"But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.
(Luke 1:13 KJV)
"The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
(Isaiah 40:3 KJV)
John, the Baptist is a wonderful story that tells of his conception and birth and can be found in Luke 1:5-80. While details are sparse, the story is full of prayer, promise and fulfillment. Just like Samuel and Samson, he was a Nazarite (Numbers 6:1-4), and, therefore, he didn't drink wine or strong drink but was "filled with the Holy Spirit".
His relation to Jesus Christ and his divine origin were emphasized even before his birth when he leaped for joy in Elizabeth's womb. His name was JOHN and it was given to him by the angel Gabriel before his birth.
He was the son of a priest and could have worn the ephod and eaten of the portions allotted him, but he grew up in the wilderness (Luke 1:80) wearing a garment of coarse camel hair and a leather girdle. This was how Isaiah described him in Isaiah 40:3..."a voice crying in the wilderness."
John's preaching was also in the wilderness (Matthew 3:1) away from the Temple or Jerusalem with its religious and cultured people.
His message was, "repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 3:2). John baptized his followers to show the burying of their old life and their arising from the water into a new life.
John, like Jesus later, ran into problems with the Pharisees and Sadducees with whom he had sharp words (Matthew 3:7-12). They asked him who he was and he told them He was not the Christ or Elijah, the prophet. He stated that he would be followed by one who would baptize with the Holy Spirit eternal fire (Matthew 3:11-12). When John saw Jesus, he proclaimed Him "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world".
John was better than a prophet, for he surpassed the others in greatness. John's generation did not accept him and called him possessed (Matthew 11:17-18). He was beheaded in 29 AD by Herod Antipas who had him imprisoned for John's saying he had an incestuous marriage with his brother's wife, Herodias. (Luke 3:19-20). But he told of the coming of Jesus Christ and pointed Him out to all who would listen!
Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior? This was His first appearing but He will come again are you ready?
Join us Sunday at 9:30 AM for small group Bible Studies and at 10:30 AM Worship Service in the sanctuary. Sunday evening at 6:00 PM we have Bible Study. On Wednesdays, we meet at 7:00 PM for Prayer Meeting and Bible Study with a Spanish Bible Study and Youth Chapel until 8:00 PM.
"And will go all of you armed over Jordan before the Lord, until he hath driven out his enemies from before him...But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the Lord : and be sure your sin will find you out."
(Numbers 32:21, 23 KJV)
The book of Numbers in our Holy Bible relates the victories that the Lord God had given Joshua and the Israelites as Moses led them across the land toward Canaan. After Moses died, God told Joshua to be of "good courage" and do as God told him. So they crossed the Jordan River into Canaan and they took Jericho, a large fortified city. Then they came to a little city called Ai who had a small army and Joshua was soundly defeated. God had assured Joshua that, if they kept God's commandments, Our Awesome God would be with them and they would win. What went wrong?
The children of Israel had a small hidden problem (Joshua 7:1). The problem became noticeable when Joshua sent 3,000 troops against the little city of Ai. Although this should have been enough to easily defeat Ai's small army, the Israelites fled before them. Joshua had no idea why this happened. Then Our Awesome God revealed that a man named Achan had taken an "accursed thing" from the sacking of Jericho and hidden it in his tent (Joshua 7:11). Only after the small hidden problem was found and taken care of could Israel go on to win the Promised Land.
We need to remember, small hidden problems must be brought to the surface and dealt with because of the damage and consequences they cause. Our Awesome God knows that we did wrong and we need to take care of the hidden problem before we go on. Do you have those "small problems" in your life? The "hidden problems" may consist of cursing aloud or in your thoughts, it may be taking things that don't belong to you, it may be pride, it could be envy, etc. but check what you think and do with what God wants, then change anything He would not want. Small "hidden things" can grow or just may be a big problem with God. All sins are large to God.
If you are a Christian who has strayed away from Our Awesome God or someone who has never been a Christian or a person who needs to help minister to others, join us at Living Word Baptist Church on Sunday at 9:30 AM for Bible Study and at 10:30 AM for a Praise and Worship Service. At 6:00 PM Sunday evening, we have a Bible Study along with AWANA for children until 7:30 PM. On Wednesday, we meet at 7:00 PM for Prayer Requests, and a Bible Study follows until 8:00 PM. We welcome all people and love them!
