"Did I do that?"

Many may remember the corny but amusing television show called, Family Matters, with Steve Urkel. Urkel was famous for making plunders, and in his annoying, Urkely tone of voice, asking, “Did I do thaaat?”

Lately, as I reflect on the course of my adult life, I hear Urkels nasily voice asking myself, “Did I do thaaaat?” How many times did I have a choice before me, and stepped out believing that what I was doing was the perfect will of God, only to question where I was, and what I was doing.

The combination of homeschooling my remaining children, caring for a house, running a ministry (and the endless amount if emails and paperwork to get it off the ground) laundry, dishes, housework, planning for training events, college classes, and most importantly, RELATIONSHIPS, can make me feel like I am sinking into the miry clay faster than I can call out the name of Jesus to save me.

Throw in a few renovations in the house, and the constant moving of rooms of furniture as kids grow up and move out, then come back to stay again, and move out again, and then come home from college…

…the beginning of the empty nest a couple chicks at a time…

Weeding through 25 years of homeschooling curriculum to get rid of some, what goes into a yard sale, what can be donated, fixing up the house and getting rid of material goods in preparation for…

For what Lord?

What is still too difficult to give away? A lifetime of memories.

And in all of this is the dynamics of changing relationships, maturing, evolving, shifting…
from baby to adult, and adult to adult, and sometimes back again.

Once a mom, always a mom but as the children mature it sometimes becomes child to child -I am just as childish at times when I argue with my children -or adult to adult, when I have to repent and admit that they were more mature or correct in their Christlike thinking.

Or maybe it was still, “adult to child” only I was the child? Is chronology everything?

In this I am reminded of God’s plans and purposes. In his ultimate amazing sovereignty.

Behold, children are a gift of the LORD,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
They will not be ashamed
When they speak with their enemies in the gate.
Psalm 127:3-5

I stand in awe before a magnificent God who knew how life giving the relationships in my chaotic life would be. Not matter what the tumbles and turns, it was His straight path for me. A God who has let me teach – and learn – from 8 amazing children.

Suddenly, Urkels voice is not quite so obnoxious in my ears.

The Voice of God in Friendship Evangelism Pt. 2 Stepping Out in Faith

So, when we left off in I Kings 19:9, Elijah was dwelling in the cave at Mr. Horeb having been strengthened by the angel for his forty day journey.
“Then he came there to a cave and lodged there; and behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

Three points to see first: First, Mt. Horeb is another name for Mt. Sinai where God appeared to Moses. God is speaking to Elijah in the place where he demonstrated His power, and to remind Elijah of His covenant with His chosen people. Second, Mt. Horeb is only about a 14 day journey; God had a lesson to teach Elijah in the journey, reminding him of his ability to sustain him in his wilderness experiences. Third, and most obvious – God knows why Elijah is there. God is a God of relationships; He wants to communicate (commune) with us. He is dealing gently with Elijah’s emotional frailty. He is a loving Father who is always teaching us through his Words.
Verse 10: He said, “I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.”

That is what put him under that bush to begin with.
Verse 11 to 13: So He said, “Go forth and stand on the mountain before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD was passing by!
And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind.
And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.
After the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing.
When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

Notice how God again shows his magnificent power on this mountain. He breaks pieces from the hillside – massive boulders tumbling down. Then he passes in fire – like Moses and the burning bush, once again He uses fire to show his magnificent power and recall to Elijah the story of Moses and His covenant promise. However, we read, “The LORD was not in fire.”
“…the sound of a gentle blowing…”
Elijah heard the gentle blowing and he covered his face in his mantle (his prophets cloak) and went out to the entrance of the cave. He covered his face to reverently and fearfully approach God, and stepped out in faith to meet him.

This is how life is most often for us. We want to hear God in the earthquake and the fire. We want an audible voice to tell us where we should go and what we should do. (And sometimes I hear those who boldly profess God told them to do many things that never come to pass in their zeal for the prophetic) The reality is, God speaks to us in a small still voice after we step out to meet Him in fearful reverence of His will for our lives.

Starting up a ministry has been, and is, a fearful step of faith, before an awesome God. It has been painful, hard work, lonely, frustrating, and wonderfully joyous at times. It has been amusing when people have questioned if Dave found a job yet, and when they heard he is still unemployed responded, “Praise God, you are meant to be in ministry full time!” Amusing because we are still fully self -supporting; our donations have yet to meet even one months “bills” related to building a ministry. It is our step of faith like Elijah and our constant waiting on a gentle blowing.

