October 2023


Have you ever been overwhelmed with gratitude

32 When Elisha arrived, the child was indeed dead, lying there on the prophet’s bed. 33 He went in alone and shut the door behind him and prayed to the Lord. 34 Then he lay down on the child’s body, placing his mouth on the child’s mouth, his eyes on the child’s eyes, and his hands on the child’s hands. And as he stretched out on him, the child’s body began to grow warm again! 35 Elisha got up, walked back and forth across the room once, and then stretched himself out again on the child. This time the boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes!
36 Then Elisha summoned Gehazi. “Call the child’s mother!” he said. And when she came in, Elisha said, “Here, take your son!”

Have you ever been overwhelmed with gratitude?   In 2nd Kings 4:32-36 the woman from Shunem experienced a blessing so great that she became overwhelmed with gratitude.  You see. her young son had died, and she went to Elisha for help.  With God’s power working through Elisha, he was able to bring her son back to life.  Witnessing something like that firsthand, I am sure would not only be amazing, but it would cause the gratitude meter to go way up.

We certainly don’t have to experience anything that profound to become overwhelmed with gratitude.  You may be able to recall on more than one occasion, how God’s goodness to you, brought tears to your eyes because you were so grateful.

When my daughter was twelve years old, she was selected to travel abroad to Europe with several other students from our part of the state. This was a huge honor for her.  My husband and I were so excited for her to have this opportunity to travel and see and experience parts of the world that she had never seen before. We knew that it would be an education in itself.

This experience, however, would come with a huge price tag of $7000.  At that time my husband and we were struggling financially.  We didn’t know how we would pay for our daughter to go on this once in a lifetime trip. We just knew that we wanted this dream to come true for her.  We started to move in faith, believing that it would happen.  She was so excited and determined to go, that we could not stand to see her get disappointed.

During those years my daughter loved making jewelry from beads. She had also learned how to make colorful bracelets from small rubber bands. Teenagers absolutely loved them, and a lot of the kids at her school were wearing these bracelets during that time.  We stocked her up on beads and rubber bands of every color.   We went to a local dress shop here in our town, and the owner loved her jewelry so much, that she let her put her pieces in her shop. In no time her items sold out and she was able to bring more items in.  The owner of the shop knew that her goal was to get to Europe, so she continued to order from her.  Her sales however were only a drop in the bucket compared to how much she needed within a limited amount of time.

My husband and I decided that we needed to do some type of fundraising to help her with this goal, so we sent letters out to all of our friends and relatives, asking them to please support her goal. We could not believe the response.  Everyone that knew her was so excited to help support this goal.

I remember us being so close to wrapping things up, but we still needed a lot more money than my husband and I had personally that we could give.   We were stuck not knowing where the funds would come from, but still believing someway, somehow it would all come together.

One Sunday after church my daughter and I were about to leave the church parking lot, when one of our church members came up to my car door.  When I let my window down to see what she needed, she said that she and her husband wanted to give towards my daughter’s trip. She then handed me a check for $500.

I instantly burst into tears.  It was more than I could have ever imagined.   I was literally overwhelmed with gratitude at that very moment, and uncontrollably so. And it didn’t stop there.  Out of nowhere a friend gave me a check for $250. and said, if you don’t reach the goal by your deadline, let me know and I will give more.  And if that wasn’t enough, my husband got a call from a gentleman that had already given a sizable amount, who told him the same thing.  We did not have to call either person back, because the goal had been reached.  God had provided, and boy were we ever thankful for His goodness towards us!

I have three thoughts on why we become overwhelmed with gratitude.

  1. Sometimes we pray for things not knowing whether or not God will give us what we are asking Him for. When He says yes to our request, in some cases we are so surprised that we become overwhelmed with gratitude.  Remember we should ask, believing that what we are asking for is already done.
  2. There are times that we have a need so great, that when God meets that need for us we are overwhelmed with gratitude.
  3. When God blesses us, just because we are His children. This can also come as a surprise and cause us to be overcome with gratitude.
  4. During our quiet time, or time of worship when we sincerely praise God for who He is, we can become overwhelmed with gratitude.
    Gratitude is simply an expression of our hearts, saying thank you God for your unwavering kindness towards us.

    24 But be sure to fear the Lord and faithfully serve him. Think of all the wonderful things he has done for you.

Too Much Noise

Too Much Noise

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him.
Psalm 46:10
10 “Be still, and know that I am God!  I will be honored by every nation.  I will be honored throughout the       world.”
Job 6:24
24 Teach me, and I will keep quiet. Show me what I have done wrong.
1 Kings 19:11-12
11 “Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper.

When was the last time you just sat quiet before the Lord?   Was it so long ago that you have to really think hard to remember when it was.  If so, you may agree that it has been too long.  There are some of you who may have to admit, that you have never sat quiet before the Lord and that’s ok, because starting today you can change that.

The reason you may want to consider making this a new practice, is because God can reveal so much to us when we turn the noise down in our lives.  We can’t hear Him when we are constantly bombarded with the noise from TV’s, phones, social media and Drama that comes our way.

God wants our full attention, and the only way that we can clearly hear His instructions for our day, is to be silent.   When we are constantly racing from place to place and thing to thing, we miss so much that God is eager to share with us. We pray and we ask God to give us answers and directions, but we don’t turn down the volume in our lives, so that we can really hear His response.

When we do this, it is like asking for directions from the GPS in your car, and not making any adjustments to the sound of your car’s radio.

