Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“I am weary with my groaning; all night I soak my pillow with tears, I drench my couch with my weeping…Depart from me, all you workers of iniquity, for the Lord has heard the voice of my weeping. The Lord has heard my supplication; the Lord receives my prayer.”
Psalm 6: 6, 8, 9
“The best and sweetest flowers of paradise God gives to His people when they are upon their knees.”
Today’s Study Text:
“And (the widow) went right off and did it, did just as Elijah asked. And it turned out as he said -- daily food for her and her family.”
1 Kings 17: 15
“Daily Food – For Daily Needs”
“Every day the Lord Himself is near me
with a special mercy for each hour;
All my cares He fain would bear, and cheer me,
He whose name is Counselor and power,
The protection of His child and treasure
Is a charge that on Himself He laid;
As your days, your strength shall be in measure,
This the pledge to me He made.”
Carolina Sandell Berg
How have I witnessed in my own life my heavenly Father’s daily care?
Has there ever been a time in my life when I thought I would not have what I needed, when I came to the very moment that I needed heaven’s assistance, God was my very present help in time of trouble?
“When you’ve come to the end of your own resources, and God says no to your wants but yes to your needs, you are more than satisfied.”
“He who gives you the day will also give you the things necessary for the day.”
Gregory of Nyssa
The widow of Zarephath was confronted with a distinct choice. She had been asked by the prophet Elijah for a morsel of food. In fact, after hearing that her meal and oil were critically limited, Elijah had further instructed her to go into her “kitchen” and make him a “little” cake, and while she was at it, he told her that she should be certain to make a cake for herself and her son. I ask you, “What would you have done? How would you have responded?”
I think my first reasonable reaction would have been to look at Elijah and ask him this question. “Did you hear what I said the first time? I said that there isn’t enough meal or oil left for even one cake, let alone three!” And yes, I would have used an exclamation point to drive my words home.
Here’s the thing though, the Bible doesn’t give us “Dorothy’s” response. Instead, we are told, “She did as Elijah said.” The widow proceeded to go into her cooking area with her sticks for building a fire and began to pour out the meal and pour out the oil.
I have to tell you, there are times in the Bible when I would have loved to be an invisible observer -- an unrecognized witness -- to God at work. How about when Daniel was tossed into the lion’s den? I would have loved to be walking beside King Darius the next morning when he called out, “O Daniel, did your God save you?” Wouldn’t you have wept with joy when Daniel called out, “Oh, yes, king, my mighty God was by my side all night long!” WOW! What can you say about a God like that!
While the story of Daniel shines a huge spotlight on the great power of our God -- our Father in heaven -- it’s the daily presence of our Father’s tender care that strikes a cord in my heart today. It’s waking up each morning and knowing that our God, yours and mine, is walking right by our sides, keeping step with us, and carrying us when necessary.
This is why, if I could have witnessed an event in the Bible, just one, while I know I would have longed to be with God’s daughters at the empty tomb on resurrection morning, a close second would be standing by the side of the widow woman in Zarephath as she poured the meal and oil after Elijah’s instruction. Believe it or not, there was enough for the cakes needed for one day. And guess what. The next day, there was enough, too. And so on and so on. Not only did Elijah speak the truth, but his God had, too!
It’s right here that I want to share with you the wonderful quote I have written in the front of my intercessory prayer journal. This book contains nearly 150 names, yours may be one of them, for these are the requests sent to me, on a personal basis, asking me to remember you -- every day -- without fail. Here’s the quote which I hold close to my heart by Pastor R. A. Torrey: “The chief purpose of prayer is that God may be glorified in the answer.”
As I pictured the widowed mother in Zarephath going to her jar of meal and her bottle of oil, every day, I thought of what might be going through her mind. I know that this is what I would have been thinking, “Praise God. There’s enough for today. Thank You dear Lord. We haven’t run out!” Wouldn’t you have been thinking in this way, too?
And it was these thoughts that brought to my remembrance so many blessings which I daily receive but way too often forget to say thank you for. No matter the amount of money we have or don’t have -- the sun was shining this morning in the town where I live. In fact, as I left an office building later, I heard one of the individuals say to a co-worker, “It’s hard to stay inside working when it’s so beautiful outside!” I thought how thankful he should be to have a job.
Because his comment about work reminded me of all the hundreds of prayer requests I’ve received over the last few months from God’s children who have lost their jobs and are desperately seeking employment. What I’m asking God for in the life of Brian, Mary, Stephanie and hundreds of others is that the meal will never run out and the oil will keep pouring -- every day!
This is what God has promised to each of us, “strength for the day.” And while we may feel at times that we have run low on the “fuel” from our Father’s tank, as the widow found out, every single day, our God’s supply never runs out, for He has promised to meet our needs.
As the widow found God’s daily strength and His supply to be enough, so you and I may find that our Father can be trusted, every day, to keep His word and to give us exactly what we need from His storehouse.
I love these words taken from A Silver Lining:
“’The Lord is my strength’ to go on. He gives us power to walk the long lane that seems never to have a turning, to go through those long reaches of life which afford no pleasant surprise, and which depress the spirits in the sameness of a terrible drudgery.
‘The Lord is my strength’ to go up. He is to me the power by which I can climb the Hill Difficulty and not be afraid.
‘The Lord is my strength’ to go down. It is when we leave the bracing heights, where the wind and the sun have been about us, and when we begin to come down the hill into close and more sultry spheres, that the heart is apt to grow faint.”
These words by J. H. Newman descriptively portray the daily walk which became the widow of Zarephath’s response to the God of heaven and earth, “I do not ask to see, the distant scene -- one step enough for me.” One step each day to get a jar of meal and a bottle of oil with enough available for a guest and her entire family -- all because she believed God’s word! I wonder what will happen in your life and mine when we take our Father at His word and live day by day under His watchful care and drawing from His source of strength? What will happen when we believe God will do what He says He will do?
In 1914, the words to the hymn, “He Supplieth All of My Need,” was penned by Thomas O. Chisholm. I found the message to be so appropriate today as we are reminded of our Father’s unlimited supply, given to a foreign woman, a poor widow, who opened her heart to receive from the bounty of the God of heaven and earth:
“All of my need He freely supplieth,
Day after day His goodness I prove;
Mercies unfailing new every morning,
Tell me of God’s unchangeable love.
All of my need He freely supplieth,
There’s not a void that He cannot feel;
Never a burden He cannot lighten,
Never a heartache He cannot heal.
All of my need He freely supplieth,
I shall not want, whatever betide.”
“The widow gave her fragments of food. God took them to feed all of her family as well as Elijah throughout the famine. Little is much when God is in it. Anything turned over to God can be touched and transformed to take care of thousands around us. He waits only for our response.”
W. Phillip Keller
Elijah – Prophet of Power
Just For Me, Just For Today
“Each day I want to be with You, Lord.
I wait patiently for You to be near.
I shut out the ‘goings on’
in my head, at least I try.
I so want to be with You,
to hear what special things You have to say
Just for me, just for today.”
Mrs. Joy H. Tway
“Hold us fast, O Lord of Hosts, that we fall not from Thee. Grant us thankful and obedient hearts, that we may increase daily in the love, knowledge and fear of Thee. Increase our faith, and help our unbelief; that being provided for and relieved of all our needs by Thy fatherly care and providence, we may live a Godly life, to the praise and good example of Thy people…through Jesus Christ our Saviour.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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