The Lord our God said to us at Horeb, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain . . . See, I have given you this land. Go in and take possession of the land that the Lord swore he would give to your fathers–to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob–and to their descendants after them.”
Part 3 is comprised of the third three modules of the book and is Part 3 of the FREE eCourse Bonus on this Web site. They are:
Module 7 – Chapter 12: God is Jehovah-Jireh [The Lord’s Provision Will be Seen]
Chapter 13: Because God is Jehovah-Jireh, I Am Free
Module 8 – Chapter 14: God is Jehovah-Rapha [The Lord is Healer]
Chapter 15: Because God is Jehovah-Rapha, I Am Healed
Module 9 – Chapter 16: God is El Elyon [The God Most High]
I had gotten my distributor pack of books and Jim was working at a construction job in the town where his sister, Ann, O., lived in Kansas. My books were still on the shelf not being used in business/ministry, while I scrounged for odd jobs to make a little money. We had a lot to learn before we understood what having salt in balance meant.
We rented a pretty nice house on the main drag in town. After moving in, we were told the house was to be bulldozed to make room for something else; we had to find another place to live. The only solution we saw was to buy a mobile home and move onto our in-law’s land that they offered. We felt like a ping pong ball, which now we see was salt bouncing out the shaker.
Balance came after being kicked out of the saltshaker
We must have been very stubborn because we found it very hard to see God’s plan and purpose for us. Our in-law’s church had found a pastor by now and no other doors opened. We were floating in mid-air.
Jim’s boss wanted to make him foreman on building the new middle school, and he felt this was not the way to go, but what was? Ann O. told us about a man, Pastor Doyle Smith, in Great Bend, Kansas. She had heard him once and thought we could benefit from his counsel. We made an appointment and went. She was right.
Pastor Smith was teaching his deacons a book,Love, Acceptance and Forgiveness, by Jerry Cook (with Stanley C. Baldwin). Jerry Cook and his wife began as pastors in a church with twenty-three people. After fourteen years, it had grown to 4,500. He stresses the difference between knowing our purpose and having a philosophy to live by. A purpose says what while a philosophy explains how and why, so is therefore much deeper than a purpose.
Pastor Cook outlines two philosophies Christians live by, whether known or not:
The church as the field: this is where the pastor does everything and the people go to him only for everything. If something does not happen within the four walls of the church, it’s not recognized as ministry.
The church as a force in the community: this is when the people are released to minister outside the four walls of the building. They take responsibility for the needs of people they meet and their fellow Christians, ministering to them in the name of Jesus. They are not made to feel guilty when not at church every time the doors are open; they have no need to call the pastor every time something comes up. The pastor sees his role as doing what the Bible says, to prepare God’s people for the ministry (see Eph. 4:12). The people feel empowered and set free to be who God called them to be on the job and in their community while mixing with people of all denominations, or no denomination.
After reading the book, Jim and I felt like thorns had just been uprooted in our hearts and insights planted with a breath of fresh air—Pastor Cook put in words what we felt. Jim had presented a neighborhood outreach plan to our pastor in Texas, but the idea had been rejected. It had been so ingrained in us that unless a person was ministering “in the church” as a pastor, or other administrative person with a title, we could not “really” be used by God. Other Christians felt the same, for they had told us, “If you feel you are called by God then go to seminary.”
Jim prepared his résumé to mail to all the Christian colleges in Kansas. That had to be where God intended us to go, right? No response. We mailed the same résumé to all the secular community colleges in Kansas. The next day, a phone call came for an interview. Cowley County had been looking for a psychology instructor and football coach for one year and had found no one—the identical job Jim was doing before moving from Kansas years before.
During these events, God was teaching me about balance. Here we were, spending a whole year and more inside the saltshaker, filling up with His Word, while God provided our every need as we learned to put His Word to work in our lives; then, nothing. We were barely scraping by to make ends meet—still giving from the top of our meager resources, but no new miracles as before. Had we put God in a box, expecting Him to cater to us now? Possibly. From His viewpoint, I think He saw us as His teen aged children who had graduated from His School of Faith and now He was trying to kick us out of the saltshaker nest, saying,
“Grow up! Get out there, stay close to Me, put into daily practice all you’ve learned—reflect My glory to a hurting world.”
The Lord Most High had already given me a business/ministry, with thechurch as a forcephilosophy, to take the bookstore to the people that I now cherished with all my heart. Jim taught his classes with more fervor than ever before. Before he taught, now hetaught. He coached before, and now he coached. Looking back, we can say, “the Lord our God carried us as a father carries his son, all the way we went until we reached this place” (see Deut. 1:31).
We vowed to encourage our children, and encourage some more. We chose to believe what Jesus prayed for his children, “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one” (John 17:15). We sought to teach attitudes rather than rules, allowing our children to be involved in the world; thus, their lives. And the best was yet to be!
Linda B. and her husband Bill found Jesus as a result of a tremendous trial. At the birth of one of their daughters, Linda found herself in a hospital without the right equipment to help her delivery. The baby was in the birth canal, breach, for three days. After delivery, the baby girl was black.
Miraculously, she lived without ill effects. A pastor came to their home to support and encourage them. They prayed with him to receive the Lord. This couple grew in the Lord together, and today work with youth in their church; they host and teach a home Bible group–they live in alignment with God Most High–El Elyon.
Moving out of the saltshaker may take some shaking up – as in Linda B.’s alignment story
Years later, in the midst of all her busyness, Linda discovered very unexpectedly that her life was out of alignment and that God Most High wanted to melt and mold her heart for His purposes only—that alignment comes before assignment. She had realized her dream of placing her beauty salon in the marketplace, a busy medical facility—the women being “Diamonds in the Marketplace.” Although her deepest desire was praying for and with women in her salon, she was tremendously busy and on the go all the time. She also spent time with the Lord every morning, and she and her husband worked hard with teens at her church.
One day she was passing a car with her brand new car. The wheels started going berserk. She held on as tight as she could, then, no power. Somehow, she was able to steer to the side of the road. Finally . . . peace, and the Lord said to her, “You are just out of line with Me as this car.”
The timing chain had broken. The definition of alignment came alive to her and how simple it was, “in harmony, and in balance.” She felt God saying to her, “Listen, and give me the throne of your life. Take Linda off, where she’s not the center and come into alignment with Me. You are doing all these good things, but not My Thing. I have a personal mission for you. You’re doing church, but not of Me. Let Me fill you with My power each day.”
Linda determined to ask each morning as the child Samuel did, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening” (1 Sam. 3:9).
Slowly, the Lord brought up things that had dulled her hearing that she now dealt with. After surrendering, the hearing came so much clearer. Since then she started asking, “What is my assignment today, Lord? What is it today?”
“I’ve had the greatest romance with the Lord. He is so full of surprises, and brings things through the back door I could never have imagined.”
One day while in the bathroom at work and getting ready to exercise on the nearby equipment, she was viewing her backside in the mirror. Caught up in being silly she said to a lady who entered the room, “I’m trying to see if I’m fat in these pants.”
“Like you would know what fat looks like, you itty bitty thing!” Linda responded.
Linda felt a check in her spirit and the Lord saying, “Hold on, see how sad she is. Listen to her. Change lanes, Linda.”
“You don’t’ want to lose weight the way I’ve lost weight.”
The woman shared her heart with Linda at this point. She had been through an awful divorce. Her husband left her with no home and her child was with him. “I’m at the end.”
Unaware of any God-connection moments before, Linda grabbed her hand and spoke words from Jeremiah 29:11, “God wants you to know He has a plan for you, a plan to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
“I will intercede for you. You cannot give in.” Linda shared a quick prayer with her. Later on, the woman grabbed Linda’s hand and said, “Thanks so much for saying that to me. I was ready to throw it in.”
Through checking out her FAT God hooked Linda up and she discovered it took less than one-fourth teaspoon of seasoning to speak to a need. “We don’t have to be a popular television personality to be used by God. The manna rotted when not used. The Dead Sea has to have an outlet.” In other words,
Salt has to flow through the body to the outside with new salt replacing it each day—just as Linda learned to do in acting upon her assignments from the Lord each day.
Linda receives another assignment after her alignment
Another day and time, Linda was in the grocery line at the store buying slim-fast bars.
While waiting, a lady looked in her basket and said, “Well, I’m bulimic.” You’re bulimic. What do I say to you, lady? Linda thought.
“I only eat one meal a day,” she continued.
Linda grabbed her hand, “Honey, I’m here to tell you, I don’t know about bulimia, but I know about cigarettes. God has given us one body. What you do with yours is your business. I finally came to that realization and said, ‘Okay, Father, I’m giving You these cigarettes and my body.’ God is a deliverer and He can deliver you. Bulimia is not too big for Him. Do you believe that?”
