"It was in his falling on that track that he became a success."

Family Discussion:

  • Why are we really weak when we become really strong?
  • Recall a time when some circumstance looked like it weakened you, but through that circumstance, God made you stronger than you were before.
  • Why is God at his best when we are at our worst?

Transcription:

00:13 Well I'm excited today to tell you about another one of my heroes, but first of all, I want to read you a letter from one of my greatest heroes, the apostle Paul in Second Corinthians chapter 12, verse 10. He says, it so simply and so clearly, check this out today. He says, "that is why for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties; for when I am weak, then I am strong." When I was speaking in Washington DC at the national day of prayer on behalf of America's teenagers, I was with one-time Congressman Jim Ryan, one of my heroes, and I recalled with him the heartbreaking time I watched him get tripped up and fall on the track in the Olympics in Munich, Germany.

01:08 It dashed his hope for the anticipated gold medal that he always wanted to win. He had been the best miler in the world for 15 years, but I'll never forget the sight as he laid flat on the ground as a pack of less talented runners passed by him and took the gold, the silver, and the bronze away from him forever. But Jim, as he always does, he only smiled kindly as we talked about that day in Washington, and he said, "you know what? That was the greatest moment of my life because it was on that day, as I lay on the track and I lost the race, that I truly gave my heart to Christ and begin to really live the life that God wanted me to live." Do you think Jim Ryan would trade the gold medal for his family of solid Christian kids and his wonderful wife Anne, who loves him for his Christian character as much as any woman alive loves any man? You think he'd trade that gold medal for the seat in Congress that he held for so many years that is godly heart gave him to represent Christ to this nation? You know what? I don't think so. It was in his falling on that track that he became a success. It was in his weaknesses that he became so strong. It was in dying that that man was born into eternal life and someday he'll see that eternal life. I'm sure of that.

02:34 Here's the questions today. Why are we really weak when we become really strong? and just think about pride and humility in that question. And then: Recall a time when some circumstance looked like it weakened you, but through that circumstance, God made you stronger than you were before. And then this last question; this is awesome. Why is God at his best when we are at our worst? And the thought for the day is this. When I'm strong, then I tend to lean on me. But when I'm weak, I tend to lean on God.

"Examine your imperfections and honestly thank God for those imperfections."

Family Discussion:

  • How is his power of made perfect in our weakness?
  • How did the C's and the D's and the F's of our life buffet us?
  • And then why does God show greater love when we're buffeted by him than if he allowed everything on our report card to be straight A's?

Transcription:

00:06 Everybody has their favorite Bible verses, but the Bible verse today surely is one of my very favorites. It was a bible verse that comforted my heart when I was stricken with leukemia a few summers ago. It's Second Corinthians chapter 12, verse 7-9. This one is great. I hope it'll become your favorite, too. It says, "to keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take this thorn away from me, but he said to me, my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness." And then this verse, which took it home to me when leukemia was at its worst in my life, he said, "therefore I will all the more gladly boast about my weaknesses so that the power of Christ might rest in me."

01:13 I'll never forget the semester when my daughter Courtney was taking 22 hours in one of her last college semesters, and then working 15 hours a week trying to get out of college and get onto graduate school where she could get her degree in counseling. I remember she, she, she wanted to make all A's but doggone it, at the end of the semester there was a C on her report card. And I remember just taking her into my arms and encouraging her and saying, "you know what, Courtney, I'm so proud of you. I don't care if you made a C or whatever, because I have made so many C's and D's and F's in my life."

01:53 I can't count them. I keep making bad grades. The afflictions just seem to be more abundant all the time. I'm not proud when I fail. I'm sure not thrilled when I make a D on my report card, but I believe there's a reason for the C's and D's and F's on my report card, because those C's and D's and F's, they buffet you, don't they? They humble you. They take you to your knees. But more importantly, as this verse describes in Second Corinthians, it's our afflictions and it's our failures that take us more closely to the heart of Christ. So the questions today, and I know this verse relates to everybody because we all suffer with afflictions, we all make C's and D's and F's, but here's what's cool: How is his power of made perfect in our weakness? And how did the C's and the D's and the F's of our life buffet us? And then why does God show greater love when we're buffeted by him than if he allowed everything on our report card to be straight A's? And then the lifeline for today is this: examine your imperfections and honestly thank God for those imperfections. Because in those imperfections, you received the gift of humility.

