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When God Gives You a Second Chance (Part 2 of 2)

When God Gives You a Second Chance (Part 2 of 2)

Humorist Ken Davis shares insights from the biblical story of Jonah to encourage Christians to listen for God's voice and follow in the direction He leads. (Part 2 of 2)

John Fuller: We all have a common struggle and today on Focus on the Family, Ken Davis describes that.

Preview:

Ken Davis: Money calls to us. Power calls to us. Temptation whispers to us. And God says, “Come to me. I have a blessing beyond anything you can imagine.”

End of Preview

John: Well, where do you go for power, for fulfillment? What do you do when temptation comes? Do you seek out God? Today we’ll explore those ideas and welcome to another edition of Focus on the Family with your host, Focus president, and author Jim Daly.

Jim Daly: Uh, John. We’re midway through a message from Ken Davis about how God can work in a person’s life, and what we should do when we hear his voice. And, hopefully, as a believer, those things have happened. It may not be an audible voice, it may be just a sudden thought that came out of nowhere, but it was exactly what you needed to hear. And, the basis for these concepts is the life of the prophet Jonah, the story that, uh, so many of us remember from childhood. Who can forget someone swallowed by a whale, I mean, come on? But, the story goes so much deeper than that, excuse the pun.

John: (Laughs).

Jim: Um, but stay tuned. And if you missed part one of Ken’s presentation last time, uh, get in touch with us. We can send you the entire message on CD or DVD, uh, so that you can share it with someone who needs to hear it.

John: Yeah, and that CD and DVD are both available when you call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. 800-232-6459. And, you can also stop by online, donate as you can, and find those resources, and more, at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast.

Jim: And I highly recommend the DVD ’cause Ken, he’s a pretty visual guy, and he has great body motions along with his humor. Also, if you have a smart phone, you can get the Focus on the Family broadcast app and you can do that right now. Uh, those are great ways to listen to your favorite shows.

John: Yeah, Ken is, uh, certainly a favorite in the Fuller family and he’s written a number of books. He’s a motivational speaker and he also teaches speaking skills, and, uh, we’ll give you a brief recap of Ken’s message from last time, and then we’ll roll into the new material as we hear more from Ken Davis on today’s edition of Focus on the Family.

Ken: Uh, I guess my question tonight is, then what do we do when this God moves us, when he speaks to us, when he calls us? What do we do when that God asks us to take action of some kind? The God who created the Earth, the God who put the mountains in place. He whispers to us. What should we do? I have a good idea, let’s run.

Audience: (Laughing).

Ken: Not a real good idea, is it? But, that’s what Jonah did. Now, tonight’s message isn’t about running, it isn’t about running from God, that’s the scene that takes place. But, the book of Jonah itself really isn’t about running from God. It is a book that teaches us about this marvelous God who can do anything he wants, and chooses to give us a second chance. Maybe God is calling you to be involved in the church. Maybe you don’t belong to the church. I’m gonna tell you a little story. I have a friend sitting down here, Ken Nicholson, and I told stor-, uh, Ken a story a couple of years ago about how my heart was just overcome with depression. There had been an attack from a person and- and I- I just didn’t know how to deal with it, and as a part of an outcome of all of that, I really believe it was God whispering in my ear, “Ken, get involved in the church.” God did not create us to be nomadic. He did not create us to wander the Earth without a sense of community. I went home and I told my wife, “You know what, if I died, honey, I think you would adjust quite quickly. You’d be okay.” I said, “But, the part that I can’t imagine is you finding five people willing to carry the casket.” ‘Cause I figured she could pick up the one side, so it would be six people including her.

Audience: (Laughing).

Ken: You know, in my brain I had this mental picture of my wife coming out of the church with the casket going, “Cut-tonk, cut-tonk, cut-tonk,”

Audience: (Laughing).

