Today’s Thought and Text of Encouragement:
“The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.”
Proverbs 4: 18
“Several months ago, one of God’s precious daughters, Regina Lehman, sent me several poems she had written which not only convey her spiritual insight, but her longing to deepen her relationship with Jesus every day. She has graciously given me permission to use her poetry. Today I’m using several verses from one poem, “Have Faith in Jesus.”
Have Faith In Jesus
“I will not trust my human instincts
to solve my problems on my own
When the Lord has given me,
The privilege of taking my cares and worries
and placing them upon His heavenly throne.
Spiritually, I am not where I used to be –
God has a higher calling for my destiny.
He wants to give me the opportunity,
To serve Him wherever He needs me to be.”
Today’s Study Text:
“And the two of them (Elijah and Elisha) went on…and the two of them stood by the Jordan.”
II Kings 2: 6, 7
“Troubles are often the tools by which God fashions us for better things.”
Henry Ward Beecher
Have I ever faced a problem which I thought might “take me down”?
Did this situation seem like a roadblock that would up-end all my well-laid plans?”
How has God led me to this point in time through the troubles which I have faced in my life?
“If we are intended for great ends, we are called to great hazards.”
John Henry Newman
“The Lord does not measure out our afflictions according to our faults, but according to our strength, and looks not what we have deserved, but what we are able to bear.”
It was their last walk together. If I’d been in Elisha’s place, I would have tried to walk as slowly as possible, knowing full-well that my time of fellowship with my friend and mentor, Elijah, was extremely limited.
How I wish I could have been privy to their conversation. I’ve wondered to myself what they talked about. Since they had spent time visiting the “Schools of the Prophets,” it is quite likely Elijah may have been sharing some words of encouragement as well as instruction on how Elisha should proceed in carrying on after Elijah was gone. This pattern would certainly follow the example left by Moses, who in the book of Deuteronomy, addressing the children of Israel for the last time, left heaven’s blueprint – a detailed rendering for a successful, God-blessed life.
Unfortunately, we have no record of exactly what Elijah and Elisha talked about. But we do know one thing, which after reading II Kings, Chapter 2 several times, struck me as a lesson for us today. Furthermore, it is more important than knowing the exact words of their conversation.
There’s an old saying, “actions speak louder than words.” And nothing could speak louder than the behavior of Elijah and Elisha on the day so long ago, when heaven and earth came close together as one of God’s brave warriors was taken up to heaven.
A glimpse into the happenings prior to Elijah’s “trip to heaven” offers you and me such a powerful jolt of encouragement I’m ashamed to say I’ve missed the point completely in the past.
In II Kings 2: 6, 7, there is a phrase which is repeated, “And the two of them went on…and the two of them stood by the Jordan.” In the Hebrew, the word “went” has several meanings as it specifically applies to this text. We could say it means to “walk hence” or to continue to “carry on.” I would liken this in our everyday language to mean to move on with forward motion. Now if we look in the Hebrew at the word “stood,” it also has a variety of meanings, one of which got my attention for it means, “to continue.” As Elijah and Elisha walked together, this was a journey with forward motion, even when they hit a roadblock called the Jordan River. Now let me be perfectly honest with you, these two individuals knew the geography they were traveling very well. They knew that as they walked together they would run smack-dab into the Jordan River. They knew they couldn’t cross it on foot. But this didn’t stop their forward momentum. Even with an impending roadblock in their way, they kept their eyes forward and their feet moving one step in front of the other. They didn’t let the fact that a big problem loomed in front of them hinder them in any way. They didn’t let this challenge divert their attention or their energy. Even when the Bible tells us they “stood” at the Jordan, it was with the intent that this flowing river provided absolutely no barrier to them in getting where God was leading. All I can say is WOW! And I asked myself, “Dorothy, why have you missed this fantastic point before?” You want to know why? It’s because way too often, I’ve allowed my attention – my focus -- and my energy to be sidetracked. I get myself into a dither when I see a roadblock ahead. Or even worse, I create some sort of obstacle in my own mind and it begins to become such a menacing force in my life I’m in a state of agitation, I’m incapable of doing anything. Not that I’m looking for sympathy here, but as I read the multiple prayer requests each day, I can tell you, I know I have company on this journey for I believe most of us frequently find ourselves on a detour not of God’s making, because we concentrate on the hurdles in our lives rather than keeping our eyes on the end result – our heavenly home.
Several days ago, I was flipping channels on the T.V. and happened upon the legendary movie, “The Wizard of Oz.” Of course, any movie that stars a little girl named Dorothy, with magic Red Shoes, fascinates me and has for years. But it took me a long time to comprehend one of the most pertinent lessons from this tale. And it is this: Dorothy and her three friends finally came to realize that the supposedly all-powerful wizard was nothing but a figment of their imaginations. He was really a fake – a paper-tiger.
I ask you today. What is it in your life that has become such a massive roadblock that it is preventing you, right at this very minute, from keeping the forward movement that leads you down the path of God’s calling upon your life? It may be a financial challenge so huge it isn’t possible to be solved by human hands. At least that is what you think. But let me remind you, in the words of one of my favorite “prayer poets,” Ruth Harms Calkins, of God’s amazing ability, for as she writes: “Lord, I’m at the end of all my resources.” And our Father replies, “Child, you’re just at the beginning of Mine.” Seems our financial problems aren’t a challenge for our heavenly Father!
Or perhaps you’ve been told you have just a few weeks or months to be out of your home as my friend Bridget, and my friend Georgia. Along comes God and He reminds us, in the words of Pastor Charles Spurgeon, “Say not my soul, ‘From whence can God relieve my care?’ Remember that Omnipotence has servants everywhere. His method is sublime, His heart profoundly kind. God never is before His time. And never is behind.”
Roadblocks? Obstacles? Impediments? The Jordan River? Whatever it is, God says, “Keep moving forward. I’ve got you covered.”
What’s more, when you hit the Jordan River, don’t plan on sitting down and taking a nap. When God has something so wonderful for you on the other side, you’ll wonder why you walked so slowly and hesitated so long to follow His command.
As you face the roadblocks that are hindering you today, I’d like to share these words from the pen of Robert Leighton who reminds us, in such touching language. “Adversity is the diamond dust Heaven polishes its jewels with.” What a wonderful way to look at the bumps in the road we call life. For if we keep our focus on Jesus and our momentum forward into His loving arms, no challenge will divert us from His care.
As a young girl, I learned this short song about “jewels.” I want to share the words with you for the diamond dust that is falling around your life today should serve only as a reminder of the “jewel” God is polishing – and that “jewel” is you.
“When He cometh, When He cometh,
To make up His jewels,
Precious jewels, precious jewels,
His loved and His own.
Like the stars of the morning,
His bright crown adorning,
They shall shine in their beauty,
Bright gems for His crown.”
W. O. Cushing
”’And they shall be Mine’, says the Lord of hosts, ‘in that day when I publicly recognize and openly declare them to be My jewels My special possession, My peculiar treasure.”
Malachi 3: 17
“O Lord Jesus Christ
Who called people from their daily work
Saying to them, ‘Come ye after Me’,
May we, Your children today,
Hear Your voice
And gladly answer Your call
To give our lives to You
To offer the gift of ourselves
And to give away our hearts to You only.
Bless our hopes
The first tiny stirrings of desire
The little resolve to go forward
The small vision of what might be.
Deal gently with our fears
The hesitation of uncertainty
The darkness of the unknown
The lack of confidence in our own capacity
And turn it all to trust in You.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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