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Into Every Life a Little Snake Must Crawl

Tonya Jewel Blessing

A number of weeks ago, Salome, the young woman who helps in our home in South Africa, found a snake in the bottom of the master bedroom closet. Chris and I had just returned from

Tanzania, so the house had set vacant for a couple of weeks. In our absence, a cobra had come indoors and made himself comfortable. Two of our landlord’s workers quickly arrived and sent Mr. Cobra to heaven. If snakes go to heaven. I’m not sure. I know the saying, “All dogs go to heaven,” but I’ve never heard the same said of snakes. Elvis and Johann, the snake-killing heroes, put the cobra in a bucket. Even in death, the body of the snake kept moving. It was a sight to behold!

Chris had returned from Tanzania very ill. He was running an extremely high temperature and taking a number of strong medications. Several hours later, when I carried the snake bucket into the guest room, where Chris was resting, he responded in his delirium, “Into every life a little snake must crawl.”

Into every life a little snake must crawl.”

Later that day, I googled snakes and learned that a cobra can kill an elephant with one bite. The cobra in our home was approximately five feet long. I was able to measure it because as a souvenir Elvis and Johann returned the hide to me.

I’m not sure where to place the snakeskin in our home. It doesn’t seem to fit with my usual decorating style, but then again nothing has been “usual” about my life since moving to Africa. I do know, however, that Chris and I have agreed to put “our cobra” on display as a testimony to God’s fame. His love and protection are truly great!

Psalm 102:12 (NLT) says, “But you, O LORD, will sit on your throne forever. Your fame will endure to every generation.” Verse 18 of the same psalm says that the famous deeds of God should be a record for future generations so that people not yet born will praise Him.

Into every life a little snake must crawl.”

Please be encouraged this week that God is preparing to rescue and help you in your time of breath-taking fear. When troubles come, remember that God is the Famous One.

  1. How do you feel about snakes? What would your reaction have been to find a cobra in your bedroom closet?

 

  1. Read through Psalm 102. What insights did you gain about God?

 

  1. “…the famous deeds of God should be a record for future generations, so that people not yet born will praise Him.” Why is this important?

 

  1. God is famous! Jesus lived 2,000 years ago, and yet this one-word name is recognized throughout the world. Translators are busy translating God’s Word into languages and tongues in every nation. Soon all will be able to read God’s Word and know of His

Tonya Jewel BlessingRighteousness. Why do you think just the mention of the name of “Jesus” either draws or repels people?

Tonya Jewel Blessing has written the Big Creek Appalachian series: The Whispering of the Willows and The Melody of the Mulberries as well the Bible study guide, Soothing Rain. Each of these books ask in their own way, “What makes females different to males?”

Sue Summer wrote the questions for application throughout the Soothing Rain study. She is the expert at mediasavvykids.org/.

ISBN 13: 9780997897630 ASIN: B074F2C8SV
Soothing Rain is a humorous and provoking look at a variety of events in a woman’s life, and what might be done in the moment. Soothing Rain is a women’s crowd breaking system of stories and discussion questions (a global interchange). https://www.amazon.com/Soothing-Rain-Living-Water-Refresh-ebook/dp/B074F2C8SV/
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The Poisoned Pot

Tonya Jewel Blessing

Elisha was a man of God who returned to Gilgal during a time of famine in that region.

He was not intimidated about traveling to a place where there was a lack of food. In fact, he may have viewed the dire circumstances of this region as an opportunity to see the hand of God move in a miraculous way.

I believe that he returned to Gilgal knowing there was a famine in the land.

While the Guild of Prophets were having a meal with him, he instructed his attendant, ‘Put a large pot on the fire and boil some stew for the Guild of Prophets.’ Somebody went out into the fields to grab some herbs, found a wild vine, and gathered a lap full of wild gourds, which he came and sliced up into the stew pot, but nobody else knew. When they served the men, they began  to eat the stew.  But they cried out, ‘That pot of  stew is deadly, you man of  God!’ So they couldn’t eat the stew. But he replied, ‘Bring me some flour.’ He tossed it into the pot and said, ‘Serve the people so they can eat.’ Then there was nothing harmful in the pot.”

-2 Kings 4:38-41 (ISV)

The name “Gilgal” means rolling or moving. God wanted to move or do something amazing in a desolating place.

When people are desperate, they do desperate things. The servant, who was given the task of feeding the prophets, knowingly gathered gourds from a wild vine. The original Hebrew text indicates that this vine was prolific. It produced seemingly great bounty. I have read reports of people, because of extreme hunger, eating dirt, straw or grass.

My husband and I watched a documentary a couple of years ago about a young man struggling to survive through the winter in a remote part of Alaska. When spring arrived, due to extreme hunger and desperation, he ate poisonous berries. Judgment is often impaired when people are destitute.

Food was scarce in Gilgal. It is interesting that the company of prophets instantly recognized their plight and looked to Elisha for help. Divinely inspired, he added flour to the stew, making it fit for consumption.

I believe we shouldn’t be afraid to visit places where there is famine and where people may lack good judgment because of it. We need to remember that desperate people may not have good judgment. We need to sense when there is trouble or “death in the pot.” When called upon for help, we need to rely on God for wisdom and direction, and what other people see as “waste” might be in our hands of ministry a means of provision. We should view the lack as an opportunity for God to do something amazing because of His sovereignty over everything, and because of His love.

 

  1. This story in 2 Kings is an unusual one. Reread it and write a summary of what happened in your own life.

 

  1. “When people are desperate, they do desperate things” Think of a time when you were desperate, or someone you know or have heard of was desperate. What irrational or unusual thing did you – or that person – do?

 

  1. God wants us to call on Him for provision. “When called upon for help, we need to rely on God for wisdom and direction.” This isn’t always our first thought in times of trouble. Consider a time when you were in need and called upon God for What happened?

 

  1. How can this story in 2 Kings be applied to our daily life? Write a “proverb” to help you remember the main point of this story.fe

 

Tonya Jewel Blessing has written the Big Creek Appalachian series: The Whispering of the Willows and The Melody of the Mulberries as well the Bible study guide, Soothing Rain. Each of these books ask in their own way, “What makes females different to males?”

Sue Summer wrote the questions for application throughout the Soothing Rain study. She is the expert at mediasavvykids.org/.

 

Soothing Rain is a devotional written by Tonya Blessing and Sue Summers
Big Creek Appalachian Series Book Two: THE MELODY OF THE MULBERRIES BOOK LAUNCH TOUR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Is Heaven in the Yellow Pages?

By Tonya Jewel Blessing from the Bible study, Soothing Rain

Some of us are preserved from the experience of dealing with death or the question of heaven when we are young. Other’s lives are forever affected by the tragic death of a parent still needed for a child’s safety and comfort.

While doing some research recently on the internet, I came across this very moving poem:

“Mommy went to Heaven, but I need her here today. My tummy hurts and I fell
down; I need her right away.

Operator, can you tell me how to find her in this
book? Is heaven in the yellow part? I don’t know where to look. Maybe if I call
her, she will hurry home to me. Is heaven very far away; is it across the sea? Help
me find the number please; is it listed under ‘Heaven’?

I can’t read these big, big
words. I am only seven. I’m sorry, operator. I didn’t mean to make you cry. Is your
tummy hurting too, or is there something in your eye? If I call my church, maybe
they will know. Mommy said when we need help, that’s where we should go.”
(author unknown)

I know some of the poem’s phrases are outdated. Most people don’t use the Yellow Pages these days, and, with computerized services, operators are a rare commodity. Yet the yearning of a young child for his or her mother moves my heart. All kinds of thoughts and images of the child came to mind.

  • How long has his or her mother been gone?
  • Who is taking care of the child?
  • What does he or she look like? Who is reading this seven-year-old bedtime stories and rubbing noses for Eskimo kisses?

When I read the last stanza, I am brought to tears, “If I call my church, maybe they will know. Mommy said when we need help, that’s where we should go.”

There are churches all over our cities that are resourceful and safe places for grieving families to go. But the church is more than a name, a building, or even the pastor. According to Scripture, believers in Jesus are the Church.

As women who know Jesus, we’re the mothers to those who have no moms. We’re the ones who tend to tummy aches and bandage scraped knees. We read stories and place gentle kisses on the tear-stained cheeks of the hurting.

We give voice to the struggling, abused, and bruised.

We dig wells, feed the malnourished, and find jobs and homes for struggling young adults.

We know the secrets of heaven, and hold keys that help others who are caught in grief and uncertainty find a place of rest and peace.

ISBN 13: 9780997897630 ASIN: B074F2C8SV
Soothing Rain is a women’s crowd breaking system of stories and discussion questions (a global interchange). https://www.amazon.com/Soothing-Rain-Living-Water-Refresh-ebook/dp/B074F2C8SV/

Most of us have never worked as a telephone operator. But we have worked and will continue to work in sharing our time, resources, and the truths of eternity with those struggling in our communities and around the world.

If you know of a child who could use some comforting wisdom, I’d like to introduce you to a debut author in our publishing group.  Jenny Fulton’s story, Princess Lillian and Grandpa’s Goodbye is precious, a valuable book in the library of any teacher, parent, or grief counselor.

 

Indian woman an angel and a child
Princess Lillian and Grandpa’s Goodbye, children’s book

Watch a scene from Tonya Blessing’ Appalachian novel, The Melody of the Mulberries set during the early American Spanish Flu epidemic.

 

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What’s in a Name?