Ken: …down the steps. I was living without community. When I hurt, there was no one to go to. I needed to hear the word of God on a regular basis, and I’m- I heard God, I- I heard him call, and I made a commitment that I was going to be in my church two Sundays a month. That commitment cost me financially. But, what I reaped in return in reward of friendship, and relationships, and renewed spiritual vigor, and a community of people who care where I’m going and what I’m doing, listen for God. He may ask you to take a step, the first step in resolving conflict in your family, or a conflict in the church, or a conflict in your workplace. God may be calling you to turn from sin. Most certainly, he’s calling you to a relationship with himself. There’s no doubt in my mind with this many people sitting in the church tonight that there are some of you who have never trusted the Lord. I guarantee you, you’re not here by accident. I guarantee you that if this isn’t your first time in the church that God is wooing you, he is calling you, not to destroy you, not to take away your joy, not to ruin your life, but to bring you what your heart most longs for. Listen for God. The word of the Lord came to Jonah, son of Amittai, “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it because it’s wickedness has come up before me.” Verse three says, “But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish.” If you were to look at a map and see where God was sending Nineveh or was sending Jonah, who is Nineveh’s brother, if you could see where-

Audience: (Laughing).

Ken: … God was sending Jonah, and you see where Jonah went, you would see that it was a straight line away from where God was sending me. He ran away. And we so quickly go, oh, nasty Jonah was, man, why would he do-

Audience: (Laughing).

Ken: We don’t do that, do we? He went down to Joppa where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord. Then, the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. All of the sailors were afraid, and each cried out to his own God, and they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship. If the first step, or lesson, we can learn from Jonah is to listen for God’s voice, then the second one is, when we hear it, don’t run. Do not run from God. Here’s some reasons why. First of all, you will miss out on the blessing he has prepared for you. Money calls to us. Power calls to us. Temptation whispers to us. And God says, “Come to me. I have a blessing beyond anything you can imagine.” Secondly, you will bring calamity on yourself and the people around you. The place exploded with danger. It wasn’t only himself that he endangered, but it was all of the other people on the ship.

John: You’re listening today on Focus on the Family to Ken Davis, and we’ve got a DVD of this entire presentation from Ken. It’s available to you when you make a generous contribution of any amount to the Ministry of Focus. Our number is 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. Or, you can donate and request, uh, that DVD at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Let’s return now to more from Ken Davis on Focus on the Family.

Ken: I spoke to a man recently who had confided in me several years ago that h- he was on the edge of giving in to the temptation of having an affair and leaving his family. And, we prayed, and talked, and, but in the end, it’s up to him. And, he chose to listen to God. God gave him a second chance and he chose to listen to God. And, when he discovered later the entanglement that he was about to step into, you see in his heart, he believed that if he would just follow this direction, that joy and happiness and all that he had missed in life would come to him. Suddenly, life would have the thrill and excitement that he wanted it to have. Happens with our young people all the time. You live for every bit of pleasure that you can get now because we don’t know about tomorrow. And God says, “No, trust me. I know the best way.” This man found out that the person that he wanted to- to leave his family for was involved with several other people, I- I mean, he would’ve stepped into a mess that would’ve put him in the deepest pit. And, today, if you talk to him, he will openly tell you that God have him a second chance and he took it. And, he praises this God, this marvelous God. Verse five says, “All the sailors were afraid, and each cried out to their own God.” That’s the first thing that happens when you get in trouble, isn’t it? You try, well, maybe there’s more money, maybe there’s something, I can solve it. I don’t know what your God is, I’m gonna tell you what my God is. I’m halfway clever. Now, I’m- I may be an idiot, but I am halfway clever. That means that I will always try to figure it out on my own. When, in reality, what we ‘ought to do is go to the source of all of the answers, right away. But, these sailors each called to their own God. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship. That’s what I’d of done. I’d of said, we gotta figure this out man. Get this ship lighter. We gotta do something about this. I’m a pilot. I fly my own airplane. And, one time I was flying over the mountains, I will never forget this. Flying over the mountains and I ran out of gas. It had two sides. You had the left tank and the right tank, and I just forgot to change tanks. And so, I’m over the most rugged mountains in Colorado and the- the propellors stopped. Do you know what a propellor on an airplane is for?

Audience: (Laughing).

Ken: You don’t know?

Audience: (Laughing).

Ken: You’re not a pilot then, are yeah? No. A lot of people think the propellor on an airplane makes the airplane fly. Hmm-mm. Hmm-mm. I discovered that day, that propellor is a fan. It’s designed to keep the pilot cool.

Audience: (Laughing).

Ken: No, I’m not lying to yeah, ’cause when that puppy quit, I started sweating something fear.

Audience: (Laughing).

