Resources from 2016

August

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”

—Lamentations 3:22-24

 

God…is…faithful. Allow me to restate that again. God is faithful! He will do what He says He will do!

 

And not only is God faithful and reliable, but He is committed to your spiritual growth and maturity. First Thessalonians 5:23-24 says, “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”

 

I love that! Because it promises you and me that God is constantly working on us…creatively, constructively, and continually. The Spirit of God is working in your body and in your soul. And His purpose is to make you more like Him!

 

Remember when you were a teenager and you couldn’t wait to grow up? That’s how we feel sometimes as Christians. We wonder when we will ever grow up. We wonder if we will ever be responsible and obedient in our Christian life. It’s so easy to become frustrated with ourselves!

 

But we need to remember that God is patient…and that God is persevering. And according to Philippians 1:6, “he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” When God gets through with you, you’re going to stand complete, perfect in the glory of Jesus Christ. Someday you...

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He [Jesus] said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.”

—John 21:17

 

In Matthew 10:29, Jesus tells us that not even a sparrow falls to the ground apart from God’s knowledge. And if God cares about a sparrow, don't you think He would also care about you as His child?  

 

Well He does. It’s an amazing thought that the same God who made the stars and calls them all by name is the same God who knows the number of hairs on your head!

 

Not only does He know the number of hairs on your head, He knows your name. Your name is recorded in God’s infinite mind and heart! 

 

God knows you. He knows your past as well as your future. And the thing He knows better than anyone else is your heart. 

 

Now, that might strike terror into your life at times when you realize that God sees the worst about you! But what’s so wonderful is that even though God knows the worst about you…He loves you anyway!

 

Perhaps today, you feel a little like Simon Peter…you feel like somehow you’ve let God down. Perhaps you feel ashamed of something from your past…a failure that you can’t seem to get past.

 

If so, remember that with Jesus, no failure is final. The Lord restored...

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In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple.

—Isaiah 6:1

 

I’d like for you to think with me a moment about the glorious position of our holy God.

 

In today’s verse, Isaiah describes his vision of God when he saw the Lord sitting on the throne of the universe.

 

Now, Isaiah and the rest of the Israelites were deeply troubled because their earthly king, King Uzziah, was dead. They were grieved…and they were concerned about the future. Yet when Isaiah entered into the presence of the Lord, he realized that there was a greater One than any earthly king sitting upon the throne of the universe. His name is holy God, the Lord of Hosts! 

 

Like the Israelites, it’s easy to worry about the future…and wonder what’s gone wrong and what will happen next in our world.

 

But as believers in the Lord Jesus, we don’t have to wonder! We don’t have to wring our hands worrying, because we know that our God is sitting on the throne of the universe. Remember that there is no panic in heaven…only plans. God never walks up and down the streets of heaven wringing His hands wondering about what He’s going to do next. 

 

So no matter what’s going on in your world today…no matter how out-of-control things may seem…remember that God is still on His throne!

 

Today, it’s my prayer that you will get your mind off the earthly and temporary and...

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“Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.’”

—Luke 17:3-4

 

Over the last few days we have talked about dealing with anger and bitterness. And if this is a problem in your life, the antidote is the power of forgiveness. So how do you discover this power?

 

First, you must admit the bitterness in your heart. Now, I know this is a problem for a lot of people. We call it everything else. We try to justify it. As I’ve mentioned before, Hebrews says this thing of bitterness is a root. And the problem with roots is that they’re invisible. Roots of bitterness are deep down within, so you have to find the root and then dig it up.

 

Second, ask God to help you to freely and fully forgive others. You say, “But it’s so hard, I just can’t do it!” You know, I don’t often feel like forgiving. That’s why we need faith to forgive, to do it anyway in obedience.

 

Third, accept God’s plan. In Genesis 50:20, Joseph says to his brothers, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good….” God uses the troubles, sorrows, heartache, and pains in our lives to shape us, to make us more like Him, and to grow our character.

 

I think the greatest definition of forgiveness I’ve ever heard is this: “Forgiveness is giving up my right to hate you for hurting me.”

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“Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.’”

—Luke 17:3-4

 

Over the last few days we have talked about dealing with anger and bitterness. And if this is a problem in your life, the antidote is the power of forgiveness. So how do you discover this power?

 

First, you must admit the bitterness in your heart. Now, I know this is a problem for a lot of people. We call it everything else. We try to justify it. As I’ve mentioned before, Hebrews says this thing of bitterness is a root. And the problem with roots is that they’re invisible. Roots of bitterness are deep down within, so you have to find the root and then dig it up.

 

Second, ask God to help you to freely and fully forgive others. You say, “But it’s so hard, I just can’t do it!” You know, I don’t often feel like forgiving. That’s why we need faith to forgive, to do it anyway in obedience.

 

Third, accept God’s plan. In Genesis 50:20, Joseph says to his brothers, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good….” God uses the troubles, sorrows, heartache, and pains in our lives to shape us, to make us more like Him, and to grow our character.

 

I think the greatest definition of forgiveness I’ve ever heard is this: “Forgiveness is giving up my right to hate you for hurting me.”

