September 1, 2022

Prophecy

Now his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying: Luke 1:67

Zacharias wasn’t a prophet; he was a priest. So how is it that he prophesied?  Was he revealing something about the future?  Not at all!  He was simply proclaiming the wonderful works of the Lord and repeating the promise he was given when the angel visited him.  He was not a prophet, but he did prophecy.

So how was this possible and can we all prophecy?  The answer is in today’s key verse.  It says Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied.  We can all prophecy, but we must first be filled up to the overflow with God’s Spirit.

1 Corinthians 14:1 & 3 says: Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.  He who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.   The apostle Paul taught the church in Corinth that it is the right thing to desire spiritual gifts and especially prophesying.  Then he defines what prophesying is.  He said it is speaking edification and exhortation to comfort people.  Zacharias prophesied out of his great joy as did Mary and Elizabeth in the previous verses in Luke 1.

We know that it is not required to be a prophet to encourage and build others up.  Most of us do that to some degree every day.  We see a friend hurting, so we speak a word over them that encourages and brings hope to their situation.  We are not predicting or talking about a future event.  We simply speak or pray a promise from God’s Word that He already gave.  In Zacharias’ case, he prophesied in 4 parts: Number one was what he knew about God. He is blessed and the God of Israel.  The second part of his prophecy was about past victories.  Times and circumstances that God had brought the nation of Israel through.  Thirdly, he spoke about the coming messiah, which he knew about from the scriptures. (a promise from God) Lastly, he spoke an encouraging word over his newborn child, the words the angel gave him at the visitation before he was conceived.

  • Blessed is the Lord God of Israel,
  • For He has visited and redeemed His people,
  • He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David,
  • He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets, who have been since the world began,
  • We should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us, to perform the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember His holy covenant, the oath which He swore to our father Abraham: To grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.
  • And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, to give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God, with which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.

We can all prophecy, in fact we should be speaking words of encouragement every where we go every day of our lives.  Not words we make up or repeating what we have heard about the doom and gloom of the world’s condition, but words that bring hope and put courage into the hearts of those who are feeling faint.  Let’s start today to prophecy the goodness of God that we know from personal experience, proclaiming His great salvation through Christ Jesus and holding fast to the promises we know belong to us right here and now!

Today I want to encourage you to prophecy.  Put away any fear filled talk and sarcastic responses.  Instead declare the greatness of God and turn your attention and others to what He has promised for our day and time.  This may require you to get into His Word more to know exactly what He has promised, but that is a good thing.  That will pull you in closed to all that He has planned for you, and it will also propel you into the things to come with great power.  Begin today to prophecy and take note of how the simple step of rejoicing in faith in His Word will change your perspective and also plant hope for the future into the heart of those around you.

Today’s scripture reading: Luke 1:67-80

67 Now his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying:

68 “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people,

69 And has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David,

70 As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets, who have been since the world began,

71 That we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us,

72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember His holy covenant,

73 The oath which He swore to our father Abraham:

74 To grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear,

75 In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.

76 “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; for you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways,

77 To give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins,

78 Through the tender mercy of our God, with which the Dayspring from on high has visited us;

79 To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

80 So the child grew and became strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his manifestation to Israel.

August 31, 2022

Rejoice with others

When her neighbors and relatives heard how the Lord had shown great mercy to her, they rejoiced with her. Luke 1:58

Today’s world has changed into quite a different culture from even just 100 years ago.  With technology, life has progressed to a rate of speed that no one could have imagined back then.  Still, we attempt to stay in touch with one another, and even though it is easier than ever, we sometimes fill our schedule so full there is no time to invest in real relationships .  We have social media so we can let the whole world know when there is news and receive their responses good or bad, but the most important thing is the people you spend real time with and those who truly care about cheering you on in life.

When Elizabeth gave birth, her neighbors and relatives rejoiced with her.  They could not do this from far away.  They came to her in person and encouraged her and shared in her joy.  There was true connection and relationship.  She spent time with these people and probably worked beside them day by day.  These were people she did life with.  I’m sure they were surprised when Elizabeth announced that she was going to have a baby, but then they showed up when her joy became full. They surrounded her with love and kindness and made her time of rejoicing even greater!

