Friday, December 17, 2010

Rebellion Against God

 9For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue.
 10Destroy thou them, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions; for they have rebelled against thee. 

 Rebellion Against God

Our world is in rebellion against God! Do we hear world leaders speaking words of faithfulness to God? What motivates our world today? Sadly, the love of money and greed for more is more evident than a true concern for man. We see unparalleled wickedness, matched with a growing hatred toward God.

How should we, as Christians react to the world in which we live?

David was plagued on every side by enemies, especially King Saul. Yet, did we ever see David raise his arm against Saul? When Saul was just a few feet from him, David could easily have taken his life, yet he did not. Why? David understood that the lives of all men are in the hands of God. It was God who would, and did, ordain the exact time when David would become king.

As we observe the world around us, let us not become discouraged. Let us walk in faith and confidence in our God who rules all. Even those who are in rebellion against God will be dealt with in God's time.

Until then, let us pray that God would use us for His honor and glory, that by His grace, more and more of those who are presently in rebellion against God, would come to know Him as their true Lord and Savior.

Oh that God would bring all men to Him!

God Bless You,
Linda

Thursday, December 16, 2010

As for Me

 7But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple.
 8Lead me, O LORD, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before my face. 

 As for Me

 There is no doubt about it! As we read verses 7 and 8 from Psalm 5, shown above, David knew that there was no righteousness in himself. All of his help and strength were found in the Lord. How, then, did he come before God? 

But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple. 

How do we come before God? Do we come in humility and Godly fear, worshiping our God who is pure righteousness and holiness? Or, do we come with expectations--maybe even demands--that God would grant us our desires and petitions before Him?
In the end, each person must answer these questions for themselves. It does not matter how our pastors, our friends, our spouses, our families, etc. answer them. 

As for me, how do I come before God?

What a wonderful example of David. In pondering these same questions he said, 

Lead me, O LORD, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before my face.

David understood that our lives must be lived in the righteousness of God. The answers lie in God, and not in the things of this world. Only in Christ will we live lives of peace, joy, and contentment.

Let us, today, join David and plea with the Lord to lead us in His righteousness, and to make His way straight before us.

God Bless You,
Linda

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

God Abhors Sin

 5The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.
 6Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the LORD will abhor the bloody and deceitful man.

 God Abhors Sin

How can we possibly express the true relationship between God and sin. At best, our words are paltry in their expression. According to our verses today from Psalm 5, God hates all workers of iniquity, He will destroy those who speak falsehood, and He abhors bloody and deceitful man. 

We have such a light view of sin, that we cannot comprehend a God who is so perfect that not a speck of sin could ever stand before Him. We all agree that ax murderers are sinners, but what about the sweet little old ladies who have cookies for all of the neighborhood children? 

We have, therefore, created this middle ground. Of course, we are not perfect like God, we all understand that; but, then, neither are we all as evil as that ax murderer. We live in the civilized middle ground. That works well for us, does it not? We can live our lives feeling pretty good about mankind and especially, ourselves. Surely, God who created us understands.

That is where the real problem lies. God is perfect; His perfection does not allow even a speck of sin, including the middle ground we have created. Compared to others, we might look pretty good, but compared to God, no man can stand before Him.

Do we need Christ? Yes! Amazingly, Christ's blood is sufficient to pay for the sin of man, both in that middle ground we have created, as well as for that ax murderer. By the grace of God, He created a solution to our hopeless separation from Him through the payment bought by Christ who shed His own perfect blood in payment for our sin. When God looks at His children, He sees them through the perfect blood of Christ which washes away their sin.

Let us remember, then, that it is never us, or anything within us that gives us the ability or intelligence to accept Christ's payment for our sin. Our salvation is all of God, and none of us. Christ is All!

Let us take time to think about what that really means in our daily lives. Are we living in a manner pleasing to Christ who gave so much to save us? Remember, there is no middle ground; God abhors sin, yet there is Christ!

God Bless You,
Linda

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Perfection!

 4For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. 

Perfection!

Perfection! We really do not understand it! We are people who are corrupted by sin, living in a world that is a constant evidence of the results of sin, both in nature as well as politically. How, then, do we understand God?

God is perfection; no evil lives in God. Is God pleased with man's sin? Is God pleased when His children sin? Why did God create  a world that had the capacity to fall into sin? These are the deep things of God that we will never truly understand until we leave this life and enter into the glory He has provided for His children.

When we really think about our world, its sin, and then God's miraculous provision to satisfy the penalty for sin, we must fall down before Him, speechless. It did not have to be this way, you know. God could have destroyed this world with one word, and created a new, perfect world. Yet, He did not.

Our perfect, holy God created a world with the capacity to sin, along with the solution for that sin, all before speaking His first words, "Let there be light." That is truly perfection beyond what we can comprehend.

The next time we are tempted to chide God for events we do not understand, let us take time to pause and meditate upon our perfect God, who sent His perfect Son to take on the penalty for our sin which separated us from God, making a pathway for us to God. 

