouble

There isn’t anything that we go through, that hasn’t first been permitted by God. That may be a little hard to accept sometimes, but it’s true, and in the end we’ll see that it was only allowed for our good… But there’s more. When it’s all over, the Lord will bless you in such a way that you receive “Double for your trouble”, and sometimes even more. :)

Remember when the LORD told Abraham, way back in the beginning before Sarah was even pregnant, that he would be the father of a huge nation and this nation would be slaves in a foreign land, and that they would be there for over 400 years, but He would deliver them with a mighty Hand and they would come out with great substance?( Meaning they would come out with great riches.) Well 400 years of slavery is a long time for people to spend working for no pay, and the bible says that the morning after the first Passover, the Egyptians just started giving the Hebrews anything they wanted and they “spoiled” the Egyptians. Psalm 105:37 says, “He brought them forth also (out of Egypt), with silver and gold.” ¬†And we all know the story of Job who, after he had so tremendously suffered, received twice as much of all that he had before.

Think about it. Hasn’t God brought you out of trouble and then blessed you? It could be that He blessed you monetarily, or restored your health, or blessed your family, or even blessed you with wisdom, in preparation for the blessings yet to come. In Isaiah 61:7, the LORD says, ” For your shame you shall have double...” and if God says it, that settles it! So if you’re going through a rough time right now, be encouraged…

You’re gonna be blessed DOUBLE FOR YOUR TROUBLE!!!!

Partners In Time

Of course God is eternal, and not limited by the aspects of time as we are. Yet from the time of our smallest beginnings, throughout our lives, and until the end, ¬†He has promised to be with us for all time, even when time is no more. ¬†In fact, I believe that God was with us, long before we decided to be with Him. He said so in Matthew 28:20 when departing from his beloved disciples, “Lo, I am with you always…”

He didn’t say, “I will be with you always”, but “I am with you always” We know that when Moses asked God what name the people should call Him, the LORD said “I AM THAT I AM”‘ and ¬†If we look a little closer at what Jesus said, we understand that his departing words can be understood as, “…, I AM with you always” also meaning, “God is with you always” We know that this is true, because Matthew 2:23 says that; ” …a virgin would conceive and bear a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” Hallelujah!

So if we take a look at our timeline, according to scripture, we can trace God’s promise to always be with us:

First, “Before I formed you in your mother’s womb, I knew you;….” (Jeremiah 1:5). Then, Psalm 139:15; “None of my bones were hidden from you when I was formed in my mother’s womb…” and then Proverbs says that throughout our lives He is, ¬† “…a Friend that sticks closer than a brother. “,¬†and finally, (Isaiah 46:4), the LORD ¬†Himself says that, ¬†“…even to your old age I am He; and even to gray hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry and deliver you.” ¬†Beautiful…

What a blessing to have been made joint heirs with Christ, and to have the comfort of His promise,… “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” ¬†Hebrews 13:5-6

A Time of Reckoning

“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time, are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18

To reckon, is to establish by counting or calculation, and today, as I struggle with  pain and limitations as I recover from surgery, I am reminded that, in calculating the number of difficulties and painful events that have occurred in my life, I am encouraged and inspired to think of what God has in store for those who love Him, those who are called according to his purpose.

Paul, in reckoning all of his pain and suffering, just lays it out there for us in II Corinthians 11:24-27;

“… five times received I forty stripes save one. I was beaten three times with rods, stoned once, three times I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by my own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, (that’s me today, lol ), in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.”

I don’t suppose that many of us can say that we’ve suffered to this extent, and I’m in no way trying to belittle anyone else’s experience, yet Paul kept moving forward and I’m so glad that he did because during these tremendous hardships, He wrote most of the epistles of the New Testament. Most of them from prison.

In light of all of this, and considering the hardships that we may be facing, we too can reckon that none of it compares to the glory that shall be revealed in us, as we, like Paul, keep moving forward and looking up…

No Worries Mate!

