Thursday, May 5, 2011

Luke 1:5-17

There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years. And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course, According to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense. And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. (Luke 1:5-17)

The story of the parents of John the Baptist. They were barren, but remained faithful to God and each other, despite Zacharias being able to put Elisabeth aside for not being able to have children and that barrenness was a curse from God. As the Scripture says: “And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.” By this time they were “well stricken in years” so there was no hope of having a child either.

The description of Zacharias and Elisabeth are two people who are “waiting on the Lord”, not for any hope of specific temporal blessings, but in His will. They are serving Him and ready to serve Him more. Then He gives the signs for those who will see, the old lady past menopause and her old husband, both of them nice enough people, working about the Temple, but cursed by God without children. How many gossips ran their mouths about the “secret sin” of this couple? However, God was ready to move in a mighty way with this willing couple, both blessing them and making Himself known by marking out this child as something special.

Monday, April 25, 2011

God Has No "Plan B"

Taken, rather loosely from a sermon preached by my pastor on 9 December 2007.

Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian. For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this. (Isaiah 9:1-7)

This begins with a continuation from the end of chapter 8 where it describes what is coming upon Syria and Israel, the Assyrians. There are many plots and plans going on in this time with the Syrians and Northern Kingdom of Israel attempting to subjugate Judah or force it to join with them against Assyria. Also, Ahaz, king of Judah, wanted to to call down the Assyrians, allying himself to them as a vassal to save him from this war instead of trusting in God.

In response the Lord prophesies through Isaiah that all of the counsels and plans of men would come to nothing and God would break the alliance against Judah, in fact, using Assyria to do so. Isaiah predicts that even though the darkness will come, those that pass through it remaining faithful to God through holding onto Him and the Scriptures would see a great light. In fact, those who don't have the Scriptures, and by implication faith in God, have no truth in them.

However, God not only promises that Judah will remain, but that there will come one day from the house of David One Who will be His salvation. It will break the yoke, stave and rod off oppression (sin) from His people. It will not come in confusions and blood as a war with a warrior, but it will come with fire and burning. The Child will be born and give Himself for us.

His character can be determined by His titles, the government will be on His shoulder, signifying that He alone is responsible and His Kingdom and Peace will expand without decrease. This is what God wills and plans.

Contrast this with the actions of the men in this. They are constantly making up “plan B” to deal with their problems. Israel could have returned to God, but instead chose to pursue military alliances for security. They fail because they set themselves against the will of God. They try to gain security and peace by their own actions and fail to do so, then don't know why.

Christ came because He knew He would have to. There isn't any need for a “plan B” with Him, the Fall was no surprise to Him. The failures of the Jews were known to Him, just as those who will seek His face are known to him. There is nothing impossible with God, although the actions of many prove their doubts about this when they take up “fall back” positions, just to “help God out”. Search for what He wants for you and while you search; work hard, dream big and then make due with what God gives you and to Him be the glory.

Are you doing all you do for His glory in whatever situation you find yourself?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Something New

I'm starting something I promised that I would do. Yes, this blog is dead, but so what, this is as much for me as anyone else.

I've finally finished the notebook I keep sermon and study notes in. Since we are talking something I use once or twice a week, it is time to do something with these. So, I'm going to go through it page by page and on the weekdays start putting in the Scripture that came with each message and from my notes either teach the same lesson or review it the Scripture and create my own lesson from it.

For several reasons, I'm not going to list the names of the men who taught these, most importantly because there are still some antimasons who want to try to find my pastor and harass him. So, if you do read this and it looks like your stuff, all copyrights will still apply to the original author.

I'll start this up in the morning.