Prophet Training

Elijah’s hands were shaking as he left King Ahab.

God’s voice was clear. “Go to the Brook Cherith. You will drink the water from it. Ravens will bring you food.

Elijah went to a secluded place overlooking the Jordan Valley. The sun was near the western horizon.

Two ravens landed in the tree he sat under. They hopped to a branch near him. One dropped a slab of unleavened bread on the rock near him.

The other raven held a roasted chicken leg in its beak. Elijah lifted his hand. The bird dropped the meat in his palm.

The scene repeated each morning and every evening.

Elijah contemplated his message to the king of Israel. ‘No rain until I say it will rain.

That is what God told me to say. Right?’

The brook became smaller by the day because of the drought.

One morning the ravens didn’t show. The brook was dry.

Elijah sent up a prayer. “What now God?”

“Go to Zarephath in Sidon. A widow will care for you there.”

The trek seemed longer than normal. Thirst will do that to a person.

Finally the city was in sight. A woman was picking up sticks as he approached.

“Excuse me. Can I have some water?”

The woman stood, then nodded before she walked away.

Elijah’s stomach growled. “And could you bring me a piece of bread?”

The woman stopped. Her hands fell to her waist. Two sticks bounced on the dirt. “I…I don’t have any bread. Honestly. I’m picking up enough wood to bake the last bit of flour and oil I have for me and my son. Once that’s gone we’ll wait to die.”

Elijah swallowed the lump in his throat. “Bake me a cake from what you have first. My God will keep enough flour in the bin and oil in your jar until it rains again.”

The woman looked closely at Elijah. “You’re from Israel. I’ve heard of your God. I’ll be back.”

She brought Elijah some fresh bread. Then they went inside. She bake some bread for herself and her son.

This continued each day.

One day Elijah heard the woman scream downstairs.

He climbed down to see what was happening.

She was rocking back and forth on the floor. Her son didn’t move in her arms.

She stared into Elijah’s eyes. “Why have you come here man of God? Are my sins too great for me?”

Elijah walked across the room. “Give me your son.”

He took the lifeless body up to his room and laid the boy on his bed. Tears ran down his cheeks as he looked up.

He fell on top of the body. “Why, God?”

He stood and wiped more tears away.

He laid over the child again.

He stood and fought off the doubts and pain.

He laid on his bed again. The boy’s body was colder each time.

“Dear God, return his soul to him.”

He felt movement under him.

He jumped up.

The boy coughed, then cried.

Elijah laughed. He picked the boy up to comfort him.

He carried the lad downstairs and handed him back to the widow.

She stared in disbelief. Then she laughed. “Now I know without a doubt your God is real.”

************

Have you ever put yourself in Elijah’s sandals? Too often we’re too familiar with some Bible stories to fully appreciate them for what they are…accounts of real people in real time.

Elijah was just a man living life one day at a time.

Then God dispatches him to give a message to the wicked King Ahab.

Before anything can happen to him by edict of the king God tells him where to hide and provides for him with birds.

We’re not told how long the prophet was out there all alone. But, he was alone.

Solitude is one of God’s favorite conditions to place some folks in to get their attention.

It gives time to think about what’s important in life. ‘What shall I do next…and when?’

‘Is this God I can’t see really someone to be trusted?’

‘How long will this drought last anyway?’

We aren’t told what went through Elijah’s mind as the brook became a weak trickle.

The time of solitude did come to an end.

When did you last spend time just thinking about what’s really important in your life?

Widows didn’t have many options for income back then. Many don’t now.

Yet, God chose a woman with a son and just enough food for the two of them to send His man to.

I don’t think Elijah knew what God was up to when the words came out of his mouth.

Flour and oil don’t appear out of thin air…unless you have faith in God and God wills it.

I’m not about to tell you all you have to do is believe and it will happen to you too. God is too unpredictable for that.

That widow didn’t deserve to be provided for any more than any other widow. God showed her grace.

But, what about her son dying? Was God any less gracious then?

It didn’t appear that way to anyone in that house. Until God showed up again.

