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Pursuing God Wholeheartedly

by Patricia Dailey,
Senior Pastor, Bethel Revival Center

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Pursuing God Wholeheartedly

by Patricia Dailey
Senior Pastor, Bethel Revival Center
43 Norwood St.
Everett, MA 02149


II Chronicles 15:2b-4,7
The LORD is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you.

Now for a long season Israel hath been without the true God, and without a teaching priest, and without law. But when they in their trouble did turn unto the LORD God of Israel, and sought him, he was found of them . . . Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded.

This was a very dark time for the children of Israel. They had gone for a long time without the true God and without a teaching priest. Their land was spiritually destitute.

Understand, now, they were taken over in the worship of abominable idols. That's why they had no desire to hear the Word of God. They were in a terrible condition: It was a time of troubles, vexations, and wars.

As individuals, if we turn our backs on God, this can happen to us too. We will be miserable, tormented, finding no peace, with wars going on in our minds!

Is sin worth it?

Isaiah 26:3
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.

There is no torment in our mind if we are resisting sin and walking godly before the Lord day after day.

Another thing that happens if we sin is that we don't want to be around God's people. We stay away from them because we don't want to be told that what we're doing is wrong and sinful.

We don't want to be reproved but would rather continue on in our misery . . . and sin does bring misery!

What happens is this: When people sin, they live in fear and anxiety. They go to bed at night troubled, unable to sleep. And in the morning when they get up to start another day, they're still troubled.

For people who sin there is no remedy other than to see their need and really repent, turning from their wicked ways unto Jesus Christ.

I John 1:9
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

There is a price to pay when you sin! a great price! Sin brings one into bondage and torment!

This is why many are so miserable. Everything might look fine on the surface, but the truth is that they are in bad shape.

Pray!

The prophet encourages Asa: Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded.

When Asa heard these words, he took courage and did something about the state of things: putting away the abominable idols and renewing the altar of the Lord.

There was a promise to the nation that God would be with them if they would not forsake Him.

Here we see Asa didn't just do away with the abominable idols; he also built the altar and began to pray.

We shouldn't wait until we sin to seek the Lord. We should be seeking Him daily.

Daniel of old prayed three times a day: morning, noon, and night. It was a part of his life each and every day.

But it's hard to get God's people to pray. And then they wonder why they're in bondage to sin, why they're in a state of unrest, why they're in a troubled state, why their mind is being tormented!

Why? Because they do not pray and seek God like they ought to, daily.

Submit to God

James 4:7,8a
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you.

When you submit to God, you'll have power to resist the devil! He will flee and you won't find yourself ever yielding to temptation.

Oh, temptation will come along! Temptation will ever be there, because the devil is walking about seeking whom he may devour, whom he can knock down through temptation.

But if we submit ourselves unto God, we can resist the devil, and he will flee!

Draw nigh unto God; seek His face; get close to Him. Then the devil won't be able to touch you. If you're in that spiritual place with God, you won't be yielding to temptation. If you're not in that place, the devil can take control of your life.

When you let down your guard and get careless in serving God — neglecting to go to the house of God, neglecting to read the Word of God, neglecting your prayer life — that's when the devil can take control. He comes along in your weak times to cause you to fall through temptation. That's why many yield over to the temptation, because they do not submit themselves unto to God.

Don't Neglect Your Salvation

Hebrews 2:3a
How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation . . . ?

We are told not to neglect our salvation. It's so important that we take time to really keep our soul on fire for God.

Don't think for one moment that you can just go day upon day upon day and not care for your salvation, not care about your soul, not care about serving God, not care about coming to church.

You can't do that day after day after day and expect that you're going to walk in victory.

Something always seems to come along that is more important than going to church, such as cleaning house, doing the laundry, ironing.

Actually, if you were wise, you'd do your house cleaning every day.

When it's time for church, it's not time for these other things. Instead of lying in bed half the day, get up and take care of those things.

You can't get to church Sunday morning because you really have to go see your sister. After all, it's been so long since you've seen her! You went to see your brother last Sunday . . . the week before it was Mom . . . and the week before you just had to see Grandma . . . and the week before that . . . Everything and everybody is so important except getting into the house of God.

The Scripture says not to neglect the assembling of yourselves together as the manner of some is (Hebrews 10:25).

We should be exhorting one another as we see the day approaching. Don't you know we're living in perilous times? Don't you know Jesus Christ is coming soon? And when He comes, He's coming quickly.

Seek God First

Matthew 6:33
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

We should put the Lord first and foremost. Yet, many of God's people seek everything else but the Lord.

David had a heart that was after God. He looked forward to attending the house of God.

Psalm 27:4
One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple.

Notice, David said there was one thing that he desired of the Lord . . . one thing!

Therein lies the problem with many people. They don't have any spiritual desire in their hearts.

