Born to Win Podcast - with Ronald L. Dart
By Born to Win
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Born to Win's Daily Radio Broadcast and Weekly Sermon. A production of Christian Educational Ministries.
||CleanJeremiah #24||Real prophets are given prominence by God. We aren’t always told how he does it, but in the case of Elijah, he called publicly for three years of drought…and it happened. By the time the three years were up, everyone was looking for Elijah. He had disappeared and had nothing to say for all that time, and yet his message echoed back and forth across Israel. Sometimes, real prophets become prominent because they are hated and feared. One thing is for sure: when a real prophet comes on the scene and begins to speak the truth to power, he will have enemies at the highest levels of government. Even with no power of his own, the truth can be a terrible threat to those in power—and they will react. At one point in Jeremiah’s long career, he was under house arrest to keep him from going to the public square as he had been doing. He was making a lot of people very uncomfortable with his message. In chapter 36, we find Jeremiah sitting at home when God tells him of a different way to bring his word to the rulers and the people—and along with it another chance at repentance.||12/12/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanJeremiah #23||You wouldn’t want to say that God is stubborn. But would have to admit that he is awfully persistent, wouldn’t you? God’s persistence—in keeping his word, in following through—is actually a saving grace. I’ve told you before that so much prophecy is bad for the simplest of reasons: whenever we are doing the right thing—our duty—there’s no reason for God to send a prophet to pat us on the head. Whenever we don’t, that’s often the time God sends a prophet. Consequently, you read an awful lot of bad news. But all the prophets are salted with good stuff. And there’s an interesting reason why that good stuff is there. Thus says the Lord of hosts; Again in this place, which is desolate without man and without beast, and in all its cities, shall be a habitation of shepherds causing their flocks to lie down. In the cities of the mountains, in the cities of the lowland, and in the cities of the south, and in the land of Benjamin, and in the places about Jerusalem, and in the cities of Judah, shall the flocks pass again under the hands of him that counts them, says the Lord. Behold, the days come, says the Lord, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. Jeremiah 33:12–14 KJ2000 What is God saying here? He promised. He made a deal, all the way back to Abraham. And he is saying that whatever he has promised he will make good. And so it is because of the persistence of God that, having made a covenant with Israel which was broken and came completely apart, having rejected them and sent them into captivity, because of that relationship and because of the promises of God he will start all over again in a new covenant with the House of Israel and the House of Judah. Whatever hell Israel had to go through because of their disobedience, God would use it to make good on his own side of the deal he made with them.||12/11/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanJeremiah #22||You have probably heard the expression the lost tribes of Israel, but you may not know what people are talking about. Late in their history, Israel was divided into two nations: the house of Israel and the house of Judah. After a little over 200 years, the ten northern tribes (which were called the house of Israel) were carried captive by the king of Assyria. After another 130 years, the House of Judah (which was centered on Jerusalem) went captive to Babylon. They returned to Jerusalem after 70 years in exile. But the tribes of the House of Israel were never heard from again—hence, the lost tribes of Israel. The prophets never forgot the House of Israel. God frequently made mention of them in prophecies about the last days. I think most commentators assume that all these prophecies are fulfilled in the Jews. But if that were true, I really would expect a little different wording of the prophecies. Here’s one, for example, in Jeremiah 31: Behold, the days come, says the Lord, that I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man, and with the seed of beast. And it shall come to pass, that as I have watched over them, to pluck up, and to break down, and to throw down, and to destroy, and to afflict; so will I watch over them, to build, and to plant, says the Lord. In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children’s teeth are set on edge. Jeremiah 31:27–29 KJ2000 Note that the expression house of draws an important distinction. It is not an ethnic description (like Children of Israel) but a political description. Keep in mind that the House of Israel was long gone at this time. All the refugees of the ten northern tribes who settle in Judah are now part of the House of Judah. Yet Jeremiah sees a House of Israel in the future. Right after this comes a startling passage regarding a new covenant that God will make…||12/10/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanJeremiah #21||It would be wrong to say that the Old Testament prophets bring nothing but bad news; they give us hope. The problem is that the good news they bring is mostly way out into the future. In the short term, they prophesy little beyond suffering and pain. Why is that? Possibly the most obvious reason is that there is no need for God to send us a prophet to tell us that we are doing just fine. Imagine for a moment that there is a fundamental standard of right and wrong conduct that grows out of the nature of man and man’s social interactions. Natural law—it’s just the way things are. Imagine that standard is expressed in the last six of the ten commandments and all the other laws that can be derived from these. Now imagine that the first four commandments are the guarantors of the last six. In other words, the form of revealed worship of God keeps us mindful of our duties to God. And our duty to God guarantees our duty to our fellow man. So, when we neglect our duty to God, our social fabric will eventually begin to unravel. And that is the time when God usually sends a prophet to tell us what we are doing wrong. Take Jeremiah for example. He isn’t all bad news, but the good news he has is way off into the future. Let’s see what he has to say in chapter 30.