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Jesus the Light

If Not For God / Mike Zwick
The Truth Network Radio
December 22, 2021 10:00 am

Jesus the Light

If Not For God / Mike Zwick

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December 22, 2021 10:00 am

Merry Christmas from Mike Zwick and Robby Dilmore the host of the Kingdom Pursuits podcast!

Join as the guy’s dive into the world’s best story, the story of the birth of Jesus Christ.

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Nothing says Christmas like a water buffalo. For a poor family in Asia, getting a water buffalo is like getting a farm tractor to pull a plow, or getting a milk truck full of delicious milk, or getting a stand at the market to sell cheese.

A water buffalo opens the door for work, food, and income. More importantly, it opens the door to talk about Jesus. And nothing says Christmas better than that. This is Rodney from the Masculine Journey Podcast, where we explored manhood within Jesus Christ. Your chosen Truth Network Podcast is starting in just a few seconds.

Sit back, enjoy it, share it. But most of all, thank you for listening and choosing the Truth Podcast Network. If not for God, very special Christmas edition.

I can't believe it. Here it is, December 25th, 2021. If not for God. We wish you a Merry Christmas. We wish you a Merry Christmas. We wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy 2020.

It's exciting, waking up Christmas morning and getting your presents, eating all the good food, and hearing Robbie Dilmore and Mike Zwick, hopefully. But yeah, I mean, you know, it's funny when we're talking about this with Christmas, chapters that I think a lot of people go to is Luke chapter two, and where it talks about the birth of Jesus. It's funny because a lot of people nowadays, I guess there's some debate, and I wouldn't even think this all over, but I think it's in some Christian circles even as well, whether Jesus was actually born of a virgin, but he was.

No. Yeah, that's kind of like in the Creed, so to speak, you know, virgin born. Yeah, it kind of takes that in order for him to be sinless, right? Yeah, he was born of a virgin. Stu often says, and you've said too, that he was born to die.

He came to the world to die for sinners like you and me, Robbie. And it can be a wonderful time of year, Christmas, and we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and it's exciting. And I know a lot of times that gets lost in the whole presence and giving gifts and drinking a little too much eggnog or whatever it is that you do, but Jesus is the reason for the season.

Yeah, and there's a lot of people, as we talked about, that are, you know, on the Mary Lou Who train, which is Where Are You Christmas, right? And they had expectations, they've had family that no longer is with them, they've had kids that are no longer interested in decorating the tree, or maybe they're not there, or maybe now they do Christmas with your in-laws, and all these different things that happen that change expectations, and we find ourselves. And often, it's not hard to get yourself into all these expectations, and then, oh man, you're not going to be here this Christmas? And the next thing you know, you're singing it, you know, Where Are You Christmas?

Why can't I find you? And so I understand that we have this expectation of what it is, and it is usually around relationships that we most enjoy Christmas, and so it is actually, you know, can have the opposite effect of its relationships that can make us the most miserable. Yeah, I mean, you know, when I think about this, because this will be my first Christmas without my dad, and I know you were talking about a guy named Bob Young a little bit before, who, his son actually passed away, and I'll let you tell about that in a minute, if you want. But the, when I'm reminded, I guess for a lot of people, because I've heard that the suicide rate actually spikes during the holidays, but what I'm reminded of for a lot of people, and I hope this gives you encouragement, was that when I was a sophomore in high school, I was trying out for the JV basketball team, and my mother put a poem by Langston Hughes on my door, and I always remembered it, I never forgot it, and I'll read it now, it says, Well, son, I'll tell you, life for me ain't been no crystal stair.

It's had tacks in it, and splinters, and boards torn up, and places with no carpet on the floor bare. But all the time I've been climbing on, and reaching landings, and turning corners, and sometimes going in the dark, where there ain't been no light. So, boy, don't you turn back, don't you set down on the steps, because you find it's kind of hard.

Don't you fall now, for I still going, honey, I still climbing, and life for me ain't been no crystal stair. I think for a lot of people in this country going on two years now with COVID, where we've had some tough times, I mean, it's, you know, people aren't, you know, people aren't going back to work. I mean, I've met people a lot, but a guy yesterday who said they took me out of work, and they put me on, I work at home, and he said, I still do it now. And, you know, a lot of people miss being around the people, they miss the social interactions. They, you know, some people I talk to are sick of wearing a mask.

Some people. I'm being nice. The, you know, and we, and I feel like a lot of people may feel that they've lost a lot of their freedoms in the country. And, but, you know, one of the things that I'm reminded of with the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, is that Jesus never told us that life was going to be easy.