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Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

—Romans 12:19

 

So often, people want to be the judge, juror, and executioner of other’s faults and failures and sins. Can you relate?

 

It’s like getting older…when physically we get less flexible and our muscles can stiffen after exercise. The same thing that happens to us physically can happen to us mentally and emotionally too.

 

Our attitudes can stiffen and harden, and over time we can become cynical, brittle, critical, and inflexible. Instead of just growing older, we grow colder because we’re holding on to some things that we refuse to let go.

 

You know, Jesus had some very, very strong words to the unforgiving and the unrelenting…to those who tried to play God with others. In fact, Jesus rejected them, while at the same time He accepted the sinful, repentant woman who came to Him to begin anew.

 

Perhaps you’re carrying around a judgmental attitude today. If so, do you know what the antidote for that problem is? It’s the power of forgiveness given to us by Christ Himself!

 

If you have a critical spirit in your heart today, ask God to help you let it go. Don’t let your attitude stiffen and harden as you grow older! Instead, let God be the judge!

 

As you grow older, don’t grow colder.

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Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

—1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NKJV)

 

I’d like to draw your attention to the phrase thinks no evil in today’s passage. What does it really mean when Paul says that love “thinks no evil”?

 

In the Greek of the New Testament, the word thinks is actually a bookkeeping term. It’s a word that means “to take into account” or “to write down as a permanent record.” Which is exactly what a good bookkeeper or accountant does. They write things down as a permanent record.

 

In accounting, keeping permanent records is vital. But in relationships, it’s deadly! If we’re going to know the love of Christ and live in the fullness of that love and grace, we need to delete those negative relational files we’ve collected over the years! Because after all, this is what Christ has done for us (Romans 5:13).

 

The Scripture says that God has not imputed sin to us. Aren’t you glad? When it came to settling the score, Jesus took the sin that was written down against us upon the cross. He died and rose again on the third day and because of what Christ has done for us God has forgiven and forgotten our sin. It is deleted…forever gone.

 

Yet how many of us are unwilling to delete the files? If...

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The fact of the matter is, you’re going to hit speed bumps when you chase your dreams. I’m talking about the wonderful, God-given dreams that bring a smile to your face and fill your soul with joy. Dreams for your family, your ministry, your career, and your future. These are the dreams that make up your destiny – God’s good plan for your life.

But as we learn from Joseph in the Old Testament, sometimes our dreams can take a beating. And just like him, you might find yourself stuck in the bottom of a pit with your dreams on life support (see Genesis 37).

The question is, will your dreams die in the pit? Or like Joseph experienced, will they roar to life in amazing ways you never imagined?

Here are four lessons about how to keep your dreams alive when it feels like you’re stuck in a pit:

Remember God is in control. He says in Isaiah 55:8-9, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Just because you don’t understand, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t make sense.

Remain faithful no matter the cost. You can tell the size of a Christian by what it takes to stop them. When Joseph was taken to Egypt and sold as a slave, he refused to allow his circumstances to keep him from living for the Lord. The question isn’t whether or not life will challenge your dreams. It’s whether or not you’ll remain faithful when it does.

Reject bitterness. People who’ve experienced heartache often become...

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As Peter shares above, many people across the UK are drifting through life completely unaware that Jesus loves them. But with your support, we can change that by bringing God’s message of hope to hurting people desperate for a Savior.

John is one of those who found comfort in Jesus when he heard one of PowerPoint’s previous broadcasts on Premier. He shares…

“PowerPoint’s teachings have encouraged me to love people – to love my neighbours more than myself. Listening to Jack Graham on Premier Christian Radio in London is so uplifting. You can feel the Holy Spirit!”

So thank you for your prayers as we relaunch on 29th August. And please help us share this incredible news on Facebook and Twitter – so we can make the greatest possible impact… ’til the whole world hears!

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Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.

—Ephesians 4:26-27

 

A few years ago, I read an article in the USA Today that talked about the devastating effects of anger. In fact, the article listed hostility and anger (especially in men) as dangerous to our physical health as high cholesterol and obesity!

 

Not only will bitterness chain you to the past, contaminate your personality, and color your relationship with Christ, but it will choke your productivity. This includes your physical productivity, your emotional productivity, and your mental productivity.

 

When you live with bitterness and anger in your life, you can’t be productive in anything you do. Your mind will be distorted and you’ll make all kinds of bad decisions.

 

What’s funny—and tragic—is that a lot of people call anger and bitterness something else entirely. They call it “righteous indignation” or their “sense of justice.” But I call it something else: sin!

 

When we live with the unrepentant sin of bitterness, it rips us from the inside out. And ultimately, if we don’t root it out of our lives, we become critical and cynical!

 

Take time today to look at your life and see if you are giving place to bitterness and anger.  If so, ask God to help you root it out so that you can live fully for our Lord.

 

If you live with bitterness and anger in your life, you will never be fully productive for Christ.

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You’re invited on the trip of a lifetime!
By Jack Graham | August 1, 2016

Deb and I have been traveling to Israel for more than 35 years, and I’ll always remember how overwhelming it was to see it for the first time. Everything you’ve read in the Bible comes to life. It’s more than you can take in.

