Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“But rejoice that you share in the sufferings of The Messiah, for in this way also you shall rejoice and be jubilant in the revelation of His glory.”
1 Peter 4: 13
1st Century Aramaic Bible
in Plain English
When God’s Voice Is Silent
“I shall Praise the Lord forever,
Though I cannot see His face;
For in my heart, I KNOW the Truth,
I’m saved ONLY by His Grace!
Oh, I shall Praise Him all the more
When I cannot hear His voice;
For in my heart I KNOW the Truth,
His Word says I’m His choice!
Yes, when God’s voice is silent
And His presence is concealed,
Looking to the Cross, I know,
He’s felt everything I feel.
And one day in His own time,
ALL will be revealed!!”
Linda Louise Oliver
(The text today was the catalyst for the above poem written by Linda Oliver, whom I refer to as Transformation Garden’s resident poet. I’m so thankful God sent Linda to the Garden several years ago. We have truly been blest by her poetry, often written at times when Linda, herself, is suffering from the effects of Multiple Sclerosis.)
Today’s Study Texts:
“And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab.”
1 Kings 17: 1
“A Nobody From Nowhere”
“More men (and women) fail through lack of purpose than through lack of talent.”
Have I ever thought I was a “nobody”?
How do I think God has used “nobodies” throughout history to accomplish His heavenly purpose here on earth?
“Reject low living, sight walking, small planning, casual praying, and limited giving – God has chosen you for greatness.”
Anne Graham Lotz
I Saw The Lord
“God is not sleeping, nor is He uncaring. Soon an Elijah will burst upon the scene out of nowhere. He (or she) may appear to be an unlikely choice…he (or she) may seem to possess none of the attributes needed to be a leader of God’s people. But God delights in using the unlikely.”
William J. Petersen
Meet Me on the Mountain
Many years ago, one of my close girlfriends and I were talking about all the places we had lived as kids. My parents moved frequently -- way too often for my taste, to be quite honest. It seemed that just when I began to get my roots down, my dad’s job would send the “hated” moving van, and off we would be to some new location where I’d start the process all over again of trying to make friends at a new school or in a new neighborhood. My friend, Edie, on the other hand, lived on a family farm in rural Arizona. Her take on my “moving” complaint gave me quite a different perspective. As she related her feelings one day, she blurted out, “I had only one goal when I was young and that was not to be known as Edith from Cornville, Arizona.”
Knowing today that her family’s farm has, over the 40 years which have elapsed, turned into a gorgeous ranch with a wine vineyard, she might now have a different thought on the matter. But year’s ago, to hear her tell about living out in “nowhere,” it seemed that getting to a bigger place where she felt like somebody certainly was a dream.
I think most of us can relate to how my friend felt. I know I surely can for some of the small towns where our family lived made me say, “I feel like a nobody from nowhere!” How about you? Have you ever felt there was nothing special about yourself? Do you feel as though you are one in a line of many -- whatever the many happens to be.
Well, you have company! Very illustrious company, I might add, for the man whose life we will be studying for the next couple of weeks certainly ranks near the top of the list of people referred to as “nobodies from nowhere,” that is if you just look at the exterior of their lives.
When we meet Elijah, he comes onto history’s landscape in a rather explosive manner. I like the descriptive way Alexander Whyte uses to describe Elijah’s abrupt appearance: “There is a volcanic suddenness, and a volcanic violence, about all Elijah’s descents upon us and all his disappearances from us. We call him Elijah the Tishbite, but we are no wiser of that. We do not even know where Tishbe is. Elijah has neither father nor mother.”
At a time in history when Biblical writers paid a great deal of attention to ancestral heritage -- no names were given to Elijah’s parents. The little we do know is that he apparently was born and raised in Gilead, an area which lay east of the Jordan. What we do know about Gilead is that it was a wild and extremely rugged geographical region. There were “shaggy” forests and lonely “solitudes” which were interrupted by mountain streams. And the lonely valleys of Gilead were perfect terrain for wild beasts. F. B Meyer paints this picture for us: “The inhabitants of Gilead partook of the character of their country -- wild, lawless, and unkempt. They dwelt in rude stone villages; subsisted by keeping flocks of sheep.”
Now let’s just say some one came to you and asked you to be part of a search committee to choose the leading revivalist for your country. An evangelist who would be the “Voice!” This person would be the number one individual who would appeal to the sensibilities of the leading nation in calling its citizenry back to God. If you had a résumé from Elijah do you think much attention would be paid to this “nobody from nowhere?”
