Tag Archives: Billy Graham

Presidential Prayer Team; A.W. – Continuing the Call

 

Billy Graham is likely the most well-known evangelist in the world. He began his career as an ordained minister in 1939. His estimated lifetime audience is more than 2.2 billion, and more than 3.2 million people have responded to his invitation to “accept Christ as their personal Savior.” Graham retired in 2005, but his son Franklin took over the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Graham’s ministry to share the gospel didn’t stop with him; he passed it on.

Go therefore…baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 28:19

In today’s verse, Jesus has risen from the dead and met His disciples in Galilee, where He instructs them to go make disciples of all nations. Most Bible scholars say Christ’s earthly ministry lasted about three years; however, His ministry didn’t stop with His crucifixion. His call continues, not just through the Holy Spirit, but through His disciples.

He called the apostles then – and He calls you today to continue His work by witnessing about Him. As you pray today, ask for opportunities to share Christ with others. Pray also for the nation’s leaders and citizens who haven’t accepted Jesus to come to know Him.

Recommended Reading: Romans 10:8-17

Presidential Prayer Team; C.P. – Outcry

 

“If God doesn’t judge America, He would have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.” This quote is most commonly attributed to Ruth or Billy Graham. Some people argue the logic of it, saying God need not apologize to anyone. The statement is not to be taken literally, but to point out how sinful America has become.

For we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great.

Genesis 19:13

Today’s verse shows that God heard the outcry of the victims of Sodom and Gomorrah’s evil and injustice. God is just and will not let the wicked go unpunished. Aborted babies, beheaded Christians, and all of those who have been treated unfairly will see justice one day. In Revelation 6:10, those who were martyred for His name cry out, “How long!” If you have been wronged or have hurt someone, forgive and receive forgiveness, but know that everyone will give an account to God in Heaven of what they have done here on Earth.

Pray for the people of the United States to turn to God, stand for righteousness, and renounce evil. Intercede, too, for the nation’s leaders to intervene on behalf of all those who suffer injustice.

Recommended Reading: II Corinthians 5:1-10

Our Daily Bread — Now Go!

 

 

Read: Exodus 4:10-17
Bible in a Year: 2 Samuel 16-18; Luke 17:20-37

Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say. —Exodus 4:12 (niv)

More than 10,000 evangelists and Christian leaders sat in a giant auditorium in Amsterdam in 1986 listening to world-renowned evangelist Billy Graham. I sat among them, listening as he narrated some of his experiences. Then, to my surprise, he said, “Let me tell you: every time I stand before the congregation of God’s people to preach, I tremble and my knees wobble!”

What! I wondered. How can such a great preacher who has enthralled millions with his powerful sermons exhibit trembling and wobbling knees? Then he went on to describe not fear and stage fright, but intense humility and meekness as he felt inadequate for the daunting task to which God had called him. He relied on God for strength, not on his own eloquence.

Moses felt inadequate when God sent him to deliver the enslaved Israelites from their 400-year captivity in Egypt. Moses pleaded with the Lord to send someone else, with the excuse that he had never been a good speaker (see Ex. 4:10,13).

We may have similar fears when God calls us to do something for Him. But His encouragement to Moses can also spur us on: “Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say” (v.12 niv).

As Billy Graham said that day, “When God calls you, do not be afraid of trembling and wobbling knees, for He will be with you!” —Lawrence Darmani

What task does God have for you to do today? Depend on Him by asking for His help.

Wherever God sends us, He comes alongside us.

INSIGHT: When God called Moses to deliver His people from Egyptian bondage, Moses was reluctant to obey, giving various reasons why he was not qualified. He questioned his own identity and worthiness (3:11), his lack of authority (3:13), his credibility and acceptability (4:1), and his incapacities (v.10). Although God answered each of Moses’s excuses, God was angry with Moses for resisting what He had asked him to do (v. 14).

 

 

Greg Laurie – Be a Friend

 

So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ. —Colossians 1:28

Somewhere along the line, we have separated evangelism from discipleship. We preach the gospel, but we don’t disciple. We don’t get people on their feet spiritually. But the two go together.

The conversion of Saul of Tarsus, one of the most notorious nonbelievers ever, was so unexpected that a lot of people didn’t think it was true. So God spoke to a Christian named Ananias and told him to visit Saul. After some initial resistance, Ananias obeyed and found Saul (who later changed his name to Paul), prayed for him, and took the time to encourage him. Then God brought another man into Paul’s life, and his name was Barnabas. He introduced Paul to the apostles and vouched for his conversion.