Ask yourself this question, "What have I suffered for God lately?"

Family Discussion:

  • Our sufferings are so light in comparison to Paul's and his are light in compare to the sufferings of Christ. How do their sufferings encourage you in your sufferings today?
  • How do difficulties make us more like Christ?
  • Is it worth it for you to suffer like Jesus did? And why is that true?

Transcription:

00:06 I get to see some of the most amazing stories in the world. I've got some of the greatest friends. Today I want to tell you about probably every one of these people's hero that I look up to in their hero is Jesus for sure, and then a guy named Paul. What an authentic guy he is as he writes these letters. In Second Corinthians chapter 11 verse 24-27, Paul reveals what he had to go through to become a hero to so many of us. He says this in verse 24, "five times I received from the Jews the 40 lashes minus one, three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked. I spent a day and a night in the deep, in the ocean sea. I've been constantly on the move. I've been in danger from rivers, danger from bandits, and danger from my own countrymen, in danger from the gentiles, in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea, and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and I've gone often nights without sleep. I've known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food. I've been cold, and I've been naked." Man, the devotional today is called Mt Perspective. If you want to climb up on top of mount perspective and get a real honest view of just how fortunate that you and are really are, read about a guy like Paul and ask yourself this question, "what have I suffered for God lately? What have I sacrificed for Jesus that really cost me something? I remember my little teenage friend Jennifer, who told her boyfriend that their relationship, even though he was just a superstar in the high school, that their relationship would have to be pure or there wouldn't be a relationship between them at all. She told me that she was ready to sacrifice everything if it was necessary because the relationship wasn't right before God. She said if not God would have something better for her later on.

02:17 I'll never forget my young friend Robert, who gave not 10%, but 50% of his entire savings account to the starving kids of a nearby third world country as an offering to God. He didn't think twice when God told him in his heart that it was the right thing to do; if Jesus could give it all for him, he said, he can give it all for Jesus. And I have an adult friend that I admire so much, who every dollar he makes, he gives 50 cents of that dollar to people in need in this world. And I know everybody can't do that, but don't you love it when you see people sacrifice? I remember one night on one of my Saturday teen call-in radio shows, when somebody named Lola called in just rejoicing over a campaign to get a thousand of her friends in New York City to wear "pray to Jesus" tee shirts to school. She did it. She got it done. You know, they probably got laughed at. They were probably ridiculed. They probably won't lose any sleep over the jeers, because compared to Paul's suffering, a few snide remarks, don't really cause too much concern, do they? There been more Christians martyred in the century we just finished, the 20th century, than in all of Christian history combined. Murdered, watch their family members taken from them for life, the persecution of Christians around this world is unreal today; but the crown of life that those dear saints will receive when they instantly arrive in Heaven after they are killed for their faith will make it far more than well worth the sorrow of saying goodbye to this earth in death.

04:08 And here's the questions for today. Our sufferings are so light in comparison to Paul's and his are light in compare to the sufferings of Christ. How do their sufferings encourage you in your sufferings today? And then the second question is this: First Peter Chapter 1 in verse 6 and 7 says that our sacrifices and our sufferings actually purify us, like gold is purified. How do difficulties make us more like Christ? And then the last question is this: is it worth it to you, thinking about the crowns in heaven that we get to lay at Jesus' feet, is it worth it for you to suffer like Jesus did? And why is that true? And then the lifeline for today is this: Considered it all joy, James says, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.

"Satan is a master at enhancing your first glimpse of sin and disguising the results of that sin."

Family discussion:

  • Why does the term the "angel of light" fit so perfectly as Satan's style of temptation?
  • Can you think of a sin you faced lately that looked really fun at first? But the more you evaluated it, the more you saw Satan in it?
  • How can you tell for sure if it's a sin?

Transcription:

00:04 Did you ever wonder why sin looks so attractive? Why some of the worst things that can happen on this earth looked like the greatest things of all? Well, Second Corinthians chapter 11, verse 14 has the answer. And it says this, "for no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light." As I've said before, my email box is full everyday of letters that I get from guys in our men's conferences and from high school students and college students. But some of them say the most amazing things over and over again. Like the one recently that I read that says, "I know the Bible says sex before marriage is wrong, but my boyfriend and I love each other so much and it seems so right. Something so beautiful can't be wrong, can it?"

