Through all the health challenges I've endured over the years, I've  always found a way to worship The Lord through each one because he's a Good Father! Charles Wesley endured multiple challenges in his life, and still found a way to write over 800 hymns that we still sing today. No matter what you're walking through today, remember our shepherd is always with you!

Years ago, someone found a baby deer in a ditch and brought her to us. She was covered in leaves, wet from rain, and about to die. For a couple of days we fed and cared for her, all the while she cried out for her mama. But on day 3, she began to follow me everywhere, eventually leading her back to the forest she came from. Much like that baby deer, we have a savior we can cry to in our despair. Are you calling out to Him? Does he know what you need? I pray this encourages you today!

For 3500 years, the Hebrew nation sacrificed only unblemished lambs on the day of Passover celebration. Is it any wonder that when Jesus, The Lamb, was being sacrificed for the sins of all mankind, He too would be found “not guilty” and worthy of the ultimate sacrifice for our salvation? How does this inspire you as you shepherd your flock?

February 2, 2021

Trust - Psalm 9

Through every season of my life I've been able to trust God, and there have been many curveballs thrown my way over the years. If you're looking for encouragement today, remember you can trust God no matter what - because He is a good Father!

"Time Magazine recently had a cover story that was entitled, 'Rethinking the Resurrection' like the resurrection never took place. It was an ultra liberal opinion story. An interview in that magazine with an assortment of really liberal off-base theologians and other kind of experts that cast a shadow of doubt on the plausibility of this miraculous event - the resurrection of Jesus."

Family Discussions:

  1. Why do unbelievers continue to scoff at the resurrection even though it's the most profitable event in all of human history?
  2. How does the disciples commitment unto death give credence to the account?
  3. What does Jesus' resurrection mean to you personally today?

Transcription:

00:13          Hey, it was the biggest day of the year. It was the biggest day of ever. It was the day of the resurrection. It was Sunday morning. We're in chapter 16 of Mark and man, what a day of victory it was. We're in verse two today and it says this "Very early, on the first day of the week that came to the tomb when the sun had risen. They were saying to one another who will roll away the stone from the interests of the tomb. Verse four says, looking up. They saw that the stone had been rolled away already. Although it was extremely large. Entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right wearing a white robe and they were amazed and he said to them, 'Do not be amazed. You're looking for Jesus the Nazarene who has been crucified. He's risen. He's not here. Behold, here is the place where they laid him, but go! Tell his disciples and Peter. He's going ahead of you to Galilee. There you will see just as he told you.'"
 
01:17          You know, crazy one Easter Time Magazine recently had a cover story that was entitled, 'Rethinking the Resurrection' like the resurrection never took place. It was an ultra liberal opinion story. An interview in that magazine with an assortment of really liberal off-base theologians and other kind of experts that cast a shadow of doubt on the plausibility of this miraculous event - the resurrection of Jesus. You know, as I laid the magazine aside with tremendous disappointment, I just kind of shook my head and thought, any reasonable attorney trying a controversial issue in the court of law would first go to the eye witnesses. The eye witness of the event and let them testify to the circumstantial evidence. Time magazine quoted none of them. Did the resurrection of Christ really happen? What did the eye witnesses say and do after the event?
 
02:11          Hey, 11 hand picked men from various walks of life on the day of the crucifixion were cowards. They were running for their lives, Matthew 26 says. After they saw Jesus alive, those same men were committed to him with sheer bravery. That led 10 of the 11 to die martyrs' deaths. As Peter's personal reports said we were eye witnesses of his majesty. John records in his personal diary, 'And when Jesus said, peace be with you, he showed the disciples both his hands and his side. The disciples therefore rejoiced when they saw the Lord. That's John 20:20. You know, the next time someone questions the resurrection of Jesus, get the book of John. Think of the ones who actually saw him with their eyes. Think of the ones who died for what they saw and give them a taste of John's 2020 vision.
 
