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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Transparent Request

When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, "Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you." And Elisha said, "Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me." 2 Kings 2:9

When my kids were much younger, shortly after their dad's and my separation, I would cook strategically. When I shopped, it was for a certain amount, even with using food stamps or money that I had. I bought a certain number of drumsticks in a package (I actually still do this), a certain number of packed meats or veggies, etc. I did this because our resources were limited which made our food choices limited. On days when one was sick or spending the night out or if I had already eaten/ was not hungry for some reason, I would ask my kids what their request was to eat. I remember my son saying on one such day, "I don't care, Mommy, but I want double." To understand why that was and is so funny but truthful, you must know that my son, my middle child, loves food even though his small frame back then didn't show it!

I wonder if that was the case with Elisha... What a request to make and an honor to Elijah! It took such boldness to say what most of us think when we are around people of "greatness"! And what scary thing to request... Just take a second to think about that. Let's go back over Elijah's life in hyper-speed to understand what Elisha had just asked. 

Elijah came in just as Ahab, son of Omri, became king of Israel. He was the guy that Jezebel threatened after all of her priests were killed. He had done all of these great things in faith and yet when this woman (remember women were low creatures) threatened... no, sent someone else to threaten him, he got so scared that he wanted to die... Like... Wha???? Anyway, after her dismal death by a disjointed worker was done and she became yummy or not so yummy treats for the dogs of the area, he settled into a sanctuary and began to mentor/ disciple Elisha. (1 Kings 17-2 Kings 2) and so leads back to this verse I chose. 

In the beginning of chapter two of Second Kings, Elijah has done incredible work for God. Elisha has gotten to see the bulk of this work, so you know he is in awe of God and the power used through Elijah! So much so that when Elijah tells him to stay behind and asks what he can do for him, in a last request from your favorite performer sort of way, Elisha did not hesitate!! I didn't read, "Let me think about it" nor "can I get back to you" or "umm... welllll"..... No! He immediately said, "Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me,"!!!! Wow!! Even Elijah knew what Elisha had asked for he stated back, "you have asked a hard thing." (2 Kings2:10) That got me wondering, why? Why was it that hard? Here's why...

The original text for spirit is ruwach. The meaning is breath, air or wind. It is derived from the same word meaning smell or scent; perceive or accept. We each have a spirit. We know this because it is with a "broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart" (Psalm 51:17). Wind is never the same for the same person. For me, I love a good heavy breeze. Case in point, recently, I have been becoming so sick that I am near being physically ill or passing out. I don't know why yet but when it happened earlier this week, I was outside this time. I am one that doesn't like to throw up outside.... So as I tried to make my fastest turtle pace walk to the front door, up the stairs and to the bathroom, once I reached the two steps that lead into the house, I knew I was not going to make it. Normally I will lie on the cold floor and fall back to sleep but this time I only had the heat of the day and the hard concrete steps on my side, it seemed. But just then, there was a rash of hard and heavy breezes that came playing through and they were so refreshing to me that it could have been God standing over me breathing onto my almost lifeless body for everyone to see! But fir someone else, who may have a fever, or just like the heat more than they like the crisp air of the fall evening, this same breeze that almost knocked our trash cans down would not have been received well. Much like "each is given a measure of faith" (Romans 12:3), God knows what we can take in our spirit. Scripture says, "To whom much is given, much is required" (Luke 12:48) and this aligns with Jesus asking the twin brothers that wanted to sit at the "right and left" of His Throne in Paradise if they knew what they were asking. 

So much responsibility, so much heartache, so much hate coming his way! But I do think that Elisha knew because he had journeyed with him for much of his ministry. He saw, he heard, he lived it with him. But at the same time, he didn't know what went on in Elijah's head... What demons tormented him and tried to psych him out or throw him off course. Now align this with today's world...

So many want what someone else has. Money, time, materials, husbands, wives, children, ministries, hearts, faith, testimonies.... Yet they do not know what it takes, nor do they have, to carry them. We want what we see, in today's world when it comes to coveting others.... Elisha desired what he saw God doing in the life of Elijah. It wasn't the status, the fame, the name that many feared... It was the God of Elijah that he sought after and he knew that Elijah and God were very close in spirit, what we would call besties today and more. I long for that! I want that! I want to know God so well that He speaks as well of me as I do Him. Wait.... he does speak well of me! It's in His Holy Word! He speaks well of you too! Get to know the God of your salvation, the God Elijah and Elisha. The God of the impossible. It's okay to have someone that you admire and long to be like, if that person exhibits Jesus to you. But don't just want to become like them, long to be just as much Jesus in someone else's life as they have been in yours. That's a double portion!

Dear giving Father! Thank You so much for the gifts that You give us. Thank You for the breath that you handcraft for each of us. I ask, Lord, that when we are in need, that You would give us that extra breath, that extra portion in addition to what You have already given us. For whatever we need.... In Jesus name! Amen!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

All for You and Me!


“But because of our sins he was wounded, beaten because of the evil we did. We are healed by the punishment he suffered, made whole by the blows he received.” Isaiah 53:5 GNT

"Of the many paradoxes of Good Friday, one of the strangest is the way in which Jesus’ death transformed something totally ugly into something stunningly beautiful. Crucifixion was a punishment reserved for the worst of the enemies of the state. It was cheap--prisoners could be nailed to any tree and left to hang there till dead. It was public--the passersby could come by and gawk, suitably discouraged from committing such crimes. And it was excruciating--beheading was instantaneous, but a crucifixion victim could linger in agony for days. 

The Romans’ worst punishment was God’s choice for the punishing of his Son, whom he now considered to be the worst sinner of all time. The prophet Isaiah, seven centuries before Christ, was allowed to look into the future to see the strange way in which salvation for the human race would be won. “He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5). There is no longer any condemnation or punishment for those who believe in Christ. His precious body was pierced by dreadful nails; his precious wounds bring you healing." 

