August 11

2 Chronicles 20:2-4 (NIV) 2Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, "A vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the Sea. It is already in Hazazon Tamar" (that is, En Gedi). 3Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the LORD, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. 4The people of Judah came together to seek help from the LORD; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him.

In spite of Jehoshaphat's lack of discernment, he knew what to do in time of trouble. This is a model chapter in how to face difficulty in our lives. Instead of running to his generals, he ran to the LORD. He resolved to inquire of the LORD. When we are alarmed, we will run to where our trust is placed. He proclaimed a fast. The people of the nation came together to seek God. From every town they came to seek Him.

We need to learn a lesson from this. We often put our heads together to come up with a solution. We are great at running to friends to ask for advice, like Rehoboam did. We even grab a book like, "How to Deal with Troubled Teens". What we need to do is be resolved to inquire of the LORD. When we do, those under our influence will also. Jehoshaphat's good example led the nation down the only path that would save them. Believe it or not, America has had a nationally declared day of prayer and fasting in its history, too.

Once they decided they would wait upon God, He spoke to them! First, Jehoshaphat led them in a prayer in which he laid the situation before God. He declared that power belonged to God. He confessed their weakness and ignorance and that their eyes were upon God. Then they stood before the LORD with their wives and children and waited. What an example for us today! We need to learn to wait on the Lord. God spoke through Jahaziel. God said the battle was His, and He gave them their marching orders.

Prayer: Lord God, help us to learn to turn to You first, recognize our need, and wait until we get Your answer.

August 11

Romans 6:11-13 (NIV) 11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.

When our Lord Jesus Christ died upon the cross, He died for sin once and for all. His resurrected life did not carry the sin that was laid on him. That sin was dealt with in His death. The Apostle is telling us to identify with Jesus' death. If our sins were dealt with there in His death, we are raised with Him to new life. This new life does not carry the sin that the old life bore. Instead, it carries the life of God in Christ Jesus. We were once alive to sin, mastered and manipulated by it. Now we are alive to God.

The power that sin reigned over us has been dealt with. We do not have to let it rule us any longer. Now we are free to offer our bodies to God as instruments of righteousness. Before the cross came into our life, we could have offered our bodies to righteousness, but we did not have the power to break the control of sin. Now that it is broken, we must offer ourselves to our new Master. Sin controlled us to bring death. Jesus masters us to bring life.

Once we offered our mouths for vile speech, our ears to hear gossip, our eyes to lust, and our mind to self-seeking. Now we can offer our mouths for instruments of praise and proclamation of the truth. We can offer our ears to the Spirit to hear His direction. We offer our minds to dwell upon the beauty of the Lord, His marvelous attributes. Have you taken the time to consciously go before the Lord in prayer and dedicate the parts of your body as instruments of righteousness? I would encourage you to do it now. As you do, the Spirit of God may remind you of His grief over the use of some of your members that should be given to life and not to death. Dedicate them to Him alone right now. He went to the cross and conquered death that you might do so.

Prayer: Lord, use my body for Your glory. Keep my thoughts pure and holy. Use my arms to serve the needy, my feet to take me where You send me, my ears to hear your Word, my eyes to see the need around me, and my mouth to tell others of Your love.