03:10          Here's the questions for this great devotional today. Why do unbelievers continue to scoff at the resurrection even though it's the most profitable event in all of human history? And secondly, how does the disciples commitment unto death give credence to the account? You know what, it said that a man may die for a lie when he thinks it's the truth, but only a crazy man would die for a lie when he knows it's a lie. Men won't do that. And then number three, what does Jesus' resurrection mean to you personally today? And here's the lifeline for today. He's alive, but so are you. Go live that life today.

"Without the crucifixion, there would have been no resurrection. And without the resurrection there would be no Christian faith. Folks, there are so many factors. You know, nonbelievers, they talk, they doubt they jeer at the resurrection of Jesus. But I'm going to tell you, it happened."

Family Discussions:

  1. Why did Jesus have to die? 
  2. Win the tombs is crazy, and then how can they explain a way of Jesus' resurrection?
  3. What thoughts and feelings come through to you?

Transcription:

00:13          You may not be a gigantic fan of history, but I'll tell you today you will be, because today we're going to look at the most provable event in all of ancient history. According to the libraries of the world, the most provable event in all of human history. It's after the crucifixion of Jesus. We'll pick up the action in Mark chapter 15 in verse 44 and scripture says this, "Pilate wondered if he, Jesus, was dead by this time. And summoning the Centurion, he questioned the Centurion as to whether he was already dead. And ascertaining this from the century, he granted the body of Jesus to Joseph. So Joseph bought a linen cloth and took him down, wrapped him in the linen cloth and laid him a tomb which had already been hewn out of the rock. And he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of Joses, were looking on to see where he was laid."
 
01:12          You know, without the crucifixion, there would have been no resurrection. And without the resurrection there would be no Christian faith. Folks, there are so many factors. You know, nonbelievers, they talk, they doubt they jeer at the resurrection of Jesus. But I'm going to tell you, it happened. First of all, you have a dead Messiah. Two Roman coroners signed his death certificate after he died, and if they were incorrect in their assessment of his death, they would have been crucified for their mistake. Eye witnesses say that a spear was driven into his side and blood and water came out. Any coroner will tell you it's a sign of a man's death. Then he was laid in a borrowed tomb in a private burial yard. He was wrapped in cloth and spices, probably about a hundred pounds of spices according to the Jewish burial from the top of his head to the soles of his feet.
 
02:05          A very large stone estimates that it raid between a one and a half to two tons will rolled against the door of the tomb. There've been estimates that said a stone so big that would take 20 men to move. The seal of Rome was put over the tomb. Two leather strips with a pack with a seal of Rome on the pack, threatening anyone. If you break this seal, you'll be crucified yourself for defying the order of Rome. Then a Roman guard was placed in front of the tomb and the Roman Kaleo, probably a group of 12 to 16 men trained to defeat a piece of ground against attire invading army. The tomb was guarded. Jesus was dead. But something happened on the third day. Something happened that changed the course of history. Jesus was alive. He was the resurrected savior. And so your faith is not in vain.
 
03:01          My questions for you today are this, why did Jesus have to die? And then secondly, why in the world or how can critics try to explain a way, Jesus' death? And to say that he was just asleep in the tombs is crazy, and then how can they explain a way of Jesus' resurrection? And then here's the third question, and this is a greatest question. True love was spoken on the day of the cross. What thoughts and feelings come through to you? And the lifeline is this. He wore the crown of thorns so that you and I someday could wear the crown of life.
December 28, 2019

Cry of Victory - Mark 15:37-39

"Let me tell you, from what I understand from history, the veil that covered the Holy of Holies in the temple was a veil, it was so thick that it would take more than a team. Two teams of horses pulling in opposite directions to rip the veil. The veil was the place that separated the mercy seat of God in the Holy of Holies, in God's temple in Jerusalem from all the people of the world."

Family Discussions:

  1. Describe your personal feelings about Jesus' work on the cross.
  2. How would you get to God had the veil not been torn in two?
  3. How in the world could you ever approach a Holy God?
  4. Describe your feelings about the privilege, the honor that you've been given by the act of love.

