Elisha, The Prophet With Double Portion

Those were days of unprecedented happenings, when God dealt with the nation of Israel through His prophets and their performed miracles. We see this in the lives of Elijah and Elisha. Like no others, these were both actively involved in the lives of people. However, Elijah was a prophet of judgment; he shut the heaven and stopped the rain for three and a half years; he brought down fire and on Ahab’s soldiers. He is more like John the Baptist, a loner; Elisha, a prophet of mercy. A prophet that mingled with the people. His ministry parallels that of our Savior, YAHSHUA. Elisha’s name means God’s salvation; YAHSHUA’s name YAHWEH will save. Elisha’s ministry started in the Jordan River, after Elijah is translated to heaven. He takes his mantle and parts the Jordan’s water; YAHSHUA started His ministry after being baptized in the Jordan River. They both raised a woman’s son from the dead; both fed the multitude with small resource, with food leftover. Elisha’s bones brought life to a dead man, after his body touched his bones. YAHSHUA resurrection brought many to life, when the earth shook, the rocks were split, the tombs were opened and many bodies of the saints were raised to life (Matt. 27:51-52).

Elisha was a disciple of Elijah and his successor, as Joshua was to Moses and succeeded him after Moses’ death, to continue leading the Israelites to the Promised Land. Following his master to the place where he was to be translated, Elisha asked him for a double portion of his anointing, to which Elijah said, You have asked a hard thing. However, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you (II Kings 2:9-10). Elisha saw Elijah’s departure to heaven in a chariot of fire and horses of fire, as he went up by a whirlwind into heaven. He threw his mantle to Elisha, confirming the double portion of his anointing.  Elisha, then took the mantle and parted the waters of the Jordan River. Elisha, when called to the ministry, left everything behind, including his career to follow Elijah. A young man from a well to do family, never looked back. To start with, he severed the links of his life style by slaughtering the oxen he was ploughing with at the time of the call, the wood he used as fire wood to cook the oxen for his friends and family, perhaps to say goodbye. Off he went to pursue his new career as a prophet. YAHSHUA said, No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God (Luke 9: 62). Elisha mastered on this one. Still very young when called, he persisted to the end looking ahead, never backward. He was a hero of the faith in every sense of the word. “A man of whom the world was not worthy.”

The Man Abram (part 2)

ANGELS OF MERCY

When Abram stretched out his hand to slay his son, angels of mercy came before the Lord pleading for him and Isaac, saying, O Lord, You are a merciful and compassionate King over all that You have created in heaven and in earth, and You support them all; give therefore ransom and redemption instead to your servant Isaac, and pity and have compassion upon Abraham and Isaac his son, who are this day performing You commands; have You not seen Isaac the son of Abram Your servant is bound down to the slaughter like an animal? Now, therefore let Your pity be roused for them, O Lord.

At that time the Lord appeared to Abram and called him from heaven saying, Lay not your hand upon your son, for now I know that you fear God in performing this act, not withholding your son from Me. Abram lifted up his eyes and behold a ram God had prepared for the sacrifice. Satan, however, kept the ram from coming to Abram. But Abram took hold of the ram and sacrificed it to the Lord. While Abram was engaged in sacrificing the ram to the Lord, Satan went to see Sarah, his wife in the form of an old man. He stirred up her heart’s emotions by telling her the lie that Abram had merciless killed her son. She lifted up her voice and wept and cried bitterly for her son. She threw herself on the ground and cast dust upon her head, weeping saying, O that I had died in your stead; my joy is turned into mourning over you. But I console myself with you, my son, in its being the word of the Lord, you performed the command of your God. She rose up afterward and went looking for Abram till she came to Hebron, inquiring of all that she saw and no one could help her. Satan came to her again in the form of an old man and said to her, I spoke falsely to you, for Abram did not kill his son; he is not dead. Hearing these words, she became extremely excited to the point of her soul leaving her.  She died then without seeing her son alive. When it was all over, Abram returned home and looked for his wife, but he could not find her. After making inquiries about her, he found out she had gone to Hebron; when they got there, they found out that she had died. They wept bitterly over her; Isaac fell upon her face and wept over her, saying, O my mother, my mother, how you left me, and where have you gone? O how, how you have left me! Every one mourned for Sarah for several days a great and heavy mourning. The love of a mother is beyond what one can imagine, but Sarah’s love for her son and vice-versa touches one’s heart deeper than any other human’s love would do. YAHSHUA’S mother suffered greatly the death of her son, as the prophet Simeon warned her saying, Behold, this Child is appointed and destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against; and a sword will pierce through your own soul also – that the secret thoughts and purposes of many hearts may be brought out and disclosed (Luke 2:34-35).

