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1 Kings 19:15-21 Click on this link to read the passage. You may select your preferred version of the Bible after the link opens.

Elijah was given an assignment from God to anoint two kings and the person who would become his own replacement at the beginning of this passage. God was planning judgment on Israel for its activity in Baal worship.

When Elijah found Elisha he was a prosperous farmer and was plowing his field with a pair of oxen. Elijah conveyed the message that Elisha was to become the new prophet by placing his cloak on Elisha’s shoulders. Elisha was willing and ready to leave his wealth to follow God’s call on his life. He sacrificed all of his oxen and used the farm equipment as fuel for the sacrifice. He could no longer turn back to farming.

Are we as willing to burn our bridges when God calls us to serve him in a special way? I have entered retirement to begin what I believe is a call to become a writer. I can’t claim to have made the clean break that Elisha made, however. I keep looking back to see if there is part-time work available, yet I am aware of how that too will make demands on my time cutting into my productivity as a writer.

Father God, make me willing to make the clean break to follow your call, wherever that call may lead me. Give me spiritual ears that know your voice apart from all others, and a heart and mind that is willing to follow your call.

Copyright © 2009 by Janice Green

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Revelation 19:7  Click on this link to read the passage. You may select your preferred version of the Bible after the link opens.

Are you ready to be married to Christ? If you have given your life to Jesus and have become a Christian, then you as part of the church of Christ are betrothed (engaged) to be married to Jesus at the time you enter heaven. For the skeptical, here are a few additional passages that refer to this relationship: Matthew 9:15; Mark 2:19-20; Luke 5:34; John 3:29-30; Revelation 21:2; Revelation 22:17.

I have been reading Beyond Me by Kathi Macias,  a book that challenges me to step outside my comfort zone to minister to others. Yesterday I read Chapter 9 (Sealed for the Day) and realized it was only two days until Valentines Day. I couldn’t resist sharing some of these new insights about the ancient Jewish weddings and how it relates to us today.

Marriages were arranged in Jewish weddings. The groom had to pay the bride-price to the father of the bride.

Betrothals were the beginning of the engagement period usually lasting one year. The time was used to prepare for marriage. The groom was to build a house and get it ready for his bride. The bride was to learn everything she needed to know to become a homemaker such as sewing, cooking, gardening, and so much more. She would also sew her own bride dress.

The bride did not know the exact day and time of the wedding. Yet she and her bridesmaids must be ready for the bridegroom to come at any time and take them to the marriage ceremony. The groom would take his bride to her new home following the ceremony.

We could learn a lot about marriage and life from these ancient Jewish traditions. First, engagement and marriage weren’t taken lightly. One would have to get a divorce to break an engagement. Second, preparation for marriage was a serious priority.  Both marriage partners went through a time of preparation to assure they would be able to offer more to their intended. They spent a year developing the skills and assets they could offer, not just thinking about what they were going to get out of this new relationship.

When I consider that I am to be the bride of Christ when I enter eternity (yes, even Christian men will be the “bride” of Christ), the thought of it overwhelms me. Jesus, our Bridegroom has already paid the bride-price when He was crucified for my sins. He is now preparing my mansion in heaven. Am I preparing myself to be His bride? Or am I simply taking for granted His total sacrifice and expecting to give as little as possible in return?

Anyone who is or has ever been married knows that marriage relationships take time to develop. We have been given a lifetime to prepare for our marriage to Christ. It takes quality time to know your intended better. How are you preparing yourself to spend eternity with Jesus? Are you using your life to get all you can for yourself, or are you investing your life for eternity?

We do not know when our Bridegroom will come for us. But everyone will meet Jesus on some unannounced day. Are you ready?

Lord Jesus, fill our hearts with a growing and ongoing desire to know you better and to serve you more. May the anticipation of our marriage to you fill our lives with joy.

Copyright © 2009 by Janice Green

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