Monthly Archives: June 2016

What do I have?

“Elisha replied to her, ‘How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?'” 2 Kings 4:2

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A widow from among the prophets was about to lose her two sons to a creditor. Elisha asked what she had and worked with that. He told her to pour the little oil she had into jars. The oil kept flowing until all the jars were filled. She was able to sell the oil, pay her debts and live on the rest.

God uses what we have, no matter how small. Like the two fish and five loaves of the New Testament, He is able to multiply it to feed a crowd. He doesn’t ask for what we don’t have, but looks for faithfulness with what we’ve been given. He does the rest.

Our part is being faithful with what we have.

What does He ask of me? What do I have.

And…my new rose bush has this one little bloom, but look what one little bloom can do.


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On ending well

“…Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah.” I Kings 19:19-20

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When Elisha was anointed with the “cloak” he left the twelve yolk of oxen to follow Elijah. He would be Elijah’s replacement.

Lord, when you tap the shoulder or spread the cloak, that is the time to act. No looking back. No regrets. Elisha kissed his parents good-bye. He burned the yoke and cooked the oxen for a meal and left.

Life seems to be about endings as much as beginnings. And ending well matters. How I handle the transition, the saying good-bye, is important. Giving respect and then not looking back is crucial. There is a time to move on.

Whether it’s a move, a job change, a new stage of life, etc. Being respectful—yet fully ready to move forward and accept the task he’s called us to—is key.

There’s not enough energy to keep looking back in regret. It’s all about moving forward.

And like Elisha’s plowing equipment, the past is used as fuel for the future. Nothing is wasted in God’s kingdom. It’s all for a purpose.


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The chilly waters of change

“…they rejected him and in their hearts turned back to Egypt.” Acts 7:39

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The Israelites wanted to go back to Egypt—back to the only way they knew—slavery.

It takes time to adjust to the chilly waters of change. It’s not always comfortable to welcome the unseen and embrace the new—to believe and trust when life is thrown off-balance. It’s tempting to go back to lukewarm waters where one knows how to maneuver, even if it’s not the best choice for the long run.

The waters of change take time to adjust to. One has to learn where to step and when to trust the next foothold and move forward. It’s not necessarily the easy way; it’s the new way. And, however scary, it’s better to move forward with God than to turn back to Egypt.

Lord, go with me and lead the way. Let me not turn back to comfort zones and old ways. Give me the faith to believe in You, the trust to know you won’t leave me and the faith to move forward. Amen.

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God’s got this

“He does not fear bad news, nor live in dread of what may happen. For he is settled in his mind that Jehovah will take care of him.” Psalm 112:7 (Living)

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Dread hangs like a heavy dark cloud that may or may not release rain. It specializes in blocking out the sun. Living in dread of what could happen zaps spiritual strength and is a waste of mental energy.

One day of dread added to another, and then another, can result in a lifetime of hovering dark clouds.

I thought it was good to be prepared for the worst. How do I step out of this brooding, foreboding mindset and stop fearing bad news that could happen?

Regardless of what happens or doesn’t happen, God will take care of me. If I need to make adjustments, He’ll let me know. If the bottom falls out, He’s got me. If relationships are strained, He’ll walk with me through the difficult situation.

If I’m settled in my mind that God will take care of me, dread has no place to take hold.

Now then, be settled. God’s got this.

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Where will you go, thoughts of dread–

fears that race like thoroughbreds through my worry-prone head?

If thoughts are bridled and assured of your sovereign care,

where, tell me where, will worries then tread?

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If you’re stumbling in the dark

“The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” Psalm 119:130

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The Word is like a well-worn map that takes you different places every time you open it. It’s meant to be unfolded and used over and over again. It’s a reference to be sought out often, especially at pivotal turns.

The Word is a map that doesn’t fade with time. In fact, each reading of the same passage can bring new insights, brighter light, a different shade or a new angle. The discoveries get better and better.

God wants to illuminate our path and does so by giving guidance through His Word. He reveals road blocks and dead-ends. The Word gives boundaries for life and can let us know when to turn to the left or to the right. It shows the way to the Father’s love and His forever home, heaven.

Stumbling in the dark? Unfold His map and let His words light the way.

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“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” Psalm 119:105

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Matthew 24:35

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.'” Isaiah 30:21

“How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word.” Psalm 119:9

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No detail too small

“Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.'” John 20:27

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Just a week before, this is what Thomas said he would need to believe. “…unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” John 20:25

Jesus knew Thomas’s struggle and met him there. He provided exactly what Thomas needed to believe: the nail scarred hands and pierced side.

No doubt or detail is too small for Jesus to notice. No need is too trivial and no person too insignificant. He goes to great lengths to reveal himself to us, wanting to satisfy the doubts.

He meets us right where we are.

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Just as He noticed little children

and knew that someone touched his cloak…

Just as He saw Zaccheus in the tree

and knew where to throw the net from the boat…

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Just as He knew the heart of the wealthy man

and where to find a donkey beside her colt…

Just as He knew a room was waiting

and exactly when to go…

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The one who knows the details

meets us right where we are;

He understands our doubts

and answers questions of the heart.

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How to stay connected to the vine

“Remain in me and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself, it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” *John 15:4

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He is the vine and we are the branches. We bear fruit according to our connection to the vine. Stay connected, or remain in Him, and bear fruit.  Disconnect, and the branch falls away and withers without producing any fruit. My focus doesn’t need to be on the fruit, but on remaining in Him.

So, how do I remain in Him? It sounds so lofty. I can’t live the life of a monk, but I’d still like to keep my focus on Him throughout the day.

By being nourished spiritually, I can stay close to Him.

It takes a pause to refill spiritually. Pause to read the word and reflect on it. Pause to hide His Word in my heart. Pause to pray and listen to praise songs. These pauses aren’t ways to win His love; I already have that. These pauses help me stay connected to the vine.

And maybe, just maybe, there’ll be some fruit from all those pauses.

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When the alarm goes off

And my feet hit the floor,

When breakfast is over

And day beckons once more…

When interruptions threaten

And troubles take time,

Remain in the Lord

Stay connected to the vine.

As the sun disappears

And all through the night,

Stay camped in His presence

Let Him your battles fight.

When a life is stayed on Him

Good is sure to come,

Because the branch is in the vine

And that’s where fruit comes from.

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photo and poem by Patty Perkins

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*The One Year Bible, NIV, May 26, copyright 1986, Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, IL.

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