We Do Not Know What to Do

Have you ever been in a situation when you have said, I do not know what to do? Crossroads ahead causing a moment of confusion in the midst of fear in the situation, as if your world shrunk to only you in it? You are not alone. Learning how to get our problems off our shoulders at the beginning of things, is a good thing, so not to suffer the consequences that will follow the worries. There is a path however, a narrow path, not visible at first, but nonetheless, a path we must look for to alleviate the mind from the control of fear; hear the Lord speaking, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” This is the only path to victory; the path that God has directed us to go through. “Though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.” The confidence of faith elevates us above circumstances and opens our eyes to its spiritual reality, giving us the certainty that God is ever so present with us. So, never fear, God is near.

Fear, The Harmful Way To One’s Doubt

Fear, is a thing that eats the emotion, destroys the body and mind, and ultimately controls the lives of those who feed on it. A spirit, the Bible calls it by name, is not given by God, but by the enemy of the soul. Through the spirit of fear, doubt takes over the mind and leads us to a hardening of the heart toward truth. A dangerous place to be, for it is there that we will lose the chance to repent, if we keep hardening our heart toward God. A dangerous wall made of lies, keeping truth unacceptable, blinding the eyes and hardening the heart.

The spirit of fear does not work alone; it has many other spirits working along with it. It is by the hearing that doubt penetrates the soul; it is seeing and not believing that the heart closes itself to truth. In the days of Noah before the flood, God gave that world 120 years to repent through the warning of judgement, for He is a compassionate God, not willing that men should perish. But the message Noah passed on to the people was to them as if a tale told children. Wherever there is truth, doubt is sure to hide in the heart and in the mind. The danger of doubt is the hardening of the heart. In Romans, Paul warns us concerning that. When God gives the doubter up in their doubt, for refusing to hear the truth, nothing will change that, but the repentant heart.

Fear, working its way to bring doubt in the heart of men, has led many to eternal destruction, because when our forefathers chose to accept the message from the serpent, doubt entered not only their hearts, but the entire world suffered the consequence. In choosing to believe Satan’s message, they forfeited God’s message and the world became Satan’s kingdom. We see the evidence of it all around us. Antagonism, hate, jealousy, envy and many more spirits permeating human as well as in the lives of the animals. For fear of the truth, doubt found an opened door to control the mind; for not wanting to believe truth, men rejected it. The spirit of unbelief attaches itself onto the spirit of doubt. Whenever we doubt God’s words, we manifest the spirit of unbelief residing in our mind. The disciple Thomas was rebuked by YAHSHUA when he doubted His resurrection. Because he saw he believed, he was not praised for that, but rebuked by our Lord YAHSHUA saying, reach out your finger here, and see My hands; and put out your hand and place [it] in My side. Do not be faithless and incredulous, but believe (John 20:27).

Remove the Stone

(John 11: 39-43)

Lord, by this time he stinks, said Martha. Take away the stone, was the command of YAHSHUA to the crowd. So they did. And Yahshua lifted up His eyes and said, Father, I thank You that you have heard Me (vs.39, 41).