01:06 The Budweiser commercials on television, man, they really do look like fun. You know, those parties on those sandy tropical beaches, those hot cars, those hot girls and all the laughter and fun make drinking look really cool. And man, the way those gorgeous young beauties fall in love on TV every night and then they head off to those steamy bedrooms with the cute new guy on the set. It really makes you want to go find one of those and try it yourself. You know that business deal that looks so attractive and yet, you know, there's dishonesty behind that business deal. It just seems every reason to rationalize and to go make that deal and take that deal. Somebody says, "hey, smoke this joint." "Take this cool pill," "drink the shiny bottle, man, if it feels good, go for it." You know, no one ever in his right mind ever said that sin doesn't look like fun in its early stages, but no one has ever set out to become an alcoholic on his first drink, no one ever thought they would become a heroin addict when they smoke their first marijuana joint.

02:19 No one in their right mind ever wanted their high school girlfriend to become pregnant and then face the guilt of walking out of an abortion clinic together on their first heavy kiss. No one ever wanted to build his entire business on dishonesty, but Satan is a master at enhancing your first glimpse of sin and disguising the results of that sin. That's why he's called the angel of light. That's why he's called the master of deception. That's why he is your number one enemy. He's your number one enemy. And here's the questions for today. You know, why does the term the "angel of light" fit so perfectly as Satan's style of temptation? And then secondly, can you think of a sin you faced lately that looked really fun at first? But the more you evaluated it, the more you saw Satan in it? And then this last question. How can you tell for sure if it's a sin? And then, here's the lifeline for today. How can a young man keep his way pure? Psalms 119:9 says, by keeping it according to the word of God.

"God is opposed to the proud, but he gives grace to the humble."

Family Discussion:

  • What is it that makes people so arrogant towards God and yet so proud towards ourselves?
  • Why does God humble the proud and give grace to the humble?
  • What does it mean to be approved by God?

Transcription:

00:04 Today I want to tell you about the funniest magazine article I ever read in my life; it's unbelievable. Second Corinthians chapter 10, verse 17 and 18 has a lot to say about that magazine article and it says this: "but let him who boasts, boast in the Lord for it is not the one who commends himself who is approved with the one whom the Lord commends."

00:38 When Newsweek magazine, in this survey, asked thousands of Americans who would be most likely to get to heaven, the person who came in second was Mother Teresa with 78%. Not a surprise. Billy Graham came in third, and a great athlete came in close to the top. The president of the United States and the first lady were not far behind, but the winner, with a whopping 87% of those surveyed agreed that the person who most deserved to get to heaven was ole number one; that's right, self won the prize. Most people thought themselves to be the most likely to be approved and to get to heaven than any other person of faith in the entire century. That's unbelievable. Does that sound funny to you? Yet, the majority of us across the country don't think there's anything wrong with a leader in our country who cheats on his wife. Most people don't even think there's anything wrong with attending R rated movies or other movies where God's name is profaned repeatedly throughout the movie and sexual pornographic scenes are abundant.

01:59 According to Newsweek magazine, they're saying about 66% of our high school friends are having sex before their 18th birthday. And according to the New York Times, over 50% of married men will have sex after they're married with someone other than their wife. Yet alas, in our smugness, we still feel that good ole number one is the most likely person to go to heaven. Well, as the expression goes among my native Ozark hillbilly friends, they say, "don't count your chickens before they're hatched." It's God who approves or disapproves and scripture is clear that only through a sincere commitment to Christ through faith in His crucifixion and his resurrection, does anyone received that majestic divine utterance, "Well done now, good and faithful servant." Man, it's true. God is opposed to the proud, but he gives grace to the humble. James Chapter 4 says, "humble yourself in the presence of the Lord and he will exalt you." A true believer in Christ will find himself on his knees more than he'll find himself on top of the victory block going, "I'm number one. I'm number one. I'm number one."

03:20 So here's the questions today. What is it that makes people so arrogant towards God and yet so proud towards ourselves? And then secondly, why does God humble the proud and give grace to the humble? And then, and then thirdly, what does it mean to be approved by God? And then just a little lifeline to take it home. You know, think about this today; in the home, we can echo that same approval that God gives us to our family members around our dining room table.

"The home is the place where only Christ's thoughts should be allowed."

Family Discussion:

  • How does Satan build fortresses in our minds to defeat us?
  • How do we practically take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ?
  • What divine weapons do you have in your arsenal? How are you going to use them?

