Transformation Garden

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Biblical stories of eighteen New Testament women who Jesus encouraged, empowered, and loved.

The Women Who Met Jesus, BookHow could a man who had no wife, no children, no home, no job, no money, and wandered the hills of Judea with twelve men relate to women of his time, much less women in the 21st century?

That's the question that led author, Dorothy Valc√°rcel, to search for biblical women whose lives intersected with Jesus. As she explored the lives of every woman Jesus met, she discovered that they faced many of the same challenges women encounter today.

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Devotional Week 4 Thursday


“This mystery has been kept in the dark for a long time, but now it’s out in the open. God wanted everyone, not just Jews, to know this rich and glorious secret inside and out, regardless of their religious standing. The mystery in a nutshell is just this: Christ is in you, therefore you can look forward to sharing in God’s glory. It’s that simple. That is the substance of our message. We preach Christ.”

Colossians 1: 26-27

The Message Bible

“Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Colossians 1: 27


“From morning to night keep Jesus in thy heart, long for nothing, desire nothing, hope for nothing but to have all that is within thee changed into the spirit and temper of the holy Jesus.”

William Law

“Enter my opening heart;

Fill it with love and peace and light from heaven;

Give me Thyself – for all in Thee is given;

Come – never to depart.”

Thomas William Webb

Today’s Study Text:

“Then (Elisha) said, ‘Take the arrows.’ And (King Jehoash) took them. And (Elisha) said to the King of Israel, ‘Strike on the ground.’ And (King Jehoash) struck three times and stopped. And the man of God was angry with (King Jehoash) and said, ‘You should have struck five or six times; then you would have struck down Syria until you had destroyed it. But now you shall strike Syria down only three times.’”

 II Kings 13: 18, 19

Amplified Bible 

“Of Bows and Arrows” Part 4

“A Three-Victory Man”

“We are undefeated as long as we keep on trying, as long as we have some source of movement within ourselves and are not just moved by outside forces, as long as we retain the freedom of decision and action, whatever the circumstances.”

George Appleton

What do I think it means to endure?

“Endurance is not just the ability to bear a hard thing, but to turn it into glory.”

William Barclay

Why do I think Elisha was so upset with the king’s lack of perseverance?

“A tree is shown by its fruits, and in the same way those who profess to belong to Christ will be seen by what they do. For what is needed is not mere present professions, but perseverance to the end in the power of faith.”

Ignatius of Antioch

“We conquer – not in any brilliant fashion – we conquer by continuing.”

George Matheson

“But (those) who endure to the end will be saved.”

Matthew 24: 13

Amplified Bible

“Staying with it – that’s what God requires. Stay with it to the end. You won’t be sorry, and you’ll be saved.”

Matthew 24: 13

The Message Bible

            With the prophecy from the prophet Elisha ringing in his ears, the young King Jehoash was further instructed by God’s prophet to take a hand full of arrows and “strike” them upon the ground. I imagine that Elisha and Israel’s ruler may have had to go outside as the king began to take the arrows one-by-one and plant their tips in the earth. I expect that Elisha could see how many arrows Jehoash had as potential “strikers.” But just think how Elisha felt, when after letting the king in on the fact that God was going to give him victory over Syria, Elisha had to watch the half-hearted effort the king put into his “arrow” exercise.

            If you ever wondered about the fire burning within Elisha’s heart for the cause of God, these words tell us all we need to know: “The holy Man became angry with the king, ‘Why didn’t you hit the ground five or six times?’” (II Kings 13: 19). Here was this elderly man, sick unto death, and yet the determination which Elisha exhibited when he walked away from his lucrative family business to accept the call of God – a call to a very challenging life – was the same determined spirit which empowered him to confront the ruler with these words: “Why would you stop now?”

            If there’s any quality which stands out in those Biblical heroes and heroines who shine for God despite the most frustratingly difficult situations, it is a persevering and determined spirit. These laborers for God will not let any hardship thwart the work God has called them to do. And in the life of Elisha, God provides us with a “life-template” for workers in His kingdom.

            We have a contemporary example of “Elisha,” borne out in the life of Baptist Missionary William Carey, known as the “father of modern missions.” Born in 1761 in England, this young boy trained as a cobbler. He also was a self-taught language expert. Then he went on to become a missionary in the Danish colony, Serampere, India where he translated the Bible into Bengali, Sanskrit and several other languages and dialects. Before his death at the age of 72 in 1834, his nephew asked if he might write his uncle’s biography. I love what William Carey told the young man, “If the biographer gives me credit for being a plodder, he will describe me justly. Anything beyond this will be too much. I can plod. I can persevere in any definite pursuit.”