A lot of people want to be an apostle Paul, but would someone please be an Ananias or a Barnabas—a person who works behind the scenes? You may not be the next Billy Graham, but you may the best person who helps to nurture the next Billy Graham.

You can show that person what a Christian family, a Christian man, or a Christian woman looks like. You can befriend that individual who has no friends and bring him or her into your group. You don’t know what God can do in the life of that person.

Discipling someone is not just talking to that person about Jesus; it is also being a friend. And that is what a lot of people need: a friend. That is what I needed as a brand-new believer. Thankfully, someone named Mark saw that I came to Christ and very persistently said, “You’re going to church with me.” I was resistant at first. But he won me over and ended up helping me get grounded in the faith. That is what discipling is.

Joyce Meyer – Doing vs. Being

 

O God, You are my God, earnestly will I seek You . . . – Psalm 63:1

For decades, Billy Graham led crusades all over the world, and his ministry was the vehicle through which countless thousands of people came to know Jesus as Lord and Savior. But at age ninety-two, when asked what he would do differently if he could live his life over again, he said, “I would spend more time in meditation and prayer and just telling the Lord how much I love Him and adore Him…”

If anyone can claim great “spiritual accomplishments,” Billy Graham could do so, but he knows the secret each of us must learn: What we do for God is not nearly as important as the time we spend simply being with God. Certainly, serving God is important and God blesses us when we do things in His name. But we cannot allow ourselves to become unbalanced in Christian service and neglect our personal, one-on-one time with Him nor can we let ourselves believe that serving God takes the place of intimate relationship with Him.

When we have been in God’s presence, people notice. We are more joyful and more pleasant; we are more peaceful; we’re easier to get along with and more gracious toward others. As with any friend, the more time we spend with God, the more like Him we become.

The more we become like God, the better we are able to love— because He is love—and the more sensitive we become to the love He wants to pour out to us and to others through us.

Love God Today: “Dear Lord, help me to remember that the time I spend being with You is more important than the things I do for You.”

 

Our Daily Bread – God Is Listening

 

 

 

 

Read: Psalm 5
Bible in a Year: Deuteronomy 26-27; Mark 14:27-53

 

My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up. —Psalm 5:3

The day before Billy Graham’s interview in 1982 on The Today Show, his director of public relations, Larry Ross, requested a private room for Graham to pray in before the interview. But when Mr. Graham arrived at the studio, his assistant informed Ross that Mr. Graham didn’t need the room. He said, “Mr. Graham started praying when he got up this morning, he prayed while eating breakfast, he prayed on the way over in the car, and he’ll probably be praying all the way through the interview.” Ross later said, “That was a great lesson for me to learn as a young man.”

Prayerfulness is not an event; it is a way of being in relationship with God. This kind of intimate relationship is developed when God’s people view prayerfulness as a way of life. The Psalms encourage us to begin each day by lifting our voice to the Lord (Ps. 5:3); to fill our day with conversations with God (55:17); and in the face of accusations and slander, to give ourselves totally to prayer (109:4). We develop prayer as a way of life because we desire to be with God (42:1-4; 84:1-2; 130:5-6).

Prayer is our way of connecting with God in all life’s circumstances. God is always listening. We can talk to Him any time throughout the day. —Marvin Williams

Thinking It Over
What is one major obstacle to developing your prayer life? What changes do you sense God wants to make in your heart so that you see prayer as a way of life?

In prayer, God hears more than your words— He listens to your heart.

INSIGHT: We are not told about the events that precipitated the writing of this psalm. Some scholars speculate that the enemies David speaks of may have been Doeg the Edomite (1 Sam. 22) or Ahithophel (2 Sam. 15–17). David brought his concerns to God because he knew God would deal with his enemies and care for him.

Greg Laurie – So Far to Go

 

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. —Philippians 3:13–14

When my friend John Collins, who is one of our pastors at Harvest Christian Fellowship, met Billy Graham for the first time, he thanked him for his faithfulness to the Lord.

Billy Graham replied, “I wish I could have done more.”

John thought, If Billy Graham says that, what about me?

Billy Graham wasn’t saying that to be humble. He really meant it. And that shows he is a real man of God, because he realizes he has so far to go.