Amazing love, how can it be, that thou my God didst die for me!

God Bless You,
Linda

Friday, December 10, 2010

Look Up!

 3My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up. 

 Look Up! 

 What is it about mornings that seems to set the mood for the entire day. If we "get up on the wrong side of the bed" it seems as though we have problems all day. How did the Psalmist avoid that feeling?

He prayed in the morning. Not only that but look what he said.

In the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.

Maybe on those bad days we are looking in the wrong direction! Do we look at ourselves? Are we consumed with the stresses of life? Are we worried about our circumstances? According to the Psalmist we should look up in the morning.

Do you think our day would go differently if we looked up to God in the morning and casted all of our worries and cares on Him, knowing that He will come to our aid? How often do we not enjoy the blessings of the Christian life just because we do not access those blessings?

What a good reminder for all of God's children to live in the blessings and joy of the Lord instead of being consumed by the depressing circumstances of this life. As we were reminded yesterday, we can say to God, "Hearken", and expect that He will answer.

During the hustle and bustle of this holiday season, let us look up to God who will always heed our cries.

How amazing is that? 

God Bless You,

Linda

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Hearken!

 1Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation.
 2Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray. 

 Hearken!

 Where do we go for help? When the roof is leaking, the cows are out of the pasture, and the barn has been destroyed by a windstorm, who will help us? 

We may have some friends and neighbors who will help put new shingles on the roof and rebuild the fences and the barn. We may even qualify for a government loan for the  expenses, but do we first go to the Lord? 

We may pray later, but usually that is after we have lined up the people and money for the repairs. After all, God is not going to dig holes for the fence posts, or climb the ladder to make repairs to the house or rebuild the barn. 

David understood the correct order when He implored God to give ear to his words. He even emboldened his requests with the word, "hearken." He is saying, "Listen, God; I need you. Consider what I am saying and listen to my helpless cry.

How often do we think of prayer as a last resort? "I cannot do anything to help you, but at least I can pray." We should say, "I will pray for you, and then see if there are other ways I may help." Prayer is what we need first and foremost.

Not only do we need prayer, but as children of God, we can go to God boldly and say, "Hearken!" We have the right to expect God to not only hear, but also come to our aid.

I must admit, that it is easy to take that right for granted, but we must consider where we would be without that help! We must also consider the hopelessness of the lost and pray that God would open their eyes to the truth.

What an awesome God we have!

God Bless You,

Linda

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Peace

 8I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety. 

 Peace

 This is perhaps, my most quoted verse of the Bible; I especially like its wording in the King James Version. 

How often are we kept awake by the worries of this life? Maybe we bounced a check, or there is no money to make the house or the rent payment. Maybe our children seem to be following in the ways of the world, leaving behind the values we so carefully instilled within them. Maybe a family member has just received word of a terminal illness. These, and many more worries can easily keep us awake at night.

But, look what David experienced; his was not just a matter of the worries of this life. He spent many years of his life running from an enemy who wanted nothing more than to David's death. Even in our day, throughout the world there are many who are in constant fear for their life, through persecution, or even natural disasters.

Even so, David testified to us: I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep. Why? For thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.

Our peace, or lack of it, does not rest upon the things of this life. God grants to His children a peace that passes all understanding.

Go today, and rest in the Lord who is the only one who can truly grant us life, safety, and peace.

God Bless You,

Linda

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Gladness in My Heart!

 6There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.
 7Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased. 
 (Psalm 4:6-7, King James Version)

Gladness in My Heart

Who will show us any good?  Have you ever felt that way? No matter where you look, you just cannot seem to see anything good. The news is bad, the weather is bad, you seem to have no friends, you hate your job - and the list goes on. Even Christians share feelings such as this; this is not an attitude that is common just to those of the world.

Do you think the psalmist ever felt that way? David experienced the same things in this life that we do. Psalm 4 is such a wonderful encouragement to Christians. Even when everything in this life seems to be falling apart, we are reminded that gladness and joy do not come from within, or even from our circumstances. Gladness and joy are gifts from the Lord. 

Thou hast put gladness in my heart.

But, there is even more! Even though we know it is not true, we can think of nothing that will bring us more happiness than to gain a large amount of money. Maybe we will win the lottery, or a long lost uncle has left us with 2 million dollars! Think of what we could do with 2 million dollars (tax free of course). 

Did David share this sentiment with us? Yes, he did.

Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased.

Think of it! The Lord has put such gladness in our hearts, that our joy is even more than if we received news that we were going to receive 2 million dollars! Why? The joy of the Lord is an eternal joy; it will not vanish at the end of this life.

Go today in the joy of the Lord! 

God Bless You,

Linda

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Stand in Awe

4 Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still.

5 Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD.

Psalm 4:4-5, King James Version



Stand in Awe


As we continue this study on First Love from the book of the Psalms, David commands us to stand in awe, and sin not. How do those two commands fit together? Can you think of anything more that will keep you from sin than meditating upon God and all that He has done for his children? We use the word, "awesome" rather flippantly today, but in reality, there is only One who is truly awesome.