If the sound of the music is constantly blurring, you will miss the directions that your GPS is providing.  It’s not that God is not providing answers, it’s that we have not stopped the flow of noise that is constantly moving in our direction.

So may I suggest to you today, that the next time you grab your Bible, or you kneel to pray, that you end your quiet time, with a few minutes of total silence before the Lord.

If it is hard for your brain to quiet down for a few minutes, I suggest that you bring a notebook to your chair and write down your thoughts as they come to you, until your brain quiets down.  It will take time to develop this new habit, but it will be your most treasured time with God once you master it.  This is a discipline that will reward you over and over again.  You will start to clearly hear the guiding words and instructions from the one who loves you most, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.

Blessings to each of you, as you start a deeper journey with your Heavenly Father!

Have You Prepared A Place ?

9 She said to her husband, “I know that this man who often comes our way is a holy man of God. 10 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.”

11 One day when Elisha came, he went up to his room and lay down there. 12 He said to his servant Gehazi, “Call the Shunammite.” So he called her, and she stood before him. 13 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.”

14 “What can be done for her?” Elisha asked.

Gehazi said, “She has no son, and her husband is old.”

15 Then Elisha said, “Call her.” So he called her, and she stood in the doorway. 16 “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!”

17 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.

I was intrigued a few days ago as I was reading my Bible, and came to a passage of scripture in 2nd Kings 4:8-17.   In this passage a wealthy woman from Shunem invited Elijah to come to her home for a meal.   After his first visit he continued to stop there whenever he came to town.

This woman even told her husband that she was sure that this man was a man of God.   She even suggested to her husband that they build a small room for him, and furnish it with a bed and a chair and lamp, so that he would have a place to stay whenever he came to town.

I saw God’s favor all over this.  Elisha, was blessed because he was a man that honored God. He was treated with kindness by this wealthy woman, and she was also hospitable to him. The relationship that was developing between Elisha, the woman and her husband, would end up being a blessing to all three of them.

Little did the wealthy woman know, that her kindness and generosity would play a huge part in her future.  Elisha sent his servant Gehazi to ask what he could do for her?   It turns out that this lady did not have a son.  Elisha promised her that at that same time the next year,  that she would be holding a baby son.

She honestly thought that he was deceiving her, but a year later true to his word she was holding her baby son.

A great lesson from this really beautiful story is that, we never know what our being kind to someone will lead to.  God has so many wonderful ways of blessing us, and when we bless others, He blesses us.

Another great lesson is that Elisha desired to bless her in a way that was possible for him.  He didn’t assume that because she was wealthy that she didn’t have a need. Sometimes a person’s greatest need is the one that you cannot see, so be willing to ask.  Although someone else shared her need with him, he was still the one that inquired.

Here’s another lesson,  God has an abundance of blessings to fit any and every need imaginable. Just keep your eyes fixed on Him and treat others with kindness and He will bless you whether directly or indirectly through someone else.  Remember just as we love blessing our children, He loves blessing His children!

Nothing Except A Jar Of Olive Oil

Nothing Except A Jar Of Olive Oil

Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?”
“Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.”
Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.”
She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.”
But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing.
She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.”
Just this week I was reading in 2nd Kings chapter 4, about Elisha and a poor widow.  The widow had come to the end of her resources.  She and her sons were left alone after her husband’s death.  When creditors came knocking at her door to collect the money for the debt that her husband had made, I am sure that she was afraid that her sons would have to become slaves to work off the debt.

You see, her sons could be taken as slaves in order to work off her husband’s debt, if she could not pay back the money that he had borrowed.  Typically, if slaves were taken for the purpose of working off a debt, they would have to work for six years and they would be released in the seventh year.  I am sure the thought of this was very frightening to her, because if this happened, she would then be left totally alone.

In her moment of distress, she went to Elisha and explained to him her plight.  He immediately asked her what do you have in your house?  Her response to his question was nothing except olive oil.   What I love about this story are the two words “nothing except”.

You see God can do miraculous things with our “nothing except”.   He can do for us what He did for the widow.  He can multiply our “nothing except”.

Elisha told her to go to her friends and neighbors and borrow as many empty jars as she could.  When she returned, He told her to close the door, and pour the oil into the containers until all of them were full.  Then he told her to take the jars of oil and sell them.

Look at God!  What I love about God is that He does impossible math.   He performs the supernatural on our behalf.  He doesn’t just bless us with what we need, He supersedes our expectations and blesses us bountifully.  He also blesses us so creatively that only He can get the glory for the blessing.

Because of the widow’s obedience, she was able to pay off her husband’s debt and she still had money for her and her sons to live on.  Suppose she had doubted what Elisha was asking her to do, because it didn’t seem possible that this would generate enough income to pay off the debt, much less to live on afterwards.  She clearly would have missed seeing the power of God at work on her behalf.  In God’s hands “our nothing except”  is more than enough.

Always remember that our job is simply to trust and obey His directions and He will do the miraculous, the supernatural, the impossible and the incredible on our behalf.  Our disaster is always God’s opportunity, so if you are in a hard place right now be encouraged, you are about to see things that you didn’t think were possible.
Exodus 22:22-23
22 “Do not take advantage of the widow or the fatherless. 23 If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry.Deuteronomy 10:18
18 He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.
Psalm 146:9
The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.
1 Timothy 5:5
The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help.
Psalm 68:5
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.
James 1:27
27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.