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Zechariah and Elizabeth

In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife was a descendant of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Both of them were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord. But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were getting on in years. Once when he was serving as priest before God and his section was on duty, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and offer incense. Now at the time of the incense offering, the whole assembly of the people was praying outside. Then there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified; and fear overwhelmed him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or strong drink; even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him, to turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Zechariah said to the angel, “How will I know that this is so? For I am an old man, and my wife is getting on in years.” The angel replied, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. But now, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time, you will become mute, unable to speak, until the day these things occur.” Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah, and wondered at his delay in the sanctuary. When he did come out, he could not speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. He kept motioning to them and remained unable to speak. When his time of service was ended, he went to his home. After those days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she remained in seclusion. She said, “This is what the Lord has done for me when he looked favorably on me and took away the disgrace I have endured among my people.” (Luke 1:5-25, NRSV)

What would you do if you were getting along in years and your wife was too and was barren and an angel came and said that your wife would have a sin and you were to name him John? I think Zachariah’s response is not out of question. I think his response is more reasonable than Mary’s. Mary’s is akin to, ok whatever God wants to do. Zachariah wants to know how and why? Nothing more than any of us would want. So Gabriel says Zachariah will be mute until these things happen. Which happens, Zachariah comes out of the Holy of Holies and is unable to talk to the gathered worshipers.

So do not underestimate what God can do, because with God all things are possible.

 

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Ask

 

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Daniel and his Friends Promoted

Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face, worshiped Daniel, and commanded that a grain offering and incense be offered to him. The king said to Daniel, “Truly, your God is God of gods and Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this mystery! ”Then the king promoted Daniel, gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon. Daniel made a request of the king, and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego over the affairs of the province of Babylon. But Daniel remained at the king’s court. (Daniel 2:46-49, NRSV)

The king worshipped Daniel for the interpretation of the dream.

He then gave him many gifts and promoted him.

Daniel, who is not known for being shy, asked that his friends be promoted too, and they were.

Be bold in the Lord, for His steadfast love endures forever!

 

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God Reveals Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream

Then Daniel went to his home and informed his companions, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, and told them to seek mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his companions with the rest of the wise men of Babylon might not perish. Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night, and Daniel blessed the God of heaven. Daniel said: “Blessed be the name of God from age to age, for wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons, deposes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with him. To you, O God of my ancestors, I give thanks and praise, for you have given me wisdom and power, and have now revealed to me what we asked of you, for you have revealed to us what the king ordered.” (Daniel 2:17-23, NRSV)

Daniel went and prayed to God along with his friends, and God listened to their prayers and revealed to Daniel the dream of King Nebuchadnezzar and the interpretation of it

God is to be praised for His steadfast love and care for us. Daniel was set to be killed, but God gave him the answers he needed to appease the king.

God will always provide us with what we need!

 

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Solomon’s Prayer for Wisdom

Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of his father David; only, he sacrificed and offered incense at the high places. The king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for that was the principal high place; Solomon used to offer a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said, “Ask what I should give you.” And Solomon said, “You have shown great and steadfast love to your servant my father David, because he walked before you in faithfulness, in righteousness, and in uprightness of heart toward you; and you have kept for him this great and steadfast love, and have given him a son to sit on his throne today. And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David, although I am only a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of the people whom you have chosen, a great people, so numerous they cannot be numbered or counted. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, able to discern between good and evil; for who can govern this your great people?” It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this.God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches, or for the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, I now do according to your word. Indeed I give you a wise and discerning mind; no one like you has been before you and no one like you shall arise after you. I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor all your life; no other king shall compare with you. If you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your life.” Then Solomon awoke; it had been a dream. He came to Jerusalem where he stood before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. He offered up burnt offerings and offerings of well-being, and provided a feast for all his servants. (1 Kings 3:3-15, NRSV)

If God came to you and said, “Ask what I should give you.” What would you ask for?

Riches.

Good Looks.

Blessings.

Many Possessions.

Large tracts of land.

Long Life.

Your enemies thwarted.

Solomon asks for wisdom. An understanding mind to govern the people, to discern between good and evil.

Solomon was already wise, but God made him wiser.

What would you ask for?

 

 

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Have mercy

170329As they were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him.  There were two blind men sitting by the roadside. When they heard that Jesus was passing by, they shouted, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!” The crowd sternly ordered them to be quiet; but they shouted even more loudly, “Have mercy on us, Lord, Son of David!”  Jesus stood still and called them, saying, “What do you want me to do for you?” They said to him, “Lord, let our eyes be opened.” Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they regained their sight and followed him. (Matthew 20:29-34, NRSV)

What would you say to Jesus if you got His attention and He asked you, “What do you want me to do for you?”

“Lord let us see!” is what these two men asked for. Let us see the world we have never actually beheld!

And Jesus did it. And they followed Him.

But what would you ask him for?

 

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invitation

170115The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.” And John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.” The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Anointed). He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter). (John 1:29-42, NRSV)

The first thing that Jesus says in the Gospel of John is, “What are you looking for?” But it could have also been “What are you seeking?” or “What do you hope to find?”

In essence, Jesus was asking these 2 disciples of John, “What do you need?”

What do you need? If Jesus were to ask you right now, “What do you need?” What would you say?

The disciples ask Jesus, “Where are you staying?” This is again not a bad translation but maybe not the best. They are asking Jesus where he is dwelling, abiding, remaining. They want to know how they can be with Him.

And Jesus simply says, “Come and See.”

What an invitation. Jesus doesn’t tell the disciples to change their ways. He doesn’t tell them they need some new product to make their lives better. He simply says, “Come and See.”

We see all types of people every day, and they all have different problems and need different things. We have people all over the place telling us if we had this cream or this car, or this computer our lives would be better. But Jesus the one who created the cosmos, merely says, “Come and See.”

You are invited into the inner most circle of the trinity, to come and see. Are you ready to come and see?

Are you ready to stop trying to fix everything around you and give the invitation that Jesus gave? Just come and see.

Just come and see.

 

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