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2 Kings 5 – Day 2

2 Kings 5:2-4 – “And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman’s wife. And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy. And one went in, and told his lord, saying, Thus and thus said the maid that is of the land of Israel.”

My daughter had the opportunity to go to a birthday party this weekend at a very crowded shopping establishment for a scavenger hunt. My son had participated in one at this same place last year, in the daytime, and he had to interact with all kinds of people he didn’t know. So, when I found out that this scavenger hunt was taking place on a Saturday night, my mommy alarms went off. There are too many crazies out there and my daughter is young and pretty – the perfect candidate for human trafficking. Nope, not happening if I can keep it from happening.

So, what does this have to do with today’s lesson?

The Syrians had gone over to Israel and brought back some people, particularly a young girl. This girl was taken from her family and brought back to Syria and was now serving Naaman’s wife. I’m guessing that she was treated fairly well, just based on the information given here. But still, she was taken. My heart goes out to her parents.

But this young girl was extraordinary. When she saw the need of Naaman and his condition, she didn’t hesitate to speak up and offer a solution. She was there serving in his house. She was no longer under her parents’ roof and following their rules and yet, she did the right thing. God knew her heart. He knew that she was the right person for the job. He knew what could happen in Naaman’s life if he just listened to this young girl. 

The circumstances were rare. I’m sure that a slave speaking up to her master in regards to her master’s husband’s condition was rare. Slaves were just that, slaves. Their thoughts and opinions rarely mattered. However, God had prepared the way – both in the life of Naaman and his household and in the young girl’s life.

You see, her parents had to have raised her to love and respect God. She had listened to the stories and maybe even experienced some of the wonders that Elisha had performed. She knew that Elisha was a man of God. She knew that if her master would go to him that he would ask God to heal him. The only way she could have known this was if she had been taught or had personal experience of it. God had been working in her short life.

So, despite the sad circumstances and the tragedy of losing a child, God was able to use this situation for good and for His honor and glory. 

There are times when we have to turn it over to God. We can’t worry about it. We can’t really try and do anything about it. We just have to trust that God has a plan in all of it. 

But He also gave us mommy alarms to keep our little bundles of joy from potentially harmful situations. We have to listen to those as well.

Today, you have read a portion of God’s word. You have seen how God worked in a terrible situation by providing Naaman with the opportunity to reach out to Him. God is always working in our life. He is constantly creating ways to show Himself to you and to bring you closer to Him. Use whatever circumstances you find your self in today to draw closer to Him. He will use you in ways you can’t even dream if you will just be ready and willing to serve. 

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Another temptation 

James 1:2-4 – “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

Usually when I think of temptation, I think of doing something I know I shouldn’t – like eating that donut as big as your head or watching a show that you know you wouldn’t watch if Jesus was physically sitting on the couch next to you.  But let me ask this question- what if self pity is a temptation? I mean, think about it, haven’t you ever just felt the tug to feel sorry for yourself about something? “Poor little me, I have so much to do and I am so under appreciated.” 

I know I feel that way from time to time. In fact, I was there last night. I had thought my week was set. I had a large function behind me, laundry was on its way to the finish line, lunch was ready for the next day – I was set. Then, I get an email about an unexpected practice this week. Boom! Monkey wrench! Suddenly, I’m rearranging and contemplating and becoming more and more anxious because this monkey wrench felt like the Empire State Building had been dropped into the middle of my week. Now, I’m over exaggerating, but that’s what it felt like. 

I could almost see the devil in the corner rubbing his greedy little hands together saying, “Ooh weee, we got her now!” And for a time he did. So sad. I stewed. I cleaned (that’s what I do when I get frustrated). I felt sorry for myself. I was tired of doing and being everything for everyone. 

And then it happened, God started whispering to my heart. He started reminding me that He had provided my husband to help me figure things out. He had provided friends to be there when one of the kids needed a ride. He had provided Grandpa to help on Tuesday nights. He had provided. 

God was trying to grow my faith and my patience. Patience for not only my situation but also for myself. I am constantly learning that I need to chill out and let God do His thing. He must get so tired of teaching me that lesson but praise His name, He never quits. 

The waiting game

Psalm 27:14 – “Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.”

Who likes to wait? Who wants to sit around wondering what will happen? Isn’t that the reason we sneak a peak at the end of the book? Isn’t that when most people find trouble – while they are waiting?

We are a “I want it and I want it NOW” kind of people. We despise waiting. But it seems like our life is full of waiting – doctor’s offices, grocery store, traffic – you name it, and I have probably waited for it. 

