"Then it happened, as they continued on and talked, that suddenly a chariot of fire appeared with horses of fire, and separated the two of them; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried out, 'My father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen!' So he saw him no more....He...took up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him and went back and stood by the bank of the Jordan. Then he took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, and said, 'Where is the Lord God of Elijah?' (From 2 Kings 2:11-14)
My current reading has me observing the lives of Elijah and Elisha; what "power evangelism." History reveals the answer to Elisha's question, that, "the Lord God of Elijah," was, "a very present help," in Elisha's life. It is a sad state in Christendom today that all we can do is sing about them.
I heard the other day of a 53 year old woman who died. I have not heard yet the cause of death, but this woman was about 12 years old in the early seventies when she invited Jesus into her life and was baptized in the Holy Spirit. It was not long after this, however, that she "fell away" from the Lord. I have had virtually no contact with her for decades, but did learn that she had been on antidepressant drugs for years. When I heard the news, I had a sick feeling. What went wrong? This young girl gave her heart to the Lord during the "peak" days of the the Charismatic Renewal. Did she, as so many from that era and throughout Church History, as our text of yesterday says, just, "give up"?
The Charismatic renewal saw mighty Elijah and Elisha-like "signs and wonders," many coming to Jesus and baptized in the Holy Spirit, not just in big ministries, but in small groups, house groups, among Catholics, mainline denominational groups. Yet the renewal began to peter out some time in the mid eighties. Did, "give up," overtake, "always... pray"? My observation is that divisions, jealousy among "leaders" in various factions, failure to acknowledge the "Elijah's" which went before, and rejection of where our Lord Jesus was "taking" the renewal began to overpower childlike faith. It was classic, "But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ" (2 Cor. 11:3, NASB)
Today I ask prayer for myself and you. I ask that we pray, and with as much of an open, childlike heart as possible, we be open to really hear the voice of Jesus by the Holy Spirit, revealing to us Father's purposes. The battle is with personal and groupie agenda and divided loyalties of so many variations. This battle does not become easier with time. On the contrary, it becomes more difficult, because time gives us a sense that we pretty much know what God is doing and saying and how He does it and says it. Just as with the Charismatic Renewal, the so called "prayer movement," and "prophetic movement," have become, for the most part, institutionalized. This is the end of all revivals in Church History.
No, I am not depressed, discouraged, nor defeated today. As Chambers said, those are just "another form of self love." Breakthrough, revival is still possible. Now I know that it is quite spiritual and worshipful and seemingly giving "all the glory to God" to say that it "all depends on God." No it doesn't. If it did, we would not recognize the world we would be living in. It depends upon our obedience to the Living Triune God. And when obedience overpowers every, "sin which so easily besets us," we can then sing the song I first heard in the African Congregation in Berlin, "Victory is Mine!"
Father, in Jesus' Name, I pray that I will, "always pray and not give up." Amen.
When Peter, an 18 year old Norwegian, "heard the call to evangelize China, on that day he not only emptied his wallet into the collection plate, but included a small note with the words, 'and my life.'"
"Looking unto Jesus"
"Looking unto Jesus"