My posts come from my personal daily scripture readings and a part of my personal accountability. If we are going to grow as followers of Christ, we must be in the Word! If you miss these a few days, something has kept me from it; but if they're gone for too many days, call me on the carpet. We need to hold one another accountable. Join me on this journey as our lives are to Reflect the Image-and Jesus IS the image. Peace, Carla Sunberg
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What Have I Done to You?
1 Kings 19:20 He left the oxen, ran after Elijah, and said, “Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.” Then Elijah said to him, “Go back again; for what have I done to you?”
God had told Elijah to anoint leaders for the nation. While this final person, Elisha, was not anointed like the kings were, he was anointed by the act of Elijah throwing his mantle over his shoulders. It was a stunning moment in the life of a young man who appears to have been a wealthy farmer. He had twelve oxen yoked together which was a reflection of his success. As soon as Elijah through his mantle over him, Elisha knew that he had been called by God. The mantle itself represented a holy anointing for the work that would stretch out before Elisha.
In that moment Elijah realized the magnitude of the call on the life of Elisha crying out, “what have I done to you?” Elijah had his moments of despair as a prophet and he realized that he would be calling Elisha to a very difficult life. This seemed to have disturbed him greatly.
Elisha knew that this life of discipleship would cost him everything. He killed the oxen, symbolic of a sacrifice made before God, and then used the meat to feed all those in his community. When he had nothing of earthly value left to tie him down, he was ready to follow Elijah and serve God as a prophet.
My husband often quotes his father, “Son, don’t go into the ministry unless you know that God is calling you.” Those were words of wisdom spoken by a man who knew what he was talking about. Going into the ministry cost Bill Sunberg just about everything. He was a large and powerful man who could have used his physical skill to his advantage, but he did not. He intentionally restrained himself from allowing his physical prowess to overcome him. He was gifted with one of the most beautiful tenor voices that you’ve ever heard. He won a singing contest and was invited to travel with a big band, bringing with it an “exciting” life of travel, success, women and all the things of the world. Instead, he went to college to study for the ministry. He left it all, so that he could follow Christ, but he knew what it had cost him. A generous soul, he left this world having given everything he had away.
While we may not express it verbally, I’m afraid that too often when we recognize young people hearing the call of God we think, “Oh no, what have I done to you?” I have seen parents encourage their children to find something else to do with their lives because they are afraid of the financial consequences of following Christ. It’s not that the parents aren’t seeing the future clearly, because they probably are, but it may be their lack of faith that becomes a stumbling block to the one who is being called. If that is the case then we ought to ask, “what have I done to you?” from a different perspective. What if my lack of faith changes the trajectory of someone’s life? What if my desires push someone in a direction that may appear successful in the world’s eyes, but they lose everything in their spiritual lives?
Our desire for comfort may drive us to make decisions with dangerous consequences. Jesus never called anyone to cheap discipleship. Following Christ as a faithful disciple; being called into the ministry; going to the mission field; serving Christ in your job; all of these require radical obedience to life in the kingdom. There is no promise of health, wealth, or success; but of having Christ formed in you, as you faithfully reflect him in this world.
Lord, may my attitude not be a stumbling block to myself, or others. Amen.
Rom. 6:22 But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life. Rom. 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Two sides of life are presented here in great contrast. One is a life of sin and enslavement to evil. The other side of life is freedom which provides the advantage of sanctification (or holiness as some translate the word) that leads to eternal life. The options here are a life of sin, slavery and death; or freedom, holiness and eternal life.
The advantage of holiness or sanctification is the benefit of the life of freedom. Jesus died so that we might be made holy like him and this is something that is offered as a “fruit” or “advantage” right now. The end is eternal life — but the living of life is that it can be lived out in holiness.
The next verse is really just an affirmation of the verse 22. Sin will lead …
Scripture: Mark 8:31 Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” Observation:
Peter had openly declared that Jesus was the Messiah when suddenly the conversation shifted to suffering, rejection and death. With his affirmation of Jesus as Messiah, Peter had brought with him all of the connotations of that term. Jesus was to be a great military leader, a Davidic Messiah, who would save the people from the earthly authorities. Jesus’ description was a paradigm that didn’t fit into Peter’s thinking.
Peter’s rebuke of Jesus was severe. The language reflects a long and unpleasant conversation. The…
Scripture: Rev. 3:14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the origin of God’s creation: Rev. 3:15 “I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, ‘I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.’ You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich; and white robes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen; and salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. 19 I reprove and discipline those whom I love. Be earnest, therefore, and repent. 20 Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me. 21 To the one who conquers I will give a plac…