Waiting can be a tricky thing. There are times that require us to wait and see what happens. There are other times when we think we know what’s going to happen, but we still have to wait. 

Waiting can teach us or waiting can harm us. It can teach us patience and trust. But when we ignore these lessons, we often find ourself in anxiety and trouble. 

Some people approach waiting with worry. They feel they have no control and therefore they become fearful and anxious. They dwell on what cannot be controlled and become concerned that horrible things are going to happen. 

But the other side of the coin is to trust and be patient. That is the hard part. While waiting, one can learn to turn it all over in prayer. Every last detail can be laid at the cross for Jesus to handle. That too is tough. We like to think that we need to carry just a little bit. We think that it is necessary to hold on to something just in case. This shows mistrust. This is an indicator that the trust factor isn’t fully there. 

Oh, it sounds easy – “Just pray about it and let God deal with it. He’s got it all under control.” And yes, that’s absolutely true. And that’s what our heart is telling us but our minds are spinning and churning out scenarios that can bring us into a stew. 

So, how do you make the two things work together- mind and heart? I have no idea. Let me know if you figure that one out. I think we all face this challenge of waiting, worrying and trusting. It’s tough. 

“Hurry up and wait!” That’s seems to be a common theme some days in my life. But you know what, there is a reason that I need that lesson. I’m waiting on a much bigger event than getting my teeth cleaned – I’m waiting on the return of my Savior. 

And as I wait on Him, I’m learning to trust Him in the little things. I’m  trying to learn that I don’t have to know all the answers right this second. I’m trying to learn that it’s okay to have uncertainty in some things (just not eternity). I’m trying to learn that there is a reason that I’m waiting. 

You will probably find yourself waiting sometime today, I can pretty much guarantee it. So what are you going to do while you wait? Will you sit there and wiggle and squirm and wonder and stress out? Or will you calm down a bit, pray and count your blessings? Maybe it will be a bit of both scenes, that’s probably my answer. I’m trying to learn more of an holy way to approach things, but it is a process. It takes time – more waiting. ­čśë

Psalm 107:25-31 – “For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof.┬áThey mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble.┬áThey reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end.┬áThen they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses.┬áHe maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.┬áThen are they glad because they be quiet; so he bringeth them unto their desired haven.┬áOh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!”

Last Friday was the weirdest weather day I have seen in a long time. The morning began with a light drizzle and super cloudy. By mid morning, it was beginning to rain somewhat. It has slacked up enough for me to get out of my car and go into work without an umbrella. But by 11 am, it was as dark as night outside and the wind was blowing like crazy and the heavens opened up. It was a deluge! So as we all sat checking our weather app for tornado warnings (which, by the way, are no fun at a nursing home), the storm raged on.

But the wierdest thing about the whole day was that by 1 pm there wasn’t a cloud in the sky! No joke. Totally clear with a cool, light breeze. It was simply beautiful. In fact, I came home and sat on my porch and read a book. It was lovely.

What started out as a tumultuous and scary day turned out to be a beautiful and peaceful evening.

It made me think, isn’t that just like God? The storms of my life go raging on and seem as though they will never stop until something is destroyed. I turn to God seeking His widsom and His leadership to keep me safe and help me through it. And before I know it, the clouds are gone; the winds have calmed; and I am left with the beauty of the aftermath.

I hope and pray that you have such a sanctuary and solice in the midst of your storms. If not, please seek Him out. Choose to let Him have the dominion and leadership in your life get you through whatever storm may be blowing into your life today.

Your Glass

Psalm 23 – “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.”

I was listening to the radio yesterday. It was “Thankful Thursday”. One lady called in to tell what she was thankful for and the radio person commented that she sounded like a “glass is half full” kind of person. She responded, “No, not really. I just know that the glass can be refilled.” I loved that!

Society wants to put us into two categories – optimist or pessimist. But I agree with this woman, I think there is a third category that never really dawned on me until yesterday – a follower of Christ. Now, I’ve used that phrase multiple times in the past but this time I see it as a category. 

A follower of Christ sees the glass, understands that the glass is always changing and knows that if he/she keeps following the Owner of the glass that the glass will always provide what the follower needs. It’s not about the glass being empty and all is horrible or the glass being full and all is well. It is about Who controls the glass and its contents and Who controls our perspective of the glass. 

I think that Psalm 23 accurately portrays this truth. David had been through all these situations in his life. And he knew that God never left him in any of them. His glass was sometimes full and running over and sometimes his glass was dry as a bone. Sometimes he held his glass in the valley and sometimes he held it on the mountain top. And in each situation and in each location, David never faced these challenges alone. He always had the Filler and Owner of the glass on his side. 

