"The lukewarm Christian literally dances with the devil and plays with sin like it's some kind of a toy."

Family Discussion:

  • Who is the antichrist and how will we recognize him?
  • What are examples of the antichrist's work on earth today?
  • How do you think you might get caught up in on diluting influences in your life even now?

Transcription:

00:06 This tiny little book we're looking at is Second Thessalonians and it is about that big, but it is about that big in meaning because it's talking about the return of Christ and the antichrist, the enemy and the last days before Christ returns. Listen to this. Second Thessalonians 2:8-12. This fits today. Talking about the antichrist, it says: "Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of his mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of his coming. That is the one who's coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, the antichrist, with all power he'll have signs and false wonders. And with all deception and wickedness for those who perish because they did not receive the love of truth so as to be saved. For this reason, God will send upon them a diluting influence so that they will believe what is false and in order that they may be judged who did not believe in truth, but took pleasure in wickedness."

01:21 The diluting influences, and there are so many of them. Now check out this story and it will help you with the diluting influences in your life. I heard the story one time of a transport company that placed a very important ad in a local newspaper, and the ad said something like this: Wanted, conscientious and experienced truck driver to transport TNT across narrow mountain roads. The pay is excellent. Three brave drivers interviewed for the job. The foreman asked each of the drivers this question: When you turn a corner on a tight mountain road, how close to the edge can you get without slipping off the edge of the cliff? The first driver came in and proudly responded, "I've had years of experience at that. I can get as close as a foot from the edge without slipping off." The second applicant came in and he was like the first, he said: "I can hang at the outside edge of the tire on the truck and still stay on the road." The third man was more humble. He said: "I respect the road and that load with great care and danger. I would never get close enough to the edge to find out." Guess who got the job. A radically committed Christian stays as far from the edge of the cliff of sin as he can get. The lukewarm Christian literally dances with the devil and plays with sin like it's some kind of a toy. I honestly don't believe a good share of Christian wannabes will even recognize the antichrist when he comes. The things we accept today in movies and television and just in our daily lives are so much like him. Satan could slip into most people's world without even being noticed.

03:21 And then the Lord will return, and the groans of disappointment will be everywhere. Just a little alcohol won't hurt, just a little marijuana won't hurt. Just a little pornography, it's just the sports illustrated swimsuit issue, it's just the Victoria's Secret one runway models. It's just a little bit of hate. It's just a little bit of anger, just a little bit, just a little bit, just a little bit and Satan's way. And you've seen it and I've seen it. It's like a fishing lure that goes in front of the fish and pretty soon you bite the lure, the treble hook catches you in the mouth. Here's the questions for today. Who is the antichrist and how will we recognize him? And secondly: What are examples of the antichrist's work on earth today? And then thirdly: How do you think you might get caught up in on diluting influences in your life even now? And then the lifeline for the day is this: The Angel of Light as scripture calls Satan makes sin look camouflage. Walking in the light makes him look obvious.

"I know of nothing else that has to happen before he returns to take his children and his true followers home."

Family Discussion:

  • How do you want to be living when Jesus returns to claim his followers?
  • How does his impending return make you evaluate your lifestyle today?
  • How does a child of the day behave differently than a child of the night?

Transcription:

00:06 Have you ever wondered why we spend so much time studying this little book and why this book is so incredibly important? Today we're going to underline that, and in fact, I think we're going to put it in neon lights that not only is this book the wisest book that was ever written, it is the most accurate book that was ever written. Check this out in first Thessalonians 5:2 and 4-8. It speaks although written 1900 years ago about something that's going on today. Paul says this: "For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. But you, brethren, are not in darkness that the day would overtake you like a thief for you are all sons of light and sons of the day. We're not of night nor of darkness. So then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober. For those who sleep do they're sleeping at night and those who get drunk get drunk at night. But since we are of the day, let us be sober. Having put on the breastplate of faith and love and the helmet of hope and salvation."

