In our text, we see a couple – Zacharias and his wife, Elizabeth – who came from the priestly lineage of their forefather Aaron. They were righteous, they walked in God’s commands and ordinances, and they were blameless ... but they were barren. They had no children, but even with the prospect of children quickly fading, they never stopped serving the Lord, and they had never stopped praying for their miracle.
Mothers must never give up or surrender to the world. The enemy roams around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour, but greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. Keep praying, keep believing, and keep fighting for the life of your sons and daughters. Even if you are not a biological mother, you are a mother of the church, and the children in this church need your godly influence and your persistent prayers.
In a generation when the world seems to be going insane and it feels like the bedrock of morality is crumbling beneath our feet, I’m here to tell you that God has a plan. And because He has a plan we can stand with our feet on a firm foundation because we are part of His plan. He has a plan for His church, He has a plan for our lives, and He is planning to come again so that where He is there we may be also. And like the people praising Jesus two thousand years ago, we should also be praising God that our Redeemer is the King of kings, and Lord of lords.
Yes, there are some things that ought to stir up righteous indignation that moves us to bold action. Not violent action, but purposeful and transformational action, like praying more, respectfully speaking up at school board meetings and other public forums, and certainly voting based on the issues from a biblical perspective and not merely based on the political party.
What is the longest you’ve ever prayed for something before God answered your prayer? When year after year goes by and it doesn’t seem like God is moving, at what point should we stop praying? I’d say if our prayers are in agreement with the Word of God and we are pursuing the will of God, then we should never stop praying. You may ask, “What if it takes years and it seems like time is running out on the possibility of an answer?” So what? Is anything too hard for God? Is God limited by time or distance?
If Christ is not risen then all our self-denial of carnal pleasures was for nothing. If Christ is not risen then all our prayers were pointless. If Christ is not risen then there is no blessed hope, no heaven, no eternal healing, no restoration of all things, no point, no purpose, and no promise … if … Christ is not risen.
Luke includes four songs in the birth narratives, each following a powerful moment in the narrative. The early church gave each of these songs a title in Latin, which as the language of Rome, became the main language of the early church. Today I want to look at these four songs in the order they appear and explore the main message of each of them as an outline for the Christmas story.
MULTICULTURAL SUNDAY: FROM TRIBE TO KINGDOM By Mark E. Hardgrove, PhD Revelation 5:8-10 8 Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new...
Jesus said they were like sheep without a shepherd, and then Mark records, “So He began to teach them many things” This brings us back to the topics of priorities, goals, and training. Jesus saw the spiritual need of the people and moved with compassion He began to teach them. They were walking in spiritual darkness and His teaching was the light that could lead them out of darkness and into a new life of significance and purpose. They were wandering around without spiritual direction or focus, so based upon His priorities and goals, before doing anything else, Jesus taught them.
Think about it, of all the titles God could have chosen for Himself—and there are many names for God indicating His power and character—the most intimate and relational title He chose was “Father.” The Bible instructs us to pray in the name of Jesus, but Jesus teaches us to open our prayers with, “Our Father who is in heaven.”