Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“For you will not go out with haste, nor will you go in flight; for the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.”
Isaiah 52: 12
“Sit still, my daughter! Just sit calmly still!
Nor deem these days – these waiting days -- as ill!
The One who loves thee best, who plans thy way,
Hath not forgotten thy great need today!
And, if He waits, ‘tis sure He waits to prove to thee,
His tender child, His heart’s deep love.
Sit still, my daughter! Just sit calmly still!
Thou longest much to know thy dear Lord’s will!
While anxious thoughts would almost steal their way
Corrodingly within, because of His delay –
Persuade thyself in simple faith to rest
That He, who knows and loves, will do the best.”
J. Danson Smith
Today’s Study Text:
“And (Elijah) called to her, ‘Bring me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.’ As she was going to get it, he (Elijah called to her and said, ‘Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.’”
1 Kings 17: 10, 11
“I Can Do It Myself –
Or Asking God’s Help”
“Unclaimed promises are like uncashed checks; they will keep us from bankruptcy, but not from want.”
Frances Ridley Havergal
When I come to my Father, do I ask for His help with everything in my life?
When God promises so much, do I ever think I should be afraid to ask Him to “open the windows of heaven” and pour out His blessings on my life?
“When we pray, we are standing in the palace, on the glittering floor of the great King’s own reception room…Do not bring stinted petitions and narrow desires, but remember, as high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are His ways above your ways and His thoughts above your thoughts. Ask, therefore, after a Godlike fashion, for great things, for you are before a great throne. Oh, that we always felt this when we came before the throne of grace.”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon
“The greatness of the Promiser enhances the greatness of the promises.”
A. R. Fausset
I’m making a personal confession to you. I think we know each other well enough by now that I can openly and honestly share some of my own struggles in my daily spiritual walk with Jesus because I have found that my challenges are similar to the ones so many of you have told me you face, too.
Here goes -- I don’t like to ask for help. I like to think I’m capable of handling everything on my own -- thank you very much! However, what I’ve found out, by hard experience, is this: the “I’m doing fine on my own,” attitude which I reflect can be disastrous to my spiritual walk.
Why? Because my sassy, “I’m strong enough,” philosophy is often a huge impediment which prevents me (and maybe, you too!) from going to my Father and claiming all (and I mean “All”) He has to give.
Believe me, I’ve tried hard to figure out why I feel like I can handle things on my own. I’ve been told by those who make behavior analysis a full-time business, that as the oldest child in the family, who had an extremely heavy amount of responsibility, put on her shoulders through the years, I have developed a strong sense of ownership and ego satisfaction from doing every task I was given perfectly and by myself. What once gave me a healthy sense of accomplishment has now become an engrained set of behavior patterns which are so entrenched, I never allow myself the opportunity to enjoy the help or kindness from others who may wish to give me their assistance. This may sound like a lot of mumbo-jumbo so I’ll break it down the way someone who cares greatly for me did. “Dorothy,” they said, “You don’t give anybody a chance to help you. You make us feel unneeded in your life!” Oh, did that sting for I didn’t mean to act in an uncaring way -- but I know what was said was true.
It was from this point I began to understand how I had let the runoff from doing everything on my own, spill right over into my life with my heavenly Father.
This is key to what we are going to be studying about over the next eight days for when Elijah landed in Zarephath, this “I can do it myself guy,” came hat-in-hand, having to ask not only for some water to quench his thirst, but for a “morsel” of food and a place to lay his head at night.
Now just think about this for a moment. A man like Elijah, who could do everything on his own, found himself at the mercy of everybody and everything around him. If I had been in Elijah’s sandals, I wouldn’t have liked this situation at all, absolutely not! To underscore how little a “morsel” of food is, I checked the Hebrew meaning of the word and it is “a bit.” However, down through time the word “morsel” has taken on an even more specific meaning: “a small piece or a bite of food.” When we refer in modern terms to a morsel of food, it would be like sitting at lunch with a friend and saying, “How about giving me one tiny bite of your cheesecake? Just one little morsel?” You get the picture.
As our study text tells us, when Elijah got to the point, outside the gates of Zarephath, where a widow was gathering sticks, he asked first for some water. After a 100-mile trip, by foot, across the drought-filled land of Israel, you be certain a drink of water would not only be needed but required. But then the Bible tells us something interesting. We are told that as the widow was already on her way to fulfill Elijah’s request, Elijah called out, “Oh, by the way, could you get me just a bite, a morsel of food?”
This wasn’t some outlandish request for a six-course meal. In fact, it was the request of a hungry man for just a taste of something to eat. It was if anything, a humble request. And it is here where I want to pause and look at what I’ve come to realize has been a stumbling block of my own creation -- you know, the problem that has developed in my own life from my, “I can do fine on my own” attitude.
As we discovered, the lesson that Elijah learned at the Brook Cherith was one of total dependency on his Father’s care. However, God had another lesson for Elijah to learn at Zarephath. And it’s a lesson for all of us who think we are so capable that we are unwilling to let others help us. It is the lesson of humility, the quality of submissive respect. It is the opposite of a prideful spirit which says, “I’m fine on my own. Your help is not needed.”
God led His child, Elijah, directly into a situation where he was dependent on a widow -- a foreigner, at that. He came having to ask and accept the necessities of life --water and food. Even his shelter ended up being the gift of a poor woman -- and we’ll find out more about that in the coming days.
It may be at this point you are wondering how God’s promises have anything to do with a spirit of humility and with Elijah and the widow. Well, quite a lot!! For you see, when I think I can handle it all on my own, I’ve found I often come to God with “stinted” requests as Pastor Charles Haddon calls such miserly petitions. Thinking that I don’t need much help, I don’t ask for much. And I know this to be true because I’m writing from first-hand experience, believe me on this! However, my Father, who loves me so abundantly, despite my many faults, has looked at His poor helpless daughter, Dorothy, and He has gone to work on my problem with trying to handle all of “Dorothy’s world” on my own. Over the past few months, my Father and I have hobbled together over some very rough terrain. And He has shined His loving spotlight on those dark places in my life where I needed to be humbled. For in His time, I’m not only learning to depend on Him, but to understand that part of His power is exhibited as He impresses and uses many of His children to assist Him in carrying out His plans here on earth -- and isn’t that a wonderful thing to happen! Especially from a Father, whose resources are unlimited. And if we’ll learn this lesson of humility, what we’ll find out is that our prayers won’t be withered and dry -- they’ll be expansive, like our Father’s love for us. In the words of William J.C. White, “You never pray with greater power than when you plead the promises of God.” May we in humble spirit never ask in a small manner, but learn to trust on the greatness of our Father’s loving word. So I ask you, “Do you think you can do it all yourself or will you go to your Father and claim His promises to give you all that you need?”
“You cannot starve a man (or woman) who is feeding on God’s promises.”
“Eternal Father, whose Son Jesus was in the fullness of His power most gentle, and in His greatness most humble; bestow His mind and spirit upon us, who have no cause for pride; that clothed in true humility we may discern the way of true greatness.
Hear our prayer through Jesus who is now Lord and Christ.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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