Passion is Underrated. Who Has So Much Passion You Would ask for a Double Portion of it?

Elijah was seasoned veteran, a prophet who had confronted Baal and defied the evil Queen Jezebel. He was full of power and passion. Elisha was his protégé, a younger man who was doing his internship with arguably the greatest prophet in Israel’s history. As Elijah’s time on earth drew to a close, he asked Elisha a question. (And when you stop and think about it, perhaps he asked ALL of us a question…)

“When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?”
“Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,” Elisha replied. “You have asked a difficult thing,” Elijah said, “yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours—otherwise, it will not.” (2 Kings 2:9-10, NIV).

Elijah was a dynamic man of God who prophesied during the evil reign of Ahab and Jezebel, and Elisha was his protégé. As he followed and served under Elijah’s ministry, he saw amazing things. Elisha had seen his mentor rain fire upon the prophets of Baal and challenge a corrupt kingdom. Elijah’s passion for the Lord literally drove him into precarious situations, and he represented God in the midst of one of the most corrupt monarchies in Hebrew history.

passion

Elisha saw miracles and confrontations, but he also saw Elijah’s heart. He saw him when he was exhausted and vulnerable, subject to the pressures of being God’s prophet. When they knew that Elijah’s time on earth was nearing an end, Elisha asked for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. It was an unusual request, but one that deserves a closer look.

I think it speaks volumes to us, and here’s why: 1) Elijah conducted himself in such a way that his follower wanted to emulate the spirit and passion with which he lived. That’s a pretty good legacy. Who is watching YOU, and what will you pass on to them?

2) Elisha demonstrated wisdom in asking not for advice, or material things, but for spirit. He wanted to inherit, not Elijah’s possessions, but his passion and his power. The stuff we leave behind is not important, but the spirit we leave behind will resonate far more in God’s economy.

3) Apparently, in order to inherit Elijah’s spirit, Elijah had to be with him and see him depart. You can imagine that he stayed close no matter what kind of pace the rugged Elijah set, or what kind of danger he might face. In fact, Elijah told Elisha three times to leave him, and Elisha refused. He was stubborn and persistent as he pursued God’s blessing. Are YOU?

4) If somebody got a double portion of YOUR spirit, how much would that benefit them? 5) Someone, today, whether you like it or not, is following you. What do they see? As you near the end of your time on earth, will they find your lifestyle so compelling that they ask to have it replicated in themselves?

Finally, 6) who do you know that exhibits passion and Spiritual wisdom? It might be worth your time to discover how they got to be that way. Be passionate. Pursue. Persist.

Life is important. It’s not about fashion,
It’s not about bank accounts you put your cash in,
But it’s about seeking God’s favor with passion.
Elisha was learning; Elijah was leading,
And knew that their moments together were fleeting,
So he asked Elisha, “Before I must go,
What thing would you ask me that you’d like to know?
Elisha said, “There is one thing I would ask:
No matter my role and no matter my task,
I need to climb up to your greatness- or near it,
So please make me full of your passion and spirit!
And please, if you can, and it’s not too much trouble,
I need lots of help, so please make that a double.”
So, clearly, Elisha was very inspired
And he made that request from a man he admired!
But my question is this: Friend, in all that you do,
Whose passion would you like invested in YOU?
Consider your future. Consider your task,
And who has the spirit for which you would ask?
Spend time with your friends who are loving and wise,
And you’ll find that their attitude helps you to rise!
And while you are at it, consider this, too:
Who’d ask for the spirit that they see in YOU?

To buy my latest book, Real People, Real Christmas: Thirty-one Days Discovering the Hidden Treasures of the Christmas Story, go here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1729034918/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
For Slaying Giants: Thirty Days with David, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Slaying-Giants-Thirty-Devotions-Ordinary/dp/172568327X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1535814431&sr=8-1&keywords=Slaying+Giants%3A+Thirty+Days+With+David
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When They Write Your Next Chapter, What Will It Say?

1 Kings 18 is a fascinating Chapter to read, full of tension, drama and great dialog. It features Elijah the prophet, whose life would make a pretty interesting mini-series, as he confronted the evil minions of Ahab and Jezebel on Mount Carmel. The god Baal was a Mesopotamian pagan deity whose name was a form of the word “Lord”, closely associated with fertility and storms. Anytime you combine being pagan with fertility, your PG worship rating goes right out the window– as do morality, decency, and true godliness. Under King Ahab’s corrupt leadership Israel had begun to worship Baal, and the Lord sent Elijah to do something about it.

“So Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” But the people said nothing.” (1 Kings 18:20-21, NIV)

The full chapter of 1 Kings 18 contains one of the great stories in the Bible. While Ahab was King of Israel, he and his evil wife Jezebel reinstituted Baal worship with its corrupt high places and pagan practices. Ahab was a bad king, but his wife was even worse. Jezebel was killing the Lord’s prophets wherever she found them according to verse 4, so it took great courage for Elijah even to appear before the king, much less challenge his authority. But challenge it he did, and Ahab gathered his 450 prophets of Baal to stand against this one man. It was a dark chapter in Israel’s history, and the nation stood at a crossroads between the Lord and Evil. What a moment! What a story!

