Resources from 2017

April

If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own authority.

—John 7:17

 

We live in a multiple-choice society. There so many options when it comes to everything from entertainment to food that the average person can be overwhelmed with a barrage of decisions to make.

 

Of course, some decisions such as which color shirt to wear on a given day or what to put on your hamburger aren’t really that important in the larger scheme of things. But there are other choices we are called upon to make that can be life-shaping and life-changing: the choice to be true to our mates, or the decision to be honest in business, for example.

 

Making the right choices is vital to our Christian walk. Some people, such as Adam and Eve, make poor choices.  And in their case the human race will always be paying for their poor choice. Still others, such as Moses and Daniel, made good choices that proved them to be people of great faith.

 

Making the right choice is important because our lives are shaped by decisions. We first make our decisions, but then our decisions turn around and make us. We are free to choose our actions, but not free to choose the consequences of those actions.

 

The person you are right now is the sum of all of the decisions that you’ve made in the past. And Jesus said if you want to know and do God’s will, He will reveal the truth to you. So if you are facing...

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And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

—Philippians 1:6

 

Sometimes problems are like a big truck you’re following on the highway. It’s so big that you can’t see around it…and you’re not sure you can get around it because you don’t know what’s ahead of you.

 

A problem can sometimes seems so big and overwhelming that you simply don’t know if you’re ever going to get around it.

 

The good news is that even though you can’t always see on the other side of a problem, there’s something good there—the anticipation that comes from knowing that when you wrestle through a problem, God is there on the other side with the promise of a brighter and hopeful future.

 

As a follower of Christ, you have the promise of God that He will finish what He started in you and not leave you stranded in the middle of a problem. And let me remind you that God permits trials in your life to strengthen your faith…and that should give you the anticipation of knowing that He is doing something wonderful through you and for you, even when the testing is hard.

 

So if you’re going through a hard trial today, don’t let go of the hopeful anticipation of what Christ is doing in your life.

 

Live in hopeful anticipation; God has promised to finish what He started in your life.

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The Prayer Promise
By Jack Graham | April 4, 2017

With headlines growing darker every day and the institutions forming the foundation of our society under attack, we live in a world that needs healing that can come from only one source, the source of all that is sacred and beautiful.

We must pray fervently, with all humility, putting our faith in God.

"If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land" (2 Chronicles 7:14).

This passage, one close to my heart, gives us the reason to pray, how to pray, and what to pray.

The verse is directed to “my people” – God listens to the cries of His children. He tells us to humble ourselves because He alone is sovereign and we are His servants. And we must repent.

Then and only then, God tells us, He will forgive our sin and heal our land.

The healing begins at home, within our families. In Mark 3:25, we read that “if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.” Pray for your family and the families across the nation. Pray for revival!

In Philippians 4:8, Paul tells us to turn from the fallen world and look to God: “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

The world has so twisted our notions of good and bad, right and wrong, that our moral compasses no longer point to anything pure...

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[God] has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

—Hebrews 13:5

It’s great to have really close friends you can trust with just about anything, isn’t it. I’m blessed enough to have quite a few, and I know these true friends love me unconditionally.

 

But the most amazing “friend” you and I have is God Himself.  In John 15:15, Jesus makes an incredible statement when He says, “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”

 

Now, one of the best definitions of the word “friend” I’ve ever heard is, “a person who comes in when the world goes out.” And that’s a pretty good summary of today’s verse.

 

God is the truest of all friends…One who is always there and, no matter the circumstance, will NEVER forsake you.  He will support you and love you absolutely unconditionally. He is the Friend “who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24).

 

Jesus Christ is indeed your greatest and dearest Friend.  And like any friend, I trust you speak with Him daily and love Him completely.

 

Jesus Christ is the truest of all friends!

 

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Q & A with Jack and Deb
By Jack and Deb Graham | April 1, 2017

Q    Pastor Graham, why is prayer such a vital part of the Christian life?

A  Let me be straight: If you’re not praying, then there is no way you can ever grow as a Christian. Without prayer, you’ll never truly know God intimately. And so if you want to know God in a deeper and more meaningful way, if you want to grow in your relationship with Him, start with prayer.