She just stared at Linda, but Linda knew the Holy Spirit only uses a few words to steer a person in a different direction—one she may not know until she gets to heaven.
No one was in the line behind the two women that day. Linda has witnessed the Lord clearing out the entire shop or canceling the whole day when He is about to make a divine connection with one of His hurting loved ones. She knows when someone cancels, her Father is about to bring her next assignment.
Alignment makes the world of difference to your children, friends and family
Linda has written her prayers and thoughts in a journal since she was a little girl. One recent Valentine’s Day her written prayer was especially passionate and unusual:
The pleading of the blood and thanksgiving for His sacrifice.
Reaches down from Calvary’s tree, the day we proclaim our love for one another.
The greatest love sacrifice, I believe, ushers in the covering protection through the blood of Christ over my family today.
Thank you, Holy Spirit, for your leading and prayer, for the tools of God’s Holy Word to take us into the presence of the throne for my family today.
I believe because of Your leading and covering, the most tragic and difficult situation has been turned in the spiritual realm. We experience Passover of the death angel, defeat in the enemies camp because of the blood of Christ.
Lamb of God, feed me ‘til I want no more. Fill me up and make me whole.
Radical light from your Word brings radical change and radical blessings.
Assurance and direction follow the light, My child, of the Word made flesh.
God’s mercy became alive unto us in the instant the need of protection became reality.
Atonement at one moment; You rescue us.
Once again, your immeasurable love takes me to the secret place of the Most High.
“I had no idea I could have buried my two firstborns that day when they rolled their van five times. The EMS men said that after three rolls, someone is usually dead. God is immeasurable. He is my breath. I am desperate for him.”
Linda can say of God Most High, “I pursued my enemies and overtook them . . . . You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed my foes” (Ps. 18:37-40).
All the stories you have just read, except for Dwight’s, are written from a woman’s perspective. Keep in mind; all women have supportive “salty” husbands working in partnership with them. Even Dwight would not be what he is without his wife, and they work very hard at their relationship, making time for each other before ministry.
All these people know their priorities in balance: God first, Family second, Ministry last. Even better—family is ministry. Each one knows where they came from and where they are going. They know that very soon now, they will be stepping out of that final Jordan River, because Jesus is returning soon to claim His bride! Their lives are not lived unto themselves pursuing unfulfilling things. They are four-sided, balanced, Wordy-salt cubes that have moved out of the saltshaker making others thirsty. They want to take as many people with them as they possibly can while teaching them at the same time.
Yet . . .
We have come through only three parts of our journey: Leaving Bondage, Lessons in the Wilderness, and Crossing the Jordan. A cube with only three sides is hollow, unfulfilled, and incomplete. It has to have the fourth side—which is the fourth part of this four-part study— Possessing the Land of Promise..
The righteous will never be shaken, but the wicked will not dwell in the land (Proverbs 10:30 NASB).
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“I wanted others to see Jesus in me and to have an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, but it wasn’t happening. It didn’t happen until I spent time on my face before God where He revealed I had self in the way. I found that as I daily asked for the Lord to take over, and for self to die, things changed.” Patty LaRoche is a spiritually salty, four-sided, balanced Christian who makes others thirsty. Why? Because she moved out of the saltshaker.
Patty LaRoche’s Saltshaker Story
Patty was five months old when her father died and her mother was five months pregnant. At age eleven, Patty held her first job to help her mother with expenses. When in high school, she took drama, where she found her mouth worked well for her and won a trophy. No longer did she feel inferior, ugly or poor. She believed, “I can do something.”
Patty’s mother brought her children up in the church. However, Patty came away feeling like God was someone to fear—a judgmental God with a great big club in His hand ready to jump her if she got out of line. She thought if she died with a mortal sin on her soul, she would go to hell. She incorrectly believed getting to heaven was all about being good enough and working her way there.
Patty met Dave when she was a flight attendant. She married him without the blessing of her church, thinking she could eventually get him to join her one and only true church (as she had learned)—the only way to get to heaven. It did not work.
As a professional baseball pitcher, Dave was on the road. Patty followed the seasons with him. Very tragically, they lost two babies under very bizarre circumstances. One doctor actually broke her water causing the baby to be born premature, so he could be known as the doctor who birthed the child of Dave LaRoche.
Depressed and with her wine and cigarettes, Patty spent most days in her pajamas—mad at God and feeling He was mad at her. A girlfriend called, “Patty there’s an evangelist in town.
How about going with me?”
“No. I’m already in my pajamas. I can’t go.”
Her friend persisted and came to pick her up. They sat in the back of the church. The evangelist asked them to open their Bibles. She had no Bible and had never been asked to open one in church before. After twenty-seven years, Patty heard the plan of salvation—that her sin was as filthy rags. For the first time she heard Ephesians 2:8-9, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”
No, I have to do good works. But the Holy Spirit got hold of her and the tough wall around her heart melted at hearing the Word.
When the invitation was offered, Patty literally ran down the isle and wept, and wept and wept. God filled her up, and up, and up. For the first time she had a foundation and realized God had allowed her to go through what she had so she would ask, “God, who are you?”
As her friend drove home, Patty stuck her head out the window and yelled to each person on the street, “Jesus loves you! Jesus loves you, too!” She could not help herself. She was a new creation in Christ Jesus.
That night after getting home, Dave called, “How are you doing, Patty?” “Oh, I had a great night!” Silence.
I can’t tell him what happened. He’ll think I’m wacky, she thought. Then she blurted it out,
“I got saved tonight!”
“I became a Christian two weeks ago, Patty, but I couldn’t share it with you.”
We have to move ourselves out of the saltshaker
In thirty years, Patty moved with Dave thirty times. In each place they found a church they both attended. She shared Jesus with everyone God brought across her path. She felt she was not Bible smart, but she had her own testimony to share and she did—just as the Samaritan woman shared—the one who met and believed in Jesus at the well (see John 4).
Dave began coaching the Chicago White Sox when their three sons, who also played professional baseball, were in their teens. The player’s wives did things together, but it seemed the coaches’ wives were not included. Patty did not know what to do about it. In her devotions she read Matthew 5:13, “we are the salt of the earth.” The word are said to her that she needed to do something—but what? She prayed and prayed about it. Get the women organized, was her answer. She organized a softball team and a women’s Bible study.
She approached an African-American wife and said, “Hi, are you ______?”
“What do you want?!”
“Well, uh . . . well, ooh . . . we’re starting a softball team and a women’s Bible study.”
“I want to do both. We are having that study, and we are having it at my house!”
Patty learned this lady had previously been isolated which caused her to build walls against others. It was an amazing summer. In Patty’s vibrant joyful spirit she says, “Christians are Christians, like dogs are dogs and chase cats. We should not have to ask ourselves if we are a dog and if we chase cats. Getting ourselves out of that saltshaker means taking risks. And Jesus tells us if we are ashamed of Him and His words, He will be ashamed of us” (see Mark 8:38).
Today, Patty teaches high school speech, has taught forensics and still loves and teaches drama. She and Dave make Kansas their base of operation. She is booked weekends speaking around the country with Carol Kent’s Speak up Speaker Services. You can search for her Web page, under “inspirational speakers” at: www.speakupspeakerservices.com
Patty can say of God Most High, “He brought me out into a spacious place . . . You broaden the path beneath me” (Ps. 18:19, 36).
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One of five children, Gretchen G.’s home was unstable after the death of her mother who died of a brain aneurysm. As her father turned to alcohol, she found security in the home of a young family—where she hid out during her high school years. She married David less than a year after high school. It would be years before she learned how important the word of God would be in her life–a literal Rock.
Gretchen Learned the Word Was Her Rock
Gretchen found that her husband was unable to give her what was missing in her heart. While David was in the Navy in Maryland, his brother started telling him about wonderful things that were happening in his marriage. They were going to a Bible study given by the Navigators at Kansas State University. “We’ve come to Christ,” he said. “May we come for a visit?”
What does that mean? Come to Christ! That means he’s going to be whacking us over the head with that religious stuff. I’m not interested, Gretchen thought. If we just clean up our lives and quit fighting, things will get better.
While the couple was visiting, David’s brother asked them, “Would you like us to find a couple out here who would be willing to meet with you to have a home Bible study?” “Sure. That’s what we want to do.” David said.
What’s up with that? Gretchen could not believe what she was hearing.
Wanting to avoid conflict at all costs, Gretchen found herself in the home of another couple the next evening. Through verses of Scripture like 1 John 5:11-12, they found that Jesus was the missing link in their lives. “This is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”
Especially significant to Gretchen was the Word, “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men” (1 Timothy 2:5).
SALT IS THE WORD SEED WE PLANT WITH PRAYER
This couple became their mentors, and taught them how to love one another as God had designed them as husband and wife.
Years later, Gretchen and David found themselves comfortable in their job, but spiritually coasting. David accepted a job in another city which turned out to be a very difficult move for their family.
Life was not easy during this time, but Gretchen confessed the Word, “God has grown me up in the process. Jesus has become my friend. I’ve seen that ‘though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights’” (Hab. 3:17-19).
Understanding that God was more concerned with her character than her circumstance, Gretchen determined to plant the salt seed in others as it had been planted in her. She wanted to mentor one-on-one. From her part-time positions as a fitness tech at Curves and at her church, she met women who needed the Lord or needed to grow as a Christian.
Using the acronym, F-A-T—something on every woman’s mind—she prayed to find women who were Faithful, Available and Teachable. God brings them across her path, and she meets with each one every week—giving them the Word to memorize in a personal manner. “I will entrust to reliable [wo]men who will also be qualified to teach others” (from 2 Tim. 2:2). Her calendar is packed and overflowing.
Gretchen and David discovered unexpectedly that they came to the Kingdom through the prayer of a man they never met. While attending a Navigator conference, the story was told of a young man who would go out over the campus of K State each week and pray for the students. He was drafted and sent to Vietnam and never came back. They realized he was praying when David’s brother was a student. This young man never knew he impacted their whole family.
Salt attracts other salt. A salt crystal held in a container of brine (salt diluted in water) will grow larger the longer it is there. The longer Gretchen and David lived in the town where they moved, the more they impacted the lives of couples and families through prayer as this young man had prayed for them. Through one-on-one mentoring, they work hard at planting salt of Scripture (the Word seed) memorization, “putting off the old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of [their] minds” (Eph. 4:22-23).
They can say of God Most High, “Who is the Rock except our God?” (Ps. 18:31).
SALT IS SHARING GOD’S WORD, LOVE, CARE AND COMFORT
Cheri B. praises God Most High, “the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God” (2 Cor. 1:3-4). Her salt is sharing God’s Word, love, and care to those going through similar heartaches as she did.
From Cheri’s earliest memories, all she wanted was to be a mother and a writer. At age eighteen, she was married and had given birth to a premature baby boy. She asked the nurse, “Will he live?” All she was told was, “Aw, 50/50.”
While her husband was attending a chiropractic college and studying night and day, Cheri cared for a crying baby around the clock. At six months of age he was only seven pounds. She was isolated and alone and unable to take him into the Chicago air.
Cheri wasn’t sure what she believed spiritually and continually called her pastor to ask him, “What do we believe about _____?”
Tired of her calls, the pastor gave her a Bible, and said, “If you knew the Word of God, you would not have to call me.”
Cheri read through the whole Bible. Getting through Chronicles was hard, but it laid a salty foundation that grew and grew. Stripped of everything she had leaned on, she learned to pray to a different level.
She instilled the Word in her children, total of five—who have been her ministry. At age four, one son brought his little brother to her and said, “Mama, pray so he will get saved!” That son has an evangelist’s heart and went to Australia at age fourteen to build a camp where eighty people received Christ. At age twenty, he went to Brazil. The youngest son went to Albania with Teen Missions International when he was fifteen.
Her daughter went to India where she got typhoid of the worse type. Before Cheri learned of it, a friend gave her this Word,
Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth— everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.—Isaiah 43: 5-7
Satan fought hard for all Cheri’s children, especially her first born, but failed to win. She says, “My heritage is that ‘no weapon forged against [me] will prevail’” (Isa. 54:17).
Family is Cheri’s ministry. When she was a small girl, she was pushed aside. Her little brother had been in a car accident and required round-the-clock care. Today Cheri is always looking for the little angels being pushed to the sidelines and not being noticed. Her heart is tender toward mothers fighting for their children. She fights alongside them claiming God’s word in prayer.
Sometime after forgiving her dad of past hurts, and while at the stove cooking she heard the Lord’s voice tell her, “Your grandpa is going to die.”
“I don’t know if he’s ready yet. Don’t take him until I know he’s ready, Lord.”
She invited her dad to get a hamburger. Suddenly, the restaurant’s lights went out. As they sat in the dark, she told him how the Lord spoke to her and what she prayed.
“Cheri, don’t waste any time.” Tears rolled down her dad’s eyes, “I’ve gotten a phone call saying he almost died already.”
“Will you go with me, Dad?” Both went to see Grandpa.
“Grandpa, do you know the Lord?” Cheri popped the question.
“No, I don’t know the Lord.”
“I don’t know Him, either,” her dad spoke up.
Both men wept as Cheri had them repeat the sinner’s prayer after her, “Heavenly Father, I have sinned against you. I want forgiveness for all my sins. I believe Jesus died on the cross for me and rose from the grave. Father, I give you my life to do with as you wish. I want Jesus Christ to come into my life and into my heart. This I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.”
Cheri can say of God Most High, “He trains my hands for battle . . . . You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me” (Ps. 18:34-35).
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You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.—Matthew 5:13
We need to look at salt before we can fully understand what it means to be the salt of the earth for our own purposes. So, what is it? What does it do? How can we use that knowledge to be better “salters” of the earth?
What is salt?
Salt is a chemical with the formula NaCl, or sodium chloride. Salt’s chemical structure is a cube with depth, width, breadth and height. This four-sided crystal shares biblical significance with the earth. The “four corners of the earth, the four winds of the earth” (see Rev. 7:1), four regions (north, south, east and west), and the four seasons (fall, winter, spring and summer) are all biblically significant. The number four is also the biblical number which means “creation”—God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth (see Gen. 14:19-20).
Salt is in crystalline form, transparent like glass, but before refinement, comes in rock form—discolored and misshapen.
The physical, chemical truth is that salt cannot lose its saltiness without sodium chloride changing its physical structure (and actually becoming something else entirely). Therefore, what can it mean when Scripture says, “if salt loses its saltiness?” Mark 9:50 sheds light on the subject. It records, “Have salt in yourselves . . . .” The only thing in heaven and earth that does not change is Jesus himself, the Word made flesh, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb. 13:8) and does “not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17). Therefore, salt is Christ—the Word of God.
Dwight discovered it was God’s Word that pierced the heart, and until he put it to use he knew nothing about being the salt of the earth. He had to be refined before he was transparent so Jesus could be seen in his life—no longer misshapen. It was the Word which gave him depth as it transformed his life in all four dimensions—physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally.
What does salt do?
Salt preserves foods and is used as a de-icer for roads and highways, but loses its melting ability in extreme cold conditions. Salt softens hard water, making everything it touches more effective. It has healing qualities, disinfects wounds, and is used in spas for treatment of the skin. Salt was used as a cleansing agent in medieval times. Ezekiel 16:4 tells about newborns being rubbed with salt.
Salt is used as a seasoning. Job said, “Is tasteless food eaten without salt, or is there flavor in the white of an egg? I refuse to touch it; such food makes me ill (6:6).” Salt is good, although the body needs only one teaspoon (6 grams) per day, of which three-fourths comes naturally from prepared foods.
Too much salt kills. The Dead Sea (Salt Sea) in Israel is 30% salt, nearly ten times the amount of normal sea water. No fish can live in it nor anything on the land surrounding it.
Years before Dwight learned how to share the gospel in humility, his exuberance took over and he said, “Like taking the delicious gospel like an ice cream cone, I stuck it in a person’s face, killing any hope of the Gospel message being received.”
Dwight learned the Word was salt seed he must be ready to plant in the right way. He witnessed that only the Holy Spirit could make it grow—water it and bring the increase—at just the right time God was working with a heart to receive—before it became so cold it could not.
HAVE SALT—BUT USE IT IN BALANCE
Salt is good, but it must be kept in balance. The body will not function properly unless the ratio of salt to water in the bloodstream remains near constant. Every living cell in the body is bathed in a salt solution. The first intravenous solution given to a hospital patient is saline, or salt water. Salt is critical to life; lack of it causes death, yet the kidneys filter out and eliminate any minor excess. Similarly, when salt intake is too low, the kidneys make every effort to retain all they can.
