Friday, July 29, 2011

July 29- The Influence Of A Godly Man

July 29, 2011

2 Chronicles 24:1-25:28; Romans 12:1-21;
Psalm 22:19-31; Proverbs 20:8-10

I love you not because of who you are, but because of who I am when I am with you. 
~Roy Croft

2 Chronicles 24:1-25:28

Many people do not realize it, but President George W. Bush did more to fight AIDS in Africa than any other American president before him.  One estimate is that under his plans, 15 billion dollars were sent to help the Africans. Bush's motivation was born out of his Christian faith and the influence of a godly man.  One of Bush's speech writers and influential political advisers was a man named Michael Gerson. Mr. Gerson was a Christian from the Midwest.  Having gone to Westminster Christian Academy in St. Louis, Missouri and Wheaton College in Illinois, Mr. Gerson had strong ideas about the need to help others through giving of one's resources.  When put in a position of influence, Mr. Gerson combined his passion for helping others with Bush's faith and leadership to bring about the largest initiative to help Africa that has ever occurred in the modern era.  It is Mr. Gerson who came up with the phrase "armies of compassion."  One man with conviction can make a difference.

Today, Jehoiada, the godly high priest who rescued Joash and put him on the throne after the overthrow of the evil Athalia, continues to influence the Southern Kingdom of Judah for good and for God.   The young king decides to repair the Temple of the Lord, which had fallen into disrepair. This is accomplished by reinstating the Temple tax, originally was levied by Moses.  Joash also has a chest made and set outside of the Temple for offerings.  The people of Israel give sacrificially, and soon, the Temple restorations are underway.  Under the tutelage of Jehoiada, the burnt offerings and other offerings laid out by Moses are offered continually to the Lord.  Jehoiada is given a long life.  He dies at the age of 130 years and is buried with royal honors in the royal cemetery.

After Jehoiada's death, Joash is influenced by ungodly advisers, who convince Joash to reinstate idol worship, including setting up Asherah poles.  The young king agrees to this!  God sends the prophet Zechariah, Jehoiada's son, to try to bring the people back to God.  Joash has him murdered!  Wow.  Way to honor the memory of the man who saved you, Joash!  Zechariah cries out that he hopes God will see what they are doing and hold them accountable.  Well, God sees it, all right.  God allows the Aramean army to march against Joash and plunder the people of Judah.  Then, Joash, who is wounded in battle, is killed by his own officials!  Joash is buried in dishonor.  They do not bury him in the royal cemetery.

The next king is Amaziah.  He has to deal with a war.  He listens to godly advise and does not hire mercenaries from the Northern Kingdom, and as a result, he defeats the Edomites.  He brings back the booty from battle and begins to worship the idols he defeated!  One good decision followed by a very bad decision.  God sends a prophet to warn him to stop this.  Amaziah does not listen. Filled with pride, Amaziah challenges the Northern Kingdom to come fight.  He and the armies of Judah are routed by the Northern Kingdom of Israel.  Later, Amaziah is killed by assassins.  Here is a man who could not be influenced by a godly man because of his pride, and God's judgment comes upon his life, as a result.

In chapter 25 verse 8, the prophet of God who comes to advise Amaziah says this, "God will overthrow you, for He has the power to help or frustrate."  The lesson to us is that whether or not we are listening to the godly influences in our lives, it is ultimately God, Himself, who has the power to either help us or frustrate our plans.  God is sovereign.

Do you listen to godly influences in your life?  Are you a godly influence to anyone?

Romans 12:1-21

If you own a Bible and you read your Bible, you have the capacity to hear the counsel of a godly man, every day.  Who is that man?  The Apostle Paul is. He can be a tremendous influence in your life and a personal spiritual adviser, if you will listen to his words of wisdom written in the Scriptures.  Today, we will continue to study what Paul says about being sanctified in Christ.

The first concept Paul lays out in our reading today is that as Christians, we must look at our bodies as living sacrifices.  You and I are not used to taking an animal to be killed for our sins. Paul was speaking to people who had taken their precious creatures and given them up for something that they (the people) had done wrong.  An innocent animal died for their sins to represent their faith in a future Messiah's sacrificial death.  Now, Paul is saying that since Jesus was the final blood sacrifice, we now must bring something else to God.  We bring  our living bodies to be LIVING sacrifices.  No one dies, now.  Instead, we honor God by LIVING as the new person He has made us to be. 

Paul says that we should measure and judge ourselves by the amount of faith we exhibit. How will this faith manifest itself?  It will be shown through the use of our gifts.  As parts of Christ's body on earth, we are each given a different purpose and gifts that allow us to accomplish God's will on earth.  Paul encourages us to use our gifts, diligently.  Your gift could be prophecy, serving others, teaching, encouraging, sharing, giving, leadership or even sharing kindness.  Our job as believers is to "just do it!"  Whatever you are good at, do it to the benefit of others.  This glorifies God and is the essence of being a living sacrifice.

Here is some other practical advice on how to live in a godly way:
  • Don't pretend to love...really love others.  Vs. 9
  • Hate what is wrong and love what is good. Vs. 9
  • Take delight in honoring each other. Vs. 10
  • Don't be lazy in your work. Vs. 11
  • Be patient in trouble and pray. Vs. 12
  • Help God's children (believers) when they are in need. Vs. 13
  • Be in the habit of inviting others over. Vs. 13
  • Bless those who persecute you. Vs. 14
  • Share joys and sorrows with others. Vs. 15
  • Live in harmony. Don't think too much of yourself. Vs. 16
  • Don't avenge yourself when harmed.  Let God avenge you. Vs. 19-20
  • Conquer evil by doing good. Vs. 21
Wow.  What a great list.  How do we do this?  Not by our own power, I can assure you.  It is through the power of the Holy Spirit in us that we begin to adopt and embrace these behaviors. Exhibiting these behaviors is how we measure the amount of faith we have.  It takes faith in God to live this way.  This is what it means to be a living sacrifice.  We must set our minds on these things and sacrifice our sinful tendencies, in order to glorify God in our bodies.

Are you willing to sacrifice, today?  Will you be influenced by this godly man's writings?

Psalm 22:19-31

Here is the beautiful conclusion to the psalm about Jesus.  He does end up ruling the nations.  Yay!

Proverbs 20:8-10

"When a king judges, he weighs all of the evidence, distinguishing the bad from the good."  This ties in with our reading today.

What did you notice?  Please share.


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton

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