Let us stand before our God in awe, not publicly, but privately upon our own bed, and put our trust in Him! With all of the world's glitz and power displayed before us, it is easy to forget the God we serve.

God calls us to righteousness.

Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the Lord.

By the grace of God, may we set aside the appeal of the world and stand in awe as we gaze upon our God. We are set apart; set apart to stand in righteousness. How? By putting our trust in the LORD and not in the things of this world.

What a great and majestic God we serve. He does not forget his children, no matter how unimportant they may seem in this world.

God Bless You,
Linda

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Hear My Prayer

Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer.
Psalm 4:1, King James Version


Hear My Prayer


Do you hear that sense of longing as David begins this Psalm? Sometimes it seems as though we only remember the Lord when we are in trouble; and yet, does God ever get tired of our inconsistency and turn us away? No!

God did not turn David away, and He does not turn His children away today either. I love the words of David: Thou has enlarged me when I was in distress. I get the sense of God enlarging us with His comfort and grace. In distress the world seems so small, and the Lord seems so distant, but now God fills our awareness with His love.

Now, David can say with confidence: Have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer. Does God answer the prayers of His saints today? Yes! As David found in his day, we know that in our day, God is our very help in the time of trouble.

Go today in the confidence of the Lord, knowing that when you cry out: Hear My Prayer, He does!

God Bless You,
Linda






Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Set Apart!


2 O ye children of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? How long will you love vanity, and seek after leasing?

3 But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto him.
Psalm 4:2-3, King James Version


Set Apart!


As Christians we are set apart to serve the Lord, and yet we often find ourselves entrapped in the muck of this world. What picture does the Psalmist paint? The children of men love vanity, which is a life filled with emptiness or worthlessness. Even more, they seek after leasing (the New King James translates that word as falsehood). That does describe our world today, does it not. Men are caught up in the meaningless world of greed, lying when necessary to accomplish their purpose.

Where does that leave us, as Christians? We face the same temptations, and often find ourselves in the same place. That should not be! The Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himself. We are set apart as children of God, purchased by the blood of Christ. Our lives are not meaningless! Rather, God has a specific plan for each of His children, unique to each one.

How do we find that purpose for our life? We call upon the LORD! The LORD will hear when I call unto him.

What an amazing God we have. He saves us, He keeps us, and He sets us apart that we may live a life of service for Him. Our life has changed from one of meaninglessness to one of fulfillment and joy. Oh, we may not feel that way every day when we wake up, but we know it is true.

Today, let us call upon the Lord and seek His wisdom and guidance that each day might be lived unto His glory alone.

The LORD will hear when I call unto him.

God Bless You,
Linda

Thursday, November 25, 2010

God is our Salvation

 6I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about.
 7Arise, O LORD; save me, O my God: for thou hast smitten all mine enemies upon the cheek bone; thou hast broken the teeth of the ungodly.
 8Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people. Selah. 

God is our Salvation

What a great Psalm. David was discouraged by the lack of faith of others, but, upon pondering the God he served, was able to go forward trusting that his salvation belonged to the Lord. 

Look at the bold statements he made.

 6I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about. . .  8Salvation belongeth unto the LORD: thy blessing is upon thy people.

I do not know how long David wrestled with his faith until he came to the glorious conclusion in verse 6. Judging from my own experience, sometimes this can take very little time, and yet sometimes, it can take days, weeks, even months (dare I say - even years) before we come to our senses and realize that God is our Salvation. 

All of our vain attempts to strengthen our own faith are fruitless; only by falling before our Lord and claiming his salvation can we understand our need for Christ. Is this really true of Christians as well? Yes! Christians may not be able to lose their salvation, but they can certainly lose the sense of the comfortable presence of God in their hearts and lives.

Let us remember that our battles belong to the Lord. As we continue through life and see His faithful hand at work, we realize more and more, that it is God, alone, who saves us and who keeps us. Remember, our enemies are also God's enemies.

God is our salvation, our rock, and our fortress! There is no need for another!

Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!

God Bless You,

Linda

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My Glory!

 3But thou, O LORD, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.
 4I cried unto the LORD with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy hill. Selah.
 5I laid me down and slept; I awaked; for the LORD sustained me. 

My Glory!

As David pondered his situation, look at his glorious conclusion. "But thou, O LORD art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head." Notice, he did not use self help, or self actualization therapy; he knew his true estate. What did he say about the Lord: the Lord is my glory!

We may believe in the power of positive thinking, but without the Lord, where would we be? It just makes one want to shout for joy! David cried to the Lord with his voice, and what happened? "He heard me out of his holy hill." We serve the very same God.

We put our trust in many things: other people, money, popularity, etc., but all of those things may fail. Even so, God will never fail His children. David was so assured of this, that he laid down and slept.

The older I become, the more difficult it is to sleep if something is on my mind. It may not even be a negative thing--it may just be anxiety over events in my life or the lives of my loved ones. David was troubled, yet, when He pondered the Lord he was able to sleep.