As you pray, you’ll begin to discern afresh the character of God – and you’ll realize that God is bigger and greater than any situation, any crisis in your life.

And prayer will not only change things. It will change you! It will change your attitudes and your priorities, and it will get your life in sync with God’s plan. When we humble ourselves in prayer and hunger more for God, we will discover a life filled with spiritual breakthroughs and benefits.

Q    Deb, how do you and Pastor Graham cultivate prayer in your marriage?

A  Jack and I have learned that the first 10 minutes of each morning can really determine how the rest of our day will go. And so before we get out of bed each morning, it’s our habit to lift our hearts to the Lord in prayer, saying, “God, I praise You; I want You to have my all this day.”

Life is so busy! And we all have obligations that must be met. But before we tend to our responsibilities, we should devote ourselves to God in prayer. Then we’ll make sure that Jesus comes first in our lives – rather than all the other thoughts and things that want to consume us.

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March

He is great in power; justice and abundant righteousness he will not violate. Therefore men fear him; he does not regard any who are wise in their own conceit.

—Job 37:23-24

 

I recently was in London to visit our radio and TV stations in the UK, and I found myself staring at and admiring the great 95 story skyscraper, called “the Shard.”  So called because it, the tallest skyscraper in the UK, resembles a shard of glass. It is huge and powerful, and loomed over me as I stood beneath it on the sidewalk.

 

But when I flew over it in a plane, I got an entirely different view. Although it towered over me and made me feel small when I was standing next to it, it looked tiny when I saw it from the air.

 

God views all human efforts to impress Him as tiny grains of sand…even though we may think that we are pretty great.  A good example is the tower of Babel in Genesis 11.  It may have impressed its builders in their vain attempt to reach up to God, but it was just a tiny speck to Him. 

 

Our wisdom is considered pretty foolish to God.  God is never impressed with even our best efforts to please Him in our own strength.

 

Instead, God wants us to put our faith in Him, not ourselves or our own works.  We need to take a “God’s eye” view when it comes to our efforts to reach up to Him, because anything we do on our own falls short of His standards.

 

If...

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There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. 

—Proverbs 14:12

 

Proverbs 14:12 is such a humbling verse for me because as humans, we often think we have such great knowledge and wisdom. But God says that human wisdom leads to death.

 

That’s what makes living the Christian life so difficult sometimes. There are so many choices out there that look good and seem to make sense, but they do not lead us to the narrow way that is the only road to eternal glory in heaven.

 

To the human way of thinking, it seems common sense that if you try hard to be good and don’t kill anyone or commit any other horrifying crime, then you’re one of the better candidates for citizenship in heaven. This may seem right to many people, but this kind of thinking leads to destruction because the only way to heaven is to abandon our efforts at good works and trust Christ alone for salvation.

 

We don’t get voted into heaven, nor will we make it because we come out looking pretty good in comparison to others. Only the blood of Christ shed on the cross to forgive sin can qualify us for heaven.

 

Take time today to thank God for His great gift of salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ…and make sure you aren’t traveling the road that the world thinks is right. 

 

 

Take time today to check the “road” you’re traveling—and make sure you are heading toward Christ.

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Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth. And from there the Lord dispersed them over the face of all the earth.

—Genesis 11:9

 

What a scene it must have been when the survivors of Noah’s Flood began to build the Tower of Babel.  They were determined to build a monument to their pride and as their way of trying to approach God on their own terms.

 

It’s hard to imagine the arrogance of that act, or the confusion that must have reigned in Babel as mighty and intelligent men began speaking different languages for the first time.

 

The Tower of Babel is a real historical event, but it is also an illustration of society even today. Men and women in our day are just like the proud people of Babel . . . believing they know everything there is to know and therefore can approach God on their own terms.

 

The Lord states many times in the Scripture that He detests arrogance and pride. “Haughty eyes” (Proverbs 6:17), or a proud look, is first on the list of things that God hates. People today are building towers to try and reach heaven; not physical structures, but towers of pride and self-sufficiency.