So, who is showing up for you?  Who celebrates with you when God does a wonderful work in your life.  Who is surrounding you with encouragement and joy when your miracles come?  More importantly, who is coming along side you as you go through the valleys and who is cheering you on in times of trouble?  Social media can only go so far.  Probably half of your “friends” are acquaintances at best and I would not be surprised at the number of “friends” you have that you do not even know personally.  Still when something is posted, you check often for comments and hearts to see who is rejoicing with you.  A clear sign of your need for encouragement.

Today I want to encourage you to consider who rejoices with you for real.  If I am honest, I have a hand full of close relationships at the most.  I too fit into that category of keeping to myself and not overly concerned with close relationships, content to watch the rest of the world share their ups and downs.  My challenge for myself as well as for you today would be to begin to cultivate relationship that can grow into close knit friendships.  Not only for yourself, but also for other people.  Then you can be the kind of friend that gathers around to rejoice with others when they are celebrating their victories.  Take steps today to reach out to neighbors, coworkers and relative to form relationships that will grow into true lifetime friends.

Today’s scripture reading: Luke 1:57-66

57 Now Elizabeth’s full time came for her to be delivered, and she brought forth a son. 

58 When her neighbors and relatives heard how the Lord had shown great mercy to her, they rejoiced with her.

59 So it was, on the eighth day, that they came to circumcise the child; and they would have called him by the name of his father, Zacharias. 

60 His mother answered and said, “No; he shall be called John.”

61But they said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who is called by this name.” 

62 So they made signs to his father—what he would have him called.

63 And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, saying, “His name is John.” So they all marveled. 

64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, praising God. 

65 Then fear came on all who dwelt around them; and all these sayings were discussed throughout all the hill country of Judea. 

66 And all those who heard them kept them in their hearts, saying, “What kind of child will this be?” And the hand of the Lord was with him.

August 30, 2022

Magnify the Lord

And Mary said:  “My soul magnifies the Lord, Luke 1:46

This portion of scripture is very famously known as Mary’s song of praise.  At this point and time, she was probably still in awe of what had happened to her and not quite sure about it all.  I’m sure she was considering all that she would be going through and if she was anything like the rest of us, most likely she was nervous and afraid.

Here she speaks in faith of God’s goodness and the truth of Who He is.  She says:

  • My soul magnifies the Lord, He has looked on me in my lowly state. 
  • He Who is mighty has done great things for me, Holy is His name.
  • His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation.
  • He has shown strength with His arm and scattered the proud in their imaginations.
  • He has put down the mighty from their thrones and lifted up the humble
  • He has filled the hungry with good things, the rich He has sent away empty.
  • He helped Israel to remember His mercy.

These are wonderful acts of God that Mary proclaimed that day, but they are also true for all of us today.  Certainly, Mary was chosen at that time to deliver God’s Son into the world, but the praise she spoke is true for us in this time.

This is a great example of how we can praise our loving Father through the things we are not sure about, anxious over and afraid of.  When we face the uncertainties of life, praise needs to be our go to.  When life gets bumpy and we don’t see the outcome of success on the horizon, we can still magnify the Lord to make Him bigger in our lives than any other feeling or circumstance.

Today I want to encourage you to make God bigger in your life.  Whatever you are going through or what ever you are up against, remind yourself that God is bigger and remember the things He has brought you through already in life.  He will not let you down as you trust Him through every storm, but you must magnify Him, not the problem.  Get in the practice today of using your struggles as a cue to praise and worship.  Each time you feel the cares and worries of life coming on you, immediately turn to praising God for all He is and all He has done.  You can even use the truths from Mary’s song, but in all you do, say: My soul magnifies the LORD because He is good and always does good things.

Today’s scripture reading: Luke1:46-56

46 And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord,

47And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.

48 For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.

49 For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name.

50 And His mercy is on those who fear Him From generation to generation.

51 He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.

52 He has put down the mighty from their thrones, And exalted the lowly.

53 He has filled the hungry with good things, And the rich He has sent away empty.

54 He has helped His servant Israel, In remembrance of His mercy,

55 As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and to his seed forever.”

56 And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her house.

August 29, 2022

Get filled up

For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. Luke 1:44

How do you fill up your life and heart with the Holy Spirit?  Is it in worship?  Is it in praise and thanksgiving?  Maybe it is when you fill up on God’s promises in His Word or when you hear messages and sermons about Him?

