The following program is recorded content created by the Truth Network. Are you ready to have your spirit lifted?
How about a little joy? It's time for the Line of Fire with your host, biblical scholar and cultural commentator, Dr. Michael Brown. Your voice for moral sanity and spiritual clarity.
Call 866-34-TRUTH to get on the Line of Fire. And now here's your host, Dr. Michael Brown. How about some more encouragement? How about some more uplifting of your spirit? How about some more of the Word of God to point us in the right direction?
So rather than being pulled down by the press and despair and darkness of the day in which we live, we can be lifted up by looking at the Lord. Hey, friends, welcome to the broadcast. This is Michael Brown. And here's the number to call to get on the broadcast. 866-34-TRUTH, 866-348-7884. You can call in today with any question on any subject. We'll try to get to some calls a little later in the show. Any subject you want to talk to me about, feel free to call in. Got a bone to pick with me.
Same number 866-348-7884. Let me tell you how I got over to this topic of joy today and why I want to specifically encourage your spirit with the joy of the Lord today. I often pray about God's purpose for my life and ministry. I spend many hours seeking him that I can do everything he's called me to do for his glory and for the accomplishment of his purpose in this world.
Why have breath? And I run my race so as to win, according to 1 Corinthians 9, 24 to 27, meaning that at the end of my life, God can say to me, well done, good and faithful servant, I trust that your heart as well. If you know the Lord that at the end of your life, you want to hear that from the Lord, well done, good and faithful servant. So we've got this precious time on the radio every day. This precious time is you're watching online or listening by podcast. And to me, it's a sacred time. To me, it's important that we accomplish what we're supposed to do during this time. Some days that's just answering your questions like on Fridays.
Some days it's with a special Israel focus like the Jewish Thursday. Some days it's by looking, excuse me, at what's happening in the culture around us or trying to sort our way through the political structures and controversies and get God's mind and wisdom in the midst of it. But but I know, as I've said repeatedly, that my calling is not to be a talking conservative head or a political pundit, but rather to be a gospel based servant, speaking to culture, speaking to politics, speaking to the difficult things around us. I recently published an article on Daily Wire explaining why my emphasis is first spiritual, then moral, then cultural, then political. That's that's my orientation. That's how I approach things.
And as we're living in swirling controversy in America, as we're living in a time when emotions are really running high and when violence could just break out at any moment and someone disgruntled with the government or with the system or with Christians or with non-Christians or with Muslims or with Jews or whoever could just take to all kinds of acts of violence. So I'm asking myself, OK, what's what's my role? How can I serve at this moment? How can I help you? How can I be your voice from all sanity and spiritual clarity at a time like this? So last night, a time when I normally will will give myself to writing, I was sitting at my computer and I was praying, Lord, is there anything on your heart tonight that you want me to address?
Is there anything you want me to write? Now, I don't claim that every article I write is written at the direction of the Lord. I do my best to follow his leading, but I'm not making that claim. I'm certainly not claiming that what I write is divinely inspired, every article is divinely inspired. Still, I'm his servant and we're supposed to wear our words carefully and therefore I'm not just going to write to write. OK, it's one thing if I'm working on a book, it's one thing it's a project I'm editing, but I'm not just going to assume time to write another opinion. Who cares about my opinion?
Right. So I was praying about it. I was thinking about writing about things I talked about on the air yesterday. The state of America, are we getting better or are we getting worse? What things are improving? What things are getting worse? How do we assess things?
How should we look at where we're living today in terms of the end times? I was thinking about writing in that way and I stepped back. I just wasn't sure. And I started looking at a manuscript a friend had sent me. It's I can't tell you more about the book, but it's going to be an amazing book when it comes out. And in it, there was a section about the growth of Pentecostal Christianity worldwide. And it's quite exceptional. It's it's quite mind boggling.
In fact, let me read a few things to you. Alan Anderson, who's emeritus professor of Mission and Pentecostal Studies at the University of Birmingham, England, wrote in 2013, worldwide, the number of Christians has doubled in 40 years, from one point one billion in 1970 to two point two billion in 2010. In Africa, it was estimated that Christians had succeeded Muslims for the first time in 1985, and Christians are now almost the majority, a phenomenon so epic making that Lamin Sana describes it as, quote, a continental shift of historic proportions. There are now over four times as many Christians as Africa and Africa as there were in 1970. And almost the same is true in Asia, while the Christian population of Latin America over this period has almost doubled.
