Series Code: TWH
Program Code: TWH000037A
00:32 If you have your Bibles, open to Luke 1:37 and 38.
00:41 "For with God nothing will be impossible.
00:46 Then Mary said, 'Behold the maidservant of the Lord!'"
00:50 Can we read the rest together?
00:53 "Let it be to me according to your word.'
00:58 And the angel departed from her."
01:02 Loving Father in heaven, we open our hearts
01:04 this morning to be continually watered.
01:08 Thank You, Lord, for that praise in song
01:13 that water our souls.
01:16 We now ask for You to pour out Your Holy Spirit
01:18 upon this message,
01:20 and keep our minds focused where we can say
01:23 with a willing heart, Lord,
01:25 let it be according to Your Word.
01:28 In Jesus' name I pray, amen.
01:34 One of the most wonderful truths
01:36 about the advent of Jesus has been
01:41 overshadowed by one of the most famous
01:44 music groups of all times, The Beatles.
01:49 I became aware of it when I did the series
01:50 not too long ago, part two and then in 2008,
01:54 part one on the occult and the entertainment industry.
01:57 And I was reintroduced to the lyrics
01:59 and many of the songs of the Beatle
02:00 and I cannot forget that song, "Let It Be."
02:06 The Beatles in their anthology
02:09 included a song entitled Let It Be,
02:12 in which they chose Mary
02:17 and they painted her in a light out of harmony with God's Word.
02:22 Let me remind you of the lyrics.
02:24 The Beatles made Mary the central person
02:27 of comfort in their time of trouble.
02:31 The lyrics are as follows:
02:33 When I find myself in time of trouble
02:37 Mother Mary comes to me
02:40 Speaking words of wisdom
02:43 Let it be
02:45 Let it be
02:47 They have also painted Mary
02:49 as the ever present help in their hour of darkness,
02:51 for they say continually:
02:53 And in my hour of darkness
02:55 She is standing right in front of me
02:57 Speaking words of wisdom
03:00 Let it be
03:02 Let it be
03:06 The Beatles have also made Mary the guest
03:09 who communicates to them through the sound of music,
03:12 for they said:
03:13 I wake up to the sound of music
03:15 And Mother Mary comes to me
03:18 Speaking words of wisdom
03:20 Let it be
03:23 Let it be
03:25 To add insult to divine injury Mary is credited as having
03:31 immortality and intelligence that survives the grave.
03:37 Because buried in the tag of the song,
03:39 Mary is credited with speaking words of wisdom.
03:43 Let it be.
03:44 Let it be.
03:46 And the Lord laid it on my heart,
03:48 therefore the mission of this message
03:50 is to take the reverence that has been credited to Mary
03:53 and appoint it back to the anointed one
03:56 whose name is Jesus.
04:02 For in my hour of darkness, Mary didn't come to me,
04:06 Jesus did.
04:08 In my moments of difficulty, I didn't turn to Mary,
04:12 I turned to Jesus.
04:13 In my time of trouble, I called on the name of Jesus.
04:17 Mary had no part in delivering me
04:21 in my moments of darkness, in my hour of trouble,
04:24 not even through the sound of music.
04:27 It was Jesus who came and discovered
04:32 and rescued my aching heart.
04:36 But Luke 1:26 and 27 invites us
04:40 into an already difficult set of circumstances.
04:44 Open your Bibles today with me
04:46 and let us walk together through this narrative
04:48 that sets aright the place
04:51 that is appointed only to Christ Jesus,
04:54 and the Bible says to us in Luke 1:26 and 27.
04:58 The Bible says, "Now in the sixth month,"
05:00 what month did I say?
05:02 "In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent
05:05 by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth
05:11 to a virgin betrothed to a man
05:13 whose name was Joseph, of the house of David.
05:16 The virgin's name was Mary."
05:21 This verse begs to answer the question,
05:24 for whom the circumstances are already difficult.
05:28 You have heard the cliche before,
05:30 good things come to those who wait.
05:31 Have you heard that before?
05:32 Good things come to those who wait.
05:34 I think it's better said,
05:36 I've got good news and I've got bad news,
05:38 which one do you want first?
05:41 The bad news, good news stories.
05:43 I've heard a story about a guy who was in the hospital
05:45 with two broken legs and the nurse came into the room
05:47 and she said, "I've got good news
05:49 and I've got bad news."
05:50 And the guy asked for the bad news first,
05:53 and she said, "The bad news, Mike,
05:55 is that we're gonna have to amputate both of your legs,
05:57 we're gonna have to cut them off."
05:59 And the guy says, "So what's the good news?"
06:02 And she said the good news is,
06:03 "The guy that's next to you wants to buy your sneakers."
06:10 That's not good news.
06:13 You lose what's most beneficial to you,
06:18 only on a lower level to get rid of something
06:21 you don't need anymore anyhow.
06:24 Good news and bad news.
06:25 Sometimes good news plunges us
06:28 into the worst set of circumstances.
06:29 Sometimes it takes a long time for good news to start feeling
06:33 for bad news to start feeling like good news.
06:37 Sometimes good news does not always introduce itself
06:39 as good in the very beginning.
06:41 So God has to take time to unwrap what's good,
06:44 what eventually will be good.
06:46 And my life is an example, a perfect example of that.
06:51 I would never have known by the way my life began
06:54 that I would be where I am today,
06:56 abandoned at three months old,
06:59 left at a babysitter by mom and dad,
07:01 not knowing my mother till I'm almost 26,
07:04 and my dad when I'm about 13 years old.
07:06 I would never know
07:08 but good news does not always begin as good news,
07:13 you got to give God time to unwrap the good news.
07:17 Can I get an amen? Amen.
07:20 Because in the course of continuing to trust God,
07:23 what starts out, how it begins
07:26 is not always how it's going to end.
07:30 Would God allow us to happen the fiery furnace?
07:34 We would never know that it would result
07:36 in the exaltation of the name of God
07:38 all throughout the courts of Babylon.
07:41 The lions' den, we would never know that it would result
07:44 in the exaltation of the name of God
07:46 throughout the courts of the Medes and the Persians.
07:49 Sometimes the worst event in your life
07:53 is the introduction of the greatest blessing,
07:56 sounds like last week's message, doesn't it?