In today’s reading, Elizabeth was filled up when she heard a voice.  When Mary went to visit her and spoke to her, Elizabeth became filled with the Holy Spirit.  In fact, she felt the baby inside her leap for joy when the Holy Spirit came in.  It wasn’t just Mary’s greeting and voice that filled Elizabeth, but it was the voice of encouragement and expectation the filled her.  She heard Mary speaking and instantaneously knew something good was getting ready to happen.  She became so full of God’s Spirit in that moment that the baby inside her leaped for joy.  Now that is quite a filling!

We read other places in scripture when believers became full of God’s Spirit, even in the Old Testament.  Some were filled when there was singing and praises given to God, some were filled when they were anointed by the priest.  In the New Testament there were those who were filled when they came into agreement in prayer and there were other that were filled simply by hearing the message of salvation and God’s great love!  The thing that impressed me the most was that the same believers that were filled in one place in scripture were filled up again in just a few chapters later.  (See Acts 2 &4) Also, there were some that were filled at one point, then went the wrong direction later down the road. implying that the filling had drained out.  (King Saul for example) That tells me that we need to be continually refilling and replenishing the Spirit presence inside us.

My point is that being filled with God’s Spirit is something we pursue on purpose.  God does the filling, but we position ourselves for that filling.  That position is the place God has called you to.  Elizabeth was called to be the mother of Jesus’ forerunner.  The believers in the upper room were there because Jesus instructed them to wait there until the Holy Spirit came.  Cornelius’ house was filled when God sent Peter to them to preach the good news.  The list can go on and on.

Today I want to encourage you to position yourself to be empowered by the Holy Spirit.  This doesn’t mean there will be a tongue of fire dropped down from heaven on your head.  In fact, it is almost a sure thing that will not happen.  It does, however mean that you will receive power to be His witness in your home, community and wherever you go.  Take time to fill up on God’s word, praise and worship or encouraging messages.  Give the Holy Spirit access to your whole life and allow Him to lead and direct your day to where that power is needed.  The joy of the Lord will fill you up and you will feel like leaping for joy as the Spirit of God fills your life.

Today’s scripture reading: Luke 1:39-45

39 Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, 

40 and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. 

41 And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 

42 Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 

43 But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 

44 For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. 

45 Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.”

August 27, 2022

Impossible?

For with God nothing will be impossible.”  Luke 1:37

Have you ever been in an impossible place in your life?  Maybe you were facing something at work or school?  Or maybe you had something in your family or marriage that looked impossible?  I’m sure we have all felt like we were up against impossible odds at some point in our lives.  The truth is, it probably wasn’t impossible, it just looked like it or felt like it at the time, but after a while it fell into place as you prayed and trusted God through it.

When Mary was visited by the angel who told her she would have a baby before she was intimate with a man, this was against the laws of nature.  This was a true impossibility.  There was no way this could happen without supernatural interventions.  Mary did ask the question “How can this happen when I have not been with a man?”  Gabriel told her that her relative Elizabeth was expecting also, which was another impossibility, so that Mary knew this was going to happen soon and the impossible was possible with God.

It seems like we sometimes get the impression that these miracles only happened at that time for the reason of Jesus being born into the world.  It is true, that miracles and impossibilities were necessary to bring Him here, but that doesn’t mean that we will no longer see God’s hand moving in impossible ways.  He still does miracles today and He wants us to know it and see them.

Today I want to encourage you to understand and believe that we serve a wonder working God and a miracle moving Father.  He can do the impossible and still does today.  What things seem impossible in your life?  Is it something in your family or marriage?  Do you need to see God’s hand moving things at your place of employment?  Trust Him today and ask Him to work all things together for good because you love Him and are called to His purpose.  He will show up and He will bring His miracle working power to all your impossibilities.

Today’s scripture reading: Luke 1:26-38

26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 

27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 

28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”

29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 

30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 

31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. 

32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 

33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”

35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. 