What did he find upon awakening? 

I awaked; for the LORD sustained me. 

Let us go to the LORD today, and live in His power and grace. We must each say, it is not my glory, but rather, it is the glory of the Lord that sustains me.

What an amazing God we have!

God Bless You,
Linda

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

No Help!

1Lord, how are they increased that trouble me! many are they that rise up against me.
 2Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah. 

No Help!

In the Psalms we see David and other writers right down in the trenches where life is not always so pretty. As Christians, we can certainly identify with the Psalmists. The very nature of our weakness as humans is demonstrated in our wavering faith: some days the Lords seems so close, and yet other days He seems so far away.

Of course, this is aggravated by unbelievers (sometimes even other believers) who say, "There is no help for him in God."

Even David, a man after God's own heart, wrestled with his faith. That is a good thing for us, and is one of the reasons God has included the Psalms in His Word. If all of the Old Testament patriarchs and heroes never faced such things, where would that put us? If we saw the Old Testament Christians as perfect creatures, we would know that we could never be one of them.

Therein lies our help. As David found help in the Lord, no matter what the obstacles, so do we find help in the Lord. That may mean that we have to go against the views of the crowd, or our families, friends, and neighbors, but we are not left with no help.

Let us think about that today when impossible circumstances or discouragement seems to overwhelm us. God is our help; no other help is needed!

God Bless You,

Linda

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Kiss the Son

 12. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.
Psalm 2:12

Kiss the Son


Psalm 2, verse 12 gives us both a warning and a blessing. We are warned to kiss the Son and we are reminded of the blessings we receive by putting our trust in the Lord.

Why does the Psalmist say, Kiss the Son? It seems a rather strange way to tell us to love and serve Christ, does it not? Think of the state of Israel when this Psalm was written. The heathen nations surrounding Israel worshiped idols, often falling down before the idol, kissing its feet.

Yet, what could that idol do? Not a thing! The heathen put their trust in their man-made idols.

We do not do the same thing today, do we? Of course we do--anything we put before the Lord Jesus Christ is an idol. What idols do people kiss in our day? Money, power, and popularity or fame, are just a few.

Let us, by the grace of God, fall before our God, and kiss the Son. May our hearts, our lives, and our very souls be focused on our service for Him. He has given so much, and we are asked to give so little in return.

What an amazing God we have!

God Bless You,
Linda

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ask!

8. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.

 9. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.

 10. Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.

 11. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.

Psalm 2:8-11, King James Version


Ask!
Most of us are familiar with the story of Israel conquering the holy land, and therefore Psalm 2, verse 8, seems to bring to mind visions of a great battle between believers and unbelievers with the assured victory going to the believers. I think, though, we miss the point of verse 8.

Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance.

How can the heathen be our inheritance if they remain heathens? Do you think, perhaps, God is telling us to ask for the conversion of the heathen, and He will answer our prayers?

Though we have the entire Word of God before us, we tend to live each day as though God really will not answer our prayers, especially in regard to the lost we encounter every day. Maybe God does not answer our prayers because we do not ask!

What further admonition does the Psalmist give?

Be wise . . . serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling.

May God increase our faith and give us a vision for the lost who are all around us. Let us pray, and then see how God answers our prayers!

Ask!

God Bless You,
Linda


Monday, November 15, 2010

My King

 5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.
 6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
 7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. 

My King
 
The heathen rage and foolishly set themselves against the Lord, bringing His wrath and displeasure upon themselves. Can you imagine a worse situation? We may have many enemies, but the one enemy we cannot afford to have is God!

As Christians, where are we? Who is our king? Are we so busy trying to keep up with the world that we not only do not care about the lost, but we really do not even care about our own relationship with the Lord? God offers everything to us, and provides it through His only Son, Jesus. Do we dare flaunt it in God's face?

There is no mistaking the real message of Psalm 2. This is a Messianic Psalm: a Psalm which points directly to Christ.

Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.

Let us not take this message lightly. May we all say with the Psalmist, "You are my King!" Then, by God's grace, let us ponder what that really means, and focus on our true reason for being here.

When we look around and see the lost, let us remember that, there, but for the grace of God, go I! Let us be busy about the Lord's business in whatever capacity He gives to us.

I once was lost, but now am found.
Was blind, but now I see.

God Bless You,
Linda

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Rage

 1. Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?

 2. The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,

 3. Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.

 4. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision.

Psalm 2:1-4, King James Version


Rage


Rage! That is a rather strong word to use, and yet that is exactly the word used in verse 1 of Psalm 2. The question is asked, Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?

It is not popular to use such terminology in our day even when talking about the enemies of God. After all, people are not really all that bad, are they?

We, as Christians, need to remember that this world is a battleground between the forces of Satan and the forces of God. As a matter of fact, it is easy to see the derision that many have toward believers. Why is that true?

The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.

This is not just a happy little disagreement; the enemies of God hate Him so much that they rage against Him. And, they rage against God's people as well.

