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Four Hundred Children and a Crop of Oatmeal… and Other Misunderstandings

8257194_400x400_FrontIt is amazing how little misunderstandings can cause such an uproar…

You know, things like-

  • Saying the word “Crab!” as innocent verbiage for frustration and your mother thinks that you said, “Crap!” and because that is a  bad word in your house you get punished (apparently I am still struggling with that one from my younger years and am still very thankful I didn’t say “Ship”)
  • Not realizing that staying in the yard meant you couldn’t include the whole 200+ acres of farm it was connected to…
  • Being in a room that was being vandalized by a food fight and you watched but didn’t participate and the teacher walked in only to take names and report everyone to the principal… (sweaty palms, heart racing fast, stomach in throat…  are you feeling it with me here?)
  • Racing to get a sick child for a single mom friend who has you as an emergency pick up person on the school list only to run a yellow light which turned red before your back tires left the white line and a policeman just happens to be right there waiting …
  • Hearing your 4-year-old singing a song, “Satan Love….. whoa, whoa….Satan Love”… and only after freaking out and tracing your steps to find out where you were failing as a parent, finding out that she was only singing “Tainted Love”

Or maybe little misunderstandings like-

  • Your dog barking at night and you think he needs to go out and you get angry only to find out the next morning that he was barking at the bad guys who broke into your car
  • (Before the wonderful invention of iTunes and the internet) staying up for 24 hours straight playing cards and listening to the radio so you can share a song that you love with a friend because she has never heard it …giving up and exhausted … heading for bed and hearing your friend sing the song in the hallway…. just singing the wrong lyrics …and thought it was a totally different title..I’ve been known to sing a few wrong lyrics myself (four hundred children and a crop of oatmeal… you picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille)  so that one ended with a good laugh.

Or maybe those misunderstandings that are better left to be misunderstood, like…..

  • Hearing your 4-year-old sing, “Life is good… Tie it like a sweater (eternal life is better)” and letting her continue because it is so cute…
  • Going ahead and eating the profits for the fundraiser sales and just giving the candy bar to that senior adult who thanked you for the nice gift
  • After the third time trying to pronounce your last name, finally just letting the other person spell it Paul instead of Hall (it happens so much more than you know)

Being misunderstood stinks… oh, I guess there are times that you might be thankful that you were misunderstood, but for the most part, it stinks.  Jumping to conclusions, making rash judgment calls, thinking that someone feels a certain way when you really don’t know what they are feeling at all…….When I do the misunderstanding, I usually end up eating crow (I really never say this little eating crow idiom but talking about ravens… I felt it was totally appropriate)  When others misunderstand me, I usually end up hurt…

I taught the kids this morning about Elijah.. God told him to tell the king there would be no rain and after that he was to go hang out by a brook and the ravens would feed him and the water would keep him from being thirsty.  Elijah did what he was told.  Something that I had never really given thought to before was the fact that the water dried up, but yet it was where God had sent him.  So did Elijah misunderstand God?  Was he really not supposed to go there?  Would God just let him go hungry and thirsty if he was doing what God had told him to do?  Did God not care about him any more?  Though the Bible doesn’t say it, as he watched the waters evaporate daily during the drought, I would imagine that Elijah may have wrestled with a few of these questions.

But here is the part that struck me…. again the Bible doesn’t say what Elijah was thinking but it does say what he did… he did still obey God… He didn’t misunderstand God’s intentions… He never blamed God for his situation.  How easy it would have been to misunderstand God’s hand in the situation… there was more to the story and though Elijah didn’t know what it was at the time, he trusted that God meant what he said when he said that he loved us and he would provide. ..

Elijah got a much needed vacation during that time….. plenty of food, water and time with God but as the water dried up and the ravens stopped grocery shopping…God eventually told Elijah where to go… it was during that trip that others got to see some miracles… If Elijah had misunderstood God’s intentions and given up then other lives would have been lost…

We may not be sitting at a creek waiting for ravens to bring us food.  We may not be at a dried up creek wondering where to go, but we may be misunderstanding God’s love for us in the situation that we are in….maybe someone is thinking that he can’t be worthy of a new path… that the water dried up for a reason and that reason is because God doesn’t care… listen carefully, you may just hear God telling you the direction to home where you will see miracles… I believe God hurts when we misunderstand and give up… didn’t say it was easy… hang in there.

Elijah Fed by the Ravens James Tissot

1 Kings 17

2 Then the Lord said to Elijah, 3 “Go to the east and hide by Kerith Brook, near where it enters the Jordan River. 4 Drink from the brook and eat what the ravens bring you, for I have commanded them to bring you food.”

5 So Elijah did as the Lord told him and camped beside Kerith Brook, east of the Jordan. 6 The ravens brought him bread and meat each morning and evening, and he drank from the brook. 7 But after a while the brook dried up, for there was no rainfall anywhere in the land.

The Widow at Zarephath

8 Then the Lord said to Elijah, 9 “Go and live in the village of Zarephath, near the city of Sidon. I have instructed a widow there to feed you.”

10 So he went to Zarephath. As he arrived at the gates of the village, he saw a widow gathering sticks, and he asked her, “Would you please bring me a little water in a cup?” 11 As she was going to get it, he called to her, “Bring me a bite of bread, too.”

