Our life has changed. We have a new pet, a dog from prison. Not from the Dumb Friends League, but from the Women’s Correctional Prison in Denver. They have a dog adoption program. The dogs go through a training program and then are adopted out to families. So, this one comes pre-trained, how about that! Our job is to not undue the months of training in the first few weeks. So we have another Chihuahua in the family, his name is Andy! Debbie said he was a companion for me. I’m not sure about that, I’m a little nervous about this venture, but here we go.
Tomorrow I have the opportunity to go to the Capitol and open the House session in prayer. In the afternoon, I have my outpatient evaluation at Northern Colorado Rehab. Next step here we come.
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BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY… “He [Rheboam] did evil things because he was not serious about dedicating himself to serving the Lord.” 2 Chronicles 12:14 (GW) “Listen to me, Asa and all you men from Judah and Benjamin. The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you will dedicate your lives to serving him, he will accept you….” 2 Chronicles 15:2 (GW)
During my Bible reading in 2 Chronicles the commentary of scripture concerning the actions of Judah’s Kings Rheboam and Asa stood out to me.
First of all, the observation about Rheboam, Solomon’s son caught my attention. Scripture records that: “He did evil things because he was not serious about dedicating himself to serving the Lord.” 2 Chronicles 12:14 (GW) This was not because he didn’t know about the blessing of serving the Lord. He even saw the Lord come to his rescue during his battle weary rule. He just wasn’t “serious” the NIV translation says, “He had not set his heart on seeking the Lord.”
The lesson here is that the blessing of the Lord and direction of our lives does not come from a half hearted commitment to the Lord and His ways. Lip service, mental assent is not enough; our hearts and actions must be focused on pleasing the Lord. If our hearts and lives become “lazy” and uncommitted our actions make us vulnerable to temptation and our greatest area of weakness. For Rheboam that was tolerating idolatry.
Rheboam’s son Asa was a good King who enjoyed a long reign and a time of peace in the land. Early in his reign the prophet of God has this message for the King, “Listen to me, Asa and all you men from Judah and Benjamin. The Lord is with you when you are with him. If you will dedicate your lives to serving him, he will accept you….” 2 Chronicles 15:2 (GW)
Asa’s response? “When Asa heard the prophet Obed’s words of prophecy, he was encouraged and put away the detestable idols from all of Judah, Benjamin, and the cities he had captured… He also repaired the Lord’s altar in front of the Lord’s entrance hall.” 2 Chronicles 15:2 (GW)
Asa called the people together, they sacrificed to the Lord, he removed his grandmother from her royal position because of her idolatry. After 35 years of peace he faced a battle from opposing forces that greatly outnumbered him and God supernaturally intervened for Judah.
In the next year when faced with another battle, Asa did what Kings do politically; he called on another nation to come to his assistance. He trusted in natural versus supernatural help. The prophet of God once again came to him with a message. “ ‘The Lord’s eyes scan the whole world to find those whose hearts are committed to him and to strengthen them. You acted foolishly in this matter. So from now on, you will have to fight wars’… Asa was furious at the seer. He was so angry…he put Hanani in prison. Asa also oppressed some of the people at that time in his reign.” 2 Chronicles 16:9,10 (GW)
No repentance, no remorse; instead deliberate actions against God’s prophet and against God’s people. What we see next is God in His mercy tries to get Asa’s attention through an illness. “Asa got a foot disease that became progressively worse. Instead of asking the Lord for help, he went to doctors.” 2 Chronicles 16:12 (GW)
I don’t know what happened in Asa’s heart or life to cause him to respond as he did. What I do know is Asa died, not turning to the Lord, not seeking the Lord’s help, angry at God. Thirty-Five good years, tarnished in the final six years of his reign!
Asa’s life, serves as an illustration and wake up call for those who are followers of Christ today. For me the “take aways” are these…
1 – Don’t take your relationship with Christ for granted. Love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength
2 – Guard your heart – keep open to the correction that comes from the Lord knowing that He desires that which is good for you. When we get off track He calls us back.
3 – Repent and be encouraged when God speaks into your life – Perhaps as we see in Asa it is easier to “be encouraged” by God’s word when it is not a word of “correction.” But resistance to God’s Word whether a word of encouragement or rebuke shows pride and a hard heart.
I began with a verse about Rheboam when he was King. Because of his evil ways the Lord sent Shishak of Egypt attacked Jerusalem. The Lord also sent His prophet with this message, “This is what the Lord says: You have abandoned me, so I will abandon you. I will hand you over to Shishak.” 2 Chronicles 12:5 This how Rheboam and his leaders responded, “Then the commanders of Israel and the king humbled themselves. “The Lord is right!” 2 Chronicles 12:6 As a result, the Lord made a way of escape and did not let Jerusalem be conquered.
4 – The ending is all important – We see in the history of the Kings in the Bible how even wicked Kings would repent and turn to God and God would show His mercy. We also see, as in Asa’s reign, how years of trust in God can be wiped out, by rebellion at the end of life.
In our life we face ups and down. Times of “peace”(contentment) times of “war”(struggle); times of health, times of illness; God uses all these times to allow us to show that our hearts are fully committed to Him. Don’t allow your life to come to an end and have people ask, “What happened?”