Lessons Of A Lifetime

SUNDAY FEB. 25, 2018

Scripture To Consider:
“And Zacharias said to the angel, ‘How shall I know [believe] this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.’ And the angel answered and said to him, ‘I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings [good news]. But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their time.’”

“And the people waited for Zacharias, and marveled that he lingered so long in the temple. But when he came out he could not speak to them: and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple, for he beckoned to them and remained speechless. So it was, as soon as the days of his service were completed, that he departed to his own house. Now after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived; and she hid herself five months, saying, ‘Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me to take away my reproach among people.’” Luke 1.18-25

Something To Consider:
Zacharias was having difficulty believing the Word of the Lord delivered to him by the angel Gabriel. “How shall I know [or believe] this?” Even in Zacharias’ unbelief he was in good company. Genesis 17.15-17 records another instance of a godly man temporarily overcome by unbelief. “Then God said to Abraham, ‘As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. And I will bless her and also give you a son by her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her.”

The record continues, “Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart [privately], ‘Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old bear a child?’” Believing is part of our end time preparation process, even though more times than not it is preceded by our unbelief as in the cases of Zacharias and Abraham and countless others!

Zacharias’ wife Elizabeth’s name means, oath of God, even though she was well advanced in years, which had left the two of them without the joy of a much-desired child. And yet, Zacharias was faithful in fulfilling his priestly duties and responsibilities as unto the Lord. In spite of not obtaining the one thing they wanted most in life, a child, which was not yet granted to them by God, they still served the Lord!

Do we allow the disappointments of life to discourage us from serving God, or to dictate whether we serve God? Part of the end time preparation process is to believe the Word of God even in the midst of difficulty, discouragement, and disappointment, as in time, Zacharias would also learn!

Something Else To Consider:
Another part of the end time preparation process for leadership may involve seasons of silence in the life of a leader in training. Such leaders as Moses, Joshua, Elijah, Isaiah, King David, Peter, Paul, and Jesus Himself, all met with seasons of silence while in the classroom of the Holy Spirit. The deciding factor for all of them was their unparalleled resolve to be an integral part of a people prepared by believing in the Word of the Lord.

These individuals desired to impact their generation for God. They also desired to live godly lives. What about us? As present tense believers do we desire to spiritually impact our generation for God? Do we desire to live godly lives in and through our Lord Jesus Christ? And if we do not who will? What is God preparing each of us to accomplish in this 21st century generation?

Zacharias remained speechless because of his unbelief, just as the angel predicted. Unbelief has a way of rendering us speechless. Unbelief also has the ability to create a stumbling stone between our being properly prepared, or our being of little to no value to God’s kingdom. For God is constantly searching for faithful spiritual leaders in training to make great in the sight of the Lord, like John the Baptist and others already mentioned, by thoroughly preparing them and equipping them for leadership. Will we be ready? How will we respond to God’s call to believe His Word and to be held accountable to His Word?

Something More To Consider:
Yes, believing is an important part of our end time preparation process in our being made in the image of Jesus Christ. Yes, believing is an important part of the end time preparation process as we seek first God’s kingdom and Christ’s righteousness in our own lives. But our end time preparation is for more than just our time here on earth. God is preparing His people for the thousand-year millennial reign of Christ here upon planet earth and for all eternity. There is too much at stake for us to simply cease our training due to unbelief. We must press forward toward the upward call of God.

And yes, it is a biblical fact that sometimes our entering a season of silence is a part of God’s overall plan as He wisely prepares us for His glory. But at some point, our training leads to the call of spiritual duty. God’s call to a man named Ezekiel reveals truth that is still relevant to our day and age. Ezekiel was called by God to be a spiritual watchman for the house of Israel. God is still in the business of calling spiritual watchmen in these last days.

Will we accept the challenge of God’s call to be prepared through the study of the Word of God? Will we accept the challenge of God’s call to be prepared through the study of all of the words spoken by Jesus in the gospels and in the book of Revelation? Will we be found observing all of Jesus’ teachings and involved in the teaching of others to observe all things that Jesus taught? These are not optional or class electives as if our having enrolled in a worldly place of so-called higher education.

Our being properly and biblically prepared for the second coming of Jesus Christ during these end times is critical and mandated according to Jesus. Therefore, be careful of those who claim otherwise or choose to lessen the importance of Jesus’ teachings as if they are too difficult to fully understand or to rightly interrupt. Do not be deceived!

A Few Final Words:
In Ezekiel 3.16-21 it is revealed, “Now it came to pass at the end of seven days that the Word of the LORD came to me [Ezekiel], saying, ‘Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore hear a Word from My mouth, and give them [wicked and righteous] warning from Me: When I say to the wicked, “You shall surely die,” and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.’”

God continued His instruction to Ezekiel and all called to be among the spiritual watchmen prepared by God, by stating, “Again, when a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die; because you did not give him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. Never the less if you warn the righteous man that the righteous should not sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; also you will have delivered your soul.”

Therefore, the bottom line is that sin separates us from a holy and righteous God! I see great similarities between John the Baptist, a more than a prophet according to Jesus, and the prophet Ezekiel. Even their messages were both messages of warnings! Ezekiel was a watchman anointed by God’s Holy Spirit to warn the people of God concerning their sin and to warn them of sin’s consequences, which was needful then and is needful now!

John’s message was, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” Believing the Word of God is a most important part of our end time preparation process as spiritual leaders and leaders in training. Repentance keeps us present tense believers! Being born again does not eliminate the ramifications of our future sin, according to God’s Word, otherwise, why the warning from God’s Word to not sin? Isaiah 59.2 speaks directly to the ramifications of our sin, by stating, “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.” Sin creates a season of silence between us and our God if our sin is unconfessed!

Believing that seasons of silence, whether due to our own unbelief, our unconfessed sin, or God’s divine grand scheme of things, is so very important in our end time preparation process. Even Jesus endured a thirty [30] year season of silence. And as with Elizabeth, God is willing to take away any reproach that has been created in our own lives. But unbelief severely cripples both a leader and leader in training’s capacity to lead, but believing brings about the fulfillment of God’s promises!

Our Father in heaven, may the discouragements and disappointments of life cause us to be better prepared to serve You and others in these end times. In Him Always, Amen!

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