 

God honors a humble heart.  So don’t let the world fool you into thinking you need to be self-sufficient, rather reach up to God with with an open hand and heart to receive His grace each day.

 

 

God hates pride…but honors humility!

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Why Study Revelation?
By | March 21, 2017

In almost all of its length, the Bible tells the history of God’s people, from Adam to Jesus and His church. Then there’s the Revelation — the history of the future.

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Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” 

—Genesis 2:23

 

Marriage is not some humanly devised idea that someone came up with one day. God Himself ordained man and woman to join together in complete union of body and spirit. The Bible teaches that man and woman were made for one another right from the start!

 

God’s ideal for marriage is one man and one woman together for a lifetime. Anything else is a perversion and an alteration to His original plan. But despite the clarity of Scripture on this issue, the world continually tries to change and amend the concept of marriage to accommodate it to the latest cultural trends and ideas.

 

We human beings have a strong need for companionship. God put that desire and need in us, and He created marriage for the fulfillment of that desire. Man and woman were designed to share their lives together.

 

Marriage at its best is a companionship on many levels. It is a spiritual companionship in which the partners grow and support one another. Marriage is also a psychological union in which each partner knows and loves the other. And marriage is also a physical companionship, for the pleasure and enjoyment of one another.

 

Isn’t it interesting that in Genesis God pronounced each day of His creation as “good”? The only part that was “not good” was the aloneness of the man. Marriage is God’s idea and God’s plan to fill that emptiness. Don’t let anyone else tell you what...

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The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.

—Genesis 2:15

 

The desire to work is built into everyone. Now I know what you’re thinking: If that’s true, then why are there so many lazy people out there? I certainly can’t account for every case of laziness, but I believe our need, desire, and capacity for work are God-given.

 

The creation account in Genesis says that God placed Adam in a perfect place called the Garden of Eden. Eden was a real, physical place, not just an imaginary garden. Other than being in the Mesopotamia region, we don’t really know where it was. But it was real, and Adam lived there and cared for it.

 

Please notice that God’s command for Adam to tend and care for the garden was given before sin entered the picture. In other words, Adam’s job came straight from God, and it was a part of His perfect creation.

 

Work is not, as some would like to believe, a part of the curse that came about from mankind’s sin. God means for us to find purpose and satisfaction in work, and He gives us the desire to succeed and be productive in that work.

 

That’s why the Bible says in Colossians 3:23 that whatever our job may be, we are to work hard at it and do it for the glory of God, as if we were working for Him and not just for the boss.

 

When we fulfill our purpose in life, then we are in a sense...

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Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

—2 Corinthians 5:17

 

Everyone has a worldview, whether they are aware of it or not. Your worldview is your basic belief system, the way you look at the world through the lens of your own mind and life. Your worldview is important because it determines both your attitude toward life and your actions in life.

 

It is that driving force behind everything we do—that thing inside of us that motivates us to follow a certain path in life and make the decisions we make, good or bad.

 

We can boil every worldview down into one of two basic categories: either Christ-centered or man-centered. If you are a Christian, then your view of life should be Christ-centered. This simply means that Christ is your sufficient and sovereign Lord in every area of life. This view places Christ at the center of every idea and decision.

 

But unfortunately, many people place themselves at the center of life. The man-centered view says that humans are basically good, capable of making it fine on their own, and therefore have no need for God.

 

What’s the driving force behind your life? How does your worldview impact the decisions you make and the actions you take every day? Those questions are worth thinking about. If you live with Christ at the center of your life, you will experience joy, peace, and fulfillment beyond your greatest imagination.

 

Make sure your worldview is centered on Christ.  

 

 

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And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

—Genesis 1:28

I believe the human mind is one of the most incredible parts of God’s handiwork in creation. The animals have a certain level of mental capacity, but none can compare to human beings. The difference is clearly stated in the first chapter of Genesis.

 

God gave humans dominion and power over all the animals of the earth. There are some animals we call smart, but they can only be trained, they don’t necessarily learn. Being taught an idea or a concept is unique to human beings because God gave us a unique mind that gives us self-consciousness and God-consciousness.

