AUDIO Triumph And Tragedy

By Rev Bill Woods

Who’d believe it had been 3 years since Jesus began His public ministry!

 – 3 years since John the Baptist had pointed Jesus out to the multitudes saying,Behold, the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.”

Jesus’ fame had spread quickly.

    – People knew Him as a “great teacher,” the “miracle worker,” some even dared call Him the “Messiah.”

Huge crowds thronged Him everywhere He went to hear and see Him — to be fed and healed.

Not everyone held Him in such high esteem.

    – The Governing body of the Jews, the Sanhedrin, composed of Pharisees, Sadducees, and Scribes most of who hated Jesus. (70 men plus the High Priest = 71),

      – Their hatred grew in direct proportion of His fame.

      – They were jealous of Him.  He was drawing people away from them!

During the time of the Roman governors like Pontius Pilate, the Sanhedrin had jurisdiction only over the province of Judea.

The Sanhedrin had its own police force which could arrest people, as they did Christ in Gethsemane.

While the Sanhedrin heard both civil and criminal cases and could find a person guilty and impose the death sentence but couldn’t carry it out.  In New Testament times it didn’t have the authority to execute convicted criminals. – That power was reserved to the Romans, which explains why Jesus was crucified — a Roman punishment — rather than stoned, according to Mosaic law.

The Sanhedrin had to stop Him!  They had to convince the Roman Governor, Pilate to execute Him — He was destroying their Religious Empire!

    – They plotted His death — it couldn’t come too quickly!

On Palm Sunday, Jesus began His last week of public ministry.

    – His guarded secret that He was the Messiah was about to be revealed.

      – He’d cautioned His disciples after the Transfiguration to tell no one what they’d seen.

      – It was probably a miracle that Peter held it in and didn’t blab it!

Now it was time to proclaim who He was — He let the people proclaim Him King.

 – That day the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9 was being fulfilled. 

Zechariah 9:9 (NKJV)
9  “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.

  1. Jesus rode into Jerusalem as The King in triumph.

1.  THE DAY OF TRIUMPH!

After eating breakfast with His friends, Jesus, and His disciples, left Bethany to go to Jerusalem.

    – The roads were crowded pilgrims were making their annual trek to the Passover.

      – Every Jew tried to go to Jerusalem for the Passover.

      – Jerusalem’s population swelled from 35,000 to 350,000 during that week.

Jesus prepared to ride into Jerusalem in the style of a king — Luke 19:29-34

And it came to pass, when He came near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mountain called Olivet, that He sent two of His disciples,
30  saying, “Go into the village opposite you, where as you enter you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Loose it and bring it here.
31  And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you loosing it?’ thus you shall say to him, ‘Because the Lord has need of it.’ “
32  So those who were sent went their way and found it just as He had said to them.
33  But as they were loosing the colt, the owners of it said to them, “Why are you loosing the colt?”
34  And they said, “The Lord has need of him.”

    – A conqueror would ride into the city on a White Stallion flaunting his power and control.

      – A King, coming in peace, would come on a donkey.

Jesus sent 2 disciples to find a donkey to ride.

– Jesus was well known.

  – Everyone coming to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover knew about Him.

  – That day, the popular mood was favorable toward Him.

“The Lord needs it” was all the disciples had to say, and the owners gladly turned their little donkey over to them.

      – Here’s a lesson — we should make our possessions available to the Lord…….. Hang on loosely to all you have…..

Luke 19:35: Then they brought him (the donkey) to Jesus. And they threw their own clothes on the colt, and they set Jesus on him.

Jesus chose a time when all Israel would be gathered at Jerusalem to announce His true identity.   

    – Huge crowds could see Him, and understanding His proclamation was unmistakable.

– The people were ecstatic — They were sure their liberation was at hand.

As Jesus sat on the little donkey, the crowd went wild — their Messiah had finally arrived!

    – Kings rode donkeys………..

Describe the scene:

Psalm 24:7-10 (NKJV)
7  Lift up your heads, O you gates! And be lifted up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in.
8  Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, The LORD mighty in battle.
9  Lift up your heads, O you gates! Lift up, you everlasting doors! And the King of glory shall come in.
10  Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory. Selah

Caught up in the emotion, people spread their garments along the path; others placed palm branches in the path.

Luke 19:36-38: 
36  And as He went, many spread their clothes on the road.
37  Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen,
38  saying: “‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the LORD!’ Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

Soon they reached the summit of the Mount of Olives (describe Jerusalem)

The Pharisees complained to Jesus that the crowd was breaking a noise ordinance.                                   

 Luke 19:39-40

39  And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, “Teacher, rebuke

Your disciples.”

 40 But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.”

The little donkey jogged on toward the Kidron Valley.

    – The crowd grew larger — so did the excitement.

      – The whole valley echoed with cries of “HOSANNA!”

The excited crowd got so noisy the Pharisees again demanded Jesus quiet them.

    – Jesus said if the people held their voices the stones would cry out — lots of rocks!

The Pharisees concluded —

John 12:19–The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, “You see that you are accomplishing nothing. Look, the world has gone after Him!”

  • It must’ve seemed that way that day!

This was the King’s Triumphal entry into Jerusalem — nearly everyone was shouting, “Hosanna.”

