God Hears Prayers

“Do not be afraid, Zechariah, the angel said, “God has heard your prayer” Luke 1:13 Eyewitness.

Eyewitness: Numbers 6:3, Malachi 4:5-6, Luke 1:5-25, pp.18,19
In your Bible: Numbers 6:3, Malachi 4:5-6, Luke 1:5-25

The ancestry of Joseph and Mary is recorded in Matthew and Luke. The ancestry of Zechariah and Elizabeth is also recorded in Luke. The sons of these two couples would turn the hearts of man back to the Father God. Selah.

Prayers Heard by God

Zechariah and Elizabeth were very old and considered beyond the age of child bearing. However, they continued to pray for a son. Zechariah was chosen by lot to fulfill his priestly duties at the Temple. As he entered the Holy Place to burn incense, an angle appeared before him and spoke to him. “Do not to be afraid, Zechariah,” the angel said. “God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give birth to a son. You must name him John” (Luke 1:13 Eyewitness).

Yes, Zechariah was paralyzed with fear and he questioned the angel if this message was possible. “I am Gabriel, sent from God to bring you this good news. Because you have not believed me, you will be unable to speak a word until the day of your son’s birth” (Luke 1:19a Eyewitness).

A Priest and a Message

Gabriel told Zechariah the mystery about this child:

  • He will bring great joy to his parents (v 14)
  • Many will rejoice at his birth (v 14)
  • He will be recognized by God as a great man (v 15)
  • But, he must never drink wine or fermented beverages (v 15)
  • Before birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit (v 15)
  • He will turn many Israelites back to the Lord their God (v 16)

More of what this child would do:

  • Go in the spirit and power of Elijah (v 17)
  • Soften the hearts of fathers to their children (v 17)
  • Cause the rebellious to accept godly wisdom (v 17)
  • Prepare the people [Jews and Gentiles] for the Lord’s coming (17)

Zechariah and Elizabeth rejoiced in the miraculous answer to their prayer. They knew this child was a gift from God. No longer did they bear the disgrace of childlessness. Against Jewish tradition, but as the messenger told them, they named their son John.

Prayer: Father, thank you the promise of hearing our prayers.

Questions: How do you know God hears your prayers? When is it right to question God? Or is it?

The Ancestry of Jesus

Matthew reports the ancestors of Jesus starting with Abraham, and his son Isaac, and Isaac’s son Jacob (Matthew 1:1 Eyewitness).

Eyewitness: Matthew 1:1-17; Luke 3:23b-38
In Your Bible: Matthew 1:1-17; Luke 3:23b-38

Two of the gospels have accounts of the ancestry of Jesus Christ – different but alike. These two views present additive information for the world to read.

Amazing Beginning

The Old Testament begins with the generation of the world and the New Testament begins with the generation of Him (Jesus) who made he world! Matthew actually calls his writing The book of the generation of Jesus Christ. * Lists of generations are often found in the Old Testament also (Genesis 5:1;10:1; 11:10; 11:27) to start.

More Encouragement

When Matthew calls Christ the son of David and the son of Abraham, he shows that God is faithful to his promise. God the faithful One will make good every word he has spoken. In Luke the writer shows Jesus is the seed of a woman and traces Jesus’ pedigree back to Adam.

Luke’s account concludes with the statement that Jesus was both the Son of Adam and the Son of God. Because Jesus was both, he is the proper Mediator between God and the sons of Adam to be through him the sons of God.**

Prayer: Father, thank you for faithfully preserving every detail of Jesus’ ancestry. He too was born of humanity.

Questions: Today, reading genealogies may be boring to many (sometimes even our own families). How helpful to you is to know the genealogy of Jesus, The Christ, The Messiah, The Son of God, The One God sent?

* A Harmony of the Gospels for Students of the Life of Christ, A. T. Robertson, Harper and Rowe, New York, Evanston and London, 1950, p.3.

** Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, Matthew Henry, Regency Reference Library, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1960, pp. 1423,1424.

NOTE: Eyewitness The Life of Christ Told in One Story, Winepress Publishing, 2008, by Frank Ball, will be shortened to Eyewitness for brevity sake throughout the rest of this devotional.

The Life of Christ

What We’ve Done – What We’ll Do

In March of 2013 we began weekly devotionals in The Eyewitness: Life of Christ Told in One Story. We moved on to Romans, Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians and Galatians.

