Posts Tagged With: sorrow

“The God of All Comfort”

Artwork of my dear friend, Udi. http://www.blueandwhiteart.com

It is the single saddest day on the Jewish calendar.

As you are about to hear in this PODCAST, that statement, purposely given with the present tense “is,” is true today.

It was equally true for Peter’s original Jewish readers.

One day each year, indelibly imprinted on the collective psyches of our Jewish friends then and now.

“It is today as it was then.”

A day which reads in English, “the ninth day of the month of Av” (usually around our month of August).

In Hebrew it is called, Tisha B’Av.

If we don’t understand what this day is all about, we will not understand what the closing verses of 1 Peter 1 are all about. For Peter’s original readers. And for us!

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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“Weight-ing” on the Lord

As you are about to hear in this PODCAST, the time has come for us to have a sensible discussion about an issue that has been grossly misunderstood, and consequently grievously mis-taught, in far too many Christian settings. All of this causing so much harm spiritually, mentally, and emotionally to so many.

Jesus said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Oh, my dear friends, get ready to be set free!

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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“Jesus Wept.”

40364.pIf last week’s discussion revealed to us the iconic image of the heart of Jesus, this week’s PODCAST will unveil to us the iconic image of the humanness of Jesus.

The beloved Apostle John wrote this in the first chapter of his Gospel masterpiece:

“Jesus became human and made his home among us.”

Paul wrote this to his beloved little community of Christ-followers in Philippi:

“Though he was God…  Jesus became completely human.”

Here in John 11, we will see just how completely human Jesus truly was.

I’ll clue you in right here from the start: We are about to witness three powerful, very human emotions collide within the heart and soul of Jesus. And as a result, we will be all the richer for having witnessed this collision, each emotion in response to the death of Jesus’ dear friend, Lazarus.

You are about to take a quantum leap in your understanding of who Jesus is, in a way that you may not be anticipating as we break the seal on this (to many people) very familiar story.

This entire discussion under this overarching question: What does it feel like to be Christ-like?

Rabbi, paint picture. OK, courtesy of John, let’s paint this picture. The picture of a very human Jesus, a human side of Jesus that perhaps you have never seen before.

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 Fingerprints of Providence

FingerprintsJesus pronounced this amazing blessing on His followers: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

An amazing blessing to be sure. But is it an empty one? Who of us is actually “pure in heart”? Did not Jeremiah pronounce our hearts “desperately wicked”? Yes, I’m afraid he did.

And who of us can actually see God? Did not God tell Moses that “no one can see Me and live”? Yes, I’m afraid He did.

So what gives with this blessing, and its corresponding promise? Is this a bankrupt blessing? A pointless promise? At least as far as this life is concerned?

Oh, my friends. As you listen to this PODCAST, you are about to see some things that you have perhaps never seen before.

If this podcast is a blessing to you, PLEASE share it with your loved ones and friends. PLEASE “Like” it and “Share” it on Facebook and/or Twitter. I’d be most grateful, and so would they!

Please note that depending upon your web browser, it may take up to 60 seconds for the podcast to begin to play.

HAPPY LISTENING!!!

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Want to Know the Heart of God? Look Where You Least Expect It

Jesus weptHave you ever wanted to know the heart of God? I mean to really, truly know it – deep down where it counts, in the hidden depths of your sizable soul? To know what He thinks, what He feels, what He experiences every day of His life?

I have. And the answer came from the unlikeliest of places.

For the longest time, the picture of Jesus that dominated my thoughts was that of a happy-go-lucky, spirited young man sprinting through the countryside with a smile on His face and a spring in His step. A man beaming with blazing optimism, brimming with boundless joy. A guy on top of the world. Because, after all, He created the world. He owned it. So of course, He lived to enjoy it.

But try as I might, I could not find that Jesus in the New Testament. Nor, for that matter, did He appear in the Old.

In his place, I discovered a very troubled Jesus. Someone who bore the weight of the world on His sagging shoulders. Someone who every day encountered everyday people – people just like you and just like me. People whose challenges seemed overwhelming. People whose difficulties were difficult even for the Son of God to understand.

The deeper I dug into the Scriptures, the more this alternate picture of a melancholy Jesus began to emerge. The Jesus about whom it was written, “He was hated and rejected; his life was filled with sorrow and terrible suffering” (Isaiah 53:3 CEV).

That didn’t sound very happy-go-lucky to me.

“He suffered and endured great pain for us” (Isaiah 53:4 CEV). An intense, unrelenting suffering that He carried not only during His trials and crucifixion, but throughout His life and His ministry as well.

For instance, did you know that Jesus apparently lost His adoptive dad, Joseph, at a relatively young age, and was therefore raised by His single mom, Mary? While this desperate situation doesn’t get a lot of press, we do get a glimpse into Jesus’ household when He stopped dying on the cross just long enough to assign to John the care of His beloved mom. Add to that that Jesus’ brothers all rejected Him. His enemies hounded Him. Even His disciples deserted Him. None of which makes for a spirited young man to my way of thinking.

“He was wounded and crushed because of our sins” (Isaiah 53:5 CEV). Wounded and crushed don’t sound like the attributes of someone sprinting through the countryside to me.

How about a smile on His face with a spring in His step? I don’t think so. Not when I read, “He was painfully abused, but he did not complain. He was silent like a lamb being led to the butcher” (Isaiah 53:7 CEV).

“Who could have imagined what would happen to him?” Isaiah asked, as a thoroughly appropriate, if unsettling, question. 

Who could have imagined the unimaginable? Who would have anticipated the unthinkable? Who should have expected the unexplainable?

There is a reason we read in the Gospels that “Jesus wept.” Yet, nowhere do we read that Jesus laughed. Think about that for a minute. A smile on His face? A spring in His step? Guess again. 

This theme, the seeds of which are planted in the Old Testament, comes into full bloom in the New, with such confessions such as this: “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death.”

Yes, Jesus admitted that in Matthew 26.

Rather than beam with blazing optimism, Jesus daily discovered the depths of despair that darkened the souls of the people He loved. And this all-pervading sadness clouded His countenance with heart-rending compassion and never-ending concern.

There is a reason that Isaiah made a point to highlight the raw reality that Jesus’ “life was filled with sorrow and terrible suffering.”

Gaze into His eyes and I think we’d see much more dejection than delight. 

All of which means this: Our worst times might be our best times to know, to experience, to feel the heart of God.

Yes, it’s true. There are some lessons, perhaps our most profound lessons, that can only be learned in the classroom of personal pain. 

So much so that you can take this to the bank: Our worst times might indeed be our best times…tears

Our darkest days might indeed be our brightest opportunities… 

…to truly know, to genuinely experience, to actually feel the heart of God.

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