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Archive for the ‘2 Chronicles’ Category

And they spoke to him, saying, “If you are kind to these people, and please them, and speak good words to them, they will be your servants forever.” 2 Chronicles 10:7 (NKJV)

 

We have talked several times about teaching and showing kindness so that your children will imitate you and be kind themselves.  While being kind to others is important, Gina Vivinetto[i] remind us to be kind to ourselves.  As she reminds us, “After all, how well you love yourself sets the tone for how well you’re able to love others.”  She suggests several ways you can be kind to yourself, and feel better:

  1. Enjoy beautiful smells. You don’t need to spend any money, time, effort, or calories to enjoy a lovely scent. At home you can pick up a grapefruit, bury your head in a freshly laundered pile of towels, or smell a bottle of vanilla.  At a store, go to the makeup section and smell the free samples.
  2. Try fur therapy. If you have a furry pet at home, stop for a few minutes, put them on your lap or sit next to them, and run your hands on their fur. Both of you will enjoy the experience.
  3. Give up on moderation. Being kind to yourself also includes taking care of yourself. As you think of your health, are there some things you should do without, or at least should do less of?  While this may sound hard to do and not like a way to be kind to yourself, you will feel better knowing you have taken steps to lower your weight or blood pressure, or simply to feel better.
  4. Set a bedtime alarm. Some of us need to set an alarm to get up in the morning. But if you have trouble turning out the light at night, which makes you drag the next morning, try setting a bedtime alarm.  Set it to a few minutes before you need to or want to be in bed so you have time to unwind and get ready for sleep.  Once the alarm is set, and it goes off, you should turn all electronic devices off.
  5. Start a portfolio of good stuff. Collect any thank you notes, testimonials, e-mails, and any other positive expressions from others. On those days when you may need a little boost, take them out and bask in the joy of being loved and appreciated by others.

 

Father God, I want to be able to love others as I love myself.  Help me to take care of myself physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

[i] http://www.today.com/kindness/gratitude-you-too-11-simple-ways-be-kind-yourself-t52666

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And they have gathered the money that was found in the house of the LORD, and have delivered it into the hand of the overseers and the workmen.” 2 Chronicles 34:17 (NKJV)

Researchers at the Brookings Institution, the Federal Reserve Board and UCLA suggest credit scores may also offer important insight when it comes to long-term relationships.  The analysis was based on credit records from 12 million consumers gathered over 15 years by Equifax, which is one of the big three U.S. credit reporting agencies.

Jane Dokko, one of the authors, cautioned TODAY’s A. Pawlowski[i]  “It’s also important to remember that there are aspects of credit scores that people can’t control.”  For instance, she said, “If you can’t pay your bills because you lose your job, there’s not a whole lot that you can do about that, if you got unlucky.”

We have to recognize that the financial picture of a person does not reveal anything about a person’s warmth, their sense of humor, how loving or lovable they are, and other important personal traits.  As Pawlowski writes, “The sample did not contain any personally identifiable information, so to find couples, the researchers looked for people who started to share the same address in a particular quarter and lived together for at least a year and three months, which would likely exclude many roommate relationships. Almost 50,000 couples matched those criteria.

Many years ago these words were written to young people: “In business, men and women manifest great caution. Before engaging in any important enterprise, they prepare themselves for their work. Time, money, and much careful study are devoted to the subject, lest they shall make a failure in their undertaking…How much greater caution should be exercised in entering the marriage relation–a relation which affects future generations and the future life? Instead of this, it is often entered upon with jest and levity, impulse and passion, blindness and lack of calm consideration.”[ii]

Father God, help me to take the counsel of experts and my elders into consideration as I pursue a relationship which may lead to marriage.  I want it to be as lasting as life and pleasing to you and not just us.

[i] http://www.today.com/health/will-your-relationship-last-your-credit-score-may-hold-answer-t49116

[ii] White, E.G.  The Adventist Home, p. 72

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Pride Consumes

Scripture: (2 Chr 32:24-26 NKJV)  In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death, and he prayed to the LORD; and He spoke to him and gave him a sign. {25} But Hezekiah did not repay according to the favor shown him, for his heart was lifted up; therefore wrath was looming over him and over Judah and Jerusalem. {26} Then Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the LORD did not come upon them in the days of Hezekiah.