    – Nearly everyone was happy — in a holiday mood!

      – Everyone, that is, except the grumpy Pharisees, and — JESUS?

2.  TRAGEDYLuke 19:41-44
41  Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it,
42  saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.
43  For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side,
44  and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

Right in the midst of all the celebrating and hilarious shouting, Jesus began weeping.

    – The wild demonstration of affection by the fickle multitude caused Jesus to weep!

Listen as His heart breaks for His people — Matthew 23:37
37  “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!

    – Here’s the agony of the Savior over a lost city.

His Phrase, “how often,” sums up the tenderest love story ever told.

    – Describe how God had tried to love Israel………

Now their days of grace were over — they still refused God’s Love.

    – Jesus sobs, “I wanted to gather you together and you wouldn’t let me!”- He knew the consequences they would face for rejecting Him.

What Jesus said to Israel that first Palm Sunday, He’s saying to us today………

    – How often He’d bless us, but we refuse………… He knows the consequences people face today  for rejecting God’s Plan of Salvation — Eternity in Hell…………….

      – He won’t send you there for rejecting Him, but He will let  you go there if you choose!……

God loves us so much, but we’re obstinate and rebellious and we won’t respond……

Israel lost Her Great Opportunity — Luke 19:42
42  saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.  

    – The opportunity was offered, refused and lost forever…(God’s Mercy will one day run out)

Israel had her times of visitation.

    – God sent Moses and the prophets — David stretched the Kingdom from Dan to Beersheba — again, when they returned from Babylon to rebuild the City, the Walls, and the Temple —

    — Now, they were rejecting Jesus, their Messiah.

They’d killed the prophets and stoned those sent to deliver them — soon they’d crucify God’s Son, Himself!

    – IF ONLY THEY’D KNOWN!

Jesus wept for what Israel might’ve been if she’d only obeyed God.

    – Israel missed her chance!

This sad story still happens in too many lives.

    – God has a purpose for your life — He wants the best for you!

Jesus came as King, but the people misunderstood His Kingdom.

    – They thought in terms of an earthly kingdom that would eventually pass away.

JESUS CHRIST IS COMING AS KING VICTORIOUS OVER ALL CREATION AND ESTABLISHING A KINGDOM THAT WILL NEVER PASS AWAY!

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was coming as King over sickness and disease.

    – Lame man, blind man, etc.

Jesus Christ was coming as King over demons and darkness.

    – Legion in tombs — boy possessed by demon — Mary Magdalene.

      – Our demonic problems are just beginning and will get worse — we need Jesus!

Jesus was coming as King victorious over discouragement and defeat — Nicodemus.

Jesus was coming as conquering King over pain and broken-heartedness.

    – Mary and Martha at Lazarus’ tomb.

Jesus Christ, God’s Son, was coming as King over sin, death, and the grave.

    – Zacchaeus had been forgiven!

      – Widow from Nain’s son was restored to his mother.

        – Lazarus was Alive!.

Listen to what Christ said was His purpose for coming — Luke 4:18-19
18  “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
19  To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”

The people in Jerusalem didn’t understand — before that week was over they even thought Christ’s Kingdom was destroyed.

    – Jesus had to die on the Cross in order to establish His Spiritual Kingdom for all time and Eternity —

Isaiah 53:5-6
5  But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
6  All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

Satan thought he’d won a victory over God — he’d soon know he’d suffered the worst defeat he could experience — “Satan often shoots himself in the foot!”.

    – He’s now a defeated enemy forever………….

Jesus had to go to prepare a place for us who love Him.

    – He’s promised He’ll come again to get us……….John 14:2-6  
2  In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
4  And where I go you know, and the way you know.”
5  Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”
6  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Sunday, we’ll celebrate His first coming as King to Jerusalem.

    – Soon we’ll meet Him in the air — Rapture.

      – 7 years later we’ll see His 2nd Coming as KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS!

Then there’ll be no misunderstanding Who He really is!

Have you confessed Him as your Lord today?

    – YOU WILL ON THAT GREAT AND TERRIBLE DAY! —                                                 Philippians 2:10-11
10  that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,
11  and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

How terrifying it will be to stand before our ALMIGHTY GOD unprepared!………………….  You don’t have to be unprepared!  He’s provided a way for you!

The King came to Jerusalem the first time.

THE KING IS COMING AGAIN!


PODCAST TRIUMPH AND TRAGEDY

https://www.buzzsprout.com/977272/8219037


Christian leaders call for repentance, overhaul following Ravi Zacharias sexual abuse report

By Brandon Showalter, Christian Post Reporter

Christian leaders and a former associate of Ravi Zacharias’ ministry are calling for repentance and an overhaul of organizational practices after a report released Thursday detailed the late apologist’s pattern of sexual abuse.

In an email to The Christian Post on Friday, Carson Weitnauer, who previously led RZIM’s U.S. speaking team, said he now believes that Zacharias was not only a fraud, as he articulated in an earlier op-ed published by CP, but that the organization bearing his name is as well. He further asserted that the ministry’s apology is unacceptable in light of the revelations released in the report. 

