by haRold Smith
"Then Yeshua was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, 'If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.'
But Yeshua answered and said, 'It is written, �Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'
Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, 'If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: 'He shall give His angels charge over you,' and, 'In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.'
Yeshua said to him, 'It is written again, �You shall not tempt the LORD your God.'
Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, 'All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.'
Then Yeshua said to him, 'Away with you, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.'
Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him." Matthew 4:1-11
Flight Of Fancy - an English idiom meaning, "believing that something impossible can be done."
"There are no seats available," said the attendant behind the counter. Of course, anytime you spend three days in an airport waiting to be taken you to your eagerly anticipated destination, there can be nothing but a sense of dismay that wells up from within when words of this sort begin to pound on your eardrums. So it was I found myself in the Atlanta, Georgia airport terminal at the end of the third day of waiting for availability on an airplane and beginning to wonder if I had missed the Lord concerning my return home to Israel.
Since my oldest son, Hannaniel (a flight attendant for a major airline, see "Hannaniel"), graciously provides the seating for my excursions; I have come to understand that flying on standby status is always given to a quirk of randomness, but whatever problems arise because of that status, they are usually resolved by the next flight and usually within a few hours. This time, however, because of a series of quirky events involving weather delays, crowded flights and holding patterns, I found myself in a unique circumstance I had never encountered before and wondered if my zeal for wanting to return to my home in Israel, the place the Lord has called me to, had caused me to overstep what plans the Lord had instead.
The attendant at the flight desk dutifully proceeded to take my name and information in order to reserve a standby seat. When she had finished entering the data, wanting to cheer me up said, "At least you are the first on the list." She then immediately began announcing over the PA system that the airline was giving $600.00 vouchers and free overnight hotel lodging to anyone who would voluntarily change their travel plans to a later departure from New York with a 17 hour layover in Paris because they were so overbooked on this flight. It was now 9:00 pm with a departure time of 10:35 pm. When the attendant checked the booking on the next flight (not scheduled for another 24 hours later) it was revealed to be at least as overbooked as this one. This did not look good.
Exhausted, I returned to my seat in the waiting area to await the outcome. I was totally vulnerable and did not know what to do (see "Becoming Vulnerable"). My mind began racing with contingencies - where do I go (I know no one in Atlanta), what do I do now (I could fly to New York and wait it out there - not an appealing alternative), where could I get a change of clothes (I had only the single shirt I was wearing, my luggage having already been shipped to Tel Aviv two days earlier on the flight I had missed), how did I get into this situation (Lord, did you lead me here to die?) and, finally, the tempter came and began to whisper in my ear (just start praying for God to intervene - everybody knows the power of prayer works. It's OK, go ahead - it will make everything turn out all right).
Turning inward, I began to recall just how it was I DID wind up in this place - how He had spoken through my old mentor (Don Morrison, www.fullgospelministry.com) two years earlier that the Lord was going to cause my business (www.smithprints.net) to become international in scope with many people working in it and that it would be used of Him to provide the funds by which I would be ministering to people around the world. I was reminded of how He confirmed that word through two others, independent of one another who had no knowledge that the other two had even spoken to me, let alone the same words (1John 5:7-8), how He had provided the funds to register my business in Israel when I had none as I followed His lead and how He had arranged circumstances to whisk me out of the country at the very time my visa had lapsed, forcing me to leave with no place to go to. I began to recall the extraordinary events that took place once back in America that, for three months, had led me to meeting brethren from all walks and stripes who extended themselves to provide bed and lodging for this wayfarer, many of whom had never met before (see www.whiterockcreek.com for one). Some would call it good fortune, a lucky break, a turn of happenstance, a flight of fancy - but I have come to know better. I began to recall the Goodness of the Lord and how, in all of these situations, He made a way where there seemed to be no way to accomplish what He had said He wanted - not in any presumptiveness on my part, but as a confirmation of what He said He would do.
I recalled when, even as recently as when checking into the DFW airport three days earlier, I was told by the counter attendant that my two bags were overweight by 11 pounds in one and 9 pounds in another and I could either pay an additional $150.00 per bag to cover the added weight or unload the excess into a container located in a nearby corner of the terminal. None of my protestations - that I didn't have an extra $300.00 to pay for the extra weight and everything I own is in these two bags, that there is no excess; or that the last couple of flights I had made, both internationally and within the US were the same weighted amount - made any difference. Today, I was overweight and she was enforcing the rules. I gathered myself into the area she had designated, opened the bags and began pondering what part of my life I was about to cut away.
