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

Family Discussions:

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

Transcription:

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

Cry of Victory - Mark 15:37-39

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

Family Discussions:

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

Transcription:

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

"When you watch a basketball game or play in a game of any sport or watch football game, who do you cheer for? Well, I always cheer for the underdog. And I don't know what it is inside of me but every time anybody plays, I'll look for the team that's not supposed to win and I just begin to cheer for that team like they're my team. And when they come back and win, it's the greatest thing in the world."

Family Discussion:

  1. Which side are we on? God's or Satan's?

Transcription:

00:13          When you watch a basketball game or play in a game of any sport or watch football game, who do you cheer for? Well, I always cheer for the underdog. And I don't know what it is inside of me but every time anybody plays, I'll look for the team that's not supposed to win and I just begin to cheer for that team like they're my team. And when they come back and win, it's the greatest thing in the world. Listen to this victory. Listen to who wins in this passage in Revelation 17:14-17. It looks like Satan is going to win. It looks like the enemy is going to take over the whole earth. But look at the comeback. 17:14-17 scripture says this, "these will wage war against the lamb and the lamb will overcome them because He is Lord of Lords and the King of Kings and those who are with him are the called and the chosen and the faithful. And he said to me, the waters which you saw where the harlot sits are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues, and the 10 horns which you saw are the beast. These will hate the harlot and will make her desolate and naked and will eat her flesh and will burn her up with fire. For God has put in his heart to execute his purpose by having a common purpose and by giving their kingdom to the beast until the words of God will be fulfilled."
 
01:41          Let me tell you about the day that Razorback stadium was silent. The craziest, wildest fans in the United States of America are the Arkansas Razorbacks. We were playing the Razorback in War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock. And I literally walked on the field and I felt the earth shake underneath my feet. They were number two in the nation that year. And you know what? They jumped out to a 35 to nothing lead over our little SMU team and we were getting killed.
 
02:08          But Bruce Portillo stepped into the huddle, our Middle Linebacker, and he said, come on guys, we can stop these people. And I don't know what it was about Bruce Portillo, but he had something charismatic about him. And you know what, they didn't make another first down. There are only 10 minutes left on the clock and we scored four straight touchdowns. And even though if we would've gotten the ball one more time, we would've beat those people. We didn't. We lost 35 to 28. We won an incredible victory that day. The day when razorback stadium was silenced. And so it will be with the work of Satan. And he is literally taking over the earth today as our nation has decided to kick him out of everything that we do. Kicking him out of prayer schools and Bible reading schools.
 
02:59          And it take a God and His name out of public life where you can't even put a manger scene, you know, out in a public place or put a cross in a tribute to a soldier. It looks like Satan is taking over the world, but he's not. And at the end, Jesus is going to win. Jesus is going to reign because Jesus is going to overcome. And those who love him and follow him are gonna reign with him forever and ever. And so the question for you and I today is, which side are we own? You know, Jesus said, no man can serve two masters. Either you love the one and hate the other, or you'll serve the one and despise the other. He says, you can't serve God and Mammon in chapter five of Matthew. So which side of your on? He said, either you're for me or you're against me and today you and I get to choose sides. He looks like the underdog, but I'll tell you he's going to win in the end.

"What great selection skills Jesus had. Don't you think that's why he chose you?"

Family Discussion:

  • Can you name two or three adjectives that would describe your grip on God's word, and two or three adjectives that God would describe with you?
  • How does a young Christian become steadfast and dependable?
  • Why are people who have a steadfast grip on God's word so admirable?

Transcription:

00:06 You remember back in kindergarten when you would draw your hand on a piece of paper with a pen? Well today we're going to do that again, and then we're going to show you something really cool about that. But first I want to read from Second Thessalonians chapter 3, verse 1-5. It Paul says this in this amazing little book: "Finally, brethren, pray for us that the Word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified just as it did also with you and that we will be rescued from perverse and evil men. For not all have faith, but the Lord is faithful and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.We have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will continue to do what we command. May the Lord direct our hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ."

