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M7G Crossing Dry River Bed Because of Jehovah Jireh

The morning of December 14 arrived. This was our moving day of crossing the dry river bed of our Jordan River. We continued to pack the truck with our belongings. My friend, Linda S., called. “Well, do you know where you are going yet?”

Moving day arrived - of crossing the dry river bed of our Jordan River. Linda S., called. “Well, do you know where you are going yet?” "No,, just heading.

“No, not yet. Still heading straight north.”

“Then why don’t you stop by and see us while you’re heading north?”’

She and Chuck lived north, in Texarkana, Texas, so that is what we did. We had an upright freezer full of meat and corn from Jim’s parents’ farm. We placed the freezer to the back of the truck so we could plug it in after arriving at our friends’ house.

The day after our arrival, Linda and I walked around the block and saw an empty house. Further inspection found it was being renovated to rent. It would not be ready for a couple weeks; we rented it. This necessitated our staying with our friends.

Linda and I were like school girls, rejoicing in the Lord’s provision in bringing us together. All four of us shared in the Lord’s goodness and discussed His Word. After more than three days passed, I said to Chuck, “My parents always said that if company stayed more than three days, they start smelling like dead fish.”

“Only if you feel that way, is when you start smelling like fish,” was his reply.

We had never experienced such gracious hosts and friends as Chuck and Linda. I changed my attitude, and was able to continue to rejoice in our friendship and the breaking of bread together. Learning to receive was hard.

We visited the church two blocks away. The first sermon we heard was from Deuteronomy 2:3, “You have made your way around this hill country long enough; now turn north.” God’s Word had directed us, and we knew we were where He wanted us––exactly one-hundred miles straight north.

Yellow lillies with text Because God is Jehovah Jireh I am Free

Immediately after getting settled in our house, I looked at the four walls. “Well, we’re here, Lord. We’ve crossed the Jordan. I’m ready to do what you want me to do. Now what?”

The next Sunday while sitting in church, it dawned on me why I might be feeling queasy. Sure enough, I was pregnant! We had enough money to pay the doctor for the first visit. The next five visits, we had to have $120 before I could even get in to see the doctor; insurance was terminated.

I had told some friends, “God never makes mistakes.”

Now I had to find out for myself if that was really true. I could not sleep. At 2:00 a.m., I slipped out of bed without waking Jim, and went into the other room. My thoughts ran to Rebecca when her twins jostled within her, and she said,

“Why is this happening to me? So she went to inquire of the Lord” (Gen. 25:22). And, the Lord told her that two nations would come from her twins (Jacob and Esau), and the older would serve the younger.

I decided to inquire of the Lord, and simply asked, “Why now, Lord?”

The dry river bed was more than dead stones

dry river bed stones

I thought about Joshua, wondering what He initially did after getting into the Promised Land. I opened my Bible. My eyes fell to Joshua, Chapter 4, where it told how the children of Israel chose twelve stones from the riverbed to place on the other side as a memorial––to remind them when their children asked in time to come, “What do these stones mean to you?”

They were to tell them of God’s wonders when the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and they passed over on the dry riverbed. I thought, we should have stopped the truck and picked up some stones and set them up in our front yard.

God immediately spoke to my heart: I am giving you a living memorial, this baby, to always remind you of your new beginning.

Reality set in: nine more months to the other side; oh no. The baby was due September 3, Labor Day, close to one year from when Jim had asked the Lord for a year to study His Word. We weren’t across the Jordan at all; we had only taken the first step down into it!

And, the manna had only just begun! Our church needed a pianist. Of the churches I had played for, the organist is paid, never the pianist. After our moving money ran out, without fail, a check for twenty dollars was on the piano each Sunday. We gave two dollars tithe each week, put three dollars gasoline in the car at twenty-five cents per gallon, and spent $15.00 on groceries.

That, with the garden Linda helped me plant, and a full freezer, we never went hungry. We would learn first-hand what the psalmist meant, “I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread” (Ps. 37:25).

That spring, one of the elderly members in our church, Mrs. Tittle, invited us to lunch. Included in the meal were crispy, delicious biscuits. Jim and I liked them so much that she invited us back to show me how she made them. (See recipe at end of chapter.)

The dry river bed held manna and fig jam

dry river bed tree

Mr. & Mrs. Tittle also had a fig tree in their back yard. Kurt and Francy helped pick all we wanted. I made my first and only fig jam. It was super on those hot biscuits. What an amazing summer it was, seeing a real fig tree and eating the fruit of it, much like being in the land of milk and honey. Those biscuits sustained us that year––along with gravy that could be made from the same ingredients that $15.00 could buy––and for years afterward when our children were young. Mrs. Tittle made her biscuits every morning; they were the mainstay of her diet. And now for us, it was manna––good manna our children would request upon returning home in their adult years.