"And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi."
(Genesis 29:34 KJV)
Levi was the third son of Jacob and Leah from Our Awesome God's chosen people. Leah was still concerned about getting Jacob to love her so the Scripture above tells some of her words, but her father had tricked Jacob when they were married and Jacob probably never loved her. Levi, with his brother, Simeon, killed a man and all his relatives who lived close when they got angry over the rape of their sister, Dinah. Jacob said they made him "stink" when he described it in Genesis 34:30.
From Levi, Jacob's third son, came the Levites who were dedicated to Our Awesome God's service. As such, they were later not treated as the other tribes in that the Tribe of Levi was not given a separate allotment of land during the conquest of Canaan, when the nation of Israel was first established. Moses had singled out the Tribe of Levi to serve as the nation's priests. This tribe served all positions in the temple from the High Priest, to musicians, to cleaning the instruments of the tabernacle, to lighting of incense (Luke 1:9) until the temple was destroyed in 70 AD. As priests to the nation, the Levites needed to be distributed among the other tribes rather than confined to a single territory.
Instead of a land allotment, Joshua, who led the conquest of Canaan, gave 48 towns, scattered throughout the land of Israel, to the Tribe of Levi. The descendants of Levi played a role in guarding and serving the tabernacle (Numbers 3:21-37) and later on in the temple at Jerusalem.
Our Awesome God established the tribe of Levi as the principal agents for communication with God in the nation of Israel. They were to lead the nation to be a kingdom of priests (Exodus 19:6) in teaching the rest of the world about God. Instead, for 1500 years they made access to Our Awesome God so difficult that few would even attempt it. He didn't really give up on them, but God also gave the Gentiles the chance to become His adopted sons through the death, burial and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. You can become a son of Our Awesome God who loves you and knows your many sins as He does my sins. If God can forgive the many sins of the Tribe of Levi, He can forgive your sins.
We invite you to our church services for Our Awesome God on Sunday mornings (9:30 AM) and Worship Service at (10:30 AM). Then again Sunday evening (6:00 PM) for Bible Study along with AWANA for children which goes until 7:30 PM. Wednesday evening (7:00 PM) we have a Prayer Meeting and Bible Study along with the Youth Group. When you come, ask about the choir and Prayer Team. We love visitors!
"And from thence they went to Beer: that is the well whereof the Lord spake unto Moses, Gather the people together, and I will give them water. Then Israel sang this song, Spring up, O well; sing ye unto it:"
(Numbers 21:16-17 KJV)
Our Awesome God, as usual, knew what the people needed after wandering in the dry desert and, before they complained. He told Moses what to do, how to do it and where to do it. So Moses gathered the people around him and the princes and nobles took turns digging the well at Beer. Suddenly they began to sing as the water bubbled up and started gushing out. Our Awesome God had provided for them again. Israel had gotten into a stream of water under the ground that may never have been seen before but God knew it was there.
This stream that Moses and Israel found that day was just one of the blessings that Our Awesome God gave them and that He gives us every day. Israel was happy that day and they praised God. They didn't always praise Him. They often complained and grumbled. But do we always praise Him when things like the "river of blessings" occur in our lives. We like praise and "thank you's" for things we have done well or from people we have helped (though we should not do things because we expect either from them). Our Awesome God also loves your "thanks" and praise.
We need to remember that Our Awesome God keeps the planets on their axes, the oxygen enough for us to live, the food supply enough to feed us, Satan from killing us, His Christian people telling the people of the world about Jesus' salvation, His anger under control, etc. God, in short, keeps us living here on earth until the last person who will be saved by believing on Jesus Christ has done so.
Praising Our Awesome God is something we don't do enough. It makes us feel good and it makes God feel good. So start your day off by praising God for what He did yesterday and what He will do today for you! Make praising a habit you do for all around you. God is blessing you daily!
LWBC is a Bible believing church that tries to live Jesus Christ's commandment to "love one another as I have loved you." (John 15:12 KJV). Join us this Sunday as we learn more about Our Awesome God and how to teach others from His Holy Bible. Our church starts with small groups on Sunday at 9:30 AM and Worship Service at 10:30 AM. On Sunday evening at 6:00 PM, a Bible Study meets for an hour along with AWANA a children's program until 7:00 PM. We love visitors!