36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. 

37 For with God nothing will be impossible.”

38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

August 26, 2022

The Last is Better than the First

“The Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”  Luke 1:25

When I look back over my life, I have a lot of regrets.  I frittered away a lot of years in selfish living and will never get those days back to fix.  I am thankful for God’s protection and provision in those times, and I am so glad that I now have the opportunity to help others not fall into the same pits that I did.  I am praying each day that I can finish this life well and the end will be better than the beginning. 

Elizabeth’s story is a little different.  She was a wife that could not have children.  In that day, that was what gave women meaning and purpose in the world.  So, she struggled for all her child bearing years because she could not conceive.  When she finally does get pregnant, she said the Lord has taken away my reproach, which sounds like she was being punished.  Maybe that is how she looked at it all those years, but I believe she was being preserved for just the right moment in time so that she could have a miracle child.  This child brought her so much joy because of the struggle she went through to get there.  Her end days became better than her beginning.

If you are struggling with things today, try to see them from an eternal perspective.  Just because circumstances haven’t gone the way you had hoped or are seemingly impossible to get better, remember that God is ready to release your miracle at just the right moment in time.  Believe that He is orchestrating all things together for your good because you love Him and are called to His purpose.  Know that your end of days will be better than your beginning years as you commit each concern you have in life to His hands.

Today I want to encourage you to trust your heavenly Father to care and carry you through whatever you are facing in your life.  Ask Him to show you how to pray for your life’s concerns and what scripture or words to hold on to.  Then watch as you go through your days for His hand reaching into your world and thank Him as you see it.  Your miracle may not come all in one day, but your last days will be greater than your first if you press in and trust Him with all the days that you have left to live.

Today’s scripture reading: Luke 1:21-25

21 And the people waited for Zacharias, and marveled that he lingered so long in the temple. 

22 But when he came out, he could not speak to them; and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple, for he beckoned to them and remained speechless.

23 So it was, as soon as the days of his service were completed, that he departed to his own house. 

24 Now after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived; and she hid herself five months, saying, 

25 “Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”

August 24, 2022

Faith Starts Here

So it was, as soon as the days of his service were completed, that he departed to his own house. Luke 1:23 

Wow, this is something.  Even though Zacharias came out of the Holy place without a voice, he continued on for the rest of his time at the temple to complete his duties.  If this had been me, I’m sure I would have taken a day off if not the rest of my time, but Zacharias recognized that he was responsible before God to complete his work.  He didn’t even rush out to try to accomplish what the angel told him with his wife at home.  It just happened after those days.  The angel told Zacharias the plan, and then all Zacharias had to do was believe and wait by living his life as always.  He finished his work; he went home, and he got intimate with his wife at some point.  The only thing that was different was now he could not talk.

This speaks to me because many times I perceive the Lord pointing in a direction and almost immediately I begin to wonder and plan for how it is going to happen.  I have to admit, there have been times that I even tried to make things happen, but that isn’t how God works.  I believe the reason He shows us things that are coming is so that we can have hope and be watching for them.  Our faith must be engaged to not pass up the plans He has for us.  Imagine you pray to your heavenly Father and tell Him that you want to complete and accomplish everything He has planned for you, but you don’t know what that is and do not listen when He is talking to you about those things. Then when the doors are open to His plans, you pass them by because your flesh doesn’t want to do those things, or they seem too big and impossible for you to achieve.  That is the point.  If you could do them on your own, you wouldn’t need God’s help and direction.

Zacharias had relations with his wife for many years and nothing happened.  Now God spoke to him through the angel and hope was brought to life.  I’m sure Zacharias went home and wrote to Elizabeth about what the angel told him so now her faith was activated to believe that God wants to do something here.  Their hope was no longer limited by the outward circumstances of barrenness.  They had God’s Word on the situation and now they had something to attach their faith to.

