From the Desks of Steve Shultz and Julie A. Smith:
This recent word from Sara Whitten is packed with wisdom from the Lord for us right now.
Are you expecting the unexpected from the Lord? Or are you expecting God to move in the same ways you've been accustomed to before?
Sara gives us a deep message here from something she experienced in her own life:
"...while running errands, I spotted a car that was the same make and model a good friend of mine used to have. Instinctively, I always check to see if it's my friend driving, and each time I remember a few minutes later that I'm looking for the wrong vehicle. When my friend got a new car, I was still in the habit of expecting her to come in the old one. Sometimes, recognizing the Lord's answer can be like this. We expect His answer to come in the "vehicle" it has come in previously when the Lord is doing a new thing – same God, but new season. As with my friend's car, I believe the Lord's new "vehicles" of blessing for us are also upgrades!"
Now that's a story we can all glean from ourselves. We often say we want the "new thing" that God has for us...but we are looking for it to come in old ways/old moves from the past.
Be encouraged as you read the rest of Sara's word and whatever you do: "Expect the Unexpected" from the Lord! (To Subscribe to the Elijah List subscribe here.)
Steve Shultz and Julie A. Smith, Co-Editors
Elijah List Publications
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Steve Shultz, Founder and Publisher
The Elijah List & Breaking Christian News
As I was reading about Elisha and Naaman in my Bible, I found some unlikely encouragement for the times when we feel ordinary. Maybe you're in a place in which you don't feel like the Lord is "doing" anything significant in and through you right now. Maybe your obedience to God's calling on your life has turned into a persistent feeling of monotony and an ache for change. Maybe you've watched plans A, B, and C go out the window, and you're pretty much giving up on the answer to your prayer. If any of those feel true, maybe you are the reason the Lord is having me share this word.
Don't Discount Your Areas of Perceived Voicelessness and Powerlessness
As we follow Naaman's story in 2 Kings chapter 5, we see the Lord use possibly the most unexpected of sources and processes to answer his prayer. The idea to take his problem to a prophet of Israel (the equivalent of us now taking it directly to the Lord to get His answer) actually came from a young girl who was both a servant and a captive from previous battles, and who now served Naaman's wife.
I can't think of a more voiceless and powerless position, yet the Lord used her to speak so powerfully that it was not only the catalytic force for a miracle, but it was also recorded so that we, thousands of years later, know what she said. This reminds us of two things. First, we must not "box in" how the Lord speaks and guides us. There are answers the Lord is speaking now that are exactly what we've been searching for, but we must remember to look for the "still small voice". Second, we can't discount the areas in which we feel God has given us "no voice" or "no power". (Photo via Pixabay)
It is so easy for us to give up our prayers and declarations (be it over the nation, over schools, over even our own families) when we feel that they have no effect. This little girl may be your sign that your "little" intercessory voice, when used for the purposes of God, is anything but little.
When Naaman moved to pursue his healing, he had a certain vision of how it should have looked. Don't we all? He brought money and treasures to give in exchange, he headed directly to see the king, and he expected a miraculous "wave of the hand" and an instant healing. Instead, what he got was a king who almost thought he was picking a fight, a referral to a prophet who wouldn't even see him at first (he sent his messenger), and a prescription that was both ordinary and repetitive (wash in the Jordan seven times).
Things That Are Boring and Things That Take a While
If there are two things we don't naturally like as humans, it's things that are boring and things that take a while or require a process. To us, who probably don't regularly wash in the Jordan, this sounds very much like God, but to Naaman, who loudly voiced his anger at the solution being something he could have effectively done at home, he was almost insulted by the simplicity and prolonged duration of the solution given to him.
If you are feeling that Holy Spirit nudge right now, please receive this comfort. God knows how far you've come. He knows how frustrated you are at what hasn't gone to "plan". He knows your anger and having a lack of faith at times, yet with utmost compassion and love He continues unfazed toward His better plan, which He has had in motion from the beginning. (Photo via Unsplash)
Naaman's obedience and trust (albeit while frustrated) ultimately caused him to see the complete answer to His prayer, and then some. The passage says his skin was "as a young boy" (v. 14). It doesn't tell us how old exactly he was, but that detail seemed like the "extra mile". God doesn't just do it well...He does it better than we could imagine.
As I pondered this story while running errands, I spotted a car that was the same make and model a good friend of mine used to have. Instinctively, I always check to see if it's my friend driving, and each time I remember a few minutes later that I'm looking for the wrong vehicle. When my friend got a new car, I was still in the habit of expecting her to come in the old one. Sometimes, recognizing the Lord's answer can be like this. We expect His answer to come in the "vehicle" it has come in previously when the Lord is doing a new thing – same God, but new season. As with my friend's car, I believe the Lord's new "vehicles" of blessing for us are also upgrades!
Expect the unexpected! Scripture is clear: "...Be ready in season and out of season..." (2 Timothy 4:2). Sometimes we have specific ideas of God's timeline, and it may not "look" like our answer to prayer or "feel" like a convenient time. When Jesus approached the fig tree looking for fruit in Matthew 11:12-14, it wasn't the normal season to bear fruit. Yet, Jesus was angry at its barrenness. Similarly, sometimes we sideline ourselves or shut down what the Lord is wanting us to step into because it doesn't look like what we expect in either timing or delivery. Be trusting and obedient anyway.
I was turning a pen in my hand the other day, and the Lord drew my attention to the "FlexGrip" name on the side. It was like He whispered to my heart, "I want you to hold everything this season with a flexible-grip." We need to hold the words He has taught us and spoken over our lives, rather than being those who look in a mirror and instantly forget our reflection. Yet, we need to hold with a flexible grip, and allow God to move and shape and take things in the directions that He envisions, which takes the trust of knowing that His ways are always, always better than ours.
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Arrows of Zion
Sara Whitten¬†is an author, speaker, equipper, and founder of Arrows of Zion Ministry. She and her husband are pastors for the youth at Impact Christian Fellowship in Kerrville, Texas. Sara is a prophetic writer that has been featured on The Elijah List, Spirit Fuel, Charisma and more. She hosts "Hear God Everyday" on Charisma Podcast Network, a podcast with tools to help amplify the voice of God amidst the noise of everyday life. Sara also co-founded One Spark International, an organization that sponsors Bible-based training and education in unreached and restricted nations in order to see the gospel reach all people groups. She is also an active part of groups that train and invest in professionals wanting to use their business and marketplace skills to transform unreached nations for the Kingdom.
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