"And when the ass saw the angel of the Lord, she fell down under Balaam: and Balaam's anger was kindled, and he smote the ass with a staff. And the Lord opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?"
(Numbers 22:27, 28 KJV)
Balaam, a corrupt prophet, was summoned by King Balak of the Moabites to curse the Israelites as Moses was leading them toward Canaan. Balak promised to pay Balaam handsomely for bringing evil upon the Hebrews, whom he feared. In the night, Our Awesome God came to Balaam, telling him not to curse the Israelites. Balaam sent the king's messengers away. He did, however, go with a second set of King Balak's messengers after being warned by God.
On the way to see the king, Balaam's donkey saw the angel of God standing in their path, brandishing a sword. Three times the donkey saw the angel and three times she turned aside and got a beating. The third time, the donkey laid down on Balaam and refused to get up. At that, Our Awesome God opened the donkey's mouth and she said to Balaam, "What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?" (Numbers 22:28, NIV)
The angel threatened Balaam because Balaam was obeying God in his actions, but in his heart he was rebelling, thinking only of the bribe and his welfare, not God's purpose. Do we obey Our Awesome God, reluctantly at times, with our minds on something for us, not on what God wants? We need to remember that we are God's servants and obey Him completely in all things. We need to check why we are doing something. Reluctant is not good enough for God! He wants all of us!
Read Numbers 23 in Our Awesome God's Holy Bible and realize that He knows your thoughts and is faithful to keep His people safe. He continued fulfilling His promises to Israel and by allowing Balak, the king, and his princes to see His power. They had to become aware that He is truly God of all. So God and even Balaam witnessed to them but the Bible does not show them accepting Him as their God. God wants all of us to glorify Him. His purpose will be fulfilled using others if not you.
We (as a church) want all people in church, worshipping Our Awesome God with faith and obedience every Sunday. If you are not yet a Christian, it is time that you should know and love Our Awesome God as your Creator and Savior. Join us at Living Word Baptist Church as we pray and worship Him this Sunday at 10:30 AM and at 6:00 PM for Bible Study. On Wednesdays, we meet at 7:00 PM for Prayer Requests, and a Bible Study follows until 8:00 PM. We love visitors!
"And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan."
(Numbers 13:27-29 KJV)
Why, of all places in our world called earth, did Our Awesome God choose Canaan to give to His chosen people? We can only guess what God thought. We can ask Him when we get to heaven. But knowing the people He chose, God prepared a special place for them, midway between the two major civilizations of that day, yet separated from them by large deserts. Was this the ideal place for God’s “kingdom of priests” (Exodus 19:6) to begin exporting Him to the world?
Here was a fertile land depending on Our Awesome God sending the rains for crops to grow and develop with little effort by the people. There is a wide variation in climate in this area. The area along the coastal plain, where the tribe of Dan settled, can receive up to 40 inches of rain a year and En-gedi in Judah, near the Dead Sea, only gets about 3 inches. Winters are wet while summers are usually hot and dry. This means that while the mountains in northern Canaan can be covered with snow, crops can be growing along the coastal plain and a nearly bone dry desert can be to the south at the same time. So these special people who were to tell all people about God would be near the most knowledgeable and those with the least knowledge on their continent, near the richest and the poorest people. They were near the water and could travel by land as needed. They had all they needed. But they wouldn't obey.
Israel has yet to become God’s kingdom of priests. When they took Our Awesome God's goodness for granted and did not live as He had told them to (Joshua 1:7-8), drought and famine came (Amos 4:7; Hag.1:11). The prophets would call the people to repentance and to acknowledge that God was in control of all His creation including the seasons and weather. They would repent and God would send relief. This continued in a cyclic fashion while they lived in Canaan.
Our Awesome God has a purpose for everything. He rarely tells us His purpose but He always tells us what He wants us to do if we are listening. If we obey Him, His purpose may be accomplished sooner but, sooner or later, His purpose is always accomplished. Our Awesome God wants us to follow His commandments and acknowledge that He controls our world and follow Him.
Join us at LWBC every Sunday at 9:30 AM, we have small group Bible Studies and at 10:30 AM, we meet in the sanctuary for Worship Service. Our programs include AWANA and an Intercessory Prayer Team but are varied as we teach and preach from Our Awesome God's Holy Bible. We love visitors and practice the "love one another" commandment to all.
Flo & Bill