• South Lyon Church


First of all, I want to state that this is an opinion. This is my view and how I see things. You may agree with this view or you may see things differently, either of these is okay. We aren’t always going to see eye to eye on everything and that is fine. Our background, our make-up, and our current situation all play a large role in how we view things. And mine may be different than yours.


The first thing I want to note is a change I’ve seen over the years. The change is in the commercialism of the day. I remember distinctly, when we moved back from Canada in the late 90’s how the number of outside Halloween decorations had exploded! From some cardboard pumpkins and skeletons attached with tape to the inside of a window, to massive blow up yard objects and strings of light and cobwebs. A second thing I observed was that it seemed Halloween had turned into another drinking holiday for adults as opposed to just kids eating too much candy. I understand that when you live in a capitalistic society these changes are going to occur.



Those seem to all be worldly aspects of this day, but what about the spiritual? I don’t believe Romans 14:5-6 fits here, because it is not a day of celebration to God. Christmas or Easter would seem to fall more under this umbrella as days that have become days to celebrate Jesus. Some would argue that Ephesians 4:26-27 would fit here as a reason to avoid recognizing this day. Though the context of this passage extends far beyond the focus of this one day. We are told that there is a spiritual battle going on (Ephesians 6:27), but focusing it solely on a single day seems like a similar view of highlighting Christmas and Easter. So, focusing on the spiritual battle is an important aspect of our walk through the physical of this world.


So, what are we to do? What do I do? Two passages come to mind. First is Romans 14:7-9 as we continue reading from the above passage--I live my life for Christ. When you combine that with what Paul says in 1Corinthians 9:19, about wanting to win as many as possible, it seems pretty clear. Paul seems wishy washy. To those embracing Halloween, he seems to be for embracing it. For those opposed to it, he seems to be opposing it. All of this with a purpose greater than the celebrating or the shunning of a single day: Live for Christ


I started by saying that this was my opinion, yet I have not said how I treat the day. Well, I treat it much the same way that I treat politics as some argue that both are “of the devil.” I fly under the radar, keeping my opinion to myself because I don’t want to lose the opportunity to help someone get closer to Jesus. I encourage and reach out to someone who has an opinion on either side of the issue. Some could call it wimping out, I like to call it being able to reach the most people without slamming any doors closed. So, wherever you come down on this issue, never lose sight of those around you and your obligation to share God’s love, His word, and most importantly His grace expressed through the life given on the cross.


Below the Radar,

Randy

  • South Lyon Church

As we continue this series looking at these two servants of God, we see a transition. Elijah has been taken up into heaven and Elisha becomes the focal point of God’s work to the nation of Israel. It starts out with Elisha grabbing Elijah’s cloak that was left behind as he is taken up into heaven. He rolls it up, goes back to the bank of the Jordan River, calls out to God, and taps the water. Miraculously the water parts and it is noted that the spirit of Elijah is on Elisha (2Kings 2:11-15).


Once again water will be in the forefront of God showing His power and ability to heal. Elisha arrives in a town that is in good shape except for their water supply. As we know, water has always been an important aspect for man and where he lived. A little salt in a bowl of water and again we see a miracle at the hand of God’s servant through the power of God (2Kings 2:19-22).


We are familiar with the multiplying of the loaves and fish by Jesus. Elisha, though not fish and loaves, also had a multiplying of sorts going on. A widow of a prophet, who was having some problems with creditors, approaches Elisha as she is about to lose her two boys. They have a jar with a small amount of oil in it. To follow Elisha’s advice, they then filled jar after jar from this small amount oil. The jar just kept filling up! No matter how much they emptied out, it keep refilling. Not only was this enough oil to take care of the debt but also to take care of her family (2Kings 4:1-7).


And speaking of feeding a multitude, something else happened in this chapter. Still no fish involved, only barley bread and some heads of new grain (2Kings 4:42-22). And just before this some flour Elisha put into a pot that had “death” in it became cleansed and those that ate had no harmful after affects (2Kings 4:38-41). There is another instance of a multitude being fed, but there is a lot to that situation and I will save that for another week.


What we see in these situations with Elisha is God taking care of people in miraculous ways. Wouldn’t it be great if that happened today? I mean look at the witness it would be to those around us if we took our single portion of General Tso’s Chicken into the lunch room, said a prayer over it, then proceeded to pass it out to the dozen or so that were there—everyone eating until they were full. Or maybe, it’s bringing a pizza to a movie night with friends and not only does everyone have multiple slices from this single pizza but also the slices are their favorite type. How powerful would these acts from God be!




Why doesn’t God do that today? Because He uses something even greater to pass on knowledge of who He is. 1Corinthians 13 is called the love chapter and it ends saying some of the miraculous aspects we associate with the Spirit of God will pass away. Three things remain, with the greatest of these being love. The power of God does still exist today and it is seen through the love that we have for others.


The miracles aren’t any less powerful, just less instantaneous. It may not be “Pow, Wow!”, but a change in heart over time. A thinking that didn’t use to be that way. A love that has grown because of a powerful God working in a heart. Or a powerful love that expresses itself in the treatment of others. So, pray for the double portion that we talked about last week, and let it manifest itself in our treatment of others. The miracles are still there, we just have to make sure we are the vessels for the Spirit to work through. God can fill us up with His love over and over again as we continue to pour it out on others.


Fill me up, Lord--

Randy


  • South Lyon Church

As mentioned in the previous article Elisha was an understudy to Elijah (1Kings 19:19). He was called to follow by Elijah and then he did. And then we don’t hear much about him again until Elijah is taken up into heaven at the start of what we know of as Second Kings (2Kings 2:1). The understudy is about to become the main character, if you will.

Elisha is told by Elijah to NOT continue to follow him as it comes time for God to take Elijah from this earth. But he refuses to accept this not once but three different times. And in between each of these discussions, prophets from different towns they pass through come and tell Elisha that his master is about to be taken away from him. Elisha does not want to hear of it and tells the prophets just that. Elisha refused to leave the side of Elijah.

This refusal is the first lesson we learn from Elisha as God’s word transitions from Elijah to Elisha. He is persistent, though he could have stayed back and what would appear to be an easier way, he chooses not to. Persistence seems to be an important aspect to those who would choose to follow God and His ways. Luke tells us of Jesus’ encounter with a widow who he refers to as ‘persistent’ (Luke 18:1-8). In the case with the widow, Jesus associates it with the idea of faith.

At times, our faith can be rocked, but do we have the fortitude to continue to more forward? With Elijah it would appear to be the relationship with his master, as the prophets call Elijah, to continue on. For us there are times when difficultly of this life can cause us problems and even have a tendency to shake our faith. But it is that relationship with our master, in this case Jesus, that can help us through them and enable us to go on. Persistence to believe even when the situation is not what we would want or expect.

The persistence is actually the easy lesson we see in this situation. After staying close, Elisha is asked what he wants. “It is a difficult thing you want,” Elijah tells him as he asks for a double portion of the spirit (2Kings 2:9-10). Ever think about what we ask God for? Usually, it is to help us through a difficult time, maybe for the health of a loved one. Often times it is for things to be better on this earth. Elisha asks

s for a double portion of the Spirit, in other words I want to be able to serve you better. A difficult thing Elijah tells him.

So as Elijah is taken up to heaven, in Elisha we see a persistence and a desire to be more of a servant for God. Good things for us to think about, pray about and meditate on as we travel through this would, not with Elijah, but with the one that came to give us eternal life.

Wanting a double portion?

Randy