||12/9/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanGalatians 2 / Acts 15||--||12/8/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEveryone Needs to Give||Why on earth is a man expected, even commanded to give to God? We are, you know. But before I explain that, let me get one thing out of the way. If you are one of those people who get upset when a minister talks about money, or if you assume the guy is just trying to line his own pockets, I have one request of you: Please do not send any money to this ministry. Let=s get that idea off the table, because it may be standing between you and something that can change your life. Just hear me out, okay? This is for you, not for me. Now, back to my question. Why is a man expected, even commanded, to give to God. It is certainly not for God=s benefit. Consider what he had to say in one of the psalms: Hear, O my people, and I will speak, O Israel, and I will testify against you: I am God, your God. I do not rebuke you for your sacrifices or your burnt offerings, which are ever before me. I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are mine. If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it. Psalms 50:7–15 NIV||12/6/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanJeremiah #20||I heard someone say once, I have had a lot of bad things in my life, most of which never happened. He was trying to say that a lot of the things we worry about never come to pass. It seems to be built into human nature to worry. We even manage to worry about the fact that we are worrying. But, in fact, some bad stuff does happen to us. There’s an interesting passage in one of Paul’s letters that says this: And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 KJV He doesn’t say that all things which happen to us are good, but that they work together for good. In the prophecies of Jeremiah we have a picture of a nation in decline. Israel has become increasingly violent and oppressive. They have adopted the religious practices of the Canaanites around them which can only be called detestable. People were not safe in the streets. They couldn’t find justice in the courts. The leadership was corrupt from top to bottom—both the religious leadership and the secular. God gave them choices every step of the way, and here in Jeremiah 29 God relays through the prophet that if the people could not govern themselves (which seemed to be the case) God would bring in another power to do it for them.||12/5/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanJeremiah #19||I’m sure you realize that there are a lot of prophets scattered around the world—people who claim to speak for God, to foretell the future? Except for a few cult members, no one ever takes them very seriously. Once in a while, one of them will get himself killed, usually because of stupidity rather than his prophecies. Probably more of them kill themselves and their cult members than are killed by others. So you have to wonder what=s going on when one does get himself killed. Jeremiah had been preaching for over 23 years and was well known around Jerusalem before they first tried to kill him. And the circumstances surrounding all this are truly strange. Jeremiah is not a cult leader. He had a secretary, but that seems to be the sum total of his organization. He had no following that he controlled. All he did was foretell disaster unless the people changed their ways. Foremost among the areas where he called for change was the judicial system, which he said was oppressing the poor. He also condemned the immorality that was rampant among the people. He told them what God said was coming, to wit: the city would be laid level with the ground and deserted of all its people if they didn’t straighten up. So the priests and the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speaking these words in the house of the Lord. Now it came to pass, when Jeremiah had finished speaking all that the Lord had commanded him to speak unto all the people, that the priests and the prophets and all the people took him, saying, You shall surely die. Why have you prophesied in the name of the Lord, saying, This house shall be like Shiloh, and this city shall be desolate without an inhabitant? And all the people were gathered against Jeremiah in the house of the Lord. Jeremiah 26:7–9 KJ2000||12/4/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanJeremiah #18||How many enemies can you make in 23 years of speaking the truth to power? Jeremiah has now been telling it like it is for 23 years and through parts of the reigns of two kings, and as I read him I wonder why people paid any attention to him. His message has a monotonous quality. It is reminiscent of the advice someone gave to preachers about sermon organization: First, tell ’em what you are going to tell ’em. Then tell ’em Then tell ’em what you told ’em. Well, Jeremiah told them again and again and again. Jeremiah’s messages have a quality of sameness because no one responded, no one changed, no one turned their life around. I imagine sometimes he got tired of it. It’s a wonder they ever came back to listen to him a second time. Maybe they just liked to hear a good preacher, even if they didn’t intend on following his message. Perhaps the real wonder is that God has waited so long and sent so many prophets. On this occasion, after 23 years, Jeremiah decides to summarize. He has an audience representative of all Jerusalem and the areas around Judea. Let’s see, in chapter 25, what he takes the opportunity to tell them.