The apostle Paul felt the same way. He said, “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me” (Philippians 3:12). Here was one of the greatest Christians in human history saying that he had not arrived spiritually. He was saying he had so far to go.

Talk about bragging rights. Can you imagine a bunch of guys getting together and hanging out with Paul?

One guy might say, “Hey, you know what? The Lord spoke through me today.”

Another might say, “Well, the Lord led me to share my faith.”

Paul could say, “Well, God gave me inspired letters, called the Epistles, which basically take up half of the Bible.” Okay. Who can top that? But in actuality, Paul never said things like that, although it was the reality of his life. He was so close to God. And if anyone could rest on his laurels, it would have been Paul.

Many Christians are self-satisfied because they compare themselves with other Christians. But that isn’t what they ought to be doing. If the apostle Paul could say of his life, “Not that I have already attained,” then certainly we all have a long way to go.

Presidential Prayer Team; H.L.M.- Wonder of Prayer

 

Eighty years ago, some businessmen gathered at W. Frank Graham’s dairy farm for a prayer meeting. They had met several times at different locations around Charlotte, North Carolina to pray for revival in their city, across their state and to the ends of the Earth. That particular day, one man suggested they pray that God would raise up someone from Charlotte to spread the gospel to the world.

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people.

I Timothy 2:1

At that moment, 15-year-old Billy Graham was in the barn doing his chores. None of the men who prayed were thinking of young Billy, who had not yet even given his heart to Jesus Christ. Of course, God answered that prayer in an unimaginable way. Graham later said, “A mystery and wonder of prayer is that God often waits until someone asks.”

Commit to boldly pray for those in your city and this nation to discover a relationship with the Lord this year. Then ask God for a fresh anointing of His Spirit upon all Christian leaders in America. Your prayers will make a powerful difference!

Recommended Reading: Mark 11:15-24

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The Holy Spirit Promised

 

“But when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power to testify about Me with great effect, to the people in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth, about my death and resurrection” (Acts 1:8).

Evangelists were gathered in Amsterdam, Holland, from more than 130 countries around the world to attend the International Conference for Itinerant Evangelists sponsored by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. On the third night of this historic event I was asked to bring the address on “How to be Filled With the Holy Spirit.” Just before I was to speak, a note from Billy Graham was handed to me. It said, “I consider this one of the most important addresses of the entire conference.”

According to the hundreds of thousands of surveys which our ministry has taken all over the world, 95 percent of the professing believers do not understand the ministry of the Holy Spirit. This includes a majority of pastors, evangelists and missionaries. In fact, if I had only one message to give to the Christian world, it would be how to be filled with the Holy Spirit and how to walk moment by moment in the fullness of His power. Indeed if I had to choose between introducing a non-believer to Christ or helping a defeated, fruitless, impotent Christian to understand the ministry of the Holy Spirit and share his faith in Christ with others, I would choose the latter because inevitably the end result would be far greater in terms of the number of people who would be introduced to Christ. The one great need of the Body of Christ today that transcends all other needs is to be awakened to the person and ministry of the Holy Spirit, to be empowered and controlled by Him, to allow Him to exalt and honor our Lord Jesus Christ in and through us, for that is the purpose of His coming. “He (the Holy Spirit) shall praise Me and bring Me great honor by showing you My glory” (John 16:14).

On hundreds of occasions throughout the world I have spoken on this subject and always, when the invitation is given, a good percentage indicate their desire to be filled with the Spirit. The Scripture promises, “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled.” Do you hunger and thirst after righteousness? If so, you are a candidate for the fullness of God’s Spirit. You can by faith appropriate His fullness right now by claiming His promise that God will release His power through you in order that you may be an effective witness for the Lord Jesus Christ.

Bible Reading: Romans 15:15-21

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today I will claim by faith the fullness of God’s Spirit in order to live the supernatural life and to be a more fruitful witness for the Lord Jesus Christ. I know that it is the Holy Spirit who will enable me to live that exciting, supernatural life.