As they say in Australia, “No worries Mate!” and here’s the Bible version…

“Be anxious for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. ¬†And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

Have a Blessed Day!

Faith

Like a Lion

Bold. Proverbs 28:1 says, ¬†“… the righteous are bold as a lion.”¬† and in Hebrews 4:16 we’re told to come boldly before God’s throne in prayer. This is what Caleb did.

You can read about Caleb in Joshua chapter 14 verses 7-14 , and interestingly enough, the name Caleb means “bold”. Here’s his story…

Caleb was 85 years old when the Israelites reached the promised land. He was one of only two men who had survived the 40 year wanderings in the desert. After being freed from slavery in Egypt, he and Joshua were chosen by Moses to spy out the land that God had promised them. There were 12 men in all, one for each tribe. When they returned from their travels, 10 of the spies were terrified, and reported that it would be impossible to defeat these cities because they considered themselves and  their own people to be too small in comparison.  But Joshua and Caleb believed that God had led them to this good land and had faith that He would give them the victory.

The people believed the 10 spies. God was angry with them and because of their unbelief, they would have to spend the next 40 years walking around the desert until they all died off, leaving only their children and grandchildren to be the ones who would inherit the promised land. But God honored the faith of Caleb and Joshua.

Joshua became the leader of his people after the death of Moses, leading them into the promised land, dividing the Jordan River, and marching onto victory in the battle of Jericho. Caleb now 85 years old had remained strong in faith, and courageous in battle. In the face of battle over the land that Moses had promised would be his inheritance, Caleb boldly responded, saying:

“… the LORD hath kept me alive, as He said, these forty and five years, even since the LORD spake His word to Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now lo, I am now eighty-five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: As my strength was then, even so is my strength now… Now therefore give me this mountain,… the LORD will be with me, then I will be able to drive (the inhabitants) out, as the LORD said…Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb.”

He got what he wanted. Caleb was bold in his faith as a young man, and even as an old man, who knew that there was nothing too big to ask God for, and his boldness was evidence of that faith.

By faith, we are the righteousness of God in Christ, and “the righteous are as bold as a lion.”

St. Patrick’s Day

By the looks of things you might get the impression that St. Patrick’s Day is all about being Irish and drinking green beer, and even though this is how St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated  in the U.S and the U.K., St. Patrick’s day represents something with a much deeper meaning.  I’ve been wearing green on March 17th since I  was a little girl, but I’ve only just recently learned the true meaning of St. Patrick’s Day.

I’m not Irish, and I’m not catholic, but I am moved by the true story of St. Patrick, because it  is one of great perseverance and faith, and it is an inspiring example of how rewarding it can be to make a difference in the lives of others.

In short, St. Patrick, whose real name was Maewyn Succat, was not Irish, but English. He was born to a wealthy Christian family,  and as an early teen, he was kidnapped and taken to Ireland to become a slave. His name was changed to Patrick. As a slave in Ireland, he witnessed the pagan practices of the Irish, but remained true to his Christian faith, and it is said that he prayed up to a 100 times a day.

One day Maewyn escaped and took the long journey back to his home in England. After many years, ¬†he developed a deep desire to return to Ireland as a missionary. He taught the people about God and advised them not trust in pagan superstitions. He used the three leafed clover, the shamrock, to explain the Trinity,‚ÄĚ Three in One‚ÄĚ, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Patrick introduced Christianity to Ireland, and after 30 years of evangelism, he died on March 17,  461 AD. After his death he became known as St. Patrick and March 17th has been named a holiday in honor of him.

So it’s not about luck, and it’s not about green beer.  St. Patrick’s Day is about the faith and sacrifice of a man who shared his faith, and the love of God, with a nation… and for that we remember him today.

