Devotional - Fifteen Years To Live

Discussion in 'Thoughts for Today' started by anthony wade, May 29, 2013.

  1. Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: “Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life. – Isaiah 38: 4-5 (NIV)

    After the death of King Solomon, God’s chosen people were irrevocably split into two distinct nations. The ten northern tribes known as Israel and the remaining two tribes known as Judah. They had separate governances and each would have their own king. From the time the kingdom split until God passed judgment on the ten northern tribes, there had not been one righteous king ruling Israel. Judah however did have an occasional king who followed after the Lord and would turn the people back to Him as well. Hezekiah was one of the “good” kings. He witnessed the destruction of the northern tribes at the hands of the ruthless Assyrian Empire and enacted sweeping religious reforms in Judah. He eliminated the practice of worshipping other gods and reinstituted the practice of worshipping Yahweh only, as per the Torah. Later on in life, Hezekiah grew ill and the Prophet Isaiah came to tell him to put his house in order because he would not recover. His life was going to end. Hezekiah prayed and wept before the Lord, which leads us to the key verses for today. Miraculously, God extends Hezekiah’s life for another 15 years!

    The fear of death is quite pervasive today, even in the church. We can go years without having to think about it but then that doctor’s report comes in. The news isn’t good or someone close to us passes away. Suddenly our own mortality is staring at us in the mirror. The question today the Lord is impressing for us is what would we do if He gave us an additional 15 years? Would we live without fear? If we knew that God had just agreed to give us 15 more years to live, would we operate with more freedom? With the freedom Christ died to provide for us:

    Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4: 4-7 (NIV)

    Would we rejoice always? Would we let our gentleness be evident to all? Would we finally climb the mountain of our anxiety and tell the devil to take his lies somewhere else? This is the peace God intends for all of us to live with. The peace that says whatever the situation is – it cannot be bigger than my God – so I will turn it over to Him! A peace that transcends our mere mortal understanding forever guarding our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Would we finally be thankful, regardless of the answer from God? Would we finally understand that the answer “no” is just as much a blessing as “yes” because only God knows what is best. Would we live without fear?

    Would we treat the people in our lives differently? If we knew that God had agreed to give us 15 more years to live would we learn to appreciate the people God has given us to share this life with? Would words like divorce and hate be removed from our vocabulary? Would we learn to say “I love you” with out mouths and with our lives? Would cruelty and indifference be cast out of who we are? Would we decide to love as God wants us to love?

    Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – 1Corinthians 13: 4-7 (NIV)

    Would we make the effort to be patient with our spouse and kind to our family? Would we cease to be envious of what others have and boastful about what God has blessed us with? Would we consider others before ourselves, check our own anger and throw away our record of wrongs we save against others? If we were given 15 more years, would really make time for anything less than hope, trust, and perseverance? Would we finally learn to love as God intended?

    Would we extend that love to those in the church? If God had agreed to give us 15 more years to live, would we stop burying our wounded? Would we stop looking at our brother and sister as a competitor and start looking at them through the lens God sees them through? Would we start to grasp why it is so integral to the plan of God that we love each other?

    “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13: 34-35 (NIV)

    Would we grasp this? That it is through our love for each other that others will know we are Disciples of Christ? Instead of seeing the divisiveness, false teachings, and judgmentalism they would see the love that God has poured out. They would want that love. They would pursue that love. What do we give them today worth pursuing? False dreams of earthly prosperity? Oh beloved, if we had been given 15 more years would we finally love one another in the church?

    Would that love carry outside the church as well? If we knew that God had just agreed to give us 15 more years to live, would we look at the unsaved differently at all? I say the unsaved not the unchurched. You can be churched and still be going to hell but you cannot be truly saved and be staring at eternity from the wrong side. With 15 years to go, would we still be able to walk past the people on the streets? Would we still be able to not talk about Jesus with the person we share an office with, a bus ride home with, or a life with? Would we finally realize that missions work is everyone’s responsibility and that the greatest mission field is the one God gave us? Would we stop playing Jonah by either running away from the people we should be preaching repentance to or standing on a distant hill hoping God destroys them?