This is from his book to the ends of the Earth, Pentecostalism and the transformation of world Christianity. So what's the driving force behind this extraordinary growth? Anderson points to the worldwide Pentecostal charismatic movement, noting that the most frequently quoted statistics of the growth of this movement, quote, are those of Barrett and Johnson, who estimated that Pentecostalism had some 614 million adherents in 2010, a quarter of the world's Christian population, which they projected would rise to almost 800 million by 2025.
This figure was placed at only 67 million in 1970. And this enormous, enormous increase has coincided with Europeans, Europe's secularization zenith. So Europe getting more and more secular, more and more unchristian, more and more anti-Christian as Christianity is growing worldwide at an exponential pace, especially Pentecostal charismatic Christianity. That's the great bulk of the growth worldwide. So Anderson asked the question, why?
How do we explain this growth? Well, there are many factors, but according to Anderson, one of them is infectious enthusiasm. And this is what my friend Professor Gerald McDermott wrote. There is joy in most Pentecostal gatherings and joy attracts. People often feel fear and despair, but seeing joy from the apparent presence of the spirit causes many to want that experience.
Ah, so I, I read those words and it jumped. Joy is contagious. I've got an article on that. Go to AskDrBrown.org and check out the article I wrote on contagious joy. And I thought, that's that's what I'm going to write on.
I'm not going to write an article right now on the culture, on politics. I'm going to write an article on joy. Psalm 16, in his presence is fullness of joy.
Whoa! Nehemiah 8, the joy of the Lord is our strength. Paul's exhortation, writing from prison to the Philippian believers. What does he say? What does he say? Rejoice in the Lord always. And again, I say rejoice.
And then he says it again. Rejoice. And then again, rejoice. And what does it say in Psalm 22? That God inhabits or sits enthroned on the praises of his people. So as we praise him and adore him, his presence is there in his presence, his fullness of joy, and that joy is our strength. And that joy is contagious. And that joy transcends circumstances. And that joy transcends darkness. In fact, it shines like light in the darkness.
It's like a flare sent up in a dark place and people see it and people are drawn to it. I read a quote by one of the Puritans many years ago, where he said, just like we don't like living in a dark house, that God does not like living in a melancholy, depressed person. Now, the quote was not criticizing someone that struggles with chronic depression and wants to get out of it, but doesn't know how. No, no. It was rather saying that the people who make the choices to just focus on what's wrong and focus on what's bad and focus on the negative and caught up in all the world, everything that's wrong and bad, that God does not enjoy living inside of that person, whereas the person was not just an optimist, because optimism can be foolish, optimism can be denial, optimism can be sticking one's head in the sand, that that when when someone believes God, because they believe God, they have hope.
And that hope radiates to others. And that's the kind of person you want to be around. Come on. Just think about this for a minute. You got one person that whenever you talk to them like, yeah, look at what's wrong here, look at what Trump did, look at what Biden did, look at that.
That's just wrong. You know, my church got everything wrong. This preacher, he's just off.
Would you rather hang out with that person if you need some encouragement, if you need your faith built, if you need some holy positivity in your life, in other words, word based positivity, would you rather hang around with that person or the person when you get around? And they say, you know, God is so good. He is amazing. He is so faithful.
You know, we just we were going through a really financially hard time, but we just determined last night we're not going to complain. We're going to worship. And I tell you, it changed the whole attitude. No, I've been reading this in the word today and it is such a blessing. Who do you want to be around? Who brings life to you? Who brings encouragement to you? Who brings hope to you? I have found in my own life that that when there is this overwhelming confidence of God's love for me and it's something I I live with all the time, but it's sometimes in a very intense way, sometimes in a way that it's just like supernatural wind in my sails, that that that deep confidence of God's love and God is with me and his will will be accomplished and his purposes will come to pass and light will triumph over darkness and the promises he's made to me personally will be fulfilled. The joy that comes out of it, the the Godly energy and vitality that comes out of it, the encouragement I can bring to others and how I could speak to a large crowd of people and that joy and that faith inside of me just spreads to them. I hope it's spreading to some of you that based on who God is, based on the promises of his word, based on his faithfulness, based on his track record, it's contagious.
People grab hold of it. It's life changing. We come back. I want to tell you one of the most amazing joy of the Lord stories in my life. All right.
I'm going to try to squeeze it all in in the next segment and then give you some practical principles as to how to walk in the joy of the Lord. We'll take your calls as well. Eight, six, six, three, four, three. It's the line of fire with your host, Dr. Michael Brown, get on the line of fire by calling eight, six, six, three, four.
Truth here again is Dr. Michael Brown. Welcome. Welcome to the broadcast. Let me grab something.
