Thursday, January 27, 2011

Keeping the Chamber Ready

2 Kings 4:8-37 tells the story of the Shunammite woman, a woman the Bible refers to as a "great woman" in verse 8 and Elisha. This woman (we never learn her name) saw Elisha pass and constrained him to come and eat bread with them. She didn't just ask, she insisted. After that, Elisha would stop whenever he passed that way and eat with them.

This woman saw that Elisha was "a holy man of God" and she decided to make a chamber there for them in the wall and to furnish it for his comfort so that he could rest there when he passed by.

She never knew when he might be passing that way, but she obviously kept that chamber prepared for him in case he were to visit.

One day when he was visiting he had Gehazi his servant call her to the room and as she stood before him he asked her what she wanted, but she would not tell him. Elisha asked Gehazi what to do for her and he told him that the woman had no child and her husband was old.

So Elisha had her called back and she stood in the doorway of the chamber she had prepared.

He told her she would have a son about a year from then.

She responded, "Nay, my lord, thou man of God, do not lie unto thine handmaid.

A year later she had a son.

And that son grew and grew until he was old enough to go into the fields with his father.

While in the fields with him one day the boy became sick complaining of his head hurting and was carried back to his mother who held him in her lap until around noontime when he died.

What did she do when that promise died?

Did she scream, cry, fall in the floor in hysterics?

No, not quite.

She took that promise and laid it on the bed of the man of God and shut the door.

She called her husband to have him get a chariot ready and have one of the young men take her to the man of God.

Her husband wanted to know why she was going to see him now and her only reply was, "It SHALL be well."

Elisha saw her coming in the distance and he told Gehazi to go meet her and see if everything was well with her, her husband and the child.

Her reply was, "It is well."

When she finally got the Elisha she "caught" his feet and as Gehazi came to pull her off Elisha told him to let her alone because he knew something was wrong.

She finally said, "Did I desire a son of my lord? did I not say, Do not deceive me?"

Elisha told Gehazi to go and take his staff, and not to stop for any reason, and then lay the staff on the boy's face.

But the woman was not going to let it go at that. She didn't get the promise from Gehazi, she had gotten it from Elisha.

Verses 31-37 tell the rest of the story:

And when Elisha was come into the house, behold, the child was dead, and laid upon his bed. He went in therefore, and shut the door upon them twain, and prayed unto the lord, and he went up , and lay upon the child, and put his mouth upon his mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands: and he stretched himself upon the child; and the flesh of the child waxed warm. Then he returned, and walked in the house to and fro; and went up, and stretched himself upon him: and the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. And he called Gehazi, and said, Call this Shunammite. So he called her. And when she was come in unto him, he said, Take up thy son. Then she went in, and fell at his feet, and bowed herself to the ground, and took up her son, and went out.

I have heard this message preached by some great men. Most recently, I heard Bro. Cody Marks preach this titled: "What Do You Do With A Dead Promise."

I think the point he brought out that has so changed me was the fact that this woman that the Bible refers to as a "great woman" took it upon herself to build a room for the man of God and obviously she kept that chamber ready for him at all times because she knew he was a man of God and when he passed by she wanted him to STAY.

After she received that son that he had promised her she didn't forsake that chamber just because she had gotten what she wanted. We know this because when her promised son died she placed him in that room WHERE THE PROMISE WAS MADE!

When he died she went back to where the promise came from.

Now, I am going to be real here for a minute. I have to be honest and say that within the last year with all that has gone on in my life I might have allowed some stuff into my chamber that cluttered it up. I haven't been as diligent about keeping it ready as I should be.

Oh, he could have gotten in there, but there may have been a little dust on the table, and maybe the linens on the bed were not as fresh as they could have been.

God has made me some specific promises in my life, and the other night after a TREMENDOUS service He dealt with me about them.

"I will keep my promises, but there are things in your life that you know you should be doing better. You take care of those things, I will take care of my promises."

And then I heard this message and I knew it was for me.

I have got to get the broom out, break out the duster and freshen the linens, because when He passes by, I don't want Him to look into the chamber in my life I have prepared for His presence to dwell in and it not be prepared for Him to stay.

When He comes by me, I want Him to stay awhile.

And when I find myself holding on to a dead promise I want to have that place ready so that I can take that promise back to where it came from.

God, sweep the corners of my heart, continue to work in my life. I want to be ready when You come by here, I want to ALWAYS be prepared for You.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Along the Journey

My husband and I went on a cruise a couple of weeks ago. It was a new experience for both of us and one I will gladly repeat. For us, cruising is a pretty good deal...we don't drink, I don't even drink sodas and we don't gamble, so, all in all, it was a bargain.

We went into Cozumel, which I found out rather quickly that unless you are into Jewelry there is really not a lot of shopping to do. We walked along the strip dutifully anyway. A couple of people who were very insistent just knew they could succeed in selling me some bauble.

