Children’s Bible Stories

ELISHA, THE MAN OF GOD

The days of Elijah the prophet were ended, but Elisha, his faithful servant, was ready to carry on his work. He knew that, as God had helped the master, so would He continue to help the servant.

Now it so happened that as Elisha traveled backwards and forwards on his way doing God’s work, he came to a place called Shunem; and there, as he often passed a certain house, a kind-hearted, rich woman noticed him, saw how weary and footsore he looked, and invited him to come in and rest. Each time he came she had a meal prepared for him, and she wondered if he had any home, and if it might not be possible for her to do something more for him.

“Behold now, I perceive that this is a holy man of God, which passes by us continually,” she said to her husband. “Let us make a little chamber, I pray you, on the wall; and let us set for him there a bed, and a table, and a stool, and a candlestick: and it shall be, when he comes to us, that he shall turn in there.”

So the little room was all prepared and ready, with its bed and table and stool and candlestick, and the next time that Elisha passed by she not only fed him, but invited him to rest in the little room which was to be his very own.

The kindness of the woman touched Elisha’s heart, and he made up his mind that he would show her how grateful he was. Was there anything she specially wanted? he asked. As God’s prophet, he had a certain power in the country and at the king’s court. But the woman only shook her head. She wanted no honors; she was quite happy and contented in her own home.

“What, then, is to be done for her?” he asked his servant.

The servant knew all about the household, and answered at once that there was one thing which the woman wanted with all her heart, and which she did not possess, and that was a child.

Then Elisha called for the woman, and when she came and stood at the door he told her that God Himself would reward her for her kindness by sending her a little son.

It had been a happy home before, but it was twice as happy when the baby came. He was the only child, and the joy of his mother’s heart. His father, too, was very proud of him, and when the boy

grew old enough he would take him out into the fields when he went to look after the workers.

But one harvest day, when his father had taken him out to watch the reapers cut the golden corn, the boy began to complain of the hot sun, which was beating down with such burning heat. “My head, my head!” he cried to his father.

“Carry him to his mother,” said the master to one of his servants. His mother would put everything right.

But the poor mother could do nothing to make him well again. She could only hold him on her lap and try to soothe the pain and cool the little hot head, while she watched him grow worse and worse, until at mid-day he died.

In her bitter grief his mother thought of Elisha, the man of God. He had promised her that the little son should be given to her. He might help even now.

With tender, careful hands she laid her child upon Elisha’s bed in the little room, and then set out to find the prophet.

She was still some way off when Elisha caught sight of her. The moment he saw her he was sure she was in some trouble; and he sent his servant to meet her and to ask, “Is it well with you? is it well with your husband? is it well with the child?”

And to all the questions the woman answered steadily, “It is well.” But when she came up to Elisha and looked into his kind face, she bowed her head in her bitter grief and knelt down at his feet. Why had this happened? she asked. She had not asked for a son; why should she have been given the joy only to suffer the greater pain? Elisha understood at once, and at once was ready to help her. He gave his staff to his servant and bade him go on quickly ahead and lay it upon the child’s face. But although this was done, yet there was no sign of life in the child.

“The child is not awaked,” said the servant when his master and the mother arrived.

Then Elisha went alone into the little room and prayed to God. And God heard his prayer. As he held the child close to him, he felt the cold little body grow warm, and then came the sound of faint breathing, and the child opened his eyes.

Outside the mother was waiting patiently, and her trust was rewarded. Elisha called to her and put the living child into her arms, and she knelt there at his feet, so full of joy and gratitude that she could not even thank him. She had been sure the man of God would help her, and she blessed the day when she had in the kindness of her heart made that little room ready to welcome the stranger, who had returned her kindness with good measure pressed down and overflowing.

Grace Gems

The Wolf’s Teeth-Feminism

 

What To Do?

What should you do as elders of the flock? Allow me to be specific.

1. Teach Biblical principles about gender relationships. Don’t expend all your energies reacting negatively to feminist agitators in your local church or community or even in your denomination; rather, as elders you must teach positively and clearly, and insist that your preacher do so from the pulpit as well. The fundamental Biblical truths regarding male and female role relationships in marriage, home, church and society. Of course, from the distortions evident in the way feminists rework crucial Biblical doctrines, it becomes clear that accurate and foundational knowledge of Biblical doctrine is essential to combat this and every attack of Satan. The prophet was right: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” So, teach your people a full and balanced diet of Biblical Truth!

2. Don’t overreact. Not all of God’s people who have been influenced by a feminist agenda embrace all of the planks of the platform of Gender Feminism. In fact, some are righteously caught up in a pursuit of Biblical justice; they have merely adopted dangerous words and concepts because these folks; each currency of today’s debate. Be patient with these folks; teach that that “ideas have legs,” that much of today’s rhetoric arises from thoroughly unbiblical notions. Express those invisible notions.

3. Use women and their God given gifts Biblically and appropriately in the life of the church. One theologian once observed that “cults are the unpaid debts of the church,” that cults arise where the church has failed to be thorough in her obedience. If that is true of cults, it is surely true of feminism. It has arisen in no small measure because appropriate ministry by women in the life of the church has been stymied, often by mere tradition and certainly in conflict with Scripture. For instance, 1 Cor. 14:33 clearly prohibits women from preaching (the literal meaning of the verse suggests a prohibition, not of speech itself, but of “being the speaker” i.e., the preacher. See also 1Pet. 4:11). That does not mean that a woman may not be used wisely and appropriately to speak or teach under the Biblical supervision of the eldership within a Sunday School class. Again, the 1 Tim 2:12 prohibition against a woman “having authority over a man” does not require men to chair every single committee within a local church, nursery committee included! Rather, the text prohibits the usurping of authority, particularly within the context of authoritative teaching.

