Resources on Matthew
By Dr. Jack Graham |
Wrap your mind around the truth
By | December 20, 2016
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel (which means, God with us).”
Right now, millions of people around the world are preparing for Christmas. Some are planning for parties and family gatherings. Others are frantically shopping for the final items on their Christmas list.
You may even have a few last-minute preparations to make, too.
So many people are consumed with the usual Christmas activities. But do they really know what is Christmas really all about? Is it a myth? Is it about merriment? Is it about money and merchandizing?
The answer is that Christmas is a miracle. An amazing, life-changing miracle that happened long ago—and that continues to happen in the lives of those who know Christ.
The first miracle of Christmas is that Immanuel came. And according to our verse today, Immanuel means “God with us.”
The very presence of God in Jesus Christ came to earth. It’s unbelievable! Impossible! Unthinkable! Heaven’s royalty walked down our streets. He became flesh and dwelt among us.
And the Prince of eternity still knocks on your door today. That’s the glorious truth of Christmas.
Wrap your mind around the truth that God himself stepped out of eternity into time… for you.
The greatest story ever told
By | December 19, 2016
“She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”—Matthew 1:21
In the busyness of the holiday season, it’s easy to lose sight of how truly incredible the miracle of Christmas really is. Think about it. Jesus bridged the gulf of sin between God and mankind (you, if you’re a believer) by taking the form of man.
The story of Christmas is the Greatest Story Ever Told because Jesus came to bear the devastation and pain of our sins. It’s unimaginable, but true! Christmas is about redemption. It’s about hope. As our verse today says, “He will save his people from their sins.”
When you get a glimpse of what Jesus came to do, you can recapture the wonder and awe of this Christmas season.
Because Christ came, we can be filled with joy, hope, and peace! And that is Good News worth celebrating!
The story of Christmas is the greatest story ever told because Jesus came to bear the devastation and pain of our sins.
Immediately he [Jesus] made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds.
I want you to think about today’s verse for a moment. Jesus made the disciples get into that boat, knowing that a storm was coming their way.
Yet Jesus didn’t send them into the teeth of a storm to be malicious or mean. He did it to help build the disciples’ faith! And by doing this, Jesus also showed that He was in complete control.
You know, outside of salvation itself, the most liberating, life-producing, joy-producing, peace-giving truth is the fact that Jesus Christ is sovereignly in control of your life. This means no matter what storm you’re in or what storm you’re going to be in (because you’ll always be in one of those two places), God has you there for a reason.
So you can give Him thanks… not necessarily for the circumstance or the crisis itself… but for the Christ who reigns and rules in your heart and in your daily experiences. And you can thank God for loving you enough to be willing to send storms into your life to either perfect you or correct you.
There’s a song by Babbie Mason that says, “God is too wise to be mistaken, God is too good to be unkind. So when you don’t understand, when you don’t see His plan, when you can’t trace His hand, trust His heart.”
The same God who took you into the storm is the same God who will bring you out of it! So trust His heart… and His love for you… today.
And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
There are many, many reasons why people reject Jesus Christ. And one of the most popular excuses people give for rejecting Him is because of hypocrisy in the church.
Yes, there are hypocrites in the church of Jesus Christ. Think about it. Jesus had 12 disciples and one of them was even a hypocrite! So yes, there are—unfortunately—people who say they are Christians, and yet don’t live like Christians.
But did you ever consider that the devil may put a hypocrite in your path just to keep you from Jesus Christ? The devil can do that. Let me help you understand why.
Have you ever considered that when people want to counterfeit something, they don’t counterfeit gum wrappers? They counterfeit $20 bills, $100 bills… something that’s real! So for people to counterfeit the Christian faith…. and for the devil to put those counterfeits in your path… only indicates that Christianity is real!
Again, the fact that there are hypocrites in the church doesn’t lessen the credibility of the Christian faith. You need to make a distinction between sin and hypocrisy. All Christians sin.
But not all sinful Christians are hypocrites. Just because a Christian may sin doesn’t mean that Christianity is phony. And… look again at today’s verse. Jesus said, “Follow me.” He didn’t say, “Follow that person” or “Follow that church.” He said, “Follow me”!
Jesus Christ isn’t a hypocrite. When you follow Jesus Christ, you’re following Someone who always keeps His promises…...
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
God has called you not to just make a living, but to make a life. God has called you not to just take up space in this world, but to make our world a better place in which to live!
Yes, God wants you to make a difference!
Now, the people God uses to make a difference in this world are people who are vulnerable to Him, who are dependent on Him, and who are available to Him. If you desire and seek a courageous faith… and if you ask God to give you a compassionate heart… then anything is possible. I’m telling you, you can change the world!
I believe it’s time to make an impact on this generation and the coming generations for Christ. It’s time for us to fulfill our calling before He comes again. It’s time for God’s Church to rise up and shake off the past and shake the world for Christ. It’s time for God to do a new thing… a brand new thing in the hearts of His people! And that means you!
The story of Nehemiah is a compelling illustration of how God uses people… all kinds of people… for His glory.
Someone put it this way: “A zealous man in religion is preeminently a man of one thing. It is not enough to say he is earnest, hardy, uncompromising, thoroughgoing, wholehearted, firm in spirit. He only sees one thing...
Make it your goal to be a person who is short on mad and long on mercy!
By | August 1, 2016
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”
Yesterday we talked about bitterness and how it can have such a devastating impact on your life.