08:03 To go through cancer and come out on the other side,
08:07 the bad news followed by the good news.
08:09 God in the times of our lives, draws out our patience,
08:14 let patience have its perfect work.
08:17 Good news does not always arrive in a good package.
08:22 You see, God had to unwrap the circumstances
08:25 because the way that it began for Mary
08:28 and the way that it began for another couple
08:30 did not begin as good news
08:32 because while Mary was trying to make sense of the news
08:35 that she got from the angel Gabriel,
08:37 there were two other people Zacharias and Elizabeth
08:41 that were about to get some bad, good news.
08:45 Look at verse 5 and 7 in Luke 1.
08:50 Five and seven in Luke 1,
08:52 they were about to get their bad, good news.
08:58 "There was in the days of Herod,
08:59 the king of Judea,
09:01 a certain priest name Zacharias,
09:04 of the division of Abijah.
09:08 His wife was of the daughters of Aaron,
09:10 and her name was Elizabeth.
09:14 And they were both righteous before God,"
09:16 walking in," how much to the commandments,
09:19 "all the commandments
09:20 and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
09:23 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren,
09:29 and they were both well advanced in years."
09:34 When you follow the narrative
09:35 and you begin to dig under the surface, wrestle,
09:38 you begin to discover that more than 40 years had passed
09:42 since Zacharias could recall
09:44 hearing Elizabeth complain about her biological clock.
09:48 You know, ladies, you have that thing
09:50 called the biological clock.
09:54 Amen, the guys don't have one.
09:55 Come on, guys. Amen.
09:57 We don't have one, we just go on.
09:59 But that biological clock
10:00 sometimes could be a hindrance.
10:02 Matter of fact, as the matter of observance,
10:04 when the story continues to unfold
10:06 as a matter of the observation
10:08 Zacharias and Elizabeth stop walking past
10:11 the baby section in their local Walmart.
10:15 They forgot about babies.
10:18 They probably walked past that section
10:19 but at a slower pace
10:21 not because they wanted to but at their age
10:24 speed is not associated with walking anymore.
10:28 You see Zacharias was old
10:30 and had been in his job for a long time,
10:33 locked in his routine, and dreaming about children
10:37 was the last thing that was in his mind.
10:40 But I want to say this,
10:41 but God's blessings are not predictable
10:44 and God's blessings are not preventable.
10:47 Just when you think that God has forgotten you,
10:49 the blessing of a lifetime begins to unfold.
10:54 Look at Isaiah 40:31. I like that.
10:58 That's why when you rush God's blessings.
11:00 Matter of fact, I'm going ahead of myself,
11:02 just go there but hold on to that thought for a moment.
11:05 I'm gonna read Isaiah 40:31 in just a moment.
11:07 But God's blessings to me...
11:09 I was thinking about this last night
11:10 and when my wife, you know, my wife is gonna be
11:12 cooking tomorrow some Jamaican food.
11:14 And, honey, it was because of that thought
11:16 that this very story came to my mind.
11:18 God's blessings are sometimes
11:20 like the Jamaican food called ackee.
11:23 Have you ever heard of the ackee before?
11:25 Now if you haven't heard about it,
11:26 that's okay 'cause you're not Jamaican.
11:28 But there is a fruit in Jamaica called ackee,
11:31 and in Jamaica ackee is called a mixed blessing.
11:35 Follow me carefully
11:37 because unripe ackee contains a poison hypoglycin
11:43 which means if you try to eat ackee
11:45 before it's ripe, it'll kill you.
11:50 You have to wait until the fruit's protective pod
11:55 turns red and opens naturally.
11:59 Sometimes you have to wait
12:01 to God's blessings open naturally
12:03 because if you try to rush God's blessing,
12:05 sometimes you end up just like ackee in a toxic situation
12:09 when you try to rush God's blessings.
12:13 And once that ackee is opened, and the fruit is red,
12:17 you have to remember that only the yellow part is edible
12:21 because it's still surrounded
12:22 by the toxic part that is dark black.
12:26 You got to separate the toxins from the blessings.
12:29 That's how God is.
12:30 Sometimes you'll be in a toxic situation,
12:33 but God is about to separate the toxins from the blessings.
12:38 And so Zacharias and Elizabeth were in a toxic situation,
12:42 they were not thinking about kids.
12:43 My wife and I...
12:45 When I preached a sermon about nine years ago,
12:47 I went through and redid it.
12:50 But nine years ago when I preached a sermon,
12:52 somebody came to me after church and said,
12:54 "Now you and your wife may have a kid after that sermon."
12:57 I'm glad to know God is serious about us
12:59 not having children.
13:01 Now if we have children, it's gonna be somebody else's,
13:04 it's not gonna be ours.
13:07 But if I do have children,
13:09 I'd like to get them when they're young
13:10 so I could mould their mind.
13:12 If you send me your kids, we can have them for a day
13:15 we're gonna send them back.
13:17 You mess them up, you raise them.
13:21 But when God's blessings come
13:24 to rush God's blessings could sometimes mean
13:27 you end up in a toxic situation.
13:31 God will bless us, but God wants us to wait.
13:35 Isaiah 40:31, notice what the Bible says,
13:39 "But those who," do what?
13:41 "Wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.
13:45 They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
13:48 they shall run and not be weary,
13:51 they shall walk and not faint."
13:53 You got to be patient
13:56 because God is the only one that knows Matthew.
13:59 God is the only one that knows
14:01 when the time is right to bring to your plate
14:04 what He knows at that stage in your life you're ready for.
14:08 Don't rush God's blessings.
14:11 Some folk lose their zeal for serving God
14:13 because they've made up their mind
14:15 that if God was gonna bless me,
14:16 He would have done a long time ago.
14:18 But the Bible says, "Let us not be weary
14:20 in well doing for in due time,
14:22 we'll reap if we do not faint."
14:25 Don't give up on God, God has not given up on us,
14:30 but God knows when the time is right.
14:33 Some people wait all their lives to be recognized
14:35 and it comes when they are old, you know, why,
14:37 because God knows that if you got recognized
14:39 when you were young, you may have been beside yourself
14:42 or too proud
14:43 or that would have taken you in a wrong direction.