YAHSHUA lifted up His eyes and prayed after the stone had been removed. This is an important observation to be noted. Even though YAHSHUA could have removed the stone just by a command, He told the crowd to do it. For that, it required faith and obedience, for Lazarus had being dead four days. Martha’s word and of those  of the crowd expressed doubt but YAHSHUA ignoring their unbelief, confronted Martha with the question Did I not tell you and promise you that if you would believe and rely on Me, you would see the glory of God? (vs. 40) YAHSHUA, before entering the place where Lazarus was, He assured Martha of Lazarus’ resurrection; He assured her that He Himself was the Resurrection and the Life… (vs. 25). Lazarus was dead, yes, but that did not matter in the scope of Whom YAHSHUA was and what He could do. He wanted Martha to believe Him in spite of the reality of her brother’s death.

Lord, Help My Weakness of Faith!

(Mark 9:21-24)

Faith, the vital and most important armor of defense, is often overlooked in our times of trouble. We look for the tangible to provide the solution for our physical and emotional problems, because we seem to think that in the touching and seeing, our faith is developed, as it is  often said, “Seeing is believing”. Thomas, one of the disciples of YAHSHUA, seemed to have believed that way. When the disciples told and kept telling him of the resurrection of our Lord YAHSHUA, these were his words: “Unless I see in His hands the marks made by the nails and put my finger into the nail prints, and put my hand into His side, I will never believe [it]. Why was Thomas so contrary and so emphatic in his unbelief? What was there to gain? He expressively detailed the conditions he would believe: “Unless I see the marks of the nails in His hands, put my finger into the nail prints, and on His side, I will never believe”. The adverb never implies permanent condition of disbelief. The Lord rebuked him saying, Because you have seen Me, Thomas, do you now believe? Blessed are those who have never seen Me and yet have believed on Me (John 20:27, 29).

But Thomas is not alone. We too turn faith into a dilemma in our challenging circumstances. When we fall ill, the first thought to come to mind is to see a doctor.  Nothing wrong in that, humanely speaking ; but what does the Word say about that?  Is anyone among you sick? He should call in the church elders. And they should pray over him, anointing him with oil in the Lord’s name; and the prayer of faith will save him who is sick, and the Lord will restore him; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess to one another therefore your faults, and pray for one another, that you may be healed and restored. The earnest prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available (James 5:14-16). The Bible does not say, in sickness call in a doctor, but call in the church elders; it does not say, to give drugs, but it says, to pray over the sick, anointing him with oil in the Lord’s name. The results will be that the prayer of faith will save the sick person and the Lord will restore him. The first thing to do to experience restoration is to confess our sin to one another. In offending my brother or sister, I have offended God also and I have suffered the consequences. By admitting my sins to the one I offended, I have taken the first step to my healing, because that has opened heavens and called the attention of God to bless me with restoration and deliverance from that which has caused my illness. God will always do what He has promised in our obedience to His word.

A Life’s Journey of Faith

It comes with determination, perseverance and endurance. All these are needed, in this earthly life, for it is a life of constant battles. Sorting things out that matter on our journey, is essentially important to achieve blamelessness and purity in the sight of God. The Patriarch Abraham leads us in his determination, perseverance and endurance, when he kept the faith in God’s promises, even though it took twenty-seven years for the first one to be fulfilled in his old life time. A life’s journey of faith is a slow and difficult journey, needed of much patience. Many are the giants, the mountains, the fires and many other obstacles we will face. The destination, however is beyond that which we can imagine. It is so wonderful, that all the pains we suffer here are not to be compared to the glorious experience at the end of our journey to that beautiful place, called heaven! The apostle Paul, on his journey of faith never gave up in all his sufferings, because he knew where he was going; he knew that he was not a citizen of this world, but of heaven, as are all who have trusted the Lord for their salvation. He went hungry, he went thirsty and cold, slandered and defamed, he was made rubbish and filth of the world and taken for dead. Paul looked beyond all and stayed the course of his destination. At the end of his life, he could well say, I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith (II Tim. 4:7).

