Posts Tagged With: Donald Trump

The Mysterious Member of the Trinity (Part 1)

4498a57b106ad907c282c57889fc2dc5Welcome to the Upper Room Discourse.

As you are about to hear in this PODCAST, we are now standing on the precipice of Jesus’ passion — Judas’ betrayal, Jesus’ arrest, Peter’s denial, Jesus’ incarceration, His trials, His Crucifixion, climaxing of course in His glorious Resurrection.

What should have been a night primarily of celebration  — of the Passover, and all of its rich meaning — quickly morphed into an evening of last-minute and desperate instruction. Jesus had to prepare His men for the tumultuous and turbulent events of the coming hours, culminating in the crucifixion, the tipping point of redemptive history, after which human history would never be the same again.

As you might suspect, Jesus in the so-called Upper Room Discourse (You’ll understand why I say “so-called” as you listen.), Jesus hit on the themes most important to Him.

There are three principle themes in the Upper Room Discourse. The first of which we will discuss now and next week. The remaining two we’ll dissect and discuss in the coming weeks.

The discussion of tonight’s theme — the Ministry of the Holy Spirit — was so immediately practical for them and for their spiritual survival; so equally vitally necessary for us and our spiritual survival.

A theme triggered by this sad-but-certain reality (John15:18):

“If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose U to come out of world, so it hates you.”

Now listen: I am not given to pessimism. I am, however, very much attuned to realism. What I am about to tell you in this podcast is very real, so real that this will hardly come as a shock to you. Yeah verily, in the deepest darkest recesses of your mind and heart, you know this to be true.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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A Steady Hand on the Wheel (of YOUR Life)

jesus-sailorIt was an epic one-two punch to the gut. Jesus’ gut, not to put too fine a point on it.

A brutal betrayal coupled with a devastating denial by two of Jesus’ handpicked and beloved disciples.

In this PODCAST, I am referring of course to Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s three-time denial.

If there is a silver lining to these increasingly billowing clouds, it is this: There is a clear pattern emerging here in John 13. A pattern that tells quite a tale, striking subtext to the entire crucifixion story.

A pattern that should illuminate for you a bright, blazing beacon of hope to light your way during your darkest hours and most difficult days.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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The Signs of the Times (Part 2)

maxresdefaultBirth pains. It’s all about the birth pains.

As you will hear in this PODCAST, as we enumerate the final three of the six “signs of the times,” both Paul and Jesus made it crystal-clear that we are to think of these signs in terms of birth pains.

Paul, who borrowed this most-meaningful metaphor from Jesus, used it most-appropriately when he in Romans 8 declared, “For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.”

It would not surprise me one bit to hear that some of you — Or should I say some of us? — have been groaning a little more than usual this past week.

It is all about the birth pains, that increase dramatically in frequency and in intensity as the moment of birth approaches. This troubled planet of ours is undeniably in the later stages of its own labor pains, as it waits in breathless anticipation as the moment of Jesus’ return approaches.

So said Paul.

So said Jesus.

Here in Matthew 24:8, spoken in the Olivet Discourse, on the Tuesday afternoon of His final week, in reference to these “signs of the times.” Jesus said, “All these are the beginning of birth pains.”

That is precisely where we are today. Groaning, watching, and waiting for the climax of human history as we know it finally and mercifully to dawn upon us.

In Luke’s abbreviated account of the Olivet Discourse, Jesus said in reference to these same “signs of the times,” “When these things (these birth pains) begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Stand up; and lift up. Those are phrases that speak of victory, not defeat!

We don’t sit down in defeat; we stand up in victory!

We don’t hang our heads in dismal distress; we lift up our heads in victorious anticipation.

We are not defeated. Not by a long shot. We are encouraged.

These “signs of the times,” these birth pains, have indeed begun to take place. Our redemption is indeed drawing nearer, every single day!

Yes, these six “signs of the times” have always characterized our world. Yet, these is no denying the acceleration of their frequency and intensity.

Let me briefly remind you of the first three, and then we’ll discuss in some detail the final three. All with a view to standing up and lifting up our heads, not in defeat but in glorious victory.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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The Signs of the Times (Part 1)

its_timeWelcome to the Olivet Discourse. The End Times prophetic address that Jesus gave to His disciples high atop the Mount of Olives, immediately to the East of the Holy City, Jerusalem.

As you will hear in this PODCAST, that lovely little land that we affectionately call Israel is the center of the world.

Literally and metaphorically.

Literally, because Israel is the place where the three major continents — Europe, Asia, and Africa — tenderly touch and affectionately kiss each other. Which goes a long way to explaining why God chose this modest piece of real estate — a mere 150 miles long (North-South), 50 miles wide (West-East) — as stage for the Greatest Story Ever Told.

Metaphorically the center of the world because throughout all of human history, the eyes of world have ever been focused squarely on the Middle East — so called because it sits in the middle or center of the world. And in center of the Middle East sits Israel.

So Israel is indeed the center of the world.

That said, Jerusalem is the center of Israel, and the Temple is the center of Jerusalem.

So it is no wonder that Jesus and His disciples took a timeout from all of the hubbub of activities on this Tuesday of Jesus’ final week, exactly three days before Jesus would go to the cross.

As they sat upon the Mount of Olives taking in that breathtaking view of the Holy City and its glorious Temple — God’s House, what Jesus called “My Father’s House,” what many of our Jewish friends call “The House” — the disciples were moved by that spectacular panoramic portrait to ask Jesus these two most important questions in Matthew 24:

“What will be the sign of your coming?”

and

“What will be the sign of the end of the age?”

Jesus’ answer to those questions comprise what we now call the Olivet Discourse, spanning two full chapters, Matthew 24 – 25.

As you are about to hear, there are Two All-Important Interpretive Keys to understanding these all-important prophetic chapters.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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When “THIS Mountain” Moves

herodium-complex-balageTo be perfectly honest with you, the passage here in Matthew 21 is coming — for me,at least — at just the right time. And perhaps for you as well.

Given the current political climate in our beloved country, and the increasing despair that I have felt as the presidential primary season has now concluded, I so desperately need to hear my own message, courtesy of Jesus.

Jesus assured His disciples,

“Whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”

As you will hear in this PODCAST, the irony of what Jesus said is so thick that you could cut it with the proverbial knife.

The irony being this: Jesus said those words to the disciples on the eve of His crucifixion in order to strengthen, to fortify their fragile faith. And frankly, to strengthen and to fortify ours.

Jesus knew that the events in their lives were about to spin seemingly out of control. The hopes they harbored in their hearts were about to be crushed into the ash heap of history. The Jesus movement in which they played a central role was about to careen into a wall and to explode into a thousand broken pieces.

The wave they had been riding had peaked on Sunday during the Triumphal Entry, and then again on Monday during the Cleansing of the Temple. But Jesus knew only too well on that Tuesday AM that by Thursday PM that same storm surge would dash them into the jagged rocks of reality.

So to bolster their soon-to-be faltering faith (and ours), Jesus made them (and us) this glorious promise:

“Whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”

The only problem with that promise? As many of us have come to experience during own crises of faith, It.Doesn’t.Always.Work.

If it did, none of our loved ones would ever die. (Who of us hasn’t prayed for God, in faith believing — to invoke Jesus’ formula — to heal someone near/dear to us, only to watch them whither away to nothing?)

Our kids would never disappoint us, if that promise worked. (What parent hasn’t prayed diligently for their children, in faith believing, Amen, only to stand by and watch helplessly and at times hopelessly as one or more of our kids go sideways?)

If that promise did indeed work, we would always get the jobs we want, have the perfect marriages for which we pray, have enough money at end of each month.

Fact is, myriads of books been written and purchased and read about that promise. Countless sermons been preached and listened to and heeded. All to affirm the fact that if we pray in faith believing and do not doubt, we will receive whatever things we ask. We CAN move mountains by our prayers, we are told. The mountain of sickness, the mountain of debt, the mountain of broken relationships, the mountain of wayward children.

Over the years, I’ve heard it all, read it all, a thousand times. To the point where I’m sick of hearing it. Because it just doesn’t work… Or does it?

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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What Does It Feel Like to be God? (Here’s His SURPRISING Answer)

SongOfSolomon6.3We are, as you well know, engaged in a fascinating election cycle — one that I have been following with great interest.

Last week, one prominent commentator told of the time when, shortly after the swearing-in of a relatively recent President, he asked him,

“What does it feel like to be President?”

His answer, in case you are interested, was this:

“I suddenly realized that everything I say will profoundly affect something somewhere in the world.”

As you will hear in this PODCAST, that question, “What does it feel like to be President?” piqued my curiosity. Truth be told, there have been times when I have curiously wondered how God would respond if we were to ask Him,

“What does it feel like to be God?”

The thing is, God has already answered that question.

God has told us exactly what it feels like to be God.

Fact is, His answer might honestly surprise you. Surprise you in a profoundly emotional way. It sure does me!

Now, in considering His answer that question, “What does it feel like to be God?” we have to start with this.

Jesus said this in John 4:24, “God is spirit.” God is, in that sense, ineffable. Meaning, inexpressible, indescribable, like nothing we’ve ever known before.

As God Himself said to Isaiah, in chapter 55,

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

God is, by His own definition, utterly incomprehensible. So in an effort to help us relate to Him at least on some level, God chose to describe Himself to us using word pictures. Very meaningful word pictures.

Remember how I’ve told you Bible is picture book? Remember how I’ve told you that after stating a proposition, a good rabbi will always paint the picture?

For instance, the biblical writer states the proposition, “God is love” (1 John 4:8). He then follows this proposition by painting word pictures which describe what God’s love looks like.

So through the quills of the biblical writers, God was forever providing Scriptural snapshots what He is like, of which there are several throughout pages of Bible.

The Lord is my shepherd, He shelters us under His wings, He is our rock, mountain, fortress. So, so many.

The technical term for these portraits is anthropomorphisms, morphe (form), anthropos (human, man) — God describing Himself in forms, images, pictures we humans can understand.

OK, now watch this: Of all of the pictures that God painted (anthropomorphisms each), there are basically two iconic images of God in the Bible. As if to say,

Of all of the pictures that I have drawn of Myself for you, there are two predominant portraits of Me that I want you never to forget. Shepherd, Bird, Rock, Mountain, Fortress, so many others — these are great, accurate, and most helpful. But if you are going to remember only two, and forever cherish these two in your hearts, these are the two I want you never to forget: One in the Old Testament, and one in the New Testament.

If you think about it, God chose the two most intimate, precious, personal, and cherished of all human relationships.

You are in for quite a treat, and a stunning surprise as you listen.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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The Stage is Set!

20130221-stage-setJesus was happy. Truly, genuinely happy.

Which, if you think about it, and as you will hear in this PODCAST, is a most remarkable statement.

As you know, and as we have chronicled over the now 3½ years of this Jesus in High Definition study, Jesus was (to quote Isaiah):

“despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.”

Never will that become so heartrendingly obvious as in the days immediately preceding His crucifixion. You want to talk about HD, we’ll soon see His rejection, sorrow, and grief in all of its gripping detail.

Jesus was a Man of whom it was written, “Jesus wept.” But the fact is, as we have seen and will see as His crucifixion approaches, Jesus wept often, convulsively, with a sorrow that penetrated down to His very bones.

Had we seen Him, up close and personal, we would have looked upon a Man who looked like He carried the weight of the world upon His shoulders… because He did.

But as you are about to hear, here in Luke 10, this is the one and only time that this was recorded in any of the four Gospels:

Jesus was truly happy.

In order to capture this poignant moment, frozen in time, Luke employed a particular word, used of Jesus only here, that literally means to leap for joy, to exult, to show one’s joy by leaping and skipping. A word that denotes ecstatic joy and sheer delight.

We could therefore properly translate Luke 10:21 to read,

“At that same time, Jesus jumped for joy.”

Given the rarity of such an emotion in Jesus’ storied life and ministry — punctuated as it was by the highest of highs and the lowest of lows — I want to know why Jesus jumped for joy.

Don’t you?

And in fact, if you read Luke 10:21 carefully, the whole of the Trinity got into the act:

“At that same time Jesus was filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit, and he said, ‘O Father…'”

Why? What caused Jesus to experience such a bounding joy? So much joy that the entire Godhead — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — shared in His joy?

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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