Ravi Zacharias Ministry –   Too Many Gods

Ravi Z

“I am a former Christian minister who is now an agnostic—not an atheist, not a theist, not a sceptic, and certainly not indifferent.(1) So begins the story of Charles Templeton, one time rousing evangelist, friend and counterpart of Billy Graham, turned renounced believer, professed agnostic. He is quick to clarify the meaning of such a title. “The agnostic does not say, as is commonly believed, ‘I do not know whether or not there is a God.’ He says, ‘I cannot know… He asserts that a combination of historic circumstances has made Christianity the dominant religion of the Western world but that it is not unique, there being a host of other religions and a variety of other deities worshipped or revered by millions of men and women in various parts of the world.”(2)

In his final book, Farewell to God, Templeton describes the unraveling of more than twenty years of ministry and a faith that was steadily besieged by doubt. His objections range from scathing frustrations with biblical stories to pained confusions with the ways of the world and the God who supposedly cares for it. One question in particular remained with me throughout the book: “If God is a loving Father, why does he so seldom answer his needy children’s prayers?” he asks. The question isn’t new to me, and like Templeton, I can rattle off an explanation based on a scriptures I know by heart. But the picture that comes to life within this question is far more personal than any routine answer would satisfy. Many wrestle through this question similar to the way we had to wrestle with the presence and absence of our own parents.

Elsewhere, Templeton critiques the world and what he sees as its “abundance of gods,” though he treats each one with the curious requirement of unquestioning obedience as if it was the only god that mattered. He describes it a point of contention—even a point of absurdity—that in the vast sea of divine beings on this planet, Christianity proposes the idea that there is only one God. Across history, there are more gods than any of us can keep track of, and they seem to come with as many descriptions as the people who created them. On top of this, he argues, a great number of these gods come with qualities that leave much to be desired in the first place; they are jealous, hierarchical, vengeful, and demanding—and very much a product of our predecessors.

Many of these observations are troublingly undeniable. I was listening recently to a collection of interviews on the subject of spirituality. They asked hundreds of people the same question: simply, “Who is God?” But the answers were as diverse as the patches on a quilt, and the finished product was not at all a comforting blanket of great divinity, but little more than a mat of troubled chaos, gapping holes, and contradiction. Coming to the end of that message, I sighed deeply—how can anyone muddle through such a mess? We seem to make gods in our own images as fast as we can get them off the assembly line.

Templeton and the many who echo him are absolutely right to point out as troubling the sheer number and seeming characters of these divinities, who “hate every people but their own…[who] are jealous, vengeful…utter egotists and insist on frequent praise and flattery.”(3) In fact, the prophet Jeremiah made a similar point. He called it a “discipline of delusion” to chase after these gods and their demands, but particularly as if it were all a matter of preference and not a matter pertaining to what is real. “They are altogether stupid and foolish,” he wrote of these individuals. “In their discipline of delusion—their idol is wood” (Jeremiah 10:8). The world of gods is indeed a chaotic place. And yet, isn’t it somewhat hasty to reject every divinity in the room simply because there is more than one? In doing so, it would seem we use our own complaint against Christianity (it is arrogant to say there is only one God) as the reason to reject it (it is ridiculous that there is more than one god).

But the description of angry gods in abundance brings me back to the question raised at the beginning. “If God is a loving Father, why does he so seldom answer his needy children’s prayers?” The reason this question demands more than a pat answer is because it deals with disappointment, neglect, silence, and heartache. The question pulls on the very shirtsleeve of a vital relationship. Perhaps it is subtle, but the question itself seems to point to something inherently different about this God—something that sets this Father significantly apart from the sea of divine and impersonal chaos. The gods Templeton and many others describe do not at all seem like gods we would miss if they were far away. They are not the kind of gods we would be saddened by if they were silent, or dare to be angry with if they disappointed us. Like all children with parents that we do not always understand, sometimes we ask questions that aren’t entirely fair (or even sensible). And sometimes we ask questions that give away the relational presence of the one we wrestle with under the surface.

I believe it is more than helpful to recognize the human capacity to create gods and chase after delusion. But so I think it is vital to recognize that not all gods are created equal, and there is reason to believe there might be one who isn’t created at all.

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.

(1) Charles Templeton, Farewell to God: My Reasons for Rejecting the Christian Faith (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1996), 18.

(2) Ibid.

(3) Ibid., 22-23.

A note from Ravi Zacharias

Dear Friend,

 

Hello to all our friends and supporters. I have a special prayer request for two programs I have been invited to do with commentator and broadcaster Glenn Beck at his studios in Dallas, Texas, on Monday, November 10. I met with Glenn recently, and he is a delightful person to know and talk with. He is on his own spiritual journey. He would like to interview me on my latest book, Why Suffering?, and also on my spiritual journey.