“The organization’s apologetic-sounding statement was released by an anonymous board, is incomplete in its scope, avoids calling on the Zacharias Estate to release the Thompson’s from the NDA, and announces no resignations or removals of those most responsible for this tragedy. 1 John 3:18 instructs us, ‘Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth,'” said Weitnauer to CP. 

“I pray that many churches and nonprofits will decide to learn from this catastrophe and take immediate action to mitigate the risk of personally repeating it,” he added. 

RZIM issued an apology Thursday with the announcement of the results of an extensive independent investigation in which victims claimed that Zacharias had engaged in “sexting, unwanted touching, spiritual abuse, and rape” over the course of many years. 

The ministry hired the Atlanta law firm Miller & Martin to conduct the independent investigation. In the apology statement published as the report was released, RZIM said it was “shocked and grieved” by the actions of the late apologist and that “corporate repentance” was needed. 

Weitnauer said it’s crucial that churches and ministry organizations appoint senior leaders who bear responsibility and that they establish or strengthen policies against abuse of every kind — provide training on toxic cultural dynamics, and ensure board members and community leaders are informed and watchful advocates for survivors and other vulnerable members of their communities. 

“The continued prevalence of sexual abuse within the church, and the weak response to it by church leaders, is a great discredit to our witness,” Weitnauer said. “For the sake of the Gospel and the honor of God, and our commitment to the wellbeing of victims, may we instead courageously resolve to build communities that are full of truth and goodness.” 

Other Christian voices and thought leaders have expressed a variety of emotions. Many said they are disgusted and shaken, but noted that news of respected evangelical leaders falling has become common. 

“I’ve thought about this a lot since it all came out and I guess it sucks to say that I’m not surprised when this happens anymore. Because it just keeps happening. God, have mercy,” said author Jackie Hill Perry, tweeted Thursday.  

She added in a subsequent tweet-thread Friday that she had attended the funeral for the late apologist last year and that the news of his misconduct left her feeling “thrown.” 

“Not because I’m surprised per se’ but because it’s disorienting. I’m reminded that giftedness will never translate to godliness. Neither is orthodox teaching the proof of righteous living…Ravi’s ministry was a gift to most of us but his fall is a warning to all of us. Take heed lest we fall too.”

Teacher and popular speaker Beth Moore said in response to the report that, at base, “in every situation where a Christian leader has lived in gross hypocrisy, carrying on a double life, for years on end: They are out of fellowship with Jesus. Period. YOU CANNOT SUSTAIN THAT IN FELLOWSHIP.”

“The Holy Spirit convicts of sin. Every believer has and will fall into strongholds of various kinds of sin but, in fellowship with Christ, we cannot bear to remain in it. We will repent. We can implement all the accountability systems & MUST. But what we’ve got on our hands are people using piety and outward appearances of righteousness to hide the fact that they have little to no intimacy with the Father and Son through the Holy Spirit,” she added. 

The board of the Zacharias Trust, the U.K. branch of the ministry, also put out a statement announcing that they had made the unanimous decision to separate from RZIM. Although the organization has always been a separate entity in terms of governance with its own trustees, the Trust said that current circumstances have led them to conclude they must operate without any link to the organization. 

“The UK entity will also choose a new name. This process will take time to complete but the UK Board is convinced that this is the best and only way to ensure that the ministry can continue to serve the UK church with integrity. This will also give us the opportunity to review the lessons to be learned from these awful events,” the Trust added. 

COMMENT:

Part of our mission is to “… help the abused, the abuser and those affected by abuse to heal…just not all in the same setting.” Please contact us if you need assistance. If it is an emergency dial 911.

https://www.christianpost.com/news/christian-leaders-call-for-overhaul-after-ravi-zacharias-report.html

‘Grinch’ group bullies elementary school into canceling live Nativity

Judge: Artistic performances don’t ‘establish’ a religion

December 11, 2019

A live Nativity scene in Stuart, Florida (Photo by Joe Kovacs, used with permission)

A “grinch” organization that flexes its influence each year during the holiday season, the Freedom from Religion Foundation, has “bullied” a school district in Oklahoma into canceling a live Nativity scene that had been part of the school’s annual Christmas celebration.

Liberty Counsel said it’s prepared to represent the school if officials decide they want to restore the holiday display.

LC said FFRF not only was wrong to insist such displays aren’t allowed, it mischaracterized a court ruling on the dispute.

FFRF wrote to Supt. Bret Towne of Edmond Public Schools in Edmond, Oklahoma, declaring “the Chisholm Elementary School Christmas program may not include a live Nativity scene in the performance.”

Liberty Counsel, which has handled many such disputes, said that while FFRF cited a 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, the atheist organization failed “to accurately describe” the decision.

“The 7th Circuit simply did not make the sweeping ruling claimed by FFRF. FFRF has once again selectively related what actually happened in a suit, in order to frighten a school district into compliance,” Liberty Counsel explained.

The ruling stated clearly, “We are not prepared to say that a nativity scene in a school performance automatically constitutes an Establishment Clause violation.”

FFRF had said, “While a public school can hold holiday concerts, religious performances and instruction that emphasize the religious aspects of a holiday are prohibited.”

It continued, “Please note that including a live nativity performance in a school’s holiday concert remains illegal even if participation in the nativity scene is ‘voluntary.'”

