Burn the Plow. Roast the Ox.

fire-1568645So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. “Let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,” he said, “and then I will come with you.”

“Go back,” Elijah replied. “What have I done to you?”

So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant.
1 Kings 19:19-21

When we repent and accept Christ as our leader and director then we leave our old life behind. In fact we don’t just turn our back on it, but we are spiritually born, no longer dead in our transgressions, but alive in Christ. From that day forward when we wake up every morning the Holy Spirit within us cries out for Christ, for righteousness. A sign of a true believer is someone who denies the desire of his flesh nature, this is called dying to oneself.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? Matthew 16:24

You see Christ was made sin on the cross, even though He had not Himself sinned, as a payment for the debt we’ve racked up with our sin before God. However, the transaction is not complete until we offer up that sin in repentance. Burning it like Elisha burned his plow. When we repent and die to ourselves. Then and only then will Christ’s righteousness is imputed upon us to protect us from the wrath of God. We are purchased by the blood of Christ, protected by His righteousness.

The Christian life is one of continual repentance and dying to oneself, not because we lose our salvation every time we go to sleep, but because we have set our hearts and minds to accept Christ as our Rescuer which can only happen when we submit to Him as Lord. Submission means dying to self.

When Elisha was called to serve God he burned His plow, killed His oxen and ate them for a farewell dinner. He got rid of them for good, no turning back. We must burn our plows, our old life must die under the transforming fire of the Holy Spirit. While it is painful to die to ourselves it will not be as painful as it will be to come under the eternal fire of God’s judgement.

But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” Revelation 21:8

Just like Isaiah cried out in terror when He saw a vision of God’s throne and His mouth was purified with a coal from God’s holy fire, so must our tongues be purified with the fire of the Holy Spirit. If not, our tongues will be scorched and parched for water where there is none.

And in Hades (the realm of the dead), being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far away, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried out and said, Father Abraham, have pity and mercy on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.

But Abraham said, Child, remember that you in your lifetime fully received [what is due you in] comforts and delights, and Lazarus in like manner the discomforts and distresses; but now he is comforted here and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who want to pass from this to you may not be able, and no one may pass from there to us. Luke 16:23-26

God’s purifying fire consumes all unrighteousness. Will it only be your works consumed on judgement day (1 Cor. 3:10-15) or your whole body?

ANT-PEOPLE!

So you mayBugs have seen either seen the preview for, or the actual movie Ant-man recently. I haven’t seen the movie but I have seen the preview, in 4D at Disney’s California Adventure! I was just waiting in fear for when the “creepy crawler” sensation would come upon me from the chair to match what I was watching on-screen. When it did I couldn’t help popping up and exclaiming out-loud, MY BUTT!!! Haha, that is just what popped out of my mouth, it was really funny. Lately God has been placing Psalm 113:4-6 on my heart, I read it awhile back and was struck by it in my heart but then forgot where in the Psalms this passage was. Recently the Holy Spirit impressed it upon me again as I’ve meditated on scripture about God “keeping a list” of all that we say and do (see post “The List”) Thankfully I was able to Google what I remembered of the scripture to find the passage again and meditate carefully upon it as God continues to impress it upon my heart and mind.

The Lord is high above all nations, His glory above the heavens. Who is like the Lord our God, Who dwells on high, Who humbles Himself to behold The things that are in the heavens and in the earth? Psalm 113:4-6

What really is striking to me here is that God actually has to humble himself to regard us. This may not seem like such a big revelation, I mean we mere man, filthy in our sin, before an almighty, holy God. But really we tend to lose sight of this and it has been impressed on my heart. I’ve been pondering this, chewing upon it and allowing it to humble me. Then this morning during praise and worship as we sang song after song about how forever Great and Mighty God is He helped me to see and understand just a little bit more. You see, this week at work something out of the ordinary has been going on. When I get out to my car at the end of the day my driver’s side handle area has been teaming with super tiny bugs, smaller than ants. It is really disgusting, I’m repulsed and just hoping that when I open the door that they haven’t made it through the crack and begun crawling all over my seat. I quickly open the door, sigh with relief and then forget all about them by the time I get home. That is until this morning. Right there in the middle of worshipping majestic, awesome God, He brought this picture to my mind. That before Him I am like a little ant, but even smaller than that, kind of like those bugs on my car. We all are, and we are repulsive, creepy crawling in our sinful ways all over the earth. BUT, God who is holy chooses to regard us. Instead of ignoring us or wiping us out like we deserve, filthy bugs that we are, He allows us to continue to team around on earth for now, and He regards us. He pays attention to us…and….He considers our ways. From His dwelling place He looks upon all the inhabitants of the earth—He Who fashions the hearts of them all, Who considers all their doings. Psalm 33:14-15  As I was singing and considering how infinitely small I was compared to God I couldn’t help but have a big smile break out on my face. In part I was smiling because of the joy that poured over as God was taking the time to use these experiences in my life to teach me, like a tender loving Father teaches His child. At the same time I couldn’t help but picture the whole sanctuary of people this morning like a tiny little patch of ants organizing themselves to praise God. Then it came time for God to become really serious with Me as He pressed His truth upon my heart even further. Although in comparison to Him we are like these microscopic ants, we are at the same time very valuable and very much accountable. How can this be? Because God assigns us value and responsibility when He creates us.

