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?”
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 the struggle begins.
The goal is to submit our own comfort and security to God and say, “Lord, use me.”
I asked my friend Ray Vander Laan that very question. He answered the way Ray always does, by illuminating Scripture in light of its ancient setting and then applying it to us in ways that make Scripture leap from the page. “God’s story in context,” as he calls it.
On our broadcast titled “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. Paul suffered terribly, his back likely bloodied and shredded from the flogging. Rome was known for its cruelty.
Paul could have saved himself from all of it by appealing to his Roman citizenship. 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 chapter, and you discover that one of the story’s villains – a jailer who had held Paul prisoner in a dungeon – is the one experiencing the outpouring of God’s mercy.
The jailer wasn’t converted because God displayed His power through an earthquake that leveled the prison, but because Paul 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. Ray is a religion instructor at Holland Christian Schools in Holland, Michigan. He’s an ordained minister, an expert in Jewish history, and has been teaching the Bible for over 40 years.
He’ll also be joining us for Focus on the Family’s 40th anniversary cruise aboard the Disney Dream. We’re chartering the entire ship, and Ray will be one of the devotional speakers. If you’d like to spend three or four days on the high seas discovering the Bible through Ray’s teaching, I invite you to join us. We only have a few spots left, so visit our website for full information about the cruise.
I hope you’ll join us for “Authentic Christianity: Counting the Cost” on your local radio station, online, or on our free phone app. You can find the That the World May Know series and other helpful resources in our online bookstore.