September 24, 2019

A Roaring Lion - 1 Peter 5:8-9

"I want you to meet one of my precious little stuffed animals today, little Leo. Leo the lion. Ain't he cute, soft, playful? Well, don't be lured in because Leo is not as playful as you think he is."

Family Discussions:

  1. What is it about Satan that you've already seen in your life that it makes him look like a soft little stuffed animal when behind the softness there's a roaring lion there that's gonna eat your lunch?
  2. What can you do today to get that lion out of your pen and out of your life?

Transcription:

00:14          I want you to meet one of my precious little stuffed animals today, little Leo. Leo the lion. Ain't he cute, soft, playful? Well, don't be lured in because Leo is not as playful as you think he is. We're in First Peter Chapter five verses eight and nine and it says this, "Be of sober spirit. Be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil rowls around like a roaring lion. Seeking someone to devour but resist him. Firm in your faith. Knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world."
 
00:48          One of the greatest basketball players who ever lived. I mean this guy could rebound like no one you've ever seen. I mean, he literally could have been among the two or three greatest of all time. Never achieved his greatness because he became bitter and the lion showed up. He had reason to be bitter. His wife had taken this little girl. But the bitterness became a lion in his heart and Satan literally took over and the guy couldn't even stay on a team. He couldn't even finish the season because bitterness ate him up. Because Satan like a lion began to eat his lunch.
 
01:26          I know another gentleman who, you know, Oh, he used to be the head of the family of families. I mean, the guy was making so much money. Had every, you know, sign of wealth that you could imagine for our guy to achieve.
 
01:39          One of my favorite singers of all time, one of the most beautiful voices, I think that's ever shown up on the radio, was this precious woman. And she started off in a choir robe as a teenager. Singing. She was a standout in the choir. And then somebody picked her up and took her to Los Angeles and made a record. And it wasn't long that she was the number one voice in America. Some say the number one voice in the world, but she couldn't give up her drugs. Her first designer drug showed up like a little bitty stuffed, you know, little lion pup. And it looks so innocent. It just took a little bit of the stress away and then it began to take over her mind and her life. And today she's on the side of the road. Strung out with a life history of being strung out on drugs.
 
02:47          It was in 2003 that the probably the greatest act in Las Vegas. Siegfried and Roy, you know, the, the great land tamers, the Great Tiger Tamers that were also, magician's world-class. They did feats that would just defy the imagination. And then one day one of their tigers turned on Roy and it almost killed Roy. I mean, just, you know, took his face apart and, and so it is with Satan. Don't you think that one little joint, it looks innocent. Don't you think for a second that, that one little, you know, alcoholic drink looks innocent.
 
03:29          Way down deep beneath that little stuffy, little cute soft face, there's a lion and Satan is behind that and he wants to eat your lunch. And so the question today is this, what is it about Satan that you've already seen in your life that it makes him, uh, you know, look like a soft little stuffed animal when behind the softness there, there's a roaring lion there that's gonna eat your lunch? And then what can you do today to get that lion out of your pen and out of your life?

"When you approach the Bible like a love letter, the Bible will become the favorite letter in your life."

Family Discussion:

  • Why is spiritual discipline so much more profitable than bodily discipline?
  • How do you train your faith?
  • What kind of faith workout schedule do you want to keep?

Transcription:

00:06 Okay. All right. Are you a workout freak? Do you love to train with these things? Well, I must confess I do, but I want to read you something today that will put it all in perspective. We're in first Timothy chapter four, verse eight and it says this: "For bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things. Since it holds promise, not only for the present life, but also for the life to come." Olympic weights, health clubs, Taibo, step aerobics, crunches, abs of steel, jazzercise, nautilus gyms, goals gyms, swimming workouts, diet plans, jogging workouts, biking workouts. We are a health and fitness crazed America. Every year, I suppose tens of billions of dollars and tens of billions of hours are spent on health plans, training plans, diet plans. The result: most boys I meet think their biceps are too small and one in four or more girls, they say suffer from some kind of an eating disorder.

