Toward the end of the year, we begin to focus on the “new.” We enjoy giving and receiving “new” presents, and we look forward to the hope of a “new” year. A blank calendar page represents fresh opportunity, but what will we do with it?
Hezekiah was known as a man who received renewed opportunity from the Lord. A godly king, Hezekiah destroyed the idols in Judah (2 Kings 18:4) and trusted God (2 Kings 18:5-6).
When Assyria came knocking on the door threatening to destroy Jerusalem, Hezekiah prayed (2 Kings 19:15-19), and God spared Judah. When Hezekiah fell ill, and God told him that he would not survive, Hezekiah again went to the Lord in earnest prayer, and God extended his life by 15 years (2 Kings 20:1-6). Two challenges in Hezekiah’s day were overcome by going to God in prayer. The nation now had renewed hope, and Hezekiah especially should have been filled with new enthusiasm for the future after God spared his life.
However, when a third challenge presents itself, Hezekiah seems to display resignation and selfishness. Isaiah reveals to him that Babylon would soon come and take away the wealth of Judah, as well as Hezekiah’s own descendants (2 Kings 20:16-18). Instead of meeting this challenge with more prayer, Hezekiah says, “The word of the Lord which you have spoken is good!” and “Will there not be peace and truth at least in my days?” (2 Kings 20:19). Hezekiah was given new opportunities, but he was content to live with his personal blessings, and gave no prayer for the future generations.
As Christians, we have been cleansed by the blood of Christ, and walk in newness of life. We’ve had our lives extended eternally! But what about the lost around us? What about future generations? Will we be content with our own salvation, and give no thought, prayer, or action for the salvation of others?
What will we do with the new?
Matt Clifton Judsonia church of Christ, Judsonia, AR
Scripture of the Week
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 “Therefore we do not loose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Think About It
Special Recognition to Mary?
It Is Never Wrong to Give “honor to whom honor” is Due
(Romans 13:7) and give special recognition to someone because of his or her achievements, but ascribe adoration and veneration to someone other than God is to worship “the creation rather than the creator” (Romans 1:25). This has been accorded Mary by many people. People have knelt before statues of her, and she has been prayed to, sung to, and worshiped in many ways. There is seemingly no limit to the divine honors that have been paid to Mary. But let us notice what the Bible says about her.
1. Mary was certainly a good woman (Luke 1:28-30), but she was not divine. She was just a woman. Otherwise, Jesus would not have been the “Son of Man” (Matthew 8:20). Long before she gave birth to Jesus, He was her Creator (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16). Mary acknowledged God as her Savior (Luke 1:47). Therefore, she was not sinless, as some made her out to be.
2. Mary was a young virgin (Matthew 1:23; Luke 1:27) at the time she conceived Jesus, just as the prophesy had foretold (Isaiah 7:14). But the doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary is false. After she had given birth to Jesus (Matthew 1:25), she had four other sons and at least two daughters by Joseph (Matthew 13:55-5).
3. “Blessed are you among women” is what was said to Mary, not above women (Luke 1:42). No one but GOD is to be worshiped (Matthew 4:10).
4. Mary did not ascend bodily into heaven, as was pronounced by some in 1950, because Jesus said, “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 15:50). Mary and all others will be raised at His second coming (1 Corinthians 15:23). “But he said to me, “Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers the prophets and of all who keep the words of this book. Worship God!’” — Revelation 22:9 – Gary Workman, West Sparta church of Christ, Sparta, TN
Something to Smile About
A family of four went to services on Sunday. After they returned to their home and were sitting around the table eating their noon meal, the father said, ―Well, I just didn’t like the preacher’s sermon today.
The mother said, ―I liked the sermon all right, but that song leader was all out of tune.
Frances said, ―I enjoyed the singing but the sermon was long enough to wear out the patience of Job.
Little Johnny added ―Daddy, I thought it was a pretty good show for just the nickel you gave.