How should we respond? How does God respond? God laughs! Though we may live in a battleground, the battle is already won; Christ is the victor! God laughs at the foolishness of men who think they are worthy opponents of Almighty God!

Understand then, the true nature of those who hate God, and therefore hate us as well. It is not a simple disagreement; they are in a rage.

Everything we think, say, and do is our reaction to this battle; let us go forth boldly knowing that the battle has already been won, and we are on the winning side.

God Bless You,
Linda

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Way of the Ungodly

4. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

5. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

6. For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
Psalm 1:4-6, King James Version


The Way of the Ungodly

As I was reading through these last three verses from Psalm 1, I noticed that verse 6 does not say that the ungodly shall perish, but rather that the way of the ungodly shall perish. We already know that the ungodly shall not stand in judgement, but what is the significance of the way of the ungodly perishing?

In our day, how would we define, the way of the ungodly? It does not take too much of an imagination to begin to list the differences between believers and non-believers. However if you observe the patterns or lifestyle of people, it is not always easy to see the difference between Christians and non-Christians.

Yet, we, as Christians are called to be different, are we not? Unfortunately most people believe that attending church is all it takes to be a Christian or at least an inner belief in God is sufficient. The Bible does not agree. God calls His children to come out from the ungodly and be separate.

That does not mean that Christians should establish their own little communities and never mingle with the world. It does mean, however, that as Christians live in the world, they are not to run after the attitudes and ideals of this world. Why? Because, the way of the ungodly shall perish!

It is time we Christians took our outward lives more seriously! Who are we really trying to please? Who are we really trying to model? Let us, by the grace of God, seek to turn away from our tendency to run after wordliness and seek to follow Christ, our first love!

God Bless You,
Linda

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Delightful Tree

1. Blessed is the man that walketh not in the council of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

2. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

3. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth for his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

Psalm 1:1-3, King James Version


Delightful Tree


For our devotion today in our series entitled, First Love, we will continue in Psalm 1. You will note that I have returned to my beloved King James Version of the Bible. All of my Bible memory work has been done using the King James Version, and thought I would return to it for this series from the book of Psalms.

Since getting a wonderful little dog, (my therapy dog), I have been taking daily walks. How can one not be impressed by the lofty trees God has created for this beautiful world He has made for our enjoyment. It is fall, and our ground has been transformed into lovely green, brown, yellow, and red carpeting.

We are reminded in Psalm 1, that as a Christian, we are to be like a tree, a delightful tree, which God has planted by the waters. Like that tree, our leaf of righteousness will not wither, and by the grace of God, whatever we do shall prosper.

What does that mean? There are many days that do not seem very prosperous to me! Are we here for our own prosperity? No, we are here as servants of the Lord. Wherever God leads us, we prosper spiritually. Whether we are experiencing the new growth of spring, the exhilaration of summer, the fading colors of fall, or the dormancy of winter, our righteousness through Christ shines as a living testimony of His faithfulness to us.

As you go about your duties of this day, take some time to look at the trees, praying that your Christian life would stand before Christ as a delightful tree.

God Bless You,
Linda

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

First Love

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
Psalm 1:1-2

First Love



I love reading mystery and even science fiction books, especially those written by Christian authors. Recently I finished a book entitled, The Restorer, by Sharon Hinckly. Somehow the author was able to meld our time with that of the time of the Israelites - say in Joshua's day. The power of the Word of God in everyday life was emphasized throughout the book.

After reading the book, I thought about my own life. How much do I meditate on and repeat the Word of God throughout each day? Do I even take time to read the Word and pray once a day, much less weave it throughout my entire waking hours.

Then, I thought of of the church at Ephesus mentioned in Revelation 2:4-5a. What did God have against this church?

But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the works you did at first.(New English Standard Version)

Then I thought of the world in our day. What nation bows before God at the onset of a battle and cries out to Him for victory? Even more personally, how much do we, as Christians, approach every battle of life empowered by the Word of God and with a prayer on our lips.

What is wrong with Christians in our world? Most have lost their first love! With that in mind, I am beginning a new series which I expect will last for more than a year. I am entitling it, First Love.

I have a series of Psalms devotions on my website, (http://devotional-reflections-from-the-bible.com) in which I have written one devotion for each Psalm. In this series, I plan to go through the Psalms a few verses at a time, that we may glean from the impact that God had in the life of David, as well as other Psalms writers.

Blessed is the man whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.

May that describe you and me!

God Bless You,
Linda

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Herod

13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” 14 And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt 15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

16 Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:
18 “A voice was heard in Ramah,
weeping and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.”

19 But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 saying, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child's life are dead.”
Matthew 2:13-20, English Standard Version

Herod

Unfortunately, there are too many Herod's in the world, or so it seems. It seems, in our time, as though the enemies of the Lord boldly increase, while Christians sit aside letting it happen. But is that really the way we should think about things?

First of all, how did Herod thwart the will of God? He did not, did he? We must remember that there will always be enemies of God, but rather than fear them, we must remember that God uses them as tools in His hands to bring forth His eternal plans for our world.