Yeah, yeah. My newest book, The Political Seduction of the Church. We've got copies ahead. Everybody else, you can go to our website right now. AskDrBrown.org and still get first edition signed, numbered, copy sent to you. We just signed a bunch more today.
Can't wait to get them out. You still get this well ahead of everybody else. Go to the website now. AskDrBrown.org, an eye opening book that will help you put your trust in the gospel like never before. All right. So years back, went to Italy with a team, ministered there a number of times before, went to Italy with a team, and some of the team left to go back to the states ahead of the rest of us, and then others stayed on. So the ones that stayed on, my wife, Nancy, our older daughter, Jennifer, dear friend Brad, was a worship leader with the Lord now, and then two young moms with their babies.
So that's that's who stayed along for the rest of this trip. So we we we end up with a delay where we're in Sicily, the plane's ready to go. It's really early in the morning.
We've barely slept at all. Plane is ready to go. Some of the team has sent some of their luggage ahead with with others.
And anyway, we've got everything we're ready to go. We're on the plane and we sit for almost an hour. We had to wait for more passengers. They came on if they were not mafia.
I've never seen mafia anyway. By the time we get to the airport in Rome, we've missed our connection to the states and sitting around for hours. And they're going to put us in another plane. And then this plane is going to connect at Kennedy Airport.
Then from there, it's going to take us back to Maryland, Virginia, area where we lived in. And OK, so we're it's been a long day. It's been hours. And now the babies, they're a little cough, cold, you know, they seem to be getting a little bit run down. The mothers, you know, the young mothers, the babies. It's you know, it's it's a long day and it's freezing cold.
We it happens to be Nancy's birthday, November 30th. And we we now get into Kennedy Airport. Right. We're tired. We're we're but, you know, just chilling. We got hours to chill. And then we have to go over to another terminal and then from there catch our flight back. So the flight from Rome to Kennedy Airport, all good.
No problem. OK, so we but we're worn out. So, hey, it's Nancy's birthday. I don't get some like custard, yogurt, whatever at the airport. And OK, so it's a long walk over there.
Jen comes back, her daughter at one point. We didn't give them the right change, enough money. And let's go back and everyone just sitting around eating their their yogurt cones, ice cream cones, whatever it was. And suddenly like, whoa, wait, wait a second. Wait a sec. We we're going to be late now. We got to hurry and get over to the other terminal. So we go outside. It's freezing cold.
It's absolutely freezing cold. And the buses are completely overfilled. And so there's a long line of people in front of us waiting for the bus to to go around to the other part of the airport to get to the other terminal. I think I can't believe it that we were there.
All those hours just killing time. And now we're going to be late. Now we got to run the last thing we wanted to do. And because we checked some of the other luggage, we had extra carry on luggage with us and so on to help accommodate whatever the deal was. So we got loaded down with extra stuff and we can't get on the bus.
Someone tries to bribe the driver. Come on, let people on. And they're ahead of us and they can't get on. And we realized by the time this bus and gets off, we're never going to get on it. And so one of the one of the folks says, wait, I can see the terminal.
It's over there. So we said, let's run. So we're carrying car seat for the baby.
We're we're just overwhelmed with luggage. And now we're running through the parking lot. OK, I'm with Jen running through the parking lot, climbing over barriers to try to get to this thing's like a half mile away or and suddenly the joy of the Lord hits me for no good reason in the freezing cold and kind of the absurdity of the moment, the joy of the Lord hits me. And I just start with with Jen, our older daughter.
She was I don't know if she was a teenager at that point. I just start shouting. We're in the parking lot. I just start shouting praise. Thank you, Lord. You're good. I am overflowing with holy joy for no good outward reason and completely overflowing and shouting praises to God and just looking like, Dad, are you crazy?
Just now the critical like what the world is going on. So we climb over this. Now we we we get to the place we're not that far away. But there's like a wall. You can't you can't walk there.
You have to drive. And so we're standing literally in the road, in the airport road with our luggage at a light and and and there there's an Orthodox Jewish man sitting there. And I look at him and can you help us? And he just looks at me. So I ask him in Hebrew, Atayah Hola Zorlana, can you help us?
And my modern Hebrew is much better than that it is now. So I explained to him, I said, our flight's late and we have mothers, our baby's sick and could you drive them over? So. He just nodded, didn't say a word, just nodded. Now, religious Jews not supposed to be alone with another woman. Well, here it was Nancy and our daughter, Jen, and the two young moms with babies, and so they drive off. And anyway, now we're they drive off in the middle of the road. A police car comes up, police woman.