He never told us that things were going to go smoothly. I mean, we've just happened to live in this great country for the past, you know, several hundred years, the United States, where things have been really good. You know, the stock market has been booming, you know, the economy has done well, things for the most part have been really good. And, you know, he never promised us that, but he promised us that he would always walk with us. And so maybe for somebody who's listening, if you're going through a tough time right now, it's like the old song, and he walks with me, and he talks with me, and he tells me I am his own, that if you have Jesus, that you always have that peace. It's a really beautiful thing that God's painting a picture and has been, right, since the beginning of time for us to see. And it's no coincidence whatsoever that Christmas, the 25th of December for us, happens at the darkest time of the year.

It really, really does. December 21st is the day. Right. Well, what you may not know is beautiful is in the book of John, when Jesus talked about, right, that the sheep hear his voice. If you look closely in that verse, it tells you in chapter 10 that when he was doing that was at the Feast of Dedication. And what you may not know is the Feast of Dedication is commonly referred to by the Jews as Hanukkah, right? And that is a festival of lights.

And it has to do with lighting a light. And the one way to translate that in Hebrew, you may not have heard this, is to say the 25th of Kislev. Because when they dedicated the temple was on the 25th of their month of Kislev. And so it's no coincidence that Hanukkah and Christmas line up as the Feast of Lights. And Jesus was actually teaching there in that this idea of when it gets the darkest is when this particular light shines. And in its own way, you know, when we decorate for Christmas, when we put those lights on the tree, you know, what is it that Jesus died on? A cross. Which was a tree. A tree, yeah.

Right? And many will tell you that the tree of life that the Jews teach, that the tree of life was actually lit. And so we always have this desire to be back in Eden. And we put lights on trees for a real reason. Yeah, it may be a pagan holiday, but it's also something that has happened for eons. That we have this because Jesus is the light of the world and there's always been a light on the tree. And if you looked in the temple, you know, if you were back in the days when they actually lit the big menorah that was there in front of the veil that we talk about was torn in two when Jesus died. What was that menorah supposed to look like?

Well, if you read the description, it had bulbs on it and knobs. It was supposed to look like an almond tree. OK. And so when they lit that tree, it was a Christmas tree. I'm just telling you that the idea of lighting a Christmas tree in the darkest time of the year has been there because when it gets the darkest is when Christ means the most for us, right? When we feel covered in the shame of this crazy stuff that we've done, when we feel like, man, I really need a savior, that's when that light means the most.

It does. And I was looking at it right here. It's Luke, Luke two in verse four, it says, So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth and Galilee to Judea to Bethlehem, the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child while they were there. The time came for the baby to be born and she gave birth to her firstborn son.

She wrapped him in clothes and cloths and placed him in a manger because there was no guest room available for them. You know, when I see that, I'm like, whoa, I mean, here's the guy. He's the, you know, the king of the world. I mean, you know, and he's the king of kings and the lord of lords. And he, you know, if he wanted to, we thought about, I thought about this, if he wanted to, he could have been born into a king's palace. I mean, he could have had it. He could have had an easy life for himself. But he came to this world and they didn't even have a place for him to stay. So they, you know, they're out in the manger and, you know, I mean, his life was tough. His life was not easy. And, you know, it says in Scripture that we do not have a high priest who is not able to sympathize with our weaknesses but who has suffered in every way that we could and even more so. And so if we have a tough time or if we're going through a tough time, remember that they crucify Jesus.

Yeah. And that is part of, you know, that whole idea when you think about it, every motel room you ever stayed in has got some things in common. Like, you'll find that every single one of them have a lamp, every single one of them have a table. There's a table. There's a lamp.

There's a bed. Right? And when you think about the actual temple, right, if you were to go into it, you know, back in the day, right, what was in there? Well, there was a lamp. It was called menorah.

It was still a lamp. There was a table. But that table was really, really cool.

And the way that it was fashioned was it was fashioned on the north side of either the tabernacle or the temple because the enemies always come from the north. And so when David wrote the 23rd Psalm, he knew very much that that table was significant that I would prepare a table before you in the presence of your enemies. Since the enemies always come from the north, where's the table? The table's there.

What's on that table? Bread. So when you think about the idea of bread, you may think of Bethlehem because you may know it's the house of bread. So when they went to Bethlehem, this was no accident, and so when you meet the first person born in Bethlehem in the Bible, you might remember that was Benjamin, that it was Rachel's last baby because she passed away as she was giving birth to this child in Bethlehem. So here's this young man, and you might know that his name originally was Benjamin. What does Benjamin mean? Son of my sorrow.

Okay. However, when he was being born, Jacob was like, I can't have a kid named son of my sorrow. He changes his name to what? Son of my right hand. Now let's fast forward several generations to Mary and Joseph. They had a child.

He was the son of her sorrow, but he became, for the father, the son of his right hand. See, God's been painting this picture, and where was he born? Bethlehem.