Miracles don’t happen every day. They didn’t then. They don’t now.

I’ve known people who’ve been given a way to keep the house they’re living in by some means they didn’t get until the day before they were going to lose that house. I’ve known others who lose it all in a fire.

God doesn’t answer to you. He didn’t answer to Elijah. He calls the shots in this world. Period.

All things do work together in God’s economy and His timing.

I don’t know why you’re going through your tough time.

But Elijah was being built into a man with a steel spine for a hard task ahead.

Trust God to know what He’s doing.

He has a plan.

He’s developing you, too.

Remain faithful and He’ll let you know what He has for you.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

Jury Duty…YIKES

The yellow postcard came in the mail a few weeks ago. I received them before so I’m kinda used to them now.

“You are summoned to appear for jury duty.”

It’s been a few years since I went. I’ve never been selected to actually sit on a jury and hear a real-life trial in person and have to decide the fate of somebody I’ve never met.

Now you know why I put YIKES in the title.

I’ve been called for jury duty in many locations I’ve lived in. I learn something new at each one. I feel like a veteran jury duty person now.

I sat in the big room with everyone else who got a yellow postcard the same day I did. We waited and watched the video about jury duty. They added some funny clips from some movies to keep us awake.

Then they called out some names to go out and follow a nice bailiff somewhere in the courthouse.

My name was called out on the second set of names. A few years ago my name never even got mentioned so they let me go home before noon.

I went with the group to courtroom 4. They seated us in the order our names were called in.

From previous experiences I knew my seat was one of the hot seats.

Lawyers from each side ask questions to get a feel for who they want or don’t want to hear this trial. Each one gets to say who they don’t want. I was in the second row of two and a half rows.

One person in the first row made the cut. Five of us from the second row heard our names called to sit on the jury. Gulp

Fortunately this wasn’t a life or death case. We had to decide which of the young parents was beating up on the other. A daughter was caught between them.

The ex-husband was accused of hitting her in several ways the day after Christmas.

The ex-wife was bringing these charges against him. He claimed she had the anger problem.

From the opening statements from the lawyers it was obvious somebody was lying. That was our decision to make.

The young woman took the stand and gave us a blow by blow of what she claimed occurred.

A very nicely dressed woman brought a piece of paper in and handed it to the ex-wife’s lawyer’s assistant.

Shortly after that her lawyer asked to approach the bench. We were an hour into the trial and were told we’d likely take a break every hour or so.

We were told to go to the back room and wait.

We sat in silence for another hour because we were told we couldn’t even talk about the case amongst ourselves.

When we were finally escorted back into the courtroom the state’s lawyer stood up and told the judge the charges were being dismissed.

We filed back to the back room followed by the judge. He told us this was the quickest case he had ever heard.

Apparently the young woman was involved in another case that was about to cross over into this one and make it a real mess for her.

We were thanked by the judge and told our jury duty status was fulfilled for the next two years at least.

Truth is a funny animal sometimes. It has a way of rearing its head when you least expect it to sometimes.

I have a quaint little hobby of mine I probably shouldn’t get involved in, but it’s kind of enlightening.

I answer some of those spam emails where somebody is calling out for help to accept a large sum of money before they die of some terrible disease.

I send the bare essential information to keep the spam scam going for as long as possible.

It’s amazing how the death bed turns into a visit request or the person is in another country for some reason.

I prefer to stay bound to the truth in my life. The facts are much easier to remember that way.

Of course being adopted by the one who claims to be the Truth is the best place anyone can be grounded.

If more folks found the rest they need in Jesus then there wouldn’t be all this mess in life.

Families would get along better. People would look for ways to help each other rather than trying to take something from someone else.

All I can do is tell as many people about Jesus and the love He offers and the truth that sets men free.

What they do with that truth is up to them.

Help me get the word out.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

Another legend went Home this week, Stan Toussaint

One advantage of attending Stonebriar Community Church is the chance to rub shoulders with some remarkable individuals. Many of them are associated with Dallas Theological Seminary.

