"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.

"I think the top 10 things in my life, most of them have to do with anything my kids ever wanted to do with me. Brady would say, Hey dad, let's go shoot baskets. And we shot thousands of baskets together. Him shooting, me catching and throwing back. Copp would let me, you know, run past patterns. And then, so he'd throw me the football. Jamie and Courtney, let me help them in gymnastics and volleyball. 'Hey dad, let's go to the Dairy Queen. Let's get a snack.' I didn't care what they asked me to do. I was ready to go."

Family Discussions:

  1. Why did God have to turn his head when Jesus died?
  2. Why does God want the relationship between a parent and a child, especially in the home, to be so strong?
  3. Why is it of such high value?
  4. What can you do in your home to build a parent-child bond like that one, that Jesus and God had?

Transcription:

00:13          In this scripture today, scripture speaks very soberly to us about a time in Christ's life that was probably the most difficult day he had on earth. It was the most difficult for sure but probably not for the reason you think it was. He's in the Garden of Gethsemane and it's the night before his crucifixion. And here's what Mark says in chapter 14, starting in verse 32 it said, "They came to a place called Gethsemane and he said to his disciples, 'sit here until I have prayed.' And he took with him, Peter and James and John and began to be very distressed and troubled. And he said to them, 'my soul is deeply grieved to the point of death. Remain here and keep watch.' And he went a little while beyond them and he fell to the ground and he began to pray and he was saying, 'Abba, father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. And yet, not what I want will, but what's your will be done.'" Not my will, but your will be done.
 
01:22          You know what? I think the top 10 things in my life, most of them have to do with anything my kids ever wanted to do with me. Brady would say, Hey dad, let's go shoot baskets. And we shot thousands of baskets together. Him shooting, me catching and throwing back. Copp would let me, you know, run past patterns. And then, so he'd throw me the football. Jamie and Courtney, let me help them in gymnastics and volleyball. 'Hey dad, let's go to the Dairy Queen. Let's get a snack.' I didn't care what they asked me to do. I was ready to go. I remember one time Courtney asked me to take her to the mall to get a dress for a college forum or prom or something that she did. And we looked at dresses and stuff all day long. I don't even think we bought one, but we had a blast looking together.
 
02:10          But I didn't know that I'd see a picture that day and one of the clothing stores that would rock my world. It was a sports illustrated. Courtney was trying on yet another dress. And I saw this picture in sports illustrate in fact it was the cover picture. It was Michael Jordan. And at that time, Jordan was Mr. Basketball. It was years ago, but he was definitely the King of the game. But it wasn't a picture of Michael shooting a three. It wasn't a picture of Michael, you know, with the world championship trophy on his hands. He had just won four world championships with the Chicago bulls. But it was a picture of Michael laying on the floor bawling his eyes out, clutching his basketball to his chest, weeping because it was Father's Day. The day he won the championship was Father's Day and his daddy wasn't there. Three years ago his daddy had been murdered.
 
03:02          I think the biggest pain on the cross for Christ was not the nails or the scorching, although those must have been horrible. But that was the day he had to become sin. That was the day that he had to clothe himself with everything bad. Everything negative, everything sinful that you and I've ever done before a Holy God. Christ became Galatians 3:13 says he became the curse of sin and there his daddy had to turn his back because his daddy, Father God was Holy and always was and always will be. Christ had become sin. The father and son were separated. I believe it was the worst moment of his life. But in that moment came victory for you and me.
 
03:42          So here's the questions for today in this incredible Bible passage. Why did God have to turn his head when Jesus died? And the second question is this, why does God want the relationship between a parent and a child, especially in the home, to be so strong? Why is it of such high value? And thirdly, you know, what can you do in your home to build a parent-child bond like that one, that Jesus and God had? And the thought for the day is this. You know, parents and their children have a bond that should never be broken. The only bond greater is the bond between us and Christ.

"Do you find yourself singing spiritual songs in times of trouble?"

Family Discussion:

  • Try to recall as many Bible verses as you can in the next 10 minutes that you learned because it was a scriptural song. And then write them down.
  • Do you think you would know these scriptures today if it weren't for learning them through song?
  • Do you find yourself singing spiritual songs in times of trouble? Do you sing spiritual songs at time of happiness? For you, when's the best time to sing them?

Transcription:

00:06 A few years ago you remember the "two all-beef patty special, sauce lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun," remember that? What was that from? Was that McDonald's, I think? Burger King? It's amazing how stuff gets on your mind. It was probably been 20 years ago. Good grief, 50 years ago there was a little slogan, LSMFT. Anybody old enough to remember that? Lucky strike means fine tobacco, I think it was the fifties or sixties when they had that. Well, here's how to get something else on your mind. Colossians 3:16 says, "Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you. Teaching with all wisdom and admonishing one another with Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God, spiritual songs in your heart." Boy, there's something about singing in music that helps us remember things. I remember when my son was maybe a second grader and he memorized all 50 states in the United States as a second grader because his teacher put it to music. I remember when my daughter was just tiny; she performed this rap song she had learned that contained all these phonics rules because her teacher again was doing her a favor by setting all these phonics rules to music, rather than just listening to them and putting them down on paper. Long before my children's teachers discovered how music helps us retain information, God (who invented memory and made it work in the first place) asked us to consider getting God's word in our hearts just like that. "Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you," Paul says. Singing the psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, isn't that great?

02:11 While the verse also mentions how teaching others can help you in the memory process, let's just consider the musical aspect for a minute. Although most of us would never consider singing publicly, some of you can but I can't, all of us can sing in the manner Paul suggests with gratitude in our hearts to God. It's a song we could sing in our hearts literally anywhere at any time. You know, walking down the hall of school, you know, just going from business office to business office, on a crowded bus or on an airplane. We can sing thankfulness in our hearts to God wherever we are. We can sing in our hearts. So what kind of songs qualify? Here Paul has advice as well. He's saying that we should Sing Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. There's probably no doubt, you already know it, but probably a number of choruses that feature verses from the Psalms. If you're in church and you sing praise and worship, you've got a bunch of them. But have you tried writing some of your own? Think about that. No one has to hear them. You're singing them in your heart. When it comes to spiritual song, there's thousands to choose from, no matter what style of music you enjoy the most, in every kind of country style, R&B, rap, country, whatever, you can put the psalms to any kind of a beat you want to. And as I listened to this song, and if I re-sing it over and over again in my heart, you got to ask yourself, does it edify my spirit? Keep in mind, not every song released under Christian label qualifies. And by the same token, if they're not in a Christian label, there's some good music out there. But as you sing Christ-centered songs in your heart, the Bible says the word of God will dwell in you more deeply. What a benefit, especially from something that's as enjoyable as music is anyway.

04:07 Here's the questions for the day. Try to recall as many Bible verses as you can in the next 10 minutes that you learned because it was a scriptural song. And then write them down. And then: Do you think you would know these scriptures today if it weren't for learning them through song? Do you find yourself singing spiritual songs in times of trouble? Do you sing spiritual songs at time of happiness? For you, when's the best time to sing them? If you were sad right now, what would be a good spiritual song to sing? What if you were excited? What if you were lonely? What if you were hurt? What if you were confused? What a great mission - writing spiritual songs on your heart. Here's the lifeline today: identify a Bible verse that you've always wanted to commit to memory and then put it to a tune that you already know or maybe make up. And just replace the lyrics with the the scripture. And then if this goes well for you, do it every day for 30 days and watch what happens to your mind and your disposition.

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.

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