Right? Who else was born in Bethlehem? Well, when you do a little research, I'm sure you're going to realize, oh, yeah, well, you know, Boaz was born in Bethlehem, and he met Ruth in Bethlehem, and they had a kid named Obed, right, who was the father of Jesse, and Jesse had David. And so David also was born in Bethlehem, but David was the only king that we know of, in fact, the only person we ever know that was a priest, who got to eat the bread of the presence. And what the Jews teach this very day is that the house of David is the house of the crown of bread, because he was from Bethlehem, right? And because it is a king's duty to make sure that his people are fed. And so it's more than cool that Jesus fed the 5,000 to all these people with wine. With bread. Right.

Right? And so you see, just the fact that all this stuff happened in Bethlehem, you know, God has been painting. So Jesus wasn't low carb. I just had to throw that in there.

Wine isn't exactly low carb. But yeah, yeah, you get this picture that, man, they were painting something that when we get to heaven to see all the miraculous stuff that was behind the fact that that had to be in Bethlehem, that here's Rachel crying for children. You know the prophecy, right? Yeah.

And why was Rachel, you know, there in Bethlehem to begin with? That's where she literally passed away right there, and she's buried there. Wow. And yeah. Isn't that?

Yeah. I mean, you know, I was thinking about all this is, you know, if you're having a tough time around the holidays, then, you know, one of my favorite Psalms when I'm going through a tough time is I believe it's Psalm 34 16. It says that the Lord is close to the brokenhearted. And that, in a way, it's almost like God has the exactly where he wants you. Because, you know, and I talked about this before, but Jesus said, blessed are the poor. He said he's come to preach the good news to the poor. And it's because they don't have anything else that they have to keep up with.

They're not worried about their money or the stock market or anything like that. They're, you know, but they're very open minded because they're looking for good news. You know, I knew a lady, she's one of my Facebook friends, and I was sharing the gospel with her a while ago. And I was trying to convince her this or that, whatever, via messenger. And she basically said, well, I'm good. I'm good. I've got a good life.

I'm good. And so, you know. There's a beautiful thing in Psalms 16. It says the sorrows of those who chase after other gods will be multiplied. And the idea of God's economy, whether you're sowing good seed or you're sowing sin, you're going to reap a giant harvest, let me just tell you. And so the way that God rigged it is that you're going to really, really need him.

And he's going to be available to you if you're going to want to do that. But let me share something really cool that I learned recently about. You know, we talked about bread, but how about water?

Right? So you may know that the name Messiah starts with that mama sound, which is a mem, which means water, which actually has an idea of more water. But when the second day of creation happened, you might remember the first day of creation, they created light.

And that's, you know, we've been lighting Christmas trees. So the second day, they separated the waters from the firmaments. But what's taught by the ancient, you know, Jewish, whatever you want to call them, you know, the sages, is that when they separated the water, the water that was going to be with God was going to be right close to him.

They call that Shemim water. And then the water that was going to be of the lower was, they called it the weeping waters. Why did they call it the weeping waters?

Because it's salty. And it was weeping because it didn't have the merit to be close to God. And so God made a covenant of salt with the waters that are the salty waters. And the covenant was that whenever an offering is brought of any kind, that that offering would always include their tears, the weeping water, salt. And so when you look at any offering in the Bible that was kosher, guess what it had to have kosher salt?

What are that? Tears. Well, think about salt. Yeah.

Okay? And the idea of those tears was what were they longing to be, which was close to God. So, blessed are those who thirst because, right?

And so tears are living waters. Well, you think about the woman at the well, why did she show up at the well? She was thirsty.

What had happened? The sorrows of those who chase after other gods had been, her sorrows had been multiplied. She's at the well at a strange time.

Why? Because she's extra thirsty, right? Stay thirsty. Stay thirsty.

Yeah. And so, what is salt, besides, you know, from their standpoint when they put salt in offering, that salt will bring out the best in whatever it's adhering to. So, you know, if you put salt on your steak, it's pretty good stuff.

Oh, man. When you're eating your Christmas dinner, you know, tonight, the gravy, I'm just saying, it's going to have some salt in it. And it's going to bring out the flavor that's going to make it extra special. But also, we'll preserve it, right? And we know that if you put it on ice, it melts it, right?

Which gets you back to what, water? Oh, okay. Now, think about this with me, okay? Because when you're thinking about water and you think about this weeping water, but if you take anything, when you look at the 119th Psalm and look at the Mem section, which is, I think, versus maybe 99 through 108. Anyway, if you look at the Mem section, notice how many times he says, I'm wiser than more of my enemies.

I'm wiser than more teachers. And it's the word more over and over and over again. Because a king and a Mem, that whole idea of water, when you add water to anything, it multiplies it, right? Like, if you've got a seed of grass, add water, what do you get? More grass.

Yeah, yeah. And one of that grass is going to have more seeds. So any king, a good king, right, is going to want his subjects to have more and more bread, more and more water, more and more. And God's economy is more and more and more and more. And if it's good stuff, you get a lot of good stuff. That's it, man.