    Would we treat God differently? If we knew that God had agreed to give us 15 more years to live would anything change in our relationship with God? Would we finally start to read His Word more regularly? Seeking His face. Would we finally start to pray?

    This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. – 1John 5: 14-15 (NIV)

    Would 15 years left finally motivate us to truly seek His will in everything we do? Would we seek Him in an active prayer life? Would our prayer life change at all? Would it go from a whine list to an exercise in intercession? Would we finally learn to be thankful for what we have been given? Even when the 15 years were winding down? Would we stop accepting flimsy knock-offs of God? Empty emotional experiences designed to appear “spiritual?” Would we stop chasing false signs and wonders; self help gospels, grace alone heresies, man-centered worship, gemstones, gold dust, angel feathers, glory clouds, inane personal testimonies of chilling with the Father in the throne room or anything else that is clearly not from Him. Would we finally be willing to strip out of our relationship with God, the religion that makes it impure?

    Speaking of impure, would our relationship with sin change at all? If we knew that God had agreed to give us 15 more years to live would we view what breaks God’s heart in a different light? As Paul Washer once said, you cannot have a new relationship with God if you do not have a new relationship with sin. The truth is that most of modern Christianity wants their cake and they want to eat it too. The false doctrines are popular because everyone wants to hear how they can walk into heaven arm in arm with the devil. But if we knew that God had just given us 15 more years would this finally change. Would we walk away from the sin we know we have. Would we finally stop circling that mountain? Would we finally see that stronghold come down? Would we finally abide under the shadow of the Almighty?

    Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.” – 2Timothy 2: 19 (NIV)

    Would we finally turn from our wickedness? Would we stand firm on God’s solid foundation, forsaking all else for Him? Would we finally come down from the fence we sit on between this world and our God and pick a side?

    Would we finally get rid of all the distractions plaguing Christianity? Would we stop the nonsense about wars on Christmas, God in the schools or any other dominionist thinking the devil has fooled us with? Would we put down all the books we pick up to avoid having to pick up the Bible? Put down the books of prophecy when you hold the greatest work of prophecy ever in the Bible. Is there anything terribly prophetic about saying we live in the end times? Would we finally understand that the biggest problem in this world is that the majority of it does not know Jesus Christ? Will we finally put down the purpose driven nonsense and the Circle Maker heresy long enough to pick the Bible back up again? Would we walk away from the show long enough to feel the Spirit once again?

    Would we start valuing the eternal life instead of this temporal one? Would we start to save riches in heaven instead of storing them up on this earth? Would we start thinking eternally instead of carnally? Would we stop being fooled by hustlers and snake oil salesmen pretending to be speaking for God? Would we finally learn to discern? Would we start to value our relationship more than our religion? The Kingdom more than our church building? Our Savior more than our pastor? What would we do?

    We live in uncertain times in a world that is passing away with each day. Wars and rumors of war on the television daily. One natural disaster after another; the likes of which we never heard of just a generation ago. The love of most indeed growing cold. Horrific stories such as the Cleveland kidnappings or the Connecticut shooting make us hardened and coarsened to evil. Disease and illness are spreading through the world and all of this leaves us with our heads spinning and if we are not careful – our faith shaken. Sometimes we reach out for the things of this world almost reflexively while God wants us to reach for Him. Fifteen years may seem like a substantial time but it is a mere drop in the bucket of eternity. Still, what if we were given the chance to add 15 years to our lives today? Would it change who we were? Would it change how we approach others in our lives, in our church, and those in the world? Would it change our relationship with God? With reading His Word and prayer? Would it change our relationship with this world and with sin? Because the truth is, everything should change. The truth is we all have been given the 15 years of Hezekiah; we just do not know when the clock has started. Act accordingly beloved; act accordingly.

    Reverend Anthony Wade – May 29, 2013


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