Posts Tagged With: respect

Civil Disobedience

It is with a lump in my throat that I present to you this PODCAST.

We are about to bid a fond farewell to someone who has become a dear friend of mine—a precious-if-forlorn 40-year-old lame man.

It started out as just another ordinary day in Jerusalem, as if any day in the Holy City, in the two months following Jesus’ Crucifixion and Resurrection, could have rightly been described as ordinary.

Peter and John made there way up to the Temple for their daily 3 PM prayers. They had no idea that by the end of that up-until-then ordinary day, their personal lives, the entire nascent Christian community, and all of Jerusalem would be rocked to their respective foundations.

Peter and John encountered a lame beggar holding out a helpless hand as he sat in Temple Courts. Having compassion on this desperate middle-aged man, lame from birth, Peter and John mercifully proceeded to heal him in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

Naturally, at hearing this now-walking man leaping and praising God, thousands of worshippers gathered in Solomon’s Colonnade to see what had happened. As Peter was explaining to these awestruck witnesses that this man was healed in the name of their recently-resurrected Messiah, the Temple authorities stepped in.

They forcibly removed Peter and John from the Temple Courts, threw them into prison, and held them in custody overnight to await their trial the next morning.

As the Sun rose in its majestic arc over the Mount of Olives, Peter and John were rousted from their slumber, released from their shackles, perp-walked before the Sanhedrin, and forced to defend themselves before the Supreme Court.

Their only crime? Enabling a 40+ year old cripple for the first time in his life to walk. That’s it.

But what Peter and John have to teach us by their example is a lesson well-worth learning, especially in light of today’s headlines.

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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Heavenly Chutzpah

determination-687x324It’s been a tough week for our country. Riots at political rallies. An increasingly course discourse. Much angst in the world.

And I know you are feeling it.

Well, consider this PODCAST to be a bright and beautiful shot of much-needed adrenaline to your system, some refreshing encouragement from Jesus’ heart to yours.

Let’s begin our discussion with this: It is one of the most precious, and quite frankly priceless privileges in the entire Bible. I am referring to the one verse that concludes the fourth chapter of the book of Hebrews. One glorious verse that speaks volumes, both to the original readers of this verse, and to us as well.

But before I read it to you, I must first set this scene: As its title suggests — Hebrews — this book was written to Jewish believers in Jesus. These precious people lost everything when they become committed Christ-followers. Unlike the letters of Paul, written to local gatherings of believers in a given city — Rome, Corinth, Philippi — this letter was written to Jewish (Hebrew) believers struggling everywhere throughout the Roman Empire because, due to relentless persecution, they were scattered, far and wide.

We get only the barest of glimpses into their desperate circumstances from cryptic statements such as these:

“Think back on those early days when you first learned about Christ. Remember how you remained faithful even though it meant terrible suffering. Sometimes you were exposed to public ridicule and were beaten, and sometimes you helped others who were suffering the same things. You suffered along with those who were thrown into jail, and when all you owned was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew there were better things waiting for you that will last forever” (Hebrews 10).

Or this in Hebrews 13:

“Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.”

No one was exempt. Not even someone as faithful as young Pastor Timothy, protege of the Apostle Paul, of whom we read in Hebrews 13:

“I want you to know that our brother Timothy has been released from jail. If he comes here soon, I will bring him with me to see you.”

For the first generation of Jewish Christ-followers, times were tough, their circumstances dire. So in order to encourage them, the writer of this great book made to them (and to us!) this precious promise:

“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”

Emphasis upon that shockingly bold word “boldly.”

Trust me. That thud you just heard was sound of their jaws dropping and hitting the floor as the original readers scanned those words into their suffering souls, for reasons that you will soon hear.

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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HAPPY Hallows’ Eve!!!

halloweenCall me a contrarian, but I LOVE Halloween.

And I, for one, am not prepared to concede this holy-day to the enemy. Here’s why:

Halloween is a contraction of two words, Hallows’ Eve. 

“Hallows” (related to the word “holy”) is a reference to “saints” (having nothing to do with the Church conferring sainthood on dead people, but having everything to do with every one of us who loves, worships, and serves Jesus Christ). (See Ephesians 1:15 for but one example of the biblical usage of the word “saint.”)

“Eve,” of course, refers to evening, much as we use the word in reference to Christmas Eve.

Put it all together, and Halloween is in reality a “Holy Evening,” the night before “All Saints Day.”

Simply put, Halloween is the one night out of each year set aside for the dual purposes of (1) Identifying those precious saints of God, those committed Christ-followers who have had a significant, positive, and holy influence in our lives; and (2) Planning how we are going to honor them on the following day, November 1, All Saints Day.

This in the spirit of Romans 13:7, “Render to all men their dues… respect to whom respect is due, and honor to whom honor is due” (Amplified Bible).

Think of it this way: We have days set aside to honor our Mothers, Fathers, Presidents, historical individuals like Columbus, King, and others, our veterans, those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice (Memorial Day), etc., etc. 

All Saints Day is the one day out of each year to honor those who have encouraged us in our walks with Christ, including those who have…

Led us to faith in Christ,

Taught us His Word,

Set an example for us of godly living,

Encouraged us,

Prayed for us,

Counseled us,

Loved us,

Helped us along the way to take one more step in our spiritual journey,

Or perhaps the most important of all… Were there for us when no one else was.

Tonight is the night to identify these precious people, the unsung heroes of our personal faith, and to plan how best to honor them the very next day. 

We can honor them in so many simple and yet oh-so-important ways:

A card, a letter, a note, a phone call, a text message, a Facebook post, an email message, a gift. Some sincere expression of what these dear people mean to us, and how these individuals have blessed our lives.

What a beautiful concept. More than that…

…What a BEAUTIFUL DAY. All Saints Day. Preceded, as it is, with an equally beautiful evening. An evening devoted to identification and preparation. An evening called Hallows’ Eve!

So in the true spirit of this sacred holy-day, let me extend to each of you a heartfelt… 

…HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

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