01:29 Every conceivable circumstance points to the biblical prescription of the impending day when Jesus will return and gather his children and take them from this fallen earth and into his eternal safety. We call it the rapture - when the Christians will literally be taken from the earth in an instant. This little computer insert with these little computer chips on it; not check this out, with current computer chip technology, one man, which the Bible speaks of as the antichrist in scripture, could easily laser tattoo every human on earth and control every economic transaction and everyone in the world. And it says this in Revelation, it says: "and he the antichrist causes all. The small and the great, the rich and the poor, the free and the slave to be given a mark either on their right hand or on their forehead and he provides that no one should be able to buy or sell except the one who has the mark. This calls for wisdom, either the name of the beast or the number of the beast and the number is six six six." Interesting. A cashless checkless society where one man could control every transaction on earth with one little *boop* scan in the hand on a computer. There's another prophecy that is incredibly interesting to me from Revelation and it talks about, I believe, the military army that will be coming in from the East in the final battle of Revelation. Red China is heavily involved in the military affairs in Iran, for example. The giant communist nation is thirsty for the vast reserves of oil in the Middle East. Israel and the United States stand squarely in the way of a military takeover and an encyclopedia Britannica volume four page 94 says that Red China boasts an army of 200 million. It's amazing. And then you look in Revelation and it says this, "and the sixth angel poured out his bowl upon the Great River Euphrates that it's water was dried up, did he might prepare the way from the kings of the east." And then in revelation it also numbers of the armies, in 9:16 it says, "and the number of armies of the horsemen was 200 million. I heard the number of them." Amazing. Talking about one army from the east coming in for the final battle, 200 million. Is he talking about the Chinese army? You know, I'm not positive, but it's more than interesting that the number is the same. And folks, there are dozens, literally, of other fulfilled prophecies of the return of Christ and the rapture of the church that are being fulfilled before our very eyes today. I literally believe that Jesus could return tomorrow scripturally. I know of nothing else that has to happen before he returns to take his children and his true followers home.

04:33 And here's our questions for today. How do you want to be living when Jesus returns to claim his followers? How does his impending return make you evaluate your lifestyle today? And then the last question is: How does a child of the day behave differently than a child of the night? Here's the lifeline. Plan your life like he won't return for a hundred years, but live your life like he's coming back today.

"More Christians have been killed for their faith in the 20th century than in all the others."

Family Discussion:

  • What did persecution do to the cause of Christ in that day?
  • Why does difficulty make the gospel message go out even more effectively?
  • What do you have inside of you that would enable you to face persecution with boldness?

Transcription:

00:06 One of the most challenging books I've ever read in my life is Fox's Book of Martyrs and to hear the stories of those who suffered for the sake of Christ before us. But, as you probably know, suffering didn't stop in the first century. Today we're going to talk about that in First Thessalonians 3:1-4. It says this: "Therefore, when we could endure it no longer, we thought it best to be left behind at Athens alone, and we sent Timothy, our brother and God's fellow worker in the gospel of Christ to strengthen and encourage you as to your faith so that no one would be disturbed by these afflictions. For you yourselves know that we've been destined for this, for indeed, when we were with you, we kept telling you in advance that we were going to suffer affliction so that it came to pass just as you know."