Transcription:

00:06 You know what? It's amazing what just a few dollars can buy; for good or for bad. It's awesome what a ticket can entitle you to for good or for bad. Today, hopefully, you and I'll be a whole lot wiser in how we spin this stuff and what we ticket ourselves to. Second Corinthians chapter 10, verse 3-5 - great power verses today. It says this, "for though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." This scripture is powerful as all get out.

01:13 A thorough review which, which I did of the year's top 10 movies, and CDs, downloads and TV shows revealed a consistent parade of literally hundreds of pornographic scenes, lyrics and profanities laced in addictive soundtracks and alluring, you know, inconsequential stage productions. You know, according to Preview magazine, kind of a TV and movie review magazine, in fact, all of the top 10 of that year a contained crude, obscene and profane language. You know, there were like 435 references in just 10 of these top 10 recordings and movies, and in the process the media moguls walked away with hundreds of millions of dollars and left an entire generation of kids and adults spiritually and morally confused. So I mean, when it boils down to it, y'all, is it right or wrong to, to listen to an iPod or an iPhone or CD that promotes or describes premarital extramarital sex? Is it right or wrong? Is it right or wrong to go to a movie when God's name was per-veined and taken in vain over and over again? Is it right or wrong to choose a TV show when sexual innuendos, crude humor and sexual jesting are practiced?

02:41 And then on the other hand, should I continue to tell myself how bad I am for the mistake I made last year? Should I continue to harbor that bitter thought against my dad or against my spouse or against a failed business partner? You know, today's scriptures probably the clearest answer to those and a thousand other questions, when it points out that all such thoughts are weapons of warfare from Satan, set out to destroy our mind and literally to build concrete walls of the enemy, to build up fortresses to encompass the unholy thoughts that have been allowed into our minds.

03:24 But the scripture today provides guidance when it says that we should literally take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, every thought that we think should be his thoughts. And that's why memorizing and meditating this word and carefully thinking about what we spend and what we've taken ourselves to is so incredibly important. And you want freedom, man you've got freedom. Your mind is the biggest enemy that you've got and you get to control what goes in here and what goes in here most of the time. So here's the questions. How does Satan build fortresses in our minds to defeat us? And then how do we practically take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ? And then what divine weapons do you have in your arsenal? How are you going to use them? And then just for a little thought for the day, for your family, man, the home is the place where only Christ's thoughts should be allowed.

"Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give."

Family Discussion:

  • What does the scripture mean when it says to give till you giggle?
  • Why is it so hard for us who have so much to give in comparison to those who have so little?
  • To whom and how much can you give today and what special giving project are you willing to commit yourself to this year?

Transcription:

00:13 Every time for the rest of my life that I see a pack of lifesavers, I'm going to think of one little boy in Haiti who forever changed my view of giving. In Second Corinthians chapter 9 verses 6-8, scripture says this: "remember this, whoever sows sparingly will reap sparingly and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion. For God loves a cheerful giver and God is able to make all grace abound to you. So that in all things, at all times having all that you need, you will abound in every good work."

00:59 It has been a joy and a privilege for these Christian sports camps called Kanakuk, that I get to be a part of, to have adopted a 18 schools in Haiti. And we have 6,000 precious kids, that every day receive a bowl of beans and rice and probably the most funnest things of all is at Christmas, the kids at our camp pack Christmas gifts, so that every Christmas for the last 10 years, every child in every school received this awesome Christmas gift. And one of the Christmas gifts in this bag of gifts that every child receives at Christmas is a little bag of life savers. I'll never forget it as long as I live, as we were giving out these gifts to these precious kids, and these kids have so little but they are so grateful. It's unreal. There's smiles are just the most beautiful smells you've ever seen on these kids' faces in your life. And they're so grateful.

01:57 This little guy, he had opened his Christmas bag and he had taken a lifesaver, the first lifesaver that he'd ever eaten in his life. And he put it in his mouth and it was so good. He took the pack of lifesavers and he opened them up and he had the whole pack in his hand. And he handed it to me and he said, "please take this." And, and I said, man, I can't take your lifesavers. And, and he says, please, "it was so good. That one lifesaver was so good." He wanted to give the whole pack away to me.