No, no, go ahead. You know, it's funny, we were thinking about this, and one of the things that I'm thinking about with multiplying the grass and all that stuff, but I've been watching Seinfeld, going through Netflix, and I can't stop watching it, but I was watching a... It's more and more.

It's more and more. I was watching an episode, and it was Jerry meets this lady, and he loves her. She's just like him. They have so much in common. They have everything in common, and he absolutely loves her. And he gets engaged. He asked her to marry him.

And after a little while, they started dating, and he said, I realize, he says, I can't be with her. She's just like me. I hate myself.

And so how could I be with somebody just like me if I hate myself? So there are the people, going back to what we were saying before, where there are people who say, I'm good, I'm good, I'm good. But the people who say, hey, I've got a problem, or I hate myself, or I'm having a tough time, then I guess maybe God has humbled them enough to where they could actually look up. Matter of fact, one of my two favorite passages in the Bible, Luke 17, verse 5, he says, And the apostles said to the Lord, Increase our faith. So the Lord said, If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to a mulberry tree, Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea, and it would obey you. And which of you, having a servant, plowing or tending sheep, will say to him, When he has come in from the field, come at once and sit down and eat? But will he not rather say to him, Prepare something for my supper, Engage yourself and serve me till I have eaten and drunk, and afterwards you will eat and drink? Does he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded of him?

I think not. But likewise you, when you have done all these things which you are commanded, say, We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do. And for many of us, that's the exact opposite of what we do.

I mean, we want, and I'm talking, I've got three fingers pointed back at myself. I mean, when I do something good, I want everybody to know, you know, but it's kind of like there was a show called Curb Your Enthusiasm. I don't know if you've ever heard of it. Have you?

No. There was a guy who did Seinfeld, Larry, whatever his name is. I can't think of his name, but he started, and he did the show. He said where it was Barbara Boxer.

They were in California. They were meeting with the senators, and he said, My name is Larry whatever, and they put it on something so it shows that I gave this money. And so people started to look down on him, and they said, No, no, no, no, you can't do that. They said, What you do is you do it. You give the money anonymously. He says, And then you tell a few people, and then everybody will know. So towards the end of the show, this guy, Larry, or whatever his name is, he's running down the street, and a guy's running after him to mug him, and all of a sudden he's banging on the window where he's given the money to this place, and the security guard's there, and he goes, I'm anonymous.

I'm anonymous, and the guy kind of shoes him off, and I guess he gets mugged. But in the same way, when I think about it, it's tough being a Christian in a way, because it's the exact opposite of what you want to do. You want recognition. I want recognition for everything that I do. But when we give Jesus the recognition, and when we give the glory to God, what do you call it?

Not photo bombing. Photo bombing Jesus, then I think we're in a much better place. Yeah, it's a scary thing, right, that we actually pray it in the Lord's Prayer. When we say at the very end, glory comes to him, and that's our heart cry, hopefully, is that we would see Jesus glorified to the point that those that we love would see the reason of any change or anything good that came out of my life, because if it looks like something I did, then it looks like I could be your Savior. Well, you're going to be in deep trouble, right? So if I can somehow or another make Jesus the hero of the story, which is why your testimony is so powerful, because if you tell the truth about your testimony, I was this, and then Jesus came in the picture, and then I was that, right?

And so where did the change come from, what happened? And so when those people hear that, then they're not looking to you to solve their problems. They're looking to the one who actually can solve them, which is really ultimately so much more what my heart is crying for when I think about those people I love, that I want them to have the relationship with Jesus, but if I go screaming for the credit, or I go photobombing Jesus, which, by the way, I'm right with you, that's Satan's trap, that's the enemy. He's giving you, oh, you need recognition, you need this one. Well, he's the father. Pilgrim's progress that talks about him.

Right, right, it's a trap. And so if we can, you know, somehow or another see that, you know, we have an opportunity to share what God did in our life, even today, right? To show me where, golly, I feel shame to take part in this, and I need my father, and this is where God helped me in this particular situation. Then it's amazing what God will do with that transparency. Absolutely, and I'm reminded of this song, and I'll close you out with this.

Hark the herald angels sing Glory to the newborn King Peace on earth and mercy mild God and sinners reconciled If not for God. The pandemic has reminded us how fragile and unpredictable life is. Have you thought about your loved ones and their financial security if the unexpected happens? Plan for the future with PRCUALife. Since 1873, the Polish-Roman Catholic Union of America has been protecting its members and their families financially. Join PRCUALife today and take advantage of affordable housing in the United States. You can even lower your income tax bill and boost your retirement income by opening a new PRCUALife annuity or transferring your existing account.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-06 11:25:31 / 2023-07-06 11:36:50 / 11

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