4. Make sure the “careers” of wives and mothers are honoured within your home and your church fellowship. Nothing combats feminism in our society and within our churches more effectively then the careful articulation of the high view of these roles in Scripture. To be sure, you may not convert a rabid Gender Feminist by referring to Eph. 5:22, but you will surely encourage godly women (and instruct godly men!) when you hold high the role of a wife as a gift of God who is a life-partner in the work of the kingdom, and that of a mother as a precious instrument in God’s hand for the nurture and shaping of the next generation of His own servants, complete with prophetic, priestly and royal duties.

 “With a Shephard’s Heart” Reclaiming the Pastoral Office of Elder
by John R. Sittema (PP.75-76) 

Press to Contniue

Should I Attend a Homosexual Wedding?

by Kevin DeYoung 

Kevin DeYoung is an American Reformed Evangelical theologian and author. He is currently the senior pastor at Christ Covenant Church.Wikipedia

Born1977 (age 41 years), South Holland, Illinois, United States

SpouseTrisha DeYoung

ChurchChrist Covenant Church (Matthews, North Carolina)

ChildrenJacob DeYoungIan DeYoungMary DeYoungElizabeth DeYoungPaul DeYoungBenjamin DeYoung

ParentsLee DeYoungSheri DeYoung


_________________________

PASTOR’S PERSPECTIVE

Why might a Christian refuse to attend, cater, or participate in a same-sex marriage ceremony? For simplicity’s sake, let’s assume this is a discussion among traditional Christians who believe—as the church has always believed and as most of the global church still believes—that same-sex behavior is sinful and that marriage is a covenantal, conjugal union of a man and a woman.

With that clarifying comment, we can address the question head-on: Why would a Christian feel conscience bound not to attend or participate in a gay wedding? It’s not because of bigotry or fear or because we are unaware that Jesus spent time with sinners that leads us to this conclusion. It’s because of our desire to be obedient to Christ and because of the nature of the wedding event itself.

A wedding ceremony, in the Christian tradition, is first of all a worship service. So if the union being celebrated in the service cannot be biblically sanctioned as an act of worship, we believe the service lends credence to a lie. We cannot in good conscience participate in a service of false worship. I understand that does not sound very nice, but the conclusion follows from the premise, namely, that the “marriage” being celebrated is not in fact a marriage and should not be celebrated.

Moreover, there has long been an understanding that those present at a marriage ceremony are not just casual observers, but they are witnesses who are granting their approval and support for the vows that are to be made. That’s why the traditional language speaks of gathering “here in the sight of God, and in the face of this congregation.” That’s why one of the sample marriage services in the Presbyterian Church in America still has the minister say:

If any man can show just cause why they may not lawfully be wedded, let him now declare it, or else hereafter forever hold his peace.

Quite explicitly, the wedding is not a party for friends and family. It’s not a mere ceremonial formality. It is a divine event in which those gathered celebrate and honor the “solemnization of matrimony.”

Which is why—as much as I might want to build bridges with a lesbian friend or reassure a gay family member that I care for him and want to have a relationship with him—I would not attend a same-sex wedding ceremony. I cannot help with my cake, with my flowers, or with my presence to solemnize what is not holy.

In taking such a position, I’ve often heard things like this in response:

But Jesus hung out with sinners. He wasn’t worried about being contaminated by the world. He didn’t want to turn people off to God’s love. He was always throwing open the floodgates of God’s mercy. He would say to us, “If someone forces you to bake one cake, bake for him two.”

Okay, let’s think through these objections. I mean actually think for a few sentences, and not just with slogans and vague sentimentality.

Jesus hung out with sinners. True, sort of (depends on what you mean by “hung out”). But Jesus believed marriage was between a man and a woman (Matt. 19:3–9). The example of Christ in the Gospels teaches us that we should not be afraid to spend time with sinners. If a gay couple next door invites you over for dinner, don’t turn them down.

He wasn’t worried about being contaminated by the world. That’s not the concern here. This isn’t about cooties or sin germs. We have plenty of those ourselves.

He didn’t want to turn people off to God’s love. But Jesus did so all the time. He acted in ways that could be unintentionally, and more often deliberately, antagonistic (Matt. 7:6, 13–27; 11:20–24; 13:10–17; 19:16–30). Jesus turned people off all the time. This is no excuse for us to be unthinking and unkind. But it should put to rest the unbiblical notion that says if someone feels hurt by your words or unloved by your actions that you were ipso facto sinfully and foolishly unloving.

He was always throwing open the floodgates of God’s mercy. Amen. Let’s keep preaching Christ and preach as He did, calling all people to “repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).

If someone forces to you bake one cake, bake for him two. This is, of course, a true and beautiful principle about how Christians, when reviled, must not revile in return. But it hardly can mean that we do whatever people demand no matter our rights (Acts 4:18–20; 16:35–40; 22:22–29) and no matter what is right in God’s eyes.

A wedding is not a dinner invitation or a graduation open house or retirement party. Even in a completely secular environment, there is still a sense—and sometimes the wedding invitations say as much—that our presence at the event would honor the couple and their marriage. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to attend a wedding (let alone cater it or provide the culinary centerpiece) without your presence communicating celebration and support for what is taking place. And, as painful as it may be for us and for those we love, celebrating and supporting homosexual unions is not something God or His Word will allow us to do.

Rev. Kevin DeYoung is senior minister of Christ Covenant Church in Matthews, N.C., and assistant professor of systematic theology at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, N.C. He blogs at The Gospel Coalition and is author of numerous books, including What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality?

Taken from:  Tabletalk Magazine