||12/3/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanJeremiah #17||One of the things we depend on is that God is not fickle. He isn’t one way today and another way tomorrow. He doesn’t have one standard today and another tomorrow. He doesn’t have one standard for leaders and a different standard for followers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. James 1:17 KJV So we can ask. When a people go wrong—a whole community or even a nation of people—who does God blame? There was a man named Jeremiah, and God came to him repeatedly with messages for all the people about what they were doing wrong. And I would assume that, since God doesn’t change, what he told him would still be applicable to us today. He sent Jeremiah down to a public place to tell the people how God felt about their lifestyles and what would come down on their heads because of them. This went on for years, and Jeremiah recorded all this in his memoirs—you probably have a copy of it right there in your house; it’s in the Bible. There was something of a dialogue between God and Jeremiah at times in all this. We learn what God thinks and feels, as well as Jeremiah’s completely understandable responses. We also learn the answer to the question: Who does God hold responsible? Let’s begin today in chapter 23.||12/2/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanNew Moons||--||11/30/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Failure of a Prophet||There are times when I feel like Elijah in his cave. In case you don’t know what I’m talking about—it’s a really important story, and there’s some things about it you may not understand. Elijah was a man of very few words. He made one prophecy of disaster, composed of a mere 25 words or less, and then disappeared. That’s all we hear from him up to this point. He’s gone. There was, it turns out, no point in saying a word more. The people, from the king to the man in the street, were not capable of absorbing an intellectual argument. The only thing they would be able to understand was an object lesson. They got one. It came in two parts. First, there was a terrible drought. No rain, not even dew on the grass for 42 months. They were searching for Elijah high and low because he said there would not be dew nor rain these years except by my word. The stress this put on society was profound, and it weakened the power of the king who, though he could do a lot of things, couldn’t make it rain. I can’t help drawing a comparison with the government today, that promises to do everything for us. And I think they believe they can do it. That they are delusional doesn’t matter. They will try, but there will be no rain. Then, at the end of 3 and a half years, Elijah returned to the scene, met the king, and proposed a test.||11/29/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanJeremiah #16||I think a man’s life before God can deteriorate in stages. As he passes through those stages, his options narrow. Suppose there is a man who regularly abuses alcohol and drives his car after he’s done it. His friends have warned him; they have even hidden his car keys. One by one he has alienated his friends as he gets angry with them for trying to save his life. Then one day a prophet shows up at his house with a message from God. If you will repent of your drunkenness—if you will check yourself into treatment and get this under control—you can keep your job, your home, your family. If you don’t, you are going to lose everything. That would be a turning point in a man’s life. Two roads lie in front of him. One leads to a good life; the other…not so good. Now suppose the man doesn’t listen; he drives drunk and hurts himself badly. After emergency surgery he has lost a leg and and his job. The prophet comes back again. If you will repent of your drinking—if you will just check into a clinic and get dried out—you can still have a life. You may have lost your job and your leg, but you can still have a life. But suppose he still doesn’t listen. This time he kills a man and goes to prison for manslaughter. Once again the prophet comes to him. You have lost everything except your life. Repent now and you can save that. Does this sound far-fetched to you? Our question here is: How does God think? How does he operate? Would God ever do anything like this? During different stages in our lives, we have the opportunity to turn things around if we will just do it—if we will just listen. And if we won’t, those opportunities may later be closed off to us. Well, for a long time, a prophet named Jeremiah had been getting messages from God for the Kingdom of Judah. At first the message was, Repent and do the right thing and you can live and flourish in this place. There was a good king reigning at that time, but the people were corrupt in ways I don’t even like to talk about. Jeremiah preached for a long time to these people, but nothing changed. One day, a different king found himself in trouble with the king of Babylon, and he sent a priest named Pashur to Jeremiah with a question.||11/28/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanJeremiah #15||One of the most persistent, nagging questions that dogs the Christian faith is called theodicy—the defense of God’s goodness and omnipotence in view of the existence of evil. If God is good and all-powerful, how is it possible that he would allow the existence of evil in his world? You can explain it to people again and again, but somehow the explanations just don’t stick. I think it is because they still cling to the God of their imagination instead of the God they find in the Bible. Oddly, the answer to the question of theodicy is stated in the simplest possible terms in the pledge of allegiance. I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. Those are two of the most awful words in our language: Liberty and Justice. They are the inseparable twins that define the foundations of man’s relationship with God. Men have liberty, and that means they have the liberty to hurt one another. If they are not free to do evil to one another, then they are not free at all. But liberty can be only destructive if there is no justice. Let’s examine how this is shown in the dialogue between God and Jeremiah, in chapter 19.||11/27/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Shield of Thanksgiving||--||11/23/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
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Mr. Dart has helpled me understand the bible more clearly than any teachers I have known. I appreciate his love for the Word. It is evident in his teaching.
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