We read about the reign of King Asa from the vantage point of the Chronicler. The Lord gave him much success. In his days, the land of Judah had rest for ten years. When we contrast his reign with that of the King of Kings, we see that the reign of Christ is far superior. Both His reign and the rest He provides are eternal.

Asa did what was good and right in God’s eyes (for the most part). He is reprimanded for seeking help first from the King of Syria (for his wars with the northern kingdom of Israel 16:2-6) and then for seeking help first from physicians when he had a serious foot disease (16:12).  The latter reprimand was not an indictment on physicians or seeking medical help. The problem was that he completely ignored seeking the Lord’s help.  He was prayerless and faithless in these actions.  It is also important to note that many of the medical practices in Asa’s day were mixtures of folk religion and occult treatment. Today we should ask the Lord, in prayer, for His power, and for His wisdom as we responsibly seek healing and any necessary medical treatment.

How did Asa handle being corrected by the Word of the Lord? He resented it. He is angry with the prophet Hanani and puts him in stocks in prison. His rage was uncontrolled, as he treated many others cruelly at that time.

God used the prophets to encourage and rebuke the leaders of Judah and Israel. We read of Spirit-filled prophets like Azariah (2 Chronicles 15:1) and Hanani (2 Chronicles 16:7) and their relationships with King Asa. Azariah offered encouragement: “The Lord is with you while you are with him.” (2 Chron 15:2)

2 Chronicles 15:7 7 “But you, be strong and do not lose courage, for there is reward for your work.”

The words of the prophet Azariah encouraged Asa to put away the detestable idols from all the land of Judah and Benjamin.

What about your words? Do they promote courageous faith and holy living? Do you encourage others to enter into covenant with the Lord? (1 Chron 15:12)

Asa would not let natural sentiment get in the way of His fidelity to the revelation of God’s righteousness. King Asa removed his mother from being Queen because she made a detestable image for the pagan goddess Asherah. 


In Romans 9, we read of Paul’s great love for Israel.

Remember that Paul’s letter to the Romans is a pastoral epistle. It has doctrinal instruction plus pastoral application. He is communicating God’s sovereign choice in electing Israel for His purpose of setting forth the Covenant promise of the Messiah.

Not only did He use Abraham’s faith, but He also can use Israel’s hardness of heart for His purpose. In this case, He is using the rejection of those who are natural-born sons of Abraham to bring the offer of salvation to the Gentiles (all the families of the earth), which was according to the original promise. The same heat from the sun can both melt wax and harden clay. So, the Lord’s ministry can work different results in differing heart conditions.

In Malachi 1:2-3, “Jacob have I loved, and Esau have I hated” refers to the nations of Israel and Edom rather than to individual brothers. But Paul uses Old Testament reference to illustrate God’s sovereign choice in using those whom he chooses for His purposes. God chose Jacob to continue the family line of the faithful. But God did not exclude Esau from His love. He loved Jacob in a different way, giving him privileges in the plan, such as becoming the father of the great nation that God would use to bring the Messiah. God is Sovereign, yet we must remember what kind of sovereign He is. He is good, and he works for our good. No good thing will He withhold from those who walk His way (uprightly- Ps. 84:11). And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). He is trustworthy: He will save all who believe in Him. Even when we might not understand all His reasons, we know that He is faithful to His character and His Word, and His choices are good.


The heavens speak of God’s glory. No matter where you live and what language you speak, you can see God’s glory in His creation of the starry heavens.  Only the depraved heart of sinful man would choose to silence its declaration of God’s supremacy and perfection in all things.

Psalm 19 verses 1- 6 speak of ‘general revelation’:

Romans 1:20 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

Psalm 19, verses 7-9 speak of ‘special revelation.’ ‘General revelation,’ the intelligent design of the created universe, visible to all, speaks of God’s power and wisdom. ‘Special revelation,’ the propositional truth of God’s written law, speaks of His character and plan of salvation. The Law is the moral standard by which we are judged and found wanting. It reveals that we need a Savior.

