A daily Christian thought from:
ACP, The Church for the American Christian who is a Patriot
Pro-Christ, Pro-Life, Pro-Constitution.

Pastor Robert M. Celeste MCAC
Today's Christian thought: Monday May 10th, 2004

And they hid them under a bushel basket.

Like many folks today, there were folks back 2000 years ago that took the knowledge of the Lord and hid it. And like today, there were some back then that refused to believe what God told them, believing instead that God could only do things that they thought were possible. As we go through today's study, we are going to see Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, a man who should have known better, doubt God. We will see folks see and know about miracles, yet, keep them to themselves.

I, and I'm sure you also, know doctors who have seen miracles happen right before their eyes, yet instead of giving God the credit and glory, they instead say "well, these things happen". The President of these United States, a professing Christian, has yet to publicly give thanks and praise to God for the sudden, emphatic and swift victory achieved in our attack of Iraq. And as Zacharias was unable to speak, our nation has been bogged down.

Brothers and sisters, we need to turn back to God, we need to not just go to Him in prayer asking for things, we need to thank Him and praise Him and give Him credit for everything.

Let us go to: Luke Chapter One

1 Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, 2 even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; 3 It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, 4 that thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed. There was a doctor named Luke, he knew it was so important for people to know and hear about the Gospel of Jesus, that he gave up his practice of medicine and became a writer of the Gospel. How I would love to find a doctor like him today, one more interested in serving God than profit.

5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. 6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. 7 And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years. While Elisabeth was not a virgin, John would be her first baby.

8 And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course, 9 according to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense. 11 And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. Now in defense of Zacharias, having the angel Gabriel suddenly appear before you is bound to shake you up a bit. I mean, try to picture it if you will, here is Zacharias, going about his duties as an incense burner, probably humming a psalm, maybe thinking about the upcoming weekend or maybe even his retirement, for after all, we know he is getting up there in years, when suddenly, out of nowhere pops in the angel Gabriel.

12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. 13 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. 14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. 15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb. In verse 13 we see that Zacharias must have been praying that God would let him have a son, and in verse 15 we see Gabriel saying something that should make any Christian father jump for joy, "he shall be great in the sight of the Lord ... he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost". And as if that were not enough, Gabriel goes on:

16 And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. 17 And he shall go before Him in the Spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." Go back and read again all that Gabriel said to Zacharias, then before you go on, take a moment to think about what you would have said to Gabriel. Something like "Praise God!!!" Or at the very least, "Thank you." But not our Zacharias, nope, not Zacharias.

18 And Zacharias said unto the angel, "Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years." Pretty much what Zacharias said was; "go on, you've got to be kidding, I'm old and my wife is old." Pretty much telling Gabriel that he didn't believe him. Now, if only what happened next to Zacharias would happen to all who today doubt God. But of course if it did, we would have a very silent world. Who would be able to speak? Not me, that's for sure.

19&20 And the angel answering said unto him, "I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season." You know something? I don't think I know even one person who does not underestimate God. I doubt that I know one person, who I feel sure, has more faith than Zacharias. I doubt that if God were to do, to those of us who doubt His power, what He did to Zacharias, that anyone on earth would be able to speak. Blessed silence.

21 And the people waited for Zacharias, and marveled that he tarried so long in the temple. Clock watchers, even back then there were clock watchers. Ask any preacher what he sees happening the most often as he looks over his congregation, and he will tell you, "people looking at their watches." "marveled" must be another of saying " twisted impatiently in their seats."

22 And when he came out, he could not speak unto them: and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple: for he beckoned unto them, and remained speechless. 23 And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house. 24 And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying; 25 "Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein He looked on me, to take away my reproach among men." Can't you just hear Zacharias now doing a perfect but silent impersonation of Abraham when Elisabeth told him she was pregnant: "You're what? Praise God!!!!" For know Zacharias had, had a bit of time to ponder on the things that had happened to him and by now, I am sure, he understood that he and his wife were to be blessed beyond belief.

26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. 28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, "Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women."

29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. 30 And the angel said unto her, "Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. 31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a Son, and shalt call His name JESUS. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: 33 And He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end." Pretty scarey stuff for a 14 year old.

34 Then said Mary unto the angel, "How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?" Mary obviously understood what Gabriel was telling her, but she was confused, she knew that he was telling her that she was going to have a baby, but she was at a loss to understand how, since she was still a virgin. Now, unlike Zacharias, who should have understood, Gabriel realized that Mary was not being snotty, just confused. So Gabriel explains to Mary how it is that she will get pregnant, and to make it a bit easier for her, tells her that her older cousin, Elisabeth is pregnant as well.

35 And the angel answered and said unto her, "The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that Holy Thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. 36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing shall be impossible." 38 And Mary said, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word." And the angel departed from her. Unlike Zacharias, Mary accepts what has been told her and instead of arguing or rationalizing against it, says "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word."

39 And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; 40 And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. 41 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: 42 And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, "Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the Fruit of thy womb.

43 And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. 45 And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord." Back in the good old days, when it was still considered wrong for unmarried girls to get pregnant, girls left home to go 'visit' an aunt out in the country if they got pregnant. Mary, by the time she was three months along, must have been catching quite a bit of grief from her friends and even some in her family. So she heads off to spend some time with her older cousin Elizabeth. Now God could have just left things to their own course, but instead, He uses Elisabeth to bolster up Mary's spirits and to reassure her that it is the Messiah she has in her womb.

