TODAY’S READING FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT- 2 CHRONICLES 33:14-34:33

In 2 Chronicles 33:14, we see some of the fruits of Manasseh’s repentance that occurred in 2 Chronicles 33:13. Not only did Manasseh have a newfound conviction to rebuild and fortify the walls of Jerusalem, but he got rid of the foreign gods and idols in the temple. He restored the altar of the Lord to true worship.

As wicked as Manasseh was, his spiritual turnaround illustrates how ready God is to forgive when people repent and turn to Him in faith.

However, the people still compromised their obedience. They worshiped the right God, but not in the right way. They worshiped Yahweh but not on His terms. They did what was right in their own eyes, offering sacrifices in their self-styled ceremonies in the high places, irrespective to the revealed will of God (2 Chronicles 33:17).

Manasseh is succeeded by his son, Amon, who came to the throne when he was 22 years old. Amon took on all the bad habits of his father’s pre-conversion days, offering sacrifices to the idols his father had made. Amon’s officials conspired against him and assassinated him in the palace after a 2-year reign.

Amon was succeeded by his son, Josiah, who was only 8 years old when he became king. At 16, he began to seek the Lord. At the age of 20, he spearheaded spiritual reformation in Jerusalem. Jeremiah began his ministry when Josiah was 21 (Jeremiah 1:2).

 At the age of 26, he began the work of repairing the temple. It was in the process of making the temple repairs that Hilkiah, the priest, discovered the Book of the Law. Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, the secretary. When the King heard the Scriptures being read to him, he tore his robes. He recognized how far the people had turned away from the Lord. Josiah inquired of the Lord through the prophetess Huldah as to what was the prognosis for the kingdom. Huldah told Josiah of the coming judgment but also promised Josiah merciful personal deliverance from the trouble through an early death. God’s mercy would be evident by the Lord calling him to be with himself rather than allowing him to live to experience the grievous judgment of the Babylonian conquest.

Josiah continues the work of the Lord even when the people are unresponsive, and judgment upon the nation is inevitable. It is an encouraging example for us today. We are to get on with the Great Commission even if many we speak to may prove to be unresponsive. Josiah’s leadership made an impact, but it was not dependent upon his policies being popular.

2 Chronicles 34:33 33  Josiah removed all the abominations from all the lands belonging to the sons of Israel, and made all who were present in Israel to serve the LORD their God. Throughout his lifetime they did not turn from following the LORD God of their fathers.

TODAY’S READING FROM THE NEW TESTAMENT – ROMANS 16:8-27

In Romans 16, we see Paul’s love for the body of Christ. He has an appreciation for the individual members of the local church in Rome and honors their unique contributions. He treasures their ministries and respects the variety of contexts for their gatherings- in the home (16:5a), in the city (16:1), in the region (16:5b), and for “all the churches of Christ” (16:16)!

He appreciates their hard work (16:12) and the impact that they made in his life personally (16:3,13).

Wouldn’t you have loved to know these brothers and sisters whom Paul was greeting in this chapter?

Paul concludes his letter with some quick-fire admonitions.  He warns them to be on the alert for divisive brothers and sisters and watch out for teaching contrary to the apostles’ doctrine.

Sandwiched between these greetings is the promise of good things to come:

Romans 16:20 20  The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you. 

Do you have the confidence in the gospel that Paul had?  Have we owned the gospel to the degree that we can say that this Gospel of God’s Son is our gospel?

Romans 16:25-27 25  Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, 26  but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith; 27  to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen. 

TODAY’S READING FROM THE BOOK OF PSALMS- PSALMS 26:1-12

Meditate upon this Psalm. Do you feel free to make these kinds of prayer requests? “Vindicate me.” “Examine me.”

Psalm 26:2 2  Examine me, O LORD, and try me; Test my mind and my heart.

What about these habits:

Are you wise about the company you keep? (Ps 26:4, 5)

Do you just go through the motions when you gather for worship with God’s people or do you praise God from the heart? (Ps. 26:6-8)

My feet stand on level ground. Calvary levels us all to the place where we are utterly dependent upon the Lord for our salvation. This is where corporate worship is most vital. We recognize our unity in the merciful redemption provided by God’s amazing grace. (Ps 26:11-12). 

TODAY’S READING FROM THE BOOK OF PROVERBS- PROVERBS 20:19

Proverbs 20:19 19  He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets, Therefore do not associate with a gossip. 

PRAY FOR THE NATIONS- NORTH KOREA

Korea, North

Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea

Asia

Geography

Area: 122,370 sq km

The larger part of the Korean peninsula, with a more rigorous climate than in the south. About 70% of the land area is mountainous.

Population: 23,990,703    Annual Growth: 0.39%

Capital: Pyongyang

Urbanites: 63.4%

Peoples

Peoples: 7 (57% unreached) All peoples
Unreached Peoples Prayer Card

Official language: Korean    Languages: 1 All languages

Religion

Largest Religion: Non-religious

Religion

               

Pop %

Ann Gr

Christians

355,762

1.48

5.2

Evangelicals

246,400

1.0

6.0

Non-religious

16,625,557

69.30

 

Challenges for Prayer

Access to ministry in North Korea is greater than commonly perceived. Foreign NGOs, both Korean and Western, are on site through aid and development projects. Strict limitations on ministry are in place, but the very presence of believers and the testimony of loving generosity can make a difference in many lives. There are possibly hundreds of Christians in North Korea in this capacity.

Present ministry opportunities:

a) Many South Korean Christian broadcasts as well as TWR and FEBC reach far into North Korea, but most radios are pre-tuned to government stations. Smuggled radios pre-tuned to gospel frequencies and Chinese tuneable radios are making their way into the country.

b) Bibles, the Gospels and tracts are smuggled into the country by various means as well as floated in via balloons from South Korea. Smugglers are liable to be executed if caught, but the rarity of Scriptures makes them extremely precious to believers. A North Korean dialect version of the Bible is being prepared.

c) Korean Christians from China and elsewhere who are able to visit and gain opportunities to witness. Korea is open to Chinese businessmen, and their easy access to the country could be strategic for the gospel.

d) Prayer networks for North Korea have multiplied in recent years, too many to list, and most have an Internet presence. Many thousands of believers are forming an unbroken chain of intercession for this nation.

PRAYER: Lord, give us the resolve of King Josiah and his contemporary, the prophet Jeremiah, who persevered doing right according to Your Word, even when they knew others would be unresponsive. We live unto You! May we honor Your Word, not as hearers only, but as doers, and may we consciously recognize Your powerful presence and encourage others to do so, in Jesus Name.  Amen