Lessons from an Inchworm

I’m standing at the kitchen sink, watching an inchworm “inch” his way up through space. He’s about seven feet off the ground and has about that much more to go until he reaches the nearest branch. I moved away to do another task and came back in a few minutes surprised at his progress. It seems like a lot of work and if inchworms have abs, they are in six-pack condition! Once again I moved on and when I came back to the sink, he was gone!

Do you ever feel like that little fella—working your way through life, working as hard as you can and seeming to get nowhere? Progress can seem SO slow, especially in our Christian walk. We are a volunteer army, and, sadly, some of the performance approval ratings or faithfulness would earn some of us a pink slip! (Do they even have pink slips anymore?) We don’t see much progress in our walk with the LORD. The Christian walk seems so hard and lonely at times.  Our enemy seems so strong and victorious! Woe is me!

Does that remind you of any great hero in the Bible? Elijah had just seen God rain fire down upon his sacrifice. 450 false prophets were running for their lives, and yet just a threat from the wicked Jezebel and Elijah was on the run asking God to take his life. Perhaps Elijah thought that Jezebel would turn from her lifelong habit of wickedness after seeing the power of God. Maybe he was just plain tired. We don’t know, but we certainly can relate to his heart-weary cry.

Now, we do not have the advantages of seeing God rain fire from heaven, send our lunch via ravens, have angels speak to us and feed us food (which energizes us for forty days!), or witness God’s hand in earthquakes, fire,

and a still small voice. Does that make our God different or in any way weaker? Absolutely not because we serve the same God!!! We “hear” his voice as we read His Word.

TESTIMONY: This past Thursday, I had a Book Talk where I talk about my books. That morning, feeling much like Elijah, I said to my husband, “Ugh! Why can’t I just be a normal housewife?” He wondered the same thing! His life would certainly be easier—no hauling heavy books from place to place, scrambling for his own lunch, watching his wife struggle, etc.

I left him and went to do my devotions. This was the title of one particular devotional: What Will You Do With What You’ve Been Given? The biblical example was taken from Esther!  My first book is a modern-day Esther story! Was God speaking to me? ABSOLUTELY! Was I ready to quit? YOU BET! Will I? NOT UNTIL HE SAYS, “WELL DONE!”

So, as Dory would say, “Keep on swimming!” As Columbus sang in Ron Hamilton’s, Great American Time Machine“Sail on!” As Paul told the Corinthians: Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. 1 Cor. 15:58

This was our theme verse for our children’s club years ago. FYI, just to help you remember them, here are some motions to make it stick:

Therefore, my beloved brethren (palms out, outward sweeping motion),

 Be ye steadfast (pound fists together for each word),

 unmoveable (slap hands to sides—stand straight like a good soldier!),

 always abounding (big circles with both arms)

 in the work (palms up) of the Lord (point up),

forasmuch as ye know (point to head) that your labor (palms up)

is not in vain (palms down circling in then down in an outward sweeping motion)

in the Lord (same as before but end with a good slap just for emphasis!). 1 Cor. 15:58

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God of the Impossible

Our local school district has been in the throes of the difficult decision of closing a school.  Although we are a small district in population, we are large in acreage and local pride. At present, there are three high schools and three elementary schools: two sets are located in the northern, more populated area of the district, and then there is Liberty High School and Elementary in the south.LHS1_000

The district’s future goal is to have only one high school; so, it was decided that Liberty High would close.  The past few weeks have been so difficult.  As a substitute teacher, I’ve been in all six schools and am proud to say that every school has a fine faculty of teachers; although, as I sit and have lunch with the Liberty teachers, the foreboding of the pending close has dampened everyone’s spirit.  It’s as though a family is being torn apart, and in some ways, that’s exactly what is happening.

Then, out of nowhere came the news that the state has no money to pay for all the refurbishing plans and will not have it for three years!  All of a sudden, everything changed; and even though the final decisions have not been made, there is now a glimmer of hope for this community that they may not lose their school.

Last night, as I sat listening to the band concert, which included any alumni or community folks who wanted to join, I couldn’t help but wonder at the mighty hand of God. It’s been a sort of “David and Goliath” story – the two northern schools naturally outnumber little Liberty.  It seemed like an impossible situation; but then God assured us once again that He knows exactly what is going on, and can do the impossible!

There’s nothing that strengthens our faith more than when God does the impossible.  All seems hopeless, and then God enters into the picture!  Look at how many times this is true in the Bible: Joseph – God sends Pharaoh a dream; Moses – God parts the Red Sea; Joshua – and the walls came tumbling down!

Even in modern times, we hear of God doing the impossible.  The Miracle Evacuation at Dunkirk during World War II was certainly miraculous because of the heart-courage demonstrated by hundreds of boatmen who sailed their vessels across the English channel to save over 300,000 soldiers; but it was the hand of God that rolled in the unusual fog that covered the beaches that night! And on 9/11, how many lives were spared because circumstances suddenly changed, putting persons in other places than in the World Trade Center?

Do you see the hand of God in your life?  So often, I don’t believe that it is a lack of God’s working as much as it is a lack of our looking for it!  Take a moment and listen to the psalmist’s advice: “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10  What could be more important? And remember, it was not in the earthquake or strong wind or fire that Elijah heard God, but in the still small voice! (1 Kings 19:12)

Satan’s Counterfeit

And they leaped upon the altar…and they cried aloud, and cut themselves…” (1 Kings 18 26,28)

This verse sounds like much of what goes on today under the name of worship.  Do you wonder about the Israelites and how quickly they left the true and living God for the false gods of their day?  Why were they so attracted to them?  Here may be some reasons – do they sound strangely familuar?

  1. They were living in prosperity: David and Solomon had built the kingdom of Israel until “milk and honey.” flowed in the streets. Their temple was awesome, their enemies were subdued – wealth and prosperity ruled the streets of Jerusalem and every other city.
  2. Their leader tied himself to “strange women.”  Solomon looked around and wasn’t satisfied with his own people – he wanted the world and made alliances with the heathen nations through marriage.
  3. The people followed the crowd.  Everyone was doing it.  There were 450 prophets of Baal and one Elijah.  (Stay tuned: the next blog may be called “Lone Soldier Girl”!)

Satan’s Counterfeit is everywhere, but it is most dangerous when it comes into the house of God!  It is loud and unruly.  It is popular.  It is new and different.  It attracts a crowd and feels good – at least to the flesh – so good that the flesh now rules everything we do!  We hear what the flesh likes, wear what the flesh feels like wearing, look at what excites the flesh and end up doing all to the glory of the flesh in the name of God!

…but the LORD was not in the wind…but the LORD was not in the earthquake…but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.” (1 Kings 19:10-11)

I recently watched a video clip where a very sincere young man was teaching “Wonderful Grace of Jesus” to the congregation.  Many did not know it, but he told them that it was probably one of grandma’s favorites.  After they had learned the song from the piano, he pounded out a driving beat and in came the drums and electric guitar.  It was a travesty! (something which fails to represent the values and qualities that it is intended to represent, in a way that is shocking or offensive)

When my husband worked as a manager for a large bank in New Jersey, part of his training was to know a counterfeit bill when it crossed his hands.  The training included a lot of time handling the real thing.  He knew a counterfeit because he knew the real deal. 

Watch out for the counterfeit:    “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” 2Co 11:14  Think about what that means!  Beware of four little words: “but I like it!”  The score was 450 to one, but whose side would you have wanted to be on that day atop Mount Carmel?