Through the illuminating power of the Holy Spirit, the written Word is God’s instrument of revelation, converting and reviving the soul, making wise the simple, rejoicing the heart, enlightening the eyes, reflecting God’s righteousness and means of cleansing through the atoning Lamb of God.

Have you let God’s creation speak to you of His glory? And have you understood that the Law of God speaks to you of the fact that all have sinned and fall short of His glory (Romans 3:23) and that we all need the saving work of Jesus Christ?


Proverbs 20:1 1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise.






(from Operation World Prayer Guide, pages 488-494)


Area: 377,801 sq. km

A 3,000 km arc of four large islands (Honshu, Hokkaido, Shikoku, Kyushu) and 3,000 small islands in NW Pacific. Mountainous; only 13% can be cultivated.

Population: 126,995,411    Annual Growth: -0.07%

Capital: Tokyo

Urbanites: 66.8%

HDI Rank: 10 of 182 (UN Human Development Reports 2009)


Peoples: 34 (68% unreached) All peoples
Unreached Peoples Prayer Card

Official language: Japanese    Languages: 16 All languages


Largest Religion: Buddhist



Pop %

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Challenges for Prayer

The missions vision of Japanese Christians is noteworthy. There are up to 300 Japanese serving in 34 lands around the world. However, churches generally have little vision for missions and little understanding of the challenges facing cross-cultural missionaries. Mission training programs for prospective Japanese missionaries are increasing, both in Japanese and in English. The Japanese Overseas Missions Association has a membership of over 20 Japanese agencies.

Mission to Japan – Japan is the largest unevangelized nation that is completely open to missionaries. Yet, due to spiritual, socio-cultural, linguistic, and financial difficulties, becoming an effective minister of the gospel is a long, hard process of adaptation.

a) Cooperation among mission agencies has been limited in the past and, while improved, still needs greater unity today. JEMA is a coordinating body for 46 mission organizations, representing over 1,100 missionaries. Most are involved in church planting and evangelism, but real church growth is elusive. Pray for strategic insight, for the anointing of the Spirit, and for fruitful collaboration. The profusion of agencies and nationalities defies listing here. Largest missions: OMFTEAM, Pac Rim/IMBSEND, JCCC(CCCI), MTW), BIM, Asian Access, Every Nation, UMC, WECAoG USA, Mission to Unreached Peoples and Navigators.

b) Opportunities for missionary service are many, the most needful being evangelism, teaching, and planting and serving churches. Many missionaries are involved with existing congregations, assisting them to become reproductive through church planting and discipleship training. Teaching English is a wide-open door for tentmakers, with hundreds if not thousands of positions available. Long-term missionaries are the greater need because of the years needed to acquire the language and understand the culture.

c) The growing contribution of Korean missionaries is remarkable in light of historic animosities; they need special prayer cover to adapt well and have effective ministries.

d) Japanese returnees who became believers overseas are a hugely strategic group. Over a million Japanese live abroad; their numbers are greatest in the USA, Brazil, and China. Every year, over 1,600 return home having encountered Jesus, many with a missional burden for their homeland. Japanese who return home having become Christians abroad struggle to integrate into the native church scene. Japanese Christian Fellowship Network, Japan Christian Link, Reaching Japanese for Christ, Friends International UK, and several other ministries focus on this challenge. Pray for good coordination between ministries reaching Japanese abroad and those helping returnees to reintegrate into Japanese life. Pray for returning Christians to have a major impact on church life. 

PRAYER: O Lord our God, thank You for Your Word that enables us by the Holy Spirit to behold Your glory in Christ. The heavens declare Your glory. Your Word declares that we, who fall short of glory, can be received by You through faith in the gospel of Your glory in Christ. And by trusting Jesus and His finished work of redemption, we are being transformed by one degree of glory to another, by the Holy Spirit. Thank You, Lord, for those who serve as present-day Hananis and Azariahs and bring us words of encouragement and correction. We pray that You, the Lord of the harvest, will send forth laborers into Your harvest fields around the world, and today we ask that you bring conviction and conversion to souls in Japan and throughout the world. In Jesus’ Name. Amen

Pastor David