When Changes Come (The Old Testament Passage)

Now when the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Stay here; for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel.’ But Elisha said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’ So they went down to Bethel. The company of prophets[a] who were in Bethel came out to Elisha, and said to him, ‘Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?’ And he said, ‘Yes, I know; keep silent.’ “ (2 Kings 2:1-3)

It is hard to lose a mentor, companion and friend. I have known such losses, and have been a mentor to others, and so know what if feels like to let go of a mentee. It is not easy for other side of the relationship.

Elijah said to him, ‘Elisha, stay here; for the Lord has sent me to Jericho.’ But he said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’ So they came to Jericho. The company of prophets who were at Jericho drew near to Elisha, and said to him, ‘Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?’ And he answered, ‘Yes, I know; be silent.’ “ (Verses 4-5)

On the last day that Elijah was on earth, the Lord was sending him all over the place. And Elisha, not wanting to say good-bye, went with Elijah to all the places that the Lord had called him to. And at each place there was the reminder that the Lord would be taking up Elijah. Elisha did not want to here that. It is never good news when someone near and dear to you is going to be leaving, no matter the reason.

Then Elijah said to him, ‘Stay here; for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.’ But he said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’ So the two of them went on. Fifty men of the company of prophets also went, and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. Then Elijah took his mantle and rolled it up, and struck the water; the water was parted to the one side and to the other, until the two of them crossed on dry ground.” (Verses 6-8)

Elisha knew what type of man Elijah was – a man of God and imbued with abilities from God. Elisha had seen and heard proof of this over and over again. It was already established that after Elijah was taken up by the Lord that Elisha would carry on with the Lord’s ministry as Elijah. So there was not only the bittersweet parting, but the knowledge that Elisha was Elijah’s “heir.” Elisha did not hesitate at this, but was preparing himself for it.

When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Tell me what I may do for you, before I am taken from you.’ Elisha said, ‘Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit.’ He responded, ‘You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it will be granted you; if not, it will not.’ As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them, and Elijah ascended in a whirlwind into heaven. Elisha kept watching and crying out, ‘Father, father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!’ But when he could no longer see him, he grasped his own clothes and tore them in two pieces.” (Verses 9-12)

Things change. People change. Issues and circumstances change. Sometimes they change and become easier. More often they change and became harder. We always hope that change will be good, but we must prepare if the changes are for the worse. But always, always, we are never alone when things change.

May you beloved reader accept and prepare for change in your lives, and in the lives of others. May the Lord watch over you during all the changes in your life, and may the way you handle change be a blessing to others. Selah!

Reign of God – All Topsy-turvey

“Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth.” (Luke 3:5)

“In the beginning” . . . . God was know only from a distance and the Messiah was a promise not yet come. This verse from early in the gospel of Luke takes about the ministry of John the Baptist and his preaching for renewal and change from what had been the status quo. And these verses spoken in reference to John are actually from Isaiah 40:3-5. What the Confession is using these verses for is to show that under God’s reign things change and do not resemble what they had been before.

“In the beginning” . . . . the world was a mass of matter in chaos. God brought order to the chaos and from the bits and pieces made a world and then set humanity in it. We have changed the face of our world, reformed it into what humanity wanted, and have plumbed its resources and wealth to make lives for ourselves – for better or for worse.

But the way our world is now will not be the way it is when God and the Messiah return. We do not know what it will be like – although there are many who speculate. But one thing we can be sure of is that when the Kingdom of God is here on earth (if that is indeed what will happen) it will not be the same as it is now. God has a habit of turning things topsy-turvey. Jesus gave us a preview of that when he walked on this earth.

My suggestion, gentle reader, is to hold tight to God and our Lord Christ, because in a world that is changing and will change even more, the Divine is the best and only constant. May you hold tight to our Lord, and be ready to be changed. Selah!

Ahem . . . .

I suppose those of you who have been visiting this site for a while have noticed it has a different look. I was just browsing around (actually for another blog that I have started) and saw this theme. I could not resist it, and as WordPress made it easy to switch to I thought “why not?” If you think of a reason, please let me know. And if you encounter any problems with this new theme, please let me know.  Otherwise just sit back and enjoy the new visual. I promise you the content has not changed.

As to my other blog, I am still working out some of the details. It is called “Pondering From the Pacific”. Once I am more sure of what it will look like, I can reference a link. Shalom!

Turning your life around

“For the people of those regions report … how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God. “ (1 Thessalonians 1:9 )

How did they do that? We know how strong the draw of idols can be – placing one’s faith and resources in something that is unpredictable, random and spontaneous in results. Actually that is not a facetious as it sounds. Studies have shown that intermittent rewards will cause a person to persevere more in taking a “chance” than any kind of predictable pattern of rewards. You see, just when you think it is not going to happen, you receive an incentive or reward and so you continue, hoping to get another reward.

When results are predictable, you either have to stay the course to get ahead or decide it is not worth the effort. But with pure spontaneous chance, you might win without much effort. That appeals to a lot of people. And if you have already “wagered” a great deal, the need for the “payoff” is all the greater, so you continue on.

But to say “Stop!” and mean it, take your losses and start over is hard to do. You have to accept that you will not regain what you have lost, and that you must try a different way. It takes a great deal of moral strength to own up to failure, and set a different course.

I think that is why Paul was commending the Thessalonian. They had not only stopped in their doomed pursuits and turned to a completely different way of living, but they were also teaching others to do the same thing, and succeeding! Having counseled a good many people, I can tell you it is a great moment of epiphany when someone sees their errors and resolves once and for all to make a change. That is the stuff of conversion stories!

May you seeker serve only those things that are true, setting aside random chance and place your energies and resources with the God that holds your eternal future. Selah!