A box unexpectedly dropped down on the seat beside me and as I looked around, this same attendant who had been so adamant at the counter only a few minutes ago appeared at my side with a softer countenance and informed me that, if I packed the excess into this box, I would only have to pay an additional $200.00 for a third piece of baggage. I thanked her for her consideration as she walked away and began putting items in the box when another woman approached me with some money folded in her hand. She was telling me she felt led to give this to me and apologized that it was all she had. Mystified, I blessed her and, as she walked away, saw that she had placed nine one dollar bills in my hand. I wondered if the Lord was going to turn that small amount of money into the hundreds I needed as He had done with the loaves and fishes to feed the multitude (see "Loaves and Fishes"). The counter attendant then reappeared at my side, only this time she told me she had gone looking and found a small luggage bag that someone had abandoned as not usable. This was large enough to handle the excess and could be carried on board without having to pay any additional cost. The bag was in excellent condition but I pointedly informed her that I already had two carry on items. Very gently, she showed me how to consolidate the two into one thus solving my dilemma without having to leave any of my life behind in the terminal and without having to pay any extra to keep it. This woman had left her busy post twice to help me when she didn't have to.
Retrieving my tickets and heading to the departure gate, I asked the Lord, "What just happened?" He reminded me of when I had previously told Him I would be willing to just arrive at an airport if He so directed without anything except for the belief that He would meet me there, He was showing me that He could be trusted to meet me as needed. He had sent a pair of angels to minister to me in the middle of a wilderness inside an airport terminal (Hebrews 13:2, Isaiah 1:19).
I used to play a game with my children when they were young to teach them about the Goodness of our Father. I would tell them that we were "Children of the King" and, as such, deserve the same, if not better, treatment than any child of royalty in the natural world. I felt it necessary to instill in them an attitude of looking for God that, since He is real and cares for the most mundane things of our life, if we LOOK for Him in every situation and circumstance - He will be there.
So, I asked my kids, "How are people of royalty treated? When they pull up to a building, for instance, do they have to park in the back of the parking lot and walk to the front door - or is there a place reserved for them already at the front?" They, of course, just seeing images of the Queen of England arriving at the palace in all her splendor, said "in the front." I told them we are no less, but in fact more, royalty than any of those people they saw on television - so, we should expect to be treated as the royalty we are and, therefore, when we drive into a parking lot, should LOOK for the space reserved for us on the front row and, more than that, we should EXPECT it to be there because we are of a royal linage - the linage of the King of Kings.
At first, they all thought I was nuts, laughing at how silly I was - until, time after time, as I would make a big deal of it when we would randomly pull into any parking lot of our destination - lo and behold, there would be a front row parking place just waiting for us. It was truly uncanny, even to me, and after awhile (when they began to realize this was too frequent for coincidence), they quit laughing and began to help me look to find our special place in the parking lot - reserved just for us. When their friends would be in the back seat with them, I could hear them whispering, "�watch this, God is going to give my Dad a front row parking place." It didn't matter where we were, how crowded it was or what time of the day, YHVH continually showed up - time after time after time. They still carry that experience with them in their lives. I don't take advantage of it anymore because others need the front row more than I do and, these days, I NEED to park at the rear so I can WALK (I am still losing weight) - but whenever my kids and I climb into a car together, even today, it is with a sense of joy remembering and looking still to see the provision of the Lord in this land of the living. (Matthew 6:25-34 - the key here is in verse 33).
In response to the last article (see "Prayer and Healing"), Russell Wilson from Florida wrote, "I had to read this one a couple of times before it came through clearly. These thoughts are not standard pulpit drivel by any means! Jesus never used His Power while on the earth to benefit Himself. He did not even use Power to make stones into bread when He was hungry. He relied upon the Father to provide for His needs, just as He told us to do. If we read the story through to the end we can see that the Father did send Him food after satan had given up and left" (Matthew 4:11 - above).
Our Father said He will provide and He does - He just wants to know our heart is first after Him and not our own way. He does that by watching our actions. We are given opportunities every day to choose to exhibit the Life He lived in these earthly vessels in the same manner as He did. If we are exhibiting His Life, we can EXPECT His Provision for our life because He said He would.
Back in the waiting area at the departure gate and recalling all of these events, I began to thank the Father in and for this circumstance I found surrounding me in Atlanta (1Thessalonians 5:18, Ephesians 5:20). As I began to proclaim that He be exalted above all that I was seeing and hearing, as I told Him that if He had another plan, it was fine with me for it was His Purpose I desired, as I lifted Him up in my thoughts and in my spirit (2Corinthians 10:5), I began to be enveloped by His Presence in His Peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7). Those sitting around me had no idea that the Most High, the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, was present in all of His Glory there in the room with us at that moment.
Suddenly, my thoughts were interrupted as I heard my name being called to stand by the counter, ready to get on the airplane as soon as everyone else had boarded. This Awesome, Magnificent Father we serve had, once again, proven Himself to be haEl haNeAman (Hebrew for 'the Faithful One'). A single seat had become available on this airline that had been drastically overbooked - in first class, on the front row.
Today, I am back in Israel where He has called me to be a blessing to His Land and His People. I am honored just to be called His.
|"Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ�s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy." 1Peter 4:12-13|