Almost Gone

© jb katke

This bottle of dish soap has been sitting on my counter for what seems like forever. I wash dishes a couple times a day, but the bottle just doesn’t seem to empty. While it frustrates me, it also brings a story to mind.

A true one.

Long ago, Elisha would pass on messages he got from our Creator to his people. “Y’all are going to experience a time of no rain.”  Because the people were big into idolizing fake gods, and would not pay any attention to him, the Creator told him to leave the area so that they would also experience a lack of encouraging words. (Wait what, the Creator lets us experience life without him?)

Where he was directed to go was the darndest thing. Smack into the country where this false god started from. Elisha hid in a remote part, where getting food would be an impossibility. Here is another amazing fact, birds brought food to him so he would not starve to death.

Sure enough, a drought took place. When the brook where Elisha was staying dried up, the Creator told him to move on to a place where currently a widow was living. Don’t let your imagination run away, it’s not at all what you might be thinking.

When Elisha arrived, he found the widow out gathering some firewood. She aimed to fix herself and her son their last meal, as her pantry was empty. They were gearing up to die. It was a bleak time for everyone.

Elisha asked the widow for a drink of water and thinking further hollered out that some bread would be nice too. At that, she explained her situation. “I have nothing to give you.”

Elisha assured her everything would be ok and not to be afraid. “Give me what I asked for first, then you & the boy can eat.  The Creator said that you won’t run out of food.”

Surprisingly, she did as he asked. Even though she lived in an evil place, the widow sensed Elisha was different; this guy seemed full of hope. Furthermore, Elisha was right on, she never lacked food in her pantry.

I’m not making this up, the story has all the feels of a fairytale where everyone lives happily ever after. You can find it and read even more in the Good Book, I Kings chapter 17. Did you pick up on the same thing I did? Our Creator knows what is going on, sees how we are living, and provides a way to live. That is a fact enough to boggle the mind of anyone.

As is often the case, one thought leads to another. Am I willing to admit I’m not living right? As far as Elisha is concerned, he had to wonder what the Creator was thinking sending him to an evil place. Do you ever wonder how on earth you got in the place you’re in?  And birds bringing him food…come on. Until we remember the Creator can do anything.

As yet, I have not experienced an empty pantry. Could I be as level-headed as this widow if I thought I was about to die; to trust the fact that he cares for me?

The closest we have to the likes of Elisha are ministers that preach truth. I better make sure I place myself within hearing distance of them and heed their words. What they share comes directly from our Creator…and he knows what he’s talkin’ about.

All this from a bottle of dish soap.

The Best Gift Ever

“For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Esther 4:15 NIV

I have a story within a story here, hang with me; every bit of it is true. The above verse is recorded during a very bad time. It hails from a long-ago society that may be hard to imagine today. There was a king, Ahasuerus, big on ego and short on temper. One could say he had a temper tantrum when his wife, who was incredibly beautiful didn’t cooperate when he ordered her to bare herself to his guests. As was common in the day, he just disposed of her. Not killing; worse, making her his concubine. No one in the outside world would have access to her for the rest of life.

But this left the king without a wife. He decides to put on a beauty contest, the winner gets to be the new queen. Enter Esther. She was a young orphan girl living with her cousin.

At the same time as this drama is unfolding, the kings right hand man, has anger issues of his own. He gets ticked at one guy and decides to have his entire Jewish race wiped out.  

Only God could orchestrate this scene. Esther wins the contest, becoming the new queen. Unbeknownst to the king, she is a Jew. Because you are reading this today, you can figure out how things turned out. If you want the gory details, haul out the Good Book and read Esther for yourself. It’s one of my favorites.

The reason I go to this story length is because you might be feeling like your living in a bad time. There is no reason for me to elaborate on the conditions, you know. We find ourselves in a place we never imagined being. Still. Holidays demands give enough stress and funds can go only so far. Christmas may look different for many this year. This is why I pass these words to you.

Currently I am reading a book from one of my favorite authors, Debbie MacComber. One Simple Act, Discovering the Power of Generosity. MacComber elaborates on all the ways we can gift someone without spending an arm and a leg. One of her suggestions is plain and simple. Words. Ones that encourage, build-up and offer hope. Like Esther, you may be in such a time as this for a reason.

Your words may be spoken or written. Not everyone is good at expressing themselves but I favor the written. The receiver will hang onto your note and read it many times over. It may be outside your comfort zone, but dabble with what you might wish to hear. Chances are others would like to hear the same thing.

The beautiful thing about words there is no need to shop around for the best price. The added plus is you don’t need to wrap them. Well, maybe wrap them in truth and love. It won’t hurt. Honest! Feelings and actions acknowledged are a gift.

Words have power, Jesus’ dad proved it.  According the Good Book, he spoke and nature, all of life really came to be. Creating mankind, he breathed in Adam and he came to life. The rest is history. There is more to that, but today lets focus on the birth of a perfect man, arriving on planet earth as a newborn. He experienced what the world had to offer and made a way for us to know a perfect life too. If we want it, I should add.

The WOW factor comes when we realize we don’t deserve the good things in our life, he granted them before we got our act together.