Observation: Hezekiah did many good things in reestablishing the worship of God and His law, but he was by no means perfect in what he did.  When he was sick, he asked for healing and his prayer was answered, but as a result his heart became proud, which caused him to make mistakes that cost him and Jerusalem a great deal.  Fortunately, the last we hear about Hezekiah was that he humbled himself again before God.

Application: The Soviet dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn wrote that “Pride grows in the human heart like lard on a pig.”  To which Dennis Raney added, “Pride is one of the few things that can grow in the human heart without any outside sustenance.  The human race is prone to be proud.”
I’ve often wondered about this thing we call pride, and it seems to me that there is a certain amount of joy we as parents have for our children which can be considered “healthy” pride, but there is a point at which this healthy pride becomes unhealthy and it brings about painful consequences.  When our children do well in school and when they are kind and polite, something good moves in our hearts.  When someone makes a nice comment about our children, something good stirs inside us and gives us a warm feeling.  Would that be “healthy” pride?  Could we honestly say we are “proud of our children?”  But when we become obsessed with our children’s accomplishments, when we want to display bumper stickers every time our children win an award or get good grades or their name appears on the dean’s list, has it or can it become unhealthy pride?  Are we using our children as pawns to tell the whole world how good we are as parents and to indirectly put down every other parent and their children?
When we display pride for our children only when the accomplish something big or because of their accomplishments, we may be sending them the signal that their worth is tied to those accomplishments.  Some parents live their dreams through their children and thus are very happy when their children succeed and very disappointed in them when they don’t do as they would wish them to do.
So, let’s rejoice with our children in their accomplishments, but don’t make them the goal or end of their lives.  And let us not use our children to fulfill our dreams or as pawns against others so we can be exalted in our own eyes.  It’s best to be humble than to be humbled.

Prayer: Father, teach us to be humble, even when our hearts burst with “healthy” pride.

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Scripture: (2 Chr 31:20-21 NKJV)  Thus Hezekiah did throughout all Judah, and he did what was good and right and true before the LORD his God. {21} And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, in the law and in the commandment, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart. So he prospered.

Observation: From the time Hezekiah became king of Judah he began a reform of a spiritual nature throughout the nation but also a physical restoration of the temple and its services.  Not only did he order the repair of the temple, with everyone’s contribution, but he also destroyed the worship of other gods and moved the people to rededicate themselves and their children to the worship of the true God.

Application: So you hear or read how critically important it is to lead by example in the worship of the Lord, particularly in the life of our children.  And you may think that since you have not been doing it – you have not been praying with and for your children, or you have not been having daily worship with them, or you have not been spending time every day studying God’s will, seeking His will or following His commands – so you may feel guilty and maybe tempted to give up and simply continue the same pattern for your and their lives.
The story of Hezekiah’s reforms can teach us that it is never too late to begin again, it is never too late to make changes in our personal devotional life or in the family worship of our God.  So why not begin today.  You can talk to your family, confess that you have not been faithful to His commands in that you have not been leading them by example in the worship of God, and share with them that you intend to begin again, and to invite them to join you.  Explain that you are making a new commitment to pray with and for them every day, and that you will be studying a portion of the Scriptures, and that you would  like to gather with them each day to have family worship time.   The honest confession on your part will show them that you’re transparent with them and are willing to show them your human nature, that you’re not perfect but also that you want to do your best under God’s guidance.  Don’t let the devil defeat you and continue in the same pattern of disregard for God and His worship.  Think of yourself as the Hezekiah of your home, making personal and family reforms in order to bring a revival of the faith to your family.  While you may encounter some resistance, if you do it kindly and lovingly, and persevere, the results will be better than continuing to neglect your personal and your family devotional life and daily commitment to God.

Prayer: Father, forgive us for neglecting our time and communion with You and for not leading our family in a daily experience of prayer and worship with You.  Help us to begin again, to make things right with You, and to bring about this reform and revival in our lives and that of our children.

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God’s Battle

Scripture: (2 Chr 20:15 NKJV)  And he said, “Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the LORD to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.

Observation: The Ammonites and Moabites joined forces with other groups and came up to battle against Jesoshaphat, king of Judah.  The people of Judah gathered for the battle, but before they did they sough the Lord and in the midst of that assembly Jahaziel spoke for God to encourage Jehoshaphat and the people – some of his words are the words of our text for today.  Jehoshaphat, in turn, supported the words of Jahaziel by saying: “Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper” (vs.20).

