Now Playing: [updated Sept 2014]
Billy Graham talks about Jesus' suffering:
In 1 Peter 2:24 it says, "By His stripes, we are healed." Think of those stripes He received on His back. Think of the pulling of His beard, how that must hurt. And the spikes through His hands, the spear in His side. But that wasn't His real suffering. His real suffering was when He said, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" God the Father in that moment became separated in a way that we don't understand from the Son. And Jesus went to hell for you and me. He took our hell and our judgment on the cross because He loved us and shed His blood for us.
As Mr. Graham has just said, Jesus Christ shed His blood on the cross for us. To begin a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, call here at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, call toll free, at 877-2GRAHAM. Or click billygraham.org.
"May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all." 2 Corinthians 13:14
In faith, I know these things to be true:
God is full of love and grace, and he fills me with his love and grace. God's work within me is to clear a channel for his love and grace to flow through me into the lives of anyone and everyone I meet.
I may not be there yet, but I am "confident of this, that he who began a good work in [me] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 1:6).
And I know "God is able to make all grace abound [in me], so that in all things at all times, having all that [I] need, [I] will abound in every good work" (2 Corinthians 9:8).
He will make my joy complete because I no longer live in darkness, but I now live in the truth and have fellowship with God (1 John 1:4; 1 John 1:6).
Through the "Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit," I am, at all times, filled with grace, mercy, and peace (2 Corinthians 13:14).
This is what I believe to be true and I will walk accordingly, allowing God to do his work in me from the inside out. Father, make it so. I believe; help my unbelief.
In which area(s) of your faith (perhaps some listed above) can you pray today: "I believe; help my unbelief"?
And all things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." Matthew 21:22
In Paul's letter to the Colossians, we find a prayer pattern designed to initiate change in someone's life. When a believer desires spiritual reform for himself or another person, he can use Paul's request for wisdom and strength by substituting a name for the word 'you.' The prayer works because it is continuous, specific, and within God's will.
Impatience is a believer's enemy. We want the Lord to respond at the speed of modern technology. But His timing considers the need to align circumstances and prepare hearts for an answer to prayer. Unburdened by our quest for efficiency, Paul said he never ceased speaking to the Lord about the Colossians. We do not know how often he mentioned them, but the number of times is unimportant; what counts is that Paul patiently and regularly repeated their names before the Father.
The Apostle did not settle for a simple appeal of "Lord, bless the Colossian church," either. That is a lazy prayer. Paul specifically requested that the people grow in their knowledge. Communication with our Father should always be detailed. How can we perceive His answers if we have not made a specific request?
God desires to answer petitions like the one Paul wrote. His will is that every one of His children enjoy an intimate relationship with Him. We talk to our Father, as we should, of physical or emotional needs, but too frequently overlook requesting consistent spiritual growth. Through Paul, God has given us a perfect pattern for righteous prayer that He will answer.
Do you know how you can pray specifically for your friends and family? Can you ask them next time you see or talk with them?
Nicodemus is troubled in his spirit and he's troubled in his heart. And he couldn't sleep, and so he comes to Jesus under the cover of darkness to speak with Him. And many of you tonight, I believe you have come here tonight and you're troubled. And my question to you tonight is: What's troubling you? Are you troubled by drugs or alcohol? And you say, "Franklin, nobody knows about the problem I have, and nobody knows about this addiction. And I've tried to handle it on my own, but it's just gotten me deeper and deeper. And there's no control, and I don't know what to do. And I wish, like Nicodemus, I could come to Jesus tonight, have His help." You can. You can come to Him tonight, just like Nicodemus.
As Franklin Graham has just said, you can come of Jesus Christ, right now and receive new life. To make that step of faith, call at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, toll free, at 877-2GRAHAM. Or click billygraham.org.
Billy Graham explains how Jesus thought of you while He was on the cross:
He’s not waiting to condemn you. He’s willing to open His arms and hug you and kiss you and say, "I love you." That’s why He gave His Son to die on the cross. And when Jesus was on that cross, shedding his blood, He was thinking of you. Because He was God Incarnate He could think of every person that was ever to live. He could think of every person here tonight either here or in the other arena and He loves you. "Christ died for you." Then He rose again. He’s a living Christ and He’s coming back again.
As Mr. Graham has just reminded you, Jesus Christ is alive and He's coming back for everyone who trusts in Him by faith. To begin a relationship with Jesus Christ, call at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, toll free, at 877-2GRAHAM. Or click billygraham.org.
"Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see." Hebrews 11:1
Now compare the definition of faith above with this dictionary definition of optimism: "A tendency to expect the best possible outcome or dwell on the most hopeful aspects of a situation."*
The two words' definitions seem superficially similar. Both mention "hope," and both talk about having confidence that things will turn out well. But where does the optimism of someone who doesn't know Christ find its foundation? On what basis can someone who doesn't know Christ be reasonably optimistic? Surely not from observing the world around us. Pick up any newspaper, and most of the news you'll find will be quite depressing. By mere observation of our fallen world alone, no optimism could reasonably be found.
A Christian's faith, however, in contrast to optimism, is "assurance" based on evidence, not blind optimism. By knowing the living God and His divine promises, we know that no matter how bad things may look, God is ultimately sovereign and in control. "Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved!" Paul assures us, quoting the Old Testament prophet Joel (Romans 10:13; Joel 2:32). We know that among God's people, He "will remove all of their sorrows, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain" (Revelation 21:3,4) God has proven again and again by His historical acts in the Old Testament (such as the Exodus) and the New Testament (the death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus) that He provides the firm foundation upon which to base our faith.
Unlike some who follow their own whimsical, baseless optimism, followers of Jesus can take real comfort. We do so not because of blind optimism, but instead because of our faith in God and His firm foundation: His mighty works, and His words: "Be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20).
How would you explain the difference between faith and optimism?
* (American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004.)
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