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MAKING THE IRON SWIM

How do you know when you are having a bad day? Perhaps you receive a clue when:

  1. You turn on the morning news and they are showing emergency routes out of the city

  2. Your boss tells you not to bother putting your briefcase down

  3. Your twin sister forgets your birthday

  4. The bird singing outside your window is a buzzard

  5. You wake up and your teeth braces are locked together

  6. Your blind date turns out to be your ex-wife

  7. Your car horn goes off accidentally and remains stuck as you follow a group of Hell's Angels on the freeway

  8. Your wife says "Good Morning Bill" and your name is George

  9. You call your answering service and they tell you it is none of your business

  10. You make a desperate call to Suicide Prevention and they put you on hold

  11. You put both contact lenses in the same eye

  12. Your birthday cake collapses from the weight of the candles

13. You put on your wedding dress for your 25th Anniversary celebration & you can only get one leg in.

Yes, we've all had bad days. Thank God, they only occur periodically; not every day is a bad one! We cannot plan or prepare for "bad days". In most cases, we cannot prepare for some adversity or for encountering some significant difficulty. Such was the situation of a seminary student described in

II Kings 6:1-7.

"Now the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, 'See, the place where we dwell under your charge is too small for us. Let us go to the Jordan (River) and each of us get there a log, and let us make a place for us to dwell there.' And he answered, 'Go.' Then one of them said, 'Be pleased to go with your servants.' And he answered, 'I will go.' So he went with them. And when they came to the Jordan, they cut down trees. But as one was felling a log, his axe head fell into the water, and he cried out, 'Alas, my master! It was borrowed.' Then the man of God said, 'Where did it fall?'" The seminary student knew he was having a bad day when the axe head he had borrowed flew off into the river. The axe head had sunk into the turbid (cloudy, murky, dense) water.

What was this student to do? It was bad enough for the axe head to fly off and sink into the river, but it was a tragedy because that axe head had been borrowed. No doubt he promised to return it to the owner in the same condition as when he borrowed it.

Have you ever been stunned by an unexpected problem or circumstance? Have you ever faced a real predicament? Have you felt like you were at your "wits-end" and completely overwhelmed because you were in a dilemma? Have you sensed you were in a terrific bind, squeezed on all sides? Not knowing what to do, you cried out: "Alas, I am in trouble".

Elisha said to his student: "show me where it went into the water." The young student showed him the exact spot. I have often said in conversations, business or staff meetings and in sermons: "The word problem should not be in our vocabulary; rather it is a GLORIOUS OPPORTUNITY!" It may be that Elisha said something like that as he broke off a stick and cast it into the water, right where the axe head fell in. And BEHOLD, THE IRON DID SWIM! The axe head rose to the surface! The student put out his hand and took it up. Perhaps he was even able to continue his work, chopping down trees with his fellow students for the "log seminary" to be occupied by the sons of the prophets.

I want to make some observations from this incident. First, the "school of the Prophets" was growing and the number of students was increasing. So, Kingdom work was being enlarged. God's plan then and now is for His Kingdom Work to prosper and enlarge. Prospering and growing even in the midst of challenges and difficulties, we are to seize those as Glorious Opportunities! Better days might well be ahead. "Better is the end of a thing than its beginning" says Ecclesiastes 7:8.

Second, the axe head did not fall merely into a mud puddle, drainage ditch or small cistern. It fell into the Jordan River and sank! It was indeed a big deal!

Third, a mere stick caused the axe head to float to the surface; And the Iron Did Swim! This was the miraculous intervention of the Divine Power! God worked through Elisha because HE Cared! He cared about:

a. The honor of a company of good men studying to be prophets

b. The work that had been undertaken

c. The Cause of God's Kingdom that was involved

d. The loss that had occurred

e. The integrity of the one who had borrowed the tool

f. And the effect upon the one who had loaned the tool!

What does this all have to do with us? We must not presuppose that God does not care about axe heads or more serious things. Do not accuse God of not caring about or for YOU! Jesus' disciples accused Him. When in a boat on the Sea of Galilee caught in a very violent storm, the disciples said: "Master, do you not care that we are perishing?" Jesus asked them why they were afraid and where was their faith. Then He said "Peace! Be Still" and the storm ceased. HE CARED!

I want to declare to you and to myself, God Cares For Us and He cares about our troubles of every kind and description! So, let's say with the songwriter:

"Does Jesus care when my heart is pained too deeply for mirth or song, As the burdens press, and the cares distress, And the way grows weary and long?