In Addition To All, Take Up the Shield of Faith

(Ephesians 6: 10-19)

The writer to the book of Hebrews gives the most definite and solid meaning of faith: the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Heb. 11:1). Who can understand faith, when never gone through difficulties? The measure of faith in one’s life is seen through hard times. Everyone has a certain applied degree of faith outside the spiritual. It is an important ingredient essential to life. Faith removes the doom and gloom of today’s when one has faith for a better tomorrow. Faith is a lifter upper brightening hope in whatever we hope for. But faith is much more than that when its shield is taken up in the spiritual battle field. The Bible says that our struggle is not against flesh and blood. That is, not against humans. It is against the devil and his forces. Paul uses the Roman armor example to symbolize the armor of God’s proficiency in its use in every spiritual battle.

Faith is used as a shield. A shield means protection. The Roman shield was a very important piece of the armor used for that purpose. But it was not only used for protection, it was also to push out the enemy. It was made of wood-covered in hide. When wet it extinguished flaming arrows.  The Roman shield had an impressive size: almost three and a half feet tall and three and a half feet wide; its curve provided means of deflection against the enemy’s attacks.

According to the Promise of Life

The word promise bears a wonderful meaning, especially in times of trouble. It assures us of better things; it brings hope to the soul, strengthening it when all seems gloomy and hopeless. I am referring in particularly to the promises of our Lord YAHSHUA, promises that will never fail us. Paul, God’s faithful servant, who suffered much persecution, and was taken for dead, endured all because of God’s promise. He wrote, For I know Him Whom I have believed (II Tim. 1:12).  For knowing God, Paul without a doubt, believed His promises. The word know according to Webster, is to have a clear perception or understanding of. YAHSHUA said that will take knowing Him personally for one’s entrance to heaven. Not by work of miracles, not by work of uttered prophecies, neither by the casting of demons. He said, Not everyone who says to Me Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father Who is in heaven (Matt. 7:21). “Depart from Me, I never knew you” will be the words those who did not do the will of God will hear.

Paul’s life, when YAHSHUA revealed Himself to him through a bright light, on the road to Damascus, was changed forever. Now an apostle of Messiah he pursued a deep relationship with God. His words, For I know Whom I have believed, is a solid statement of his faith. In a letter to the Philippians, he expressed his desire to know God by saying, [For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him, and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection, and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed to His death (Phil. 3:10). At the time when the day for his departure from this world was approaching, he said, I have fought the good fight; I have finished the race, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me and recompense me on that day… (II Tim. 4:7,8). Paul endured all, never losing his faith, for the love of God and the promise of his victor’s crown.

Faith and Reason- Journey of the Soul

How does one reason God’s way, plan, and His fulfillment? We sinned; He gave us His Son to ransom us from its penalty with His life. While being nailed to the tree, YAHSHUA prayed a prayer of forgiveness for those who were nailing Him to the cross. How can one reason God’s love for us to the point of not only dying in our stead, but wanting us to live in heaven with Him? The soul, in its journey of reason, wonders clueless to the fact that there is no answer to these questions. Reasoning is good for us to understand the whys of the matter, but it takes faith to calm the heart and the mind, when there is no answer to the questions. Our rational conclusions do not always line up with faith, if we so depend on it for our understanding of things. The acceptance of Scripture without regard to reason and logic is a step of faith outside human’s interference.  Faith, true faith, that is, relies on confident expectation. Think, for example, Abraham, who had to wait for twenty-seven years before God fulfilled His promise to him of a son. Not only that, the fact that he and his wife were past the age of childbearing, opened the door to reasoning to step in, as he asked the Lord the question: “After I have become aged shall I have pleasure and delight, my lord, being old also? And shall a child be born to a man who is a hundred years old? And Sarah, who is ninety-nine years old, bear a son?” (Gen. 17:17b). But God is not limited by impossibilities; in fact, nothing is impossible to Him, as He confirmed it to Abraham with these words: Is anything too hard or too wonderful for the Lord? At the appointed time, when the season comes around, I will return to you and Sarah shall have borne a son (vs.14). Here we have God reasoning with Abraham, leading him to apply faith on that which seemed to him unreasonable.