01:07 More Christians have been killed for their faith, believe it or not, in the 20th century, the one we just finished 10 years ago, than in all the others. Every day, somewhere in the world, Christians are martyred for their faith. In fact, the 20th century had far more Christians die for their faith in Jesus than in any other previous century. The grizzly way they died, if you read the stories in some of the Muslim countries and some of the communist-influenced countries, it makes your flesh crawl with horror. Christian persecution has always seemed so far from us - not so today. Our nation is literally turning against Christians. Here are some very recent legal actions that were taken against Christians. In the famous case of Brandon vs the Board of Education, in a district, a federal court saw that nothing can be more dangerous than an adolescent seeing the football captain, the student body president, or the leading actress in a dramatic production participating in a communal prayer meeting in the captive audience of the setting of a school. Unbelievable. A child in Kentucky was told that she could not submit her chosen drawing for an independent school project because she had drawn a cross. An Arizona teacher disciplined a second grader in class for typing the word Jesus on her school computer during a computer lab. You believe that? In Virginia, the Department of motor vehicles refused a pastors request to have "For God So" on his license plate. Six students in Illinois were detained in squad cars and threatened with mace because they prayed around the school's flagpole. I believe we're only seeing tip of the iceberg. If Jesus doesn't return first, you and I will see increased hostility towards Christians and towards our belief. If you believe in pro-life now, if you believe that abortion is sin, a crime, murder, you're labeled a narrow-minded anti-abortionist. If you believe in only man in woman marriages, you're scorned as a homophobic bigot. If you believe devoutly in Jesus, you're called an uneducated freak. The media mogul Ted Turner said publicly that Christianity was for losers. Being martyred for faith in Christ is getting closer and closer to home every day. But I see kids across this country who disagree. I see students across this country, I see business leaders across this country who carry their bibles and wear their crosses and they live it with passion and they live it in faith, and they're not ashamed of the Gospel.

03:51 So here's your questions. Today as you read the pages of scripture: What did persecution do to the cause of Christ in that day? Why does difficulty make the gospel message go out even more effectively? And with this question we'll close: What do you have inside of you that would enable you to face persecution with boldness? And I want to just tell you, go for it. Here's the lifeline today. Hot fire tempers a band of steel. It makes it strong enough to carry a sharp edge. The hot fires of persecution put the edge for the Christian's lifestyle.

"Besides guarding our heart in regards to falling TV messages, we need to impact the entire media culture."

Family Discussion:

  • How often do you wrestle with prayer for individual media personalities?
  • Why do you think many Christians never pray for these individuals?
  • What scriptural promises assure us that God not only hears us when we pray, but that God will answer our prayers? What are the keys to seeing that our prayers affect change in our culture, and most importantly, affect change in our mind?

Transcription:

00:06 Sometimes the simplest things are the greatest things of all. This little verse today is super simple, but it is super helpful. It's in Colossians 2:4, and Paul says this: "devote yourself to prayer (isn't that simple?), keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving." Talk about trivia, did you know that falling TV sets kill about four children every year? This was actually cited in the September 1998 issue of the Journal of Pediatrics. As I read about that study, it sort of made me wonder how many other people are dead because of television, not because they fell on their head, but because they fell on their mind. Consider the statement that somebody said once, this very famous person who said, "I personally worry more about television than any other form of media because it's so pervasive and it's a primary babysitter and a value transmitter for many children."

01:16 The constant barrage this person said of violence and explicit sexuality reinforces the loosening of human bonds, undermining the evolution of a mature person. For many people, it's affecting not just what they think about, but also how they think. Well, that was expressed by Hillary Rodham Clinton when she was the wife of the president of the United States. It's not just evangelicals who worry about television, even television mogul, Ted Turner who began CNN and other Turner broadcasting networks, this is what he said, believe it or not: "as a parent with five children, I don't need experts to tell me that the amount of violence on television today can be harmful to children" and not just children. He didn't say that, but not just children, but adults. But he said "television violence is the single most significant factor contributing to violence in America." Ted Turner said that. In addition to these concerns, I'm concerned that television can have a devastating spiritual consequence. I wonder how many people today are no longer serving Christ because of something they saw on television or saw in a theater or heard at a concert. The Christian bashing is unbelievable. The sexually explicit material that leads to perversion and ultimately rebellion against God. No one knows for sure how many have literally washed out spiritually. But man, we know it happens all the time. Besides guarding our heart in regards to falling TV messages, we need to impact the entire media culture. How we do that? I think there's a number of ways, but none are more important than prayer. And that's why the apostle Paul says, "devote yourself to prayer, being watchful and being thankful." Later in the chapter, he compliments a fellow believer by saying he's always wrestling in prayer for you. Are you wrestling in prayer for our nation? Are you wrestling in prayer for Hollywood? Are you wrestling in prayer for individual actors and actresses and musicians and the insiders in the industry? We can make a difference. God has promised us that, but not until we hit our knees first. And most importantly, wrestle for prayer in your mind.