46 And Mary said, "My soul doth magnify the Lord, 47 and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. 48 For He hath regarded the low estate of His handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. 49 For He that is mighty hath done to me great things; and Holy is His name.

50 And His mercy is on them that fear Him from generation to generation. 51 He hath shewed strength with His arm; He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. 52 He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. 53 He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich He hath sent empty away.

54 He hath holpen His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy; 55 As He spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever." As we look back at what Mary has to say in verses 46-55, we see one happy young woman. Look at some of the things Mary says, she refers to herself as the Lord's handmaiden or servant girl. She acknowledges that she has been blessed by God that God has taken her, a not rich , not influential, commoner and raised her above all the princesses and powerful and wealthy woman.

56 And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house. 57 Now Elisabeth's full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son. 58 And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her. And Mary stayed with Elisabeth till she was six months pregnant and really showing. And then she went home, and God in His greatness and kindness, opened up the eyes of her friends, her neighbors, her family and they rejoiced with her over her pregnancy.

59 And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father. 60 And his mother answered and said, "Not so; but he shall be called John." 61 And they said unto her, "There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name." 62 And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called. 63 And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, "His name is John." And they marvelled all. 64 And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spake, and praised God. A little note for the President, George, do you remember doubting Zacharias? How he instead of giving God thanks, praise and credit, he doubted God's power. Kind of like your ignoring the Lord's gift of an easy victory for you and yours in Iraq and your failure to publicly give God credit, praise and thanks. Well, look what happens when Zacharias finally does what he should have done all along, God gives him back his voice. So George, it still isn't too late for you. Put God ahead of your ego George, give Him the credit, glory and public praise for that victory and watch Him reward you.

65 And fear came on all that dwelt round about them: and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judaea. 66 And all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, "What manner of child shall this be!" fools, they all knew what happened, there were stories galore, everyone one knew, yet instead of going public, they took this knowledge and hid it in their hearts, even doubting and saying, "well, let's just wait and see,,,"

And the hand of the Lord was with him(John the Baptist). 67 And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying; 68 "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for He hath visited and redeemed His people, 69 And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David; 70 As He spake by the mouth of His holy prophets, which have been since the world began: 71 That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; 72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember His holy covenant; 73 The oath which He sware to our father Abraham,

74 that He would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve Him without fear, 75 in holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of our life. 76 And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways; 77 To give knowledge of salvation unto His people by the remission of their sins, 78 through the tender mercy of our God. Whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us. 79 To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace." Between verses 67 and 79, we see Zacharias saying: When in doubt go to the word of God, for in it you will find all things that are ever to happen, for God is faithful to do what He says He is going to do." I know that is a paraphrase, but in essence that is what Zacharias said. And his prophecy is just a valid today as it was then.

80 And the child(John) grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel. (Luke 1:1-80 ACP/KJV)

I want to close with this. How many of you have discouraged your daughters from marrying fundamental preachers, cause they don't make much money? How many of you have directly or indirectly discouraged your sons from becoming fundamental preachers, because they don't make much money?

Maybe I should have said it like this. How many of you have raised your daughters, so that their goal, was to be a solid Christian homeschooling mother married to a fundamental preacher? How many of you have raised your sons to be fundamental preachers? Now look at verse 80, and think. Zacharias and Elisabeth wanted a son, they prayed and prayed for one, when God finally gave them one, they were old, here, they had a baby boy, an answer to their prayers and instead of leading him into a path of riches, glory and prestige by being Zacharias's protege, they instead encouraged him to do as is written in verse 80.

The Lord our God, Christ Jesus, be with you all. Amen.

The difference between a true preacher and a false preacher comes down to this. The true preacher uses God's word to convict of sin, the false preacher twist God's word to justify sin. The Lord our God, Christ Jesus be with you always, amen.

I would also like to thank the Lord that Dorothy has a large print Bible, while I am not to happy about the way she got it, I am pleased that she has it. And now my prayer is that she will read it and the Lord will let the Holy Spirit guide her to understanding it. Amen.

The Lord be with you all and please keep me in your prayers. I have some very important decision to make over the next few weeks or months, I need your prayers. Amen.

The Lord our God, Christ Jesus, be with you all and please keep your pastor and me in your prayers. Amen. My prayer daily is "Lord please bless those tenfold who bless me."

Pray for the daughters of Will, for Will, and his mom. Pray that the Lord will put the girls back under the control of Steve.

Pray for my friend Mac, pray for Rush and Michael Savage. While the Lord does not need the platforms and audiences that Rush and Michael have, they, Rush, Michael and their audiences need the Lord.

Pray for the President, pray for Attorney General John Ashcroft, pray for me, pray for all those who open their mouths or take pen in hand in an effort to sway public opinion.

The Lord God of the Universe, Messiah Y'shua be with you all, amen.

It is better to be a horse fly in the stables of the Lord Jesus than the CEO of hell.

All Scripture quoted, in both sermons and daily thoughts, except when done by a guest, is from the ACP/authorized 1611 King James Version. The words in red are those quotes of God the Son, the Lord Jesus and the words in purple are those qoutes spoken directly by God the Father and the words in this sickly greenish color are of satan. But all of the Bible is spoken by God and should be viewed as God's handbook for us to run our lives by 2 Timothy 3:16.

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