This is an excerpt that I read earlier this week from bible.com. It brings some realities back to life for me. How about you? On this Celebration of His Resurrection Day, make it a point to not only thank Him for what He has done for you, but also to reflect on the pain that He took on for you... Whether you asked for it or not... Blessings!!


"In John 19:30, Jesus said, “Tetelestai . . .” which means, “it is finished,” the debt is paid, the punishment has been fulfilled!" (excerpt from the It Is Finished Was Just the Beginning devotion from Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale in Youversion

This morning alone, this word has set me on yet another level to journey... Tetelestai. I started merely thinking, "Ooh! That's a word I want to get tattooed!" And then I began to wonder where to put it, and then what would be the best reason, like why am I getting it and why am I putting it there because I am psycho- analytical like that... And I mean... PSYCHO and analytical separately and fully... So there's that...  anyway, that led me to look up the word in the Blue Letter Bible, which seems to be my "original text" go to. What I found was that the word was not the same. It was transcribed as "teleo" which also means finished. But there was a difference that I needed to understand and so Holy Spirit put in me this hunger to know why it was different and to learn which was which. *Side note: I wish I did this with more practical things like what I and my kids watched, what we listened to, what we read and even what we ate. Don't you?* 

As I jumped into trying to figure out the difference and which was right, I asked for guidance and for God to show me which was right. I went to my rusty, trusty Google and typed in asking what the Greek meaning to the biblical text of "It is finished" and this popped up: https://carm.org/it-is-finished and Holy Spirit used this to rock my existence!! 

Although I love to write and am a lover of certain English subjects in school, I never really grasped the concepts of certain grammar lessons or sentence structure and so I never paid attention to that portion because of it. But I just learned today the sentence structure of this one POWERFUL word is known as perfect passive indicative. Never heard of it either? Welcome to the non grammar boat! I almost went back to the Google list when I read that! But Holy Spirit had me stay on it and read (something I really hate doing if it has to do with learning). What I learned is this: the word tetelestai creates a "perfect tense which indicates that progress of an action has been completed and the result of that is ongoing and in full effect". Gibberish to English translation? Sure! It means that when something is done, when the work is completed and you still get results from it!! How about an example cause I think some may have let that fly by!! When you grow a fruit tree in your backyard and it begins to bloom and fruit is produced, the tree will continue to produce fruit long after you close your eyes on this side (unless someone tears it down). There's nothing else that you have to do!! It's done!! HOW INCREDIBLE!!!! 
So when Jesus said, "It is finished (tetelestai)," on the cross, he had fulfilled everything needed for our salvation!! We can't make ourselves anymore saved, anymore redeemed!! We DO need to carry our cross daily, we do need to remember that faith without works is dead, we do need to bring people to Christ, spread the Gospel, love our neighbors, love each other, care for those who need it, etc., but we cannot make one more deed that will ensure our salvation. We only need to grab hold of it, much like the fruit tree. We don't NEED to prune or cut or prim like we do, we just need to pick the fruit!! How AMAZING is our God!!! What really stuck out to me is the fact that God is an English Teacher!!! Hahaha!!!!

ABBA, thank You for Your teaching, Your grace, Your mercy with us such a slow moving people! Thank You for the gift of Your Son who not only lived in such a way as a blue print for us but fulfilled prophecies, gave himself up to be tried, found guilty and crucified, died on the Cross but also rose from the dead so that we could live as He loves in us!! I love You Lord!! You. Are. Worthy. To. Be. Praised!!! Amen!!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Long Drive Home...

The Long Drive Home

This past weekend was exciting! I was going to see some long lost friends from school and get to visit my birth city that I had not been back to since I was 2! We planned and saved, we crossed our t’s and dotted our i’s. Then the day was here!! I think I drove the entire way there, only stopping once for an hour to sleep (I figured out I can’t drive in the dark as much anymore). My daughters’ and I had so much fun! I was so excited for my classmates to meet two of the Terrific Trio (Son Me had to work)! We did everything our wallet allowed and some more! We bonded and more!

And then there was the drive home… I had been so excited to get there that I didn’t realize how hard the trip home might be. I seemed to have forgotten that this was the same weekend we sprang forward in our clocks and that ALWAYS through me off for a few days. And then I planned to make a few stops on the way home! No Bueno! I did well all day in driving, and then night time came… I struggled the entire time and what was a 13.5 hour trip became a 22 hour trip with all the stopping I did!

On the way there, I remembered driving and apparently blacking out because one minute there was a car in front of me and the next, there wasn’t! Only coming back home, I had to either succumb to the hypnotizing road in a perilous way or surrender my will to stay awake (which wasn’t very good) to God and allow Him to lead. Let me tell you, that was a struggle!! I never realized how much of a struggle surrendering all to Him was until the drive back! I wanted to keep going so that I could get my girls home. They slept most of the way and Mini Me was not feeling well, so it was just me and God. Talk about an Abraham wrestling night!

As the night went on and I realized that was not strong enough to do this on my own, He began to gently lead. I stopped more than I would have liked to, I rested more during the stops than I had decided and the night seemed to drudge on longer than a ship lost at sea looking for a lighthouse signal. I wound up driving overnight and it was horrific! But at the same time, I was at peace. I knew God had us… And then just as it began to be very heavy with fog and the view was even more skewed than it was with my eyes always closing, the dawn broke in! At that very moment, I was listening to a message where Tony Evans said even in a storm, the sun still shines. I wanted to post that on Facebook but couldn’t stop. Then as I drove past a mountain, I saw what he had just said! This is the picture I took, and the Scripture I heard…