Zacharias and Elizabeth were childless and older (1:18), but had received a promise from the angel Gabriel that they would have a son who would “make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (1:17). This child was named John (John the Baptist).
Zacharias, incredulous, asked for a sign, showing a lack of faith in the angel’s promise. The sign was punishment for his unbelief, he was struck mute until the promise was fulfilled.
God fulfilled his promise to Zacharias and Elizabeth (as He is always just and faithful to do), and Elizabeth conceived. She hid herself for the first 5 months of her pregnancy, and her words of rejoicing are interesting, saying that the Lord had taken “away my reproach among people” (25). To be barren was a great burden and shame for her. How wonderful for her to be granted a son with such an important part to play in God’s great scheme of redemption for mankind (cf. Luke 7:28).
It is typical of the young to have their own lingo. It is a way of differentiating themselves from older generations. In the 1920’s if a teenager managed a ride in a breezer (convertible), then everything was copacetic (wonderful). In the 1930’s a Joe (average guy) was ecstatic with a sawbuck ($10 bill) in his pocket. In the 1940’s khaki wacky (boy crazy) girls sometimes flipped their wigs (lost control of themselves) when a cute boy walked by. In the 1950’s an ankle biter (child) might go ape (get excited) over a piece of candy. In the 1960’s it wasn’t hip (acceptable) to hang out (spend time with) the old man (your father). In the 1970’s it was a bummer (depressing) if someone was bogarting (being selfish with) the TV. In the 1980’s an enjoyable time was totally (completely) gnarly (very good). In the 1990’s, however, the same enjoyable time was all that and a bag of chips. In the 2000’s, one person might be going postal (becoming uncontrollably angry), while another person might just be whatever (indifferent). (Thanks to the internet for the above examples, though I have to admit that I have used the term copacetic myself from time to time!)
Continue reading » Devotions, Devotionals, Devos
“He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city” (Proverbs 16:32).
The above scripture is referred to as a value statement. It is one that we should carefully heed, as the values it espouses are those of the Holy Spirit. Which is better: One who rules others? Or one who rules himself? God says one who rules himself!
History is littered with men who because of strong passions, inherited privilege or physical dominance have found themselves rulers over others. However, their inability to control their own spirit has led to both their own demise, and also the ruin of their domain. It is far better to be of humble means and in control of your passions and tongue.
Self destructive behavior has obvious consequences: the loss of influence, health, position and respect. However, we are most concerned with the spiritual consequence that accompanies the physical. One who allows his passions to rule his behavior is spiritually vulnerable. “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish” (Galatians 5:17).
May each of us add to our faith, the attribute of self-control (cf. 2 Peter 1:6). It is only then that our calling and election can be made sure.
Invitation delivered by: Stan Cox
Paul describes in 2 Corinthians 5:1-4 a desire for immortality that he describes as a groaning. The language is beautiful, and describes a desire that every child of God should have.
In Stephen’s defense, recorded in Acts 7, the preacher convicted his Jewish audience of their sin of rebellion in rejecting the Son of God and His will for man. For this, he was executed. His steadfast faith is a wonderful example for us.
Invitation delivered by: Stan Cox
In 2 Corinthians 5:7-11 Paul expressed his desire to be with Christ after death. As such, he determined to be well pleasing to Him.
The apostle Paul, in his final words to the Ephesian elders, expressed his great love for them. This love was the motivation for the warnings and admonitions he gave in Acts 20:17-38.
Just as 2,000 years ago, we today live in the midst of a Faithless and Perverse generation. Our response must be to maintain our faith and purity, and shine as lights in the world.
The cable news television station, CNN is running a series titled Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact, Forgery. The programs are typical fare. Supposed scholars and researchers intersperse comments with a dramatic reenacting of Bible events, trying to “separate truth” from the gospel accounts and church legend. There is no respect for the inspiration of scripture. The resulting program, though claiming to be even handed, is a skewed, skeptical view of the life and ministry of our Lord.
One aspect of this series is the examination of “Christian” relics as an adjunct to the narrative. In this they attempt to establish the authenticity of such items as the Shroud of Turin, the ossuary of the “brother of Jesus”, and bones claimed to be from John the Baptist.
Of course, each time such a relic is shown to be inauthentic, it emboldens some to claim another victory against the “superstition” that is the Christian faith.
Continue reading » In the News: John the Baptist’s Finger?
Last week the Old Granbury Road congregation had a gospel meeting, with Harry Osborne doing the preaching. We announced it, and I am thankful that several of our number took advantage of the opportunities to hear the gospel preached by a capable servant.
In fact, we had 21 that attended on Monday, 6 on Tuesday (as reported to me), and 16 on Thursday. That is a pretty good representation, and the support was an encouragement to that fine congregation.
However, the greater benefit was to those of us who attended. The singing was encouraging, the messages edifying, and the association with other Christians a joy.
I know some may tire of my many appeals to attend such efforts, but I feel like the apostle Paul who wrote the Philippians, “I seek the fruit that abounds to your account” (4:17). Paul was referring to their gift to him, but the principle applies here as well. By encouraging and supporting brethren elsewhere, you bear fruit for the Master. God is pleased with your selflessness, and you receive the added strength that worship and study brings. It is a win—win experience, and one I wish that more brethren would pursue regularly.
I know that it takes time, especially if the building is an hour or so away. It takes effort to get the kids ready, or to get those old bones moving. But I promise the effort is worth it. Many opportunities will present themselves in the next few months. So, how about it!
Invitation delivered by: Wesley Jobe
In Luke 9:51, the gospel writer reveals a very difficult moment in the life of Jesus. Knowing the end was near, Jesus “steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem.”
What a wonderful example for us. When times of difficulty present themselves in our lives, will we face them steadfastly, and serve the Lord?
Invitation delivered by: Stan Cox
A short summary of the gospel of Christ.
Based in part on Ephesians 5:15-17. The sermon discusses the ways of the wise. A wise man: Receives counsel; Guards his tongue; Flees from evil; Is prepared; and Obeys God.
Note: Powerpoint file created by Jeremiah Cox.
Invitation delivered by: Armando Vera
In Ephesians 5:6-16, the apostle Paul contrasts light and darkness. We are to expose, rather than participate in the unfruitful works of darkness.