Elijah confronted them with a challenge: each of us will prepare a sacrifice, and then call upon God to consume it with fire. The prophets of Baal went first, to no avail. No fire—no testimony. Their story ended in futile pursuit of a false, vain god whose only power existed in temporary pagan pleasures. (Not so different than most pursuits today, is it?)

Elijah then poured water over his sacrifice until it was soaked. Then he did it AGAIN. Then he had them soak it with water a THIRD TIME. When he finally called upon the Lord, the Bible says, “Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.” (18:38) The people acknowledged and followed God, and the prophets of Baal were slain.

There are a couple of things important here: One, never underestimate the power and influence one person can have. (To paraphrase Chris Farley’s motivational speaker Matt Foley: “Even if that person is YOU.”) Edmund Burke said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” So, DO SOMETHING. Even if you don’t change the world, you may change YOURSELF.

Second, Elijah confronted evil by calling down the fire of God. When is the last time you asked for God’s fire to come down and consume you? Ever? (No story, no testimony…) Like Elijah, we live in a world where leaders support shaky beliefs, people follow false gods, and evil seems to be gaining… And a lot of folks are on the fence like the crowd watching Elijah, interested on seeing whether God will work, but saying nothing. They are waiting to see whether a new chapter of Acts will be written… I’m thinking this world could use a few more fired-up Christians, and the world could change, one heart at a time. Could it happen? Jeremiah 33:3 says, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” Give it a shot, you might be surprised. And think of the story they might write about YOU someday!

Ahab ruled with evil lust. 
He worshipped Baal, he screamed and cussed,
He broke the covenant's sacred trust
And woke the Lord's divine disgust.
Jezebel was his evil Queen.
She did some things that were obscene--
More evil than Ahab had been,
Hateful, powerful, cold and mean.
Their pagan prophets made the scene,
(Just read it in First Kings Eighteen)
But it was all corrupt, unclean,
The worst stuff you have ever seen...
Against them, just one prophet came:
(Elijah was his given name),
A man who prayed, and stopped the rain,
A man of faith. He changed the game
When he alone on Carmel stood
And challenged Israel to do good.
Elijah, see, he understood,
In an hour of need, that Yahweh COULD
Display His power against great odds:
If you need help, then ask for God's.

To buy my book, Beggar’s Bread, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Beggars-Bread-Devotions-Ordinary-Guy/dp/1535457392/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473336800&sr=8-1&keywords=Beggar%27s+Bread
For the Kindle Edition, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Beggars-Bread-Bo-Jackson-ebook/dp/B01K5Z0NLA/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1473336800&sr=8-2&keywords=Beggar%27s+Bread

Don’t Let Business as Usual Keep You From Seeing the Miracle on the Mountaintop

The prophet Elijah was despondent after experiencing an astounding victory on the mountaintop. He was a powerful voice for righteousness  in the midst of a corrupt kingdom, and was fearless when he opposed that corruption. But he experienced depression and isolation after he saw God’s power at work. His story reminds us why we sometimes struggle to live every day in the valley after we’ve been on the mountaintop.

“Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.” Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” (I Kings 19:1-4, NIV).

Elijah had just had one of the most dramatic victories over the forces of evil ever described in Chapter 18. He had challenged 450 prophets of Baal (and 400 prophets of Asherah), and allowed them to call all day for fire to burn their sacrifice. Though they convulsed and cut themselves, they failed to produce anything, while Elijah actually stood by and mocked them. Then he poured water all over his own sacrifice and altar (three times!) before calling upon the Lord to consume it. Fire came down from heaven and burned up not just the sacrifice but the altar of stone as well, and Elijah and his men killed the 850 evil prophets that day. It was a mountaintop experience that may be unrivalled in prophet history!

Elijah won an amazing victory over the forces of evil in very dramatic fashion. Here, however, just a day or two later, Elijah is despondent and afraid. He’s heard that not only Ahab but Jezebel has it out for him. Suddenly he is looking around forlornly at his own resources and the odds against him rather than remembering what God has done. The monotony of business-as-usual created doubt about the miracle of the mountaintop. I think the same thing happens to us. We are often most vulnerable after victory, loneliest after enjoying a time of fellowship, and most prone to wander in the valley after being amazed on the mountaintop.

God came to Elijah shortly after this, not in dramatic fashion, but in a still, small voice that spoke to him and comforted him. If you are wandering, or despondent, or afraid, quit looking around and start looking up. And listen for that still, small voice.

 

Elijah went to the mountaintop and felt God's power and fire;
He stood on victory's peak; emotions couldn't get much higher.
Shortly after that he felt alone and unprotected,
And wandered in depression, feeling saddened and rejected.
But God came to Elijah in the way he least expected,
Not in some display of force or supernatural power,
Offering comfort to Elijah in his lowest hour.
Just when things were lowest and he thought he had no choice,
Elijah found God's love and comfort in a still, small voice.

To buy my book, Beggar’s Bread, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Beggars-Bread-Devotions-Ordinary-Guy/dp/1535457392/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473336800&sr=8-1&keywords=Beggar%27s+Bread

For the Kindle Edition, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Beggars-Bread-Bo-Jackson-ebook/dp/B01K5Z0NLA/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1473336800&sr=8-2&keywords=Beggar%27s+Bread