By Tonya Jewel Blessing from the Bible study, Soothing Rain

I married into a family having the last name, Blessing. As Christians, we are commanded by God to share our faith and to be a blessing.

I believe we share the love of God both with our service and with our speech.

As a child, I remember singing, “Tell Me the Story of Jesus.” The lyrics still ring true today,

Tell me the story of Jesus. Write on my heart
every word. Tell me the story most precious, sweetest that ever was heard.

Fances J. Crosby

My husband and I recently met a man. He appeared to be a Zimbabwean refugee, but we’re not sure. We had some communication issues.

He didn’t speak English or Afrikaans (except to say “dankie” which means “thank you”). He was extremely thin and not very tall. He was perhaps 14 or 15 years of age. A number of his teeth were missing. His eyes and cheeks were sunken in, and his skin had a grayish tint from malnourishment. His clothes were ragged and torn, and he desperately needed a bath.

Here’s what happened

Chris and I were visiting a crafters mart in the town of Bela Bela, which is located about an hour and a half from our home. I use the words “crafters mart” loosely. The artisans display wares in a long tin-roofed shack with mostly open sides. The stalls are separated by faded cloths of varying colors.

Our new friend was working there as a “car watcher” of sorts. He didn’t seem to have the energy to solicit his services but made an attempt at directing us from our parking space. Chris held up his index finger motioning for the young man to stay put while we went and purchased some food for him. The love of Christ was shared through the nourishment we gave him, and our hand gestures: Chris pointed toward heaven and I placed my right hand over my heart.

The first several verses of Proverbs 30 describe the author’s search for God.

“Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Who has gathered the wind in His hands?
Who has bound up the waters in a cloak?
Who has established all the ends of the earth?
What is His name, and what is the name of His Son—if you know?
Proverbs 30:4 (HCSB)

The author of this proverb understands that God is very powerful. He talks about the LORD holding the wind and wrapping the ocean in His cloak, but the writer wants to know God’s name and the name of His Son.

The name “Bela Bela” means “beautiful”.

Who have you shared His beautiful name with today?

Are you willing to share His name each and every day?

Soothing Rain is a devotional written by Tonya Blessing and Sue Summers

Today, I’d like to recommend a fellow author’s book for the Easter season.

I found this Goodread’s review of The Zealots by G.K. Johnson and thought, I’d post it here.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Best Read for Spring Break! Two teen boys, seemingly innocuous, ramble around the hillsides of Judea until tragedy strikes. The incident begins to work on them, like a wedge inserted between them.

We are wooed into the kind of social pressures that turn young men into thugs. And, into these pressures, come temptations to right a wrong.

What I love about this book: Vivid scenes, accurately portrayed passion, the power of atoning actions to drain fierce guilt and replace it solidly with purpose. Not Sunday school.<br />This book is meant for teen boys, but I loved it. As much as I recall reading The Robe and The Silver Chalice in highschool.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/56498830-the-zealots

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Lending to God

By Tonya Jewel Blessing from the Bible study, Soothing Rain

My husband and I used to live on a rutted, dirt road east of Denver. Our home rested on the south side of the road. During springtime, the black and white cattle with their yearlings grazed on the north side.

One morning late in May, a woman from the city decided to go for a ride in the peaceful, quiet country. When a semi-truck hauling grain passed her compact car on the narrow road, she panicked, oversteered, and rolled her vehicle into the grassy field across the street from our home.

The heifers and calves gathered round to stare at their mutual predicament.

We decided to become a little more welcoming than the heifers and calves. A glass of water, a gentle embrace, and kind words provided the environment for her to share her struggles with divorce, depression, loneliness, finances, and health concerns.

The Bible says in Proverbs 19:17 (NIV) that when we show kindness to the poor we are lending to God.

“Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done.”

We weren’t lending to our friend.  We were lending to the Lord.

Our new friend wasn’t “poor” in the physical sense, but she was certainly poor in spirit. God has a heart for those living in poverty – whether they are struggling for physical or spiritual nutrition. The Bible defines the poor as people who are weak, deprived, needy, empty, and withered. In the original text of this verse showing kindness meant bending down, or stooping over; sitting face to face with someone in need; looking them in the eyes with the love of Christ; offering friendship; uniting our lives with their lives for the purpose of easing
their burden. In fact, the word “lending” means to weave together.

When we “lend” our kindness to others, the LORD becomes involved in our efforts. He aids us in our service to those in need. The Bible says that He even rewards us. He brings restoration, peace, and safety to our lives. He gives us strength to finish our spiritual race.

May the LORD continue to use us both as individuals and collectively, to lend to those in need both physically and spiritually.

Learn more on Goodreads about Soothing Rain.

Find also, a Goodreads review of Tonya Blessing’s Melody of the Mulberries.

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2967511185