No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. Luke 9:62.
We are not all asked to serve as Elisha served, nor are we all bidden to sell everything we have; but God asks us to give His service the first place in our lives, to allow no day to pass without doing something to advance His work in the earth. He does not expect from all the same kind of service. One may be called to ministry in a foreign land; another may be asked to give of his means for the support of gospel work. God accepts the offering of each. It is the consecration of the life and all its interests, that is necessary. Those who make this consecration will hear and obey the call of Heaven….
It was no great work that was at first required of Elisha; commonplace duties still constituted his discipline. He is spoken of as pouring water on the hands of Elijah, his master. He was willing to do anything that the Lord directed, and at every step he learned lessons of humility and service…. Elisha’s life after uniting with Elijah was not without temptations. Trials he had in abundance; but in every emergency he relied on God. He was tempted to think of the home that he had left, but to this temptation he gave no heed. Having put his hand to the plow, he was resolved not to turn back, and through test and trial he proved true to this trust….
As Elisha accompanied the prophet … his faith and resolution were once more tested. At Gilgal, and again at Bethel and Jericho, he was invited by the prophet to turn back…. But … he would not be diverted from his purpose…. “And … Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee.”
Elisha asked not for worldly honor, or for a high place among the great men of earth. That which he craved was a large measure of the Spirit that God had bestowed so freely upon the one about to be honored with translation. He knew that nothing but the Spirit which had rested upon Elijah, could fit him to fill the place in Israel to which God had called him; and so he asked, “I pray thee, let a double portion of thy Spirit be upon me.
Conflict and Courage p. 222
—– Please continue to pray for my brother-in-law Tim as they have found another place on his face that is possibly cancer of the Carotid artery. Also we just found out that a good friend of ours Mike is going in for open heart surgery on Tuesday of next week. He just found out today. My husband just found out that his youngest brother David in Alabama has throat cancer. Please keep all of this in prayer with us! Connie
—–Please pray for little Emma today as she has a tooth filled. Please pray that she holds still not only for the deadening but for the filling as well. Rose
—–Please pray for Charles whose wife, who suffers from depression, wants to separate. M
—–My husbands uncle died last week, and my grandfather today. Please pray for both sides of our family as we move on without these loved ones. Naomi
—–keep my aunt in prayer. She has Progressive remissive MS and it just came out of remission and she stop breathing during the night. She’s on oxygen with an alarm during the night. Chris
—–Please pray for Yolanda and Dale and family. Both Yolanda’s parents were killed in a horrible accident yesterday. Joyce
—–Saw my dr yesterday. He’s sending me to a gastroenterologist. Said he has some concerns… Prayers appreciated. Sylvia
—–Miracle needed! Please pray for Brandon and Mary, their son Ridge is in the hospital right now on life support. He is 21 years old. God’s will be done, but without a miracle, he will not survive. Patti
One time, when Ron and I were first married, we went with his family to visit some sand dunes. It was a favorite spot for them. I wasn’t too sure that I wanted to go down to the bottom so we could walk along the shore, but finally they convinced me that I would have fun. Going down was easy: I didn’t have to do much of anything. Coming back up was another story—for every step I took toward the top, I slid back two! I struggled and struggled with all of my strength, but I made little progress. As I looked at the others, who were nearly to the top, I began to think that I would be spending the rest of my life down there. I struggled all the more. Suddenly, Ron noticed that I was not at his side. Seeing my struggling, he came down to help me: so did his mom and his siblings. They pushed. They pulled. They huffed and puffed. Finally, we reached the top. I declared that I would never try that again. I never have.
So it is in our spiritual life. How often we find ourselves at the bottom of a sinful practice. As we become convicted that it is wrong, we struggle and struggle with all of our might against it. As we try over and over again in our own strength to overcome, that sinful practice is like an insurmountable sand dune. How often we get discouraged and quit trying. How often we decide that there is no way up. We realize the truth of Jeremiah’s words, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.” Jer 13:23
Praise God! There is a Way of escape, a Way up that sand dune of sin! Our Dear Saviour has seen our wretched condition and longs to help us if we will allow Him to. Indeed, “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” Rom 5:8-10 This does not mean that we can settle down into a “do nothing” state letting Him push and pull us up the sand dune. No, we must co-operate with our Great Redeemer, placing our hand in His, walking by His side, allowing Him “both to will and to do of his good pleasure” as we climb together to the top. Phil 2:13
Just as I have kept my promise never to get myself into a position where I must climb another sand dune, so Our Dear Saviour bids us, just as He bade the woman taken in adultery, “go, and sin no more.” John 8:11 With tears in His voice, He pleads, “Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings.” Jer 3:22 John tells us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” 1 John 1:9-2:6
Paul makes it even clearer, “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly, so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.” I Cor 9:24-27 Think of it! The great Apostle Paul did not just sit back and rely on a mere belief in Jesus. No! His faith was an active faith! Near the end of his life he could declare, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” 2 Tim 4:7,8
Let us “put on the whole armour of God, that [we] may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness, And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Eph 6:11-17 Let us flee from all those sinful sand dunes of life and “follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” Let us continually “fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life,” not in our own strength, but “in the power of his might,” that we may rejoice when we see Jesus, our Great Redeemer, coming in the clouds to take us to His Glorious Kingdom where we will dwell with Him forevermore. 1 Tim 6:11,12, Eph 6:10,1 Thes 4:16,17