Herod determined to kill all the young boys in Bethlehem, but what did God do? God warned Joseph in a dream to flee to Egypt. Then, when Herod was done, God used another dream to bring Joseph, Mary, and Jesus back to Judea.

Does it seem impossible to us that God would do the same thing in our lives? Can God really move people to fulfill the plans He has made from eternity past? Yes, He can and does. He may not speak to you in a dream, but He just as assuredly leads you in the way He would have you go!

Let us not, then, be afraid of the Herods of this world; they are helpless before the God of all Gods, King of all Kings, and Lord of all Lords. Let us walk in faith, and not in might, knowing that our God not only created this world but rules this world until the day that time will be no more.

God Bless You,
Linda

Monday, November 08, 2010

Only Shepherds

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” 
15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
Luke 2:8-20, English Standard Version
Only Shepherds

There are so many Bible characters that we do not often think about--this is certainly true of the shepherds in Luke 2. Who were they? Did they have any premonition that something extraordinary was going to happen that night in the skies near Bethlehem. I doubt that they did; after all, they were only shepherds.

How do we view our lives before God; do we think of ourselves as only shepherds. Well, we would not call ourselves shepherds, but what do we say? Do we think of ourselves as just nobodies--only housewives, or fast food employees, or secretaries, or clerks, etc.? Even if we are professionals, do we view ourselves a nobodies before God?

I have a great deal of respect for the people God has called to leave their families and go out into the world as pastors, missionaries, and other "full-time" Christian workers. Sometimes I even envy them, because they are so sure of their calling before God. But, before I bask too much in self pity, let us stop a moment and think about this.

Do we have a God-given purpose for being here? Is that purpose less important because we don't have the distinction of being called into full-time Christian service? As a matter of fact, does that mean we are only part-time Christian servants? Is there any such category? 

All Christians are full-time Christian servants! What a bold statement to make! Look at how God used these shepherds to spread the world of Christ's birth. Had they been any other place than out among their sheep, they would not have had the joy of hearing and seeing the angels.

Do not think of yourself as a lesser person, because you do not seem to have any glorious ministry for the Lord. You do have a ministry before the Lord; it is exactly the ministry that God has planned for you, and is unique to you alone.

So, what are you doing to prepare for your ministry? Pray that God would help you to study His Word and develop a close walk with the Lord, so that you may be ready always to give an answer for the hope that lies within you.

Are we only shepherds? Then let us be faithful and valiant shepherds for the Lord.

God Bless You,
Linda



Friday, November 05, 2010

Wise Men

2:1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

6 “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

7 Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” 9 After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.
Matthew 2:1-12, English Standard Version

Wise Men

As I was reading through this Bible passage from Matthew 2, I asked myself, of what purpose were the wise men? We have read about them--we have even sung about them; what is their significance?

Though they often appear in manger scenes, it really was as late as two years after Christ's birth that the wise men appeared to Mary and Joseph. Look at the trouble they caused! Because they went to Herod, he had all boys two years and under slaughtered in the little town of Bethlehem.

But, let us stop for a minute and think about this. Was that their fault? Of course not! We know that through their visit to Herod, Satan stirred up the heart of Herod against the Christ child. We can understand Herod's actions of trying to murder a usurper to the throne, but why was this important to Satan?

Remember, while Satan was in the Garden of Eden, God told him that this child would bruise his head. Satan knew exactly who Jesus was--not just a child who would become king, but rather the holy Son of God and Son of Man.

God sent the wise men to Mary and Joseph for another reason. Knowing that Mary and Joseph needed to flee to Egypt, God sent them the means to go, through the expensive gifts of the wise men.

What can we learn from this? God not only leads us in the way we should go, but He also provides us with the means to achieve His purpose for our lives. Also, though Satan works against us, as the children of God, God will never leave us or forsake us. Satan is no match for God! However, he is definitely more than a match for us.

We should never underestimate his wiles as he tries to pull us from a close relationship with Christ. He is very effective, is he not? Look at the great temptations of the world all around us; if Satan can pull us to the things of the world, he knows that he can destroy our relationship with God, and the effectiveness of our testimony.

What of the wise men? As you think of them this day, understand that God calls us to complete service for Him, and He provides the means we need to accomplish that purpose.

What an amazing God we have!

God Bless You,
Linda

Thursday, November 04, 2010

The Widow Anna

36 Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; 37 and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. 38 And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.
39 So when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth.
(Luke 2:36-39, New King James Version)

The Widow Anna

The widow Anna had been a widow for several decades and lived at the Temple; the Bible tells us that she worshiped God with prayer and fasting day and night. She appeared at the temple when Jesus was brought in, and immediately gave thanks to God for Him. God used her to proclaim that this Jesus was the Redeemer, the promised Messiah.

Even though Anna was 84 years old, she understood correctly that God still had work for her to do. Because she spent time in prayer and fasting, she was ready, spiritually, to do the work that God had given her when the time arrived.