 

God gave us the ability to think and be creative. We can play beautiful music, write a great story, paint a picture, and build a magnificent skyscraper. God does give animals many internal instincts, such as a beaver’s ability to build a dam, and a bird’s ability to build a nest. But animals don’t have the desire for growth and learning.

 

What’s even more amazing to me about the human mind is that we are told we only use about 10% of our brain capacity. Think of the potential God has given us to think and act and respond to Him. What a challenge to us to maximize the mind God has given us.

 

Your hopes, joys, and desires are all things God has given you the ability to develop...

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Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them.

—Psalm 139:16

 

The birth of a baby is a special and wonderful moment when a new life enters the world. Every baby is truly a tiny miracle, because the Bible says God creates each baby and knits it together in its mother’s womb.

 

The human body is so complex and intricate that it’s mind-boggling to realize how every part works together. We could spend the rest of this day discussing how teeth develop, how bones grow, and how the human body just knows what to do and when to do it.

 

The wonder of Psalm 139 is that God’s creative work in our lives begins at the very moment of conception. Even in our embryonic stage, God is at work shaping us to be the person He wants us to be. And it’s just as incredible to realize that after we are born, God continues to form our bodies.

 

When we stop to think about what an astounding work of creation the human body is, it’s no wonder that God said it was good when He created us. Our bodies are far more complex than any computer or other manmade invention. 

 

And by the way, our bodies are constantly growing and maturing, which tells us that God is still at work in us every day. That should give you a reason to praise Him today. Take a moment right now to thank God for loving you before you ever entered...

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What does the book of Revelation mean for you?
By Jack Graham | March 1, 2017

The Bible is the history of God’s people… from Adam to Jesus and on to the founding and future of His Church. But throughout Scripture, only one book is exclusively dedicated to talking about the future: the last book of the Bible – Revelation.

This book can be overwhelming at times because it’s so filled with symbolism. But if you just look for Jesus, you’ll see Revelation is built on one premise: He is coming again!

But until He returns, God has provided us with a reminder of the remarkable promise of His second coming in the book of Revelation. And in my CD series, All Things New: The Revelation Part 2, I list five reasons why:

1. It encourages us to praise our Lord and Savior.

Revelation is much more than just a story about the Antichrist. Revelation is about the Christ. It will give you a greater love for Jesus!

2. It points to our hope in Jesus.

Revelation shows us that eternal things matter. The more we get to know Jesus in its pages, the more we’ll love Him and want to see Him face to face.

3. It prompts us to live godly lives.

With Jesus coming, we should be motivated to live godly lives. Many Christians would be ashamed if Christ returned right now. We have to get our lives right!

4. It encourages us to proclaim the whole counsel of God.

Scripture warns that the wrath of God will be poured out on unbelievers. But in the midst of judgment, there is the promise of salvation for all who believe. Revelation should encourage us to pray that nonbelievers turn to Jesus...

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February

It's important to know where you came from
By Jack Graham | February 28, 2017

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.

—Genesis 1:27

I am often amused as I listen to scholars and scientists who talk about the evolutionary beginning of this world. They are debating a moot point, because they’re arguing about something God decided and finished centuries ago.

Our attitude toward the origin of the earth is essential to our attitude toward life. To a great degree, how we live our life is determined by what we believe about who we are and where we came from. In fact, our very understanding of God Himself is also at stake in this issue.

For instance, why would there need to be a God if we just evolved, are really just animals, and that everything happens purely by chance? If the entire universe is just a random set of events and a collection of beings with no purpose, then having a Creator is unnecessary.

But as Christians we believe that life is not random. We believe there is a personal God that is involved with His creation.

But here’s the real issue. Even though it’s important to know where we came from, it’s even more important to know where we are going! Our past is only a precursor to our future. We must know that we came from the hand of God, and that someday we will stand before Him!

Genesis 1 is a great week-long story of how God loves us and created us. Just make sure you not only know where you came from, but where you’re going. And share with others this week the good news that God loves them...

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