14:46 Some people play the lottery trying to get wealthy.
14:49 First of all, God does not authorize the lottery.
14:51 Amen somebody? Amen.
14:52 But some of the reasons why God keeps some of us broke
14:55 is because if we got money, we would leave the church.
14:58 God holds off the blessing,
15:00 until He knows our hearts are in the right place
15:03 for that blessing to be received.
15:05 Some people wait all their lives to be noticed
15:08 and finally somebody does,
15:11 but then those that failed to wait defeat themselves,
15:13 while God is working on their blessing,
15:15 they often defeat themselves with phrases like,
15:18 "Look at the things I get."
15:20 Let me tell you something I've learned,
15:21 and I've learned it the hard way
15:23 because I used to be a young man
15:24 and I use to always worry about what people thought,
15:28 and what members said.
15:30 Every now and then I get a flashback
15:34 'cause every now and then, you know, you don't like
15:35 when people say bad things about you, amen?
15:39 But I've learned that you have to be more careful,
15:45 when people start saying good things about you
15:49 than when they say bad things about you.
15:53 Lord said, "Beware when all men speak well of you."
15:57 You got to be careful
15:58 when people start commending you too much.
16:01 When people start patting you on the back too much,
16:03 you got to be at the place where your heart is humble.
16:07 Even when you get compliment, you have to say,
16:10 "If God could use me to be a blessing to you,
16:12 then praise God."
16:14 You got to learn how to reflect that back to God,
16:17 that's why the Apostle Paul says in Colossians 3:23 and 24,
16:21 you have to make up your mind that whatever you do,
16:23 you don't do it for self, you do it for God.
16:27 Look at Colossians 3:23 and 24,
16:29 just a sidebar before we get back
16:31 into Zacharias and Elizabeth's life.
16:34 The Bible says, "And whatever you do..."
16:36 And it says, "Whatever you do,"
16:39 do it how, "heartily or with all your might
16:43 as to the Lord and not to men
16:45 knowing that from the Lord you will receive
16:49 the reward of the inheritance,
16:51 for you serve the Lord Christ."
16:54 So don't do what you do for recognition from men,
16:58 do what you do to simply get the reward at the end
17:00 because when you look for reward now...
17:03 The Lord said, "Well, what blessing are you looking for,
17:06 you already got your reward."
17:08 If men are commending you now, and praising you now,
17:10 and you're wallowing in the mire
17:12 of self-gratification and self-glory.
17:15 The Lord says, "I can't put a crown on your head,
17:17 you already got your crown."
17:19 That's why I'm not really one
17:20 that supports these award shows.
17:22 You know, even the shows that give Christians awards.
17:26 How could you really measure
17:28 the success of a Christian song?
17:31 How could you give somebody
17:33 an award for the best Christian song of the year?
17:36 Have seen the lives converted by that song?
17:40 You haven't seen how that song...
17:41 How could you determine the impact of a Christian song
17:44 on somebody's life?
17:45 Sometimes my wife and I listen to these songs together
17:48 and we pause and just start crying.
17:55 There's a new song by Steve Green
17:56 called Holding Hands.
17:59 And it blesses our soul every time we hear it.
18:02 It reminds us of us,
18:03 how we face the world as young people
18:05 unaware of what was coming,
18:08 all we did was just holding hands.
18:12 And the years go by
18:14 and the trials and difficulties come,
18:16 and when all of the blessings, and challenges, and trials,
18:19 and the work of life is passed,
18:21 and we could hardly move fast,
18:23 we enter the Kingdom of God holding hands.
18:27 And last night that song came on and I heard it
18:30 when I was in the living room
18:31 putting last touches on my sermon
18:33 and I came and sat by the bedside of my wife,
18:35 and without a saying of word, we just looked at each other,
18:38 and let the tears just flow
18:40 'cause our desire is to walk
18:42 into the kingdom holding hands.
18:43 We began our life young people clueless, holding hands,
18:48 and we're looking forward to the day
18:50 when we enter the kingdom together doing what,
18:52 holding hands together forever
18:55 the eternity in view, that's out motto.
18:58 Zacharias and Elizabeth had that desire,
19:01 but they also had a desire to have a child
19:03 and they wouldn't get that blessing
19:05 'cause God waited for the ripe moment
19:09 to bring the blessing in.
19:10 Look at Luke 1:8-10,
19:13 the Lord drew out Zacharias' faith,
19:16 he had to retrain Zacharias because his faith in believing
19:20 that God is not limited by time had already vanished.
19:23 The Bible says in verse 8 of Luke 1,
19:25 "So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God
19:30 in the order of his division,
19:31 according to the custom of the priesthood,
19:33 his lot fell to burn incense
19:36 when he went into the temple of the Lord.
19:39 And the whole multitude of the people
19:43 was praying outside
19:44 at the hour of incense."
19:46 Meaning when they smelled the incense,
19:49 they knew it was time to pray.
19:54 Zacharias lit the incense, let's pray.
19:57 That's why right before the most holy place
20:01 there is an altar of incense,
20:03 signifying the continual prayer of the people of God.
20:08 When they smell the incense,
20:10 they knew that it was time to pray
20:13 and as surely as Zacharias lit the incense
20:15 and the people began to pray,
20:18 God showed up at a moment of prayer
20:21 in Zacharias' life.
20:23 Look at verse 11,
20:24 "Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him,
20:28 standing on the right side of the altar of incense."
20:32 Why the right side
20:33 because God is never on the left side,
20:36 He is always on the right side.
20:37 Amen somebody? Amen.
20:39 The saints will sit on the right side,
20:41 the sheep are on the right side,
20:43 the angel of the Lord took the place,
20:45 the angel of the Lord stood where only God
20:48 can stand on the right side.
20:56 And then He said in verse 12, "And when Zacharias saw him,
20:59 he was troubled, and fear fell upon him."
21:03 It's powerful when God visits you,
21:05 how you respond to a visit of God
21:08 will determine whether or not the blessing will be received
21:11 or whether or not the blessing will be doubted.
21:14 How we respond
21:17 at the moment of the divine visitation
21:19 will determine whether or not,
21:21 we welcome the blessing of God
21:23 or whether we doubt the blessing of God.
