Posts Tagged With: obedience

“Prone to Leave the God I Love”

What you are about to hear in this PODCAST is Peter’s most powerful appeal. One born in Peter’s greatest failure.

It is true that our most powerful life-message comes not out of our spectacular successes, but rather out of our epic failures.

So be encouraged.

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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Safe and Secure

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As you are about to hear in this PODCAST, all you need to know about the precious people to whom Peter wrote is summarized in three telling terms. One phrase, really.

One phrase that so accurately described them.

One phrase that so accurately describes each of us.

κ-λεκ-τος παρ-επι-δ-μοις διασ-πορς—literally, “elect foreigners in the diaspora.”

Now why in the world would Peter begin his first letter with this carefully crafted first phrase?

“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the elect foreigners in the diaspora.”

Because the one question looming in minds of Peter’s distressed audience was this:

Has God abandoned us?

Not to get too personal with you, and at the risk of invading your private space, I cannot help but to wonder if you have ever asked of yourself that exact same question:

Has God abandoned me?

And Peter wanted them—and us—and you!—to know that as he penned this epistle, that same question was looming large in his own mind and his own soul.

Peter knew his audience.

Peter knew them.

Peter knows us.

Peter knows you!

Peter feels our pain.

Peter asks our questions.

Peter understands our doubts.

Peter feels our fears.

Peter can relate.

Peter “gets” it.

Peter “gets” us.

And I, for one, am profoundly grateful that he does.

And in “getting” us, he will assure us in this podcast that NO!!! God has NOT abandoned you. He has NOT turned His back on you. He will NEVER stop loving you. He will NEVER leave you. He will not now or EVER forsake you.

In a word, we are SECURE in His omnipotent hand.

Aren’t you glad?

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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So Near, and Yet So Far

rich-young-ruler-3You could call this story an epic “Opportunity Lost.”

You talk about a guy presented with a once-in-a-lifetime golden opportunity, an opportunity that he squandered. An opportunity that he squandered Badly.And.Sadly.

As you will hear in this PODCAST, this is an offer rarely made, and shockingly dismissed.

A young man who burst on the scene like a blazing comet streaking overhead, only to flame out and fall out of the sky to come crashing and burning to earth.

What a story!

One thing’s for sure. Jesus never took a class on Personal Evangelism, witnessing, soul winning, or whatever you want to call it. Because, to be honest, Jesus Broke.Every.Rule of personal evangelism in this very personal encounter.

Here you have what we call in our contemporary Christian culture a seeker coming to Jesus to ask Him one question. THE question. The single most important question.

A softball question that any one of us could answer.

His question?

“What should I do to inherit eternal life?”

This young man asked Jesus exactly the right question, to which Jesus gave him exactly the wrong answer!

Or did He?

Don’t fault me for asking that. Jesus’ own disciples thought that Jesus gave him the wrong answer. Check it out: The disciples were “astounded and astonished” when they heard Jesus’ answer.

All this guy needed to do, all that Jesus needed to tell him to do, was to pray a “Jesus, come into my heart” prayer, right? Yet, by the time Jesus got done with him? The young man walked away.

In the words of the noted Lutheran New Testament scholar, R.C.H. Lenski,

“Picture him: an exemplary young man in early manhood, fine and clean morally as the phrase now goes… wealthy… with a strong religious bent… a pillar (in the community)… Where is the church that would not give him a prominent place?… Yet all this is in the eyes of Jesus… worthless.”

Yeah verily, I will add, so worthless that Jesus offended him. Lost him. Drove him away.

Know why?

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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Slamming the Door Shut on Satan

3-12-13-mainLast week, when talking about Jesus “watching Satan fall from heaven,” we were encouraged by the fact that Satan is a defeated foe.

As you will be reminded in this week’s PODCAST, Satan isn’t losing the war; he has already lost it.

Be that as it may, however, the devil is winning his share of battles, and the destruction he causes is painful in the extreme.

Of all of the names of Satan I shared with you last week, of which there are many in the Bible, arguably the most personally troublesome is the one found in Revelation 9:11. Speaking of the demonic realm,

“Their king is the angel from the bottomless pit; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon—the Destroyer.”

I say “most personally troublesome” for three reasons:

1. There is a suffix added to the adverb translated “in Hebrew,” as in “his name in Hebrew is Abaddon,” which makes this term particularly forceful. As if to say that Satan is the ultimate destroyer going all the way back to the very beginnings of the Bible.

2. His “most personally troublesome” name because the word means to destroy, corrupt, to exterminate, or to kill in battle or in prison, as in a prison of addiction.

3. His “most personally troublesome” name because, as you well know, it is painful enough for us to personally experience the devil’s devastation in our own lives. But it is exponentially more painful to watch when he has his way in the lives of those near and dear to us. It is one thing for us to suffer personally the consequences our own regrettable choices. Indeed, to have to stand by and watch helplessly as those whom we love suffer the consequences of their regrettable choices? That is agonizing beyond description. And I don’t need to add a suffix to that word agonizing to make it more forceful. You know how much that hurts.

Yes, his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon—the Destroyer.

Yet, with all of that, as will be illustrated and demonstrated, underscored and emphasized in this PODCAST, Satan is a defeated foe.

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 Closed Door, Or an Open Window?

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We are going to begin this week’s PODCAST precisely from where we left off in last week’s podcast.

We left off last week by considering together this most enigmatic verse (Hebrews 5:8):

Even though Jesus was God’s Son, He learned obedience from the things He suffered.

If you are at all uncomfortable with that, then the rest of this story will make no sense, and will leave you with an even greater discomfort.

But if you are willing to allow for the fact that “Even though Jesus was God’s Son, He learned obedience from the things He suffered,” then you are in for this great big blessing: The grand and glorious realization that Jesus, just like you and just like me, learned in real time what it means to live a life of obedience to God the Father.

We stressed last week, and I will ever-so-briefly remind you now, that Jesus was fully human, just like us. Last week we discussed some of the implications of Hebrews 4:15, where the writer emphatically affirms this ever-so-comforting reality:

Jesus understands all of our human weaknesses, for He faced all of the same testings and temptations we do, yet He did not sin.

Jesus experienced every human emotion, felt keenly every human feeling — including our feelings of fear, insecurity, uncertainty, abandonment, betrayal. 

I mean, you just wait until we get to the Garden of Gethsemane, at which time there will be no doubt that in Jesus 100% deity meets 100% humanity, with all that that word humanity implies.

As we saw so vividly last week, life threw at Jesus unexpected challenges, unanticipated conflicts, undeserved difficulties, uninvited troubles… Just like life throws at us.

Jesus learned, just as so many of us are now learning, that sometimes, perhaps even most times, our richest life lessons can be taught only in the crucible of calamity.

By the reading of books our minds become broad. But it is only as we walk the pathway of pain that our souls become deep.

Something that Jesus learned.

Something that we are each learning.

Even though Jesus was God’s Son, He learned obedience from the things He suffered.

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

God bless you as you listen.

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