Transcription:

00:13          Hey, I'll never forget the day my little college team at SMU beat Oklahoma in a bowl game. I mean, we went in the locker, we went crazy. The cries of victory were just incredible, but compared to the cry of victory that we're going to talk about today in this devotional it was but a tiny peep. In fact, you can't even hear it. But this cry of victory was the greatest cry victory of all time. We're in Mark chapter 15 and verse 37 it says this, "and Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last and the veil of the temple was torn into from top to bottom." Verse 39 says, "when the Centurion who was standing right in front of him saw the way he breathed this last, he said, this man truly was the son of God." Jesus' cry was to tell a style. It's paid in full. Your debt is paid in full. It is finished. I've done what I came to do. His final grueling act of crucifixion was over. The veil was torn in two.
 
01:21          Let me tell you, from what I understand from history, the veil that covered the Holy of Holies in the temple was a veil, it was so thick that it would take more than a team. Two teams of horses pulling in opposite directions to rip the veil. The veil was the place that separated the mercy seat of God in the Holy of Holies, in God's temple in Jerusalem from all the people of the world. The only way you could get into the Holy of Holies was the high priest. The ultimate Jewish religious figure could go in once a year and he, after all the washings and purifications, according to the ceremonial rites, he could go in and plead for the mercy and the sins of the nation.
 
02:08          But on this day, when Jesus cried, it is finished. It's done to tell us that over the veil of the temple was torn in two. And men and women, you know what that means? Do you know what that means? That means to you and me that we, based on the blood of Christ, that is in our hearts as believers. We can enter the Holy of Holies and we can come to the mercy of God. Every time I say that I tremble. In the book of Hebrews, it says that we can approach the throne of grace with confidence. And I don't know about you, but every time I read this passage, it humbles me to my knees. That we can literally in the name of Jesus, close our eyes, or leave our eyes open in our days of our greatest sorrow. When this world crushes us as it does or in our days of greatest joy and victory, we can slip in before the mercy seat of God because Christ was the ultimate sacrifice. And his blood gave us the rights to go in before a Holy God and to say, God, I need you. God. Please forgive me, God, I give you my life.
 
03:24          And here's the questions for today. You know, as Jesus did that, as Jesus literally made God's lap as a father accessible to you to come to, describe your personal feelings about Jesus' work on the cross. And the second question today is this, how would you get to God had the veil not been torn in two? How in the world could you ever approach a Holy God? And then the third question is this, now that you can approach God with confidence as it says in Hebrews based on the blood of Christ, describe your feelings about the privilege, the honor that you've been given by the act of love. And then here is the lifeline or the thought for the day. A family that prays together stays together.

"It was at our sports kamps and there was a scrimmage between two great teams. One team had a young man from Boston, he was an inner city kid and he lived in one of the poorest places in the country. But this 19 year old young man had an incredible love for a woman he was going to marry. But there was a drive by and that old car came by the front of that inner city house and a gun was stuck out of the window of that car."

Family Discussions:

  1. What is Jesus' sacrifice for you mean to you?
  2. What is it about the name Jesus that makes it the name above every other name that at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord?
  3. How can you, in some small way today in your home, in your business, in your university, or in your school?
  4. How can you be a little bit like that boy from Boston today who took the bullets for his girlfriend?

Transcription:

00:13          If this was the only Bible study that you and I ever had the privilege of getting to do together, and trust me, the privilege is more mine, than it is yours. It would be this Bible study today. It was the darkest hour of all time, but it was the pinnacle peak hour of all human history. In John chapter 15, starting in verse 33 scripture says this, "when the sixth hour came, darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour. At the ninth hour, Jesus cried out with a loud voice. 'ELOI, ELOI, LAMA SABACHTHANI', which is translated: 'My God, my God. Why has thou forsaken me?'" At that moment in history, Christ became sin.
 