21:26 It's the attitude
21:28 that determines the impact of God's blessings in our lives.
21:33 So in an attempt to put Zacharias at ease,
21:35 the angel describes the blessing.
21:37 I'm not gonna read the verses,
21:38 I'm just gonna go ahead and give you the outline.
21:40 The angel said to Zacharias,
21:41 "Don't be afraid, God has sent me
21:43 with an answer to your prayer."
21:44 And Zacharias probably said, "What prayer?"
21:48 And the angel probably said, "Forty-five years ago,
21:53 you prayed for a child."
21:56 Zacharias probably said, "What?
21:59 How long ago did I pray this prayer?"
22:03 My wife and I are still praying for my sister,
22:06 some of you are still praying for your children,
22:09 some of you are still praying for family members,
22:12 don't stop praying
22:13 because the answer will come in God's timing.
22:19 "I've come to answer your prayer."
22:21 Then he said, "Your 80-year old wife
22:23 is gonna have a son."
22:30 I looked at Mike and Chris,
22:31 I'm sure Mike don't want that experience.
22:36 He said, "You'll have a lot of joy and happiness."
22:39 But Zacharias is not smiling.
22:42 "Your son is gonna be great.
22:44 He is gonna be filled with the Holy Spirit
22:45 from his birth.
22:47 People would respond to his sermons,
22:49 and your son will get people ready to meet Jesus."
22:55 Which takes me to another point, David,
22:57 blessings always come at the time God knows
23:00 they are best needed.
23:04 But often, when blessings come,
23:06 they come in a way that we least expect.
23:10 That's why Zacharias' attitude was the way it was.
23:13 Zacharias' attitude said that
23:15 he didn't expect it when it came.
23:17 Look at verse 18,
23:20 "And Zacharias said to the angel."
23:22 Notice what he said, what did he say?
23:25 "How shall I know this?
23:27 For I am an old man,
23:30 and my wife is well advanced in years."
23:34 Zacharias is faced with a set of circumstances
23:36 that don't make sense,
23:38 you see when God comes into your life,
23:39 it doesn't have to make sense to you
23:41 as long as it makes sense to God.
23:45 And that's the problem with some of us,
23:46 we try to make sense out of God's blessings.
23:48 We even try to make sense out of our trial sometimes.
23:53 You don't need to know why it came, if it comes,
23:57 God allowed it or God sent it.
24:00 In this case God sent it.
24:03 Look at verse 19:20.
24:07 "How am I supposed to believe this?
24:11 And the angel answered and said to him,
24:12 'I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God,
24:17 and who was sent to speak to you
24:19 and bring you these glad tidings."'
24:22 That would have been enough for me.
24:24 Amen somebody? Amen.
24:27 And Gabriel didn't whisper that.
24:28 I'm sure his tall angelic frame,
24:32 radiating as it was in the presence of Zacharias.
24:42 Can you see the heavenly? Can you hear the heavenly?
24:48 Just radiating as it were like a nuclear reactor
24:51 because there was enough power in Gabriel
24:54 to annihilate the community.
24:56 But God wound it down
24:58 for the sake of an unbelieving man called Zacharias.
25:01 And he is telling him his resume,
25:03 he says, "But behold because you don't believe,
25:09 you will be mute and not able to speak
25:12 until the day these things take place,
25:14 because you did not believe my words
25:18 which will be fulfilled in their own time."
25:22 When you think about this,
25:23 sometimes your life becomes mute
25:27 because you don't believe God's word,
25:29 you know what that means?
25:31 Your life all of a sudden becomes unproductive,
25:33 nothing can come out of your life
25:35 because you didn't believe God's word.
25:36 I would haste to say that an unproductive life
25:39 can often be catapulted
25:41 on the heels of a lack of belief
25:43 in what God has said.
25:48 Because Zacharias can't say a word,
25:52 nothing can come out of his mouth
25:54 which means he can't praise, he can't complain,
25:58 nothing comes out of his mouth
26:00 which means God is saying to Zacharias,
26:03 "Right now, I don't want you to speak in my behalf
26:06 and I'll determine when."
26:09 And I would say, He's to say this...
26:10 some of the reasons why God don't put some people
26:12 in positions
26:13 where they could speak in God's behalf
26:14 is because their life is a life of unbelief.
26:18 And God don't want them speak in his behalf
26:20 and they want to know why don't I get the spotlight
26:21 because you don't live a life of belief.
26:24 So God mutes their ministry, or mutes their gift,
26:30 or shuts them down
26:32 until He determines the time is right.
26:35 You think about Gabriel, he said I am Gabriel.
26:37 Gabriel traveling at 186,200 miles per second
26:42 in a hurry gets to Zacharias' side and Zacharias says,
26:47 "How is this gonna happen?
26:51 Is that all I get.
26:54 Where did you come from, heaven?"
26:57 Amen? Amen.
26:58 "You came from heaven?
27:00 Well, how is this gonna happen."
27:03 The fact of the matter that he came from heaven
27:04 would have been enough for me.
27:07 "Were did you come from?"
27:08 Gabriel, "I heard about you Daniel."
27:12 "You know Daniel?" "I know Daniel."
27:14 Thousands of years ago.
27:15 "You know Daniel?" "I know Daniel."
27:17 All he had to say was, I know Daniel.
27:18 That's good enough for me.
27:20 "Are you gonna do for me, what you did for Daniel?
27:21 I'm ready."
27:23 Let me add another component.
27:25 Some people get old and cynical
27:29 'cause God hadn't done nothing for me,
27:30 so we get old and cynical.
27:33 "Church don't need me, I ain't worth anything,
27:36 I've been serving God for a long time,
27:39 I'm about to retire."
27:40 Let me tell you something,
27:41 I read an article once that says,
27:43 "When you serve God,
27:44 you retire when Jesus comes or when you die."
27:48 You don't retire.
27:49 You don't as a saint of God decide
27:51 that you're not gonna serve God anymore,
27:53 who you working for?
27:56 You're gonna say, "Well, I'm gonna relax this year."
27:59 Well, you relax the year that Jesus comes,
28:01 He'll say to you not well done.
28:04 They are ungood and unfaithful servant.
28:07 That's why the Bible says, "Blessed is the servant,
28:09 whom the Lord finds doing when He comes."
