Monday Morning Quarterback

Today’s readings are 2 Kings 20, Isaiah 38-40, and 1 Corinthians 11.

In our readings from 2 Kings 20 and Isaiah 38-39 we learn about King Hezekiah of Judah who the Lord told Isaiah to deliver the message he would die from illness. Hezekiah then cried out to the Lord in prayer asking for healing to which the Lord obliged giving Hezekiah another 15 years of life. God even showed Hezekiah the words of Isaiah about his healing were true by turning back the shadow of the sun on the dial of Ahaz ten steps.

Merodach-baladan, the king of Babylon, heard of Hezekiah’s healing and came to visit him. Hezekiah proceeded to show Meodach-baladan his treasure house and all his riches. Isaiah then told Hezekiah all that was his, including his children, would be carried to Babylon someday foretelling of Judah’s future exile there. To this prophecy by Isaiah, Hezekiah mistakenly responded it would be good because it would bring peace.

These chapters don’t explicitly state that Judah’s exile to Babylon was a discipline due to Hezekiah’s actions after his healing (scholars differ on their opinions), and the Bible seems to overall seems to paint him in the light of a good king. He also gives us a great example of the power of prayer. However, it is evident when the King of Babylon visited because he heard of Hezekiah’s healing, Hezekiah did not glorify God for lengthening his life and for his blessings. Instead, he showed off his “stuff.” He also found comfort and peace in the prophecy of Judah’s exile to Babylon, rather than finding peace in God.

As we start football season, we can say it’s easy to play “Monday Morning Quarterback” when it comes to Hezekiah’s actions.  However, I think we can agree he could have better used his healing event as an opportunity to glorify God and witness to an unbelieving king and people, so they could know Him too. He should have continued to find his comfort in God and not in peace with this other nation.

Today, with the internet and especially social media, we live in a selfie-filled, “look at me” world. We like to show off our “stuff” like Hezekiah…ourselves, our kids, our spouse, our trips, our cars, our fancy meals, our accolades, and maybe even our recovery after an illness or condition like Hezekiah.’s the question…

Are we using these things to bring glory to ourselves or the One who gave them to us?

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

James 1:17

Let us check our hearts and make sure we are giving Him the glory He deserves for our blessings which come from Him. Social media gives us a platform to witness to this, so other non-believers can know Him in the same way Hezekiah had an opportunity to do so. We don’t need a king from a far-off land to come visit us though, we can witness to many non-believers 24/7. We can show them all good things come from Him and only through Him can we find a peace that passes human understanding (Philippians 4:7).

Prepare the way!

Happy Tuesday everyone ~ Enjoy this wonderful kickoff of Mark 1 shared by one of our awesome guest writers Kris Walker.   Prayers go out to all our readers and writers.

Prepare the Way!

Mark 1 prepares the way for something amazing! It’s a very brief description of some amazing events. I love how the gospels all focus on different things, their writing styles are all so different and where some focus, others don’t. I feel like we just got a cliff note version of some amazing events! There are so many things in this 1 chapter to take in! It really makes you want to reference all the stories in depth! It was a hard decision what to focus on. So, I had to pick a couple.

The first one, I love the stories of healing and cleansing of demons! What an amazing show of our Father’s power!

“21 They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22 The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. 23 Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out, 24 “What do you want with us,Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”
25 “Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” 26 The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.”

I know it seems silly to make such an amazing point on this, but not only did he make the demon come out, but he silenced it!  I have 4 children, NOT demon possessed, and I can’t ever get them to be silent! Our father SHUT THE MOUTH of a demon! Which we know isn’t a big feat for our God, but can you imagine seeing that in person?? This “man” just told a demon to come out, and told him to shut his mouth, and a demon was forced to listen! What a truly all powerful God we have! I can’t imagine being a member of that crowd and actually seeing this! It would be mind blowing!

“27 The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.”28 News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.”

Clearly it made an impression! But another thing is learned about was his power. It’s a loving power, he healed so many people, and even when he wanted seclusion, he still ended up being called to teach the word, and healed people!

The application for me in this is: What am I doing with my power to help those in need? Not only in our community, but in my own home. Jesus was tired and wanted seclusion, but still did his Father’s work! When I’m tired and want seclusion, I tell everyone to leave me alone and let me rest. I have so much to learn, and have so much growing to do. This really stresses to me that I need to strive more daily to be more Christ like and serve my family more.

My other big take away from this is about John and then Jesus’s first disciples. John prepared the way! His job was to tell about Jesus coming. And he did just that! He did not shrink back. He went forth preaching about Jesus coming and baptized in his name!

“4 And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.”

He did all this for Jesus and never once questioned it, and always gave honor to the right place!

“8 I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

What an amazing example. We then get a glimpse of Jesus getting his first disciples, and the immediately follow him. He biggest part of this for me is:

What am I doing to make disciples? It is our calling! It’s what we are meant to do! Who am I helping in my community? Who am I encouraging to follow our God? Am I being a true disciple?

I know there is so much more to get out of this chapter, but those were my main thoughts after reading through Mark 1. It really just makes me want to be a better servant at home, and a better disciple in my community.

Prayerfully,  we can all strive to do the same!

Dear God, we pray for continued wisdom in our writing as we share your words and not our own. We pray that you continue to guide us in this journey, guide and protect our families, and give us courage to share with others the great news of Jesus through these gospels.  We love you, praise you, and thank you for sending your son to be born, live a life on earth, model your ways, die, and conquer death for us for our sins.  Amen