02:32 Come on man. What would it mean to you to give the whole pack of lifesavers to somebody in need? And what does the scripture mean when it says to give till you giggle? And that's my own words, but to give until you absolutely, you know, laugh, you give so much. And then why is it so hard for us who have so much to give in comparison to those who have so little? Take it home today with this question; to whom and how much can you give today and what special giving project are you willing to commit yourself to this year? And the verse for the day that hopefully will stick in your heart forever is simply paraphrase this: give till you giggle. And we're going to go to Haiti again next Christmas and we're going to take Christmas gifts to the kids. And if you want to email me at joe@kanakuk.com and you want to be a part of our Christmas giving project, then email me and you can pack a box of gifts, including the lifesaver to take to those kids. God bless you as you give.

"Why build an empire for yourself when it's so much more fun to give it away?"

Family Discussion:

  • Why is it so hard to model Christ's example of giving and why is it so important to be a giver more than you are a taker?
  • Which one are you, which do you tend to be a giver or taker?
  • How can you specifically improve your skills at giving your time and your treasures and your talent away to people in need?

Transcription:

00:13 As a little kid, I always had a fascination with treasure hunting. I think it was because my mom used to celebrate our birthdays often by putting our gifts in a treasure chest. And then she'd hide the treasure chests and she'd make a map and we'd go out and we'd searched for a treasure. Well, today's scripture has got an awesome treasure hunt. It's in Second Corinthians chapter 8, verse 7-9, and Paul says this, "but just as you excel in everything, in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us, see that you also excel in the grace of giving. I'm not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others. For you know, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that although he was rich yet for your sake, he became poor, so that through his poverty you might become rich."

01:13 I'll never forget an airplane ride, I believe it was from Dallas to San Antonio, and I sat down in a sort of a two seat spot. The seat next to me was taken up by a man who actually took up a whole seat and a half. Um, but I sorta wedged myself in there beside him. And you know what I'll tell you, I wasn't uncomfortable at all because this guy had the greatest story to tell; as I listened to his story, he was a wealthy man and he was actually heading down to San Antonio to assemble his 10 best old friends. And he was going to give his treasures away to them. It was awesome. And, and you know, as I complimented this guy on his generosity, he said, "oh, it's nothing." He said, "I never saw a hearse followed by u haul trailer." You know, my friend was right, man, you can't take it with you. My daddy always said, you can only sleep in one bed at a time. And he said, "why build an empire for yourself when it's so much more fun to give it away." So you know what man, after the overwhelming example that Jesus provided for us by giving up heaven, his ownership of literally everything, and voluntarily becoming a condemned criminal to the cruel Roman execution team, He rightly exhorts us from the sermon on the mount. Do not lay up for yourself treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.

02:46 Jim Elliot, another one of my heroes says this: give away what you have to those who have not. And the way he said it was, he said, a man is no fool who gives what he cannot keep in exchange for what he cannot lose. And, and here's the questions for today: why is it so hard to model Christ's example of giving and, and then, and then why is it so important to be a giver more than you are a taker? And then which one are you, which do you tend to be a giver or taker? And then how can you specifically improve your skills at giving your time and your treasures and your talent away to people in need? And here's the family lifeline today: If all family members set out to give and to serve each other, can you imagine what a wonderful home and family you would have?

"Cast out a few crumbs and you'll get back the whole world every time."

Family Discussion:

  • How can you and your family clean out the closet, clean out the savings, clean out the cupboard for the poor of this world?
  • What would be the response to Christians who gave like that, and why is giving some deeply satisfying?
  • Why are the people with blue arm bands like the boy at that table, the happiest people on Earth?

Transcription:

00:04 Today I want to tell you about a boy with a blue arm band, I know I'll never forget as long as I live. We're in Second Corinthians chapter 8 verse 1-5. Check this out, this is awesome. "And now brothers," Paul writes, "we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy in their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity, for I testified that they gave as much as they were able and even beyond their ability entirely on their own. They urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in the service to the saints. And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord. And then to us in keeping with God's will."

01:03 It was at our summer sports camp, our teenage summer sports camp, that we wanted to put an imprint on the guys' minds that they would never forget. And so as the teenage boys enter the dining hall, and we'd been training in athletics all morning long, we were starving to death we thought, but we gave a 12 boys blue arm bands and then we gave the other half of the kids black arm bands and the last half a white armband. When we came into the dining hall, the blue arm bands represented America. And it was a table that was just lavished with food. The black arm bands represented many countries in the world that are not starving to death, but are starving. And they had beans and rice on the tables. And then the white arm bands where the third world countries, they had nothing on their tables. No instructions were given. Everybody was free to do as they pleased.

