"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.
"The word of the Lord which came unto Zephaniah the son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hizkiah (Hezekiah), in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah"
(Zephaniah 1:1 KJV)
Zephaniah was a minor prophet of our God only because he didn't write 50 chapters like the Major Prophets did. There are 12 Minor Prophets in the Old Testament of our Bibles, but there’s nothing minor about Zephaniah or what he has to say. This man, used by Our Awesome God, helped reform and a revival to sweep the nation of Israel at the time of King Josiah's reign (640-609 BC). Zephaniah was a great grandson of Hezekiah, making him part of the royal family and a third cousin to King Josiah.
Everyone was sure that, with a good king such as Josiah on the throne, Our Awesome God would forgive them. But Zephaniah stood up and said, "NO, judgment will happen and cannot be stopped. God's judgment is coming, it will be swift, it will be complete, it will be for all. And there is nothing that can be done to prevent it." He preached this before Judah was taken into captivity, so very few paid any attention to him!
Verse 2 of Zephaniah 1 says, "I will utterly consume everything from the face of the land" says the Lord."' You cannot get more complete than that. All will be judged everything and all will be consumed. Read all of the Book of Zephaniah. The judgment is on God's chosen people, on the kings, rulers, the religions, the indifferent, the lazy, the complacent, EVERYTHING!
Zephaniah’s message was to the Jews in the kingdom of Judah and was fulfilled in the Babylonian captivity. Their hope was in God’s promise of repatriation in the next generation. Likewise, some day the people of this world will be judged by Jesus Christ, Our Awesome God's chosen judge. But hope for our people today is found in Jesus Christ and our belief and obedience to His commandments. Hope for our world is not in stopping judgment, judgment is coming. What we need to do is seek refuge in Our Awesome God's Son, Jesus Christ. Read Zephaniah 1:7-8, 14-15. Our Awesome God has decided to take all things through judgment to salvation. Seek refuge and shelter in Jesus Christ, for He will be pleased to hide another. Repent!
Who do you know who needs to know Jesus Christ and Him crucified? Tell them about our Lord and bring them to our church or attend a church that preaches and teaches that Jesus Christ died for you, taking your sins upon Himself and arose the third day to sit by God, interceding for you when you sin.
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 teach others from His Holy Bible. Our church starts with small groups on Sunday at 9:30 AM and Praise/Worship Service at 10:30 AM. On Sunday evening at 6:00 PM, a Bible Study meets along with AWANA for children until 7:30 PM. And there is more during the week. We love visitors!
"Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me."
(Isaiah 6:8 KJV)
Isaiah had a life-changing encounter with Our Awesome God in Chapter 6 of the Book of Isaiah in the Bible and he really changed to a man who knew God. As you can see in the Bible verse above, he became fervent in trying to get his people in Judah to change their wicked ways and turn again to the God he had seen. Isaiah lived and preached for forty, maybe sixty, years of his life and during the reign of four kings of Judah with no real change in the people's behavior.
Isaiah was a prophet of Our Awesome God who may have been of the aristocracy of Judah. He definitely knew politics and the kings, Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah. The prophet wrote 66 chapters in the Book of Isaiah and they correspond to the 66 Books of the Bible in some content. He was called "The Messianic Prophet" because of his descriptions and prophecy of Jesus Christ.
Isaiah was Our Awesome God's spokesman to Judah and Jerusalem at a time when the nation was immersed in sin. He spoke God's indictment against their sins, urging them to repent. He then foretold destruction upon them if they did not return to God. He wasn't popular.
In the midst of these dire warnings, Isaiah also foretold of a bright future with the coming Messiah. Our Awesome God, Isaiah preached, would not forget His covenant made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David. He would spare a remnant of the nation of Israel out of which would come the Messiah and His new kingdom.
Seeing Our Awesome God was life-changing for this prophet who may have started his ministry in Judah after seeing Him. This man may have helped keep Judah in existence by his preaching and God waiting a little longer for His people to repent. Isaiah saw what Israel was doing and preached to his people to change their wicked ways before it was too late. Though no real change was seen in the ruling class, others may have changed and become faithful to God. Ask God when you get to heaven. Meanwhile, keep learning more about Our Awesome God and His Word.
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 10:30 AM for worship and caring from our church of Christians. On Wednesdays, 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!
Flo & Bill