Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Tuesday, 10 July 18:
1. 2 Chronicles 15:1 – “The Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded,” Go out with the Spirit of God as your guide.
2. 2 Chronicles 15:2 — “The Lord is with you while you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.”
– The LORD is with you while you are with Him. Do not forsake Him. God will not support your unfaithfulness and sin. If you want to make your own choices apart from Him, He will let you, and He will let you suffer the consequences of those choices.
3. 2 Chronicles 15:3, 4 – “For a long time Israel was without the true God, and without a teaching priest and without law, but when in their distress they turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and sought him, he was found by them.” Don’t turn to God only in distress.
4. 2 Chronicles 15:3-6 – “In those times there was no peace to him who went out or to him who came in, for great disturbances afflicted all the inhabitants of the lands. They were broken in pieces. Nation was crushed by nation and city by city, for God troubled them with every sort of distress.” When a person or a nation turns from God, there is lawlessness and inevitable suffering.
5. 2 Chronicles 15:7 – “But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.” The true definition of courage is faith in the LORD, one day at a time.
6. 2 Chronicles 15:8 – “As soon as Asa heard these words, the prophecy of Azariah the son of Oded, he took courage and put away the detestable idols from all the land of Judah and Benjamin and from the cities that he had taken in the hill country of Ephraim, and he repaired the altar of the Lord that was in front of the vestibule of the house of the Lord.” One of the key steps of courage is removing wickedness and compromise from your midst and truly worshipping God with your every deed.
7. 2 Chronicles 15:9-15 — A true Christian leader leads those around him/her to repentance, worship, and obedience.
8. 2 Chronicles 15:16 — “Even Maacah, his mother, King Asa removed from being queen mother because she had made a detestable image for Asherah. Asa cut down her image, crushed it, and burned it at the brook Kidron.” Sometimes people have to choose fidelity to God over fidelity to family. Sometimes Christians have to reject the ungodly teachings and examples of their parents. Though the Bible commands us to respect our parents as well as the authority of government, God comes first.
9. 2 Chronicles 15:16 – A true Christian leader may even lead seniors to repentance, worship, and obedience.
10. 2 Chronicles 15:17 — “Nevertheless, the heart of Asa was wholly true all his days.” Few people are described in the Bible as wholehearted. Do you serve God with a true heart? In repentance, be very careful to make your repentance complete and total.
11. 2 Chronicles 16:2-6 – “Then Asa took silver and gold from the treasures of the house of the Lord and the king’s house and sent them to Ben-hadad king of Syria….” Don’t rob God to appease men. Financial debt to ungodly institutions takes resources from Kingdom and gives them to the kingdoms of men.
12. 2 Chronicles 16:7-9 — “Because you relied on the king of Syria, and did not rely on the Lord your God, the army of the king of Syria has escaped you….” You have no idea what you are giving up when you compromise your fidelity to God. God wants so much more from you that you cannot see with your own wisdom.
13. 2 Chronicles 16:9 — “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him. You have done foolishly in this, for from now on you will have wars.” When you turn to substitutes for God to solve your problems, you will always suffer greatly. Trust in the Lord, not your own understanding, with all of your heart, and He will take care of you.
14. 2 Chronicles 16:10 — “Then Asa was angry with the seer and put him in the stocks in prison, for he was in a rage with him because of this. And Asa inflicted cruelties upon some of the people at the same time.” People tend to blame the God’s messengers for the truth, but the messengers are accountable to God for delivery of the message. God’s messengers are often persecuted by the rebellious for delivering God’s message. Jesus warned that His disciples would be persecuted by those who reject Him.
15. 2 Chronicles 16:12 — “Yet even in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but sought help from physicians.” Asa did not finish well. Don’t lose the race on the final lap. Resolve to make your last day your best day.
16. Proverbs 10 – The word “lips” is used five times in this chapter, the word “mouth” is used six times, and the word “tongue” is used twice – what comes out of your mouth reveals your character and the condition of your heart. Words can build up or destroy. Pay close attention to what is coming out of your mouth and what your words say about your heart.
17. Proverbs 10:5 – “He who gathers in summer is a prudent son, but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who brings shame.” Prepare for hard times during easy times.
18. Proverbs 10:23 – “Doing wrong is like a joke to a fool, but wisdom is pleasure to a man of understanding.” Sinners joke about the sin that God abhors.
19. Colossians 4:1 – “Masters, treat your bondservants justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.”
– God expects you to treat others the way you want to be treated by Him (See Proverbs 11:24-26).
– The way we treat others reveals what we really believe about God and how much we truly value our salvation. Jesus said that love comes most from those who feel most forgiven. (Luke 7:47) Jesus also said that grace received demands grace given – “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14, 15) When we truly understand the magnitude of the mercy, grace, and love we have received from God at the tremendous price of His Son, it becomes inconceivable for us to offer anything but the same to others. If we are demanding to receive justice from others, we have lost sight of our own guiltiness that was covered over with the blood of the Savior. When we treat others poorly, it is a clear sign that Jesus is not big enough (glorified) in our lives. When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, he actually responded with, not one commandment but two: “He said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.’” (Matthew 22:37-40) Why two? Because they are inseparable – the second proves the first, and the second depends on the first. Your love for God is revealed most clearly through your relationships.
20. Colossians 4:2-4 – “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.” Prayer must be consistent and thankful. The focus of prayer is the Great Commission.
21. Colossians 4:3 – “At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison.” Is your main hope today that you might have the opportunity to share Jesus with others, and are you willing to suffer to do it?
22. Colossians 4:5, 6 – “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”
– It takes wisdom to know how to share the Gospel with outsiders, and the opportunities are fleeting. You must be prepared for the opportunity and present God’s word with grace.
– You are running out of time to appeal to the lost. Do you have an intense sense of urgency? How will that reveal itself today in your priorities?
23. Colossians 4:7 – “Tychicus will tell you all about my activities. He is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord.” Our friends should be faithful ministers and fellow servants. To whom do you give your priority time?
24. Colossians 4:8 – “I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts…” Friends encourage one another on the journey of service to Christ.
25. Colossians 4:10-17 — Friends in Christ work hard for one another and share the burden of hardships. We are united in one purpose: to fulfill God’s mission which He intends to fulfill not through many independent agents but rather through a body of believers who are one.
26. Colossians 4:12 – “Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers.” Epaphras continually “struggled” in prayer for other Christians. For whom do you pray that hard for?
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 10 July 18: Struggle in prayer today for whomever God puts on your heart. Pray hard for them. Pray all day for them. Struggle. (Colossians 4:12)