Does Jesus care when my way is dark, with a nameless dread and fear? As the daylight fades into deep night shades, Does He care enough to be near?"

CHORUS: "Oh Yes, He cares, I know He cares, His heart is touched with my grief; when the days are weary, the long nights dreary, I know my Savior Cares!"

If or when you doubt His care for YOU, please remember Jesus loves you; He went to the cross for you; He died to forgive your sin; He rose from the dead to give you eternal life; He is in heaven preparing a place for you that when He returns, He will receive you and take you to be with Him forever! Shake off the doubts, accept the truth that God cares about and for You, ALWAYS! Turn those doubts, fears, anxieties and problems you have into GLORIOUS OPPORTUNITIES for Spiritual Renewal, encouragement and growth! AND THE IRON SWIMS!

King Charles the Second, locked up John Bunyan in Bedford jail for twelve years. That padlock kept Bunyan there, shut up with his Bible, until he wrote the "Pilgrim's Progress" and that IRON IS SWIMMING YET!

God miraculously provides! He has tremendous power, resources and creativity. Because God is so awesome, His work is Unfathomable, Incredible, Unexplainable, Incomprehensible, Indescribable, Super-

natural, Totally Unlikely, and Beyond logic or reason! Since this is absolutely true, IS YOUR IRON SWIMMING?

God does these unlikely works and miracles because He constantly desires to meet the needs of His people, to reward the faith of His followers, and to equip them to fulfill His purpose and mission!

Many illustrations exist that display His Divine Power - here are some!

a. The Ravens fed Elijah - I Kings 17:1-7 And God Made The Iron Swim!

b. The Widow's barrel of meal and flask of oil were expanded to meet her needs - I Kings 17:9-16 And God Made The Iron Swim!

c. The Widow's dead son was raised to life - I Kings 17:17-24 And God Made The Iron Swim!

d. Elisha was surrounded by the Syrian Army and his servant said "What shall we do?" Elisha prayed and God provided horses and chariots of fire all around the mountain where Elisha and his servant were (God opened the servant's eyes so he could see God's provision). God struck the Syrians with blindness and Elisha had victory - II Kings 6:8-20 And God Made The Iron Swim! Sometimes, we may just need an eye-adjustment (opened eyes) to see how Our Iron Is Swimming!

e. George Muller was a noble, godly-minded superintendent of the famous "Orphan House" in Ashley Down which sheltered and educated hundreds of poor orphans every year. He began this vast ministry and work of love in simple faith. He labored in faith, prayed in earnest faith, and lived in the Power of the Holy Spirit. God put it into the hearts of people to provide all necessary funds for the orphanage. Faith was active, strong and consistent! And God Makes The Iron Swim! No food to eat, cupboards were empty, orphans set down to eat, the blessing and thankfulness were given for the food they were about to eat. All was provided except there was No Food. There was a knock at the door, and there on the steps was the food for the meal. This happened on multiple occasions. And God Made The Iron Swim!

You, who struggle with adversity, impossible situations, unmanageable stress, pressure, when one "bad day" after another raises the ugly head and it seems you can't get ahead, take new courage! God reaches into the murky stream or river of life and Makes Your Iron Swim!

You , who struggle with deep and penetrating family concerns. Your heart breaks and you wish, dream, pray and yearn for a break-through to a definite and positive solution. Take new hope, because the God of the impossible Makes The Iron Swim!

You, who need encouragement, strength, blessing, hope, peace, joy, a spiritual renewal in mind, attitude, heart and spirit, take new faith. The Sovereign God of the Universe and the Lord of our lives Makes The Iron Swim!

Horatio Spafford lost everything he owned in the Great Chicago Fire. He sent his wife and children by boat to England to stay with relatives while he rebuilt their lives. There was a maritime disaster and his wife and children perished at sea. Later, still devastated, he took that same journey by boat where his family died. At that very place, God gave him the words to the hymn: "It Is Well With My Soul"!

GOD MAKES THE IRON SWIM, even today since we still sing that great hymn!

THE GOD WHO FLOATED THE STUDENT'S AXE HEAD AT THE JORDAN RIVER LIVES TODAY, AND HE STILL LOVES TO BUILD AND REWARD FAITH AND ANSWER PRAYER, AND MAKE THE IRON SWIM!


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God has blessed me with a long and fruitful ministry! I have over 40 years in pastoral ministry, retreat speaking, Evangelism, teaching and Christian Radio broadcasting.

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