01:14 Our theme for the day is steadfast, so solid, immovable, dependable, loyal, steadfast. If you could outline your hand on a piece of paper, kind of like we used to do once upon a time, and write one adjective on each finger and on your thumb to describe your grip on God's word, what would the adjectives be for you? How would God describe your lifestyle in following him? Would the indications be, wishy-washy, hypocritical, undependable? Or would they be courageous, focused, and strong? A while back, a hero of mine, a 17 year old friend of mine, made a super difficult decision to break up with his gorgeous girlfriend because he knew that she wasn't what she needed or he needed to be spiritually strong and the relationship wasn't leading to a godly future. It was good for both of them. My friend has done so many decisions like that. He steadfast. He's walked away from countless parties where alcohol and drugs showed up and he's even led some of his friends to Christ by being a solid example on the high school campus. Out on the Texas ranch or on an Ozark rural form where words are few and character is measured by the work you do and the way you walk your talk, the biggest compliment you can receive is when an old cowboy tells someone that he could turn his back on you and never give it a second thought. Jesus had hand-picked 11 guys that he knew he could leave with the high calling of telling the world about him when he left; although they had fallen in the past, he knew he could turn his back on them and they wouldn't let him down. What great selection skills he had. Don't you think that's why he chose you?

03:26 And here's the questions for today. Can you name two or three adjectives that would describe your grip on God's word, and two or three adjectives that God would describe with you? And then secondly: How does a young Christian become steadfast and dependable? And then thirdly: Why are people who have a steadfast grip on God's word so admirable? And the lifeline for today is this: as you make decisions and hard choices this week, describe those choices with an adjective that depicts your character as you decide which road you're going to take.

"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.

"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?

"My guilt became his burden. My shame became his sacrifice."

Family Discussion:

  • What did it mean to God to make his son a curse for you?
  • How does that fact grip your heart right now?
  • What can you do to thank him for such an overwhelming act of love?

Transcription:

00:06 Hey, have you ever had a bible verse that literally broke your heart? I mean, that just drove you to your knees in tears? Today I want to share you with you one that broke mine. We're in Galatians chapter 3 verse 13,14, 22 and 26. Listen to this. In verse 13 it says this, "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us, for it is written, cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree. In order that in Christ Jesus, the blessing of Abraham might come to the gentiles so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. But the scripture has shut up everyone under sin so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe, for you are all sons of God through faith in Jesus Christ."

01:07 That's awesome! Over 700 years before Jesus became a living reality and his sacrificial death on the cross became an eternal invitation, the Prophet Isaiah described God's intentions and his method in intricate detail. In chapter 53, he prophesized this: "He was pierced through for our transgression. He was crushed for our iniquities. The chastening of our wellbeing fell upon him, and by his scorching we are healed, by the stripes on his back we;re healed. All of us, like sheep have gone astray. Each of us has turned his own way, but the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall upon him. But the Lord was pleased to crush him, putting him to grieve, if he would render himself is a guilt offering." Unbelievable!

02:05 I played defensive line, I was a nose man and I endured many crushing Saturday afternoons at stadiums around America. But, I'm telling you something, when I first came to grips with this verse that he became a curse for me, I sobbed literally for an hour, like a little boy who had lost his first girlfriend. Man, I couldn't squelch the sadness that welled up in my heart for this dear man who, although (this is from Philippians 2) he existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but Paul said he emptied himself by becoming a bond servant and taking the form of man and being made in the likeness of man. He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore also, Paul said, God highly exalted Him and bestowed upon him the name that is above every other name; that at the of Jesus, every knee should bow, all because He loved me and loved you. And He wanted to have a close, personal, intimate friendship with you, with me as a father who just adopted his favorite son. His curse became my salvation. My guilt became his burden. His purity became my perfection. My shame became his sacrifice.

03:32 And here's the questions today. What did it mean to God to make his son a curse for you? How does that fact grip your heart right now? And then thirdly: What can you do to thank him for such an overwhelming act of love? And then the lifeline today is this: It has been said that a man is no fool to give up what he cannot keep in exchange for what he cannot lose.

"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.

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