The point is faith starts where the will of God is known.  You have faith for things you know about God and if you don’t know them, there is nothing to have faith in.  For example, you have faith for salvation because you learned that whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:13) Until someone told you about it, you had no idea that God wanted to save you. Even if you had that desire in you, you would have dismissed it because of a condemning spirit or you would have begun to seek Him and find out if you could be saved from the sin of the world.  Your salvation didn’t happen until you heard God’s Word on the subject.  Other examples are you have faith that God is a good God because the scriptures tell us that He is.  You have faith for healing and protection because His Word says He heals all your diseases and redeems your life from destruction. (Psalms 103) If you don’t know that, then you live in fear of something bad happening because you see it all around you.  Your faith is attached to what you know whether that is fear in this physical world or belief in what God spoke in His Word or to your heart.

Today I want to encourage you to find out the benefits God has for you and the plans.  Psalms 103 says to Bless the Lord oh my soul and don’t forget all of His benefits.  One benefit is that you can know God’s plan and purpose for your life.  Spend some time today and everyday talking with and listening to the voice of His Spirit inside of you.  Then ask Him for scripture to solidify what He is leading you to.  You want to be sure you are attaching your faith to the Word of God, not some random desire you have.  When you seek Him with all your heart and ask for His confirmation on what you are hearing, then you will find Him and all the blessings He has for you. (Jeremiah 29:13)

Today’s scripture reading: Luke 1:21-25

21 And the people waited for Zacharias, and marveled that he lingered so long in the temple. 

22 But when he came out, he could not speak to them; and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple, for he beckoned to them and remained speechless.

23 So it was, as soon as the days of his service were completed, that he departed to his own house. 

24 Now after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived; and she hid herself five months, saying, 

25 “Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”

August 23, 2022

No Excuses

And Zacharias said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.” Luke 1:18

Zacharias wanted a sign to know that the angel was telling the truth about his future.  He said to the angel, how can I know for sure that what you are telling me is really going to happen.  He also told the angel why his words were impossible because he and his wife were both old now and it was too late for them to have children.  However, the angel gave a rebuke to Zacharias and told him that because he didn’t believe what Gabriel told him, he would not be able to speak until all these things were fulfilled.

How many times have we made excuses when God showed us something He wanted to do in our lives or wanted us to do for His kingdom?  How many times have we ignored the direction that God was giving, because we were not interested, or the circumstances didn’t look like they were lining up right.  I know many times in my life, I didn’t do things God wanted me to simply because I didn’t realize it was God directing me and my flesh just didn’t feel like it today.

This is serious business. In this passage, we can plainly see the consequences of doubt and unbelief.  Zacharias’ speech was gone for almost a year.  That doesn’t seem like a long time 2000 years later, but to Zacharias, it probably felt like an eternity when he was going through it.  At least he knew it was only until the angel, Gabriel’s words were completed.

What about us today?  Is it just a random stream of bad luck coming against us when things look like they are always wrong?  Does it seem like you are making excuses every time an opportunity comes?  It never seems to be the right timing for next steps because you are always taking steps back or sideways? Do you hear your self defending why you cannot move forward?  “My alarm didn’t go off,” “my car broke down.”  “I don’t feel well today” or “I got stuck in traffic?”

Here’s the thing: Each time you ignore or say no to the things the Holy Spirit is leading you to, His voice not only becomes harder to discern, but that also begins to open a gap for the enemy to enter into your circumstances to hold you back.  The longer you put off the steps of faith that you are given, the wider that gap becomes and the more trouble you are letting in.

I do have some good news, though.  You can take steps today.  What ever you know you have been avoiding from God or the things on your heart to do that you have put off because it is just not the perfect timing, you can turn in that direction today.  Tell the Lord that you repent from not stepping into the things He is calling you to and ask Him to empower you to begin to walk out the things He has planned.  It may feel like rowing up stream for a while and that is because you let yourself drift for so long.  If you do not know or cannot remember what that thing is, ask the Holy Spirit to remind you where you got off track or what that next step is that you have not been in tune with.  Then pay attention to the things He brings to your memory and if you are not sure when the thoughts come, ask Him if that is the thing. Don’t avoid or put off the plans He has for you.  I can assure you that they are good plans and keeping in step and on mission with Him will keep that gap closed so the enemy will not be able to get in. 

Today I want to encourage you to put excuses and bad timing away from you.  Step into all that God has for your life by stepping into the things His is leading you to right now.  I promise you they will be good plans.  Like Zacharias, that is when you will see your miracle come and that is when your life will feel complete.