When bills arrived in the mailbox, I wrote out a Scripture on each one, such as: Phillipians 4:19; 2 Corinthians. 9:8, 10, 11; and Luke 6:38. Jim kept trying to find a permanent job, but found none. When the $235 monthly rent came due, a temporary job would spring up––such as waterproofing basements for Chuck in his business.

Even though we knew we had a long wait until September, we could not understand why, and four different times looked to our own efforts to bring about God’s plan. The fourth time, after gripping and complaining, I watched Jim stumble home with a heat stroke.

It took over three days for him to recover. We let satan steal from us during this time because we questioned God’s wisdom in how He was dealing with us. After this, we turned our anger on the right one–– satan––declaring he would steal from us no more; we had borrowed money for the rent.

The dry river bed was filled with Heaven’s blessings

suffering in dry river bed

Heaven’s blessings began to come in again––our having gotten back in the Word, looking to the Lord. We discovered Mark 10:29-30, which we did not know was in the Bible. We had left all to follow Jesus, just as Peter had said. We felt God wanted us to prove His Word. We had four dollars. We gave it to Him, claiming these verses for us. In a couple hours, a call came for Jim for a job that would pay the rent––over the $200 needed.

Two days later, my friend, Martha, came to our door and handed us an envelope containing her income tax return. She said that God told her to give it to us. We knew that not taking it would rob her of God’s blessings, so as difficult as it was, we received it as from the Lord. It was $200 more, completing the 100-fold return on the four dollars.

I knew Martha deeply desired a violin, and that her obeying the Lord put Him first and the violin second. She had planned on buying one with this money. She did not know God desired to multiply her gift back to her so she could give some more. I showed her Mark 10:29-30 and told her I believed God would somehow give her a violin a hundred times better than any she could have bought.

Thank God it is His Word and He watches over it to perform it––when it comes from our mouth. On her birthday a couple months later, an old acquaintance gave her his violin he could not play anymore––a beautiful old one brought over from Europe 100 years earlier, possibly a Paganini, one of only fifty surviving treasures. He even bought her a new bow and case for it. He told her to get insurance on it; she gave it back to God.

Back to the baby of the dry river bed

dry river bed baby

We knew God gave us this child; therefore, we knew He would provide for it. Each month, the $120 was there, except for one, and the next month, it was paid for by a $500 check that came in June for my May birthday. It seems a gas well was dug on my sister’s farm. She and her husband received only one royalty check from it, and sent us the tithe. Before the baby was born, Martha had a truck load of out-dated Kimbie diapers sent to us from the medical warehouse where she worked, enough for the whole neighborhood!

July arrived. Nothing outstanding happened. We eked by on the $20.00 per week. By August the bills were mounting, but just as sure as a baby will be delivered, we were assured we would also. We had learned our lesson. I was believing God and confessing His Word everyday, that He would bring us out from under the burdens of the Egyptians and make a way in the sea and a path in the mighty waters, and the mounting bills (or chariot and horse) would lie down together, never to rise again, extinguished, snuffed out like a wick (see Exod. 6:7; Isa. 43:16-17.)

But, we were about to the end of our rope. Just when we thought we could go no further, on the fifth day of August, the pastor of our church asked Jim if he would consider an education and youth position. The church had been looking for a full-time music and youth man. No leads ever came. They decided they had been looking for the wrong person. But it was not until the end of October––after a total of fourteen months––the job materialized.

Meanwhile, the bills were still mounting. We had been setting aside (out of our need) $25.00 a month during June, July, August and September in a savings account, money to help a trusted organization get out of debt. We knew the Golden Rule Jesus taught said that, as we do unto others, He would do unto us (see Luke 6:31). Plus, we kept up our tithe to the church. Jim taught Wednesday evening services during the month of August for which he was paid.

From the seventh month of pregnancy, I spent most hours on the couch, since walking brought on false labor. My Amplified Bible was especially meaningful to me: “Shall I bring to the birth and not cause to bring forth? says the Lord; shall I Who cause to bring forth shut the womb? says your God” (Isa. 66:9). I felt Jesus’ words, “I am with you all the days,––perpetually, uniformly and on every occasion––to the [very] close and consummation of the age” (Matt. 28:20) were directed to me alone. Daily, I spoke to our mountain of bills in the name of Jesus, to be cast into the sea (see Mark 11:23), and wrote Scriptures on their envelopes.

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September 4 arrived. Yesterday was Labor Day, due date––no baby delivered, no bills delivered. It was the hottest day of the summer, using fans, no air conditioning. My devotional read how a potter puts china through the final hottest firing to set the rim in gold. I prayed, “Lord, I don’t know how it could get any hotter, the landlord is coming today for two months rent. Just let it get as hot as it has to so we can get this over with!”