But I’ll add, don’t be too hard on yourself if you think Elijah sounded like the wrong guy for the job. As William Petersen astutely observed, Elijah, himself, most likely felt completely unqualified to accept the task at hand. Petersen lays out this scenario which, I believe, aptly portrays not only how Elijah may have felt, but how you and I may have responded to a call from God had we been in Elijah’s sandals:
“Elijah? What did he have?
In his hand or in his background?
Elijah was from the wrong side of the river…
Besides that, he didn’t have a family tree to talk about, or education, or training that
would propel him into prominence and responsibility.
ELIJAH: God, I don’t know what I have that You can use.
GOD: Well, Elijah, you believe Me, don’t you?
ELIJAH: Yes, I believe You, Lord.
GOD: I can use that.
GOD: Faith can move mountains, you know.
ELIJAH: I didn’t say I had faith.
GOD: But you said you believed Me.
GOD: That’s faith, Elijah. Let’s start from there.
ELIJAH: Well, all right, if You want to call it faith, call it faith. But I sure didn’t move any mountains in Gilead.
GOD: I can do great and mighty things through you. Take it from Me, Elijah. The biggest mountain in Israel will never be the same after you and I get through with it.”
Now, this isn’t exactly a conversation from the Bible. But I don’t find it that far off-base, for at times when I’ve felt that God needed me to do something for Him, I’ve reacted in just about the same way.
“Who me? I couldn’t write a daily devotional. I’m no theologian. I don’t have the time. I don’t have the connections.” Let me be honest, five years ago, I had a lot more excuses to avoid a special “purpose” that I couldn’t shake. And guess what, I didn’t have the necessary qualifications. I got that part of the equation right. But what I missed out on at first was that God wasn’t dependent on my expertise -- for He is all-sufficient. Instead, He met every need I had and still does to this very day --which I will note is the anniversary date of the day in my life when a drunk driver tried to kill my husband Jim and me.
In the subsequent years, on a daily basis, I have witnessed first-hand what God can accomplish. In fact, God does amazing things! More than you and I could ever imagine, through the weakest, nobodies on the planet. I know! I’m one of them! I couldn’t ever have thought that all because of my forced seclusion, due to life-changing injuries, I’d be blessed to pray for thousands of God’s children every day because that is something I can do, even when there’s a day that I can’t walk around!
If today you feel like a “nobody from nowhere,” but deep in your heart, you hear a calling, a soft whisper of an impression that’s quietly speaking your name, inviting you to fulfill a purpose which is meant for no other individual except you, don’t ignore the voice because you think you aren’t good enough…talented enough…smart enough…trained enough. Instead, think of how God used Moses, who thought he couldn’t talk well enough. And how God used Jeremiah who said he was too young. Or how God used Rahab, even though she was a harlot and a Canaanite on top of that. The list of nobodies in the Bible is so long, well, it takes up the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, because it is the “unlikeliest” of individuals whom God loves to empower with His grace.
This is why it is so appropriate today, that our text and thought of encouragement came from Linda Oliver whose poetic inspiration emanates from a hand and a body which faces the daily struggle with the disabling effects of Multiple Sclerosis. Linda writes from a heart acquainted with suffering and this is why her messages, now shared with thousands of God’s children around the world, make such a difference. She could give all kinds of excuses to “take it easy.” But instead, she responded, just like Elijah and oh, how God is using her, just as He used Elijah the Tishbite -- the nobody from nowhere!
“Being endowed with a divine purpose is nothing less than a precious gift from our loving Creator who wants us to be all that we were meant to be for His glory.”
“God, heavenly Father,
The story of my life is not unlike the writing of a book.
The dawning of each day is not unlike the turning of a fresh new page, white and clean, perfectly blank, waiting to be filled with the actions and words of today.
I am ashamed when I think of those earlier pages, of the volume of days that went to make up the story of my life.
It was Your Son who made the difference to my record, by his entry into our world.
Living and dying, He wrote a new story, my story.
Father, let me dedicate this new day to You, in love and gratitude for all that You have done.
May I see today as the writing of a new fresh page, the story of my life in Yours and Yours in mine.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. Just to let you know, Transformation Garden is now on FACEBOOK. Please come and see us and share the garden with your friends. The Daily Devotional will be posted everyday, on Monday through Friday on Facebook, too.
My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, and www.Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You may also call Transformation Garden at 480-281-1508.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.