28:13 You don't retire on God, you don't tell God,
28:16 I don't have time.
28:17 If you want to cut something out of your schedule,
28:19 cut out the things that prevent you from serving God.
28:21 Amen. Amen.
28:22 You don't put God on the backburner.
28:25 Some people put God on the backburner, why?
28:27 I'm tired.
28:30 Well, you get a chance to sleep when you die,
28:32 why you want to rush it.
28:35 I like when Danny said, he said,
28:38 "Death is overrated, I want to live."
28:40 When you die, you don't get to know anything,
28:42 I want to stay alive and I want to know stuff,
28:45 death is overrated.
28:46 If you want to sleep, sleep to sleep of death,
28:49 but don't sleep on God's time.
28:52 He says, "You'll be mute
28:54 until I decide that the time is right."
28:59 There are those that work for God
29:01 and God will not allow them to speak
29:02 because what they say might lead other people
29:05 to doubt the blessings of God
29:08 which brings me to my last point.
29:10 Sometimes when it is too good to believe
29:14 the best thing to do is to believe.
29:17 I'm gonna say that again,
29:18 sometimes when it's too good to believe,
29:20 when God sends it,
29:22 the best thing to do is to believe.
29:25 Sometimes when it's too difficult to explain,
29:27 don't try to explain it, just simply accept it.
29:31 Look at verse 24 and 25,
29:33 when you think about how this unfolded Zacharias
29:36 is left in the temple and the Bible says,
29:37 "He could not speak, he was speechless."
29:40 Verse 22.
29:43 But now Elizabeth get the good news,
29:46 how did Elizabeth take the news,
29:48 verse 24 and 25,
29:52 "Now after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived,
29:55 and she hid herself," how many months?
29:59 Five months, saying,
30:01 "Thus the Lord has dealt with me,
30:03 in the days when He looked on me,
30:06 to take away my reproach among people."
30:10 In other words, she was excited,
30:11 she said, "I don't care how old I'm,
30:14 God is taken away my reproach."
30:17 Eighty-year old women waking in Walmart like this.
30:23 This is real, this is not fake, this is real,
30:26 "Are you okay, Elizabeth?
30:28 Are you trying to shoplift?"
30:30 "I'm not shoplifting."
30:31 "What was that under your jacket?"
30:33 "I'm pregnant." Yeah, right, you are pregnant.
30:36 And security pulls over,
30:37 "Mam, you've been coming here for 45 years
30:39 and you telling me you're pregnant?"
30:40 And they touch her tummy on a bit,
30:43 she is pregnant, this is a real story.
30:46 At 80 years old,
30:48 this woman is having a baby born in her life.
30:53 And what I like about her,
30:55 when you compare her to Zacharias
30:57 is Zacharias thought he was too old for God
30:59 to change his circumstances,
31:01 Elizabeth on the other hand says,
31:03 "Finally, God comes and takes away my reproach."
31:13 And I tried to ask the question,
31:15 I tried to calculate the story when you go to verse 59 to 64,
31:19 this is one of the longest passages
31:20 in the New Testament.
31:21 When you go to 59 to 64,
31:23 what you begin to discover
31:25 is that Zacharias was not able to speak
31:27 for about nine months and eight days.
31:32 Can you imagine waking up in the morning...
31:36 "Moses what would you like for breakfast?"
31:43 "Say something."
31:48 "You hungry?"
31:52 "Where's Benjamin?"
31:58 "He'll be back later?"
32:01 "You tired?"
32:03 Sign language, the Lord gave Zacharias
32:06 a humility lesson in sign language.
32:12 Nine months and eight days.
32:21 Verse 59, come on run that with me,
32:24 "So it was, on the eighth day," what day did I say,
32:28 "The eighth day, that they came to circumcise the child.
32:34 And they would have called him by the name of his father,
32:39 His mother answered and said, 'No, he shall be called John.'
32:45 But they said to her,
32:46 'There is no one among your relatives
32:48 who is called by this name."'
32:49 Customarily they took the name of a relative.
32:53 "So they made signs to his father."
32:55 You getting it?
32:57 "What do you think, Zacharias?"
33:01 "So they made signs to his father
33:03 what he would have him called.
33:10 And he asked for a writing tablet,
33:12 and wrote, saying, 'His name is John.'
33:16 So they all marveled."
33:18 And then the Bible says, "Immediately..."
33:21 What the Bible say?
33:22 "Immediately his mouth was opened
33:24 and his tongue loosed, and he spoke,"
33:27 and what he do, "praising God."
33:31 You know the Lord will shut some of you up
33:32 and until you learn how to praise Him.
33:34 Amen? Amen.
33:36 That's why some of you don't say amen
33:37 during the sermon
33:38 'cause you don't have nothing good to say.
33:43 Hey, I'm based on the text,
33:44 I'm just telling you what the Bible is telling me.
33:46 God shut him up until he said up, praise God.
33:49 Amen, Lisa. Praise God.
33:51 We say praise God, you say no,
33:53 only amen has been approved by the board.
33:55 No praise God, amen? Amen.
33:58 Let the redeemed of the Lord say so.
34:01 Read what Ellen White says in Evangelism,
34:02 she says when the sermon is going forth...
34:04 And this is what Ellen White said,
34:05 not me so don't connect the two.
34:07 But I believe what she said,
34:08 I believe she was inspired by God,
34:10 she says, "Sometimes the message is going forward
34:11 in the power of God."
34:12 And she says, "And dumb dogs wouldn't even bark
34:16 in acknowledgment of God's Word."
34:19 And you know what she describes that for,
34:20 the condition of Laodicea unmoved
34:23 by the power of God's Word,
34:25 but moved by a football game, and moved by bicycle way,
34:28 moved by shopping.
34:30 We got to be moved by divine things, amen.
34:34 He opened his mouth, praise God,
34:35 no longer doubting God.
34:38 I understand
34:40 when Zacharias publicly declared
34:42 his belief in God's Word,
34:43 then God trusted him
34:45 with the privilege to speak in his behalf.
34:49 But now that's not the...
34:51 There's another part to the story
34:52 because now you have found out about Zacharias and Elizabeth,
34:56 but Elizabeth didn't say it and Zacharias didn't say it,
34:59 somebody else is the focus of the message.