01:24 Fitness is important. Don't get me wrong. Eating healthily is a good thing. But what would happen in America? In fact, what would happen to your home? In fact, what would happen to you if we trained our souls like we trained our bodies. Bible-cise, souls of Steel, Bible Club, God's gym, memory workouts, spiritual growth plans. Forgive the slapstick, but the concept is straight from scripture. Bodily discipline is of little benefit comparatively. And when overdone, bodily discipline can become an absolute idol. But spiritual discipline is profitable for all things. Psalms 1, and the kids and I memorized this a long time ago, but it says it so well: "Blessed is a man who doesn't delight himself in the ways of the wicked or the scoffers or the sinners, but he delights himself in the law of the Lord. And in his law, he meditates day and night." To meditate on the word, you've got to memorize the word, to meditate on the word, you've got to memorize it. You've got to study it. To study the word you've got to read it. To read it, you've got to open your Bible often. To open your Bible, you've got to have a heart that's excited, just plain excited about loving God and knowing God and living a life that has him in the middle of everything. It changed for me when Dr. Hendricks, one of my mentors and one of my heroes said, "When you approach the Bible like a love letter, the Bible will become the favorite letter in your life."

03:07 Here's the question for today. Why is spiritual discipline so much more profitable than bodily discipline? And then secondly: How do you train your faith? And then thirdly: What kind of faith workout schedule do you want to keep? Here's the lifeline for today. Lord, give me a heart that wants to know you more.

"Trust and Thanksgiving for whatever circumstance you're in will stop everything."

Family Discussion:

  • Who are you trusting today?
  • How do you give God thanks even when you feel like your life is being persecuted.
  • How do you think God feels when you give him all the glory?
  • How do you think God reacts when you give him Thanksgiving no matter what kind of circumstances you're in?

Transcription:

00:06 I want to tell you today about one of the greatest encounters with a college student I've ever had in my life. But first I want to read from second Thessalonians chapter 1. I'm going to read two or three verses in this. Skip down to verse 11. This church is getting severely persecuted and boy, I don't know if you feel persecution, if you feel lack or wont, or you just feel like you can't trust anything or anybody. If your faith and your trust are getting challenged today, this one's for you. In verse 1 Paul says this: "Paul, Silas, and Timothy to the Church of the Thessalonians of God, our father and the Lord Jesus Christ, grace to you and peace from God, our father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We are always to give thanks to God for you brethren, as it is only fitting because your faith is greatly enlarged in the love of each one of you, toward each other grows even greater." In verse 11, he says: "to this end we pray for you always, that our God will count you worthy of your calling and fulfill every desire of goodness and the work of faith with power so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in him according to the grace of God, our father and the Lord Jesus Christ." The question I want to ask you today, whatever you're going through; and you know what, you and I are probably going through a lot, but, who are you trusting? I'm telling you what man, everybody's got to trust somebody.

01:47 We were at the University of Southern California and we were doing one of our campus outreaches and the kids literally rushed into this theater in the middle of the campus, packed the theater out, and I built that cross and then hundreds of students came down to the cross to give their lives to Christ. But the most interesting part of the night for me was this: after the event, I went to the middle of the campus to wait for a ride. And this student came riding up on a bicycle. He was an Asian student. And the spirit of God inside of me said, "this guy needs to talk to you." He was carrying one of the books that we give away at the events. And I knew he had been there, and he got off his bicycle and he wanted to talk. And I said, "how'd it go for you tonight?" And he said, "man, I can't trust anybody." This guy had received persecution in his home I found out later. And his dad had broken his trust and he said, "I can't trust anybody." And I took this guy in my arms and right there in the middle of campus, he just began to weep in my arms. And I said, "you know what, you've got to trust somebody. We trust Jesus with your life." And he did. He trusted Christ with his life, gave his life to Christ. But then later that night we went to In-and-Out burger to get a burger and a milkshake before I flew back to Missouri, and you know what? The Guy who took me there also couldn't trust, he also had been persecuted and he couldn't trust. And I told him about Proverbs three, five and six that you can trust in the Lord with all your heart, that you can lean not on your own understanding, but in all your ways you can acknowledge him. Proverbs three, five and six, you can trust God. Believe it or not, the cup of the milkshake that I was drinking had a bible verse on the bottom because the owners of In-N-Out burgers are Christians. And they put a verse in the bottom of every cup. And I said, "did you know there's a verse in the bottom of every cup?" And he said really? And I turn the cup up after I finished the drink. And the verse was, proverbs three, five and six. It's a true story. He said, I give up. He said, I will trust God if you'll put that verse on the bottom of that cup for me, no matter what's going on in your life. Trust and Thanksgiving for whatever circumstance you're in will stop everything.

03:55 And I'm going to ask you this. Who are you trusting today? And secondly: How do you give God thanks even when you feel like your life is being persecuted. And then this one: How do you think God feels when you give him all the glory? How do you think God reacts when you give him Thanksgiving no matter what kind of circumstances you're in? The lifeline for today is this. God has been so gracious that our joy should overflow with thanksgiving and our trust should be in him no matter what.

"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.

"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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