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Elisha is lying in his death bed.

As he lies there, the king, Jehoash, comes to visit him and weeps over this great man of God.

What follows is striking.

Elisha tells the king to pick up a bow and arrow, open the window and shoot toward the East, toward their enemy, Aram. Elisha held his hand over the hand of the king while he shoots. Israel had been warring against Aram and losing territory to them for generations, with a few small victories here and there. Elisha tells the king, this arrow is the arrow of the Lord’s victory.

Then the dying prophet tells Jehoash to take the arrows and beat them on the ground. The king picked up the arrows and hit the ground three times and stopped.

The kings lack of enthusiasm angers Elisha.

So the man of God was angry with him and said, "You should have struck five or six times, then you would have struck Aram until you would have destroyed it. But now you shall strike Aram only three times." - 2 Kings 13:19 NASB

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Do you see how the Lord’s desire, as express by the prophet, was for the complete eradication of their enemy, their oppressors? It was in God’s plan to completely deliver Israel from the bondage and constant struggle against this enemy. But the Lord God Almighty’s deliverance would only come through the partnership with the king’s passion.

I often hear Christians talking about God’s ability to intervene in their circumstances. They think along these lines.

God is sovereign and in control. If He wanted to heal me, he could. He could let me win the lottery. He could fix my relationships, or get me a job, or—insert your solution here.

But in the case of king Jehoash, God was looking for the king to be as passionate about this victory as The Lord was.

God tells us to pray, and we throw up a two-second, “oh Lord help,” prayer.

God puts on our hearts to give, and we drop five bucks in an offering plate.

God stirs us to love our neighbor and we wave to them over the fence.

What would it look like for us to be all-in? How much greater could the Lord’s victories be if we completely gave ourselves to this partnership?

Take those arrows and beat the ground with them till there is nothing left of them.

Go after what God has put in your heart with everything you have and everything you are.

I hope this stirs you up. It’s stirring me up. I’m guilty of half measures, but I’m turning that around. Join me, will you?

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by.

See you again soon.

Keep the light on.

Ben

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As awesome as an army with banners.

Song of Songs 6:10

The Shepherd King completes His description of His bride’s maturity of faith and devotion with a glorious military simile.

In this phrase He speaks not of her beautiful character, but her victory over all the things which would keep her from Him.

What victory?

She has conquered  many an adversary.

She has defeated the internal foe of her sin nature. She was dark but beautiful, dark with the filth of the her sin nature. As she gave herself to His care, she was washed in His righteousness. The battle of sin and guilt in the bride’s life is won at the cross. He fought the battle giving us the victory.

She banished the enemy of fear that kept her in her chambers when He invited her to run with Him in the hills and conquer the mountains with Him. This victory came as He displayed His awesome might before her. He showed her the place of safety He prepared for her, in the cleft of the rock, and again she wins.

She untangled the lie of abandonment as she pursued Him in the night, and bore the marks of His suffering at the hand of the watchmen. This was likely her hardest test as she faced her own desire to quit, to sulk, to wither without Him. But in that dark night of the soul she rose up and went after Him. She declared to any who would listen her deep devotion to the Love she could not see, to the indwelling of the one she couldn’t sense.

Many more victories belong to her, and for each she carries a banner announcing to her foe – the enemy of the believer – the accuser of the brethren – that she is to be feared.

‘Awesome’ is better rendered ‘Terrifying.’

An army on parade with victory banners flying strikes fear in her enemy’s hearts. Our enemy once thought us lambs for slaughter, but to the bride there is a different end in store:

Just as it is written, "FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG; WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED."

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. - Romans 8:36-39 NASB

nora and papa at the table, benThanks for coming by.

Walk in the light!

Ben

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photo credit: subcircle via photopin cc
photo credit: subcircle via photopin cc

 

Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.” - John 5:19 NASB

Jesus only did what He saw the Father do.

This core truth that Jesus stated various ways and many times throughout the Gospel of John is an essential key to living the Christian life.

This particular statement highlights a number of simple truths that can set us free.

 “The Son can do nothing of Himself…

Let me restate that with a lower case ‘s’ and ‘h’

…the son (Ben) can do nothing of himself.

That right there is some good theology.

Christianity – my Christian walk – my life before God – is not about my abilities!

As soon as my Christianity become a performance, where I am doing things in my own power – it has stopped being Christ-like and has become religious.

…He sees the Father doing…

Next we learn that we must be connected.

Jesus will use a word picture in John 15 equating Himself to a vine and us to branches.

He will also call us a house with He and the Father as inhabitants.

Paul will call us a body with Christ as the Head, a temple with Christ as the cornerstone, a soldier dressed head to toe in Christ, to mention a few.

Christianity is seen as a religion to the world, but from the inside, it is all about relationship and connection to the Father.

…whatever the Father does…

This point is like the first. I can do nothing. The Father can do all things. Once I see the Father in action, I know it is done in heaven – and I can boldly ask:

Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. - Matthew 6:10 NASB

And finally:

…the Son also does in like manner.

Or

…the son (Ben) also does in like manner.

True Christ-likeness only comes about when I actually DO what I have seen or heard through the connection I have with the Father. [Tweet This] It is not about following principles, laws and rules. The principles are good, and helpful, but Christian victory comes through seeing and doing – hearing and obeying.

Lord, give me eyes to see You and ears to hear You this day.

BN Writers Page 150Thanks for stopping by today.

Don’t forget to shine.

Ben

photo credit: subcircle via photopin cc

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