35:01 Go now to verse 26 and 28 of the very same chapter.
35:05 In the midst of Elizabeth's ordeal
35:08 Gabriel goes to Mary's house,
35:10 as if he hasn't caused
35:12 enough trouble in Zacharias's house.
35:14 He came to heaven with two missions,
35:17 go visit Zacharias and Elizabeth,
35:22 and then Mary and Joseph.
35:25 Look at verse 26,
35:27 "Now in the sixth month,"
35:30 that is the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy,
35:34 "the angel Gabriel was sent by God
35:36 to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,
35:40 to a virgin betrothed to a man
35:41 whose name was Joseph, of the house of David.
35:45 The virgin's name was Mary.
35:48 And having come in, the angel said to her,
35:50 'Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you,
35:55 blessed are you among women!'"
35:59 And then Gabriel gives her the news,
36:04 and she sees this being standing up in her room.
36:06 Now the Bible didn't say what time of the day it was,
36:08 but let's just walk through this for a brief moment.
36:10 If it was morning and Mary was brushing her teeth
36:12 and as she is brushing her teeth,
36:14 over the sink she leans up and there is a glow in her room
36:17 and he says to her,
36:21 "Highly favored one."
36:28 "How did you get in here? And who are you?"
36:39 "But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying,
36:43 and considered what manner of greeting this was."
36:52 And he attempted to put Mary at ease
36:54 and the angel describes her blessing.
36:57 You see the God of heaven has allowed me
36:59 to come to tell you that,
37:01 that long time prophecy of the birth of Jesus
37:04 is about to come to pass
37:06 and you are the method of deliverance,
37:09 you are going to be the one
37:14 that allows Jesus to step on to the stage of humanity.
37:19 She considered what kind of greeting is this,
37:23 and he said, "Don't be afraid.
37:25 Oh, by the way a small detail,
37:28 you're gonna get pregnant before you get married."
37:38 I'm sure she thought about Joseph,
37:41 how she gonna explain that to Joseph.
37:45 What she says in verse 34...
37:50 "Then Mary said to the angel,
37:53 'How can this be, since I don not know a man?"'
37:58 She passed biology with flying colors,
38:02 how is this gonna happen?
38:04 In verse 35,
38:06 and when you read verse 35 what I want you to get
38:09 is not just the response of the angel,
38:11 but the fact of the matter
38:13 the core truth of every blessing
38:17 is the Holy Spirit of God
38:19 is always present
38:21 when God is about to bless your life.
38:23 "And the angel answered and said to her,
38:25 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
38:28 and the power of the Highest will overshadow you.
38:30 Therefore, also, the Holy One
38:32 who is to be born will be called the Son of God."'
38:36 The Holy Spirit is always present
38:40 when humanity meets divinity.
38:44 Amen. Amen.
38:48 Without the Holy Spirit in us there is no power
38:51 from which to draw.
38:52 Jesus cannot be present in us
38:54 without the Spirit of God doing a work in us.
38:59 And when Jesus is being born in you,
39:03 it's gonna change everything about your life,
39:07 everything about your life.
39:10 Like the song writer,
39:12 I think Mark Lowry wrote the song,
39:13 "Mary did you know
39:15 that's your baby boy will one day walk on water?"
39:18 What an inspired song.
39:20 Can you imagine,
39:22 "Mary did you know that your baby boy
39:26 would save our sons and daughters?
39:30 Mary did you know
39:33 your baby boy would give sight to the blind man?"
39:38 And there is Jesus...
39:45 What you did not know in that little child,
39:48 all God's...
39:50 When I think about that, that just bends my mind,
39:54 that the creator of time and space
39:59 the God who has thrown out from His Word countless,
40:04 numberless galaxies
40:07 condescended to come, to save me
40:11 and He came in the form of helpless submissive baby.
40:17 You got to think about that
40:20 'cause He could have easily said from heaven,
40:22 "John you are safe, but I ain't coming down there."
40:25 But His coming down here is a part of the means
40:29 by which I know I'm safe, He walk where I walk.
40:32 Come on say amen somebody? Amen.
40:33 He walks where we will walk,
40:35 He's been where we would have been,
40:37 and where we are going to be,
40:39 He understands our weaknesses, He understands our infirmities,
40:42 He understands our need and our wants,
40:44 He put himself
40:45 under the direction of a human flesh,
40:50 a woman,
40:52 who is by no means perfect.
40:55 But God saw fit to bring
40:57 Jesus into the world
40:58 through this frail flesh of human purity.
41:05 Pure or not by her spotlessness,
41:07 but by the glory that God surrounded her with.
41:11 "Mary did you know
41:14 that you would be the one to bring forth the Son of God,
41:18 the Holy One that will be born
41:20 and you will be called the Son of God.
41:23 But now in the middle of explaining
41:26 this to Mary...
41:30 the angel explains to her...
41:35 You got to read the rest of the story yourself,
41:37 I'm not going through 69, 72 verses.
41:40 But when you go back
41:41 and revisit the story this afternoon,
41:43 the moment that the angel Gabriel sees
41:47 the circumstance
41:49 he just catapults Mary in the middle of,
41:51 he says to Mary,
41:55 "You need to go visit Elizabeth.
41:58 Go visit Elizabeth."
42:01 And when I read that story, it said to me,
42:03 it is so good to know that when you are facing difficulty,
42:10 God knows exactly to whom He needs to send you
42:15 so that together we can bear one another's burdens.
42:21 He said, "Mary, you are not the only one
42:23 going through that."
42:24 And sometimes we think that the trails of life leave us
42:26 to be the only one,
42:28 don't ever think you are the only one,
42:30 there's always somebody that knows where you are.
42:33 There's always somebody that knows
42:34 what you are going through,
42:36 there's always somebody that's going through
42:37 what you've been through.
42:39 And here is Mary being sent.
42:42 And in another sermon in the future,
42:43 I'll bring the second part out,
42:45 but here is Mary being told by Gabriel,
42:48 Elizabeth is going through the very same thing
42:49 because he said to Elizabeth, with God nothing is impossible.
42:57 And she knows exactly what she needs to do,
43:00 and she goes spend time with Elizabeth.