One disadvantage of this advantage is feeling a deeper loss when they’re called Home to be with the Lord. Stanley D. Toussaint is now in the presence of Jesus.

Dr. Toussaint suffered a stroke a few months back. The long-term effects left him unable to speak. When something like that occurs to one of God’s saints who depended on his voice for ministry it makes you ask God, “why?”

He taught the largest adult fellowship at Stonebriar. It’s called Marathon because it’s made up of mostly elderly folks. Their marathon called life is nearing the end. Stan crossed his finish line…or has he?

Dr. Toussaint has been teaching at DTS since 1960, longer than I’ve been alive. One of his early students was a young marine named Charles Swindoll…he’s now our senior pastor.

Click on the image below and watch the video with it. I’m sure you’ll recognize some names of other students like David Jeremiah and Irwin Lutzer. You see, Stan’s impact is still going out today even though he’s been silenced.

Stan Toussaint filled the pulpit several times for Pastor Chuck. He usually told us he was from Hinckley, Minnesota. “Where men are men, pansies are flowers and the women are all above average.”

He never used notes for his message. His points were usually five to match the number of fingers on his hand. “I know a sermon is supposed to have only three points,” he would quip, “but, I know you’re super intelligent people so I’m using five points today.”

As you’ll see in the video Stan was a gentle man, and a gentleman.

I had the privilege of shaking his hand one Sunday morning during Church. When I told him I was from Michigan he mentioned that he spoke at the Maranatha Conference Center before.

When I told him I was there a couple of years ago for a writer’s conference he paid special attention to that and asked me what I write. That’s the kind of man I want to be when I grow up, always noticing others.

The Marathon class shrunk after Stan could no longer teach. He’s leaving some mighty big shoes to fill.

Polio at a early age left Stan unable to run a marathon. Toward the end he could barely walk, but he kept at it just to please the Lord.

The Marathon class will carry on. There will never be another Stan Toussaint to teach it. It may never reach the number of attendees it once had. The core group of folks there will always remember Stan.

I don’t know if anyone will write anything like this after I’ve gone Home to be with the Lord or not.

I’m pretty sure I’m impacting a few lives in my life.

The only real accolade I’m reaching for is the same sentence I’m sure Stan heard when he saw Jesus face to face. “Well done, good and faithful servant. Well done!”

Stanley D. Toussaint (1928-2017)

I’ll see you later.   Wade

A Dr. Seuss-ish Post

I have some opening lines in my head. They seem a bit like something Dr. Seuss would write so this could get interesting. I guess I’m letting y’all into a writer’s brain for a change…this writer’s brain anyway. Here goes…

What if a dog and a frog sat on a log?

Would there still be enough room for a hog?

Of course a hog wouldn’t sit on a log.

I’m just wondering with a bit of brain fog.

The dog and the frog could jump off the log.

The poor hog would end up in a tumble.

The three could still be friends in a jungle.

When they get hungry all three tummies would rumble.

When they walk all twelve legs would stumble.

If a bee flew by perhaps it would bumble.

But now eighteen legs could search for food.

The bee is too big for the frog to eat…that’s good.

So the four friends would still will be in a good mood.

When they get cranky they might become rude.

Instead they keep walking in search of some food.

As time goes by they find a small lake.

Because they’re thirsty their thirst they will slake.

The frog will jump in, make no mistake.

The hog will roll into a big muddy cake

When the dog comes out his whole body he’ll shake.

The bee will fly up and watch his friends having fun.

They’ll continue to walk. Being warmed by the sun.

For a little while they might even run.

Food they still need. It’s still problem number one.

The farm up ahead must belong to someone.

The dog finds a bowl with food he finds fond.

The frog slips back into his favorite pond.

The hog goes into his pen that is round.

Mr. Bee bumbles back to his nest in a mound.

They all take a nap and remember that log.

There you have it. What do you think?

Perhaps Mr. Toddler Whisperer just wrote a best-selling picturebook in less than an hour. Or maybe just this week’s blog post on a Sunday afternoon.

Keep smiling.   Wade