Wow! WAW!! pt 3

I thought I’d change things up a bit, and abbreviate, “What a Woman” with “WAW”. :) ¬†Anyway, this is the third and final part of my post on the Shunnamite woman. The first two posts were paraphrased from II Kings chapter 4, and today’s story can be found in II Kings chapter 8. Thanks for following along!…

Sometime after God raised her son back to life, the Shunnamite woman was advised by Elisha, the prophet, to pack up her belongings, and leave her home.  He warned her of how the LORD had called for a famine, and that it would last for seven years. So, the woman did as the prophet said, and traveled to the land of the Philistines, where she lived for seven years.

When the famine was over, she decided to return to her¬†home,¬†and she went to see the King about getting her land back. On the very same day that she was to present her appeal to the king, Gehazi, Elisha’s servant just happened to be in a meeting with the king, because the king wanted to hear more about all the great things that Elisha had done. Just as he began to tell the king about the woman whose son Elisha had raised from the dead, behold, the woman whose son was restored to life, came in to make her appeal to the king, and Gehazi said in excitement, “O king! This is the woman, and this is her son, whom Elisha restored to life!!” And when the king asked her, she told him her story and the king said to his officer, “Restore all that was her’s, and all that she would have earned from her land since the day¬†she left¬†until now.”

¬†The Lord went before her, prepared the king to hear her case, and then gave her back not only her land, but all of the profits that she would have made from her fields over the seven years that she was gone! Wow!! I told you that¬†this story was exciting! ¬†What a testimony…¬†God is forever faithful to “the faithful.”

 

 

Wow! What a Woman! pt 2

 

Just when her faith¬†had risen to a new level, it would be tested…

A few years later,¬†her son¬†was out in the field¬†with¬†his father, when he began complaining of a severe headache. His father told one of the servants to take the young boy to his mother. The child laid his head on his mother’s lap until around noon, and then¬† died…

The woman¬†took her son up to the room that she had made for Elisha, and laid him on the bed. She closed the door,¬†went out, and called for her husband. Then she asked him to send her one of the servants¬†and a donkey, so that she could go and see the man of God. She said she would hurry and return soon. Her husband asked¬† why she was going to see the man of God.. She didn’t say anything except, “It shall be well.”¬† She¬†quickly¬†saddled her donkey, and¬† left to see the prophet.

As she approached Mount Carmel, the man of God saw her coming and sent his servant, Gehazi, to meet her and¬†ask what was wrong. He told him to ask if it was well with her husband, and if it was well with the child. When Gehazi asked her these questions she replied, “It is well.”¬† When she approached the prophet, she got off her donkey, and fell at his feet. She cried out, “Did I ask you, my lord,¬†for a son?.. Did I not say, do not lie to me?”¬† Elisha sent his servant away immediately to go and see about the child, but the woman would not leave without¬†him, so he¬†returned with her.

When Elisha arrived at the house, the¬†boy was dead and lying on his bed. He stretched himself out on the child, and the child became warm… He got up and walked around a bit, and then stretched himself out on the child again, and this time the boy sneezed seven times, and opened his eyes!

Gehazi called for his mother, and when she came into the room, she fell at Elisha’s feet, and bowed herself to the ground. She picked up her son,…. And walked out.

Wow! What a woman of faith!¬†Fear and faith cannot operate at the same time… This woman showed incredible faith in the face of a situation¬†which could have ¬†invoked the most horrible fear. She knew that her son was a miraculous gift from God, and that¬†God¬†had blessed her and done what she¬†thought was impossible… Faced with the sudden death of her son,¬†her response was one of¬†faith, and although I’m sure her heart was pounding,¬†she¬†made the immediate decision to hold her tongue, and trust God. She told her husband,¬†“It shall be well”¬† and¬†said¬†to the prophet, “It is well.” and because of her faith,¬†God made it so…It was¬†well!

Stay tuned,..Part 3 next time. :)

Wow! What a Woman! pt 1

I’ve been wanting to share this story for so long! Its one of my absolute favorites because it has every thing a great story needs. Interesting characters, a great plot with problems to be solved, and lots of surprises. I’ll be paraphrasing, but you can find this first part of the story in the book of II Kings chapter 4.