I am grateful for this unique opportunity, but it will be a tough one. I am a deeply committed evangelical Christian. Glenn is a member of the LDS church. So in that sense we have deep distinctives. I firmly believe in the finished work of Jesus Christ and his exclusive claim to be the way, the truth, and the life. I believe in the Old and the New Testament as the sufficient and final word for faith and conduct. So any addition or detraction from those truths would be in contravention of our Lord’s words.

Therefore, the challenge when I am speaking with another from a different belief (a situation I find myself in often) is to navigate carefully and wisely. At the same time, as a Christian apologist, I must be in arenas where there are counter-perspectives and clearly present what I believe. That is our field of calling, whether talking to skeptics or those of other beliefs. Unfortunately, in this day of mass communication, my words and my presence can be taken out of context or misrepresented. So please pray for me as I handle a worthy opportunity with wisdom to present the truth and the book that touches on the most painful malady facing all of humanity: “Why Suffering?”

One of the most important purposes in such interviews is to talk to people about the slow moral death of our culture. A moral soil is needed for anything worthy to flourish. With that goal in mind I talk with those who share that common concern. Moral soil and truths in our worldview are not the same. But that moral soil is indispensable for truth to stand a chance. It is that soil that I seek to prepare so that the truth of the gospel may be planted.

Thank you for your prayers. Need I say that a lot of conversations in such settings are very private? I will honor that and pray that the truth will triumph and that which was come to terms with in private will come to public fruition. I will never compromise my belief in the final and sufficient work of Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior. May every conversation bring others to that same conviction. Only the Holy Spirit of God can bring that change in any heart.

As RZIM celebrates our 30th year as a ministry, we are reminded that our goal must always be the glory of God. Please do pray for wisdom for me and for our team as we navigate these challenging times in our culture. We are grateful for your continued support as we seek to articulate the beauty and credibility of the gospel of Jesus Christ in influential settings across this country and around the world.

With gratitude,

 

 

Ravi Zacharias

Ravi Zacharias will be interviewed by Glenn Beck on Monday, November 10, at The Blaze studios in Dallas, Texas.  You can listen to Ravi on The Glenn Beck Radio Program from 10:00am-11:00am CST.  Check your local listings or listen online at: http://www.glennbeck.com/.  You can watch Ravi on Glenn Beck’s TV show at 5:00 p.m. CST on various cable networks and online at:  http://www.theblaze.com/tv/.

Greg Laurie – Our Ultimate Prayer Partner          

greglaurie

Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. —Romans 8:34

If you found yourself in a difficult passage in life, would it bring you some measure of comfort if Billy Graham called you? “This is Billy Graham. I wanted to talk to you. I heard you were going through a hard time. I would like to pray for you.” And of course you answer, “Please do!”

So Billy Graham prays for you, with that unforgettable voice of his, bringing your name and needs before God. Wouldn’t you feel good about that? When it was over, wouldn’t you hang up the phone and say, “Wow. That was unreal. I feel so much better now.”

Then let’s say the phone rings again. “This is Pastor Chuck Smith. I heard you were experiencing some difficulties. May I pray for you?” So Chuck Smith prays for you. And then Chuck Swindoll calls, and he prays for you too! How would you feel? You would feel good. Three great men of God have personally called you on the phone and prayed for your needs by name.

Yet the Bible teaches that Someone much greater than these is already doing that very thing. Jesus Christ is praying for you. The Son of God is interceding for you. What’s more, He’s not just calling you on the phone, praying, and then leaving you alone again. Hebrews 7:25 tells us, “Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”

He always lives to make intercession for you. He always prays for you. In fact, He’s praying for you right now, at the right hand of His Father in heaven. Hebrews 9:24 says, “For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.” Jesus is interceding for you at this very moment.

Today’s devotional is an excerpt from Every Day with Jesus by Greg Laurie, 2013

Our Daily Bread — All We Need To Know

Our Daily Bread

Romans 7:18-25

For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells. —Romans 7:18

In a Fernando Ortega rendition of “Just As I Am,” Billy Graham’s voice can be heard faintly in the background. Dr. Graham is reminiscing about an illness during which he believed he was dying. As he mused on his past, he realized what a great sinner he was and how much he continues to need God’s daily forgiveness.