00:58          At that moment in history, every creepy crawly thing that we've done against a Holy God literally became a part of that dear man's sacrificial offering. You know, I get to see events like that. Not to that degree, but in small ways. I get to see people doing things like that. I'll never forget the football scrimmage. I'll never forget it. It was at our sports kamps and there was a scrimmage between two great teams. One team had a young man from Boston, he was an inner city kid and he lived in one of the poorest places in the country. But this 19 year old young man had an incredible love for a woman he was going to marry. But there was a drive by and that old car came by the front of that inner city house and a gun was stuck out of the window of that car. And five bullets were shot at this precious innocent girl that was sitting by this young man's side. But not one bullet hit her because this young man dove across her lap and he took all five bullets into his neck and into his back. Not one of the bullets fortunately hit his spinal cord and he actually lived to play football again. But what a story of sacrifice, man. What a story of love.
 
02:23          I heard a story one time and I didn't know the man but there was a platoon that had to go fight in a very difficult war in Vietnam years ago. And the father of this soldier went over to fight and he was there for a year and somehow he survived, although tens of thousands of soldiers died in that awful war. Then the platoon was asked for another amount of soldiers. The father had come back to America to safety. But his son was in the second round and the father went to the officer and he said, 'if I go, can my son stay home?' And the commanding officer granted his request. So the got to stay home and safety and the father took his place in the battle. Boy, it just, it just fires you up, doesn't it? To see people who live and die like that.
 
03:11          And so my question to you today is Christ died in your place. What is Jesus' sacrifice for you mean to you? And secondly, what is it about the name Jesus that makes it the name above every other name that at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord. What is it about that name? And the third question is this. How can you, in some small way today in your home, in your business, in your university, or in your school, How can you be a little bit like that boy from Boston today who took the bullets for his girlfriend? And then the lifeline is two words - I'm Third. I'm Third is the motto of the kamps that I get to be in. God first. Others second. And I'm Third.

"One of my favorite writers, Chuck Colson, and one of my favorite books, 'Loving God', talks about an Asian monk named Telemachus back in the days of the Roman empire. The cruel and perilous Roman empire. Telemachus one day heard the voice of God in his heart. And God said, Telemachus, go to Rome."

Family Discussions:

  1. How does Telemachus and his act of incredible life sacrificial bravery remind you of what Jesus did on the cross?
  2. How does Barabas' good fortune remind you of what Christ did for you? And then the third question is this.
  3. What do you think Jesus meant when he said, no greater love has any man than to lay down his life for his friends?

Transcription:

00:14          The scripture today is the pinnacle of human history. It's a moment in the life of Christ that would literally shake the foundations of the world. We're in Mark chapter 15, and we're in verse 11, and it says this, "But the chief priest stirred up the crowd to ask Pilate to release Barabas for them instead. Answering again, Pilate said to them, 'then what shall I do with him whom you call the King of the Jews?' They shouted back, 'Crucify him! Crucify him!' But Pilate said to them, 'Why? What evil has he done?' But they shouted all the more. 'Crucify him! Crucify him!' So wishing to satisfy the crowd. Pilate released Barabas to them. And after having Jesus scorched, he handed him over to be crucified."
 
01:07          One of my favorite writers, Chuck Colson, and one of my favorite books, 'Loving God', talks about an Asian monk named Telemachus back in the days of the Roman empire. The cruel and perilous Roman empire. Telemachus one day heard the voice of God in his heart. And God said, Telemachus, go to Rome. I can only imagine the feeling that this dear old godly man had as he walked up the Appian way, that so many hundreds of Christians had marched into Rome knowing that they would soon be slaughtered for their faith in Christ. He walked straight into the Colosseum. And as the gladiators were out in the Colosseum killing people, In fact, Fox's book of martyrs says that some days in the Colosseum of Rome in the first and second centuries under Domitian and under Marcus Aurelius and under Nero, some days, 5,000 Christians would be slaughtered in the Colosseum of Rome for their faith in Christ.
 
