Laundry Soap and the Widow at Zarepath

I’ve been a homemaker, pretty much all our married life. For over 38 yrs I have been doing our families laundry. I have seldom worked outside the home and have always been the sole person responsible for managing the household responsibilities, not that Jeff isn’t willing to give a hand when I need help  I just prefer to do somethings myself.  

Jeff and I both have jobs around the house early on in our marriage we divided them up between us. Jeff is in charge of making Kool Aid (because he is the only one that drinks it) He is also responsible for replacing all lightbulbs in ceiling fixtures (because he is the tallest) He is also responsible for making all Jello because, try as I might, I can never get it to set. He also is the resident handyman that fixes or builds anything I need. 

But laundry, laundry is my job, because when I married Jeffrey he was doing his own laundry and I found all his underclothes were grey because Jeff thought it was okay just to wash everything together.  So, that is solely my job now. 

The thing is in doing laundry for the last 38 years for our family there have been times we have run low on laundry soap before payday got there. I can remember as I finished putting in a load of laundry in the washer and using what felt like was the last git of laundry soap in the bottle, then looking at the pile of clothes still on the floor. I said, “Lord, you are gonna have to stretch this laundry detergent” 

I went off and waited for the washer to finish its cycle. When I returned to move the load from the washer to the dryer, I then put in another load in the washer,  grabbed the empty feeling bottle, turned it over and began to pour a cap full of laundry soap. It slowly came out but filled the cap full and I continued to do laundry the rest of the day. This has happened more than once to me. 

Everytime that happens I really believe God is multiplying my laundry soap and I am reminded of the story of the woman in 1 Kings 7 when Elijah asked the widow at Zarephath to bring him some bread  and she tells him all I have left is a little oil and flour. My son and I are going to eat it then die. 

In verse 13 Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’”

That little widow was blessed by her obedience to Christ and I know Jeff and I are being blessed because we have followed what God has called us to do. No, we are perfect. But God knows it is the desire of our heart to follow Him and be in His will. 

What has God called you to do today? Oh! Maybe it isn’t like us to go out and remodel and build churches for a living? Maybe it isn’t living by faith depending on God to speak to individuals hearts to partner with us so we can live? (Just like Elijah and the widow at Zarephath) Maybe it isn’t  to stand behind the pulpit and share the gospel. But God has something for you to do! God has a plan and purpose for your life.

 He promises us that in Jeremiah 29:11”For I know the plans I have for you declare the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future” 

But we have a choice. He isn’t just going to wave a magic wand and suddenly everything is okay? The widow had to trust what the prophet said and follow what she believed was God’s words through the prophet. She had to gather the wood for the fire to cook on, she had to make the bread from scratch (no bisquick was available back then) There was work to it. But there was also a reward to it as well! 

That she and her son would live and be provided for during the drought in the land. I don’t know what you need today. But I know that God has provided for Jeff and I time and time again. 

But we have had to be obedient to His word and our heart has had to have a desire to follow Him. The bible says He knows the desires of our heart. I don’t believe that is so He can just give us what we want, but it is so He knows where our heart is and it should be to desire to please Him first and foremost. 

It has been my experience that following God usually requires some sort of step of faith from me. Something like giving up a secure income and trusting God to bring partners alongside us to commit to a monthly support so we can travel full time and build churches for Him? 

Something like going 10yrs and being unable to have the additional children we desire, then just when we follow what God has called us to do, He blesses us again with exactly what we asked for. 

Or the time we lost our car, but a few years later he gave us one back better and newer than what we had before or when Jeff had to pawn one of his guns because he was out of work and we had to pay our bills,  a few years later He gave us one exactly like it through a random friend. 

Time and time again, God has shown up, He has even used our disobedients at times to guide us back to His plan, He always rewarded us with better when we got back on track. 

We serve a God who loves and cares for us. He knows our name and the very hairs on our head. So whatever God is asking you to step out in faith and do. Do it! If it is to support some missionaries, do it! If it is to start paying your tithes to your local church, Do it! If it is to  take a cake to the neighbor so they know they are loved Do it! If it is to forgive that person who was unkind to you Do it!  

All I can tell you is, just like the widow in the bible, it has been my experience that when I follow what God tells me to do. He always provides! 

Burger King and our Thoughts

I am probably going to date myself by sharing this story but when Jeff and I were first married one of the things that we loved to do was eat at Burger King. It was Jeff’s favorite restaurant and being that Jeff had been overseas in the military for 18 months. We took every advantage to eat at Burger King when he returned home.

Jeff proposed to me right before he left for the Philippines for 9 months. He came home on leave for 45 days and in that time frame we were married for 3 weeks of that and then he left for the Philippines again for another 9 months. So it might not be surprising to you that we ate at Burger King for every meal on our honeymoon except one. 

Yes, that is right, my romantic husband did everything he could to make our honeymoon special for me so he took me to his favorite restaurant for almost every meal. Honestly, I didn’t care back then. We were young and in love and did a lot of foolish things that young people do.  We thought we were being wise after all it was a great deal. We could get 2 Whoppers, 2 Fries and 2 drinks for $4.99. Yes I said 2, I know today you can’t even get one, and that’s what’s making me sound old. 

Little did we realize what that kind of eating would do to our bodies, I came home and couldn’t even fit into my wedding dress. It has really taken me over 30 yrs to get my health back. See I had to make a choice to do something about it no matter what others were doing around me. 