Billy Graham was putting an end to the notion that apart from God we’re okay. We can feel good about ourselves, but that confidence must come from the knowledge that we’re greatly loved children of God (John 3:16), not that we’re very good children (Rom. 7:18).

The first step in becoming a truly “good” person as a follower of Christ is to stop pretending that we’re good on our own and to ask God to make us as good as we can be. We will fail many times, but He will keep growing us and changing us. God is faithful and—in His time and in His way—He’ll do it.

In his final years, the writer of “Amazing Grace,” John Newton, suffered from dementia and lamented the loss of his memory. Yet he confided, “I do remember two things: I am a great sinner, and Jesus is a great Savior.” When it comes to faith, those are the only things anyone needs to know. —David Roper

The Lord has promised good to me,

His word my hope secures;

He will my shield and portion be

As long as life endures. —Newton

God’s grace accepted is God’s peace experienced.

Bible in a year: Psalms 66-67; Romans 7

Insight

The Christian life is one of struggle with sin and growth in holiness. On this side of heaven, we will not be totally freed from this struggle (James 3:2; 1 John 1:8–2:1). In today’s text, the apostle Paul writes of the war between good and evil that wages within him. Elsewhere Paul explains, “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want” (Gal. 5:17 NIV). Yet we can take comfort in the fact that Jesus delivers us from this “body of death” (Rom. 7:24).

Greg Laurie – Where the Power Is          

greglaurie

The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. —1 Corinthians 1:18

I once asked Billy Graham, “If you had it to do it all over again, are there things you would have emphasized as a younger preacher that maybe you are emphasizing now?” His response surprised me.

Without any hesitation, he said, “The cross of Christ and the blood. That’s where the power is.”

I remembered that. I took note of it as a preacher: the cross of Christ and the blood. That is what he would emphasize more. That’s where the power is.

It comes down to the cross. Any accurate presentation of the gospel comes down to the cross. You can talk about loneliness, and you can talk about hope and life beyond the grave. But it all comes down to the cross.

Paul said, “Let me remind you, dear brothers and sisters, of the Good News I preached to you before. . . Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said” (1 Corinthians 15:1,3-4 NLT).

We need to remember this as Christians. Perhaps you don’t consider yourself a theologian or the greatest intellect of all time. But you can tell the story of what Jesus did on the cross and how He died and shed His blood for us. There is power in that simple message. I have watched it transform people time and time again because God anoints it, blesses it, and He uses it to penetrate the defenses that people can put up.

Jesus died on the cross for us. That’s where the power is.

Today’s devotional is an excerpt from Every Day with Jesus by Greg Laurie, 2013

Presidential Prayer Team;  J.R. – Never Fear

ppt_seal01

Mordecai Ham was a fearless evangelist. Upon arrival in town prior to his big tent revival services, he would seek out the most notorious citizens – often mafia leaders or influential atheists – and proceed to pray for them and plead with them until they surrendered to Christ. Ham’s meetings were so spiritually effective that he regularly received death threats. Yet nothing would deter him. Good thing, too…one of his converts was a teenager named Billy Graham.

Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord.

Psalm 31:24

God, through His Holy Spirit, will give you the boldness necessary to declare the truth in love to others. The key is to dismiss your fear. II Timothy 1:7 says “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” It’s tough to speak out for biblical values in society today. Few people will listen, and many who do may disregard or even ridicule you. But America’s leaders need to hear the voices of those whom God has called.

Who does the Lord want you to pray and plead for? Is it for a notorious work colleague, a troublesome family member, or even a politician with whom you disagree? As He leads, speak with confidence…and never fear! He’ll be with you.

Recommended Reading: Joshua 24:14-18

Greg Laurie – Forgetting God      

greglaurie

You do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. —James 4:14

There was a time in my life when I could remember every week and month and year. Now I remember decades more easily than I remember individual years. Time seems to go by so quickly.

When Billy Graham was asked what had been his greatest surprise in life, he answered, “The brevity of it.”

That is so true. Time marches on. Scripture certainly echoes this idea of the shortness of human life. Job said, “Now my days are swifter than a runner; they flee away, they see no good” (Job 9:25). David said, “Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, and my age is as nothing before You; certainly every man at his best state is but vapor” (Psalm 39:5).