It is easy for us to develop that "retirement" philosophy in our spiritual life and our work for Christ when we reach the age of retirement from our normal daily work. Retirement is a wonderful thing, but when it comes to our Christian walk and worship of the Lord, there is no retirement. It is true that as our abilities change, the duties we are called upon to do for the Lord often change as well. In reality we are never too old, never too disabled, never too poor or too lowly to work for the Lord.

Most of us are not called to a prominent position in the work of the Lord, but all of us are equipped by God to serve Him in whatever capacity we are able. We worship God in everything we do in our daily lives: doing a good job at work, keeping our house clean, taking meals to the needy, helping young mothers with child care, mowing the lawn or shoveling the snow for our neighbors, praying for others, visiting the sick, sending cards or letters to the sick or grieving, visiting nursing home residents, etc. etc. etc.

When I think of Anna the Prophetess, I realize that all of the excuses I tend to use for not being more involved in the work of the Lord are really not true. Quite simply, serving the Lord is just living each day as a Christian and taking the opportunities that come our way for service to others and for proclaiming Christ to those around us.

May God find you faithfully serving Him just as did the Widow Anna at 84 years of age.

God Bless You,
Linda




Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Devout Simeon


25
And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, 28 he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:
29 “ Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,
According to Your word;
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation
31 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
32 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”

33 And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against 35 (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
Luke 2:25-35, New King James Version

Devout Simeon

Who was Simeon? The only thing the Bible tells us about Simeon is that he was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. Then it is further explained, And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. The Lord's Christ could be phrased, "The Majestic and Supreme Master's Anointed One."

As the account continues, Simeon immediately recognized Christ when he was brought into the temple by his parent's, Mary and Joseph. Lifting the Christ child up in his arms, he said,

29 “ Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,
According to Your word;
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation
31 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
32 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”

He closed by telling Mary, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

God did not make a great public acclamation among the Jews when Christ was born, but He did, in many ways, announce the Christ child's coming. Do you think Mary and Joseph really understood the word's of Simeon? Probably not.

How often are we clueless as to the what the Lord is doing, or means to do with our lives? Just like Mary and Joseph, we are caught totally unaware of His working in our lives. Maybe we do not actually believe that God could do anything at all with our paltry Christian service. However, the Bible reminds us that God uses the foolish ones of the earth to confound the wise.

As you ponder this revelation of the Lord's Christ given to Simeon, look for ways that you can be an obedient servant of the Lord right where He has put you. Truly, we will not know until we reach heaven the many ways God has brought forth His Gospel through our life testimonies before Him.

God Bless You,
Linda

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Birth of Christ


18
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.”

22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS.
Matthew 1:18-23, New King James Version

Birth of Christ

We are very familiar with the birth of Christ as told in the Gospel of Luke. Matthew contains a more succinct version of Christ's birth, this time from the perspective of Joseph. Mary and Joseph were betrothed (engaged), when Mary became pregnant. Joseph knew it was not his child, so he was going to divorce her privately. Even though just engaged, the betrothal could only be negated by a divorce.

Before this could be done, an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.”

We have no indication that Joseph had any doubts about the dream; we only know that he obeyed the words of the angel. "Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS."

Why was Joseph told to call the baby, Jesus? Why not, instead, call Him Christ? Each name has its own significance. Christ, the anointed One was to be called Jesus, meaning Savior. The anointed Savior had come to this earth to save a people for Himself, and would bring them safely to His eternal kingdom to live with Him forever.

Christ is All! Not one thing on this earth can even come close to our union with Christ. Take some time to reflect on that thought as you go about the duties of this day.

What a Savior!

God Bless You,
Linda

Monday, November 01, 2010

John the Baptist


6
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
7
The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
8
He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
(John 1:6-8, King James Version)

John the Baptist

In the time of Christ there was no radio, television, or telephone to announce the visit of a dignitary, so it was customary to send someone ahead of time to announce their impending visit. It is still customary in some places to announce the appearance of each guest at a ball, or even to announce a guest who is making a social call.

From the prophetic Scriptures of the Old Testament, the Jews understood that not only would the Messiah come, but His coming would be heralded by the return of "Elijah."

5Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:
6And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
(Malachi 4:5-6, King James Version)

What the Jews did not understand at that time was that John the Baptist was the "Elijah" from Malachi 4:5. John the Baptist was not the Light (the Messiah), but he was sent to announce the imminent presentation of the Light, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Look at the preparations God made to announce the coming of His Son. Centuries before prophecies had been made, and now God fulfilled those prophecies through the ministry of John the Baptist.

It seems hard for us to understand the unbelief of the people when so many prophecies had been made--prophecies that were familiar to the Jewish leaders. But, again, we have the entire Word of God laid out before us, giving us the entire picture. But, wait a minute, if that is true, how come there are not more believers in our day?

Only God can open a heart to receive Him. In the mean time, Satan is busy providing traps to keep the world from discovering the truth. Satan does not mind if we are religious; he just does not want us to be Christians! The Bible warns us of this in Mark 13.