FFRF cited a previous dispute in which it wanted to ban a 20-minute Nativity within a program that covered about 90 minutes.

The appeals court said: “The district court found that the Christmas Spectacular program. … A program in which cultural, pedagogical, and entertainment value took center stage – did not violate the Establishment Clause.

One judge wrote: “It is not sound, as a matter of history or constitutional text, to say that a unit of state or local government ‘establishes’ a religion through an artistic performance that favorable depicts one or more aspects of that religion’s theology or iconography. [The school] would not violate the Constitution by performing Bach’s Mass in B Minor or Handel’s Mesiah, although both are deeply religious works and run far longer than the nativity portion of the ‘Christmas Spectacular.’ Performing a work of art does not establish that work, or its composer, as the state song or the state composer; no more does it establish a state religion.”

“Liberty Counsel therefore stands ready, along with our affiliate attorneys in Oklahoma, to provide assistance at no charge to Edmond Public Schools, if the district desires to resume a live Nativity in a school Christmas program,” the organization promised.

 

Original here

How you Can Become a Better Person Starting Now

Can you Really Change?

Most people wonder if it’s possible to become a better person after maturity. The answer is a resounding yes. There’s actually room for change at every stage of our life. With a willing spirit, you can transform your personality. Once you figure out the best and easiest approach to take, you can decide the most important personal aspects to work on. Taking into account the best interest of others and your well being, below are some of the most important things you’ll need to work on, in order to make the changes.

Photo by Freshh Connection on unsplash

Help Others:

Good people support and encourage others to do and become their best selves. I believe one of the greatest responsibilities we have is to support ourselves and others to live as close to their unique potential as possible. Because everything we say and do has a negative or positive influence on others. We should always take into consideration the words we speak to and about others.

How you can show Support?

  • Have some faith in others.
  • Hold high expectations.
  • Be encouraging.
  • Be honest.
  • Share yourself.
  • Set the best example.
  • Challenge them.
  • Be mindful of your questions.
  • Invest your time in them.
  • Acknowledge them.

Let go of Anger:

Your relationships can create a haven from stress as well as help you become a better person. But if you walk away from unresolved conflicts, they can become a significant source of stress. Let’s face it, conflicts are common in our society. They happen with our families, neighbors, friends or colleagues. You have to face them in the right manner and come up with a fair solution. The best way to improve in this area is to learn conflict resolution strategies. Let’s take a look at 5 of this tools that are more effective:

Conflict Resolution Strategies:

  • Recognize that all of us have biased fairness perception.
  • Avoid escalating tensions with threats and provocative move
  • Overcome an “us versus them” mentality.
  • Look beneath the surface to identify deeper issues.
  • Separate sacred from pseudo-sacred issues.

You can also identify what your anger triggers and eliminate them as much as possible. Also learn to let go of any grudge and residual anger.

Be a good Listener:

Listening to others and is one of the best things you can do for another person and yourself. It shows them that you value their opinion and allows you to develop closer connection with others. You also get to hear perspectives you might otherwise dismiss. It is important to engage in active listening with the people in our lives. Being an active listener can change your life for the better. It fosters deeper relationships and exposes you to thoughts, ideas world wide views beyond your own experience. You never know what you might learn from someone.

Self Care:

Self care is vital for building resilience when facing life’s unavoidable stressors. Making sure that you get enough sleep is important for your physical and emotional wellbeing. Less sleep can make you less able to brainstorm solutions to problems you come across. I don’t know about you, but when l don’t sleep enough, it makes me very edgy the next day.

Eating a proper diet is also essential in keeping your body and mind healthy. When you eat healthy, problems like bloating and constipation are never going to be on your worry list. That means you will be in optimum shape for handling stress – which gives you added resilience to manage those challenges that come up unexpectedly.

Be Polite:

Being polite is an act of kindness. We can show politeness to everyone we come across. It is not a trivial thing. This little act instill positive feelings in the people around you. Maintaining a certain level of politeness and civility is appreciated because it shows thoughtfulness, considerations, and kindness.

Live with Integrity:

Personal integrity is a cornerstone of whom we really are. It also shows what we stand for. Integrity is part of our mortal foundation. Integrity shapes the person you become with time. Living with integrity means being true to your ideas. It means that your outward actions reflect your inner beliefs and values. It means making necessary changes to live up to your standards. Take time to understand what integrity means to you and how your decisions align with your values. These things can help propel you towards becoming a better person.

Original here

 

VIDEO A Christmas Story

December 7, 2019   By Reverend Paul N. Papas II

 

 

The Christmas Story is story of a hero. The greatest evil the world has ever known made the greatest hero the world has ever known. Crucifixion was the cruelest form of torture and execution man devised or used.

Not every hero since has given up his life for another. Heroes generally take no concern for their own life while trying to save the lives of others.

The acknowledgement and veneration of heroes has existed for centuries. It was the ancient Greeks who are accredited with first coining the designation.

A very recent tragedy brought to light another hero.  A young graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, whose dream was to become a pilot, is a hero after he reportedly related crucial information about the identity of the Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola shooter to first responders, despite having been shot several times, a family member revealed.