02:02          So Telemachus walks into the Colosseum. The gladiators are slaughtering people and he screams with a voice that silences the crowd. He screams in the name of Christ. Forebear. The crowds begin to call him names and jir at him. So he jumped over the wall onto the dirt floor of the Colosseum where the gladiators were out in battle. And he looked up at the proconsul of Rome and he said the name of Christ forebear. Well, the second time he said it, one of the gladiators took his sword and he slashed him across the chest and as Telemachus fell to his face in the dirt of that Colosseum joining the other martyrs for the faith. With one last burst of energy, he raised his head from the dirt and he said in the name of Christ forebear. And he put his head down and he died. One by one, the people in the crowds began to walk out of the Colosseum until the Colosseum was empty. And history testifies to the truth that that was the last day of the gladiator killings in the Colosseum of Rome. That man, it ended that tradition.
 
03:13          So the questions today are these, how does Telemachus and his act of incredible life sacrificial bravery remind you of what Jesus did on the cross? And then secondly, what does or how does Barabas' good fortune remind you of what Christ did for you? And then the third question is this. What do you think Jesus meant when he said, no greater love has any man than to lay down his life for his friends? And here's the thought for the day. Love is love when it's strong enough to die for.

"There is no doubt in the world that Jesus knew exactly who he was. He said, I am the vine in John 15. John 10, He said, I'm the door. John 14, He said, I am the way. In fact, he said, I am the only way. He said, I am the Christ."

Family Discussions:

  1. "A man is no fool to give up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." What does that mean to you?
  2. How can you be sure in your mind, in your heart that Jesus was actually God in the flesh?
  3. Why is that statement so significant to you as you face eternity?

Transcription:

00:13          Hey, as we come to the end of this fantastic book together, the book of Mark and the life of Christ. And we get down to the last really breasts of Jesus's life. He's before Pontius Pilate in chapter 14, and we're in verse 60 and it says, "the high priest stood up and came forward in question Jesus saying, do you not answer? What is it that these men are testifying against you? But he kept silent. It did not answer again. The high priest was questioning him and was saying to him, are you the Christ, the son of the blessed one? And Jesus said, I am. And then he fulfill the prophecy of Daniel when he said, you shall see the son of man sitting at the right hand of power coming with the clouds of heaven."
 
01:06          There is no doubt in the world that Jesus knew exactly who he was. He said, I am the vine in John 15. John 10, He said, I'm the door. John 14, He said, I am the way. In fact, he said, I am the only way. He said, I am the Christ. And then there were other witnesses. You know, Peter said, thou art the Christ the son of the living God. Pontius Pilate in the trial said, I find no fault in this man. Even one of the centurions, one of the guards that crucified Jesus at the end of Jesus' life, he testified. He said, this man must surely be the son of God. And then the apostle Paul under the inspiration of the Holy spirit in Colassians and other places, he said, Hey, Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God. The firstborn of all creation. Paul Roddy said, by him, by Christ, all things were created both in heavens and on the earth, whether visible or invisible, whether rulers or dominions or powers or authorities. All things were created by Jesus Christ and for Jesus Christ.
 
02:09          Jesus knew who he was. Scripture testifies, and literally from BC to AD, the watershed of human history. History testifies that Jesus was God in the flesh. And you know what's important about that? Only God who created you and created every person on this earth had the shoulders broad enough and the span wide enough to die for the sins of all mankind. And that's why John 3:16 says, but who ever, whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. You know, it has been amply said, a man is no fool to give up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.
 
03:02          By the way, for questions today, what does that last quote mean to you? A man is no fool to give up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. What does that mean to you? And then the second question is how can you be sure in your mind, in your heart that Jesus was actually God in the flesh? And then number three, why is that statement so significant to you as you face eternity? And here's the thought for the day. You know, an act of love that's unrivaled in greatness, rightly understood, can only produce consistent appreciation and obedience.

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