            As I read these words I thought to myself, “Dorothy, you can be a plodder, too!” The dictionary describes a “plodder” as one who acts and works steadily. Does that describe you? Has your walk and work for God involved laborious steps which take you over rough terrain? Do your steps often seem slow as the way gets steep?

            The fact is that those who climb to the highest points on the highest mountains in the world know how to “plod.” As one experienced mountain climber noted, and I paraphrase his words about his trek up Mount Everest, “On the last push to the top you want to keep moving, even if it is slow. You can’t and don’t want to stop putting one foot in front of the other when the summit is in sight.”

            Several weeks ago, I was searching the internet for some great gospel music to listen to when I came upon a fantastic song called “Rough Side of the Mountain.” My favorite version is sung by Reverend F. C. Barnes and the incomparable Lillian Lilly. Here are the words of encouragement:

“Oh, Lord, I’m striving tying to make it through this barren land.

But as I go from day to day,

I can hear my Savior say,

‘Trust me child, come on home

I’ll hold your hand.’


I’m coming up, on the rough side of the mountain,

I’m gonna hold to God’s – His powerful hand.

I’m coming up, on the rough side of the mountain,

I’m doing my best to make it in.


I’m coming up Lord, yes

Although my burdens sometimes press me down

If I can only keep the faith

I’ll have strength to just run this race

Lord I’m looking, looking, for my starry crown.


This old race will soon be over

And my work down here will be done

All my heartaches will be gone

When I stand before God’s throne

I want to hear him say,

‘My child, welcome home.’


I’m coming up, on the rough side of the mountain

I’m gonna hold to God’s – His powerful hand.

I’m coming up, on the rough side of the mountain

I’m doing my best to make it in.”

Reverend F. C. Barnes

            Let me tell you, the rough side of the mountain is perfect for plodders – those who take it a step at a time, a day at a time.

            Elisha had seen the summit. And all through his life he had chosen to plod on his walk with God for he had eternity on his mind. And now as the long shadows of night came upon his life, that beam from glory’s heights was the focus of his vision. Elisha, I believe, was hoping to instill in the feckless King Jehoash, whose actions were a witness to his lack of determination, some of the moral backbone necessary to destroy the Syrian menace once and for all.

            Obviously, from Elisha’s words, had the king even planted 5 or 6 arrows in the earth, under the leadership of Almighty God, the Syrian forces would have been decimated.

            What a tremendous lesson for us. Because of a lack of perseverance, the nation of Israel ended up being overrun with their army routed and their cities held captive.

            So what about you and me? How many arrows has God put in your hand today? With a perseverance borne of your heavenly calling will you empty your hands and “strike every arrow in the ground?” As one author so encouraging writes, “When God opens the way for the accomplishment of a certain work and gives assurance of success, the chosen instrumentality must do all in their power to bring the promised results. In proportion to the enthusiasm and perseverance with which the work is carried forward will be the success given.” God works miracles for us when we proceed with persevering and determined energy. Dale Ralph Davis calls King Jehoash a “three-victories man.” As he notes, Jehoash’s attitude was, “let us not destroy but only contain Syria. That was enough for him. The promise of God did not stir him enough.” The great Bible commentator Matthew Henry expands on this event when he writes, “The king showed not that eagerness and flame which one might have expected upon this occasion, but smote thrice and no more. Either out of foolish tenderness to the Syrians, he smote as if he were afraid of hurting them, at least of ruining them…Perhaps, he smote thrice, and very coldly, because he thought it but a silly thing, that it looked idle and childish for a king to beat the ground with his arrows…But by his behavior, he lost what the arrows signified, sorely to the grief of the dying prophet…Not being strengthened in the power and promise of God, why should the king be strengthened in his own expectation and endeavors?”

            In the empowering words of the Apostle James, “the testing of your faith produces perseverance, and perseverance must complete its work so that you will become fully developed, complete, not deficient in any way” (James 1: 3-4, N.J.B.).

“Permanence, perseverance and persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements, and impossibilities. It is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.”

Thomas Carlyle



“God will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

I Corinthians 1: 8

The Undiscouraged God

“The grass grows slowly up the hill

With faith the torrent cannot kill,

And rocks are rough, and still the clover

The stony fields will yet run over

And I know nothing that the true,

The good, the gentle cannot do.


Woodlands that the winters sadden

The leaves of Spring again will gladden;

And so must life forever be

The gentle hands work patiently

And yet accomplish more forever

Than these too strong or those too clever.


So toils an undiscouraged God

And covers barren fields with sod,

And so will hate and sin surrender

To faith still strong and love still tender

And I know nothing that the true,

The good, the gentle cannot do.”

Author Unknown

“It is always too soon to quit.”

V. Ray Edman

Your friend,

Dorothy Valcárcel, Author

When A Woman Meets Jesus