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July 7, 2015

Today you should read: 2 Chronicles 14

A huge theme throughout much of 2 Chronicles (and many of the historical books of the Old Testament) is how fickle and inconsistent the Israelites are in following God. Kings come and kings goes. Some follow God, and some don’t. Most set up idols, and turn their backs on God. What do the people do? They follow the king’s lead.

There are a number of applications to draw from this seemingly typical and mundane passage of Scripture. It is easy to breeze through this chapter and say, “Welp, I’ve heard this one before. Another king comes and goes.” But I want us to really meditate on some truths.

1. Everything rises and falls on leadership.

The Israelites always follow their leader. Leaders in our kids’ ministry pray for kids like the Israelites! Every person has the potential for leadership. In this chapter, Asa reigns successfully and leads Israel into rest because of his good leadership. Be thinking in your life, “How can I lead and influence people in a way that honors God?” You are where you are for a reason. God has put people around you who need to be led towards Jesus. Lead well.
2. When we follow Jesus, the idols of our life must be torn down.

Asa was successful in his reforms because he took away the foreign altars and gods. An idol is anything in our life that takes God’s rightful place on the throne of our hearts. What is getting in the way of you taking the next step in following Him today? Now tear it down with prayer and reliance on God. This is an image of active, passionate, and ruthless action. One does not passively tear down a statue!
3. Asa is a picture of King Jesus and eternal rest.

In verses 1-2 it says “And Asa his son reigned in his (David’s) place. In his days the land had rest for ten years.” Why did they have rest? Because they trusted in God and worshipped Him. Asa is referred to as David’s son, meaning a descendent of David’s line. He is a picture of what Jesus was coming to do for us. Rest is a common motif throughout the Old Testament, and the Biblical narrative as a whole. Israel is seeking their ultimate rest and peace – shalom – in the Promised Land. We are no different. Both Israel and us today will never fully find rest in our fallen world. Christ, the Son of David, came to reign as our King, and he reigns eternally. We have spiritual rest both now (spiritual rest from our union with Christ) and a coming eternal rest worshipping the true King in his Kingdom!

Perhaps today you are struggling with rest. You may be stressed, confused, burnt out, depressed, angry, etc. When it comes to those of us who are struggling to understand God’s ways and plans, Paul David Tripp encourages us with this, “Rest is never found in the quest to understand it all. No, rest is found in trusting the One who understands it all and rules it all for his glory and our good.” (New Morning Mercies, 2014) Great leaders are great followers. Jesus is the true Leader and true King. He is our source of rest, peace, and life. As you spend time with him today, use the rest He gives you to fill you up and empower you to lead and fight well today.

Posted by: Mitch Wiley-Student Ministry intern

July 6, 2015

Today you should read: 2 Chronicles 13

The God-fearing kingdom of Israel has been over taken. The God appointed Davidic line of kingship has been taken away by a man named Jeroboam, a former servant of Solomon. There is a war taking place between the (once again) rebellious kingdom of Israel, and Judah. Abijah, the ruler of Judah went toe to toe with the mighty kingdom of Israel. He took with him 400,000 men that would stand up against the 800,000 men of Jeroboam and Israel. From a tactical standpoint, I don’t need to go in to the reasons Judah was going to get crushed. Any time you have a 2:1 ratio against you, your odds are not good. Can you imagine the fear that must have been in the minds of the men of Judah as they looked at the sea of men that stood against them? I imagine that the feeling would have been suffocating.

As we see in verse 15, against all odds, Israel was defeated. But notice who’s power the victory came from: God. Judah did not defeat Israel by their own power, it would have been impossible! They defeated the much mightier foe through the power of God. On the other hand, the Israelites worshipped their own idols instead of God. They were falsely thinking that something they created themselves would give them power.

When we try to see where we fit in to this passage written thousands of years ago, the application is simple: we all face a foe everyday that is much more than we can handle by ourselves; but through what Jesus has done for us on the cross, the opposition of sin and Satan has been defeated. I don’t know about you, but in my own life there have been numerous times where I have tried winning on my own. Maybe it’s the sin that you can’t shake, or maybe it’s the person you can’t forgive, but everyone has something in their life that they have tried to handle on their own. What we see from this passage and from the rest of scripture is that we can’t do it on our own! If we’re not growing in our dependence on Jesus, we’re fighting a losing battle. My simple encouragement to you today is to think about the areas of your life that you are trying to draw power from anything other than Jesus, confess it and repent from it. That might be too much of a blunt or simple answer for you, but it’s true. Turn from yourself and run to Jesus. There is nothing you have done or could ever do that is outside the reach of God’s grace through Jesus. Realize that truth is for you, and that the same power that rose Jesus from the grave lives in you. This truth has so much power in the life of the church. My hope for you and I is that we begin to live like it!

