I began this post on November 24, 2015 and left it in my draft. Today I opened it again to read it. I didn’t remember writing all this…
“In less than forty days I will walk through my first Thanksgiving, my first birthday, my first Christmas, and my Daddy’s first birthday without him. There are moments that I feel like I still cannot breathe. This is how I will close out 2015.
I am trying so very hard to not be selfish. I am trying so very hard to be thankful for all the memories. I am trying so very hard to remember that I had almost thirty-nine years with my Daddy and they were good years. It’s just so hard to believe that the man who gave me my name is not here.
I am thinking of Peter right now, and how Jesus gave him his name. How Peter watched Him be taken away. How Peter rushed to His grave. How Peter saw Him in His resurrected Self alive and well… and how once again Peter watched Him be taken away.
So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority;but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”
Peter watched the man who had given him his name ascend into the heavens and then he went back to the upper room and he waited on the promises of Jesus. I too am waiting.
I had a vision for my life. I could face any adversity in that vision because I knew that I had the support of my Daddy. I could handle any hurt and push through any negativity as long as I could talk to him and hear him say, “you can do this.” Losing him has struck me with blindness. I have lost my vision.
This morning as I studied through Mark 10:46-52 with Phil Waldrep I read verse 51,
And answering him, Jesus said, “What do you want Me to do for you?”And the blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, I want to regain my sight!”
I am blind.
I keep thinking I’ll pull myself up out of this but so far I can’t. I have moments that I can see. I have momentary glimpses that remind me that I still have sight. The ember of joy is there, but I have not yet been able to rekindle a flame.
I feel most alive when I teach. When I teach I feel His presence. When I teach I remember my vision.”
After reading this again… all I can say is God is Faithful.
Amaziah was twenty-five years old when he became the King of Judah after the people of Judah had conspired to put his father, Joash, to death because he had turned his back on the Lord after the death of Jehoiada, his mentor and uncle. King Joash was a man who did right as long as the right person was leading him. He had no convictions or courage of his own, which I find sad. For me there is nothing much sadder than a grown man with no guts and no honor. Joash appeared to have both, until it was revealed that he did not when his guts and his honor died with Jehoiada.
King Joash is a reminder to us all of how important it is to not borrow our belief system from others, but to know what we believe and why we believe it. King Joash, even though he had been raised behaving rightly, was not a tree firmly planted in his own convictions and own relationship with the Lord. He was a tumbleweed, or at the very least a shallowly planted bush that could be easily uprooted and stuck in the ground somewhere else. Joash had never pursued the Lord with his own heart. He had never made the law of the Lord his own personal delight. When his outward circumstances changed, so did Joash.
Amaziah, the son of Joash, now is King and the Scriptures teach us in 2 Chronicles 25:2 that, “He did right in the sight of the LORD, yet not with his whole heart.” His Daddy had no heart for the Lord, and Amaziah had some. Amaziah started out well, but the longer he reigned as King, instead of growing wiser and more dependent upon the Lord and His commands, he did the opposite. As the Lord blessed him, he turned his blessings to pride instead of humility. This proud heart became his downfall.
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling. (Proverbs 16:18)
Amaziah begins to build an army to go out to defeat the enemies of Judah and he goes so far as to hire mercenaries from the northern kingdom of Israel. The Lord sends a prophet to him to try and talk some sense into him and remind Amaziah who he was and who the LORD is, “But a man of God came to him saying, ‘O king, do not let the army of Israel go with you, for the Lord is not with Israel nor with any of the sons of Ephraim. But if you do go, do it, be strong for the battle; yet God will bring you down before the enemy, for God has power to help and to bring down.'” (2 Chronicles 25:7-8). Amaziah answers back about all the money he has already paid all these mercenaries, and the prophet replies with, “The LORD has much more to give you than this.” (2 Chronicles 25:9). So Amaziah, at this point, listens and sends the mercenaries home and goes to battle against Edom without them.
It is here during this time of Amaziah’s life that he begins to reveal the true nature of his heart. First of all, his father David would have never gone to battle without seeking the Lord first. Therefore the mercenaries should have not been in the picture at all. Nevertheless, our God in His mercy and grace sends Amaziah a warning, which he does heed. However, in 2 Chronicles 25:11-13 we see that there are consequences to Amaziah not coming to the Lord on his own before he hired these men. Grace and mercy does not always alleviate the consequences of the choices that required them to be extended to us.
Now after the victory over Edom comes the depth of the evidence of Amaziah’s divided heart. Amaziah knows that his victory has come by the hand of the Lord. He KNOWS this, but he brings home the gods of Edom and bows down before them and burns incense to them (2 Chronicle 25:14). How crazy is that? Why would he do this? He knows the God that cannot be picked up and carried anywhere. He knows the God that has power to help and bring down and he still chooses to bow down and worship at the feet of gods that could be captured by mere men.
This, precious one, is what pride will do to us. Amaziah’s heart had grown proud and when we get proud we refuse to listen. Amaziah has gone down in history as the King who refused to listen. He refused to listen to others and he refused to listen to the Lord. Amaziah decided that he wanted gods that listened to him, so he brought some home. Oh, but it remains true to this day, pride always goes before destruction.
Amaziah’s proud heart, and I’m sure his new gods, have him swelling up and sending a message asking for a match up with Joash, King of Israel. Amaziah sends his big boy talk out and Joash responds with one of my favorite replies in the Scriptures, “You have indeed defeated Edom, and your heart has become proud. Enjoy your glory and stay at home; for why should you provoke trouble so that you, even you, would fall, and Judah with you?” (2 Kings 14:10)
Enjoy your glory and stay at home. Amaziah receives some wise counsel from Joash, but the following verse says, “But Amaziah would not listen.” Amaziah and his proud heart and boastful mouth gathers his army and he marches himself right into one of the biggest whoopin’s of his reign. Then his refusal to acknowledge the Lord as God and his leading the people of Israel away from His commands have him fleeing for his life until finally he is put to death. He should have enjoyed his glory and stayed at home, but even more so he needed to have had a heart that was wholly the Lord’s.
What about you beloved? Do you have guts and honor and a heart that is wholly the Lord’s? Do your belief’s change according to who you are hanging around at the time? Have you chosen to allow the successes and victories in life to make you proud and boastful instead of humble and grateful?
Take time today, tonight, this week… and sit before the Lord your God and ask Him to reveal your heart to you in the still quiet private so that you might know it and see yourself as He sees. Look for any warnings that the Lord has sent you through His Word, the words of others, or even situations that you have found yourself in. Examine yourself to see if your speech and actions change according to who you are around. Look for pride in your heart now before the path of destruction clearly reveals it later.
But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world.
(1 Corinthians 11:31-32)
The writing and teachings of Nicole Love Halbrooks Vaughn