Ken: And, I reached down and I turned the- the- the, uh, gas thing to the left tank where there was plenty of gas. And suddenly, the engine roared to life. Friends, when we get in trouble, the first thing we ‘ought to do is turn the gas tank to where the power is, where the source of hope is, rather than trying all of our own devices to make it happen. They each cried to their own God. They through their cargo into the sea to lighten the ship. Now, here’s the third reason why you shouldn’t run from God. But, Jonah had gone below the deck where he laid down and fell into a deep sleep. Can you imagine this? I’ve been on a cruise ship in heavy seas where the waves were literally breaking over the front of the ship. I could not sleep. I could not sleep. I was in my room, no I wasn’t in my room, I was in the bathroom making promises to God.

Audience: (Laughing).

Ken: But, if you run from God long enough, you can be in the middle of mortal danger and never know it. You can be sound asleep. You can reach a place where you can’t even hear his voice. One of the scariest versus in the bible to me is found in Romans where it says this simple statement, “So, God gave them over to their own vain thinking. They stopped hearing his voice.” He was sound asleep. The captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep? Get up and call on your God. Maybe he will take notice of us and we will not parish.” Then the sailor said to each other, “Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity.” They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah, and they- they threw the dice, and the- it came up Jonah. So, they ask him, “Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?” He said, “I am a Hebrew, and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven who made the sea and the land.” And this, terrified them. What terrified them? That they understood which God he was running from because intuitively they knew this was the true God. They said, “What have you done?” They knew he was running away from the Lord because he’d already told them so. The sea was getting rougher and rougher, so they ask him, “What would- should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?” Jonah said, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea. It will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.” Instead the b- men did their best to rode to land. (Laughs). That is so me.

Audience: (Laughing).

Ken: Oh God, how can I get out of this? Repent. Come back to me. Say you’re sorry to your wife. (Laughs). Is there any other way that I can get out of it?

Audience: (Laughing).

Ken: Come on, is it just me? Then they cried to the Lord, they said, “Oh Lord, please do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for the killing of an innocent man. For you, oh Lord, have done as you pleased.” Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. You what what fascinates me? This is the way our society works too. Do you remember Sept- September 11th? Of course you remember September 11th. Do you remember the Sunday after September 11th? Churches were filled to capacity. Why do we wait until we’re in big trouble before we acknowledge God? Why do we keep trying to do it our way. Why do we not respond to the first chance that God gives us?

John: You are listening to Ken Davis on Focus on the Family, and uh, this reminder, we have a DVD of this entire presentation available. It’s called Second Chances; Lessons from Jonah. Make a donation to support the work here at Focus on the Family, and get your copy of that DVD when you call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY. Or stop by focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Let’s return now to more from Ken Davis on Focus on the Family.

Ken: The next portion of scripture identifies a place I have been in my life. I want you to listen to carefully, I’m going to read the whole portion. This is a portion of scripture that describes us as we have turned our back on God and wonder if there are any more chances left. From inside the fish, Jonah prayed to the Lord, his God. In my distress, I called to the Lord, and he answered me. From the depths of the grave, I called for help, and you listened to my cry. You hurled me into the deep, into the very heart of the seas, and the current swirled about me. All of your waves and breakers swept over me. I said, I have been banished from your sight, yet I will look again toward your holy temple. The engulfing waters threatened me. The deep surrounded me. Seaweed was wrapped around my head. To the roots of the mountains, I sank down. The earth beneath barred me in forever. But, you brought my life up from the pit, oh God. When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you Lord, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple. Those who cling to worthless idols, forfeit the grace that could be theirs. But, I, with a song of Thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you what I have vowed, I will make good. Salvation comes from the Lord. And, the bible says, and the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah up on dry land. I do comedy concerts all around the country. I was backstage at the intermission at one of our comedy concerts where I had shared the gospel and how God’s grace is- is prepared to forgive us of anything we’ve ever done. Someone came back and handed me a note as I rested waiting for the second part of the program. The note began like this, I came in the door tonight planning how I would kill myself. A long- long time ago, I decided I would. Tonight, it was only a matter of deciding how. And, in the midst of the laughter, this note said, you told me that God would love me no matter what I have done. This person said, I have betrayed my family. I have betrayed God. I have broken every moral value that I ever set in my life. But, tonight, I knew that if I prayed to God, he would hear my voice. She said, thank you. You saved my life. What she really meant, and- and what I heard was that God saved her life. She did not sign her name. She just signed, your 13-year-old friend. Thirteen years old. We have an entire generation of young people who- who feel this sense of hopelessness. We have a generation of older people who wonder, does God still have any use for me? We have a generation of people who are young, and vital, and vibrant, who feel that they have turned their back on God so long that he can’t hear them anymore, doesn’t want them anymore, and I’m here to tell you that this is a God of salvation. Your salvation comes to the Lord, and this is a God of second chances. Aren’t you glad God is a God of second chances? (Laughs).

