The Death of Hezekiah

You Shall Die and Not Live

Hezekiah had truly been one of the greatest kings of the Jews. After the vast army of Assyria overthrew the northern kingdom of Israel and scattered those ten tribes among all the nation, they then surrounded Jerusalem. The faith of Hezekiah and the record of his amazing prayer and what he did with the letter demanding immediate surrender is found in Second Kings chapter nineteen. Without a single arrow being shot, there were 185,000 Assyrian soldiers killed in one night. If you do not know this story, take time to read it and have your faith in God’s providence overwhelming increased.

Will today be your last ray of sunshine?

Will today be your last ray of sunshine?

Some time later, the prophet Isaiah came to Hezekiah and delivered this message from God. “Set your house in order, for you shall die, and not live” (2 Kings 20:1). Hezekiah’s response to this message is found in the rest of this chapter. It is at times like this that we can focus on the really important matters of life and death.

What would you do if you knew that you had just a few days, perhaps just a few hours, to live? What would you do if a doctor you trusted told you to call in Hospice for he had done all he could for you? What would you do if you knew that within a week’s time your life would end?

A failure to think about the certainty of death causes many to be like that rich farmer Jesus told us about. The farmer foolishly said, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink and be merry” (Luke 12:19). What he did not know was that he would die the same night he said these words. What would he have done differently had he known he was within hours of death? Had you been in his place, what would have done?

The truth is that while we have not heard the words of a prophet or even the message from a doctor, this could be the last day we would ever live. If this were true, how would you spend today?

Are there words you would say to others? Are there apologies you would make? Would you want to make sure that you had told your mate how precious they are to you? Are there messages you would give to your children to prepare them for what lies ahead? Are there incidences in your life where your angry words and harsh behavior demand apologies right now? Are there words of appreciation you would want to say to anyone? Are there prayers to God about sins in your life that you would pray?

What would you do if you absolutely knew this would be your last day to live? There is no way to know this, but whatever you might do in such a situation is what you ought to do today. Think about it. Someday will be your last day!

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9 More Rules for Social Media

9 More Rules for Social Media

(You can read the first 7 rules here.)

How many blog posts were you reading in 1990? How many tweets did you post on Twitter? How many friends did you have on Facebook? How often did you upload a picture to Instagram or Snapchat in 1990? The answer to all of these questions is zero. The term “blog” was coined on December 17, 1997. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterist, and Snapchat had not yet been invented. Social media was a group of people gathering together to watch a movie or play a game.

Poppies... poppies... poppies...

Poppies… poppies… poppies…

Today, social media has taken the world by storm—and most young people subscribe to multiple social media accounts. They talk in terms of how many “likes” someone received or how many “retweets” a post got. Sadly, many parents have been slow to address this influential part of our young people’s lives.

Here’s what I intend on teaching my children about social media (continued).

Again, let me remind you that everything you do, including social media, should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (Colossians 3:17).

Lesson Eight: Avoid bragging
In “real life” we don’t routinely unpack our awards and trophies for friends, neighbors, and coworkers to see. But with social media everything becomes a photo op, an opportunity to brag, and everything is used to promote your image. This bragging about what you’ve done, what you’ve eaten, trips you’ve taken gets old to those around you. Solomon wrote, “Let another man praise you and not your own mouth; a stranger and not your own lips” (Proverbs 27:2). Jesus warned, “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven” (Matthew 6:1). If every one of your posts centers around you then you probably have a problem with bragging. Make sure your posts are humble in spirit (James 4:10).

Lesson Nine: Watch out for envy and discontent
Have you noticed that everybody else’s life looks better than yours on social media? This is because individuals normally don’t share the mundane or bad parts of their lives. As a result it is easy for someone to think that they have a much better life. Remember, you are only seeing part of the story. This “virtual” reality is unhealthy. It often causes you to start putting unrealistic expectations on your own spouse, children, and friends. Learn to be content like Paul in whatever state you find yourself (Philippians 4:11-13). Remember, covetousness is defined in Colossians 3:5 as idolatry.