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Genesis 1:26-27

When I consider your heavens,
    the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
    which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    human beings that you care for them?

You have made them a little lower than the angels
    and crowned them with glory and honor.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
    you put everything under their feet:
all flocks and herds,
    and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky,
    and the fish in the sea,
    all that swim the paths of the seas. Psalm 8:3-8

So it is with fear and reverence that we must come before God, not spurning His holiness and the calling to worship Him instead of ourselves. We each will stand before God for judgement, but will it be with or without the protection of Christ? Will it be as one who dared curse the name of God and to His sorrow spurned His grace? Or, will it be as one that was once filthy but was born again, becoming a new creation, an adopted child of God through Christ? Christ the Lord Who rescues us from our filthy ways and puts upon us the new identity of co-heir. Mind-shattering is this mystery, this business of ransoming us from the kingdom of darkness through the blood of Christ. O praise Him, the King of Glory who from the beginning of time has known each one of us, unworthy as we are, created us in our mother’s womb and Who calls us each by name, who in His great love and mercy seeks reconciliation with us.

I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. Ezekiel 36:25-27

Important Questions

How much time doImportantQuestions we spend making ourselves look pretty in the eyes of man in comparison to tending to a heart attractive to God?

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23

How much effort do we put into our decaying body in comparison to being about our Father’s business to preach the gospel to every person?

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. Mark 16:15-16

Could it be that we are about the business of a different father?

Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires… John 8:42-44

O Lord, please help me to be attractive to you, for my motivation, my time, my everything to be in submission to Christ as Lord so the Holy Spirit can glorify Christ through me, a jar made of clay.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Corinthians 4:7

How much time do we spend shopping for, preparing, and eating food in comparison to how much time we spend eating up the Word of God, the Bread of Life?

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. John 6:35

How much time do we spend consuming drinks for energy, drinks for relaxing, drinks for hydration, drinks for fun, in comparison to the time we spend drinking in the Living Water?

Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14

“The List”

https://vimeo.com/127118312Did you know that God is intently watching every single one of us?

From His dwelling place He looks [intently] upon all the inhabitants of the earth—He Who fashions the hearts of them all, Who considers all their doings. Psalm 33:14-15 AMP

What makes this far more amazing than simply the fact that He considers the ways of all people at once, is that God is so big and so powerful beyond our comprehension that the Bible also tells that in order to regard even the heavens He actually has to humble himself. When we we view something new in the heavens it makes the news and we highly praise the ability of man to get a snapshot of one small piece of creation, but for God, the creator He is so far beyond His amazing creation in His glory, power, and wonder that it is an act of humility to pay us any attention!

The Lord is high above all nations,
His glory above the heavens.
Who is like the Lord our God,
Who dwells on high,
Who humbles Himself to behold
The things that are in the heavens and in the earth?
Psalm 113:4-6

This really helps me to get in perspective because really if God is in a humble state to regard us, then shouldn’t I also be walking in a continual posture of humility before Him in His awesome dominion and power? Also, there should be NO ONE that I am not willing to humble myself to talk to, to care for with dignity because God Himself regards them and myself, although we both at our best are like abhorrent, filthy rags before Him…

Furthermore, we learn that not only is God humbling Himself to watch us, and considering all of our ways, but he is also keeping track. He’s making “a list”, He forgets not one of our words or deeds:

“But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.“For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:36-37

“The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil. Ecclesiastes 12:14

For those that reject the payment of Christ and refuse Him as Lord on earth, it will only be them, their list of sins, and an all-seeing, all-knowing God on the day of judgement. The scriptures make it clear that when we live like this we are storing up wrath for that day.

But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to each person according to his deeds: Romans 2:5-6

But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death. Revelation 21:8

Andy Adams, Nathaniel Hall, and Curtis Randle recently wrote and performed a puppet skit that illustrates how Christ gave His very life for us, so if we are truly sorry for our sins and repent we can have our “list” forgiven and be protected on the dreaded day of judgement:

For those that  are protected by Christ righteousness, who had a repentant heart and turned to Christ, their offenses are dismissed because the payment of their sin was made when they submitted their thoughts, words, and deeds under the leadership of Christ. However, even they will still face God for a judgement, the judgement of what they built in this life upon their new foundation of Christ:

According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. 1 Corinthians 3:10-15

We are each accountable before God, which list will you approach the throne of God’s judgement with?

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

http://www.audacitymovie.com/