July 1

2 Kings 2:9-11 (NIV) 9When 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. 10"You have asked a difficult thing," Elijah said, "yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours–otherwise not." 11As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind.

Elijah had done as the LORD commanded him and called Elisha to be the prophet in his place. The time had come for Elijah to depart this world, and Elisha knew it. He would not leave the side of Elijah even though Elijah asked him to stay behind. He must have known by the Spirit of God that if he stuck close to Elijah he would be blessed.

When they arrived at the place to which the LORD had led them, Elijah asked if there was anything he could do for Elisha. Elisha asked for a double portion of his spirit. The spirit of a man is his relationship and zeal for God. Elijah left it in God's hands by saying that if Elisha saw him taken from him he would know his request was granted. Sure enough, he saw it happen.

When Elijah called Elisha, he threw his cloak over him. Now he left his cloak behind for him. When we look through the life of Elisha, we find twice as many miracles recorded as were recorded in the life of Elijah. He did receive the double portion he asked for.

What would you have asked for? This reminds us of Solomon's request for wisdom to rule. What we ask for depends on the calling the LORD has placed on our lives. The desire behind our request should be that our calling be effective and influential for the sake of the Kingdom of God. If our heart is to serve in the most God honoring way possible, God is willing to grant our request. If our request is to be equipped to please our King, we should expect it to be granted.

Consider: We need to show the tenacity that Elisha showed in not leaving Elijah's side until the LORD equips us for our calling.

July 1

John 15:1-3 (NIV) 1"I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.

We begin with another "I AM" statement of Jesus, "I am the true vine". Jesus taught us to see Him everywhere, in water, bread, light, gates, and vines. They are all a shadow of the real, of Jesus. He created the world so that it would be full of reminders of all that He is to us. In Him, we see analogies of Him in everything. It is hard to not fix our eyes upon Jesus, because He is symbolized in the things we come in contact with constantly. If we will slow down and open our spiritual eyes, we will see that the earth is full of the glory of the Lord.

He tells us our relationship with Him is analogous to a vine and its branches. God the Father prunes away branches that don't bear fruit. Either they have no life in them, or they exist for another purpose. Professional pruners know which branches are not serving the purpose of the gardener. They have no fruit buds. The shade they create keeps the light and air from the developing fruit on the good branches. That is why they are lopped off. But even branches that bear fruit can develop side branches that do not. They are pruned so that the nutrition will continue to go into the fruit bearing areas. They are pruned to aim them into the light. That makes them even more fruitful.

Is God pruning some area of your life or ministry? That is because it is a distraction. His purpose is to make you more fruitful. He prunes you through His word. The Greek word 'clean' in verse 3 also means 'pruned'. The word of God will prune our lives, cutting away areas that are headed in the wrong direction, or have no fruit potential. Are you allowing the word of God to prune (clean) your life?

Challenge: Allow His word cut away the fruitless areas of your life so that you can bear more fruit.