David was a man after God's own heart! What a great love he had for the Lord. He said his soul followed hard after God (Psalm 63:8).

Brother and sister, if we could just get that spiritual desire in us, these other things would grow strangely dim. Whatever He called us to do we would say, "Yes, Lord," and we'd act upon it. There would be no battles, no excuses.

There wouldn't be any: "Well, I can't because of mom and dad. I don't want to leave them. They're old now. I've got to stay and give them a helping hand. Lord, You know dad is old and feeble. You know mom needs my help. So, Lord, I just can't do what You want me to do. I can't . . . I have to take care of my parents. After all, didn't You say I should honor my father and my mother?"

Yes, He did say to honor father and mother, but that doesn't mean to put father and mother before Him, putting them before what He calls us to do!

My friend, put no one before God Almighty. Put Him first. Seek Him first. If you do, when troubles come, you'll be able to stand.

How do you think Daniel went through? How did the Hebrew children go through?

I read in the book of Daniel where the decree had been signed that no one could ask any petition of God or of man for thirty days. If they did, they would be thrown into the den of lions.

But Daniel had a custom of praying three times a day, so he just went and began to pray as he always did, and he was cast into the lion's den!

But I want you to know something: God shut up the mouths of those lions, and Daniel came out of the lion's den unharmed, without so much as a scratch.

Seek God Wholeheartedly

Don't wait until trouble strikes to call on God. Seek God now, each and every day, knowing that, whatever you may have to face, He will take you through.

Jeremiah 33:3
Call unto Me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.

God shows us His mighty power! How mighty, how powerful, how great and loving He is to hear and answer our prayers! When it looks impossible in the natural, know that there is nothing impossible with God.

What beautiful promises we have. I would to God that everyone would just take and embrace them, believe them, hang on to them!

Jeremiah 29:13
And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart.

Looking and searching after God with your whole heart.

Don't be half-hearted — where today you're seeking God, but tomorrow you have no time for Him. Seeking God with the whole heart will certainly make a difference in one's life.

Seek Spiritual Things

Colossians 3:1-2
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

We've been getting things mixed up! Our love and our affections are too often upon the things of this earth and not on the things above.

Listen, if we have food, clothing, and raiment, we ought to be content.

I Timothy 6:6
But godliness with contentment is great gain.

Paul said he learned to be content in whatever state he was in — and he wasn't referring to Massachusetts or Pennsylvania, or any other such place. He was referring to the conditions he found himself in along the way.

He learned to be content whether he was hungry or full, naked or clothed. Yes, he learned to be content in whatever state he found himself in at the time.

Why do we get so restless about not having every gadget, not having every new thing that comes out on the market? We'll run up credit cards to the hilt just so we can keep up with all that's new — never satisfied, always wanting.

Get into the place where that spiritual desire is in you. Seek God until you have that spiritual drive in you, that spiritual desire. Seek God to have that godly desire for all that He has for you. And be content with whatsoever things you have right now.

About the time the bills are due, many lose their peace. They get anxious. All the bills are coming in, and there aren't enough finances to cover them all. What can they do, rob Peter to pay Paul? People live in that state every month. Every month there is that same state of unrest.

The telephone rings: A creditor is on the line, wanting their money, putting the pressures on.

How did they get into such a place? Was it because their desire was not spiritual, but was for things of this world?

The Bible warns about loving this world and loving the things that are in the world!

If any man love this world the love of the Father is not in him (I John 2:15).

It's that clear, that simple. You don't have to add anything to it. It's so clear a child could understand it.

We don't want to allow ourselves to get into bondage to the adversary.

We should have that spiritual desire to seek God that David had, that Daniel had: every day walking faithfully with God.

Mark 8:36-37
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

You might gain all there is to gain of this world, but what is going to happen to your soul?

It's so very important to keep from getting into the state these people were in, important that you have a spiritual desire.

As soon as you let down your guard and don't keep a spiritual desire — or don't have a spiritual desire, don't walk with God, don't talk with God day after day, don't go to church — you'll find that you will take up with some other kind of god.

Some people have the television set as their god.

We can now add the computer to that list because some people who don't have a television in their home can watch all sorts of devilish things right on their computer.

If you're not careful, you'll begin to feast on pornography and then wonder why you're in the shape you're in!

You have no desire for God. You have no desire to pray. You have no desire to seek Him day after day or to walk with Him day after day. Do you wonder why you're in the shape that you're in? Actually, it's your fault.

He wants you to seek Him. He told you to seek Him first. When you put Him first, He said all of these things would be added unto you. You don't have to fret and worry about these other things. Your needs will be met. God has never failed and He never will fail. Man has failed, but God will never fail.

Renew the Altar

Now, looking back at Asa we want to see something further: After he encouraged himself, clearing the land of idolatry, he renewed the altar.