Audience: (Clapping).

Ken: God gave Jonah a second chance! All mighty God said, “Go to Nineveh and cry against it.” Doesn’t matter what his motivations were, he disobeyed God, and God gave him a second chance. Now, the man is laying on a beach, his clothes eaten by the acid in the whale’s stomach. He smells like whale barf.

Audience: (Laughing).

Ken: And, as he lays on the beach at an all-time low, God speaks to him the greatest words, I think, in the bible, verse, or chapter three, verse one. Then, the word of the Lord came to Jonah, a second time. He was about to give Nineveh, one of the most evil cities that ever existed on the face of the Earth, a second chance. This story is about second chances, and tonight is about your second chance. What is God asking you to do? I could give another list for you, but you know. Your heart is beating with it this very moment. He’s giving you a second chance. Let’s pray. Thank you Lord for giving us a second chance. Thank you for the marvelous story of Jonah that so clearly demonstrates your love. Thank you that you gave us a second chance, even as you hung on the cross. We had already sinned against you. Thank you that you are a God of second chances, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Audience: (Clapping).

John: With that, we come to the end of this two-day presentation from author and speaker Ken Davis on today’s episode of Focus on the Family, and, uh, I don’t know about you Jim, but I’m so glad we serve a God who does believe in second chances.

Jim: Uh, me to John, and since he’s dealing with fellable human beings, uh, he gets a lot of practice in giving out those second chances, and- and you know, I recently read a profound idea that because God is immutable, or unchanging, he doesn’t have bad moods, or lose affection for us. Uh, in fact, in Jeremiah-31-3, the Lord says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” So, God’s love and his attitude toward us is the same as when he died for us on the cross. Think of that.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: No matter what we’ve done, he loves us.

John: And that is so comforting to know, and, uh, if you’re struggling to accept the truth of God’s love. Let me just remind you that we have caring Christian counselors here at the ministry who can provide a listening ear if you need someone to talk to.

Jim: That’s right John, and we have a really wonderful staff of counselors. Uh, they come from all walks of life, and are very talented professionals, and they are here to serve you. In fact, let me read you a note from someone who was helped by a counselor on our team. He said, “I was stuck in Satan’s trap of defeat and discouragement and was at a point of desperation when I made the call to focus. I thought that God’s forgiveness was not possible for me because my sins were far too great. The counselor shared the story of the woman who washed the feet of Jesus with her hair and her tears, and described how God’s grace toward her was unlimited, freeing her from all of her sins. As the counselor shared that story, uh, the very same sense of forgiveness washed over me, and I was relieved of my burden of guilt. Thank you, Focus on the Family, and let me say thank you the supporters of Focus on the Family.

John: Mm-hmm.

Jim: For providing this valuable service. Uh, man, that is so good, and I want to say thank you to the donors for helping us do that. It’s because of you and the Lord working through you, and us, that we can offer our counseling consultations for free.

John: Yeah, and it’s a partnership that provides, uh, that counseling resource to so many, and it reminds me, Jim, of a verse in proverbs, uh, I think it’s proverbs 12 that says, the tongue of the wise brings healing, and we’ve seen that time and again how the Lord gives that kind of wisdom that does bring healing to our counselors when they’re on those phone calls.

Jim: Right, and, uh, if you need, uh, that wise word, just give us a call and we’ll take your name and number so that a counselor can call you back. Um, and they’ll give you biblical advice, ideas for some next steps, and can refer you to a trained counselor in your area, someone who has been screened by Focus on the Family, and is a member of our Christian counselors network. And, let me remind you, our counseling team has seen the number of calls increase since the pandemic. So, we need your help. Uh, would you join our team of financial supports? Help us, help others. And, when you do, I’d like to send you the Ken Davis DVD of today’s content. It’s called Second Chances; Lessons from Jonah, for a donation of any amount. Please get in touch with us today and join us as we share the gospel, strengthen marriages, and equip parents one family at a time.

John: And, you can get your DVD when you call 800, the letter A, and the word FAMILY, 800-232-6459, or donate online and request that DVD at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Coming up next time on this broadcast, how one loving adult can transform a child’s life and faith.

Preview:

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