Today’s scripture reading: Luke 1:18-25

18 And Zacharias said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.”

19 And the angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings. 

20 But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time.”

21 And the people waited for Zacharias, and marveled that he lingered so long in the temple. 

22 But when he came out, he could not speak to them; and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple, for he beckoned to them and remained speechless.

23 So it was, as soon as the days of his service were completed, that he departed to his own house. 

24 Now after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived; and she hid herself five months, saying, 

25 “Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”

August 21, 2022

Your supernatural answer is coming

But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.  Luke 1:13

Have you ever prayed for something or someone for a long time and didn’t see the results or the answer you had hoped for?  Have you ever gotten to a place where you gave up all hope for the circumstances to change?  Maybe for a friend or family member to step into a faith relationship, maybe for a financial situation or maybe it was for a child just like Zacharias in today’s reading. I know I have had these moments; I have even come to the end of my rope to the point where I didn’t even want to let hope in because I was afraid of disappointment again.  I want to tell you some good news today.  The answer is still on its way.

In today’s reading, Zacharias was visited in the temple by an angel.  The angel reminds him that he had been praying for a child and that now is the time because his prayer has been heard.  Zacharias and his wife, Elizabeth were older now and beyond the years that this prayer could have been answered in the natural realm of things.  I’m pretty sure he had given up all hope and probably by this time had stopped praying this prayer because they were past the age of this prayer coming to pass within the laws of nature.  Even when the angel told Zacharias that his prayer was being answered, he still found it hard to believe and was searching for the solution on how it would all be possible.

That’s just it.  When we pray, often times we try to imagine how God will answer our pray and tell Him how He could possibly make it all happen.  Sometimes we even “pray” by telling Him the circumstances to twist and the people to maneuver to bring the answer into this world.  The truth is God rarely if ever does things the way we can imagine or dream up.  His ways are so much higher and better than our way, and His ways will always require us to take a step of faith.

Today I want to encourage you to keep hope alive in your prayer.  Believe that God is hearing your prayer and seeing your situation and He is preparing the perfect solution.  Don’t worry about how He will do it or give Him advise on how He can make it happen.  Instead, listen and ask what steps of faith you need to take to open the door for your answer to get through.  In Zacharias case, his words of doubt and discouragement had become the barrier that threatened his outcome.  But God had a plan to turn the situation around at just the right moment in time just like He does for you today.  Stir up your hope and believe that your miracle is coming and trust that God doesn’t need your advice on how to do it.  All He needs is for you to be a willing vessel to take the steps of obedience to open the doors.

Today’s scripture reading: Luke 1:11-17

11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 

12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.

13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 

14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. 

15 For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. 

16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. 

17 He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘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.”

August 19, 2022

In the right place

According to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.  Luke 1:9

It was not a coincidence that Zacharias was burning incense at the time of his angelic visitation.  It was his assignment.  The priests were given various tasks to complete and evidently they where chosen by drawing lots.  Zacharias was in the right place at the right time where he was supposed to be and on the mission he was given in that timing.

God had strategically placed Zacharias in that position to complete his purpose for that time.  Even though the circumstances leading up to that day in the temple were not always perfect, Zacharias stayed in his place.  There were outside forces coming against him such as: Roman oppression, a barren wife and old age to name a few.  Zacharias remained faithful to his position despite the obstacles and that is where he found his purpose for that time.

What about you, are you at a point in your life where you feel the outside circumstances coming against you?  Have you been faithful in your serving the Lord and wondered why your prayers and dreams have not happened yet?  If so, stay steady and stay in your place.  He knows right where you are, and your position is important.  Even when things seem like they are not making a difference, you will be at the right place at the right time for the plans He has for you.

Today I want to encourage you to stay in your place.  It can be tempting sometime to follow after a better paying job or chase a pipe dream, but God has a plan for you right where you are faithfully serving now.  Trust that plan and keep consistent in your work for the Lord.  You may not have an angelic visit, but He will meet you right where you are at the perfect time in His plan.

Today’s scripture reading: Luke 1:5-10

5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 

6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. 

7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years.

8 So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division, 

9 According to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. 

10 And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense.