Posts Tagged With: Herod

Tabgha!

As you are about to hear in this PODCAST

A futile night of fishing…

A breakfast on a beach…

A cringeworthy conversation…

Changed EVERYTHING.

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 Wall That Wails No More

Here’s the thing: As you are about to hear in this PODCAST, at precisely 6:13 this past Monday morning, I had an epiphany.

Fact is, between last Saturday night and Monday morning, I was stymied by one perplexing question:

“Here in 1 Peter 2, why in the world didn’t Peter use the word for stones that is his name? Petros?”

Or to put that another way,

“Why did Peter here in 1 Peter 2 use the word for stones, Lithos?

They are, after all, synonyms—Petros and Lithos—at least in English. Both are translated “stone.” So why didn’t Peter refer to himself—and to you and me—as a Petros? Why a Lithos?

Oh, my friends, the answer to that question is breathtakingly beautiful. Beautiful indeed.

As are you!

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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Bible Bootcamp — The New Testament

Courtesy of zazzle.com

Welcome to our third and final installment of Bible Bootcamp.

As you will hear in the PODCAST, with due deference to Peter’s challenge to you and me—1 Peter 2:2 (KJV), “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.”—we thought if beneficial to take a bird’s-eye view of the entire Bible. An overview. A survey. The box top to the biblical puzzle.

This so that we can understand how each individual piece fits into the whole.

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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“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.”

The hilltop mansion of Machaerus, the dungeon of which held John the Baptizer. Courtesy of ancientpages.com

In honor of this Christmas season now officially upon us, let’s go back to the beginning.

In this PODCAST, you will hear from the one, the prediction of whose birth shattered 400 years of a deafening silence and started the Christmas ball rolling—our old and dearly beloved friend, John the Baptizer.

This is his compelling story, as told in his own voice.

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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Questions–Then and Now

The Theater in Caesarea

Did you know that Adolph Hitler survived at least six—SIX!—assassination attempts?

As you will hear in this PODCAST, these six assassination attempts occurred in 1921, 1938, 1939, two in 1943, and the final attempt on July 20, 1944.

Get this: Any one of which, if successful, would have either prevented World War II—as well as the wholesale slaughter of six million of our precious Jewish friends—or brought both the war and the Holocaust to a screeching halt.

The older I get, the more questions I have.

As but two examples:

First: Why did God allow each of these six assassination attempts to fail?

I’m not now going to debate the ethics or lack thereof of political assassination in a time of war. Whether or not as Committed Christ-Followers we should support or condemn such actions is way beyond the scope of tonight’s discussion.

I’m simply asking: Would not our world have been a better place if just 1 of those attempts had succeeded?

What possible purpose could have been served by God allowing the likes of Hitler to live and to continue to torment the human race?

The failure of the final attempt on Hitler’s life is to me especially curious given the facts that A) Just 9 months and 10 days later—on April 30, 1945—Hitler killed himself in his bunker in Berlin.

And B) Tried and executed as a conspirator to that final, failed attempt on Hitler’s life? A man of far greater and more positive influence than I could ever hope to have, a man—to quote Hebrews—“of whom our world is not worthy.” I’m talking about the German pastor, theologian, and prolific writer, Dietrich Bonhoeffer. A precious, priceless servant of the Lord summarily executed by hanging a mere three weeks before Hitler bit into a cyanide tablet and shot himself in the head.

Had Hitler killed himself just three weeks earlier, would not Bonhoeffer’s life had been spared? Could not Bonhoeffer have then continued—perhaps for many, many years—to instruct and inspire the lives of countless Christ-followers the world over with his positive influence?

Why did God spare the life of a servant of Hell named Adolph Hitler just long enough to cost the life of a servant of Heaven named Dietrich Bonhoeffer?

God does not owe an explanation. But He does allow me to ask the question. So ask it, I will and I do.

That’s my first question.

My second question is this: Why did God allow a King named Herod Agrippa—a Jew who sold his soul and sold out his own people to the Romans in a cynical quest for power, position, and popularity—to live just long enough to destroy countless lives of Jewish Christ-followers in Jerusalem, as well as kill someone as stellar as the Apostle James?

James–brother to the Apostle John. Member of Apostolic trio—Jesus’ inner circle—Peter, James, and John? A man—to quote Hebrews—“of whom our world is not worthy.”

God does not owe an explanation. But He does allow me to ask the question. So ask it, I will and I do.

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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Jailbreak!

The (Infamous) Antonia Fortress

When we last left our old and dear friend, Peter, he was in Jerusalem, languishing in a Roman prison cell, awaiting what he thought was his certain execution.

As you will hear in this PODCAST, Peter had been held in that prison for up to eight long, arduous days—the week of Passover.

So to help you feel this story—if I may put it that way—I need you to think back to one week ago.

It was exactly one week ago when we—in Peter in HD Podcast #51—met the notorious-King Herod Agrippa.

And I need you to consider two compelling/colliding realities now coming into play as far as Peter’s state-of-mind-and-heart while in prison was concerned.

My dear friends, SO MUCH for us to talk about (please forgive that dangling preposition).

And 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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“About That Time…”

Acts 12 begins with this poignant—or pregnant with meaning—phrase, Κατ᾽ἐκ-ε-νον δ τν και-ρν,

“About that time…”

Words that, as you will hear in this PODCAST, could just as well have been translated,

“At the same time…”

“In the meantime…”

Or,

“Meanwhile…”

  • Meaning that while our old friend from last week, the Prophet Agabus, was in beautiful downtown Antioch 300 miles to the North, warning of a coming famine to Jerusalem and Judea in the South…
  • Meaning that while the predominantly non-Jewish believers in Jesus were taking up a love offering to help to alleviate mass starvation and woeful suffering among their Jewish brothers and sisters in Jesus in Jerusalem and throughout Judea…
  • Meaning that while this gloriously beautiful unity of all of these first-generation Christ-followers was being realized throughout Israel and beyond…

Κατ᾽ἐκ-ε-νον δ τν και-ρν, “In the meantime,” much was going on in Holy City of Jerusalem itself—gut-wrenching, faith-challenging, life-altering events that rocked the world of these early believers. Profound challenges that had nothing to do with Agabus’ future famine about which they didn’t yet know.

Our passage tonight—a modest four verses in total—goes to the very heart of the #1 longing of every human heart—including our own.

As well as the #1 question that has plagued the human race since time immemorial, including us.

Four short verses that describe what was going in lives of early believers particularly, and the residents of Jerusalem generally.

“About that time…”

All of this, ALL of this, so insightful for us, today, in our time.

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 Fox in the Henhouse

Jerusalem-4There is No.Clearer.Picture in all of the Bible of the heart of God towards sinners — I’m talking the hardest of hardhearted sinners — than this one right here in Luke 13.

A Scriptural snapshot that will go a long way to defining your biblical view of God and your biblical understanding of Jesus, both as a man and as God.

If you think of the Bible as a picture book, Luke paints for us a portrait of Jesus that is, quite frankly, irresistible, and most refreshing to my soul. It will be to yours as well. Guaranteed.

One that comes to us, ironically enough, thanks to a small cadre of good Pharisees. Yes! Heard me right. Good Pharisees.

The Pharisees as a group, as we have discussed in weeks gone by, and as you therefore understand, were historically among Jesus’ chief tormentors. That being said, there were in the minority some good Pharisees.

  • Nicodemus comes to mind as a good Pharisee, one who lovingly cared for Jesus’ body after the crucifixion.
  • In Mark 12, Jesus told a good Pharisee that he was “not far from the Kingdom of God.”
  • In Acts 15, reference is made to a number of good Pharisees who were committed Christ-followers.
  • And here in Luke 13, we find a small group of good Pharisees who traveled likely from Galilee to Perea to warn Jesus about the murderous intentions of Antipas.

This, my dear friends, is quite a gripping story.

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 First Noel

12390995_10153185910760841_423099692962636577_nIt is without a doubt one of the most beautiful and meaningful of our Christmas carols.

As you will hear in this PODCAST, its seven stanzas tell the complete story of Christmas, brilliantly combining both Matthew’s and Luke’s Nativity narratives.

The carol to which I refer? The First Noel.

The First Noel, the angel did say, was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay. In fields as they lay, keeping their sheep, on a cold winter’s night that was so deep.

Chorus: Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, Born is the King of Israel.

They looked up and saw a star shining in the east beyond them far. And to the earth it gave great light, and so it continued both day and night.

And by the light of that same star three wise men came from country afar. To seek for a king was their intent, and to follow the star wherever it went.

This star drew nigh to the northwest, o’er Bethlehem it took it rest. And there it did both stop and stay right over the place where Jesus lay.

Then did they know assuredly within that house the King did lay. They entered in then for to see, and found the Babe in poverty.

Then entered in those wise men three, fell reverently upon their knee, and offered there in His presence their gold, and myrrh, and frankincense.

Then let us all with one accord sing praises to our heavenly Lord, that hath made heaven and earth of naught, and with his blood mankind hath bought.

Chorus: Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, Born is the King of Israel.

Let’s talk about those Wise Men, mysterious Magi.

And the star, what it was and why they followed it.

And their gifts, and their amazing significance.

From all of us at the Safe Haven, to all of you, A Very Merry Christmas!ThreeWiseMenblueskyandstars

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A Jesus Who “Gets It”; A Jesus Who “Gets” You!

a-lonely-place-to-prayThis may sound strange to you, as you will hear on this PODCAST.

But if I kicked a bottle and a genie popped out, offering to grant me but one wish, any idea what I’d wish for? I’d wish for the ability to point my finger at anyone, anywhere, at any time, and become that person for 10 minutes.

On the surface of things, an odd request, I know. But if you think about it, for me it makes perfect sense.

When people share with me their stories, invariably I feel an acute longing to become that person — for 10 minutes — so that I can truly understand what it’s really like to be them.

Just imagine if we each possessed that power. If we did, and become that person for just 10 minutes, we would completely understand. We would understand why they do the things they do; why they say the things they say; why they make the choices that they make; why they act the way they act. All would become so crystal clear.

And in knowing the whys behind people’s words, actions, and attitudes, just think of how revolutionizing such knowledge would be. We would be so much more understanding, so much more forgiving, so much more compassionate, so much more loving.

We would “get it.” And others would “get” us.

I mean, if you could just be me for 10 minutes, you would finally understand why I am certifiably neurotic.

Well, Jesus didn’t have a bottle; He didn’t need one. Jesus never met a genie; there are no magical genies to meet. Jesus wasn’t granted one wish. Wishes were irrelevant to Him. But Jesus did exactly what I would wish I could do. And He did so for much, much longer than 10 minutes.

As a baby, laying in a manger, in beautiful downtown Bethlehem, Jesus became one of us.

Jesus experienced every human emotion, felt every human need, faced every human temptation, and lived every possible kind of human suffering.

He understands exactly what it is like to be you, and what it is like to be me.

This picture of an understanding Jesus is painted ever so clearly in this story. After hearing it, you will never view Jesus the same way again:

A Jesus who “gets it.”

A Jesus who “gets” you.

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.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy.

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