03:45 Here's the question today. How often do you wrestle with prayer for individual media personalities? And why do you think many Christians never pray for these individuals? And then the third question: What scriptural promises assure us that God not only hears us when we pray, but that God will answer our prayers? And I can think of five references right now. And then: What are the keys to seeing that our prayers affect change in our culture, and most importantly, affect change in our mind? And here's the lifeline for today. Make a list of six or 12 or a couple of dozen media personalities and begin to pray for one person every day. Be specific one time I was watching the Oscar awards and I begin to pray for this certain guy who was singing this song that had just won the Oscar. And I began to pray for him. And later on a few years later that man actually became a Christian. That's a true story. And I met him and I told him I'd be praying for him for years; ask the Lord to bring them to his son and give them a burden for purity and for wisdom and for wholesomeness. God can change anything through prayer.

"When society's role models laugh and practice evil, they don't just reflect society, they affect the values and morals of its people."

Family Discussion:

  • Using the "what would Jesus do" slogan, name two or three shows that you believe he and his disciples might watch if they were walking this planet today instead of 2000 years ago
  • What are some of the shows they certainly wouldn't watch? And besides those, what other examples of destructive and fine-sounding arguments are being promoted on television? And what about those that are being promoted in other forms of media?
  • What are the best ways to guard your heart and to guard your mind, and as Paul says, to have a stable faith in Christ?

Transcription:

00:14 The other day in my house, we were talking about these little animals that the advertisers will spend millions of dollars to get into your mind so that you never forget the product. Remember the pink bunny, the energizer? What about the big bull, the big elk? What's that? The Hartford, the big whale, the big, you know, whale that dives in and out of the ocean. Insurance company, Pacific life and the little lizard, who's the little lizard, the little cute green lizard that sits on the desk? That's right, Geico. And then probably the most famous of all is the little white duck. Who's that? Aflac, that's right. How do they get that stuff in your mind and why do they spend so much money on that? Well, this verse today has a great counter for that and some strong advice about what gets into your mind.

01:11 In Colossians 2:5 Paul says: "for even though I'm absent in body, nevertheless, I'm with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ, the stability of your faith in Christ." The apostle Paul realized that people, even Christians, could be easily swayed to believe all manner of strange ideas if they failed to aggressively keep their minds from being polluted. That's why he said in verse five that he didn't want anyone to deceive you with fine sounding arguments. The entertainment industry is notorious for offering a number of fine-sounding arguments that are deceptive, dishonest, and destructive. I mean, here's just a few a that we've reviewed recently. They'll tell you that sex outside of marriage is no big deal. It's acceptable. The television will tell you over and over again, and in the movies, that Christians are wimps, they're hypocrites. They're dangerous. The movies nowadays will tell you that Jesus is weak and uncaring. On-screen violence and nudity have no negative effect, I'll tell you, on anyone, even the youngest children, they'll try to say, and they'll say that that sex outside of marriage, whether it's with the same sex or with opposite sex, is a perfectly legitimate lifestyle.

03:07 But you know what, when society's role models laugh and practice evil, when they literally scoff God's word, they don't just reflect society, they affect the values and morals of its people. Isn't it bizarre that the same television executives who will charge $1.3 million, I mean they'll pay it, in fact, sometimes even close to $2 million for a super bowl spot to influence purchasing can adamantly state their programming can't sway another behavior, doesn't make sense. Logic demands, they can't have it both ways. The psalmist says this in Psalms 101:3 and this is a favorite in our teenage sports camp. He says: "I will set nothing unclean before my eyes." David didn't have MTV and the slew of offensive programs on cable and network television. But he knew how important it was to guard his heart and to guard his eyes. He had fallen once, he wasn't going to fall again. Deceptive messages packaged in fine-sounding arguments are the best rejected when when you or I refuses to allow our mind to be bombarded in the first place. The best approach when considering a certain entertainment thing is to ask the question, "hey, what would Jesus do? If he had that remote control in his hand what would he do? If he was in the line at the theater and there were eight different movies to watch, what would he do?