The God again inquires, “What are you doing here Elijah?”

(Do you ever ask one of your children a question more than once because you want them through self reasoning to come to their own conclusions? )
Verses 14 to 15: Then he said, “I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.”

Notice that Elijah does not mention the 450 prophets of Baal that had been killed; he only mentions that he alone is left and sought after. Yes, he was the only prophet left, but God had certainly shown him he was not alone. Yet, God spoke to him gently, not in the earthquake or fire, but in the gentle blowing. God had just shown his power and glory, and yet it appears Elijah still felt the same way about himself – completely alone.
Verses 15 to 16, The LORD said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus, and when you have arrived, you shall anoint Hazael king over Aram; Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint king over Israel; and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place.

After this awesome meeting with God; after 40 days of travel and reminders of the Covenant promises; after earthquakes and fires and an encounter with the Almighty, Elijah is returning, “on your way to the wilderness.”

This is a reminder that even after we step out in faith to meet God; even after we hear the still small voice speak to us, God will often require us to go back through the wilderness to insure that we have the personal maturity and perseverance that is needed to meet the challenges of following Him. What should make us thing we are ever mature enough that God would not continually test us through strength training. We are God’s athletes, forever having to build our muscles of endurance, holiness, faith, and Christ-like love.

It is also a reminder of restoration. God gives Elijah three things to do, and one of them is to anoint Elisha in his place. Elisha was to become a devoted follower and companion to Elijah. Elijah was not alone. God is the One who created us for intimate fellowship, with Him, and with each other.

Where is your wilderness now? Are you 40 days on a journey that you thought would take 2 weeks like we are? Are you listening in the earthquake or the fire and jumping in, instead of waiting for the gentle blowing? Are you fleeing from the enemy or hiding in a cave? Maybe you are huddled under a tree just waiting to die, feeling completely alone?

No matter where you are – the God of Moses and Elijah, is building muscles of endurance, and reminding you of His covenant promises.
Shalom, Jamie

The Voice of God: Frienship Evangelism in Crisis Pt.1

Elijah is one of my favorite prophets. (And David’s too since we named our first son after him.) He was one of the mightiest, yet one of the most real. I see him as David was as a King, Elijah was as a prophet.

In I Kings 19:1-6 we see the fully human side of Elijah at a time of great fear and despair; when Elijah was going through a crisis. Jezebel had stated she was going to hunt him down and kill him for slaying all of her prophets of Baal, and he fled.

Then Jezebel send a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not you life as the life of one of them by to-morrow about this time. And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beer-sheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper-tree: and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, It is enough; now, O Jehovah, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.

Ever want to curl up and die? Uh hum, yeah right. Very few Christians are honest enough to admit that they have; admission to wanting to die is such a lack of faith? I admit it – freely. I have been in the pits of despair and wanted nothing more than to be at peace with Jesus. When questioned, and honest about it, up to 75% of people will admit suicidal ideations at one point or another in their life. That is the thought, not the plan, or the action. Just the thought.

So here is the great, (and he was great) prophet of God, who had just called down FIRE from heaven and burned up a saturated pile of wood in a water filled trench (read I Kings 18) and then slew 450 prophets of Baal, fleeing for his life from the threat of a women! Not only that, he fell into such depression over it that he sat down under a tree and asked to die. Powerful emotions.

What happens next is what I want to point out now –

And he lay down and slept under a juniper-tree; and, behold, an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat.
And he looked, and, behold, there was at his head a cake baking on the coals, and a jug of water. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again.
Still feeling the fatigue of hopelessness and despair.

God sent Elijah an angel to minister to him; to take care of his most basic essential need for food and water, and touch. No words were spoken – just the meeting of his most essential needs. The angel did not need to touch him; he could have simply spoken his name to wake him, but he touched him. Touch brings forth a reassurance that you are not alone; that someone else cares about you.

And the angel of Jehovah came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you. And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.
And he came to a cave, and lodged there;

Obviously it was a supernatural encounter, just like the calling down fire from heaven that enabled Elijah to travel for 40 days on his few meals.

Love, true agape love is a supernatural act.

Compassion and care towards another individual, or group of individuals that meets their basic needs, is the first stage of love. (Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, just charts some of what the bible taught thousands of years before) It is not possible to give people instructions as to where they should go, or what they should do, or who they can turn to, if they too are cold, tired, hungry, or in need of love to focus on the message.

God knows this and instructed his angel, “the journey is too great for you.”

Ponder that till tomorrow.