Tuesday, June 18, 2013

June 18, 2013 … Staying the Course of Obedience

Daily Berry Patch Devotions in 2013 - Day 169

Passage of the Day #1: 2nd Chronicles 15: 1-2 [NLT]  
1 Then the Spirit of God came upon Azariah son of Oded, 2and He went out to meet King Asa as he was returning from the battle. “Listen to me, Asa!” He shouted. “Listen, all you people of Judah and Benjamin! The LORD will stay with you as long as you stay with him! Whenever you seek him, you will find him. But if you abandon him, he will abandon you….”  
 Passage of the Day #2: 2nd Chronicles 16: 7-9 [NLT]  
7 At that time Hanani the seer came to King Asa and told him, “Because you have put your trust in the king of Aram instead of in the LORD your God, you missed your chance to destroy the army of the king of Aram. 8 Don’t you remember what happened to the Ethiopians and Libyans and their vast army, with all of their chariots and charioteers? At that time you relied on the LORD, and he handed them over to you. 9 The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. What a fool you have been! From now on you will be at war.”  
Contextual Study for today’s passages above: 2nd Chronicles, Chapter 15-16 [NLT] … Go to this link … 

Reference Passage #1: 2nd Timothy 4: 6-8 [Paul stayed the course of his life in the obedience of faith.] [NLT]
 6 As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. 8 And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.

Reference Passage #2: Romans 1: 28-32 [God will not stay with those who abandon Him in disobedience and rebellion [NLT] Go to this link ...

 Reference Passage #3: Romans 12: 1-2 [God’s prescription for Christian living.] [NLT]  
1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

My Journal for Today: In today’s Os Hillman devotional, the staying power of faith in a living worship of obedience is emphasized; and Hillman goes back into the life of Asa, one of Judah’s kings, to illustrate his point that staying the course of our lives in obedience to God should be the goal of our Christian living, … all the days of our lives.

If you go back and read 2nd Chronicles, Chapters 15-16 (linked above), you’ll read the history of Asa’s reign of 41 years; and we read that Asa started well, but finished poorly. For most of his years as King of Judah, Asa was obedient to God; and God poured His grace upon Asa and the Israelites for their obedience of worship. However, in Chapter 16 (see verses 7-9 above) we read that Asa waned in his obedience and because of it God lifted His cloak of peace from Judah.

The Apostle Paul, in my study and remembrance, was also a great example of living out the course of his life – post conversion – for the Lord; and at the end of his life, Paul testified to Timothy of a life which had been lived out in faith and obedience to the Lord (see 2nd Timothy 4: 6-8 copied above). But Paul also proclaimed a warning to the Church – to Christians who would listen to truth – about what happens when a people, especially the church, would wane in faith and begin to live in selfish rebellion and disobedience to God. You can read this warning in the Romans 1: 18-32 passage, linked above.

And to me, reading that passage is somewhat scary because it reads like the headlines of what is happening in this country (and world) today with people and nations waning from faithful rebellion to God’s will and turning away to live in disobedience to God’s word. How could God not turn away from a country, like this one, who disdains life, turns to be “tolerant” of homosexuality as normal, and begins to live in worship to p0rnographic images? Is it surprising that God has turned the USA over to its own desires and has begun to lift His hedge of protection in our world? … I think not!

And the only way that we will be able to find our way back into God’s favor will be for us as individual Christians, the Church, and our country to repent, to turn back in faithful obedience to God’s will and His ways, and to live according to His word.

And in this regard, very personally, I must live by the prescription which God gave to Christians for life when Paul dictated it in Romans 12: 1-2, which I really hope any reader here has memorized and internalized for their commitment to genuine Christian living.

Because if I can live this way for my entire life and prayerfully lead others to live lives of “living sacrifice” and obedient worship of God, then I will have done all I can so that at the end of my life I will be able to say, as did Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.” 

My Prayer for Today … Lord, I pray that You will help me and hold me in faithful obedience to Your will, … living in Your ways, as put forth in Your word. … Amen

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