Posted by: Graham Withers- Pastoral Ministry Apprentice

July 4, 2015

Today you should read: 2 Chronicles 12

But when Rehoboam was firmly established and strong, he abandoned the Law of the LORD, and all Israel followed him in this sin. (‭2 Chronicles‬ ‭12‬:‭1‬ NLT)‬‬‬

Then the leaders of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, “The LORD is right in doing this to us!” (‭2 Chronicles‬ ‭12‬:‭6‬ NLT)‬‬‬

Have you ever had a time in your life when you felt “ firmly established and strong”? Maybe you took inventory of your life and saw that you were doing well financially, your family was healthy and happy and you felt that you couldn’t be more successful at your job. Everything seemed to be going perfectly. That’s when we are most vulnerable to the sin of pride and self-sufficiency. Just like Rehoboam, when we have success we can see ourselves as being responsible and be more inclined to “abandon the law of the Lord”. When we do that we miss the fact that it is God who supplies us with the blessings and gifts we need to be “firmly established”. When we turn from God those blessings often times go away and are replaced with trials and discipline from God to get us back to where we need to be.

After Rehoboam turned from God God brought an army to take them over and to humble the people. We see in verse 6 that is exactly what happened. Rehoboam and the people of Israel humbled themselves and accepted the discipline God had sent their way. God decided to lessen the punishment in His mercy toward them because they humbled themselves.

When we face trials and discipline from God this is the appropriate response for us. We should accept what God sends us and understand that it is for our good, to bring us to repentance and back in a right relationship with God. When we humble ourselves before God we allow His discipline to change us and teach us.

So next time you feel like you are doing great, remember how you got there and who has allowed to to get there. If you have already given into the pride of self-sufficiency know that God is going to bring things in your life to help you correct this. If you have or are going though this discipline now remember your proper response is humility and acceptance.

Posted by: Robbie Byrd

July 3, 2015

Today you should read: 2 Chronicles 11

Pretty cool moment to open this chapter: God uses a prophet named Shemaiah to avert a civil war. Wouldn’t you love to be that guy? Well, you can be. Here’s all we know about him up until this point: he was a man of God (v.2). That seemed to be enough for the Lord to use him in a huge way. The bloodshed that could have been caused among God’s people would have been horrific. He delivered this simple message: “This is what the Lord says: ‘Do not fight against your relatives. Go back home, for what has happened is my doing!’” And what happened? “So they obeyed the message of the Lord and did not fight against Jeroboam.”

The schism in Israel caused lots of issues. As Abraham Lincoln once put it, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” This, in many ways, was proved true by the infighting of Jeroboam and Rehoboam. People moved in order to take sides, and surely there were plenty of hard feelings to go around. But the Lord used this to continue His sovereign plan of redemption through Jesus Christ.

What can we learn from this in a spiritual sense? I think we can draw parallels to our homes from this time in Israel’s history. Our houses must be marked by the gospel. This must include virtues such as accountability, unity, fellowship, compassion, and mission. We must fight against this type of schism in our Christian homes. Far too many husbands and wives live in discord, much to the detriment of their kids. But I think we can also draw these same parallels to the body of Christ. I love what Augustine of Hippo says in this vein: “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.” This is what the world needs to see in the Church. And frankly, this is what Christians need to believe about the Church, because this is what the Church gets right when yielding to the Spirit and being engulfed in the gospel.

What did the Lord teach you through this passage? I’d love to read about it in the comments section below.

Posted by: Todd Thomas

July 2, 2015

Today you should read: 2 Chronicles 10

It is amazing to read about King Solomon in these chapters. He was a great man, a great king, and God certainly used him in tremendous ways! Solomon was blessed by God with wisdom, wealth, prosperity, peace, and success in all he did. When I read through the account of Solomon’s life I am tempted to think that he was perfect, somewhat of a super human, who never made mistakes. But, the reality is, if you look more closely into Solomon’s life you see that he struggled to serve God fully. Even though he had been given everything this world has to offer and he began his life so faithfully serving God, he didn’t finish serving God the way he started.

1 Kings 11:1-6 King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter—Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. 2 They were from nations about which the Lord had told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.” Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. 3 He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. 4 As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been. 5 He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molek the detestable god of the Ammonites. 6 So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord; he did not follow the Lord completely, as David his father had done.