Carol J.S. learned to have salt in balance
Carol J. S. is an excellent example of a Christian—having salt “in season and out of season” (see 2 Tim. 4:2). Plus, she learned the importance of balance. Carol was saved at a young age and baptized in her church. She grew up in the best of best of Christian homes and never heard a cuss word from her father or fighting from her parents. Still, she had to overcome feelings of not measuring up to siblings and learned to make her parents’ faith her own. Growing up learning the Word through a mission’s organization named Girl’s Auxiliary planted her in a salty foundation.
One day when she was twelve a missionary spoke at her church. Listening to him called forth a longing to be used by God for this same purpose, “Yes, I will do that!” Without a doubt she knew this was her destiny—but “life” happened.
Carol fell in love at age sixteen, married at eighteen, and had four children. Many times she thought about her heart decision to go wherever God wanted her to go. Why had it not happened? When her daughter came home from youth camp and said, “I’m going to go to Venezuela!” God’s fulfilling my dream through my children, she thought.
“No, Mom, you are supposed to go, too.” Carol decided to test the door; it opened; she was chosen to go, which was unusual since it was a teenaged team by design.
She and her husband began to pursue short-term mission trips, taking their children with them. An opportunity arrived for the couple to go to Nepal and Thailand with a medical mission team. With no medical training Carol played nurse, watched surgeries, and helped pray for three days for 900 people before their surgery.
“We are holding a national Christian conference for teachers and pastors in another town. The lady who was to speak to the women cannot get through on the roads. Can you come speak?” asked the sponsoring missionary. Carol agreed.
That night, she prepared a talk for these women. She had no notes or books to reference. All were back in the states where she had been preparing for a women’s retreat about the life of Queen Esther. This was the message already in her heart.
The next day as Carol viewed the Nepalese women, they were looking in their laps— having been taught not to have eye contact, especially with men. Speaking through an interpreter, the main words Carol kept repeating were, “You are the King’s daughters!” Slowly their heads began to rise as she talked. She witnessed their growing smiles and increased excitement as they became receptive to the Lord.
After the conference Carol learned Nepal was ruled by a king. They had more information than she did and God used the salty Word in her heart to bless real, hurting women in a dark place on this earth—a fulfillment of a prophecy spoken to her years before.
Sometime after this, Carol learned that as with salt, balance is the key—the balance of doing vs. being. “I prayed for God to break me. He replied that He did not want to see my heart broken. He wanted to melt it.”
She is transparent and vulnerable in saying, “I worked at a Christian school, doing their bookkeeping, doing payroll, teaching children’s church, a Wednesday night class, and doing praise and worship. I was so busy, busy, busy; I’m not proud of this. Even my prayers were performance. God honored all this, but He wants more. He wants my fellowship. I began to pull out of most things while other people filled the gap.God Most High, El Elyon—our Father El Roi—wants to be wanted. He delights in our smiles.”
Carol operates an on-line email prayer request ministry that spans numerous states. She has gone to India and feels God calling her to the Ukraine. In looking back at the tapestry of her life, she sees how all the dark and light and gold and silver threads have worked for her good. She praises El Elyon, God Most High, Sovereign Ruler of the Universe, “His resurrection life in me is all I need.”
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But we see Jesus . . .” (Heb. 2:9). God sees us, but do we see Jesus? By the time we get to our stage in life of crossing over the Jordan River into God’s best for our life, have we grown as a Christian to be able to see Jesus in everything?
Have we been able to see that all things have worked for good because we are called to His purpose? If so, we have crossed over into spiritual adulthood. Dwight learned the hard way.
First of all, let’s consider the brand-new baby who sleeps for the first six weeks or so of his life (or should); then, one day he looks his parents in the eye and smiles. What joy!
What joy our Father in heaven must receive when we make any little spiritual change, no matter how small! Spiritual growth is no different than every move a baby makes that does not go unnoticed by his mama and daddy—smiles and quirks of the lips, stretches, and yawns, lifting of the head and movement of the eyes. All this happens during the miracle of growth day by day—each day showing a change, even when baby is asleep.
Suddenly, one day he looks straight into his parents’ eyes. It is like he finally wakes up to “life” and smiles real big; then, comes the laugh and the giggles. And our loving, heavenly Father says, “There, that’s what I’m looking for!”
What joy to our Father, El Elyon—Mighty El Roi who is watching us all the time— who has called us by name, hears our every cry, meets our every need, and performs His purposes for us as Sovereign Ruler of the universe.
Yet . . . when we are in the nitty-gritty of life, away from our Father’s perfect will for us, why is it so hard to see Him? Could it be because our eyes are only on self, our babyish needs and wants, turned inward? When we are in this state, we are asleep like a baby, unaware that “nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Heb. 4:13).
Dwight learned the hard way
Dwight learned this accountability the hard way—that “God left nothing that is not subject to him” (Heb. 2:8), and that He truly is able to humble those who walk in pride, as Nebuchadnezzar said.
“She’s a Christian. I’m a Christian. I met her during a Bible study. She may have two children, but I’m marrying her anyway!” Dwight defiantly told his friends.
Dwight rebelled against his upbringing, and managed to survive four hellish years in college—drinking and living recklessly. He was not a “good” guy, although he went to church every Sunday out of habit.
He graduated with a mechanic’s degree and used it while working on a farm. Eventually, a friend asked, “Dwight, why don’t you go with me to hear this evangelist?”
After continuous invitations, Dwight finally relented. What he saw astounded him. This evangelist had been burned on 80% of his body; he looked like plastic, absolutely ugly. How dare he ask us to look at him! Dwight thought.
Dwight tried to leave, but he could not move; he started to sob uncontrollably, soiling handkerchiefs of everyone around him. At the end of the service during the invitation to receive the Lord, Dwight found himself at the front, although he does not know how he got there. As he repented of his sins, he knew God saw him and reached down to save him that night. As he walked out of the meeting, He felt brand new inside, completely cleansed.
People told Dwight, “Now your troubles are all over.” Not understanding consequence of choice, he believed them.
Dwight was so excited about his new-found faith that he read his Bible, ten chapters at a time, at 4:00 a.m. each morning. Every Scripture he read told him not to marry the woman he was involved with, so he chose to quit reading his Bible and married her anyway.
Two months later, his wife was pregnant. They spent half of their three-year marriage separated. Before his divorce, Dwight fasted and prayed for forty days and forty nights, pleading with God to restore his marriage and make it right. He felt God spoke to his heart, This will be very hard for you. I can’t fix this relationship you chose, but I do have a helpmate for you.
Dwight met another woman. Rushing into marriage again without seeking God’s wisdom, that marriage lasted five years—two more children without a full-time father.
Absolutely brokenhearted in spirit, he moved back to the Kansas farm—from where he had moved. There, in a small rent house, he got out his Bible and read and prayed night and day; for the first time, he faced himself honestly in the presence of the Lord. For long hours in the dark he sought the Lord. Finally . . . Dwight quit running.
Dwight learns how to pray the Lord’s Prayer
“Dwight, have you ever prayed the Lord’s prayer?” his pastor asked him.
“No, I believe to do so is ‘vain repetition,’ as the Bible calls it.”
“You didn’t like English class, did you?”
“I thought so, Dwight. The Lord’s Prayer is an outline. Each phrase is telling us how to pray and what to do.”
Dwight took hold of that and began to pray as the Lord’s Prayer directed. When meditating on “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6: 10), he realized he had wanted his own will to be done and for God to bless it. He also realized if he had not gone through what he had, he wouldn’t understand that now.
It took Dwight months to pray through the whole prayer, struggling with forgiveness until finally, he learned how to forgive himself and others. During the time of praying the Lord’s Prayer, he met a lady at his church, but he was deathly afraid of any relationship, and his heartfelt prayer was, “Lord, I want only what you want for me.”
Strange from what his life had been before, Dwight noticed fruit springing forth—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (see Gal. 5:22-23). He had gone to another meeting previous to this where he had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Only now after relinquishing his life—dying to self and surrendering his all to the Lordship of Jesus Christ—did he find lasting joy.
Meanwhile, the other lady was still there attending his singles’ group. They were friends and talked a lot, did a few things together, but Dwight did not pursue the relationship. He told God, “If you want this to continue You will have to make it happen, not me.”
Happen it did, and two years later . . . they kissed. They honored God in their relationship by abstaining from sex before marriage. They prayed about everything and made the only One in control, El Elyon [God Most High], number One in their lives. With his new wife’s son, they had four children in their intermittent blended family. Some times were very hard, but God saw them through and He blessed Dwight’s business.
One day, at odds with his supervisor at work he walked outside to take a break. In the stillness He heard the Lord’s voice, “Why are you still here?”
“Well, Lord, I’m making $30,000 a year and have a 401K retirement plan.”
“Don’t you think I can take care of you?”