Joshua Kaleb Watson, 23, was confirmed as one of the three victims who were killed Friday morning when Saudi national Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani opened fire on a flight training program for foreign military personnel, Adam Watson revealed in a Facebook post. (1)

Joshua Kaleb Watson, 23, was confirmed as one of the three victims who was killed Friday morning.

“Today has been the worst day of my life. My youngest brother gave his life for his country in a senseless shooting. Joshua Kaleb Watson saved countless lives today with his own. After being shot multiple times he made it outside and told the first response team where the shooter was and those details were invaluable. He died a hero and we are beyond proud but there is a hole in our hearts that can never be filled. When we were little I gave Kaleb the name little poot and it stuck. It eventually evolved into pootis and finally uncle poot. Just wish I could talk to him one more time or wrestle with him one more time even though he could probably take me now. Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers in this difficult time. “(2)

Simply put, the key to heroism is a concern for other people in need—a concern to defend a moral cause, knowing there is a personal risk, done without expectation of reward.

Philip Zimbardo: What Makes a Hero?

 

Christians who helped Jews during the Holocaust were in the same situation as other civilians who helped imprison or kill Jews, or ignored their suffering. The situation provided the impetus to act heroically or malevolently. People choose one path or the other.

Some choose a path to meet the needs of others. For example there is New England Patriots tight end Benjamin Watson will use his custom-made “My Cause, My Cleats” cleats to bring attention to his One More Foundation. H e created the One More Thing Foundation to spread the love and hope of Christ to one more soul.

“And, we do that by following the three charges that are given in Micah 6:8 when it talks about doing justice, loving-kindness, and walking humbly with our God,” he explained.

Watson said that, for the last decade, the foundation has given him the opportunity to meet people with “real needs” and “to know the one who can meet their needs forever and ever.”

“Whether it’s promoting and giving food to those who are hungry, doing events around the holidays, promoting education, standing against injustice — whether that be sex trafficking, abortion, or racial injustice … and also, just bringing kindness to people,” he continued. (3)

Courtesy of Eric J. Adler and the New England Patriots

Heroes | Restoring Faith in Humanity | 2017

 

“True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.” — Arthur Ashe, professional tennis player.

There have been thousands of unnamed and unknown heroes over the centuries. Heroes include those who stood ready, who fought and who died for the cause of freedom, first responders, those who served others, and the many that have helped someone without regard to their personal safety,

The true Christmas Story is an everyday story.

The real reason for the season was born to die and save us all.

——-

(1) https://www.foxnews.com/us/naval-academy-grad-shot-5-times-hero

(2)  https://www.facebook.com/adam.watson.397/posts/3471855006187806

(3)  https://www.foxnews.com/media/patriots-benjamin-watson-one-more-foundation-my-cause-my-cleats

——-

Below are a handful of links to heroes

https://www.naplesnews.com/story/news/local/2019/11/14/sons-american-revolution-honor-first-responders-heroic-acts/4193217002/

https://www.aol.com/article/news/2019/08/05/soldier-praised-for-heroic-act-at-el-paso-shooting-what-i-did-was-what-i-was-supposed-to-do/23788523/

https://www.lohud.com/story/news/local/westchester/2019/09/17/hero-westchester-cops-honored/2354177001/

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/bradley-plane-crash-heroic-acts-saved-lives-in-deadly-b-17-bomber-crash-official-says/

https://www.usla.org/page/HEROIC

https://publicholidays.la/anguilla/national-heroes-and-heroines-day/

https://preacher01704.wordpress.com/2019/12/08/a-christmas-story/


VIDEO What Is Going On?

 

 

 

 

By Reverend Paul N. Papas II  September 7, 2019

 

I admit sometimes I forget, and sometimes I can’t remember, and I don’t remember which it is. I tell the kids don’t get old and that I don’t know how that can be done, just don’t get old. Yes, they just look at me.

Where does one call to find out the offense of day, moment is? Is there a central clearing house? It sure seems like you can turn TV stations to find the same words and the same outrage coming from different talking heads. I figure someone is passing out words to say. Would someone please give me the phone number of who has a list of the current offense words, hats or whatever? This growing list is giving me a headache.

When I grew up our news came from newspapers where opinions were found in the Editorial section. News contained facts not propaganda.

Newspapers were printed once, maybe twice a day, or weekly.

There were no computers, cell phones, texting, emails, twitter, facebook or other such things that instantly post pictures and information to people worldwide.  When someone needed or wanted to pass along information or pictures if they didn’t meet in person they put them in the mail.

TV news was on early in the morning, at noon, 6 and 11pm in black and white. There were no twenty four hour TV stations. AM radio was mostly music, FM broadcasts were rare.

No one was shot up into space yet. President Eisenhower had not yet warned us of the dangers of the military industrial complex.

In others words people looked each other in the eye and spoke to each other.

Yes, in some ways you could say life was slower compared to today. In some ways life was more relaxed than today.

There actually is a way to support my statement that life was more relaxed then.  The amount of people suffering from anxiety, which is the activation of the Fight or Flight System, rose in response to increase to the strains of everyday life from the 1950s on.

“The common psychological features of these problems include a mélange of symptoms involving nervousness, sadness, and malaise. The typical physical symptoms consist of headaches, fatigue, back pain, gastrointestinal complaints, and sleep and appetite difficulties, often accompanying struggles with interpersonal, financial, occupational, and health concerns. These complaints account for a large proportion of cases found in outpatient psychiatric and, especially, in general medical treatment.” (1).

