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Thoughts From Priscilla Shirer

Dear Friends,

During difficult times have you ever been tempted to focus only on the negative, the lack, the struggle, the sense of hopelessness? And if you were tempted to do so, did it blind you to what you did have? Did it cause you to overlook the blessings that were there all along, even in the midst of those times of lack? It’s not hard to do so. Our mounting concerns during difficult times can blind us to God’s supply.

This week’s “thought” speaks to that situation. It comes from the devotional book entitled “Awaken” by Priscilla Shirer. A friend gave it to me a couple weeks back and I’m just starting to go through it. This particular devotion is entitled “What Do You Have?” and is based on II Kings 4:2 where a widow owes money, is confronted by creditors who come and threaten to take her two sons and sell them into slavery, in order to cover her debt. When Elisha finds out, he asks her: “What can I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?” Priscilla’s insights are quite good. Enjoy!

“A common link nearly always exists between our needs and God’s answers – a thread woven into the fabric of our relationship with the Father that, if overlooked, can cost us the most intimate and majestic experience with Him possible on this side of eternity. And in II Kings 4, this critical strand is clearly marked out for all of us to see.

A woman, bereft of husband and financial stability, came to the prophet Elisha requesting help. Creditors were demanding payment for the debts she owed, and threatening to take her children away as part of the bargain. She was desperate. Crying out. Unable to pay. Unable to do much at all. Elisha graciously listened to her plight. He asked her how she thought he could assist her. But before even waiting for her response to that question, he posed another more vital one: “What do you have?" he asked. “In the house.” In other words, what resources are available to you?

How easily we point to our lack. How specifically we highlight our deficiency. How quickly we become consumed with the glaring evidence of all that’s working against us, the hardships that are pressing us into such desperate straits. We are far less inclined to accentuate the gifts and blessings that remain. But Elisha, in refocusing the widow’s attention on the meager pot of oil sitting there amid all her difficulty and hardship, forever changed the way she would look at her most heart-wrenching need.

It can change the way we look at ours too. Like a glint of sunshine passing through ominous clouds on a dreary day, hope pierced through the darkness in her home. The foundation for a miracle was right under her nose…if only she would take the time and energy required to go and look. If only she would become as invested in expecting God’s answers as she’d been invested in lodging her complaints.

“What do you have in the house?”

What’s in your house? Within your reach? Sometimes we wait impatiently on God when He is patiently waiting on us – waiting for us to recognize what He’s already given as part of the answer to our problem. What little shred of possibility have you chosen to ignore? What little patch of time have you disparaged? What little hints of blessing have you criticized as insufficient? What little, humble beginnings have you shoved to the back of the shelf, considering them too meager or unworthy of being the basis for God’s miraculous intentions?

Maybe the answer you’ve been praying for is already there, a plain-as-day response from God to your plea, immediately ready to be applied to this situation. God will always be faithful to help you through the desperate challenges you face. Some things, obviously, only He can do. But take that good look around to see what’s already at your disposal. That little jar of oil may well be the beginning of the most spectacular move of God you’ve ever seen.

What are some of the “jars of oil” you might be overlooking right now that He’s already provided? Make a list and keep it handy for future gratitude and reflection.” Peter says, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who has called us by His own glory and goodness” (II Peter 1:3).

Are you in one of those downward spirals? Is your focus so fixed on the trial, and the lack, that you can’t even see what He has supplied? What God-given gift might you be overlooking that is right there in your home? Will you pause and look? Will you ask God to show you? Maybe the answer has been there all along, and you just needed this reminder from the prophet Elisha to stop and look around. Noticing is the first step to appreciating, appreciating opens the door to hopeful thinking, and hopeful thinking can lead to very unexpected possibilities. God loves to surprise us!

His grace is sufficient, because His power is made perfect in our weakness, Pastor Jeff


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