43:06 And I'm gonna put a hanger out there,
43:07 I'm going put a cliffhanger
43:09 she stays with Elizabeth for three months.
43:12 And Elizabeth was away from Zacharias for six months.
43:17 And if you stay with Elizabeth for three months,
43:21 and she is already in her sixth month,
43:24 you stay with her long enough
43:26 for her to give birth to her child.
43:28 And you stay away from Joseph long enough
43:31 for him to wonder where are you,
43:33 and you return pregnant, and showing,
43:37 and you say to Joseph, "Oh, God did this."
43:43 That's another sermon. That's not today's message.
43:47 That's the cliffhanger,
43:49 how does Joseph handle, God did this.
43:52 Well, I want you to see is how Mary handled it.
43:55 Verse 37 and 38,
44:00 "For with God nothing will be impossible."
44:02 Do you believe that church? Amen.
44:06 Now it's important for you to believe that
44:08 because when you face your difficulty
44:09 which is going to come,
44:11 if it hasn't come, it's going to come.
44:12 If the difficulty of life
44:14 that has not stretched you and ironed you out
44:15 hasn't come, it's going to come.
44:16 But you have to believe that with God nothing is impossible.
44:19 Meaning, simply this, no matter what come your way,
44:22 nothing that comes your way
44:23 is impossible for God to handle.
44:26 Ain't that right? Nothing's impossible.
44:31 And sometimes your prayer
44:32 that is not being prayed in harmony with God's will
44:34 may seem to be not answered,
44:37 but God in the course of time will get you like
44:40 He did Zacharias to forget about that prayer.
44:43 So that he can answer it
44:45 the way that is in his harmony with his will.
44:48 But with God nothing is impossible.
44:52 Nobody is impossible for God to save,
44:54 no circumstance is impossible for God to turn around,
44:57 with God how much is impossible?
45:00 How much is impossible? Nothing.
45:02 Nothing is impossible. Absolutely nothing.
45:06 And then Mary relents
45:09 because unlike Zacharias
45:11 that expressed an attitude of disbelief,
45:14 Mary simply had an attitude of unbelief.
45:16 "I don't believe this, it's happening to me."
45:20 Where Zacharias was this ain't happening to me,
45:22 that's why God muted him,
45:23 different types of belief, disbelief and unbelief.
45:27 And then she said in verse 38,
45:30 "Behold the maidservant of the Lord."
45:33 In other words, amen.
45:37 I don't know how it's gonna wind up
45:40 and, you know, since we don't have to know
45:42 how God is going to workout the circumstances of our lives.
45:46 We don't have to know.
45:49 If you simply say,
45:50 here is the servant of the Lord,
45:52 do whatever you want to do.
45:54 I've said this and I don't know,
45:55 but I think God...
45:58 Let me rephrase that, I don't think,
45:59 but I know that sometimes
46:01 when you give God permission to do something,
46:03 He'll do it and then you say,
46:04 "Lord, I really didn't mean that much trail."
46:10 You know, when you pray for patience,
46:13 God's gonna send you some stuff
46:14 that you don't know how to handle.
46:17 And He's gonna concentrate it
46:18 so that you would come away
46:21 from that circumstance realizing you can't handle it,
46:24 God will send you stuff that will make you pray,
46:27 that'll make you seek Him, that'll make you turn to Him.
46:31 But she says,
46:32 "Behold the maidservant of the Lord."
46:35 How much would be different in our lives,
46:40 how much would happen in your life.
46:44 When God unfolds His plan for you
46:47 that will be accomplished through you
46:50 by the power of the Holy Spirit in you,
46:52 and all you got to do
46:54 to receive the blessing you say,
46:55 "Let it be according to your servant."
46:59 But so many of us want the details
47:01 before we buy into God's plan.
47:03 And God says, "Forget about it.
47:06 I'm God that's all you need to know."
47:09 And then she says the words
47:10 that bring us
47:12 to the winding down of our message.
47:15 "'Behold the maidservant of the Lord!
47:19 Let it be to me according to your word.'
47:23 And the angel departed from her."
47:27 You got understand why he left. You know why he left?
47:32 It didn't say the Holy Spirit departed
47:33 because the Holy Spirit was working in her,
47:35 but the angel departed in the very same way
47:38 when the Lord let Peter from His chains
47:41 past the first, second, and third gate, the iron gate,
47:44 and Peter finally got to the street
47:45 the Bible says,
47:47 "The angel of the Lord departed from Him."
47:49 You see God doesn't have to look out,
47:52 God doesn't have to peek over your shoulder
47:55 when He knows that from now on He can trust you.
48:00 Some people need heaven to baby sit them
48:03 because God can't put a task on their shoulder,
48:06 but when the Lord knew that Mary was all the way in,
48:09 angel said,
48:10 "I got some work to do, I'm out of here."
48:13 And Gabriel left...
48:18 and the vortex of his departure
48:20 probably almost pulled Mary to divinity.
48:23 "I'm out of here."
48:30 I can't wait to see Gabriel. Amen.
48:33 I'm gonna ask him, how many people did you visit?
48:36 I only know about a couple or three,
48:39 David, I mean Daniel,
48:42 Zacharias, Elizabeth, Mary, John,
48:43 how many did you visit?
48:45 Because, you know, the cliffhanger is
48:50 he's got some more work to do on Joseph
48:52 before this whole dream comes to pass,
48:54 but she says, you see Mary,
48:57 then goes to meet Elizabeth
48:58 and for three months
49:00 they talk about God's blessings.
49:02 The predicament of being chosen by God,
49:03 the challenge of trusting God,
49:05 the blessing of having God invade your life.
49:08 Jesus becomes the comforter of Mary
49:12 in her hour of darkness.
49:14 Jesus becomes Elizabeth and Mary's
49:17 ever present help in their hour of need.
49:21 You see The Beatles recommended Mary,
49:23 but Mary recommended Jesus.
49:26 The words of wisdom came from God not from Mary.
49:29 Mary followed what God had to say
49:31 not the other way around.
49:35 The only declaration
49:36 that came from Mary should come from us.
49:38 When God reveals it in His Word the only declaration
49:42 that came from Mary that should come from us
49:44 is let it be according to Thy Word.