12 But she said, “I swear by the Lord your God that I don’t have a single piece of bread in the house. And I have only a handful of flour left in the jar and a little cooking oil in the bottom of the jug. I was just gathering a few sticks to cook this last meal, and then my son and I will die.”

13 But Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid! Go ahead and do just what you’ve said, but make a little bread for me first. Then use what’s left to prepare a meal for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There will always be flour and olive oil left in your containers until the time when the Lord sends rain and the crops grow again!”

15 So she did as Elijah said, and she and Elijah and her son continued to eat for many days. 16 There was always enough flour and olive oil left in the containers, just as the Lord had promised through Elijah.




 
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Posted by on October 5, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Life Stories

 

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Respect the Chickens…..and other fine May holidays

On Sunday night our plane placed us back in the comforts of home.  However, with that landing we lost the luxuries of the lack of reality and responsibility that we somewhat achieved as we enjoyed a week long family getaway.  Well, we did have to face reality to a certain degree as we watched my husband’s niece get married and we did have to be responsible parents and take a 100_0276daughter to the emergency room while on vacation (a great story for another time) but still… you know what I’m talking about.  Vacations are nice.  I also found out that when we arrived home on Sunday night we also were ending our family time by beginning National Family Week… we were just ahead of our time.  (It also makes you wonder if National Day of Prayer began during National Family week intentionally… I can think of plenty of reasons why it might have… impatience, arguements, etc)  Anyway, I can spend this week enjoying the memories of our past week as a family…

So many holidays and such little time.  I love finding out about little known special days….Today, Cinco de Mayo…. Tomorrow- The Great American Grump Out (yes, refrain from getting your grump on for one whole day)

But there is more… Yesterday, May 4,  was Respect the Chicken Day.  Though there weren’t any local events to celebrate it… or atleast none that I was aware of… I could definitely picture a parade or a bunch of poultry holding signs and bawking …

genisis1Please Respect the Chickens... Okay, so let’s think of the good things about the chickens and respect them….. Chickens are cute and fuzzy and are great at alarming the senses as they wake you in the early morning … they provide pleasantry to the eye as the rooster’s red comb…..  Okay, I can’t do it… I can’t respect the chicken or at least not in the way intended by the poultry concern people… Chickens are only cute and fuzzy  like when they are like two days old then they become incredibly awkward and ugly and I’m not even sure their mother’s think they’re cute….. they are only great at alarming the senses as they chase you around the barnyard trying to peck your head off…and the rooster’s red comb thing.. just gross… I can respect the chicken at Sonny’s Bar-B-Que though.  It is tasty.

I can also respect other chickens… or at least a certain kind I read about yesterday on Respect the Chickens day.  I was reading in I Kings about Elijah and the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel.  My personal paraphrase is this…. Elijah challenged hundreds of prophets of the false god, Baal.  He challenged Baal to burn up the altar and of course, Baal let his prophets down.  God, on the other hand was an incredible showman and lit up the altar, consuming even the rocks, after it had been drenched in water.  When everyone saw this they fell flat on their faces and declared God as the one true God…  These people who fell on the ground in fear for their lives after they had seen God at work are who I will call chickens… but with respect….. so why respect them? well, because they had been standing up against God but when God showed himself they were afraid and threw away their pride and bowed before God and stated who they would worship… but there is more they were asked to prove this by gathering up the false prophets who had been leading and teaching them and bring them back to be killed… those “chickens” had to show that they were serious and they did… they had been knee-knocking scared but could have run away or could have been stubborn and prideful but they were “chicken” enough to respect God’s power

So I do respect some chickens… those who respect God enough to know that He doesn’t fool around with who He says He is..nor does He fool around with his power….

imagesEnjoy the sixth of May and remember to leave your grumpy at the door!

1 Kings 18:16-40

16 So Obadiah went to meet Ahab and told him, and Ahab went to meet Elijah. 17 When he saw Elijah, he said to him, “Is that you, you troubler of Israel?”

18 “I have not made trouble for Israel,” Elijah replied. “But you and your father’s family have. You have abandoned the LORD’s commands and have followed the Baals. 19 Now summon the people from all over Israel to meet me on Mount Carmel. And bring the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.”

20 So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. 21 Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”
But the people said nothing.

22 Then Elijah said to them, “I am the only one of the LORD’s prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets. 23 Get two bulls for us. Let them choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. 24 Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the LORD. The god who answers by fire—he is God.”
Then all the people said, “What you say is good.”

25 Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first, since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but do not light the fire.” 26 So they took the bull given them and prepared it.
Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. “O Baal, answer us!” they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made.

27 At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” 28 So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. 29 Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.

30 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come here to me.” They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the LORD, which was in ruins. 31 Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD had come, saying, “Your name shall be Israel.” 32 With the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD, and he dug a trench around it large enough to hold two seahs [c] of seed. 33 He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, “Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood.”

34 “Do it again,” he said, and they did it again.
“Do it a third time,” he ordered, and they did it the third time. 35 The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench.

36 At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”

38 Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.

39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The LORD -he is God! The LORD -he is God!”

40 Then Elijah commanded them, “Seize the prophets of Baal. Don’t let anyone get away!” They seized them, and Elijah had them brought down to the Kishon Valley and slaughtered there.

 
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Posted by on May 5, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Videos

 

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