The altar means prayer, offering one's self up unto the Lord for His service.

II Chronicles 15:9
And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and the strangers with them out of Ephraim and Manasseh, and out of Simeon: for they fell to him out of Israel in abundance, when they saw that the LORD his God was with him.

The people could see that the Lord God was with King Asa.

That's what we want people to see. We don't want them to see us. We don't want them to see our fancy clothes, our big hats, our earrings and make-up. All that type of stuff only distracts. When we doll ourselves up, we are looking for attention. We want people to notice us. We want them to look at us: "Look who I am!!"

Strutting around with your nose in the air, looking down on people. God's people don't act that way. When you're genuine and real, you don't run around with your nose up in the air, looking down on others, thinking they're the scum of the earth.

It should be the other way around. We should be living in such a manner that people can see Christ in us; they can see that God is with us. We should want Jesus Christ to be seen in us, want the glory of the Lord shining through us.

see II Chronicles 15:10,12
So they gathered themselves together at Jerusalem in the third month, in the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa . . . And they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul

Asa got rid of all the idols and then built an altar. And here we see where he's getting all the people to enter into a covenant to seek the Lord God.

Brother and sister, that's what we need to be doing: seeking the Lord our God.

II Chronicles 15:13
That whosoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.

That's how they dealt with it back there: You'd be put to death! That's something isn't it?

We know that's not the case under grace. Yet, it could mean spiritual death. People who don't want to seek God will find they're not ready on the reckoning day, a day that will come all too soon.

If you don't want to serve God now or seek God now, you'll pay for it even in this life; but I tell you, you'll pay dearly later. What will you say when you hear, "You wicked and slothful servant depart from Me!" as you're cast you off into the lake of fire?

II Chronicles 15:14
And they sware unto the LORD with a loud voice, and with shouting, and with trumpets, and with cornets.

Look at that. They were so happy! Shouting, rejoicing, because they had entered into a covenant to seek God Almighty.

Wouldn't it be nice if everybody said: "I'm going to seek God. I'm going to go after the things of God with all of my heart and soul, and I'm not going to let anything stand in my way! Yes, I'm going to serve God. I'm going to church! I'm going to pray several times a day if need be, or hours if need be! I'm going to be in the house of the Lord."

If this were the way it was, I tell you, there would be some shouting! There would be some hallelujahs ringing!

Some say, "You don't have to holler. Tone it down. Calm down."

But they shouted with a loud voice. You talk about loud instruments! A trumpet is loud sounding. You talk about noise!

I'll tell you, when God's people get stirred up and really get revived, it will be a noisy place: There will be shouting. There will be hallelujahs ringing. There will be joy in the house of the Lord!

I would to God that we could get into that place today, with everybody seeking the Lord, nothing standing in the way!

Wouldn't that be beautiful?

I can't live your life. You've got to do something about it. You have to do something personally about seeking the Lord, walking with the Lord, assembling together in the house of the Lord.

II Chronicles 15:15a
And all Judah rejoiced at the oath: for they had sworn with all their heart, and sought Him with their whole desire

I like that: with their whole desire! You can have many desires in this life, but this is the best desire you could possibly have: a spiritual desire; having a heart after God; really going after the things of God; a desire so strong that, no matter what, you're going to serve God; you're going to do what God calls you to do.

II Chronicles 15:15b
. . . and He was found of them: and the LORD gave them rest round about.

From a horrible, dark state where there had been no peace — nothing but wars, trouble, and vexation — to a place of rest round about.

What made the difference? They sought the Lord, and the Lord gave them rest from their adversaries who were fighting and warring against them.

Take a Stand

II Chronicles 15:16
And also concerning Maachah the mother of Asa the king, he removed her from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove: and Asa cut down her idol, and stamped it, and burnt it at the brook Kidron.

Now, look at that!

When it comes to our family, it becomes a very, very, touchy situation. I don't know too many people who would take a stand like Asa did here.

There's an old saying, Blood runs thicker than water.

Do you allow them to come into your home with their cigarettes, with their booze, cursing the Lord and using vulgar language, telling dirty stories? Do you allow such stuff to go on in your home?

"Lay off, now, that's my family. I can't speak up to them. After all, that's my mom, my dad, my sister, my grandma, grandfather, grandchildren."

So, what? You serve a holy God. Don't you believe these things are wrong? If it's wrong for you to do, it's also wrong for you to allow it in your house.

Sometimes you just have to speak up and say, "None of this stuff in my house. You can come and visit, but you can't bring your cigarettes, booze, and filth in here. Mom, I love you, but I don't love your sin."

How many could speak up like that?

Asa took encouragement here. He was encouraged by what the prophet said, and he acted upon it. And, because he acted on what the prophet said, God really blessed.

