Luke- Week 1- Day 1

(13) But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.  (14)  And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.

Luke 1:13-14

Explanation:
In today’s text we see Zacharias being visited by an angel. Who is he that he would be visited by an angel? What brought this circumstance about?
Well, after Luke introduces the work to the reader,Theophilus (v.3), he begins the story of the coming of Christ by starting with this Zecharias.
We know a few things about Zecharias from verses

  • He was a priest that worked in the temple. (v.5)
  • He was married to Elizabeth. (v.5)
  • According to the inpsired Word of God, they were both righteous and blameless before God. (v.6)
  • They were without children and were beyond the child bearing years. (v.7)
  • He had been chosen to burn incence before the Lord. (v.8-9)

Culturally there would have been shame and sadness for Elizabeth in her bareness. As people that loved the Lord they would have certainly made this a matter of prayer, just like Hannah in the Old Testament. (I Samuel 1:10-11)

It was during this time that he was inside the temple doing these priestly duties while a large group of people waited on him outside. In that moment of solitude, an angel, later identified as Gabriel, supernaturally appeared to Zacharias on the right side of the altar of incense. (v.11) This appearance brought fear into the heart of Zacharias, as it would to most people. (v.12) The angel quickly calmed his fears and gave him some incredible news. The angel told him that his prayers had been answered. He told him that his wife, Elisabeth would have a son, and even told him what to name the son. His name would be called John.

The angel also described what would be true for people at his birth. There would be joy and gladness. The scripture says that many will rejoice at his birth. This is a theme through the book of Luke, so pay attention to this kind of phrase as we study.

Application:
As we look back at this passage as history, we know that God had an incredible plan for Zecharias and Elisabeth’s baby boy. He had prophesied years before about this forerunner of the Messiah.

Put yourself in the place of these two people, though. They had given their lives to the Lord, they were blameless before God, and they passionately desired to have children. They prayed for this through the years where there friends were having children. They prayed and prayed and God never answered their prayers. It may have been tempting to doubt God in those moments. It would have been difficult to understand why.

The good news is that it is clear that these two people of God lived a life of faithfulness even when they didn’t know God’s plan. Our life can be the same. We can pray and ask God for our desires, and there are times when we do not get the answer we want. It is in those times where we must trust God. His plan and His ways are best. He can be trusted more than anyone else. Do not stop praying. Keep trusting God.

Response:
Is there a part of your life where you are tempted to doubt God? Part of responding correctly is naming that issue. Take some time to think about the answer to that question and write it down.

Isaiah- Week 13- Day 5

Endurance

(14)  Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless

2 Peter 3:14

Explanation:

In Isaiah 65 we looked at the future hope that we have as people who have been forgiven by God. Yesterday we asked the question “how should we live today in light of the future hope that we have? How shall we then live?” Yesterday we learned that we should live with expectation. When we expect Christ to come back we will respond well.

The second response to the coming hope that we have is the response of endurance.

Notice the word “wherefore”. It speaks to what has previously been said. He says “seeing that ye look for such things” speaks refers to their expectation of Christ’s return and the end to this earth and the beginning of the next. He is saying that since they have an expectation of Christ’s return, their should be a response. What is that response? Endurance. He says “be diligent”. Be intentional. Work hard. Endure. Work hard at what? So that when Christ comes back you may be found “in peace, without spot, and blameless.” We should live in a righteous and holy way when we expect that Christ could come back.

Application:

As a teenager there were times that my parents would leave my brother and I alone at home. They would give us a list of chores to do and tell us that they would be back soon. We knew that if we didn’t get the chores done before they got back we would get in trouble. Too often we would wait late into the day before we started on that list. Too often we would hear the sound of the garage door going up and not have the list done. If we expected our parents to be back in just an hour or so we would be more diligent to get the list done.
It is a simple illustration, but the principle is the same. If you knew that Christ was going to come back sometime today, how would you live today? Who would you speak to about the Gospel? Would you behave the same way you did yesterday? Christ could come back today. Let’s live expectantly. Let’s endure by diligently living every day like we will go to be with Jesus.

Response:

Jesus could come back today. Are you ready to meet him?

Isaiah- Week 13- Day 4

Expectation

(10)  But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
(11)  Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
(12)  Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
(13)  Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

2 Peter 3:10-13

Explanation:
Over the last couple of posts we have been studying Isaiah 65:17-25. In that passage we learned that there are 3 results of God’s future plans for us that should give us hope today. The result of God’s plans are joy, abundance, and peace. You can read about those by clicking each of those three results.
The question that believers should ask in response to these future results is this: How should we live now because of what will happen then? How shall we then live? This question is expressed by Peter when he says,

“(11)  Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, (12)  Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?”

I want to answer this question by talking about two responses we should have to God’s future for us.
The first response is one of expectation.
Peter tells us that “the day of the Lord” will come “as a thief in the night”. Thieves do not like to come when they are expected, but when they are unexpected. A thief comes at night because he wants to be covert. He doesn’t want to be seen by the neighbors. He also comes at night because He doesn’t want the people in the home that he is robbing to be awake and catch him. We can not attribute these motives to God. Why? Because He has revealed Himself and tells us that He is coming back. He commands us to tell everyone about the death, burial, resurrection, and imminent return of His Son Jesus.

Yet at the same time, what is the comparison? When Christ comes back many will not expect it. For those who know Him as Savior we should expect Him to come back. We should show that expectation through living a life of holiness and godliness. We should live looking forward to the “coming of the day of God”.

How should we live? We should live like every material thing on this earth is going to go away, because that is exactly what will happen. Peter reminds us that “the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat…”. And to replace it, we look for the coming promises of God. We “look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” That sounds a lot like God’s promise in Isaiah 65:7 where he said, “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.”

Application:
You have two investment opportunities. One investment will yeild a return for a time, but eventually everything you invested and made on the investment will go away. The other investment will bring an exponential return some day and it will never go away. Which investment would you make? You’d be crazy to not invest in the second option.

This is exactly the scenario we find ourselves in. God is coming back. We do not know when but it could be at any time. Everything we do in this life will either matter for eternity or will melt with a fervent heat. C.T. Studd said it this way:

Only one life, yes only one,
Now let me say,”Thy will be done”;
And when at last I’ll hear the call,
I know I’ll say “twas worth it all”;
Only one life,’twill soon be past,
Only what’s done for Christ will last.

C.T. Studd

Those who make the right investment are the ones who remember the brevity of life, and who believe that Christ could come back at any time.

Response:
Let’s live out lives of earnest expectation. Could it be today? Take some time today to invest in eternity!

Isaiah- Week 13- Day 3- Isaiah 65:26

Peace

The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD.

(Isaiah 65:26)

Explanation:

The number one worry of a lamb is a predator like a wolf or a lion.  At least that is how it is now.  It is so obvious that we should be scared of certain parts of the animal kingdom that it barely needs to be taught to our children.  Wolves and lions are dangerous.  Most of the animals in Australia can kill you. (I am kidding. Kind of.)

But in the future that God has planned for us, there will be a suspension of these kinds of worries.  God will provide nourishment for animals without the need for predation.  Can you imagine a child walking their pet tiger down the street and no one thinks anything of it? 

Application:

In this incredible future there will be no fear.  That will be a former thing.

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.  (2)  And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  (3)  And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.  (4)  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

Revelation 21:1-4 

God will be with us, and we will have nothing to fear!  The sorrows and dangers of this life will be former things.  This should give us all kinds of hope today.  The worst that can happen to us is to send us to a place where we will experience these kinds of amazing realities!

Response:

In what ways are you focused on the temporary rather than the eternal?