She looks at us. I go, look, we got there was a flight that's late in Sicily because that were late for the flight from Rome. We missed our connection. We're we got to get over to the connection here at American. And and we just got an Orthodox Jewish man.
He just he took the wives of the ladies. Could you help us? She just nods.
Seriously, I'm not exaggerating a single word. Get in the car. So Brad and I get in the car and she makes this U-turn, cuts across the Sutherland. She goes, is it American or American Eagle?
I said, Americans. He goes, OK, that's over here. He drops us off. I say to Brett, you run, you go ahead. I'm going to I'm going to go because the ladies are already there. I got to go get the rest of the things checked in. I'm totally sweaty at this point because we're running outside. The cold were now hot with the winter clothes and all this. So Brad runs ahead. Brad runs ahead.
I'm sure the ladies are already there. Right. So I go through the whole thing and explain what's happened.
They said, oh, you want American Eagle. That's all the way at the other end of the terminal. Just go, go for it. So I go running, OK? And I'm thinking, OK, I'm going to miss the plane. They're all there waiting for me. And I don't have my my ticket because I gave everything to Brad to run ahead of me. So I don't have my stuff. So I get to security.
God is my witness. I get to security. I said, oh, here's what happened. I said, we were delayed.
There's a flight in Italy. We got delayed there. We came over here, got an Orthodox tree, helped the ladies, the babies, just drove over to the terminal here. My friend went ahead of us, said, can can you help police? We got to put personal police escort to come over here.
They just nod. They let me through. I get to the gate.
I'm the only one there. The Orthodox Jewish guy had to make another stop. So he just left them in his running car while he went into another terminal to take care of something.
Brad realized that he had put someone's ID, whatever, whatever he needed. He had put that in a bag that got checked in instead of carry on with the confusion here, they didn't let him through. I got through. I get to the gate and they said, there's a delay on your flight. And I smiled.
I said, that's because of me and our folks. So the ladies finally made it over. Brad had to go actually to find his luggage, which they were able to locate and get his whatever he needed to get through. And then we we get on the plane and the flight attendant says, I'm a little nervous because it's the pilot's first flight.
We're like, what? It was. I mean, my first flight is a flight attendant.
Sorry. And literally there was on the outside of the plane. We saw some of his duct tape that was that was holding something together.
I kid you not. But we got home safe and sound. And it was that was my most remarkable traveling experience. And one of those times where for inexplicable reasons, joy comes.
And it was that joy that carried me through. We know Paul and Silas in a prison in Philippi, we we know what happened there. Severely flogged.
I've never been flogged, let alone severely flogged. It must be agonized. And remember, they're in some pit, some filthy pit and they're they're shackled.
So who knows what creatures are biting their wounds or crawling it. And they begin at midnight. And this is for the faith, though, right? They begin singing praises to God. And what happens? Earthquake comes, sets them free. I heard Pastor Jack Hayford himself, a white brother, saying that he heard a black brother preaching about this one time and that the word of God says that heaven is God's throne and the earth is his footstool. And when God heard the music that he liked, he started tapping his foot on the footstool in an earthquake. He was just having fun in his preaching.
But that joy, that praise literally liberated them. Here's what you do. Meditate on the promises of God. Speak out what the word says about the character of God.
Determine no matter what's going on. I'm going to lift my eyes. I'm going to worship. I'm going to praise. I'm going to give thanks. Maybe put on some some praise music.
In fact, we're going to do that a little while. Put on some music that lifts your spirit and to turn. I'm going to worship. I'm going to worship. And as you do, you may start to feel yourself flooded with joy. I assure you, if you do this consistently, your attitude, your mindset, your outlook will change.
The light shining in the darkness. Friends, I hope this is encouraging you today. That's that's why we're here. We're going to take some calls when we come back and then encourage you more and even take you into some joy filled worship. Stay right here. It's the line of fire with your host, Dr. Michael Brown. Get on the line of fire by calling 866-34-TRUTH.
Here again is Dr. Michael Brown. You know, the scripture says that a merry heart does good like medicine, right? The joy of the Lord is our strength. There's a time to mourn and there's a time to dance. So we weep, we grieve, we feel pain, we feel burden. And then we rejoice and we praise and we celebrate. These are both aspects of our lives in the Lord and both healthy and important aspects, but some of us just want to put our head in the sand and try to deny human suffering. And that's not realistic and that's not helpful. Others of us just so morbid and focused on what's wrong.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-10 01:38:06 / 2023-03-10 01:48:43 / 11