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Change is in the air. As Elijah’s long ministry draws to a close, he offers us some good guidance.
Knowing his time is short, what does he do? Puzzlingly, he tells his heir apparent, Elisha, to stay put in Gilgal for the Lord has called Elijah to go to Bethel....
Lord, thank you for caring for us through all of life’s changes. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
This week’s readings open with the dramatic scene of Elijah’s departure. As the prophet is taken into heaven by fiery chariots, his cloak falls to his successor, Elisha—symbolic of the continuation of God’s prophetic work. The psalmist praises the Lord for being the source of all good. The Lord gives guidance, protection, security, and joy. Paul reminds us that freedom in Christ comes with responsibility. We cannot live to satisfy our fleshly desires. If we live in the power of the Spirit, then our manner of life should stand out and bear godly fruit. In the Gospel reading, Jesus challenges his followers with the cost of discipleship. His statements here may seem extreme, but he is pointing out that we can be tempted to find excuses for not proclaiming the kingdom of God.
Read 2 Kings 2:1-2, 6-14. When has fire—real or metaphorical—changed your life? How have you seen God working in this change?
Read Psalm 16. Recall a time when you needed God’s protection. How did you keep God in front of you?
Read Galatians 5:1, 13-25. Along with our freedom, we are given a responsibility. How do you use your freedom to serve others?
Read Luke 9:51-62. When have you heard Jesus’ call to follow? What have you had to leave behind to follow the one who has “set his face to go to Jerusalem”?
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I love focusing on the women in the genealogy in Matthew and our church’s Advent sermon series include the songs of Elizabeth, Mary, and Zechariah. So this study seemed just perfect for our 2019 Advent study.
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