Open Your Eyes!

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This morning A moment of panic set in, as I searched for a place to eat breakfast.   Why you ask?  There are so many places to eat!  But First Met has entered a fast!  No Bread! No Fried Foods! And no Beverage outside of Water!  Mentally, I was scrolling through menu after menu!  What can I eat?  Where can I go?

Panic set in!  I couldn’t think of a place to eat.  Then I saw a grocer.  Fruit! Quick!  Simple! Delicious! Cost efficient!  I walked in and discovered lot of choices in addition to my desire.  I entered the section and found heaven in a cup.  Parfait. 

It was then I found truth and a key to surviving the fast and to thriving in life.  Often we are so consumed with what we can’t have that we can’t think of what we can have.  

Are you so focused on what you can’t have that you can’t see what you can have? 

Do we fail because our minds become consumed with boundaries and rules?  Do we miss opportunities focused on the things because we are focused on things that are not within our grasps? 

Truth be told, this is why most fasts fail.  Our minds become laser focused on the no,’s and overlook the yeses. For a moment, a problem existed.  Not a real problem, but one created from my inability to see past what was restricted from intake, so much so that I was blind to the many options around me.

Once I took a moment, I was able to see not only a store, but 3 other options.  Not only that, but the real blindness was created by a fear for a lack of discipline.  Every place had something on the menu that I could eat, but I feared that I would not be disciplined or strong enough to be obedient if given the opportunity to break the fast.  The reality, there were many options by which I could dine, but not many in which I might be successful, that is being undisciplined in this area.

I made my purchase and was in my car within almost the same time frame it would have taken to drive through the drive through.  I broke the seal and mixed together the items and dug in.  While eating, I realized that we are so bound by what we don’t or can’t have that we miss out on things that can bring us joy.  

Are you so blinded by what you can’t have that you can’t appreciate what you do have? 

The Parfait was delicious!  I enjoyed the bitter texture of the yogurt, the sweetness of the strawberry and the crunching through the granola.  I enjoyed spoonful after spoonful. I could only thing that I would have missed this bliss consumed with what I had to miss.  When we place our mental energy on what we can’t have, we rob from ourselves the joy of what’s available to us.   

I screamed to myself!  Johnny, Open Your Eyes!  I say to you, Open Your Eyes!  See what God has provided. Open your mind to what’s available. Discipline yourself for the journey! 

Enough! (I Kings 19:4,8)

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Life has a way of draining us.  I know; not you, its just me.  You have never been in the place where you have spent all your energy, applied all your focus, expended all your ideas!   That one last email that hits the inbox at 4:30 pm, after you have put out all the fires, re-planned and reorganized, re-equipped the staff, and you are packing your things for the day only to hear that haunting ding, and the refresh of your inbox!  Elijah had survived the big show down, emerged victorious, proved His God and in the process proved his self, only to receive word from the messenger of Jezebel, you have 24 hours to live!  1080-The-Prophet-Elijah-Receiving-Bread-and-Water-from-an-Angel-by-unknown-painter-in-church-Santa-Maria-della-Salute-600x922

Elijah, exhausted, ran to the desert, discouraged and afraid.  He looked to the hills, where his help comes from, and declared in verse 4, ….” ‘I’ve had enough!’ ”  It wasn’t the fight; it was one more fight!  I know you have never been there, but I have often asked my God, “How many more fights are ahead!”  “How many more times will we have to prove you are the true and living God. How many times will I have to stand in faith and boldness just to show that I am your man of God? ”

Honestly, Jezebel was not match for Elijah!  She was the worshiper and servant of a false God who had already been shown to be powerless, and was facing a woman who’s power was her ability to manipulate and influence those with power to carry out her bidding!  He had defeated her prophets, and would surely defeat her with the power of the Lord, but Elijah had had “Enough!”

Mentally, he was unable to imagine himself lifting his hand or his sword one more time.  He couldn’t muster up the image of himself facing one last battle!  Could he? Would he? Should he enter into another battle?

Emotionally, he faced the call for his very life.  He had to see himself as mortal, and face the knowledge that his days were numbered, and that he wasn’t privied to God’s personal book of life or schedule for life and death.  He focused on his mortality so much, that he had decided that death by Jezebel was inevitable and requested that God take his life.

Spiritually, he was unable to silence the voice of the enemy and hear the voice of the divine.  Though the messenger delivered the message, the voice of Jezebel and her promise rang louder and louder.  It was so loud that it was all he could focus on!  So loud that it muted the voice of the Lord!

I know, I am the only one that has ever been there Mentally, Emotionally and Spiritually, or maybe one of a few that will admit that we have all layed under the tree, and said, “I’ve had enough!”

Enough is that place of emptiness!  It’s the place where all of your resources have been used, and the reserve is non existent! Elijah was there!  He could go no further.  It was time to turn over the reigns!

The great part of this story is that Elijah wasn’t the only one that had enough!  Verse 8 says, “…That meal gave him the strength to travel forty days and forty nights until he reached the mountain of God in Horeb.”  God met Elijah’s “Enough” with “Enough”.  God provided Elijah with enough sustenance to strengthen him not for the fight, but for the journey.  Elijah would never have to fight Jezebel, but he did have to make a journey to spend time with the Lord!

I love that God gave him enough strength to travel for 40 days and 40 nights.  One meal was enough to keep him!  One meal was enough to empower him!  One meal was enough to restore him!  I thank God for enough.  There are times in my life when I have been at enough, only to be met with God’s enough!  God sends a Word and Provisions via the hand of the Angel that allowed him to make it through the long journey.

I find it interesting that the toughest battle Elijah fought in this story wasn’t against the prophets of Baal, but with his mind.  Elijah was able to face the prophets with the strength of the Lord, but the battle he fell subject to was within.  We must fight to keep our focus, and must understand that peace is truly found to those who keep their minds stayed on God.

In your hour of despair, it is great to know that God doesn’t abandon you when you run into the desert!  God sends a Word!  God sends provision!  God sends companionship!  God never leaves us nor does He forsake us!

#PastorJDO3