Welcome to my blog...

Green trees, cool water, a gentle breeze...the perfect place to sit at the feet of the Master and learn. Jesus taught so often on the shoreline, and He's still speaking today.

This is where I share the lessons He teaches me, often during the time I spend on the shores of a local lake. I don't have all the answers...and some days I don't have any. But I go here when I need to draw near to Him in a tangible way. Come with me...

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Extraordinary Things Done in Ordinary Lives

With this title, I'm totally stealing the theme from the wonderful sermon I heard today.  It was based on 2 Kings 4:1-7.  The passage speaks of a widow with 2 sons. A creditor wants to take the boys into slavery to pay off their deceased father's debt.  The widow cries out to the 'man of God', Elisha, about her plight.   Elisha's response in verse 2 is "How can I help you?  Tell me, what do you have in your house?"  The widow responds that she has nothing but a little oil.

At this point in the sermon, we were shown what 'a little oil' probably looked like...a very small bottle of oil that held perhaps a cup.  Elisha instructed the widow to ask ALL her neighbors for ALL their 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."  The widow follows his directions exactly until she is informed that all the jars are filled.  She then goes back to Elisha to tell him the task is finished and his response is "Go, sell the oil and pay your debts.  You and your sons can live on what is left."  The pastor then uncovered what was most likely the size of the jar the woman had been filling.  It was easily 10 times the size of her small pot of original oil. She had not only filled one of these large containers, but every single one her neighbors had provided.  Obviously it was enough to not only repay the debt, but to provide additional income to live on.  Can you imagine her amazement, relief and joy?  I can.

This message was particularly poignant for me.  If you follow my blog, you know that a little more than a week ago, I bared my soul about the bottom line of my checkbook.  It was a bit of an embarrassment to tell the tale of how I was staring at $20 with 12 days to go til my next pay.  But it also appeared to strike a nerve with readers.  I'm obviously not alone.  Many have been caught short or are hurting due to circumstances beyond their control.

That $20 was my "little bit of oil."  Who was my 'creditor'?  At a minimum, I needed to pay a $75  utility bill, put gas in my car, and replenish some perishable food over the 12 day period.  On November 19th, this is what I wrote..."I'm not sure what these next two weeks hold.  Not sure where the funds will come from to get me through although He's already provided some gas money via my friend.  But, through the events of yesterday, I am reminded of what God said in Matthew 6:27 - 33."  The passage I quoted talks about how worry can't add one hour to our lives.  It tells us that God knows our needs and that He's faithful to supply them.  And once again He was.  In the past few days, I received some gas money from one source, and money to pay the utility bill from another.  Money to buy bread and milk came from yet another person, and gift cards for meals from still another.  Some of the money was a loan, some a gift, but none of it came to me because I requested help directly from those who provided it - it was given because I sought God in prayer and He moved hearts to offer assistance.  But God wasn't satisfied with just meeting the immediate need.  He knows I have other needs that have been put on hold.  Things that must be attended to, but were not as pressing as those previously listed.  On both Wednesday and Saturday I received a check... they totaled $600!  If you had told me I'd be receiving money but would have to guess where it was coming from, I would never in a million years have given you the correct answer.  That's because I think in finite terms and God's ways are infinite.    Because I think logically and God's ways sometimes make no human sense...like taking a small pot of oil and filling multiple large jars.  Who does that?

The main points we were given to take away from the story of the widow and the oil were this.  1)  Ask  - when you have a need cry out to God.  The widow did...I did...and we were heard.  2) Listen - Once you have asked God to provide, be attentive to what He's telling you to do.  For the widow, that meant giving over the little she had so it could be multiplied into much...for me that meant confessing my inability to provide for myself while stating publicly that I had no plan other than the belief that God cared about me and my needs...which leads to 3)  Trust - believe that God is faithful to make good on His promises to meet our needs.

In that previous post I also shared that my son accused me of seeing God in too much - of giving Him too much credit for things that happen in my life.  Once again I say 'guilty' - not in the 'too much' but in seeing God in everything, trusting Him for everything, and believing He can do anything.  He does it over and over and over again.  He proves Himself trustworthy, faithful, and loving.  How can I do anything less than give Him all the glory?  Once again, He has truly done something extraordinary  in this very ordinary life.

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