Am I suggesting we go back in time, not quite? There are very many good uses of modern technology. The biggest downside I see to modern instant communications is the lack of interpersonal communications.

Interpersonal communication is the process by which we exchange information, feelings, and meanings through verbal and non-verbal messages through face-to-face communication. It is not always what is said, but how it is said and the expressions used.  The absence of interpersonal communications can lead to a misinterpretation of what was said which today could lead to quite a flurry of tweets.

My suggestions include: count to ten before sending an instant message, perhaps you’ll change what you want to say;  text less; meet as many people as you can in person to talk face to face; and take walks.  You just might find your quality of life will improve as will those around, doing your part to make the world a better place.

 

(1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2888013/


Original here

https://preacher01704.wordpress.com/2019/09/08/what-is-going-on/

VIDEO Boasting Only in the Cross

But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

You don’t have to know a lot of things for your life to make a lasting difference in the world. But you do have to know the few great things that matter, and then be willing to live for them and die for them. The people that make a durable difference in the world are not the people who have mastered many things, but who have been mastered by a few great things.

If you want your life to count, if you want the ripple effect of the pebbles you drop to become waves that reach the ends of the earth and roll on for centuries and into eternity, you don’t have to have a high IQ or EQ; you don’t have to have to have good looks or riches; you don’t have to come from a fine family or a fine school. You have to know a few great, majestic, unchanging, obvious, simple, glorious things, and be set on fire by them.

But I know that not everybody in this crowd wants your life to make a difference. There are hundreds of you — you don’t care whether you make a lasting difference for something great, you just want people to like you. If people would just like you, you’d be satisfied. Or if you could just have good job with a good wife and a couple good kids and a nice car and long weekends and a few good friends, a fun retirement, and quick and easy death and no hell — if you could have that (minus God) — you’d be satisfied. That is a tragedy in the making.

“Don’t coast through life without a passion. Make your life count for something great and for eternity.”

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Testimonies to the Unwasted Life

Three weeks ago we got word at our church that Ruby Eliason and Laura Edwards had both been killed in Cameroon. Ruby was over eighty. Single all her life, she poured it out for one great thing: to make Jesus Christ known among the unreached, the poor, and the sick. Laura was a widow, a medical doctor, pushing eighty years old, and serving at Ruby’s side in Cameroon.

The brakes failed, the car went over the cliff, and they were both killed instantly. And I asked my people: Was that a tragedy? Two lives, driven by one great vision, spent in unheralded service to the perishing poor for the glory of Jesus Christ — two decades after almost all their American counterparts have retired to throw their lives away on trifles in Florida or New Mexico. No. That is not a tragedy. That is a glory.

I tell you what a tragedy is. I’ll read to you from Reader’s Digest (Feb. 2000, 98) what a tragedy is: “Bob and Penny . . . took early retirement from their jobs in the Northeast five years ago when he was 59 and she was 51. Now they live in Punta Gorda, Florida, where they cruise on their 30-foot trawler, play softball and collect shells.”

The American Dream: come to the end of your life — your one and only life — and let the last great work before you give an account to your Creator be, “I collected shells. See my shells.” That is a tragedy. And people today are spending billions of dollars to persuade you to embrace that tragic dream. And I get forty minutes to plead with you: don’t buy it.

Don’t waste your life. It is so short and so precious. I grew up in a home where my father spent himself as an evangelist to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost. He had one consuming vision: preach the gospel. There was a plaque in our kitchen for all my growing up years. Now it hangs in our living room. I have looked at it almost daily for about 48 years. It says, “Only one life, ’twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.”

I am here at One Day in a sense as a father. I am 54 years old. I have four sons and one daughter: Karsten is 27, Benjamin is 24, Abraham is twenty, Barnabas is seventeen. Talitha is four. Few things, if any, fill me with more longing these months and years than the longing that my grown sons not waste their lives on fatal success.

The Plea of a Loving Father

So I look out on you as sons and daughters and I plead with you as a father — perhaps the father you never had. Or the father who never had a vision for you like I have for you, and God has for you. Or the father who has a vision for you, but its all about money and status. I look out on you as sons and daughters and I plead with you: Want your lives to count for something great and for eternity. Want this. Don’t coast through life without a passion.

One of the reasons I have loved the vision of Passion 98 and Passion 99 and One Day is that the 268 declaration is so clearly what my life is about. The declaration is based on Isaiah 26:8: “Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.” Here is not just a body but a soul. Here is not just a soul, but a soul with a passion and a desire. Here is not just a desire for being liked or for softball and shells, here is a desire for something infinitely great, and infinitely beautiful, and infinitely valuable and infinitely satisfying — the name and the glory of God — “Your name and your renown are the desire of our souls.”

“Don’t waste your life. It is so short and so precious.”

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This is what I live to know and long to experience. The mission statement of my life and the church I serve: “We exist — I exist — to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples.”

You don’t have to say it like I say it. You don’t have to say it like Louie Giglio says it (or like Beth Moore says it or like Voddie Baucham says it).