At 2:00 p.m. the public service man came to turn off the electricity. The lights went out. The fans died down. Our freezer quit running. Sweat poured. Jim and I could not talk to each other. The next thirty minutes seemed like hours as we silently prayed, and praised the Lord.

Sweat turns to tears in the dry river bed

crossing dry river bedI don’t know what Jim was praying. He went to the other room. I turned to Isaiah 43:1-2 and I Peter 5:10 and read them back to the Lord, “We will fear not, for we have been redeemed. We are summoned by our names. We belong to God. When we pass through the waters, You will be with us; and when we pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over us. When we walk through the fire, we will not be burned; the flames will not set us ablaze. We know we are exactly where You want us to be and we are not budging. We will be established, rooted, and grounded in Jesus. And satan, in the name of Jesus, you will steal from us no more!”

As I was praying, I saw the mail truck pass on the opposite side of the road. When he came back around, he left a letter containing a check for $500! Sweat turned to tears.

We picked up the children from school, paid the electricity bill, and got our first ice cream cone of the summer. One hour after returning to our steaming house, the landlord came. Exhausted, we handed him a check.

Our Story of Crossing the Dry River Bed, because of Jehovah Jireh

September 14, 1979, Jim and I walked hand in hand all over the shopping center nearby, just enjoying being alive on such a beautiful day. Matthew James arrived that evening, nineteen minutes after arriving at the hospital. Exactly nine months––to the day––from leaving Carthage, our biggest mountain had finally arrived––8 lb. 5 oz., with red hair. But, the mountain was only half gone; the hospital bill was $560.00 for a one night stay; translated into figures for 2007 that would be about $4,480.00.

Six days later, we wrote our check for the $100 seed we had saved to help with someone else’s debt. We clipped the envelope with a clothespin to the mailbox. The mailman took it and left a letter with a check for $600––more than enough to pay the hospital bill and give some more..

But, that’s not all. Before Jim took over as Education and Youth Director, he had been coaching our church’s softball team. This entailed our traveling to remote places to play other teams. No matter how far we traveled, the three dollars of the manna-twenty always bought enough gasoline to make it to the next week.

After one unusually long trip, with the gauge on empty as usual, I asked the Lord if He was making our car run on fumes. I received no answer until one Sunday evening at the end of October––the Sunday Jim was officially hired. As we drove into the parking lot, the car died and coasted into the spot.

At the time we gave our $100 seed, Chuck and Linda gave $1000. Before Christmas, a miraculous business proposition for Chuck made a move necessary––bringing a hundred-fold return for his first year’s income. His new boss loaned him interest-free money for the down-payment on their house. They rented us their previous house––a beautiful large three-bedroom home with a large yard at the edge of the woods in the middle of town.

My parents gave us their car that got twenty miles per gallon when their church gave them a brand new car for Christmas. But those things are not the best things. Having needs met are great, but God filled our home with His love, His joy, and His peace. Kurt and Francy came to trust in Jesus as their personal Savior as very young children, and they were so proud of their little brother.

Best of all, Jim and I experienced together the blessings of El-Shaddai. I will treasure forever the day the electricity was turned off––the refining fire of Jehovah-Jireh. We both were able to study God’s Word and share it for another year––thinking we were possessing the land, until we were surprised to find it was not the “land-plan” at all.

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M6A God is El Shaddai [The All-Sufficient One]

 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty [El Shaddai]; walk before me and be blameless. I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.” —Genesis 17:1-2

God is El Shaddai

Francy’s story is the best thing to help us understand who El Shaddai is . A few weeks after the birth of her second child, she left both children with her husband Scott while she escaped to the hairdresser. Returning later than planned, she found her house in total uproar. Both children were crying. Since the baby had not yet learned to take a bottle, Scott was unable to meet the needs of his infant child. Within minutes, peace ruled as Francy nursed the baby, and Scott was able to console his two-year old son.

This is the concept God was teaching Abraham in Genesis 17:1-2—His all-sufficiency is everything we could ever need—“able” to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. As our parent, He blesses us as both our mother and our father. As a nursing mother is able to completely meet the physical and emotional needs of her child, God is able to care for, and console, us above all we can ask, think or dream of—the essence of El Shaddai.