04:47 So here's the question: Using the "what would Jesus do" slogan, name two or three shows that you believe he and his disciples might watch if they were walking this planet today instead of 2000 years ago. And then what are some of the shows they certainly wouldn't watch? And besides those, what other examples of destructive and fine-sounding arguments are being promoted on television? And what about those that are being promoted in other forms of media? And then lastly: What are the best ways to guard your heart and to guard your mind, and as Paul says, to have a stable faith in Christ? And here's the thought for the day. At K-2, at the teenage camp, we put a red rubber band around our wrist and we write with a pen Psalms 101:3, so that it's always there sitting on our wrist as reminder. Do that. If not, put it on a little sticky piece of paper and put it on the television set, or put it on your computer and see what begins to change in your mind and in your home.

"It's time to empty the trashcan. Don't you think?"

Family Discussion:

  • What all have you been thinking about lately? What's your mind been dwelling on and are any of these thoughts that you're having disturbing, if so, are any related or reinforced by your media diet?
  • What practical steps can you take to renew your mind and to set your mind on things above, not on earthly things? What arguments are you likely to hear from your peers in school, in the locker room, in business, or even in your home as they watch and listen to what they watch and they see you watching and not watching what you watch.
  • What are you going to do to turn the off switch on the media stuff that you're involved in?

Transcription:

00:06 I'll never forget as a little kid growing up the family chores; we'd clean the bathroom and make our beds and clean the room and with much coercion we'd empty the trash can out. I tell you trash cans are good if they're empty, but if they're full they can sure stink up the house. That I think the great thing about this book we're studying in Colossians; sometimes it's tough to hear, but boy, it is good, and it helps us clean out the trash in our mind. Well, chapter three starts off with a couple of verses that I think about a lot when my trash can gets full. And sometimes its just bad thoughts and sometimes it's just worry and despair. But Colossians 3:1-2, here's what it says: "Therefore, if you've been raised up with Christ, keeps seeking the things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things that are on the earth, setting your heart on things above."

01:11 Have you ever found yourself thinking about something that's just kind of twisted or off-color and you wished you could turn your brain off? It feels almost impossible sometimes, doesn't it? Even when we're sleeping, the wheels of our mind are turning. And although there's no "off" button inside our head, we can redirect our thought life. Paul was so convicted of this. Then in the first two verses of Colossians 3, he tells us what things should take center stage in the theater of our mind. And note how Paul words it. He said, "since then you've been raised up with Christ. Set your heart on things above. Set your mind on things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things."

01:57 Unfortunately, it is so easy to, to get our mind off track and to get the trash can of our mind full with worldly junk and sinful stuff. This is especially true when it comes to our ears and our eyes; and then stuff that's contrary to scripture. Probably, something that's way too common is just the media trash. Garbage in does equal garbage out. Some coaches call it "gigo"- garbage in, garbage out. Not always in behavior, but often in our thinking. And the key to setting our minds on things above is two-fold. First, we've got to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Romans 12:2, if you've never memorized it, here's what it says: "be transformed in the renewing of your mind." This occurs when we diligently meditate on God's word. Get those verses, memorize them, meditate on them, it'll change your mind. And then equally important, you got to avoid those things that war against your faith. Reading the Bible and watching trashy movies like Desperate Housewives and South Park and about half the sitcoms, they just don't mix. It's like oil and water. They can't mix. Christians often fail miserably at avoiding harmful entertainment. For example, the statistician George Barna found in his research regarding television viewing that believe it or not, more Christian kids on a percentage basis, that's 42% versus 33% more Christians watch MTV than Non-Christians. No wonder why so many of my teenage friends struggle like crazy with thoughts of lust and rebellion and anger and self-destruction.

03:51 But Philippians 4:6 goes even further in offering guidelines for our thought life. In fact, I believe it's Philippians 4:8 actually, Paul explains that our mind should focus on things that are pure and right and true and lovely, things of good repute, things that are excellent and things that are worthy of praise. Today's media sometimes qualifies, but more often than not it doesn't and when it falls short, we should get what our minds don't have. And that's a click to the "off" position. Turn it off.