21And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not: 22For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.
(Mark 13:21-22, King James Version)

We must pray for the grace of God to protect us against false religions which are all around us. We must also be diligent in keeping our relationship with Christ pure through regular Bible reading and prayer. In our busy life it is far too tempting and easy to neglect our personal relationship with Christ, often thinking we are already so close to God that nothing could tear us away.

While it is true that Christ, who saves us, also keeps us, we can save ourselves from much grief in this life caused by our wandering hearts. What an amazing God we have? God had a specific purpose for John the Baptist as a witness for Christ. What is God's purpose for your life?

God Bless You,
Linda

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Mary, Chosen by God

26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from 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. And the virgin's name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And 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 bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to 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 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Luke 1:26-38, English Standard Version

Mary, Chosen by God

I am sure it seemed like just another ordinary day to Mary; little did she know that her life was about to change forever! The angel, Gabriel appeared to her with this message.

“Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”

What kind of a greeting was that? Gabriel's comment troubled her, but then he continued, "And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. 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. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

Now that would be a rather startling message, would it not? Who was this man that he would say such things to her? Do you think she realized that this was an angel of God? Mary responded in surprise, "How can that be; I am a virgin?"

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."

Gabriel went on to explain that her relative, Elizabeth, was pregnant, explaining that nothing is impossible for God. Think of how amazed she must have been, as understanding dawned upon her. How did Mary respond to this unbelievable proclamation?

Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.”

We are so familiar with this story, that we often do not take the time to ponder what this might have been like for her. Just think, from before time began, God had ordained that Mary would be the mother of Jesus, the Savior of the world! Look how calmly she replied. All doubt and fear was gone; we only see her gentle submission.

How aware are we of God's leading us through this life? How do we respond to the circumstances He brings our way? Oh that we would have the faith and acceptance that we see in Mary.

God Bless You,
Linda

Saturday, October 30, 2010

New Testament Bible Characters

New Testament Bible Characters

Please join me as we begin a new series called New Testament Bible Characters. The focus will be on the people themselves, as well as the events that took place in their lives, and how they responded to those events. We will discover that these people were just like us with all of their weaknesses and shortcomings. Yet, God included them in His story of the life of Christ and the New Testament churches that were established. Even so, God uses us, weak though we may be, to confound the wise. How amazing is that.

God Bless You,
Linda

Zechariah and Elizabeth

5 In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, [1] of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. 7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.

8 Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, 9 according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. 11 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been 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 before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will 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 and he will 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 for the Lord a people prepared.”

Luke 1:5-17, English Standard Version

(The entire narration of this story continues on to verse 57 of Luke 1.)

Zechariah and Elizabeth

When the time came for God to send His only Son to this earth to be born of a woman, God chose a man, John the Baptist, to be the forerunner of Christ's birth, to proclaim the coming of the Lord. As the world blindly continued on, God was unveiling the greatest miracle of all to provide salvation for that same sleeping world.

Elizabeth and Zechariah, the chosen parents of this forerunner, were a Godly couple, righteous before God. Zechariah, serving as a priest, was chosen to burn incense in the temple of the Lord. While there, an angel of the Lord appeared to him with startling news; Elizabeth, his wife, though late in years, was to give birth to a son, whom he should name John. His son, John, would be used by the Lord to turn the hearts of the people toward righteousness, preparing them for the coming of the Lord.

Though Zechariah was a Godly man, he still doubted in his heart that such a thing would even be possible for Elizabeth. Because of his doubt, the angel made Zechariah mute; he would not speak another word until after his son was born.

When Zechariah came out of the temple, not being able to speak, the people realized that he had seen a vision from God.

What of Elizabeth? We are not told much about Elizabeth; it seemed as though she received her husband's news joyfully with no doubt in her mind as to its possibility.

God fulfilled the words of the angel, and Elizabeth became pregnant. We are told that in her sixth month, Mary came to visit her; when Mary entered the house, Elizabeth's baby jumped for joy in her womb.

41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”
Luke 1:41-45

As both women continue with their pregnancies, God is right there with them, continuing to reveal Himself through His angel.

Elizabeth's child was born first; in obedience to the commands of the angel, Elizabeth named him John. The people were amazed; at his circumcision they were ready to name him Zechariah after his father. They made signs to Zechariah asking him what to name the baby. Zechariah wrote on a tablet, "His name is John." Immediately Zechariah's speech returned to him and he ministered to the people.

In many ways we have become like the world at the time of Christ's birth: asleep. We speak of God, acknowledge that He exists, and continue to live dwelling upon our misery and hopelessness. Like Elizabeth, we must go forth as women (and men) of faith. This very God who sent His Son to this earth in such a miraculous way to purchase a people for Himself walks right beside us day by day. Pray that God would open your eyes to see the presence of Christ, who will never leave you nor forsake you.

As Elizabeth and Zechariah, walk in peace and confidence knowing that Christ is walking through the same valleys as you are, sustaining you every step of the way.

God Bless You,
Linda