Dwight quit his job that afternoon—in the first year of his marriage. After getting home, he realized he still had a lot to learn. Even though his new wife’s previous marriage was to a man who thrived on get-rich-quick schemes she supported Dwight. Before he could paint his truck with his new business name he had mechanic jobs waiting. Taking each step one by one, with the Lord as his shepherd, within four years his gross income was over one million dollars.
Dwight learns to share Jesus without fear
One day while on the job in his new building, Dwight’s part’s manager, Sam, came to him and said, “I’ve noticed things are done differently around here. Do you mind sharing with me why you believe the way you do?”
Dwight had not been talking about God at work—only working . . . honestly. He tried desperately to share about Jesus with Sam that day but felt he had botched it up good. At church the next Sunday, he shared his frustration with an older lady. She told him about a book by William Fay (with Linda Evans Shepherd) calledShare Jesus without Fear. William had run a house of prostitution until he found Jesus. The lady felt Dwight could learn from this man who had led 25,000 people to the Lord one by one.
Dwight bought the book and devoured reading it in two days. He bathed the situation in prayer for God to prepare Sam’s heart. After going through all he had, Dwight wanted more than anything to share his faith, and hopefully help someone else avoid making the mistakes he had made.
“Sam, will you allow me to try again to share my faith with you? I feel I did a lousy job the other day.”
“Well sure. Go ahead.”
Dwight highlighted Romans 3:23 in the New Testament, plus other Scriptures as indicated in the book. He knew which page it was on and opened the Bible to it. “Sam, will you read this verse out loud?”
“You want me to read it?”
“Yes, and when you finish, at the bottom of that page is another Scripture. Turn to the page number listed and read it too.”
After Sam read the verses out loud to Dwight and voiced what they meant to him he said, “If I receive Christ I will have to change my entire life!”
There was nothing in there that told Sam he would have to change his life, Dwight thought. He witnessed the Holy Spirit working through the Word—convicting of sin and righteousness—that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, that the wages of sin is death, and that all must be born again spiritually to have eternal life.
Sam made no decision right then, and Dwight said, “Okay. Just remember . . . if you die tonight without choosing Jesus . . . you will go to hell. Drive carefully!” [This is not a recommendation from the book he read, but the words that came to his mind to say to Sam.]
About one week later, Dwight arrived at work. Sam was already there and announced, “I got saved last night!”
Sam’s wife had kicked him out of the house. With nowhere to go, he went to the shop and read and reread the Scriptures from the New Testament Dwight had given him. He asked Jesus to come into his heart. God restored their marriage. They now serve the Lord and have a new baby. [These are the Scriptures Sam meditated on that night: Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23; John 3:3; John 14:6; Romans 10:9-11; 2 Corinthians 5:15; Revelation 3:20.]
After this experience, Dwight taught a class at his church to forty other Christians who felt inadequate to share their faith. He told them what he learned: “It takes between six and seven times of hearing the Gospel for a person to make the choice to follow Jesus. We want to be the one to reap the harvest, but we are successful in sharing if we have shared in a clear manner. It’s like a chain where we are only one link. If we are silent when given opportunity, we break that link. God cannot use our silence—we must be prepared!”
Dwight could say of God Most High, “You, O Lord, [kept] my lamp burning; my God [turned] my darkness into light” (Ps. 18:28).
Dwight learned God had to allow him to reap the consequences of his own choices, as any wise father does. Through that whole process, Dwight’s heart was broken before he humbled himself. He chose to be salty again, but only after being shaken to the core and trampled by [wo]men, as it says in Matthew 5:13, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by [wo]men.”
Dwight learned he could be salt. Because of the Godly life Dwight eventually lived, Sam saw something he wanted. Dwight’s being the salt of the earth meant he broke up fallow heart ground through prayer and deliberately planted just the right amount of salt. This salt-seed melted and softened a hard, cold heart—cleansed and healed, while preserving a soul for the kingdom of heaven.
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El Elyon is possessor of heaven and earth, who has delivered our enemies into our hand
El Elyon appears (as God Most High) in compound form three times in Scripture:
1. in Genesis 14:19-20
2. as “Jehovah Elyon,” meaning the One who is The Self-Existent Most High One. David, as a shepherd boy on the hills of Judea, knew God Most High and gave praise to Jehovah (Lord) Elyon:
“I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness, and will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High” (Ps. 7:17).
“How awesome is the Lord Most High, the great King over all the earth!” (Ps. 47:2).
“For you, O Lord, are the Most High over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods” (Ps. 97:9).
3. as Ĕlôhîym, the Creator and Triune God, and Elyôwn appearing together twice.
“I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills his purpose for me” (Ps. 57:2).
“But they put God to the test and rebelled against the Most High; they did not keep his statutes” (Ps. 78:56).
Some translations of Genesis 14:19-20 refer to El Elyon, the Most High, as “creator” of heaven and earth rather than possessor. If God Most High created it, does it not stand to reason that He possesses it, including you and me? A young lady named Rosie, a young Christian, found out how true this was when she chose to turn from her lifestyle of prostitution. A former customer showed up at her doorstep, forced his way in, and was not happy when she said, “I’m God’s property now.”
As he raised his hand to strike her, it was immobilized in mid-air. He could not move it and walked out the door. God Most High living in her heart showed her He was above all and demonstrated that to her. She discovered more of who she was, as her enemies were delivered into her hand.
Everything El Elyon does is right and all His ways are just
This is what Nebuchadnezzar learned about El Elyon after a long life of rebelling against God. This king of Babylon learned of the One and Only God Most High from Daniel, one of the first citizens of Jerusalem who was taken captive when Judah fell in 605 BC, as foretold by the prophet Jeremiah. [Refer to Module 3.]
Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that only Daniel could interpret. Daniel and his three friends, as Jewish exiles and because of God’s blessing, were chosen to be trained and to serve in the king’s palace. Daniel told the king:
This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree the Most High has issued against my lord the king: You will be driven away from people and will live with the wild animals; you will eat grass like cattle and be drenched with the dew of heaven. Seven times will pass by for you until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes . . . Your kingdom will be restored to you when you acknowledge that Heaven rules . . . Renounce your sins by doing what is right and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed. It may be that then your prosperity will continue. —Daniel 4:24-27
“Twelve months later, as the king was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, he said, ‘is not this the great Babylon, I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?’” (Dan. 4:29-30 emphasis mine).
These words were still on the king’s lips when the exact words Daniel told him were repeated in his ear by the Most High. All the words came true. At the end of that time Nebuchadnezzar raised his eyes toward heaven and praised the Most High, honoring and glorifying him who lives forever and saying, “He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: ‘What have you done?’” (Dan. 4:35).
Nebuchadnezzar’s sanity was restored, with his honor and splendor even greater than before. Afterwards, he said, “Now, I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven, because everything he does is right and all his ways are just. And those who walk in pride he is able to humble” (Dan. 4:37).
El Elyon is in total control
King Nebuchadnezzar had to learn that sometimes things have to happen to us beyond our control before we comprehend God is for us—that we are not the one in control. The king learned that everything El Elyon allowed to happen was for his own good. Until we have also gone through difficulties and have seen the hand of God Most High work on our behalf, we cannot fully believe or comprehend that “all things work together for good to those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose . . . . What shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:28, 31).
“Yes, from the time of the first existence of day and from this day forth I am He, and there is no one who can deliver out of My hand. I will work and who can hinder or reverse it?” (Isa. 43:13). Is there any way we can comprehend the vastness of how totally “in control” our God El Elyon is? Absolutely nothing can happen to us that is not filtered through His great big, ever-loving fingers.
Kay Arthur says it best, “If God is not sovereign, if He is not in control, if all things are not under His dominion, then He is not the Most High, and you and I are either in the hands of blind fate, in the hands of man, or in the hands of the devil.”
El Elyon is trustworthy and faithful to His promises
Abram trusted God explicitly, and placed his life and that of his men in jeopardy to rescue Lot and his family, knowing El Elyon would give him the victory. He seemed not to think about it twice. He knew he was in God’s protective hands. This faithfulness and perseverance brought even greater blessings, as the Word of the Lord came to him in a vision, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward” (Gen. 15:1).
Jesus tells us the same thing, “Well done, good and faithful servant! I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matt. 25:21). This is what Melchizedek was saying to Abram by bringing out the bread and wine to bless God Most High, “Come and share your master’s happiness!” This is what communion should be about— rejoicing in the deliverance Jesus’ blood brought.
These rewards are only for the faithful. The children of Israel found that what God said He would do, He did. When they reached the plains of the Jordan River opposite Jericho, Moses ordered a census be taken. Of all those twenty years old or more who were able to serve in the army of Israel (see Num. 26), the total number of men was 601,730; not one was counted in the census forty years earlier—except Joshua and Caleb—who trusted God unwaveringly, 100 percent. Two men were the only ones remaining of the older, rebellious generation except for Moses.
Whereas God had not allowed the shortcut to the land on the eleven-day journey from Egypt to Canaan, He did bring them through the Red Sea and the refining heat of the desert, and now, the swelling Jordan River at springtime harvest. He had shaken them until only the faithful remained; and with them, he would drive out the wickedness that was now at it’s zenith in the land. Only those armed for war would now cross over the Jordan to take their position in the land (see Num. 32:27).
Israel’s conquest of Canaan was a physical possession of the land given them as an inheritance, an example to us as Christians to believe El Elyon, God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth, for all our enemies, not of flesh and blood, to be given into our hands. This is our inheritance. And He tells us, “If you trust me to do this, I will trust you with more.” When He does that, He will show up suddenly, taking us by surprise.
The following attachment is of the arrows, sword and shield weapons we must arm ourselves with. Referring back to Module 4, when we align our words with God’s word we allow El Elyon [God Most High] to deliver our enemies into our hand. Remember, we will be judged for every idle word we speak; therefore, these are designed to be laminated and placed by the television for daily use or when hearing bad news.
These arrows and sword weapons were inspired by young Colton Burpo’s words to his daddy in the book, Heaven is For Real. During an operation for a ruptured appendix, Colton visited heaven. Jesus showed him that Todd, his daddy, would fight in the coming battle with Jesus as He cast satan into the bottomless pit. Todd asked his son what weapon he would be using to fight satan and his monsters. Colton said, “You either get a sword or a bow and arrow, but I don’t remember which” (pg. 138, Thomas Nelson, 2010).
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The following Arrows and Sword & Shield document can be laminated into a 5″ x 7″ card. Put on your armor shield every day with the Word of God as your sword and arrows.
“Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” —Genesis 14:19-20 NASB
From Chapter 1 of this book, we learned El Roi was the One who sought us and found us. He called us by our name, causing us to face where we came from and where we are going. He required accountability for our choices and blessed our obedience. He saw our affliction and heard our misery. It is God Most High who shows us a glimpse of our future and continues to want to be wanted. It is to Him we give our praise, for He has answered our prayers by delivering our enemies into our hand.
We studied Abraham, beginning with Chapter 15 in Genesis, when God renewed his covenant with him to make his name great and promised to give him a son. Two previous chapters in Genesis before this account reveal more about God Most High. Lot, Abram’s nephew, tagged along on the journey to the land God would reveal. Lot also had many flocks, tents and herdsmen. When they came to the plain of the Jordan, quarrelling arose among the herdsmen on both sides because their possessions were very great. Abram suggested, “We are family, but we need to separate. If you choose to go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go right, I’ll go left.”
Lot chose the best, fertile, green, lush valley of the Jordan and pitched his tents near Sodom. Abram traveled eastward into the land of Caanan. After he was alone, the Lord spoke to Abram, giving him the land as far as his eyes could see—to him and his offspring forever. Abram decided to move to Hebron near the great trees of Mamre.
About this time, war broke out among nine kings, four against five. The five joined forces in the Valley of Siddim (the Salt Sea, also known as the Dead Sea). The four kings seized all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah. “They also carried off Abram’s nephew Lot and his possessions, since he was living in Sodom” (Gen. 14:12). Lot and his family were no longer near the wicked city of Sodom, but inside, and now, captured.
Abram learned of the capture, rallied his 318 trained men, and took the offensive against the warring Canaanites and Perizzites of the whole land. He pursued over rough terrain to Damascus, about 200 miles, and recovered all the goods, Lot and his family and all the other people taken captive.
After his return from battle, “the king of Sodom met Abram at the valley of Shaveh (that is, the Kings’ Valley). And Melchizedek King of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High. And he blessed him and said,
“Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; And blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand. And he gave him a tenth of all.” —Genesis 14:19-20
God Most High Blesses Abram
Abram did not do as he had done so many times before and afterward, to build an altar and worship God in praise. Instead, it was the priest of God Most High who came out to meet Abram. He blessed him, even referring to him as “Abram of God Most High,” refreshing him physically and mentally. Through God Most High’s initiative, He let Abram know He had been there all the time, like the Teacher showing up after a test, and saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
The people of the land witnessed Abram’s God as God Most High, higher than all other gods, who gave victory to a man with only 318 men and three neighbors in a surprise night attack. The wicked king of Sodom told Abram to keep the goods and give him the people.
“And Abram said to the king of Sodom, ‘I have sworn to the Lord God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take a thread or a sandal thong or anything that is yours, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich’” (Gen. 14:22-23 NASB). Abram took nothing except what his men had eaten and gave a share to his men, but only after giving the tithe to Melchizedek, King of Salem—Salem later known as Jerusalem.
God Most High: One Huge Priestly Presence
According to Hebrews 7, Melchizedek’s “name means ‘king of righteousness’; then also, ‘king of Salem’ means ‘king of peace.’ Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains a priest forever” (Heb. 7:2-3). This is to whom Abram gave his tithe (where the tithe originated), to one who was like the Son of God, “one huge priestly presence dominating the landscape always” (Heb. 7:3 The Msg). The writer of Hebrews interprets Jesus to be the permanent fulfillment of Melchizedek’s type of priesthood, “For it is declared, ‘You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek’” (Heb. 7:17).
One huge priestly presence dominating the landscape always, probably no better explanation of who God Most High is. More specifically, though, who is He? As with the names of God that define His character, El Roi, Elohim, and El Shaddai, the “El” of El Elyon is a Hebrew noun for God emphasizing “might, strength and power.”
Most High in Hebrew means Elyôwn (regularly seen as Elyon). It is a Hebrew adjective originating from the Hebrew word Âlâh which simply means “to ascend, to mount up, to go up, to rise; to grow up; to be lifted up, to be put up; to be led up, to be led away; to rise up; to be high, to be exalted.” Thus, Elyôwn means “elevated, high, exalted, the Most High, the Supreme Being (the true God).”
Who is El Elyon? He is God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth, doing everything right and just, in total control always, and trustworthy and faithful to His promises.
 Spiros Zodiates, Th.D., Executive Editor, The Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible, (AMG Publishers, Chattanooga, TN, 1990) p. 1710.
After working in Texas for a year where we experienced Jehovah Rapha to some extent, Jim discovered the church was in arrears the equivalent of his salary. We knew we had a decision to make. God had given us this promise:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”—Jeremiah 29:11-14
Maybe this was the time God would lead us back home, but where was home? It could be Oklahoma or Kansas. In obedience to God in doing the right thing for the church, Jim resigned. While I was typing his resignation, he received a phone call from an Oklahoma church to come in view of a call for pastor. After turning in the resignation, the church called back and withdrew its offer—due to lack of experience. Nevertheless, we could hear our Shepherd calling us further north.
In faith, we made arrangements to move, holding to another promise:
“So do not fear, O Jacob my servant; do not be dismayed, O Israel,’ declares the Lord. “I will surely save you out of a distant place, your descendants from the land of their exile . . . I am with you and will save you,” declares the Lord . . . . “I will restore you to health and heal your wounds.”–Jeremiah 30:10-11, 17
Two weeks later, Jim received a phone call from Kansas, asking him to lead his sister and brother-in-law’s church services for three Sundays and two Wednesday evenings. It was an interim for the interim pastor position. At first, I thought I should stay behind with the children, but the Lord showed me Proverbs 24:27, “[Put first things first.] Prepare your work outside, and get it ready for yourself in the field, and afterward build your house and establish a home” (Amplified).
My parents took Kurt and Francy and settled them in school while one-year-old Matthew stayed with us. After the month in Kansas, we traveled back to Texas to move.
Jehovah Rapha and our baby
That night, Matthew grew very irritable, pulled at his ears, and cried constantly. Jim and I prayed for him as we sat in the porch swing. I continued to rock him, and through my own tears, kept repeating the Word out loud, “By Your stripes, Lord Jesus, Matthew has been healed; You redeemed him from the curse of the law because You were made a curse for him on that tree.”
After what seemed forever, which was only about ten minutes, Matthew suddenly settled down and was his happy self again. Jehovah Rapha had arrived. The same thing had happened with Matthew when he was about one week old. He was fussy, but I didn’t know why. I prayed for him all night long. Later, when examined by a doctor, he said, “This child’s ears burst at one time.” They had healed; he could always hear and never had any trouble with them again.
After moving to Kansas where Jim’s sister and family lived, Jim found a construction job. We still could not say, “We know where we have come from and where we are going.” We continued to seek the Lord’s guidance. When we thought maybe we should go into business and open a Christian bookstore, I was invited to a Successful Living home party where Christian books were the product. Wow! I thought. I’d never heard of this before.
Successful Living’s mission was to take the bookstore to the people, since only ten percent of Christians take the initiative to seek out a bookstore. I signed up as an independent dealer/ distributor, got my kit that contained a few books and put them on the shelf.
Jehovah Rapha and my friend Jack
Jumping ahead a few years when I was in full swing as a book distributor, Jack D. called me every once in awhile. I special ordered any book he desired. Paralyzed from his neck down with multiple sclerosis, he called me because I delivered to his house. Jack’s friends plastered Scriptures over every inch of ceiling and walls. He trusted God would raise him from his bed with complete healing.
Jack hired young people to care for him around the clock. Many read his inspirational books to him. His front door was left open so they could come and go unhindered. He had a couple televisions stolen from him, but Jack kept forgiving and influencing them for good. He was a joy to be around and his faith in God was unshakable. Friends picked him up for church, taking pains to see he got out of the house to worship His God.
I, for one, agreed with Jack, that God was going to heal him. I discovered a great book by Reginald Cherry, M.D., The Bible Cure. I just knew there would be something in there that would help Jack, if “I would just have enough faith.” Surprisingly to me, Jack said, “You know what spoke to me in that book? It was the chapter about ‘Facing the Ultimate Cure—Death and Beyond.’”
Within two months, Jack was dead. He died of cancer. I learned to try to look at the big picture, remembering God’s thoughts and ways are higher than mine, and that we must live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God—in a balanced approach. Jack left behind a legacy of faith and love to his unsaved daughters who had to take down every Scripture from the ceiling and walls. To those who worked for him, and to all who knew him—God would give the increase.
Jehovah Rapha and our son
From this experience with Jack, I learned to pray about how to pray when confronted with a friend’s problem. At times, I’d forget, but I never felt it was wrong to believe for the miracle, just to keep in mind that God has His individualized pathway of healing for that person. My philosophy was tested when our son, Kurt, called six months after he married. “Mom, doctors say my aortic valve needs to be replaced.” I didn’t take him seriously; he was always joking about everything. But, he wasn’t this time.
I wanted to ask God for a creative divine miracle, but I stopped, and asked “Lord, how do you want me to pray for Kurt?”
Immediately, God spoke to my heart, if being able to replace an aortic valve with a new human valve is not a creative, divine miracle, I don’t know what one is.
Nine years later, Kurt called with the same message, “Mom, the doctor says my aortic valve needs to be replaced again; it’s worn out.”
“Lord, how do I pray for Kurt this time?” The reply: If a mechanical valve that’s been perfected in the last nine years is not a miracle, I don’t know what one is.
Kurt and his wife Davi had just moved to a city with a great heart hospital two miles from their home in Arkansas. Kurt came through surgery fine, but afterwards, his lungs did not readily operate. He was still on the ventilator three days after surgery. I called friends for backup prayer. At 4:00 a.m., I was telling Kurt about the prayer of authority my friend Jo prayed for him with me over the telephone—repeating her words, “We speak to these lungs, in the name of Jesus, to the fluid to be cleared; to the heart to heal.”
At just that moment, three nurses ran into the room, “What’s going on?” “Nothing, we were just praying,” I said.
“Then, why don’t you pray again.”
I continued to pray, claiming Matthew 18:19 that where two or three are gathered in His name, Jesus is in the midst, and repeating the prayer I’d just prayed.
The head nurse said, “Jehovah Rapha is here,” and then she admitted, “The monitor sounded. We are going to do an X-ray, and see what’s going on.” Another nurse told us about having her hearing restored through a new surgery. We had a praise meeting right there.
The X-ray revealed a wire may have been pulled out of place. The next morning, Kurt was off the ventilator and breathing on his own. Whether or not the wire had anything to do with the fluid, we don’t know, but Jehovah-Rapha was definitely there.
Jehovah Rapha and my past
Backtracking a few years when Kurt was about twelve, Francy ten and Matthew five, their little brother Hank was born—right in the middle of income tax season while I was working for a CPA. He called me two weeks after the birth offering to pay for my sitter if I would come back to work. I could hardly stand it mentally and physically, but I did. After April 15, I was hired to stay on. One day, the accountant called me in to his office and said, “Ann, you are an air-head; one day you do great work, the next make mistakes. I’ve recommended you as secretary for my church.”
What did he expect from a new mother getting no sleep? Who does he think he is, pushing me off to his church so he can get rid of me? I was devastated.
About the same time, Kurt and Francy made comments to me, “Earth to mom! Earth to mom!”
I felt absolutely worthless, like I could never do anything right. Why did I have to be made this way? That’s when my eyes caught the title of a book on the shelf, Personality Plus, by Florence Littauer. She had read Tim LaHaye’s book, Spirit Controlled Temperament, about the four temperaments, which originated with Hippocrates four-hundred years before Christ was born.
Florence felt the author secretly knew her and her husband, and decided to do more research. The result is her book that describes the strengths and weaknesses of: The Sanguine (The Talker), the Melancholy (The Thinker), the Phlegmatic (The Watcher), and the Choleric (The Doer).
When I read that the Phlegmatic had her head in the clouds much of the time, I knew that was me. But, I also saw that one fourth of the population had to be just like me, and that this personality also had strengths. Slowly, I began to see that Jesus personified a perfect balance of all the temperaments, and that should be my goal, to trust Him to make my weaknesses His strengths, for He said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9).
Understanding the personalities not only helped build self-esteem, (or god-esteem), but helped me to understand my husband and children. We bought a camper so we could teach the kids while enjoying togetherness outdoors. When Francy discovered she scored just like me, she cried and said, “Mom, I don’t want to be like you!”
“Then don’t be content to be a watcher, get involved in your life,” I told her, and she did. She picked up a viola at a friend’s house, could play it, took private lessons, and was chosen for the Wichita Youth Symphony. She ran cross country in middle school and high school track meets and now competes several times a year in marathons—after having two sons of her own.
Even then, I did not realize how much more I needed to change to find healing from my past in order to help my marriage survive and to be the support my children would need in the years to come.
After about fifteen years of marriage and having learned to accentuate the positive rather than the negative, our marriage was still like a roller coaster ride. Things would go along just great, and then all of a sudden, the peace was sabotaged. Since first seeking the Lord together, marital intimacy seemed out of reach, again and again.
For three great years, I was secretary of that accountant’s church; then, finally eased into the inspirational book business/ministry, holding book parties and placing and servicing family reading centers in grocery stores. I was always on the look-out for a great selling book to put on my racks, when a whole case arrived on my doorstep that I hadn’t ordered—Love is a Choice, written by Christian psychologists, Hemflet, Minirith and Meier. The ordering distributor knew something I didn’t, so I began to order it. It sold out every time.
Jim discovered the book after our worst and almost fatal argument. We were at the bottom of a downward spiral. He went out to my storeroom filled with books on all four walls, picked up this book and read it through. “Ann, I want you to read this book, and we are going to discuss it chapter by chapter.”
“But, I’ve tried. I can’t get into it, and I don’t see how it applies to me, anyway!”
I was to learn it all applied to me; it applied to both of us in similar, yet different ways. Codependency is a word used traditionally to describe children of alcoholics who had not received nurturing and love in childhood. When they entered a marriage relationship, they were unable to give what they had not received. Their hearts were like half-filled love tanks, straining to borrow from their partner to replace what was missing. The couple sought happiness in the other person, not realizing it was something only God could fulfill. Alcoholism is not the only culprit; co-dependency, originating from abuse of children, can be passive in nature—from any lack of nurturing.
During an all-night “discussion,” my Choleric leader husband, with the Lord’s help, opened my eyes to be able to face my past, and to see how it was affecting me. I never talked. I didn’t know how to talk, struggling to express myself in any circumstance. On the other hand, Jim found it very easy to find words. At any confrontation I would leave, never facing anything head-on. Another book helped me see I was just as “guilty”—of anger. I was just holding it in, seeking to punish Jim by not talking to him. But, why did I have so much trouble with this?
My father never talked. At a family reunion late in his life, he spoke to the whole extended family, sharing how he, his twin brother and four other siblings were brought up to “be seen and not heard.” In a chapter he wrote when he was eighty-two years old, and published in a compilation book, His Forever: Stories of Real People Finding Jesus, he wrote, “‘You’ve got to smell like a man!’ These are some of the few words my father ever spoke to me.”
And, so the cycle went. My parents were very loving. I was so blessed to have them as my parents; they taught me about God. Their priority was teaching children in Vacation Bible Schools, at summer camps, and in our church’s Girl’s Auxiliary. Mother taught the Bible to her junior high class faithfully. They overcame many things they lacked and both became published authors, yet both lacked nurturing themselves as children. Mother had thirty nannies after her mother died of Scarlet Fever. When I asked my father about a character in the novel he wrote, he admitted, “She never heard the words, I love you; that was me.”
Before learning all this from my father, I realized I had a self-esteem problem and that I didn’t like myself, and until I did, no one else would either. I made a list of things I had been too timid to do, or not allowed to do as a child. One by one, I did them with my children; simple things like going to the circus. I’d been too timid to raise my hand in third grade when asked if there was someone who had not yet performed a duty that would allow the class to go to the circus. I was the only one who couldn’t go.
Facing these things changed my life. Helping my father with his book and getting it published helped build our relationship. Since then, I’ve been able to relate to my Heavenly Father.
Slowly, inch by inch, I’m still learning to confront in love, to be a helpmate rather than just a pleaser, [learned from another book: Pleasers] to face every situation, to talk to my husband and with my children and grandchildren. I’ve learned God created us (and instituted marriage), not to make us happy (only God can do that), but to make us holy. Healing is a life-long journey; life should be a healing journey leading to absolute wholeness.
JESUS CAME TO BRING RECOVERY OF SIGHT FOR THE BLIND
Sandy’s Story of Recovery
Jesus’ words of “recovery of sight for the blind” is not only a spiritual and emotional healing, but also refers to physical healing. When the opportunity arose to give a testimony at a women’s gathering, Sandy sensed the Lord wanted her to do so. Out of obedience, she volunteered.
Two months before she was to share, a friend saw her at the grocery store and spoke to her about it. Sandy was still nervous and did not know what she was going to say, “I just really don’t have a testimony, but I know God wants me to do this.”
The next day, Sandy’s husband was in Kansas City on his truck driving route delivering mail, when she suddenly got a splitting headache. Sandy knew she was gravely ill and decided to drive herself from her country home to the hospital, over twenty miles away. Her husband encouraged her on the other end of the cell phone, helping her to find her way. She was immediately air lifted to Kansas University Medical Center since her husband was already in that vicinity.
A CAT scan revealed five aneurysms in her brain. Surgery repaired one that was leaking on the left side of her head. Further surgeries were planned. People from all over Kansas, and from Ohio to New Mexico prayed for Sandy, holding the blood of the Lamb over her, claiming that by His stripes she was healed. They knew that just as the children of Israel were delivered that night long ago, Sandy would also be delivered by the blood of Jesus.
Within weeks, Sandy was back to work full-time, and able to keep her planned testimony talk. And talk she did, rejoicing in the work of the Lord. Every participant was convinced, “this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in [her] life” (John 9:3).
Twice, she and her husband went to follow-up doctor appointments. Each time the doctor asked Sandy, “Are you having any problems, any headaches?”
“No, I’m doing just great!”
“Two hours to see the doctor, and that’s all there was to the appointments,” Sandy said.
A test was to be done two months later, but her doctors decided not to do it because she was doing so well; as of four years later, no further surgeries were ever performed.
JESUS CAME TO RELEASE THE OPPRESSED
Kim’s story of recovery through release
When Kim accepted Christ as her personal Savior and after the retreat where her friends prayed for her, God opened her mouth. She had been oppressed and now she was released! She went to business school and worked as a research assistant at a law firm. She prayed, “Lord please bring people to me so I can witness, because I cannot go to them here at work.”
One by one, men and women came into her office to ask questions, like, “How do I get saved?” “What is salvation?” “Who is Jesus?” “How do you know it’s true? One young man said, “I’m a nice Jewish boy, I don’t celebrate Christmas.”
“Did you know Jesus was a Jew?” Kim asked.
“The first five books of the Bible, your Pentateuch, are our laws as Christians,” she explained.
Kim walked with girls in the office. They pumped her with questions. She was lied to so much by her mother that she would not tolerate lies coming from anyone else’s mouth when it came to her Savior or the Bible.
She could not keep her mouth shut. “Sometimes, I know I should not be such a big mouth, but I learned to pray God would speak through me so I would not blow it. It took me over eighteen years to learn this and not bulldoze people. I realized that sometimes I was taking the Good News, and like a good ice cream cone, sticking it in their face. God taught me to gently ‘water.’ I never directly led anyone to the Lord, but I could pour water, knowing God would give the increase (see 1 Cor. 3:8).”
After the deliverance retreat where Kim renounced the stronghold of the occult on her life, she found it had not only been completely removed by the cross of Jesus Christ and His shed blood for her, but also for her family. Her mom, dad and Hank quit reading their horoscopes, biographies and auto-biographies of physics, spiritualists and all that garbage. They also had no interest in the occult whatsoever after that retreat.
Kim’s whole family saved through recovery by Jehovah Rapha
After Kim returned home to California for the last time, within months, her mother died. This was shortly before Hank died. Kim did not know if her mother had made the right choice, but God gave her a clue in a dream:
All my family and I, including some cousins, were going to a restaurant down a flight of stairs in a little scoop inside some hills. We walked a long way to the bottom. I was leading the way, pushing my mother in a wheelchair. We went into the restaurant, ordered, and when we finished eating, we looked out and saw that the hills all around us were on fire. We could not see a way out, but I kept looking and finally saw a pathway that was not on fire. I told mother, “Come on, I’ll get you out.” We simply walked out, and the rest of the family followed. The other customers did not.
The following year, Kim joined her mother, her sister Hank, her grandparents, and her favorite aunt. Doctors were unable to give her that promised liver transplant because she contracted breast cancer and the liver treatments would have made her vulnerable to the cancer’s return. Kim’s father and other relatives she saw following her were left behind, but she knew she would see them again—when all the oppressed would be released, her whole household saved (see Acts 16:31).
JESUS CAME TO PROCLAIM THE YEAR OF THE LORD’S FAVOR
“The spirit of the Lord is upon me . . . to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18). This statement Jesus made summarizes every word he had just revealed about Himself from the book of Isaiah. He was saying that in Him, all our debts (spiritual and physical) are cancelled, all slaves (spiritual and physical) are free, all lands are restored, all families are reunited, every day of every year.
The Year of the Lord’s Favor is the Year of Jubilee as described in Leviticus, Chapter 25. On the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), the most solemn holy day of the Jewish people, the sins of the nation were confessed. This was the only day of the year the priest was permitted to enter the Holy of Holies when he presented an offering for the “covering” of the peoples’ sin, and those sins were laid on the scapegoat that was banished outside the camp.
When Jesus (our scapegoat) died on the cross, the veil that separated the people from God in the Tabernacle split down the middle. Thus, sin was no longer covered, but washed away by Jesus’ blood so we can run into God’s presence through Jesus Christ every moment of every day. Better still, He lives within our hearts.
Jesus is our Jubilee of recovery
Also, on this solemn Day of Atonement, on the tenth day of the seventh month every fiftieth year [September on our calendar], a trumpet blast announced the Year of Jubilee. Every seven years (the Sabbath Year) the land was to remain fallow; the whole year was to be dedicated to seeking the Lord; and He would provide for their food every six years, making their crops produce enough to feed them for three years. The Year of Jubilee arrived every seven times seven years, announced in the forty-ninth year, which meant that two years in a row there would be no tilling of the ground or work of their own hands. Those years were to be given to the Lord as they sought to learn of Him trusting Him to meet their needs.
Beginning on the Day of Atonement, all financial debts were cancelled; slaves of Israelite origin were set free. Any sale of land amounted to a lease that expired in the Year of Jubilee, when it would be returned to the original family (of the twelve tribes). God told them, “The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants” (Lev. 25:23).
“Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each one of you is to return to his family property and each to his own clan” (Lev. 25:10). The Bible does not say, but possibly, the proclamation Jesus made in the synagogue was on this solemn Day of Atonement.
Jesus tells all those who have ears to hear and hearts to understand, that He alone is our Jubilee—in every area of our lives—every minute of every day. He alone is our Healer; He alone is Jehovah-Rapha.
Even Webster’s dictionary defines “kingdom come,” from the Lord’s Prayer as “the next world; heaven.” We can live in heaven’s freedom and liberty right now when we come before Jesus with exposed hearts, seeking forgiveness as we forgive, and face where we came from. May “[His] kingdom come, [His] will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10).