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Friday, August 21, 2015

Continuing with Christ

So here we are at the end of the week YES! It's FRIDAY! with these words of wisdom to help us reflect on ALL that GOD has done for us. Read: 1 Kings 19:19-21 Bible in a Year: Psalms 107-109; 1 Corinthians 4 Whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. —Matthew 16:25 As a child, my favorite week of the summer was the one I spent at a Christian youth camp. At the end of the week, I’d sit elbow-to-elbow with friends in front of an enormous bonfire. There, we would share what we had learned about God and the Bible and sing. One song I still remember focused on deciding to follow Jesus. The chorus contained an important phrase: “no turning back.” When Elisha decided to follow the prophet Elijah, Elisha did something incredible that made it difficult, impossible really, for him to return to his prior occupation of farming. After going home and having a farewell banquet, Elisha “took a yoke of oxen and slaughtered them” (1 Kings 19:21). Leaving his way of life, he burned up his plowing equipment. He roasted the freshly butchered meat over the blaze and fed everyone present. Then “[Elisha] arose and followed Elijah, and became his servant” (v. 21). Giving ourselves to God, who deserves our devotion, often comes with a price. At times, it means making difficult decisions about relationships, finances, and living arrangements. However, nothing compares with what we gain when we continue on with Christ. Jesus said, “Whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matt. 16:25). —Jennifer Benson Schuldt Father, help me to see if there’s something You want me to leave behind to follow You completely. Jesus is looking for fulltime followers. INSIGHT: It is often difficult to understand the significance of some events in Scripture without a knowledge of the cultural context. Today’s story of Elijah and Elisha is an example of this. Two elements that carry significance are the placing of the cloak on Elisha (19:19 niv) and the slaughtering of the oxen to feed the people (v. 21). The placing of the cloak represented a significant calling. A person could not simply choose to be Elijah’s apprentice; that person was chosen and it was a great honor. The slaughtering of the oxen, the burning of the plowing equipment, and the feeding of the people signified a deliberate leaving of Elisha’s former life to follow Elijah. It was a public statement of Elisha’s new identity. J.R. Hudberg

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