Lessons Of A Lifetime


Scripture To Consider:
“Now his father [John the Baptist’s father] was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied saying, ‘Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people, and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David, as He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets, who have been since the world began, that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us, to perform the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember His holy covenant, the oath that He swore to our father Abraham; to grant to us that we being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him [God] without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.’”

“And you child [John the Baptist], will be called the prophet of the Highest; for you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, to give knowledge of salvation to His people by remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God, with which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.’ So the child [John] grew and became strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his manifestation to Israel.” Luke 1.67-80

Something To Consider:
Zacharias, who had been emptied of his pride and unbelief, was now filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied or proclaimed the truth of God’s Word that was written years ago by Old Testament prophets. Being filled with the Holy Spirit is a positive and powerful prerequisite for our being used by God.

Being filled with the Holy Spirit enables us to proclaim the Word of God to others effectively. This truth is played out and proved many times in both the Old and New Testament. As leaders in training we should keep our eyes, ears, hearts, and minds open to the subject of the Holy Spirit as we continue our journey to and with Jesus of Nazareth.

Joel, an Old Testament prophet, writing concerning the coming of the Day of the Lord, warned the people of God to return to the Lord before it was too late. Joel declared that God would restore to the nation of Israel the years that the swarming locust had eaten. He also made known in chapter 2 verses 28-29; “And it shall come to pass afterward that I [God] will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.”

Joel continued his warnings and promises made by God by revealing similar end time events as did Jesus in Matthew 24 some 800 years later and as did John in Revelation chapter 6. Joel prophetically wrote in Joel 2.30-32; “And I [God] will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: blood and fire and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome Day of the LORD. And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”

When will God pour out His Spirit on all flesh? According to the above-mentioned Scripture, it will be before the great and awesome Day of the Lord’s second coming!

Something Else To Consider:
Jesus, as mentioned above, in Matthew 24.29-31, appears to be describing the same end time events as Joel? And if so are there other end time events that are associated with this great and awesome Day of the Lord? In Matthew 24.29-31 Jesus exposes in advance the most sought after end time event in history by warning and predicting, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days [the perilous days Jesus has already revealed in Matthew 24 thus far] the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”

Jesus continued His exposing end time events by affirming, “Then the sign of the Son of Man [Jesus] will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes [people] of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He [Jesus] will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect [end time true enduring to the end saints] from the four winds [four corners of the earth], from one end of heaven to the other.” Joel and Jesus are describing the same end time event. They are describing the mercy of the Lord promised to the faithful being fulfilled in possibly the not so far future.

And so, we must ask the question, when will these things take place? When will God’s great mercy promised to His faithful enduring to the end saints be fulfilled? When will we hear the sound of that great trumpet that will call all true living on planet earth saints to be gathered together with those who have already died in the Lord? According to Jesus, in Matthew 24.29; “Immediately after the tribulation of those days…”

What are those days Jesus was speaking of? He was speaking of the days after many have come in the name of Jesus as if Christian and have deceived many. He was speaking of the days after our hearing of wars and rumors of wars; after nations have risen up against nations, after famines, pestilences, and many earthquakes and the increase of those earthquakes.

Jesus was speaking of the days after many are delivered up to tribulation and are killed and hated by all nations. Jesus was speaking of the days after many one-time believers are offended and begin to betray friends and family possibly because they feel as though they have been lied to concerning the timing of the gathering of His saints, or as more recently known as the rapture.

Jesus was also speaking of the days after the coming of many false prophets deceiving many people into thinking they are Christians and yet their lives are living evidence that they are among the increasing lawlessness and iniquity that is to abound in the earth causing the love of God in many to grow cold. But there is always hope for the faithful according to Jesus, “But he [or she] who endures to the end shall be saved.” But according to Jesus, it will be after the tribulation of those days!

Something More To Consider:
Zacharias proclaimed, “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people.” God has and will save those who have believed from their enemies. He has saved them from those who hate them. God has and will fulfill His promise of mercy to those faithful followers who have believed, both past and present. And it is the light of His Word that continues to illuminate His mercy which has been promised to the faithful.

The author of 1 Chronicles 16.34 declared; “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His mercy [that promised to His faithful] endures forever.” David the king of Israel, in one of his less than finer moments, as mentioned in an earlier lesson, took another man’s wife named Bathsheba which means daughter of an oath, and then placed her husband Uriah into the heat of the battle and pulled back the army leading to the unnecessary death of Uriah. And when David would not respond to the leading of the Holy Spirit, but rather refused to confess his immoral and violent sins, God sent a prophet named Nathan.

Nathan told David a story of a very rich man stealing the only lamb of a poor man to satisfy his personal desire. David’s anger was aroused, and he said, “As the LORD lives the man who has done this shall surely die.” Then Nathan said to David the king over all of Israel which included king over Nathan, “You David are the man!” Nathan was a bold prophet of the Lord!

Psalm 51 is a psalm David wrote after Nathan had confronted him of his most grievous sin. David began the psalm by praying, “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your loving-kindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.”

David continued his prayer in verse 10, by requesting of God, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit.”

David is no longer angrily demanding justice as he did concerning the rich man stealing one sheep. He now realizes that he has become the target of his own condemnation. His sin is ever before him! His sin plagues him night and day and for what? He risked his reputation, his position as king over Israel, and his relationship to his God, all for a short period of momentary pleasure? Nathan is the hero here!

A Few Final Words:
Therefore, the question should be, am I, are you, are we, among the intended recipients of God’s mercy? Are we among those delivered by His mighty hand in order that we might faithfully serve God in holiness and righteousness? God has kept His part of the promise. He has made mercy freely available to each of us. Mercy has been delivered as promised by God, but has mercy been received? While breath remains in us, as was in David, it is never too late to avail ourselves of our fair share of God’s mercy.

Will we be as King David, refusing to acknowledge our sin, or will we respond to the inward prompting of God’s Holy Spirit? Or God forbid, will it take God sending a true prophet of God to declare, “You are the man! You are the woman!” Faithful leaders in training who show much mercy to others by their actions, have a hand in the spiritual deliverance of future generations. Will we accept the challenge? It begins by our accepting the mercy promised by God to the faithful few awaiting His Son’s return!

Our Father in heaven, teach us as believers to be grateful for Your great mercy in our lives. And teach us to serve You faithfully in these end times. In Him Always, Amen!

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