THE BLESSINGS OF EL SHADDAI

El Shaddai pours out

The Hebrew name for God, “El Shaddai,” appears as “God Almighty” seven times in the Old Testament until the time of Moses. Almighty means Shaddai. The “El” of El Shaddai (and of El Roi and Elohim) means mighty, whereas some scholars say that El Shaddai means the Powerful One, or the Mighty One. “Rabbis believed the term meant the ‘One who is self-sufficient.’”[1] The root word comes from shadah, to shed, to pour out. “I am that God who pours out blessings, who gives them richly, abundantly, continually.”[2]

As you can see, scholars differ on the meaning of the root word of El Shaddai, which is no mistake, because He is all things. Kay Arthur in her book, The Peace & Power of Knowing God’s Name, leans toward the definition set forth by Andrew Jukes in The Names of God, explaining that the Hebrew word shad refers to “the breast,” or more exactly, a “woman’s breast.”[3]

The Hebrew word for blessing means God’s favor, benefits, happiness and peace.[4] What are these blessings poured out for us that we can expect from our Heavenly Father, El Shaddai? What are the conditions to receiving them, and who can receive them? The blessings are: increase, fruitfulness, promise of a homeland, deliverance from bondage, and protection. Let us review how Scripture relates each of these to El Shaddai.

Increase by El Shaddai

Remember, God’s confirmation of the covenant blessing God made to Abraham was nine months before Isaac was born. El Shaddai reassured him that he truly would increase his numbers through a child from his wife Sari. Abram meant “a high or exalted father;” whereas, God changed his name to Abraham (see Gen. 17:5), meaning “a father of a multitude.”[5]

Increase for Abraham was not only in numbers of descendants, but in influence and leadership. His faithfulness, trust and obedience to God influenced the whole world, like water spilling over a barrel covering the earth. Who is not familiar with the reputation of Abraham and of his faith which claimed a new nation? Especially since the war in Iraq, we see the descendants of Ishmael claiming him as their father also.

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Christmas was always a sad time for Denise and her husband Joe, because they had no children. Finally, able to give it over to God one Christmas, Denise prayed, “Lord, if You want me to be a career woman and not have kids, I’ll accept that. If You want me to be a mother, it’ll have to happen soon. If You want us to adopt a child, You’ll have to drop one in my lap because we can’t afford one. If You’re not going to give me a child, then You’ll have to take away the desire.” In seeking God’s will, Denise was to find He was willing for increase.

Fruitfulness by El Shaddai

Before Jacob left for his Uncle Laban, Isaac passed on the blessing to him, “May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples” (Gen. 28:3). In turn, Jacob blessed his son Joseph with these words, “Joseph is a fruitful vine . . . because of the Almighty, who blesses you with blessings of the heavens above, blessings of the deep that lies below, blessings of the breast and womb” (Gen. 49:22, 25).

Fruitfulness in every way is the promise of El Shaddai. Abram had to wait until he was ninety-nine years old, and Sari until she was ninety, to receive the child of promise, but it did happen. And, at the fulfillment of the promise came a name change for them both. [God told Abraham in Genesis 17:15 to call Sari, Sarah.]

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Less than one month after Denise’s prayer, at an uncle’s funeral dinner, Joe’s mother approached him and Denise and said, “An unwed couple from within the family is expecting their sixth child and wants to give it up for adoption. They want to know if you want it. They want to keep it within the family.”

Denise’s heart leapt at those words, but they were almost like gossip, not a fact. The baby was to arrive in only two months, so they called the expecting man’s father. A meeting was planned with the parents. The couple did want to give the baby up for adoption.

The adoption cost only $1,000 for lawyer fees, but it was a fortune to Denise and Joe; however, just as a mother cares for her child, El Shaddai met their needs. Co-workers and friends gave of their best, and for the last remaining amount, Joe liquidated some assets. After a Bible study and sharing time, a friend named Patty donated her valuable social-service expertise for the background check for the adopting parents.

Denise had only two months to prepare for the baby. One particular day, with an unusual feeling of urgency, Denise shopped for her final baby supplies. The next day, the baby was born—one month earlier than expected.

After arriving at the hospital the night before, Denise and Joe heard the mother might be changing her mind. They prayed all night long in great anguish. The next morning, a beautiful baby girl was born, with one major complication, metopic crainiosynostosis, where the sutures of the cranium are closed rather than open to allow for growth of the child’s brain.

In the final outcome, the baby belonged to Denise and Joe. Surgery corrected the defect before the baby was six months old. Her forehead had appeared trianglar when looking from the top, but now she was normal, and the pressure on the brain was alleviated. The $100,000 hospital costs and surgery for the baby was paid with insurance from Denise’s job and financial aid. Meanwhile, two weeks after the adoption, Joe was laid-off from his job.

[1] Spiros Zodiates, Th.D., Executive Editor, The Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible, (AMG Publishers, Chattanooga, TN 1990) p. 1782.

[2] Adam Clark, LL.D., F.S.A., & C., Clark’s Commentary Volume 1, Genesis-Derteronomy (Abington Press, New York, Nashville), p. 113.

[3] Kay Arthur, The Peace & Power of Knowing God’s Name, (Waterbrook Press, Colorado Springs, 2002) p.

[4] Zodiates, Key Word Study Bible, Hebrew word 1293, p. 1717.

[5] Zodiates, Key Word Study Bible, “Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary,” p.8.