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What Do You Have?

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Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?” “Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.”

2 Kings 4:2
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What did she have? The widow had a problem. Since her husband had passed away, she had no way to pay the debt that had amassed, and her children were going to be taken from her as payment. She appealed to Elisha to prevent this from happening. His solution for her was to gather as many jars as she could, take what oil she had, and start pouring it into the jars.

The widow did as she was instructed and was amazed to discover that jar after jar filled with oil. When there were no more jars left, Elisha instructed her to sell the oil and pay off her debt. Whatever remained would be enough to support her and her sons.

We too, like the widow, have real problems. For the widow, her courage, humility, and willingness to ask for help was bigger than her predicament. How she handled her difficulty says a lot about her:

  • She demonstrated her courage when she sought Elisha.
  • She demonstrated humility instead of bowing to pride.
  • She admitted to having a problem she needed help with and was willing to work to solve her problem.
  • She demonstrated her faith by following Elisha’s directions instead of questioning him.

What do you have? Do you have a problem, or do you have courage, humbleness, and bold faith? Like the widow, courageous faith should be the attitude we pray for when faced with difficulties. The widow’s problems did not go away because she had courage, humility and faith, but those things gave her what she needed to work through her problems. This approach worked for the widow, and it will work for us.

In His grace,

Amanda

Women of Faith series

God Notices You

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Thereafter, Hagar used another name to refer to the LORD, who had spoken to her. She said, “You are the God who sees me.”

Genesis 16:13
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Invisible to the elite, Hagar was abused, and considered of little value. Who would even notice her absence if she left? Who would miss her if she was gone?

But God watched over Hagar. He knew what was happening in her life and noted the details of her circumstances. He came to help, guide, and provide for her and show this struggling woman that she, too, was a child of God, valued, accepted, and loved. In His provision, however, it required she return to her mistress and submit to her mistreatment (Genesis 16:9). In our life, we will often discover that God has provided for us, but yet he has not removed our difficult circumstances. During these times, it does not mean He doesn’t care; it means He has a plan we are currently unable to see.

At times in our own lives, we may feel we don’t matter. We can’t see that our lives are making any difference. Maybe our actions go unnoticed; our attempts to reach out are unseen. We feel alone and of little worth.

Just as God watched over Hagar, He guards us, too. Because He calls us his children, we know we are His loved ones whom He valued enough to redeem with the high price of His Son’s life. Not only has He saved us, but He has rescued us from invisibility. God sees you no matter who else you think does not. Embrace the One who creates your worth, defends your soul, and loves you without end. I encourage you today to consider, like Hagar did, an intimate name for God that describes how he has prospered your soul. Is He the lover of your soul? A Light shining in dark places? The irresistible Spring in a hot desert land? Or is He your heart’s desire? The One you long for? For me, He revealed himself as the taste of my most favorite food, the smell of my favorite flower, and the pure love of a child.

Behold his supreme worth. He loves you. You are so visible to Him that He sees the details of your life. Thank You, God, for teaching us what love is.

In His grace,

Amanda

Women of Faith series

Your Advice Makes A Difference

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His wife Zeresh and all his friends said to him…

Esther 5:14

Haman had significant worldly advantages going for him: money, position, and the king’s ear. When he could not get what he wanted, namely Mordecai bowing down before him, his frustration turned to bitter resentment, and the resulting hatred drove him crazy. Haman needed advice, so he shared his infuriating situation with his wife and friends. They fed his out-of-control pride and advised him to have Mordecai hung on a 75-foot gallows.

His wife and friends had the perfect opportunity to offer Haman sound advice. Did Zeresh think twice before suggesting Haman should hang Mordecai? Conceivably she got caught up in the suggestions of Haman’s friends and went along with what they advised. Perhaps she’d spent so much time around Haman that she picked up on his bad habit of rash speaking. Or maybe her heart had grown to love the same worldly advantages Mordecai loved; therefore, she served her pride. Whatever the reason, Zeresh gave her husband nefarious advice, which led to his death.

We do not want to be the type of person who gives advice based on what we think the other person wants to hear, instead of what he or she needs to hear. Just as importantly, we do not want to be the kind of person who will not receive helpful advice because our pride is in opposition. If Zeresh had pointed out the pluses in Haman’s life or advised him to think through what he was about to do, things might have turned out differently. Instead, Zeresh’s tragic counsel cost her the life of her husband and later, the life of her sons. We do not have to wait until the stakes are high to give biblically rooted advice. Our words make a difference in the ordinary daily affairs of our lives.

Lord, I desire to seek the good and speak for the welfare of all those in my sphere of influence (Esther 10:5). I ask for the guidance of Your wisdom and the courage to give advice even if it is counter-culture. I want to make a difference. Amen.

In His grace,

Amanda

Women of Faith series

Straying From God

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The LORD said to me, “Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the LORD loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.”

Hosea 3:1

Unfaithful Gomer left her husband, Hosea, and turned to the temptations of the world with its evil desires. Eventually, she found herself in slavery, imprisoned by her sins. God instructed Hosea to find Gomer and bring her home. Hosea was also commanded to keep her safe and to provide for her. Most importantly, Hosea was to love her once again.

Gomer represents the children of Israel. God tells this story to illustrate His own willingness to find his people, to protect them, and to provide for His nation. He rescues them from their sins and brings them back to His heart, which is filled with unconditional love. Gomer symbolizes us, too, because we stray from God’s commands. If our heart is not committed to God, the lure of temptations will lead us to abandon him.

Be horrified at this, heavens; be shocked and utterly appalled. This is the Lord’s declaration. For My people have committed a double evil: They have abandoned Me, the fountain of living water, and dug cisterns for themselves, cracked cisterns that cannot hold water.

Jeremiah 2:12-13

God is showing us in this verse in Jeremiah, the essence of evil. To God, evil is to prefer something else. When we have tasted and seen that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8) and we abandon the Glory (Jeremiah 2:11) because we desire something else, it’s because we have preferred our own provision. We obtain it faster, we create the choices we prefer, and the quantity we desire. We cast aside the living water and prefer to dig for water elsewhere. Eve rejected God in a similar way when she spurned the wisdom he provided for her and desired for the tree to make her wise (Genesis 3:6).

God is always faithful. He finds us when we hide in the so-called shelters of lust and greed, and He brings us home to his heart. In His forgiving nature, God continually seeks to restore our relationship with him because he stands firm in his commitment to love unconditionally. God’s unfailing love heals our broken souls and serves as a model on how we are to treat others. Like Gomer, some of us have been unfaithful. But God’s faithfulness is forever, for he cannot deny himself (2 Timothy 2:13).

Come, let us return to the Lord, and He will heal us. He will bind up our wounds. He will revive us and raise us up so we can live in His presence. Let us strive to know the Lord. His appearance is as sure as the dawn. He will come to us like the rain, like the spring showers that water the land (Hosea 6:1-3). Let us repent before the Lord because He is faithful to forgive and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). From the overflow of your heart, let your mouth speak. Amen.

In His grace,

Amanda

Women of Faith series