Even after all these years, I’ll see something or learn something new each time we go. And the opportunity to walk where Jesus walked is an experience like no other. It’s a time of highly intensive spiritual impact, truly being in the most important place on earth. It’s high-definition Christianity, a front row seat to the Bible.

For a Christian, going to Israel is an opportunity to grow. When you’re there with us, it isn’t just about seeing the sights and the ancient relics. We do see those, but we also worship and we teach God’s Word at every site we visit.

One of the places I really appreciate is the Sea of Galilee. We put everybody on what they call “the Jesus boat” (it’s built to look like an ancient boat), we motor across the sea, and I preach and teach about Jesus walking on the water. So much of His ministry took place around the Sea of Galilee – the Sermon on the Mount and His teaching in the ancient city of Capernaum, where Peter lived. It’s one of my favorite places to visit – not just in Israel, but in all the earth.

But at the top of our list are Calvary (where Christ died) and the empty tomb. These are always the most significant places we go.

As many times as I’ve been to Israel, I still can’t wait to go again. I love taking people there. As a pastor...

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“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”

—Matthew 5:7

 

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!

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July

See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.

—Hebrews 12:15

 

I’ve never claimed to be the world’s best gardener. But I do know that if you let weeds go, they can take over an entire garden.

 

But to get rid of weeds, you have to do more than clip them off at the top. You have to dig them out by the root.

 

The same is true for weed of bitterness.

 

Today’s verse points us to the need to deal with bitterness. And for good reason. It’s a root that can easily take hold in any one of our hearts.

 

What does a root of bitterness look like? It’s holding on to an offense, either large or small. It’s determining to hold hostility in your heart towards someone who’s hurt you. It’s anger towards another person that’s not dealt with appropriately.

 

What happens is this offense, hostility, or anger festers and grows. And eventually, it can take over your life! It’s a like a cancer that metastasizes in the human soul.

 

Over the new several days, we’re going to be taking a closer look at bitterness and why you shouldn’t allow it to have any place in your heart or life. In preparation for that, I want to encourage you to ask the Lord Jesus to prepare your heart. Ask Him if there is any root of bitterness in your soul right now. And commit to digging up the...

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And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence. So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, please.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them. After that his brothers talked with him.

—Genesis 45:3-5, 15

 

In today’s passage, we see a wonderful biblical picture about the power of forgiveness.

 

Imagine, if you will, that you were one of Joseph’s brothers…one of the brothers who had sold him into slavery. If it were me, I’d think I was done for!

 

Joseph was now in an incredibly high position of power in Egypt. He could have done anything to these guys! He could have put them in jail or executed them on the spot.

 

But look at what Joseph says to his brothers: “Do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life” (v. 5). And then, look at what happens in Verse 15: “And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them. After that his brothers talked with him.”

 

What a reunion! What a restoration! Joseph embraces these brothers who betrayed him and welcomes them into his presence. He gives them the kiss of love and the kiss of life. Joseph’s example serves...

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Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.’

 —Luke 19:13

 

The great evangelist and preacher John Wesley once said, “Do all the good you can, to as many people as you can, for as long as you can.” Now more than ever, we as Christians need to heed Wesley’s words and do good to others as well as each other.

 

Believers in this generation should be in the business of encouraging and equipping one another for ministry to those in need. In light of that truth, I have a question for you today; what is God calling you to do?

 

I believe that Christ calls every believer to something great and something specific, which makes our assignment to discover what He has called and gifted us to do.

 

If you aren’t sure what your gifts and calling are, start by serving Christ right where you are and ask Him to make it clear what it is that you can do most effectively for His kingdom. He will make it clear to you!

 

But getting started means you need to listen for God’s call—which often comes as a quiet voice amid all of the loud distractions that the world throws your way.

 

God has given you talents and abilities to serve Him. Like the servants to whom the master entrusted his wealth, let’s get on with the Lord’s business until He returns!

 

God calls every believer to do something unique and wonderful for Him. 

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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.                                     

—Matthew 24:37-39

 

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!

 

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Noah…did all that God commanded him.

—Genesis 6:22

 

Noah certainly lived a life of faith in the Lord. The earth had never seen rain before, so the idea of water falling from the sky was a ridiculous and silly notion in those days. But that didn’t stop Noah from announcing the fact that God was going to send rain.

 

Noah believed God so much that he built an ark right in the middle in his own front yard. What would you or I do if God commanded us to do something like that?  Maybe we would just laugh and say, “Lord, You must be joking.” 

 

But as our society moves further and further away from God, we as Christians may find ourselves being called by God to do things that seem pointless to others. That’s when we need to remember that Christ has a bigger and better plan than we do.

 

In Luke 19:13, the Lord says to take care of His business until He comes back. God’s business is establishing His kingdom on earth, and it’s our responsibility to be salt and light in this dark world. These are desperate times of sin and unfaithfulness, and you and I have a message of hope that we are to be spreading like wildfire!

 

The only way to leave a lasting impression for Christ and ultimately change the world is to live a life of complete faith and obedience. That’s something you can do today.  And as you are faithful each day, God will use you to do something world-changing!

 

God calls us to live a...

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