04:24 Here's the questions for today. What all have you been thinking about lately? What's your mind been dwelling on and are any of these thoughts that you're having disturbing, if so, are any related or reinforced by your media diet? And then secondly: What practical steps can you take to renew your mind and to set your mind on things above, not on earthly things? What arguments are you likely to hear from your peers in school, in the locker room, in business, or even in your home as they watch and listen to what they watch and they see you watching and not watching what you watch. What are you going to do to turn the off switch on the media stuff that you're involved in? It's a tough question isn't it? Here's the lifeline, here's the thought for the day. Discuss with a trusted Christian mentor or friend or somebody in your family the struggles that you faced regarding your thought life, and identify a plan that will succeed against this battle and help you more consistently think of things above. It's time to empty the trashcan. Don't you think?

"Just because that stuff's out there, even a little bit, can literally be stored in your mind forever. So don't be captive."

Family Discussion:

  • What are the types of hollow and deceptive philosophies that are being promoted through today's pop culture?
  • While it's one thing to read the biblical admonition, to see to it that no one takes you captive, it's another thing to live it out. How do you, in a practical way, not allow these entertainment messages that are contrary to Christ teachings into your spirit and into your mind?
  • What are the possible consequences of hiding entertainment and indulging entertainment, hiding thoughts, that applauds behavior, that applauds language and attitudes that you know are not Christ honoring?

Transcription:

00:06 Every day when we get into this Bible, I'm just reminded again about just how incomparable, just how awesome, how amazing it is, the words of this book, huge what we're doing together everyday. We're in Colossians today, chapter 2, verse 4-8. This is awesome. Paul says: "I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive argument for even though I'm absent in body, nevertheless, I'm with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ. Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus our Lord, so walk in him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up and established in your faith and overflowing with gratitude." And then he comes back again in verse eight, he says, "see to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy or empty deception according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world rather than according to Christ."

01:24 The deal today is, do you want to be captive or do you want to be free? Do you know that this little 2.5 pound mass of gray matter inside of your skull, your brain has about 10 billion cells, something like that. Scientists have taught us through study with the brain through the years that every cell in the brain is a little trap. Every cell that's connected by millions and billions and literally probably a trillion neurons, little highways connect the cells in your brain so that everything you see and everything you hear and everything you touch and everything you taste, every thing you smell is stored in your brain. I think that's why pornography is such an incredibly evil drug because there's a little hormone released in your brain called Epinephrin that every time you see a picture of a girl or a boy that's unclothing or unclothed in a pornographic way, that that picture is stored and it's printed like a print in a photography dark room. It's printed on that piece of paper, that thought, that pictures printed in your mind. And it can literally stay there forever. The magazines that are coming after us, the iPhones, the iPods, the iTunes, the movies the television, the magazines, etc. I'm telling you, because I know I've counseled the kids, and I've counseled the adults through the years that became captive, literally became slaves, of some of this stuff that was coming into their minds. You can put bitterness into your mind through music. You can put hatred in your mind. You can put rebellion and anger in your mind. You can put pornography in your mind. It'll ruin your marriage with your boy or a girl; or you can put God in your mind.

03:26 I remember I used to do a teen talk radio show for years with Focus on the Family. And we would be in hundreds of stations all over the country and kids would call in from all over America. And I remember one boy called me one time and he liked to smoke marijuana and he thought that a little marijuana wasn't bad. And he said, well, "God made marijuana. So it's got to be good." And I don't know why I said this, but I said, "God made poison ivy too. And God made rattlesnakes too. So you going go out and smoke them or you going to go play with them?" Just because that stuff's out there, even a little bit, can literally be stored in your mind forever. So don't be captive.

