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March 15

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“And child, you will be called a prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare His ways” (Luke 1:76 HCSB).

From: March 15, 2021

THE LORD’S CALLING AND A FATHER’S BLESSING

When it came time for John the Baptist to be born, his father Zechariah prophesied over him. Zechariah had been mute since he first heard from an angel that his barren wife would soon have a son in her old age. The Lord made him mute as a sign of his lack of faith. But on the day of his son’s birth, the Lord opened his mouth and Zechariah praised the Lord and prophesied over his son. With Spirit’s filling, Zechariah prophesied of the calling God had for John, that he would be a prophet and a preparer of the way for the coming Messiah.
 
John’s birth was miraculous and so was his calling. For the angel had told Zechariah that his son would serve the Lord “in the spirit and power of Elijah” (Luke 1:17). And so he did. John grew up spiritually strong and became the “voice of one crying in the wilderness,” preparing the way for the Messiah, Jesus Christ (Luke 3:4).
 
We never know what potential a newborn child may hold. For God often calls us to a special purpose before we are even born. As the Lord told the prophet Jeremiah, “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations” (Jer. 1:5). This calling should make us careful as parents to see our children as a gift from the Lord and to carefully consider the words we say over them. For the power to curse and the power to bless is in the tongue. Let us use them to bless our children and to speak God’s purpose and calling over them always.
 
PRAYER: Dear Father, thank You that you have a purpose and a calling for us. Help us to faithfully follow You Son in all things. And help us to bless our children with words that lead them to follow Your calling for their lives. In Jesus’ name, amen.

“Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people” (Luke 1:68 NKJV).

From: March 15, 2020

PRAYING FOR THE LORD’S VISITATION TODAY

On the eighth day after John the Baptist’s birth, his father Zechariah was filled with the Spirit and prophesied. The Lord spoke through him announcing the purpose of his son’s life, namely, to prepare the way for the Messiah. For the Lord had visited their relative Mary and she would soon give birth to Jesus. He would grow up to be their long awaited Redeemer and ours too.
 
Today, because of the Coronavirus we have been instructed to close our church doors, but we will still worship together online. As we pray every Sunday, we ask the Spirit of the Lord to visit us, to be present. We have prepared and made ourselves available, but unless the Lord shows up, nothing will happen. For He alone is able to redeem us and cause life change.
 
PRAYER: Dear Father, visit us today by your Spirit. May the Spirit of Christ be with us as we set this day apart for worship and prayer. We will not fear or panic about the things around us, for we look to You. Strengthen us and build us up this day for Your kingdom work. In Jesus’ name, amen.

“And you, my little son, will be called the prophet of the Most High, because you will prepare the way for the Lord” (Luke 1:76 NLT).

From: March 15, 2018

FROM MUTE DONKEY TO ARTICULATE PROPHET
In today’s OT reading, the Lord opened the mouth of Balaam’s donkey to speak. And in the NT reading, the Lord made Zechariah mute for nine months before restoring his voice. Zechariah praised God and prophesied over his newborn son, John. All that the angel Gabriel predicted had come to pass. I suppose he had plenty of time to contemplate the angel’s words, since he had no words of his own during his wife’s pregnancy. Awe fell over the entire neighborhood as the tongue-tied priest became an articulate prophet, blessing his son. What if every child was so anticipated? What if every child had a father speaking such prophetic blessing over him?
 
God asked Moses, “Who gave man his mouth?” (Ex. 4:11). The Lord can make a faithless man mute or a speechless donkey talk. So, we must be careful concerning our speech.

“A talebearer reveals secrets, But he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter” (Proverbs 11:13 NKJV).

From: March 15, 2017

Can you keep a confidence?

A gossip cannot be trusted. Their MO (Modus Operandi) is to tell everything they know and to add a little to the story to spice it up. If you know someone who is constantly telling you someone else’s secrets, then be sure not to tell them yours! But a faithful friend can be trusted.

“Then the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey…” (Numbers 22:28 ESV)

From: March 15, 2016

Balaam’s donkey was given the gift of speech to warn him of impending danger. Such stories in the Bible cause some to laugh and discount them as fairy tales. Yet, just as God questioned Moses, “Who gave man his mouth?” (Ex.4:11), so the God of the Word can give speech to whom He will. Ironically, in today’s OYB reading, God gave a normally mute donkey speech, while He kept a doubting priest (“Zechariah” in Luke 1:64) mute, until he finally demonstrated faith. Has the Lord of language opened your mouth to give Him praise? Or do you still sit silently?

“And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways” (Luke 1:76 NKJV)

From: March 15, 2015

After nine months being mute, Zacharias prophesied over his newborn son, John. All that the angel Gabriel predicted had come to pass. I suppose the silenced old Zacharias had plenty of time to contemplate the angel’s words during his wife’s pregnancy. Awe fell over the entire neighborhood as the tongue-tied priest became an articulate prophet, blessing his son. In this verse, he spoke the prophecy of Malachi 3:1 over his son, saying that he would be the preparer of the way for the Messiah. What if every child was so anticipated? What if every son had a father speaking a prophetic blessing over him?

“And you, my little son, will be called the prophet of the Most High, because you will prepare the way for the Lord” (Luke 1:76 NLT)

From: March 15, 2014

After 9 months being mute, Zechariah prophesied over his newborn son, John. All that the angel Gabriel predicted had come to pass. I suppose he had plenty of time to contemplate the angel’s words during his wife’s pregnancy. Awe fell over the entire neighborhood as the tongue-tied priest became an articulate prophet, blessing his son. What if every child was so anticipated? What if every son had a father speaking such prophetic blessing over him?

“And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, ‘His name is John.'” (Luke 1:63 ESV)

From: March 15, 2013

Against family tradition, but in accordance with the Lord’s instruction, Zechariah named his son John. The boy grew and became known as John the Baptist, the forerunner of the Christ. When Zechariah wrote the name, no doubt he wrote it in Hebrew: יוֹחָנָן (Yôḥanan), which means “Graced by Yahweh.” Since the New Testament is written in Greek, his name appeared as: Ἰωάννης (Iōánnēs) in Luke’s text. In English, the name “John” is derived from this Hebrew/Greek lineage and has become the most common masculine name in the Western world. According to Jesus, John was the greatest ever born up until that time. He truly lived up to his name, as the angel Gabriel had predicted. He was great before the Lord.

“Everyone who heard about it reflected on these events and asked, ‘What will this child turn out to be?’ For the hand of the Lord was surely upon him in a special way.” (Luke 1:66)

From: March 15, 2012

How the people responded to the birth of John the Baptist. Oh, that every child would be welcomed with such expectation!

“Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue was loosed, and he began to speak, praising God” (Luke 1:64)

From: March 15, 2011

Zechariah had been mute for 9 months, when God opened his mouth. In today’s OT reading, God opened the mouth of Balaam’s donkey. God speaks. He even uses doubting daddys and disinclined donkeys.