“One day there was a woman who invited the prophet Elisha to have dinner with her. He accepted and after Elisha left, the woman, convinced that Elisha was a holy man, asked her husband if they could add a room on to their house, especially for him, with a bed, a stool, and a table with ¬†a candlestick, so that if ever he passed their way again, he ¬†would have a comfortable place to stay. Her husband agreed. It was done, and the next time the prophet came there, he spent the night. He was moved by her kindness and hospitality, so he asked her if there was anything that she wanted him to do for her.

She asked for nothing in return, and when she left the room, Elisha asked his servant, Gehazi, what could be done for her. Gehazi mentioned that the woman was childless and that her husband was ¬†old. ¬†Elisha called the woman and told her that she would give birth to a son and he told her ¬†when her son would be born. She relied, “Don’t lie to me…” but ¬†miraculously, she gave birth to a baby boy, ¬†at precisely the same time that Elisha had predicted.”

Let’s take a closer look at what has just happened. First of all, this woman had a very kind and hospitable spirit. She invited Elisha to have dinner with her, and then added a room to her house just for him. In scripture she is called a “great” woman, so perhaps she was wealthy, and adding a room to her house was something that she could easily afford to do. Next, she had respect for the man of God, evidence that she embraced a level of faith,… a limited level of faith, that would soon increase, and later be tested.

I refer to her faith as limited because, when Elisha asked her what he could do for her, she asked for nothing…She believed in God, but her faith appears to have its limits… Was it really true that she didn’t want anything… He was a prophet after all… She knew that he was a man of God, a holy man. ¬†She had said so herself.. What was it that she really wanted? Could it be that she had given up on the hope of ever having a child?… Did it seem to be too impossible of a request? Whatever the case.She didn’t ask… It was Elisha’s servant who mentioned that she was childless, and even when Elisha told her that she’d have a son, her reply was, “Do not lie to me”… Because to her, it seemed to good to be true..

Her faith would soon increase to a whole new level, throughout the months in which she carried her son in pregnancy, gave birth to him, and delightfully embraced him in her arms.

Next time, Part 2

Bless Me Indeed

“…Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying,

Oh that Thou would bless me indeed,

and enlarge my borders,

and that Your hand might be with me,

and that You would keep me from evil,

that it may not grieve me!

And God granted him that which he requested.”

I Chronicles 4:10

Here Comes the Sun

The period of the evening which takes place, between daylight and darkness is called twilight…

In the days of Elisha, there was a severe famine. Outside the city gates there were four men who were lepers. These four men reasoned among themselves,¬† “Why should we just sit here until we die? If we go into the city, then the famine is in the city, and we shall die there, and if we just sit here, we will die also. Let’s go to the camp of the Syrians. Maybe they will save us alive, or if they kill us, we shall but die… And so they rose up in the twilight, to go to the camp of the Syrians.

When they got to the camp of the Syrians, there was no one there because the Lord had made the entire Syrian army to hear a noise of chariots, and a noise of horses, and the noise of a great army approaching, and they thought that the king of Israel had hired other foreign armies to join with him to fight them...So they arose and fled in the twilight... When the lepers arrived they found an abundance of food, silver and gold. They sent word back to the king and the starving people were satisfied.

I love this story… You can find it in II Kings chapter 7. I am always amazed that at¬† precisely the same moment that the lepers decided to step out in faith, God began working on their behalf. As soon as they arose to go at twilight, God allowed the Syrians to hear an illusion at twilight, which scared them out of their wits and caused them to leave their treasures. The lepers¬†were on their way, had probably walked all night,¬†but God had already fought the battle for them, He had already solved their problem, and He had begun at precisely the moment that they believed… At twilight.

The next morning, with¬†the rising of the sun,¬†came long-awaited ¬†joy and deliverance…