God had asked the Israelites not to intermarry with people from the surrounding nations because they were pagans and He knew that the Israelites would be led into worshipping false gods as well if they married these pagan people. But, even Solomon, God’s chosen King and the wisest person in the entire world, disobeyed God and gave his heart to other gods. The results of his idolatry were catastrophic! To the nation of Israel and also to his own family.

After Solomon’s death, his son Rehoboam was set to take the throne of all Israel. But, because of the idolatry of his father and by taking some bad advice from his peers; the kingdom of Israel would be divided and ultimately overthrown by Babylon.

This is what happens when we allow someone, or something, to have the throne of our hearts instead of giving it fully to God! We are foolish to think that we are too smart, or too mature in our faith, for an idol to slip into our lives. It happened to Solomon, the wisest person to ever live! When we give someone else (boyfriend/girlfriend, boss/co-worker, our kids, our spouse), or something else (money, work, sex, success) the throne of our hearts instead of God, our idolatry will affect all the areas of our lives and the people in our lives as well.

So, how do we combat idolatry in our lives and avoid the catastrophic results that it brings?

1. Stay intimate with your savior: Staying intimate with Jesus essential in the fight against idolatry. His Word must be constantly ingested into our hearts and time must be consistently spent communicating with Him in prayer. No exceptions!
2. Stay connected to His body: Fighting idolatry in our world today is tough! We must stay connected to other believers who can empathize with our struggle for righteousness and exhort us to battle sin in our lives. Can you be a Christian and not be connected to the church?? Not one who is growing in your faith. Get connected and stay connected to the church!
3. Confess your idols to Christ and turn from them: You must make the decision to turn over your idols to Jesus and let Him have the throne of your heart back. Jesus is either Lord of all or not at all! Even if you think it is something small and not that big of a deal. Solomon probably figured that taking a few foreign wives wasn’t such a big deal, but it led to greater idolatry in his life and the life of his family and his nation.
What idols do you have on the throne of your heart that are taking the place of God?

Pray that God would reveal those to you today. Confess those to Him.

Make a commitment to stay intimate with your savior, connected to the church, and turn your heart completely over to Jesus to be the Lord of your life. The consequences of idolatry are bad! But, the result of giving Jesus the throne of your heart will not only impact your life for good, but the life of your family, and everyone in your world!

Posted by: Matt Mofield

July 1, 2015

Today you should read: 2 Chronicles 9

The Proof Of A Great Leader…

Most leaders, by means of their position and authority, can get their followers to work towards a goal. Yet, getting people to do what you ask is not the mark of great leadership. There is a better way to measure great leadership: happy followers.

Desiring God posted a great article recently on this passage, and I am taking much of this main idea from 2 Chronicles 9 from them, and hope it is an encouragement to you.

So, as we look at this text, we see the Queen of Sheba visit Solomon. His fame was renowned. So much so, that even the queen had to come see it with her own eyes. The result was that she was even more impressed than the rumors had previously left her. She was amazed! His wisdom, his riches, his house, his food, the obedience and attendance of the leaders in his care, and even his servant’s clothing; it all took her breath away!

And starting in verse 5, she responds to Solomon with praise. She praises him, and ultimately then praises his God. But what is interesting is that her praises to/about Solomon show something much more praiseworthy than wealth. She is captivated by something far greater than his wealth. She is amazed that the people under Solomon’s care are happy.
Today’s “Walk-a-Way”

I’m sure Sheba knows the perils of leadership. Which is one of the reasons I think this is so surprising to her. She probably knows how difficult it is to rally people around a vision, make sure everyone is doing their job, and yet cultivate their joy.

Whether you are a parent leading your children, a boss leading your company, a pastor leading your church, or a husband leading your family, one of the greatest testaments to your great leadership will be the genuine joy of the people God has entrusted to your care. Does this mean there is no suffering, no hard moments, no chaotic and tension-filled complexity, or no suffering? Not at all. But what it does mean is that throughout it all there is an underlying happiness, because of a context of genuine love and a belief in the good intentions. There is a mutual love for one another, a desire for glory far beyond our own self-focused existence.

The greatest demonstrator of this type of leadership is God, Himself. One of my favorite parables is found in Matthew 13:44. It says that the kingdom of God (God’s reign and rule in our lives) is like a man who finds a treasure in a field, and because of the surpassing worth of this treasure, in his JOY he goes and sells everything he has to buy the field, so he can have the treasure.

Having God as our leader produces and promotes joy in our lives. And our leadership should cultivate joy in the hearts and lives of those whom God has entrusted to our care.

Posted by: Sam Cirrincione


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