Today I am spending time with II Kings 5 which is the story of Naaman. This is one of my favorite stories in the Bible because it covers so much. Naaman, who was powerful and important humanly but was covered in leprosy. His wife’s maid was a young girl who had been taken from her family to assist this woman, but was also kind and caring and told her about Elisha, the prophet who she said could heal her husband of this dreaded disease. This was told to Naaman and got his attention so he did the necessary things to go to Elisha, who didn’t even come to meet him but sent a messenger to tell him to go wash seven times in the River Jordan.
Naaman was incensed because he was so accustomed to respect and this wasn’t shown to him and the rivers of Damascus were superior to that river in Jordan. Finally, he listened to his men who suggested that he might heed this and go and wash in this river, which he finally did and was healed. The humility he expressed played such a large part in this healing. Then I think of the little girl who was so loving to point this out to her mistress and they listened to her.
Colossians 2:2-3 reads “My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Every step in this story was needed for Naaman’s spiritual growth.
As I have been studying today’s Bible lesson, it mentions “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image,”. Soon after, an unsolicited thought pops into my head from nowhere from the past when I suddenly realized that becomes a graven image from time to time since it is not connected with joy but regret. With this gentle nudge, I began to study the 10 Commandments closer and deeper. For example “Thou shalt not take the Lord’s name in vain” means so much more to me now. Since I don’t use the word “damn” after God’s name, I thought I was home free until I realized that any comment after “I Am” that is ungodlike can be seen as blasphemous.
Hebrews 12:28-29 reads “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ‘God is a consuming fire.'” While studying deeper, everything becomes fresher to me rather than rote! I will look at all things anew today with childlike innocence and without judgment.
This morning as I began my day at my desk with my Bible and Bible Lesson I began to wonder about the day ahead. There are times when I almost want to visualize the day completely. Often we take day trips and of course, we need to take human footsteps on having the car gassed, tires filled with air, etc. but we need not worry about every turn. Preparation can come from simply turning to God and trusting him all the way.
John 15:4-7 states “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.” This need not take our spontaneity away, but rather enrich it.
She is one of my very favorite Bible characters. She had been forgiven of much and yet, she was the first to see the risen Christ. I can’t help but think it was due to her humility, repentance and Love for Jesus that made her receptive, even before His faithful disciples, who doubted her when she told them she had seen Him.
Apparently, she released her past completely and knew her true selfhood to be the child of God. By doing this, she was able to recognize the Christ. When I know my True Identity, I feel closer to God. 2 Corinthians 4:17 states “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” Only Good is going on.
This last month has been spent mostly in bed and I have not felt like writing. This morning I began pondering recent events and noticed my focus has been on recovering to full health, rather than spending time on gratitude. The Bible even tells us to be grateful in all things. Also, have been studying Jesus’s healings and they were so varied and I do know that His healing is for all time, not just for those short three years. Nothing is impossible to God.
Jeremiah 17:7 states “But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him.” That, to me, means all of the time, not just in the good times.
For years, I made New Year’s Resolutions and as I look back over them, I realize they didn’t last very long. The reason for that for me was they were done with human will and force and my telling God what was what, rather than listening for Him.
This morning I have been praying with Isaiah 40:10 which reads “Behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him.” In a Bible commentary, it states that very often in Hebrew, the words “reward” and “work” were synonymous. Once again, that means to me that joy, peace and understanding are available right now, not in the future.
The only hatred that can ever hurt us is the hatred that we harbor in our hearts toward another. Love and fear or hatred can never co-exist. Matthew 5:44, 46 reads “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?” The Bible also tells us that the Kingdom of Heaven is within, but that would be impossible if there is hatred there. Today, I will be alert to my thoughts and correct any and all ungodlike thoughts I may have toward another. I choose joy!