Every one of us has a choice everyday. No matter what is going on around us we have a choice of what we will do. Whether it is how we respond to someone’s comments or how we allow ourselves to feel after watching some news report or even what others are eating. 

It is about what we put in us that makes the difference. Just like what Jeff and I put in our bodies over that week long honeymoon. Fast food is okay to have now and then, but it was not made to be our soul diet. Studies have been done and a steady diet of that kind of food can be extremely detrimental to one’s health.(obviously, back then those studies had not been done and Jeff and I knew very little about nutrition then)  So it is important to remember that it is not only certain foods that can be bad for our bodies but it is everything we take in. How you ever heard the phrase “Everything in moderation” 

Well, I believe that goes for not only food but everything we put in our mind, from what we watch, what we read about and what we listen too. There is an old song that went something like this. “Oh be careful little eyes what you see, Oh be careful little ears what you hear, There’s a father up about looking down on you with love so be careful little eye what you see.” 

 The bible talks about this in  Matthew

“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! Matt 6:22-23ESV

And you want to know how to tell what someone is taking into their heart and mind. It usually comes out in their mouth.  David tells us in Psalms 4:23 “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” In fact he also says

19But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble. 20My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. 21Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; 22for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body. 23Above all else, guard your heart,for everything you do flows from it.24Keep your mouth free of perversity;keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Proverbs 4:19-23 

In this season of life where there are so many opinions and ideas, we can’t forget to be careful about what we immerse ourselves in. Their our temptations everywhere David warns us in 

 Psalms 101:3” I will set nothing wicked before my eyes.” We have to be careful because there may even be some sources that we thought we could once trust that just are not that trustworthy anymore. 

The only real truth is the words of God in the bible. Haven’t you been around some people or even just after having a conversation with them you feel like you need a bath. Maybe it is even something you read, or watched on TV. 

It’s time for our country to get back to knowing what God’s word says. We can’t just follow whatever tickles our ears and makes us feel good. But, really get in and decide to learn more of God’s word and do what it says. We have no promise that we’ll always have the freedom to read whatever we want or have access to reference God’s word when we need it. 

One thing that we can’t get too much of is our relationship with Jesus Christ and once we know what He wants us to do, we need to do it, even if it is hard. Like choosing a good diet of food can be sometimes, choosing a healthy mindset and lifestyle will take time too. At first it may not even feel right because it is so different. But if we follow God’s word we can’t go wrong. 

So we have a choice today, will we fill our heart and mind with positive and encouraging messages like God’s word, will we hang out with people that our uplifting and follow what God’s word says, or will we let ourselves be deceived into thinking that it doesn’t matter how much junk we are putting in our bodies/heart and mind? Because we think the temporary pleasure outweighs the long lasting ill effects it will have on us in the future. 

The choice is yours, we have control over how we respond when others are unkind, when others see things differently than we do. We can still love someone we don’t agree with and maybe that is the biggest misnomer we have today. 

Just don’t let it take you over thirty years to figure it out, like it did me. 

I Hate to Drive!

I hate to drive! There I said it! I don’t like to drive.  I would much rather let someone else be in the driver’s seat of the car than me. You see if I drive then I have to pay attention to the road and other drivers. I have to make sure that I am paying close attention to the road signs and obeying the highway rules. 

I would much rather be in the passenger’s seat so I can look out the window at the view and gaze on the surroundings around us. Thank goodness I have a husband that likes to drive and never allows me to drive when he is in the car. Now I am not for sure if that is just because he loves to drive, or he doesn’t really trust mine. But either way I will take it!! 

In fact I like looking around so much, that I have informed Jeff that should he ever die without me, he should make sure I have a chauffeur when he is gone.  It is not uncommon for Jeff to hear me comment “Oh! Look there!” or Honey we need to go there, look at that! And all the while Jeff has both hands on the wheel, eyes on the road as we steadily getting us down the road safely. 

Many of us want to live our lives like that. We would much rather have someone else take care of all the responsibilities of life and be able to just gaze on the things around us without worry or fear of making a mistake or messing up and getting in trouble. 

But there is one thing we had better not leave up to anyone else and that is our relationship with Jesus Christ. We are the only ones who can make that happen. We are not gonna get to heaven on the relationship our grandma or parents had. We have to know the Creator of the Universe personally and we can only know that by spending time with Him. 

Five minutes of chair time with Him each day is a start. Take 5 minutes and read your bible, listen to some worship music and then just stop and ask God to speak to you. Listen for that still small voice. Let Him know you are interested in hearing from Him and want to know what He has to say to you. Then compare what it says with His word the bible. You may want to talk to someone about it, that is further along in their faith. 

With the recent events in our country. It is important to know what the truth really is and the truth is there is only one real truth and that is found in God’s word. We don’t need to get our eyes on all the storm that is raging around us in politics, the stock market or the coronavirus. We need to keep our hearts and eyes fixed on the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! The creator or the Universe who loves us with and everlasting love. 

The bible tells us in 2Cor 4:4 “Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.”

That is why Chair Time is so important. Spending time with God as our Heavenly Father to give us the peace that we are looking for. See we who follow Christ already know that His word says John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

So when this world feels like it’s falling apart and we don’t know what to do. We need to look to the Creator of the Universe. Because in life, we can’t just let someone else drive us down the road of life. We need to be in the driver’s seat so we can assure when our time on earth here ends the path we are on leads us to heaven. 

To know more about  how you can have a great Chair Time check out the book Chair Time by Dan Southerland wherever books are sold.