Finding and Sharing Your Passion

But whatever you do, find your passion and find your way to say it and live for it and die for it. And you will make a difference that lasts. You will be like the apostle Paul. Nobody had a more single-minded vision for his life than Paul did. He could say it in different ways.

I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may accomplish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. (Acts 20:24)

One thing mattered: Finish my course, run my race.

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ. (Philippians 3:7–8)

How shall I help you? How can I be used of God in this moment at One Day to waken in you a single passion for a single great reality that will unleash you and will set you free from small dreams and send you to the ends of the earth?

A Key Scripture Text

The answer I think the Lord gave me was: take them to one verse of Scripture that is as close to the center as you can get and show them why Paul says there what he says. The verse is Galatians 6:14:

May it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

“I exist to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples.”

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Or to state it positively: only boast in the cross of Jesus Christ. It is a single idea. A single goal. A single passion. Only boast in the cross. The word can be translated “exult in” or “rejoice in.” Only exult in the cross of Christ. Only rejoice in the cross of Christ. Paul says let this be your single passion, your single boast and joy and exultation. In this great moment called one day let the one thing that you love, the one thing that you cherish, the one thing that you rejoice in and exult over be the cross of Jesus Christ. This is shocking for two reasons.

  1. One is that it’s like saying: Only boast in the electric chair. Only exult in the gas chamber. Only rejoice in the lethal injection. Let your one boast and one joy and one exultation be the lynching rope. “May it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” No manner of execution that has ever been devised was more cruel and agonizing than to be nailed to a cross. It was horrible. You would not have been able to watch it — not without screaming and pulling at your hair and tearing your clothes. Let this be the one passion of your life.
  2. That is one thing that is shocking about Paul’s words. The other is that he says this is to be the only boast of your life. The only joy. The only exultation. “May it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

What does he mean by this? Really? No other boast? No other exultation? No other joy except the cross of Jesus — the death of Jesus?

But Doesn’t Paul Boast In Other Things?

What about the places where Paul himself uses the same word for “boast” or “exult” for other things? For example:

We exult in hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:2)

We also exult in our tribulations, knowing that they produce patience and approvedness and hope. (Romans 5:3)

Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you?” (1 Thessalonians 2:19)

So, if Paul can boast and exult in all these things, what does Paul mean — that he would not “boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ”?

But what does that mean? Is that just double-talk? You exult in one thing and just say that you are exulting in another thing? No. There is a very profound reason for saying this — that all exultation, all rejoicing, all boasting in anything should be a rejoicing in the cross of Jesus Christ.

He means that, for the Christian, all other boasting should also be a boasting in the cross. All exultation in anything else should be exultation in the cross. If you exult in the hope of glory you, should be exulting in the cross of Christ. If you exult in tribulation because tribulation works hope, you should be exulting in the cross of Christ. If you exult in your weaknesses, or in the people of God, you should be exulting in the cross of Christ.

Why Boasting Only in the Cross Is Central

Why is this the case? For this reason: for redeemed sinners, every good thing — indeed every bad thing that God turns for good — was obtained for us by the cross of Christ. Apart from the death of Christ, sinners get nothing but judgment. Apart from the cross of Christ, there is only condemnation. Therefore everything that you enjoy in Christ — as a Christian, as a person who trusts Christ — is owing to the death of Christ. And all your rejoicing in all things should, therefore, be a rejoicing in the cross where all your blessings were purchased for you at the cost of the death of the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

One of the reasons we are not as Christ-centered and cross-saturated as we should be is that we have not realized that everything — everything good and everything bad that God turns for the good of his redeemed children was purchased by the death of Christ for us. We simply take life and breath and health and friends and everything for granted. We think it is ours by right. But the fact is that it is not ours by right. We are doubly undeserving of it.

  1. We are creatures and our Creator was not bound or obligated to give us anything — not life or health and anything. He gives, he takes, and he does us no injustice.
  2. And besides being creatures with no claim on our Creator, we are sinners. We have fallen short of his glory. We have ignored him and disobeyed him and failed to love him and trust him. The wrath of his justice is kindled against us. All we deserve from him is judgment. Therefore every breath we take, every time our heart beats, every day that the sun rises, every moment we see with our eyes or hear with our ears or speak with our mouths or walk with our legs is free and undeserved gift to sinners who deserve only judgment.

And who bought these gifts for us? Jesus Christ. And how did he purchase them? By his blood.

Why God Gives Us Gifts

Every blessing in life is designed to magnify the cross of Christ, or to say it another way, every good thing in life is meant to magnify Christ and him crucified. So, for example, we totaled our 1991 Dodge Spirit last week, but nobody was hurt. And in that safety I exult. I glory in that. But why was nobody hurt? That was a gift to me and my family that none of us deserves. We are sinners and by nature children of wrath, apart from Christ. So how did we come to have such a gift for our good? Answer: Christ died for our sins on the cross, and took away the wrath of God from us, and secured for us, even though we don’t deserve it, God’s omnipotent grace that works everything together for our good. So when I exult in our safety, I am exulting in the cross of Christ.

