Life is for Living Every Day

Celebrating Faith, Family, Love, Laughter


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Lord, why am I irritated???

 

Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”  She said, “May your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.
1 Samuel 1:17-18 (NIV)

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The story of Hannah, first wife of Elkanah, is found in 1 Samuel 1. Before reading further, get your bible out and visit a bit with Hannah or if preferred, you can click on this link and sit with her online: story of Hannah.

Hannah was an amazing woman who had lots (and I mean lots) going on in her life. Let’s analyse 1 Samuel 1:1-20 to get a better picture.

  • He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Hannah was one of TWO wives.  This meant that even though she didn’t have an ‘outside woman’ situation she certainly had an ‘inside woman’ problem.
  • Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.  And Hannah really really, like really, wanted to have children.
  • Because the Lord had closed Hannah’s womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. This went on year after year.  We women can be cruel to each other sometimes; deliberately so, especially when we are familiar with a personal circumstance. Why again exactly? And why keep digging it in year after year after year? Does provocation for a positive family life make? Absolutely not.
  • Her husband Elkanah would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?”  Elkanah loved Hannah but he just didn’t understand what she was going through aka sometimes men mean well but they just don’t get it all of the time.
  • As she kept on praying to the Lord, Eli observed her mouth.  Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. When the going gets tough the tough get going. However that does not mean we pick up the phone and bemoan our situation with all of our girlfriends.  No, no, no.  We can be going through the biggest trial ever and praying fervently in our hearts without anyone else learning about our situation through any actual dialogue. Yet God knows what is in our hearts; He will hear us.
  • Eli thought she was drunk and said to her, “How long are you going to stay drunk? Put away your wine.”  I personally didn’t follow this line of thought because I talk to myself and to God out loud – like constantly – but I am not drunk. Why did Eli assume Hannah was drunk? Was it a cultural thing? Hmmm ….
  • “Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.”  Anguish and grief. Two of the biggest things to lay on anyone’s heart, far less a woman who has no children, is being taunted day in and day out by another woman in her very own household (and who should honestly know better) but yet her loving husband does nothing to resolve the conflict.
  • Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.”  This was all Hannah needed to hear from the man of God. There was now hope in spite of a seemingly hopeless situation. It had been proclaimed.
  • She said, “May your servant find favor in your eyes.” Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast.  Hannah had prayed and gotten reassurance that God had not forgotten her. What does she do next? She moves on and lets God do what He needs to do. In other words, He’s got this!
  • Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the Lord and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah made love to his wife Hannah, and the Lord remembered her. So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, “Because I asked the Lord for him.”   Let the people say amen … and take that Peninnah!

I love a story with a happy fulfilling ending and my key nuggets from these verses may not be the same as yours but where am I right now? I am praying like Hannah to my Father; my lips are definitely moving fervently and my heart is anguished (no grief here though) yet I am holding on to these three thoughts:

  1. God will grant me what I ask of Him (if it be His will of course)
  2.  I will be peaceful while I wait and not be anxious or disagreeable or whiny
  3.  The Lord WILL remember me

If you are like Hannah, I will be praying for you even as you pray for me. May the God of heaven and earth grant you what you have asked of Him, and may He always dwell peacefully in the depths of your heart. Have a great week.

When the bull had been sacrificed, they brought the boy to Eli, and she said to him, “Pardon me, my lord. As surely as you live, I am the woman who stood here beside you praying to the Lord. I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.” And he worshiped the Lord there.
1 Samuel 1:2-28 (NIV)

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The sky is our only limit; look up!


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I am so surrounded

“When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” the servant asked. “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”
And Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”
2 Kings 6:15-17

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One day I was studying a devotional based on the Armor of God and the above passage was one I had to review after reading 2 Kings 6. Having read much of the Old Testament before, it was strange I did not remember this particular story which spoke to my heart.  Here’s why.

The Facts:

  • The city was surrounded.
  • The servant was confused and afraid.
  • Elisha was sure of the unseen in spite of the seen.
  • Elisha prayed.
  • The Lord opened the servant’s eyes.
  • The hills were full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

Our reality:

  • Sometimes we are surrounded, with no way out.
  • This makes us confused and afraid.
  • We focus on what is seen, making our situation so scary and overwhelming we can’t possibly recognize the unseen.

Our hope:

  • We will pray to our Lord.
  • He will open our eyes.
  • We will see that the hills of our lives are full of horses and chariots of fire.
  • We will not be afraid.

I know for a fact that this message found me at a time when I needed it most i.e. it was not a coincidence and there’s really not much more I can add other than to say: “may your eyes be opened, and may your hills be full not only of horses but of chariots of fire.”

Amen.

Photo by Gale E

 

 


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You Also Are One Of Them

 

“Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. And when some there had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them.  A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.”

But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said.

A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.”

“Man, I am not!” Peter replied.

About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.”

Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.”

Luke 22:54-62 (NIV)

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I live at the end of a cul-de-sac. The road leading to my home is pretty narrow so when my neighbors park in front of their houses the road gets even narrower. I have good neighbors. They are pleasant, will say hi and hello, and generally look out for you. So when I associate you with common decency and good manners, and someone coming to visit you parks adjacent to another car or blocks my gate or leaves their car in the middle of the road I am surprised. Why? Because if you as my neighbor go out of your way to be considerate, then I assume that your friends or associates will be considerate as well even if just by nature of association.

This thinking is not as far-fetched as it may sound at first. Remember what our mothers always told us: “You are known by the friends you keep.” Associate with alcoholics, people assume you drink. Associate with drug addicts, people assume you are a crack head. Associate with positive, career driven professionals, people assume you are goal oriented and on your way to being a successful contributor to your society.

I said all of the above to say that Peter’s denial of Jesus had many different facets. It was not only about Jesus’ foretelling of the future or of Peter’s pain after the fact. It was also about association, as evidenced by the accusation: “You also are one of them.” By extension, it was also about the price we may pay for said association … and we all know that Peter was unwilling to pay the price he knew Jesus was about to pay; hence his denial.

As we move through this Holy Week I encourage you to stand tall and be a witness to our Lord and savior. He died for us and He is coming again – those are the facts we cling to, associate with and can never deny. As a result we will not let Jesus turn and look straight at us or weep bitterly like Peter, crowing rooster or no crowing rooster.

Do I hear an Amen?