Now we’ll return to Eyewitness: The Life of Christ Told in One Story for our devotional. Frank Ball makes these comments about the life of Jesus Christ:The eyewitnesses have seen the majestic splendor of Jesus Christ, the Word of Life, with their own eyes, touched them with their own hands, and heard him with their own ears. He is the Father’s only son, who existed from the beginning. Many people have written about what God has done in fulfillment of his promises. These are not clever, fictional stories from our imagination. People have carefully investigated all the accounts, so you may be certain that this record is accurate.*

Thank you for reading and encouraging me. Jesus is wonderful and always with us. I’m delighted to again delve into the Eyewitness to glean more insight in the life of Christ.

* Eyewitness The Life of Christ Told in One Story, Frank Ball, Wind Press Publishing, 2008, pp.15,16.

Walk by the Spirit

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So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law (Galatians 5:1 NLT).

Galatians 4-6 NASB
Galatians 4-6 NLT
Galatians 4-6 Amplified
Galatians 4-6 In your Bible

Yes, this letter may be harsh to read. Paul was angry that Galatian believers were challenged to return to Judaic Law to complete God’s purpose. Paul assured the Galatians that Christ was their hope.

Freedom in Christ

Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God (Galatians 4:6,7 NASB).

Paul encouraged believers that the Holy Spirit was to help them live a godly life. For we, [not relying on the Law but] through the [Holy] Spirit’s [help], by faith anticipate and wait for the blessing and good for which our righteousness and right standing with God [our conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action, causes us] to hope (Galatians 5:4 Amplified).

Walk by the Spirit

Paul describes the conflict our between fleshly desires and what the Spirit of God wants for us. Yes, a battle goes on all the time (our thoughts, our intentions, even our actions) between Spirit and flesh. Paul emphasizes we must choose to be guided by the Holy Spirit to bear good fruit.

. . . the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-25 NASB).

Paul simplifies this: For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Galatians 5:14 New Living). This is also what Jesus said in Mark 12:28-31!

Paul adds, Bear (endure, carry) one another’s burdens and troublesome moral faults, and in this way fulfill and observe perfectly the law of Christ (the Messiah) and complete what is lacking [in your obedience to it] (Galatians 6:2 Amplified).

Prayer: Father, thank you for the freedom Christ gives me with guidance the Holy Spirit provides. I cannot live without Jesus.

Questions: Today do we, as Gentiles, see conflict between Judaic Law and Christian guidance? How have you felt the Holy Spirit guide you through tough times?

Freedom in Christ

I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. So I live my life in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me (Galatians 2:20 New Living Translation).

Galatians 1-3 New Living Translation
Galatians 1-3 The Voice
Galatians 1-3 The Message
Galatians 1-3 In your Bible

The epistle is bold. Paul reproaches Galatian teachers for adding circumcision to the believers faith walk. That’s not what Paul taught. He reminds them, the Spirit, not the flesh, should guide believers. One commentator describes Galatians as the Christian Declaration of Independence* – Freedom in Christ.

Paul’s Testimony

Paul asserts his apostleship. His dramatic meeting with Lord on the road to Damascus, three years in the desert, and twice meeting with the other apostles in Jerusalem. Thirteen years later, Peter gave Paul the right hand of fellowship to bring the gospel to the Gentiles.

. . . God—who set me apart even before birth and called me by His grace—chose, to His great delight, to reveal His Son in me so I could tell His story among the outsider nations . . . (Galatians 1:15,16a The Voice).

Promise and Faith

Now, Paul addresses the false teachers have asserted believers must combine Judaic law with their Christian faith.

God gave the promises to Abraham and his child. And notice that the Scripture doesn’t say “to his children,” as if it meant many descendants. Rather, it says “to his child”—and that, of course, means Christ. This is what I am trying to say: The agreement God made with Abraham could not be canceled 430 years later when God gave the law to Moses. God would be breaking his promise. For if the inheritance could be keeping the law, then it would not be the result of accepting God’s promise. But God graciously gave it to Abraham as a promise (Galatians 3:16-18 NLT).

Paul gives understanding of pure Christianity. But now you [believers] have arrived at your destination: By faith in Christ you are in direct relationship with God. Your baptism in Christ was not just washing you up for a fresh start. It also involved dressing you in an adult faith wardrobe—Christ’s life, the fulfillment of God’s original promise (Galatians 3:25-27 The Message).

Prayer: Father, thank you for fulfilling the Law in Christ Jesus. He is my life.

Questions: Describe Paul’s encounter with Jesus on the Road to Damascus. Key verses in Galatians 2:11-24 and Acts 9:3-6, reveal that much more happened to Saul/Paul after he was knocked off his donkey. What ideas and facts here help your understanding of Paul?

*What the Bible is all About, Henrietta Mears, Regal Books, a Division of G/L Publications, Glendale, CA, 1974, p.480.