God chooses … is it you?

Vol.5, No. 01 – January 26, 2020

Elijah . . . The One God Uses

1 Kings 19:19

So he departed from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen in front of him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and cast his cloak upon him –1 Kings 19:19

In chapter twenty-four, Peter Drucker, begins (The Leader of the Future), with this dynamic paragraph:

Will the leader please stand up? Not the president or the person with the most distinguished title, but the role model. Not the highest paid person in the group, but the risk taker. Not the person with the largest car or the biggest home, but the servant. Not the person who promotes himself or herself, but the promoter of others. Not the administrator, but the initiator. Not the taker, but the giver. Not the talker, but the listener. –C. William Pollard

Humble yet?

Elijah needed to pick his successor—it was time. He walks through the farm fields of Galilee, watching the son of Shaphat plowing with a team of oxen. Shaphat’s father is rich, prosperous; Shaphat is hard working and faithful.

The prophet takes off his hairy sheepskin cloak; puts it on the shoulders of the farm lad, Elisha. Who would have known.

This cloak is a mantle. The act is the transfer of authority, the investment of leadership for the years to come. Elisha ups and leaves the field. He leaves his family. It is significant that what he was using; his oxen, the yoke, the wooden plowshares, and all the implements related to his past life become consumed. All in a final gathering and feast with his family and friends.

What an odd mix of metaphors—he burns all his bridges, and seemingly eats them! Then he leaves family and friends.

There are some lessons from this section of Scripture:

  1. The real leader for the people of God stands out as one who is going about their common daily work
  2. This one with the mantle now on the shoulder was not called during their “quiet time”
  3. This one with the mantle did not receive the call during a dedication service, or a service of calling in the local church
  4. This one with the mantle was not busy reading “On Becoming One of God’s Heroes
  5. This one was following the plough—doing the expected in the business one was in; then God calls!

There is more:

  1. There are distinct individuals that God calls to specific work
  2. Leaders are not all “cut from the same mold”
  3. Some leaders come from rough work backgrounds
  4. Some leaders come from lives of solitude and loneliness
  5. Some leaders get called by city folk (like Elisha)—God selects those through whom He issues the call
  6. Some carriers of the call might call down fire, or condemn sin; yet the receiver usually is gentle and a blessing to others
  7. Some carriers of the call might be as a wind, earthquake, and fire; yet the receiver usually has a still small voice
  8. Here is an absolute truth: Every believer is a leader of someone. Thus, we cannot dismiss the impact of Scripture regarding leadership, because “we do not see ourselves as leaders.” The issue is how God sees us and what God expects of us.

On the contrary, the parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. –1 Corinthians 12:22-26

Life Application

God has put the body of Christ (the church) together in such a way that extra honor and care are given, to those parts that might otherwise seem less important. It is a thought well-worth our consideration. How has God called you to serve? It requires hearing Him, rather than listening to what one wants.

Some are like Ruth or Esther. Some are like Elisha or Elijah. What are you like? God has a plan and a purpose for everyone He creates. Jeremiah 29:11-13

Do not neglect to critically read and critically think through the points of this blog and upcoming blogs that can make a difference in your life in Christ. Our New Year is a new opportunity to learn what God has in store for us.

Commitments – at least four

Vol.4, No.55 – January 19, 2020, Countdown to the end – 41

He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen –Revelation 22:20-21

Thousands have attended the blastoff of a space shuttle on a clear Florida morning at Cape Canaveral. Telescopes and binoculars are the dress of the day as the rocket heads into its orbit; it is the grand finale of all that must take place.   

God’s very Word begins with, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” The very Word of God concludes with God in full control of all the events. His plan is from eternity past; He is unchangeable; not able to be acted upon from outside of Himself (the immutability and impassivity of God).

We are at the conclusion of what God has spoken to us. When we read His Word, it is God Himself speaking to us. His Word is unique, there is none other like Him, and there is no other word like Him. This is the end of God’s Word for earth dwellers, and the end of man’s earthly journey.

The path has been rugged, and many questions remain unanswered, and many problems remain unsolved; however, as man enters eternity in fellowship again with God. All will be answered. –J. V. McGee. Of course, he refers to the position of believers; unbelievers do not have eternal life, they have eternal death, eternal separation from Almighty God..

After the first five verses of Revelation 22, a sightseeing tour of our eternal residence, the apostle John brings four commitments to bear upon us.

Remember that John began the revealing (the Book of Revelation) with a note of blessing pronounced upon those who read, hear, and keep these words.

