I wake up every day with a desire to serve the Lord. I want other people to see Christ in me when I’m confronted with challenges. I want them to say, “Wow! I would’ve reacted entirely differently in that situation. What do you have that I don’t, Jim?”
But then someone cuts me off in traffic.
…Or my boys don’t behave the way I’ve told them to a dozen times.
…Or I’m exhausted after a long flight and an unexpected delay complicates my plans.
I’m sure you know what I mean. Christians want to reflect Christ well, but the battle between our flesh and the Spirit inevitably flares up. And when the struggle begins, what do we do?
I asked my friend Ray Vander Laan that very question on our Focus on the Family Broadcast “Authentic Christianity: Counting the Cost.” He answered the way Ray always does, by illuminating Scripture in light of its ancient setting and then applying it in ways that make it leap from the page.
“God’s story in context” as he calls it.
On “Authentic Christianity: Counting the Cost,” Ray explains what happened when the Apostle Paul submitted his comfort and security to the Lord.
The book of Acts tells us that Paul was beaten and jailed in Philippi for teachings contrary to Roman custom and practice. He suffered terribly, his back likely shredded and bloodied from flogging and other implements of torture utilized by the Roman system of justice. Rome was known for its cruelty.
Paul could have saved himself from all of it by appealing to his rights as a Roman citizen. But on this occasion, he didn’t.
Because he knew that God had a greater purpose for his suffering. Cut to the end of the story, and you discover that one of the villains – a jailer who held Paul prisoner in a dungeon – experiences the outpouring of God’s mercy through Paul, who submitted himself to the Lord, whatever the cost.
Few people can illuminate Scripture and bring it to life as well as Ray Vander Laan. He’s been our guest numerous times over the years and has partnered with us since 1995 to produce the extensive That the World May Know video series, which has touched millions of lives around the world. He has led nearly 10,000 people through tours in the Middle East. A religion instructor at Holland Christian Schools in Holland, Michigan, Ray is an ordained minister, and an expert in Jewish history, who has been teaching the Bible for over 40 years.
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