While bitterness can be as a result of some big event, major abuse, or significant mistreatment in your life, too often, it comes from some small hurt that is nourished and nurtured until it grows to be a powerful force and factor in your life.
As a pastor, I can tell you—I’ve seen the effects of bitterness again and again and again. And the natural question is, why on earth do people do this to themselves?
Well, some people do it because it just feels good. They’re sort of addicted to their anger. Others do it because they have a sense of self-righteous superiority or pride.
Whatever the reason, it’s resulted in a lot of angry Christians who are long on mad and short on mercy! And those lives don’t reflect our Savior’s love, mercy, and grace which is infinite.
That’s why I encourage you to model Christ today by showing mercy to someone who doesn’t deserve it. Cut someone some slack! Assume that their intentions are good! I think you’ll be amazed how your life will change when you do this on a consistent basis.
Make it your goal to be a person who is short on mad and long on mercy!
As the world gets worse, we have the hope of Jesus’ soon return.
By | July 20, 2016
As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
In the days of Noah, people were evil…pure and simple. They didn’t obey or respect God, and sin saturated society until things became more and more corrupt and God finally said, “Enough!”
Many people wonder what our world today is coming to. Well, as believers in Christ we don’t have to wonder, because the Bible tells us that this world is coming the end and ultimately to God’s judgment.
Society is becoming so tolerant of sin and evil that it’s become frightening. People live in fear, wondering whether rogue nations will use chemical or nuclear weapons to fulfill violent and evil intentions.
There doesn’t seem to be a lot of hope as we look out at the world scene. But we need to remember Jesus said that just before He returns, the world will get worse and worse, as it did in the days of Noah. And that’s our hope!
Jesus is coming back to set things right in this world and redeem those who are His own.
So don’t be afraid of what may lie ahead for this world. God is in control, and nothing can remove His hand from His own!
Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.
Sodom and Gomorrah were terribly sinful places that were so full of sin and evil that the Lord chose to remove them from the earth. Most people know the story of how God destroyed those two cities…a story which I believe has an important lesson to teach us today on our nation’s birthday.
Many people today believe that America is basically no different than these two famously sinful cities. If you believe that’s true, then that begs the question, “Why would God destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, but let a place of equal sin continue unpunished?” That’s a very good question, and one we need to consider carefully.
One conclusion could be that God is trying to get the attention of America! Between all of the natural and manmade disasters that have occurred in recent years, I believe God is trying to get through to us. Unfortunately, too many times we don’t listen until our very foundation gets rocked to the core, which has happened to us over the last several years.
So what can we do? I strongly believe the only hope for America is a true revival among the Christians in this nation. And that revival can start with one person!
On this special day, why not ask God to start a personal revival in your heart and let it spread to everyone around you. Celebrate your Independence Day by starting a spiritual fire around you that will burn brightly and draw others to its light and warmth.
By Dr. Jack Graham | May 22, 2016
Learn to Pray the Jesus Way Part 2
By Dr. Jack Graham | May 11, 2016
Learn to Pray the Jesus Way Part 1
By Dr. Jack Graham | May 10, 2016
13 days till the National Day of Prayer: No more cowardice; Pray with boldness.
By Dr. Jack Graham | April 22, 2016
But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."-Matthew 19:26
As a Christian, your lifeline to God is prayer. It’s how you grow more intimate with God and develop a deeper and more personal relationship with Him. But prayer is also how you face the enemy of your soul head-on with courage and hope!
God tells us to not be afraid of Satan and his forces. Because as a Christian, you have authority in Jesus Christ who has conquered all the spiritual forces of darkness. When Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose again, He won the victory. And He wants you and me to live in that victory!
How? It starts with prayer… passionate, even presumptuous prayer… to a God who you know can overcome anything. So often we forget to pray boldly, thinking that God can’t do what we are asking. But that is far from the truth, as today’s verse tells us.
Now, it’s important to remember that doesn’t mean we have a blank check to ask God to do anything and everything we want Him to do. There is a powerful connection to God’s Word and prayer. Scripture will guide you and teach you what things you should pray for. And God will always come through in His response based on what His Word says.
Let me put it this way: There is nothing that lies outside the reach of prayer except that which may lie outside the will of God.
If you are facing a battle with the enemy today, know that God is fighting for you… and your victory is sure in Jesus Christ. You...
Walk Through the Storm
By Dr. Jack Graham | April 10, 2016
I Was Driving Down the Street One Day
By Jack Graham | November 23, 2015
“… and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”
I was driving down the street one day and pulled up behind a man at a red light. I looked at his car and I saw a bumper sticker on the back that said, “Honk, if you love Jesus.” So the light turned green, and as I got in the left lane to pass him, I beeped my horn a few times and waved.
Well, I apparently infuriated that fellow. He had forgotten about the bumper sticker, so he threw his hands up in the air and started yelling at me out his window. I couldn’t tell exactly what he said, but I know for sure it wasn’t “Jesus loves you.”
As a believer, you’re going to live your life under a microscope. When people find out you’re a Christian, they’re going to look at how you live your life and make a judgment by seeing your attitude toward others and how thankful you are to God for the blessings He’s given you. Fair or not, that’s how it goes!
So how do we live in front of a watching world? Humbly. Accept that you’re not perfect. Give thanks for the many blessings in your life, knowing who gave them to you. Ask forgiveness when you make mistakes and show grace when others do. Serve the Lord passionately and you’ll be a powerful witness to a watching world.
Be a powerful witness to a watching world by living humbly, thankfully, and gracefully.