Lesson Ten: Don’t allow Facebook/Twitter/Instagram to stifle prayer
You need to set aside down time to simply: “Be still and know that He is God…” (Psalm 46:10). Social media eats up time—time that you could be spent strengthening your relationship with God. In James 4:8 we read,
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you…”

Lesson Eleven: Conduct yourself on social media like you would in person
Lots of people say things on social media they would never say in person, simply because they are on a screen they feel secure and hidden. It matters what your fingers type and one day you will be held accountable for every post and every text. There are Christians who post things they would never say out loud in public–but it is being read by hundreds if not thousands. You are a representation of the bride of Christ! You are supposed to be His servant. Please go back and read James 3, Matthew 5:13-16.

Lesson Twelve: Don’t allow Facebook to blind you to false beauty
Everyone looks good on Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram. Of course what you don’t see are the 20-30 images it took them just to get that perfect one. This false beauty may make you think you are beautiful and may encourage you to believe beauty is found in the outward appearance. “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart’” (1 Samuel 16:7).

Lesson Thirteen: Be careful about what you allow into your mind
According to Jesus, the greatest command is: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment” (Matthew 22:37-38). Remember every time you click you are opening up a window that will influence your mind.

Lesson Fourteen: Be careful little eyes what you see
I’ve talked to you before about the seriousness of pornography and sexting. Do not send/receive images that are not glorifying to God.
Ever. Period. Do not give out personal information to those you do not know.

Lesson Fifteen: Use social media to reach the lost
We all know the “Great Commission” tells us to “go” (Matthew 28:19-20). With social media you have the ability to take the saving message of Jesus Christ to places on this planet you could never physically go to. Do not take that responsibility lightly. View your social media accounts as tools to reach the lost.

Lesson Sixteen: Be careful what you idolize
For many, there is a temptation to idolize social media. Remember God is a jealous God. He will not put up with idolatry. As God was handing down the Ten Commandments He warned the Israelites, ““You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3). Paul further admonished, “Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry” (1 Corinthians 10:14).

I hope these sixteen lessons will come in handy as you navigate the waters of social media, and I pray you will use it in such a way that it strengthens your relationship with Him.

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Humbling and Exalting

Humbling and Exalting

In Romans, chapter one, we are told that “since the creation of the world [God’s] invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made” (Vs. 20), and that it is therefore both foolish and fatal to live in denial thereof (See vss. 18-22). Psalm 19 conveys to us a very similar message. From both of these passages it is clear that we can come to understand God’s order, pattern, and consistency in the spiritual realm (which we cannot see), because of the consistency which He has displayed in His creation (or the physical realm), which we are exposed to and experience every day.

Think He isn't there?  Creation declares His power and He will humble.

Think He isn’t there? Creation declares His power and He will humble.

For example, we are all probably familiar with the phrase, “What goes up must come down.” This truth, which some in the scientific community might refer to as the “law of gravity,” is simply God’s institution of a reliable reality given to govern his created, physical universe. Likewise, the heavens and their workings, including the revolving pattern of day and night as well as the circuit of the sun, simply cannot be corrupted or interrupted in any way by mankind’s desires or designs (Ps. 19:1-7).

These “laws” are completely consistent, unshakable, and unbreakable by man. They are going to happen. You can count on them every time. Hence and because of that, we can also know for an absolute fact, that God’s laws governing the spiritual realm are just as certain, consistent, well-grounded, and un-get-aroundable (Ps. 19:8-14).

One of those always present, always consistent, “un-get-aroundable” laws of God given in governance of His spiritual world, is that whenever one of His children seeks to exalt themselves, God Himself, will see that they are humbled – no exceptions. It happens every time. It is only when one really, truly, honestly and sincerely humbles themselves, willfully becoming the lowly and subjected servant that He desires them to be, that God Himself will then make sure that He personally exalts them (Prov. 17:10-19, 27:2; Matt. 23:12; Lk. 14:11, 18:14; 1 Peter 5:5-11).

Go back and carefully re-read and study Mark 10:35-45. Let the text really sink in. Then consider how even the perfectly sinless and divine Son of the living God Himself was not immune from this law of God. Although He never sinned by seeking to exalt Himself as we so often try to do, it was precisely because of His complete and utter humbling of Himself that He was so highly and finally exalted by God (Phil. 2:1-16). If we are constantly encountering nothing but strife, upheaval, and indignation in our daily efforts (Matt. 20:20-28), maybe it’s time to ask ourselves: Who’s doing the humbling – and who’s doing the exalting?

 

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