One guy in particular practically drug me into a store wanting to give me a "charm." He grabbed my hand and poured a silver oak leaf into it. I said, "Well, this is nice, but I don't want it."

"Yes! You take it!"

"Nope. I told you when you drug me in here I do not wear jewelry."

"But, you take it, you will wear!"

"Nope. You take it back. I am Pentecostal. I do not wear jewelry."

And with that I poured it into his hand and he apologized.

When we made the return trip by he said, "Come....oh, I remember you."

We rented some scooters and ventured around the island. I was terrified. Traffic is very different. I did really well in the remote areas, but when we were in town about to head back to the boat, Bobby turned one way and after he turned a very kind lady let me know he had turned down a one-way (the WRONG way).

I watched him round the next corner and I reluctantly turned in the opposite direction.

After a few intersections I finally found a street I could turn down. It was one of those instances that I knew I was just going to have to do whatever needed to be done.

I did some very in-depth praying during that time.

We finally met back up. Needless to say my nerves were frazzled when we finally parked the scooters. (and don't tell Bobby, but I would do it again in a heartbeat)

I went to visit my grandmother before the cruise and during trying to change the current subject I told her that we were going on the cruise thinking it would be a nice safe topic.

She promptly set me straight.

All these trips weren't going to mean a thing, the only thing that mattered was going to Heaven...

I get that.

And that is definitely the goal of my life, what I want more than anything.

But do I think that He expects us to sit around and wait until that great and marvelous day?

No, not really.

I am on a journey today. And the destination that I am bound for is Heaven.

Now, as Bro. Martyn Ballestero said, "This bus is going to Chicago."

As long as you stay on the bus, you will make it to your destination. But if you get off in Albuquerque then you will not get to Chicago. Period.

As long as I continue to follow the path that is outlined in the Word of God then I will make it to my destination.

I can have some fun along the way as long as I stay on the path!

So far, so good....with the GPS that I have been using (God's Path Specified).

I have a Pastor that preaches the Truth without fail. He is passionate about it, and he has not watered down the message. He is my Watchman On The Wall!!

I read the Word and study (because I want to be "approved").

I spend time in prayer, talking to Him, because I want Him to know me, and I want to know Him!!

I am continuing forward along this journey called life. Some days are filled with laughter and fun, some days are stressful, some days are sorrowful, but every day is worth the cost to make it to the end!!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

When They Ask Why

I have been blessed to have 2 great nieces that are being raised to love the Lord. In this day and age that is a wonderful thing, indeed.

I have Brooklyn and Kinsley.

I am constantly enthralled by stories about them. And I am awed as I watch their baby features turning into little girl features, even though only get to watch this from a distance.

My sister and I talked today and I could picture Brooklyn in my mind, waking up and, with that sweet little voice, asking for something to eat.

I wish I were there to see her slide on her slide in the living room.

Kinsley, according to her mother is already quoting Bible verses at 21 months.

" Cheeldren, obey yo pa-ents in the Lawd"

"Ou-a God eez One Lawd"

"Peter said unto dem, Hepent, Baphize, Ho-ey Toast"

These babies are amazing!!!

And so are their parents.

I was reading tonight in Deuteronomy Chapter 6 and I thought about these beautiful little girls and the responsibilities we have to our children.

My daughter was telling me the other day about a friend that paid her an extreme compliment. He said he respected her because she actually knew what she believed and why she believed it.

I know it is so tempting when they are so very small and have asked "Why" what seems like a hundred times in a row to simply say "because" and go no further with it.

But in doing that we are essentially robbing our children of the knowledge they need to build their own faith.

In Deuteronomy the 6th Chapter, the Lord admonishes the Israelites to remember.

6:4-12 (NIV) Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your homes. When the LORD your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you-a land with large flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant-then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget the LORD, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

We have become a spoiled, complacent generation that expects life to hand us whatever it is we need. We have become thankless.

Gone are the reminders of where it is He brought us from. We, for the most part, are not toiling the land for our food, sweating and struggling to build a roof over our heads, we live like we are deserving of the bounties we have without remembering the One who makes it all possible.

I can sit with my children and say my life was not always like this. I was bound by sin, a slave to the things of this world, and I always want to be mindful of the One that set me free.

When my grandchildren come along one day and ask "why" Grandma cries and worships, why she sings to the Lord, why she has set aside the things of the world, I want to have all the answers...

"Because once like a bird in prison I dwelt, no freedom from my sorrow I felt, but Jesus came and listened to me. Glory to God, He set me free!"

You have taken the time to explain to your children why the sky is blue, where the water goes when you flush, why puppies shouldn't lick you on the mouth, but have you told them.....

"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one"