So I ask you today, are you a “glass is half full” kind of person or a “glass is half empty” kind of person? Or are you that odd ball category of “follower of Christ” kind of category that sees things totally different than everyone else? Let me encourage you to change your perspective and try something new. Seek out the Owner of the glass. Let Him show you how changing your perspective can change your life. 

Worry

Matthew 6:27-34 – “Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his statureAnd why take ye thought for raimentConsider the lilies of the fieldhow they grow; they toil notneither do they spinAnd yet I say unto youThat even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of theseWhereforeif God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day isand to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he  not much more clothe you, O ye of little faithTherefore take no thoughtsayingWhat shall we eatorWhat shall we drinkorWherewithal shall we be clothed(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek­čÖé for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these thingsBut seek ye first the kingdom of Godand his righteousnessand all these things shall be added unto youTake therefore no thought for the morrowfor the morrow shall take thought for the things of itselfSufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

Have you ever felt plagued with worry? There are so many things that need your attention that you feel like you are ignoring some or part of them. 

I know these verses do not say the word “worry” in them, but read closely. It is what they are about. Back when Jesus spoke these words, they lived much differently than we do today, or at least some of us. (We just had a dinner at church that made me keenly aware that there are people who are not as fortunate as I am.) Anyway, many of the people of Jesus’s time were very concerned, and even worried, about where their next meal would come from or would they have the clothes they needed for the upcoming cold months. 

Jesus is trying to teach them, and us, that we need to rely fully upon Him for all our needs. You see, we seem to think that we can handle the small stuff. We shouldn’t have to bother God with our little problems. He has bigger things to deal with. 

Worry stems from a lack of trust. I remember the first time I left my children at home by themselves. I was worried. I was worried because I had not yet built up that trust with them. I didn’t trust them to not put metal in the microwave. I didn’t trust them not to get into the pool. I had to step out a few times and learn to trust that they would remember what I had taught them and remember the warnings that I had given them. I had to learn to trust them. 

The same thing happens with Jesus. You have to learn to trust Him. You have to give Him things to deal with so that you can know that you can trust Him. And He knows that you have to do this. He is ready for the test. You see, if you can’t trust Jesus for the little things, how can you trust Him for the big things? 

So today, Princess, I want you to step out and trust Him. Don’t worry about things. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Let Him handle it. When something comes up today that you don’t know how to handle, give it to Him. Tell Him that you have no idea how to handle this situation and you need help. He will come running. He wants you to trust Him implicitly. He doesn’t want you to worry for anything.  

Besides, worrying causes wrinkles. 

Burdens

Psalm 55:22 – “Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.”

My kids are in middle school. Sometimes, they come home with their backpacks so laden with books that they are bent at the waist trying to carry them. They are walking with their faces toward the ground and with a saddened look in their eyes with the dread of all the homework they have to do that night.

All my life I have have heard the analogy of leaving your burdens at the cross. And when you unload them from you pack, you have to turn away from them and walk away. The problem is that all too often we pick them up and carry them around a bit more. We put them back into our pack and begin to look like a bunch of middle school students walking around with a load of homework. Our face is to the ground and our eyes are sad.

Why do we do this? Why do we feel that we must pick them up again once we lay them down? Why do we let our burdens steal our joy? Why do we wear our sad faces like a badge of honor – just accepting our lot in life to be miserable?

Sometimes life stinks. You may have days, weeks or maybe even months that just flat out stink. Situations or circumstances just make you miserable. People just totally disappoint you. The list could go on and on.

Yet, we do have an outlet. We do have a Savior who gets it. He knows what it is like to be disappointed in people. He knows what it is like to have life stink sometimes. Think about Jesus in the Garden for a moment. He was there with the weight of the world on His shoulders. Life was stinking pretty bad. His friends were supposed to be supporting Him and every time He went back to them they were sleeping. People were disappointing Him right and left. Yet, when He reached the pinnacle of disappointment, He had peace. He was standing amongst the leaders of the Jews while they were spewing lies about Him and He said nothing. He just let them rail on Him. He had laid His burdens at His Father’s feet and left them there. He knew that He would take care of them. And although people continued to disappoint Him and His life began to stink even more, He had peace.

That’s the key – leave your burdens where you lay them. Don’t pick them up and hold them for a while. Don’t look at them longingly. Don’t go back and pet them. Leave them there. Let God handle them. You may not get the answer you want or it may not be in the time you think it should be, but remember – Romans 8:28 – “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”