Application: As a father, sometimes it seems as if the battles we fight for our children is a losing battle.  The media, friends, music, everything seems like the enemy’s forces arrayed in battle against them and we are powerless to fight them for no matter how much we do to protect them from any and all of their influence, we would have to live in a deserted island or in some cave for those influences to not reach them.
Today’s words always encourage me because I know this is not a losing battle after all.  I have to commit myself and my family to the Lord, and trust that He will fight this battle for me and for them. As scary and discouraging as it may seem at times, we must leave the results to Him.

Prayer: Father, today we commit ourselves and our family to You.  Fight the battle for our salvation for us and give the final victory for your Honor and glory.  We long to spend eternity with You.

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Scripture: (2 Chr 11:21 NKJV)  Now Rehoboam loved Maachah the granddaughter of Absalom more than all his wives and his concubines; for he took eighteen wives and sixty concubines, and begot twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters.

Observation: Rehoboam was the king of Israel after his father Solomon passed away.  This section of the Scriptures tells us that he married a number of women and also had concubines, much like his father, although not as many as Solomon.  Among the wives he had, he loved Maachah, granddaughter of her uncle Absalom.  As it’s often the case, since she loved Maacah most, he also preferred the son he had with her, Abijah.  Rehoboam had other sons, and he placed them all in charge of several of the cities in Israel, but with Abijah he had a special plan for him to be his successor in the throne of Israel one day.

Application: God does not condone polygamy, and in most countries it is illegal.  And yet we have come to accept a different form of polygamy – successive marriages, punctuated with divorces in between.  As we heard the news of celebrity divorces and remarriages we used to be shocked and ashamed, now it’s become fodder for entertainment.  Recently I read a book which contains some interesting facts about marriage.  One of them is the number of times some famous people have been or were married.  Here’s a sample:

Married Nine Times
Pancho Villa
Zsa Zsa Gabor

Married Eight Times
Elizabeth Taylor (twice to the same man)
Mickey Rooney

Married Seven Times
Lana Turner
Richard Pryor (Four times to two of the women)
Martha Raye
Stan Laurel (three times to the same woman)
Jennifer O’Neil
Larry King

Married Six Times
Johnny Weissmuller
King Henry VIII
Jerry Lee Lewis

Married Five Times
Ernest Borgnine
Heorge C. Scott (twice to the same woman)
George Peppard (twice to the same woman)
Ginger Rogers
Eva Gabor
Judy Garland
Henry Fonda
George Foreman
Tammy Wynette
Clark Gable
Richard Burton (twice to the same woman)
Billy Bob Thornton
Martin Scorsese

While some may say that it’s only celebrities that change marriage partners so often, there are others who jump in and out of marriage just as much and as quickly.  Certain professions tend to lead to divorce and remarriage more often than others – law enforcement, military, entertainment, etc.
One of the interesting facts that has come out of research is that each successive marriage after divorce lasts less than the previous.  In other words, if the first marriage lasted a number of years, the second will last less than the first, the third marriage will last than the second, the fourth marriage will last than the third, and so on.  Instead of finding marital bliss with more successive marriages, many of these people find out they were happier with their first spouse than they were with any of the other that followed them.  While there may be some romance and passion for a while on the other marriages and relationships, eventually there settles an emptiness and dissatisfaction which leads to another divorce and a search for fulfillment in yet another relationship when the key to happiness was in the first marriage.
Rather than entering the marriage and divorce go-round, make every effort to maintain your current relationship strong, look for ways to meet each others’ most important emotional needs, look for the best in each other rather than concentrate on the negative side of the other.  Rather than jumping ship on your spouse thinking that someone else can make you happier, look for ways to make your spouse happy, to fulfill with them your marriage vows to live with them in sickness and in health until death do you part.  Hopefully you will find more ways and reasons to stay together with your spouse rather than finding out  later, two or three spouses later, that what you have now, and which you will never recover if you leave it, was better than anything you have had since.

Prayer: Father, we know you don’t accept or condone polygamy and that you hate divorce.  Help us to value each other and to cultivate daily a strong marital relationship so we have the most fulfilling experience and at the same time bring the highest honor and glory to You.

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