49:49 That's the problem today,
49:51 the Christian world has to change it to let it be.
49:54 They have to lie about it to let it be,
49:56 they have to modify it
49:58 or delete it or omit it to let it be,
50:01 but let it be according to Thy Word.
50:06 And as the bad as the Beatles music is
50:08 I got to agree with them on one thing...
50:12 There will be an answer if we let it be.
50:16 There will be an answer
50:18 if we say let it be according to Your Word.
50:23 The greatest blessings that ever graced
50:25 the human stage was possible when Mary simply said,
50:28 "Let it be according to Your Word."
50:32 The greatest blessing
50:33 that will ever come into our lives will come
50:35 when we declare the same thing,
50:37 let it be according to Your Word.
50:40 You see Mary's dilemma
50:43 is what a flash of our own dilemma.
50:46 And so let me give you
50:48 four points of encouragement today
50:50 if God is trying to bless you, stop trying to figure it out.
50:55 How it's gonna work,
50:56 just simply surrender to God and say,
50:58 let it be according to Your Word.
51:01 Is there somebody here today willing to say that
51:03 let it be according to Your Word?
51:06 The other thing you have to do is
51:08 you have to know what God's Word says,
51:10 in order for it to be according to God's Word.
51:13 Second encouragement, don't tell God
51:16 when and how to answer your prayers,
51:17 just say let it be according to Your Word,
51:20 don't be weary and holding on just say,
51:22 "Lord, no matter how long it takes
51:24 I will be faithful to the reveled word,
51:27 and I'm going to let it be."
51:29 If it's a year, if it's a month,
51:31 if it's three months, if it's three years,
51:33 when it comes I'm gonna simply say,
51:35 "Lord, here is Your servant.
51:38 Let it be according to Your Word."
51:43 And so I say today,
51:44 your greatest need is not a new car,
51:46 not a new job, not a new career,
51:49 the greatest need that we have as the children of God
51:51 is to simply say let it be according to Your Word.
51:55 You know what happens when you do that?
51:57 You know what happens, Tracy, when you do that?
51:59 Unbelief, disbelief, anxiety, fear, hesitant faith,
52:03 sleepless nights, troubled hearts, fading hope
52:07 will all disappear when we simply say,
52:10 "Let it be according to Thy Word."
52:14 The year is closing out,
52:19 it's December 9th
52:22 and we got 22 more days
52:24 before 2018 peaks its head.
52:29 We have no idea about 2018,
52:33 we got some calendar events right, Jill, Greg, Danny,
52:36 we got some calendar events,
52:39 but we don't know what mode we're gonna meet 2018 in.
52:43 But today my appeal to you, if you say,
52:45 "Lord, first of all,
52:47 I want to thank you for carrying me through 2017."
52:50 If that's your praise, raise your hand today with me.
52:54 But if today, you want to commit yourself to saying,
52:55 "Lord, I don't know what 2018 is going to bring."
52:58 But simply I want to just simply say,
53:00 "Lord, whatever is in Your Word,
53:02 let it be according to Your Word."
53:05 If that's your desire today, stand with me,
53:07 come on and stand with me.
53:09 God's Word, that's all you need.
53:11 It's in there, that's all you want.
53:13 He said if that's all that matters.
53:17 Two thousand and seventeen
53:18 for some people have been in the valley of darkness,
53:21 other people on the mountain top rejoicing.
53:25 Two thousand and eighteen
53:26 for those who had a joyless year,
53:29 this year might have a joyful year next year
53:31 and the tables may turn.
53:32 A joyful year this year,
53:34 but a joyless year next year, you don't know.
53:38 Some have come into 2017,
53:40 we're leaving them behind in 2017,
53:42 you don't know how the year is gonna unfold.
53:47 But my desire, Lord, I read the book,
53:52 I've even read the back of the book,
53:54 and my only desire
53:58 is to say here is Your servant,
54:01 let it be,
54:03 to me personal,
54:06 let it be to me, Rosemary, Gary, personal.
54:12 Let it be to me
54:15 according to Your Word.
54:20 Let us pray, Father in heaven,
54:24 sometimes we've got to go
54:25 through the darkness of our valleys
54:28 to appreciate
54:30 the magnificent radiance of our mountain tops.
54:35 Sometimes a night in the dungeon
54:40 brings us a morning of rejoicing,
54:44 sometimes our faded memories,
54:48 our delayed prayers,
54:50 our postponed ambitions
54:56 are all swallowed up
54:58 in the moment of divine visitation.
55:05 And, Lord Jesus, as Your people stand
55:07 and even as
55:08 somebody watches this program or listens to it
55:11 may be in their vehicle or some other place,
55:14 somebody may be at that intersection of the praying
55:18 that I've done through the years
55:19 that have not yet been answered.
55:21 I'm gonna say to you, "Wait, God blessed Zacharias,
55:25 God blessed Mary, God blessed Elizabeth,
55:29 God blessed so many of us,
55:33 but His desire is to draw out in you
55:36 just one declaration."
55:38 Lord, if Your Word has said it, that's good, enough for me.
55:43 Take us Lord,
55:45 from the unknown 2018 to the known God of 2018,
55:51 take us from the table of interpretation
55:55 to the table of grace,
55:57 take us from our unanswered prayers
56:00 to the God who knows
56:02 when that prayer is to be answered.
56:05 We pray that we could leave our fears behind in 2017,
56:09 our unbelief, our disbelief, our anxieties,
56:12 the things that cause us to lose sleep,
56:14 Lord, help us to leave them behind
56:16 and we know that in this world, in the vortex of sin,
56:20 new things will come to challenge our walk
56:23 but, Father, help us to keep our eyes fixed on Thee.
56:29 And the God of the first advent
56:30 will soon be our God of the second advent.
56:33 Soon, we'll see Jesus not as a babe,
56:35 but as a conquering, glorious king
56:39 that will reign throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity,
56:43 bless Your people Father.
56:45 We thank You for carrying us through 2017,
56:50 who would even have thought we would still be here.
56:54 Now carry us by that grace into a new year, in a new walk,
56:59 in Jesus' name we pray,
57:03 and all of the God's people said, amen.
57:08 And amen.