01:54 Well, the American table had steaks and fried chicken and vegetables and mashed potatoes and gravy and dessert. It was just heaping over with food. You know, I remember watching a lot of the athletes just eat all they could, the whole meal on the American table. Then I remember a few athletes on the American table filling their plate full and then sharing the leftovers with some of the third world people. But then I remember one guy in a blue arm band, and as soon as he saw all that he had and how little everybody else had, he took everything he had and he began to share it with kids all over the dining hall. That night at supper I think that boy had the greatest meal of his life.

02:43 Just off the coast of Florida, there's a little island that I love. It's called Haiti, and 2 million kids are over there starving to death. Can you imagine what would happen if the United States of America, if every person in the United States had the attitude of the boy with the Blue Armband, those kids in Haiti would be lavished every single meal. And here is the question today. How can you and your family clean out the closet, clean out the savings, clean out the cupboard for the poor of this world? And then check this out. What would be the response to Christians who gave like that, and why is giving some deeply satisfying? Why are the people with blue arm bands like the boy at that table, the happiest people on Earth? And the lifeline for the day is this: cast out a few crumbs and you'll get back the whole world every time.

"I've turned my tears into praise."

Family Discussion:

  • Why do trials become a watershed to separate true Christian faith and a counterfeit Christian faith?
  • How can you use the trial that you're facing today to make you better and not turn your attitude into a bitter attitude? How can it make you a praiser and not a groaner?
  • How do trials make you appreciate and identify with Christ a whole lot more in your life?

Transcription:

00:06 Man, have you been struggling lately? I just had a couple of the greatest conversations last night with a couple of my high school friends that go to our camps. One of them called me, I called the other one and one of them just said, "man, Joe, life is bad. And my girlfriend and I just broke up. And I just feel so awful and so depressed." Well I took him to a couple of verses in this little bitty love letter, and then after about a 30 minute prayerful conversation, he was ready to go after life again and I hope you'll be that encouraged today. In Second Corinthians chapter 7, verse 10, it says this: "godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death."

01:01 There's a poem by Robert Frost called 'the road less traveled' and then there was a book written called 'the Road Less Traveled,' and it begins with the simple picture window statement that just says life is hard. The French say 'the road is difficult.' You know, this planet we live on is not heaven, and no doubt Satan wreaks havoc on this fallen planet. You know, man's fall in the garden of Eden, rendered for all mankind and existence of crime, disease, heartaches and heartbreaks. But the French continue the two-part phrase, My God is good. You know, uh, my good friend Joshua Dell says that trials will either make you bitter or better if you walk with God. If you trust God in all circumstances and hold him sovereignly in your life, you know, the hurts and the difficulties always bring out the best in you. If the stuff and the pleasures of the world are your ultimate aim, then let-downs and disappointments will make you bitter every time.

02:12 You know what, the focus of your life that moves you from a groaner to a praiser is not the size of your trial, but the shape of your heart. If my ultimate goal is to get to heaven and take as many people with me as I can, trials actually become my friend. Because put simply, God uses trials to get people humbly at the foot of the cross. I've got a great friend named Gary. Oh man, what a hero he is. He lost his son and then he lost his wife the same year; one of the happiest men that I know, even though through his tears. And I said, Gary, how do you do it? And with the joyful tears running down his face, he said, "Joe, I've turned my tears into praise." I had a dear high school friend named Ricky who was tragically drowned. But on that day that Ricky was drowned, seven people gave their heart to Christ. I have a hero named Martin Montero. He's had 14 major surgeries on his face from a tragic birth defect. But I'll never forget when he called me from his hospital bed praising God for his opportunity to receive medical care. Another teenage friend of mine that will always be my hero is named Lauren. She lost her leg to cancer. But two summers later, she was at our sports camps, majoring in triathlete, blessing everyone with her fantastic attitude and her Christ given smile.

03:47 And so my questions to you today are this: why do trials become a watershed to separate true Christian faith and a counterfeit Christian faith? And then this question, how can you use the trial that you're facing today to make you better and not turn your attitude into a bitter attitude? How can it make you a praiser and not a groaner? Hebrews 5:8 says this about Jesus. It says, "although he was the son, yet he learned obedience from the things which he suffered." How do trials make you appreciate and identify with Christ a whole lot more in your life? And then the lifeline today is this: home is the comforting place where the trials of life could wound a family member.

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