In conclusion, the Lord Jesus Christ repeats the blessing upon those who keep these words. Reading such makes one contemplate what they think. For what one thinks of God affects how they live their life for God and affects what they think of God.

The Bible is not merely a book to satisfy the curiosity of natural man; God’s expectation is for every created human to live and act upon His Word.

What does John speak of regarding commitments?

  1. We must carefully guard the Word of God (20:6-11, 18-19). We must take the Scriptures, the Word of God, seriously. God means what He says, and says what He means. Humanity might scoff at the facts, deride them, and deny them, however God declares His Word to be faithful and true.
  2. We must be responsible to be faithful (22:12-14). There is an instant coming in which the Heavenly Father allows His Son, Jesus Christ, to effect His promise: I am coming! I will be there soon! I have a place for you! It is prepared specifically for you! Be ready!
  3. We must be His; freed from sin and holy unto God (22:16). Those on the outside are on the dark side. The side of the light is under the finished work of Christ, the Root, the Bright Morning Star. The finished work of Christ settles who we are, where we will be spending eternity, and whose we are.
  4. We must be excited about His return (22:17, 20-21). Come is the grandest, most gracious, and most comforting word in all the Scriptures. The Lord Jesus Christ is coming again. He will come quickly, when least expected.

Worthy are you, our Lord and God! Revelation 4:11

He, who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches! Revelation 2:7

Behold, Jesus is coming soon Revelation 22:6

Life Application

How can we ignore Christ’s Words: “I am coming soon.” How can we ignore John’s writing, “Even so come, Lord Jesus!” How can we ignore those who cross our paths—those who do not know the truths of the Gospel?

Final Thought before we Leave our recent Season

Jesus was born to this world because what He came to do was desperately needed, and could not be done any other way. The disease infected every one of us. This condition was fatal, and there was nothing any of us could do to escape it or defeat it. This universal, inescapable plague is sin –Paul Tripp, in Come Let us Adore Him

New Heaven and New Earth . . .

Vol.4, No.54 – January 12, 2019, Countdown to the end – 41

Then I saw a new Heaven and a new earth, for the first Heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more –Revelation 21:1

Humanity is consumed with that which is new. (Yes, we are part of humanity, so it is “us” as well.) New cars, new clothes, new flat screen TVs, new houses, new boats, new lake houses, new computers, new iPhones, and even a new year.

We are at a point in the book of Revelation of an end to the history of time. Now something new is beginning, eternity. Eternity unveiled. There is a new Heaven, a new earth, a New Jerusalem, all things are new for the believer!

And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.” (21:5-6)

When God speaks, He does so in absolute perfection. We live on a globe that is approximately 25,000 miles in circumference, and 8,000 miles in diameter. The earth is likened to a hollow ball with an outer crust. There is a core that is liquid, seething and boiling, in the heart of the earth. Essentially we live on a giant bomb, and according to Scripture, one day it will pass away (explode), be gone. Satan loses. God (father, Son, and Holy Spirit) wins!

But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly (2 Peter 3:7).

Now we dealing with all the redeemed of the ages who, at last, find themselves in God’s Utopia—the holy city, the New Jerusalem. The wicked are no more. They have been judged at the Great White Throne. God’s Day has come! The heirs of eternal life begin to live in all fullness –Donald Grey Barnhouse

What is plain:

  • A new community (21:3-4). Those who have placed their trust in Christ are with Him, for all eternity. He is the joy of the redeemed. In this eternal state, death is a thing of the past. There will be no more funerals, no more graves, no more hospitals, no more broken homes, no more broken hearts; what a day of rejoicing that will be!
  • A new constitution (21:5-8). A place that seems unbelievable, with a structured oversight that one cannot help but identify it as heavenly. It will be a place of safety, satisfaction, and splendid. God will lavish the genius of His creative imagination upon it and will furnish it from resources of His unlimited power. –John Phillips
  • A new city (21:9-27). It will be unusual, new every day, a marvelous home. It will have an aura of a giant diamond, glow with a light all its own, its 12 gates direct to the points of a compass, and its great walls are bedded in twelve foundations—breath taking!

Who will live here? Nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

Worthy are you, our Lord and God! Revelation 4:11

He, who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches! Revelation 2:7

Behold, Jesus is coming soon Revelation 22:6

Life Application

Life in eternity requires one to respond to Christ for His offer of salvation. The ones who responds are cleaned, renewed, for an endless impeccable life. It is only because of Christ that one can come in salvation. It requires a choice this side of Heaven, eternity. That is the only opportunity we have to make that decision. That is God’s elected, predetermined, chosen plan. The requirement? Respond to Him, there is no other way to have eternal life, but through Him alone.

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