04:08 The greatest adoption story in the antithesis of that is my buddy Chris, he adopted three kids - three kids from the inner city, three kids that their lives were going south. They were going nowhere. Those three kids were literally becoming a product of the world's system, but he adopted those kids, and he filled those kids with love. He filled their minds with Christ. And I'm telling you, those kids graduated from high school. They were of the most outstanding kids in their high school and are now in college because they filled their minds with love and they filled their minds with God.

04:43 Here's the question today. What are the types of hollow and deceptive philosophies that are being promoted through today's pop culture? And then secondly: While it's one thing to read the biblical admonition, to see to it that no one takes you captive, it's another thing to live it out. How do you, in a practical way, not allow these entertainment messages that are contrary to Christ teachings into your spirit and into your mind? And then talk about this with your family. What are the possible consequences of hiding entertainment and indulging entertainment, hiding thoughts, that applauds behavior, that applauds language and attitudes that you know are not Christ honoring and know are going to abuse your temple, as God says of the Holy Spirit that lives in you? Here's the lifeline today: Write down two or three of your favorite music groups or television shows or movies. Go ahead and write them down and then ask yourself the question, Do you believe that any of these fall into the hollow and deceptive philosophy category that Paul warns you about? And if so, what do you need to do about those?

"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.

"The tornado of time will eventually scatter our bodies into the dust of the ground."

Family Discussion:

  • What is the blind spot that you have that causes you to focus so much time and attention on our earthly time and bodies?
  • What are some ways you can change your priorities to refocus on that part of you that will live forever?
  • How can you express high value for the spirit of Christ that lives in your heart?

Transcription:

00:06 Today I want to tell you about an amazing miracle in a horrible tornado. And I want to give credit to Dr. Bill Gillham, one of my heroes in the faith for something he taught me about the scripture. Today, tornadoes are the most devastating things, square inch per square inch, I think in the world. But in this tornado, something cool happened to a friend of mine. We're in Second Corinthians chapter 5 verses 1-5. I can't wait for this, it's awesome. Listen to this, "Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile, we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling because when we're clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we were in this tent, we groan in our burden because we do not wish to be unclothed, but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now, it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit guaranteeing what is to come."

01:25 Randy Odom, oh man, what a great guy. One of the counselors at Kids Across America, these awesome summer camps that we have here in the Ozarks reserve, especially for some of America's most deserving kids who come from the financially depraved concrete world of the urban inner city in America. And, not only does Randy love God, but he loves urban kids with a passion. One stormy day in the spring, I'll never forget when Randy pulled up in front of his trailer house at the exact moment, a tornado arrived at his front door. True story. In haste, he jumped out of his car as the door was ripped off the hinges of that trailer. He dove into his home on wheels where he was met a head on in the hallway by a flying door.

02:13 The door pinned him to the floor while his whole house literally was demolished above him. Although his house was scattered for city blocks, Randy was protected by the door and escaped without injury. You know what these, as Bill Gilliam says, these earth suits we inhabit while we visit this earth are about as stable as Randy's mobile home in a tornado. You know, we can exercise them, we can feed them, we can doctor them all we want, but the tornado of time will eventually scatter our bodies into the dust of the ground. And you know, there's no medicine or vitamin or magic potion that can keep the inevitable from happening. You know, as, as for man, scripture say these days are like grass as a flower of the field. So he flourishes when the wind passes over it. It is no more in its place, acknowledge it no longer, Psalms 103 says.

03:04 But fortunately, oh, so fortunately our spirit is protected from destruction by the spirit of Christ, if he indeed is alive and well in our hearts. It's our spirit sealed by grace for eternity by his spirit that is destined to live with God forever, unscathed, unharmed, free to live and fit for a life with a king. And, here's the question for you today. What is the blind spot that you have that causes you to focus so much time and attention on our earth suit, as Bill Gillham says, with such a limited lifespan and so little time and attention to our inner man that will live forever? And then this question, what are some ways you can change your priorities to refocus on that part of you that will live forever? And then, how can you express high value for the spirit of Christ that lives in your heart? And here's the lifeline for the day, man, what a great time to pour your heart into these little daily devotionals to prepare the part of you that will live forever.

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