“Find your passion and find your way to say it and live for it and die for it. ”

And the insurance paid us $2,800 for the car and Noël took that money and went to Iowa and bought a ’92 Chevy Lumina and drove it home in the snow. And now we have a car again. And I exult in the amazing grace of so much bounty. Just like that. You wreck your car. You come out unhurt. Insurance pays up. You get another one. And move on almost as if nothing happened. And in thanks, I bow my head and exult in the untold mercies even of these little material things. Where do all these mercies come from?

If you are a saved sinner, a believer in Jesus, they come through the cross. Apart from the cross, there is only judgment — patience and mercy for a season, but then, if spurned, all that mercy only serves to intensify judgment. Therefore every gift is a blood-bought gift. And all boasting — all exultation — is boasting in the cross. Woe to me if I exult in any blessing unless my exulting is an exulting in the cross of Christ.

Another way to say this is that the design of the cross is the glory of Christ. The aim of God in the cross is that Christ would be honored. When Paul says in Galatians 6:14, “May it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,” he is saying that God’s will is that the cross be always magnified — that Christ crucified always be our boast and exultation and our joy and our praise — that Christ get glory and thanks and honor for every good thing in our lives — and every bad thing that God causes to turn for good.

Education for Exultation

But now here’s a question: If that is the aim of God in the death of Christ — namely, that “Christ crucified” be honored and glorified for all things, then how is Christ to get the glory he deserves? The answer is that children and youth and adults have to be taught that these things are so. Or to say it another way: the source of exultation in the cross of Christ is education about the cross of Christ.

That’s my job: to get glory for Jesus by teaching you these things. And then your job is to get more glory for Jesus by acting on them and teaching them to more people. Education about Jesus is for exultation in Jesus. And if we want there to be no exultation except in the cross, then we must pursue education about the cross — and under the cross.

“All your blessings were purchased for you at the cost of the death of the Son of God.”

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Or maybe we should say, “on the cross.” Education on the cross will lead to exultation of the cross. What do I mean? Look at the rest of verse 14: “May it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” Boasting in the cross happens when you are on the cross. Is that not what verse 14 says? The world has been crucified to me, and I have been crucified to the world. The world is dead to me, and I am dead to the world. Why? Because I have been crucified. We learn to boast in the cross and exult in the cross when we are on the cross.

When You Were Crucified With Christ

Now what does that mean? When did that happen? When were you crucified? The answer is in Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself up for me.” When Christ died, we died. The glorious meaning of the death of Christ is that when he died, all his own died in him. That death, that he died for us all, becomes our death when we are united to Christ by faith.

But you say, “Aren’t I alive? I feel alive.” Well, here is a need for education. We must learn what happened to us. We must be taught these things. That is why Galatians 2:20 and 6:14 are in the Bible. God is teaching us what happened to us, so that we can know ourselves and know his way of working with us and exult in him and in his Son and in the cross as we ought.

So we read Galatians 2:20 again to see that. Yes, we are dead and yes, we are alive. “I have been crucified with Christ [so I am dead, and he goes on]; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me [why? Because I died, that is, my old rebellious, unbelieving self died, and he goes on]; and the life which I now live in the flesh [so, yes, I am alive, but it isn’t the same “I” as the “I” who died] I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself up for me.” In other words the “I” who lives is the new “I” of faith. The new creation lives. The believer lives. The old self died on the cross with Jesus.

And if you ask, “What’s the key for linking up with this reality? How can this be mine? The answer is implied in the words about faith in Galatians 2:20. “The life I now live, I live by faith in the Son of God.” That is the link. God links you to his Son by faith. And when he does there is a union with the Son of God so that his death becomes your death and his life becomes your life.

Now take all that over to Galatians 6:14, “May it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” Don’t boast in anything except in the cross.

Becoming Radically Centered on Christ’s Cross

And how can I become that radically cross-centered — so that all my exultation is traced back to the cross? Answer: realize that when Christ died on the cross, you died; and when you trusted him, that death took effect in your life. Paul says it’s your death to the world and the world’s death to you.

Meaning: when you put your trust in Christ, your bondage to the world is broken, and the overpowering lure of the world is broken. You are a corpse to the world, and the world is a corpse to you. Or to put it positively, according to verse 15, you are a “new creation.” The old you is dead. A new you is alive. And the new you is the you of faith. And what faith exults in is not the world, but Christ, and especially, Christ crucified.

This is how you become so cross-centered that you say with Paul, “I will not boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The world is no longer my treasure. It’s not the source of my life and my satisfaction and my joy. Christ is.

But what about safety in the car accident? What about the insurance payment? Didn’t you say you were happy about that? Isn’t that the world? So are you dead to the world?

I could be. I hope so. Because being dead to the world doesn’t mean going out of the world. And it doesn’t mean not feeling things about the world — some negative and some positive (1 John 2:151 Timothy 4:3). It means that every legitimate pleasure in the world becomes a blood-bought evidence of Christ’s love, and an occasion of boasting in the cross. We are dead to insurance payments when the money is not what satisfies, but Christ crucified, the Giver, satisfies. When our hearts run back along the beam of blessing to the source in the cross, then the worldliness of the blessing is dead, and Christ crucified is everything.

That is the goal of education for exultation — in the cross. Oh, may God grant us to dream and plan and work and give and teach and live for the glory of Christ and him crucified!

https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/boasting-only-in-the-cross