People entered into a covenant to seek God. I'd have to say that this was revival: people coming away from idolatry to seek the true and living God!

Respond to Correction

II Chronicles 16:1
In the six and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa Baasha king of Israel came up against Judah, and built Ramah, to the intent that he might let none go out or come in to Asa king of Judah.

After all that, look at what Asa did . . .

II Chronicles 16:2-4a,5,7
Then Asa brought out silver and gold out of the treasures of the house of the LORD and of the king's house, and sent to Ben-hadad king of Syria, that dwelt at Damascus, saying, There is a league between me and thee, as there was between my father and thy father: behold, I have sent thee silver and gold; go, break thy league with Baasha king of Israel, that he may depart from me.

And Ben-hadad hearkened unto king Asa . . . And it came to pass, when Baasha heard it, that he left off building of Ramah, and let his work cease . . . And at that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said unto him, Because thou hast relied on the king of Syria, and not relied on the LORD thy God, therefore is the host of the king of Syria escaped out of thine hand.

Asa was relying on the arm of flesh, not the Lord, after entering into a covenant to seek God. He had believed what the prophet had spoken to him, had been encouraged by the prophet's words, but now he's looking elsewhere.

So, this prophet gives him a message, and he doesn't like what he has to say.

II Chronicles 16:10
Then Asa was wroth with the seer, and put him in a prison house; for he was in a rage with him because of this thing. And Asa oppressed some of the people the same time.

Notice, there was a time when Asa listened to the prophet of the Lord, yet now he is wroth because of what he was told.

That's the way it is in church. People love to hear you preach about the streets of gold, about heaven, about the pearly gates. They eat that up like they might eat an ice cream sundae. "Oh, this is great! I'm hearing what he's saying. I'm hearing the man of God; I'm hearing the woman of God. Ohhh, I love those words of encouragement."

I like to hear words of encouragement. Who doesn't? But when you sin, and when you do wrong, you don't need to hear words encouraging you to continue on sinning.

We're not going to stand behind the pulpit and encourage your sin. No way are we going to do that!

You love to hear about the blessings; but when you sin and God uses our mouths to speak and tell you you've done wrong, then you get all upset and angry.

This was the way it was with Asa. He received the words of encouragement from the prophet, but it was a different story when he was being reproved:

II Chronicles 16:10a
Then Asa was wroth with the seer, and put him in a prison house; for he was in a rage with him because of this thing.

I Timothy 5:20
Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.

How can we get around a Scripture like this?

Wouldn't it be awful if we never spoke against sin, and in that day you didn't go up in the rapture? You were left behind for the wrath of the Almighty God to fall on you!

You'd cry out: "But they never preached it! They never told me!"

That's why we tell you now, so you won't have to go to the White Throne Judgment.

Here is this king who was so encouraged. People could see the Lord was with him. He entered into a covenant to seek God, but just look at the change that came into his life!

We have to walk with God daily. We have to keep our spiritual life on fire, our souls on fire for God, day after day after day walking with the Lord.

We see the old human nature here in Asa's reaction to the message. He was wroth and in a rage against this prophet. Oh, he received the words of encouragement, but just as soon as he received a word of reproof, he got upset!

II Chronicles 16:12
And Asa in the thirty and ninth year of his reign was diseased in his feet, until his disease was exceeding great: yet in his disease he sought not to the LORD, but to the physicians.

He relied on the Lord before. Now he wouldn't even seek God for a healing!

II Chronicles 16:13,14
And Asa slept with his fathers, and died in the one and fortieth year of his reign. And they buried him in his own sepulchres, which he had made for himself in the city of David, and laid him in the bed which was filled with sweet odours and divers kinds of spices prepared by the apothecaries' art: and they made a very great burning for him.

Lessons to Learn

Knowing these things are written beforehand for our learning, we ought to learn something from these Scriptures.

We ought to learn that if we enter into a covenant with our Lord to seek Him day after day and to walk with Him, there are blessings that will come and overtake us.

But the day we stop seeking the Lord and begin to do foolish things and begin to sin . . .

The Scripture tells us in Jeremiah, Cursed is the man who leans on the arm of flesh . . . blessed is the man whose hope is the Lord (see Jeremiah 17:5-8).

I should think we ought to receive something that would help us realize how important it is for us to seek God day after day and not get into the spiritual condition they were in here.

Take these words of encouragement. Rise up, and begin to seek God. Go to church. Begin to pray and walk with God every day. Do what you're supposed to do.

Seek God, and you'll be blessed.

But, brother and sister, if the man or woman of God speaks to you about the sin in your life, listen! Pay heed, and correct yourself of the error of your way.

If you correct yourself of the error of your way, with genuine repentance, you'll be blessed. If not, you'll be most miserable.

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