Resources from 2017

April

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.

...

Continue reading…

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...

Continue reading…

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.

Continue reading…

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!

Continue reading…

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.

Continue reading…

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...

Continue reading…

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...

Continue reading…

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.  

 

 

...

Continue reading…

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...

Continue reading…

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...

Continue reading…

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...

Continue reading…

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...

Continue reading…

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

—Hebrews 12:1-3

 

As Christians, one of the best ways to defeat Satan…the enemy of our souls…is to know how he operates. 

 

Far too many believers today are unaware of or don’t fully appreciate how deadly this enemy is…and to what lengths he will go, to thwart and destroy God’s people and God’s plan! So it’s important each of us know our enemy so we can better prepare ourselves for his attack.

 

Of all the schemes and tactics Satan uses against the people of God, his greatest tool is probably the tool of discouragement. Satan knows that if he can pry open your heart with discouragement, he can make you quit.

 

Galatians 6:9 reminds us, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

 

If you’re a believer and you’re discouraged today, it’s because Satan is on your trail. Are you thinking about throwing in the towel on your marriage…or giving up on your kids…or giving in to that recurring temptation? Don’t do it...

Continue reading…

… you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.

—1 Peter 1:18-19

 

This coming Valentine’s Day provides you and me with the opportunity to think about our love relationships. It is one of the great blessings in life to have people who love us and to love them in return, especially when God is in the midst of that love.

 

And while these earthly relationships touch our lives in real and meaningful ways, we must never lose sight of our heavenly love relationship with God. And here’s why. No other human can possibly satisfy the deepest longings and love needs of our lives. In fact, if we expect or hope for another person to meet the needs that only God can satisfy, we will be forever disappointed.

 

Only God has the power to meet and satisfy the deepest needs of your heart. And it is this love that ransoms you from the futility of the self-serving and sinful ways of the flesh.

 

This Valentine’s Day embrace the love that God has shown for you in Christ Jesus. Accept the precious gift of his blood poured out for you on Calvary. Let him transform your heart into a mighty vessel through which his love can flow to all those around you.

 

God alone has the power to meet and satisfy the deepest needs of your heart.

Continue reading…

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.”

—Jeremiah 31:3

 

There are four things about the love of God that I’d like you to meditate on today.

 

First, God loves you. He loves you more than anyone else could ever love you!

 

Second, God’s love for you is eternal. Time cannot erase it. God loves you and He will always love you.

 

Third, God’s love for you is unconditional. This concept is hard to completely understand at times because of how conditional human love can be. Sometimes human love is dependent on how we feel about someone…or it’s dependent upon someone loving us in return. But God’s love is unconditional. Nothing you do or don’t do can alter it. 

 

Lastly, God’s love is incomprehensible! It’s immeasurable. What’s most remarkable about the love of God is that in spite of your sin and my sin…despite our failure and brokenness and worthlessness…He reached down and showed us His love by sending His Son to die in our place on the cross!

 

It’s my prayer that you’ll remember just how much God loves you today…and that as a result, you’ll be motivated to share God’s love with others.

 

God’s love for you is eternal, unconditional, and immeasurable!

Continue reading…