Valley Full of Ditches

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Scripture: “while the harpest was playing, the hand of the Lord came upon Elisha and he said, “this is what the Lord says: make this valley full of ditches.” (2 Kings 3:15-16) 

Observation: Elisha has just received the ministry from Elijah.  He has seen Elijah taken up to heaven, received a double measure (inherited) of Elijah’s Spirit, and now he is assisting the kings of Israel, Judah, and Edom, in their fight against the armies of Moab.  The Lord however, is on their side and so he gives this prophecy to the kings through Elisha.  They are to dig the valley full of ditches.  Note, this will occur without it being windy or rainy.  It clearly will come from the hand of God. 

Application: God has given his clear promise as well as a specific directive.  God will provide for his people, but they must trust him.  They must go and fill the valley full of ditches in anticipation for what He will send.  Just like Noah and the ark, there is the risk of ridicule and feeling foolish when following God’s directive.  For me this is a clear reminder that God’s ways are not always visible or understandable.  Sometimes I feel like God is telling me to dig ditches (or an ark) and wait for the water to appear.  What in your life may feel silly, but is it clear directive from God?  How can we better trust God in those uncomfortable circumstances, knowing that He will provide? 

Prayer: Dear Lord, please help me to trust you even when your ways seem foolish to me.  Amen.

One in Spirit

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Scripture: “then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.” (Philippians 2:27-28) 

Observation: Amen.  Paul is writing to the Philippians – the church of brotherly love. (Philos).  What he describes would make any pastor happy & joyful – a congregation that is like minded, loving and united in spirit and purpose!  Truthfully, would one expect any less from the people of God? 

Application: In yesterdays devotion, I spoke of speaking as “one man.”  This is a similar concept.  Plainly put, the congregation that is united either in their voice, or in their purpose & spirit – has a more powerful witness, and better demonstrates the nature of Christ!  I usually incorporate a prayer for unity of purpose and calling and a spirit of peace and love when I am asked to pray before a church meeting or a counseling session.  It’s appropriate. 

Prayer: Lord, make my joy complete that the congregation at Saving Grace be like minded, demonstrate love, share your spirit of unity and be called to serve with your purposes. Amen.

Contending As One Man

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Scripture: “… Contending as one man for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you.” (Philippians 1:27-28) 

Observation: Paul writes to encourage the Philippians.  He reminds them that God is at work in their lives (16), and he prays for them that their love may abound (1:9).  But he also warns them that with faith and witness comes persecution (1:14 – Paul is in chains; and 1:29 – Christians will experience suffering).  But he tells them that no matter what happens, they should conduct themselves according to the gospel (1:27).  I believe this is because our conduct under persecution is our best witness!  And so Paul says “stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the gospel.” 

Application: How do we do that?  So many of our actions have to do with self-defense, or self-preservation!  Even in ministry, we can fall prey to positioning and wanting the respect and compensation that is due us.  Furthermore, it they are to contend as ONE MAN, a body of believers must remain connected in loving relationships.  So often, Christians are leading quiet lives independent of each other. 

Prayer: Father, help the people of Saving Grace draw together in unity, sharing your Word, Sacraments and your love and peace.  May we give a united witness to you. Amen.