June 28

1 Kings 19:20-21 (NIV) 20Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. "Let me kiss my father and mother good-by," he said, "and then I will come with you." "Go back," Elijah replied. "What have I done to you?" 21So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his attendant.

Elijah left Mount Horeb with fresh inspiration. He was going to train someone to take his place. He saw the man God had told him to call and threw his cloak upon him. It was a picture of the anointing of God coming upon Elisha and covering him. We have the same picture in the New Testament when the Apostle Paul says, "Put on the Lord Jesus Christ..."

Elisha wanted to go say good-bye to his parents, but Elijah asked him to consider what has just happened. He was called of God. What would hold him back or deter him? We read nothing of him saying good-bye. That reminds us of the person that wanted to follow Jesus but wanted to wait until his parents died. Jesus told him to let the dead bury the dead, but they should come and follow him.

Elisha must have considered this to be a great calling. He burned the implements that he used to make a living and roasted the oxen. He fed the people with the meat. He no longer had anything to go back to. Today we would call this "burning our bridges". Elisha planned to go forward and never look back. If God wanted to use him, he wanted to be undistracted and completely available to God. We will see in coming devotions how he highly prized the calling and anointing of God. His training started as a servant to Elijah. He would observe the man that God was using and learn from him.

Consider: Many of us need a mentor to give us an example of what it is to walk in the Spirit. We often have such poor examples that we may need to search for a life we respect and can learn from. Do you have a godly mentor?

June 28

John 14:15-17 (NIV) 15"If you love me, you will obey what I command. 16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever– 17the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

Do you love Jesus? Then you obey His command. What is His command? "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you." John 15:12 You can't answer "yes" and harbor anger in your heart toward someone. Jesus made that clear. To love others, you must be forgiving, willing to put them first, and most of all, you must be willing to allow God's love to flow through you.

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus said that if you wanted the Holy Spirit, you need to ask the Father to give Him to you (Luke 11:13). John reminds us that Jesus had one other condition, obedience. But it is not obedience to the 613 rules in the Old Testament. Jesus narrowed it down to one, "...obey what I command."

If you will do that by His grace, He promises to ask the Father to send you the Counselor, the Spirit of truth. Here is the great difference in Christianity. Other religions taught blood atonement, ways to God, and love for others, but Christianity teaches that God will come and live in and through you. That was something totally new to those who listened to Jesus. It is not a "do it yourself" religion. It is an invitation to personally experience Life, on a daily, hourly, minute-by-minute basis.

If you are of God, then you love and believe in the One He sent. If you love the One He sent then you obey Him. If you obey Him (loving one another) then you will experience the presence of the Counselor, the Spirit of Truth, living in you forever. The world cannot express true love because it is self-focused. It chooses to obey its selfish whims. That is why it cannot receive the Counselor.

Consider: The last words in verse 17 tell us the difference between the presence of the Spirit before and after Pentecost in two words, "with" and "in". Are you experiencing "in"?