Monthly Archives: July 2013
Luke 1:14-17 (NIV) He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, (15) for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth. (16) Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God. (17) And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous–to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
In the movie the Matrix Reloaded, there is a character known simply as the key-maker. He gives this long discourse on how only a certain person can enter a certain door located in a certain building and only at a certain time. Niobe, one of the other characters, asks him, “How do you know all this?” And the key-maker responds, “I know because I must know. It is my purpose. It is the reason I am here.”
In my message entitled “Believe in God even when He is silent”, we read about John the Baptist’s parents, Zechariah and Elizabeth, and how they were childless until they were well advanced in years. And one of the key themes that I highlighted from this message, is that God’s ways are not our ways. His will is not our will. His understanding is not our understanding.
Today’s passage is a follow on from that message, and in it, it shows that there was indeed a great purpose for John’s life. He was to be a joy and a delight to his parents, be great in the sight of the Lord, be filled with the Holy Spirit from before his birth, draw many people back to God, and be the prophesied forerunner of the Christ, the Messiah, the Saviour, Jesus.
And it is only now, with the giving of this revelation, that Zechariah can look back upon his life and the seeming reproach of God and of men because of his wife’s barrenness, and see the purpose of God in waiting so long before answering his prayer. And wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing if God sent an angel to us all to tell us what the purpose of our children’s lives were to be, what our purpose was to be.
But lose not heart dear friends. Not all of us are called to be a John the Baptist. Not all of us are called to be the forerunner of the Christ. But all of us do have a purpose to fulfil. The challenge is finding yours.
So how do you find your purpose? You start by praying. Ask God to show you what it is that you are supposed to do with your life, what your purpose is. And then you wait. You wait until God tells you. This will most likely not be an audible voice, but rather an inner sensing. Sometimes you will have a Holy Spirit empowered strong sense of conviction. Other times, it will be a still, small voice that you barely notice. And yet all of the time, it will not contradict His Word, the Bible. Then the third thing you do in finding your purpose, is you obey. Once you have prayed to God and waited for Him and heard from Him, you need to obey Him. You need to follow through on what He lays upon your heart. You need to do what He says you must do. You do not need to always understand how God it is going to work it out, but you do need to do it.
Everyone has a purpose. Whilst we may all want the glory and honour of a “high calling”, many more of us are called to do what people might label as simple things: to be a mom or a dad, a Godly business owner or leader, or just a smiling face every day.
As with Zechariah and Elizabeth, we never know why things are the way that they are! And when God is seemingly silent in not answering our prayers, we fail to see God’s bigger picture of why things are the way that they are. But be assured of this: everyone has a purpose. Find yours.
my name is darryl
and this is what i have to say
Luke 1:5-13 (NIV) In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. (6) Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly. (7) But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren; and they were both well along in years. (8) Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, (9) he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. (10) And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside. (11) Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. (12) When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. (13) But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John.
Today’s reading is both challenging and comforting. It is challenging because it reminds us that as believers, we do not automatically escape the troubles of this world, this temporal life. And it is comforting because it shows that God hears us and sometimes answers our requests in accordance with His will.
Here we see a man and his wife, both considered righteous because of their observance of the Mosaic Law. They were indeed considered blameless in their observance. In accordance with Deuteronomy 30 verse 19’s choice of choosing life or death, blessing or curses, Zechariah and Elizabeth had chosen life. They were blameless in their observance. Yet, they were not blessed in accordance with the blessing that they were expecting. Elizabeth was barren.
This is a stark reminder to us that, one, we are not blessed by religious observance alone. And two, neither are we blessed purely by our association to Christianity. As Christians, there is no automatic entry into a trouble-free-life-sweepstakes-competition. No! This world remains in a fallen state. It has not been redeemed yet, made new. That will only happen later when Christ returns, at the end of the age. As Revelation 21:1 says, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away …”.
It is also a reminder to us that, three, God’s ways are not our ways. We cannot look at the world around us and at people’s lives and conclude by external observance alone, that they or anyone is or is not blessed by God. How easy it would have been to look at Zechariah and Elizabeth’s life and their childlessness and conclude that there must be sin in their life and that that is why God is not seemingly blessing them. How dangerous it is to draw unnecessary and unfounded conclusions.
But finally, note that God did indeed intervene in the end and promise that a barren Elizabeth would bear a son. Again, be reminded that God’s ways are not our ways. Maybe it was that God was waiting for just the right time for John to be born. Maybe it was that God was waiting for just the right parents to take care of John. Maybe it was that God wanted to remind a Godly man, a priest with clout, that He still operates in the supernatural. That nothing is impossible for God.
Friends! I don’t know what is going on in your life. I don’t know what you are dealing with, what pain and suffering you may be bearing. And words like “God’s got a plan” sometimes don’t help, but rather make you sink further in despair. But listen to the following words engraved onto a cellar wall in Nazi Germany during the Jewish Holocaust:
I believe in the sun even when it is not shining
I believe in love even when I cannot feel it
I believe in God even when He is silent
May God strengthen you today to carry the burdens that you do. And yet, may He answer the prayer of your heart. In Jesus name. Amen.
my name is darryl
and this is what i have to say
Luke 1:1-4 (NIV) Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, (2) just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. (3) Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, (4) so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.
What a rich introduction to the book of Luke. As Luke himself states that many have undertaken to draw up an account, so too many contemporary theologians and Bible scholars have undertaken to draw up an account and an understanding of who Luke was, what his purpose was in writing the Gospel of Luke, who Theophilus was and why was Luke writing to him.
A few things are clear though from this passage alone. Luke says that many had undertaken to draw up an account. This tells us that his account was not the only account. He says many, not few. Therefore, I may even be so bold as to say that the four Gospels as we have them today were most likely not the only accounts drawn up concerning the things of Jesus, with Luke’s being but just one of the many. And yet it is these four that the Holy Spirit chose to allow to remain as a witness and testimony to us today.
Notice too that Luke is speaking first hand. He says that he is reporting on the things that have been fulfilled among us, among him. This is not a reporter writing an article for the news paper of what others have encountered and experienced. No! This is a record of his own account. This is what he has personally experienced. And now wants to share it.
But he did not experience or encounter everything himself. His sources though, did! Something has happened in the life of Luke and he has investigated it and believed it. And for whatever reason we may possibly try to ascertain today 2000 years later, he wanted to share this information with Theophilus.
That Theophilus was a seeker is clear – he wanted assurance of what he had been taught. Take note. He was taught. He was not just told. Teaching and instruction are more than just a conversation, more than just gossip. Teaching and instruction suggest depth of understanding. Theophilus was wanting to know more.
Maybe, Theophilus was like so many of us today. We hear the Word. We believe the Word. We encounter the Word. Then we doubt the Word. Maybe Theophilus wanted to share the Gospel and was laughed down. Maybe the struggles of life were chocking his new found faith. Maybe persecution was looming and he wanted to be assured that his suffering would not be in vain.
And Luke does what we are all called to do – to preach the Gospel. To make disciples. To give people hope. And to show them the way to Jesus.
The good news of the kingdom of God and His love, are sure, true and certain. Luke, living just a few years after the resurrection of Jesus, has investigated the claims with those that personally witnessed it and served with Christ, “so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught”.
Be assured that your hope is not in vain.
my name is darryl
and this is what i have to say