And James posed this question: “For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14). James wasn’t asking a philosophical question but a more descriptive one. A better way to translate it would be, “What sort of life do you have?”

It is also important to note that he was speaking to Christians who were involved in the world of commerce, those who seemed to be taking credit where credit was not due. They were boasting of their ability to make money and be successful, and in the process, they were forgetting all about God.

It is always dangerous for us to take credit for what God has given us the ability to do. God warns that He will not share His glory with another. So let’s be careful to not forget God in our lives.

Today’s devotional is an excerpt from Every Day with Jesus by Greg Laurie, 2013

Greg Laurie – Our Motive in Giving

greglaurie

I want it to be a willing gift, not one given grudgingly. —2 Corinthians 9:5

The story is told of Billy and Ruth Graham and an experience they had in church one Sunday. As the offering was being taken, Billy Graham reached into his pocket and meant to pull out a five-dollar bill. Instead, he pulled out a fifty-dollar bill and didn’t discover it until he already had placed it in the offering plate. He was a little horrified by what he had done and turned to his wife, Ruth, and said, “Well, at least I will get a reward in heaven for giving fifty dollars.”

“No,” Ruth said, “you are going to get a reward for five dollars because that is all you meant to give.”

Motive is everything because God looks on the heart. The Bible tells us that “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). The word used for cheerful could be translated “hilarious.” This suggests a joy in giving that leaps over all restraints. Amazingly, as Paul urged the Corinthians to give, he cited the Macedonian believers who were relatively impoverished in comparison to the Corinthian believers. In speaking of them in 2 Corinthians 8:2, he said, “They are being tested by many troubles, and they are very poor. But they are also filled with abundant joy, which has overflowed in rich generosity.” (NLT). How do the terms many troubles, very poor, and rich generosity fit together in one verse? They fit when people have discovered the joy of giving. Giving is not a luxury of the rich; it is a privilege of the poor and of everyone, not just people who have disposable incomes.

Giving is a responsibility. It is an opportunity. And it is a blessing for every follower of

Jesus Christ.

Today’s devotional is an excerpt from Every Day with Jesus by Greg Laurie, 2013

Greg Laurie – An Evangelism Essential   

greglaurie

“Is not My word like a fire?” says the Lord, “And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?” —Jeremiah 23:29

Billy Graham once said, “Time and time again in my ministry, I have quoted a Bible verse in a sermon, sometimes without planning to do so in advance, only to have someone tell me afterward it was that verse that the Holy Spirit used to bring conviction and faith to him.”

Knowing God’s Word is essential for any person who wants to lead others to Jesus Christ. Anyone who shares the gospel needs to use the Word of God.

When Philip met the Ethiopian in the desert, the Bible tells us, “Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him” (Acts 8:35). What if Philip had not been a student of Scripture when the Ethiopian was looking for answers? He would have had to say, “I don’t know, that’s a good question. Uh, can I get back to you?” Fortunately, Philip was well-versed in what the Scripture taught.

That is why we are told in 2 Timothy 2:15, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” I’m not saying we need to have the answer to every question. But I am saying that we need to study and prepare ourselves as effectively as possible. And if we don’t have the answer, let that propel us back into the pages of Scripture to find it for the next time that question arises.

Today’s devotional is an excerpt from Every Day with Jesus by Greg Laurie, 2013

Greg Laurie – A Legacy that Lasts

greglaurie

So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ. —Colossians 1:28

In his book, Nearing Home, Billy Graham said, “God doesn’t want us to waste our latter years or spend them in superficial, meaningless pursuits. Instead, He wants us to use them in whatever ways we can to influence those who will come after us. God wants us to finish well. . . .”

One day, your most precious possessions will fit inside a hospital drawer. You will leave it all behind and will enter into eternity. What kind of legacy will you leave? If you are a Christian, are you seeking to win people to Christ? Are you helping anyone to get on their feet spiritually, grow, and continue on to serve the Lord?

Someone did this for me. I accepted Christ during a meeting at my high school, but afterward, I was sort of left all alone, wondering what I was supposed to do. But then God brought along someone named Mark. He introduced himself and told me that he wanted to take me to church and that I needed to go to church if I wanted to grow spiritually. He was persistent in a good way. He brought me to church again and again. Mark showed up at a critical moment in my life. If he hadn’t, I tremble to think of where I would have ended up. He was just some regular guy who had a concern for me and took time with me.

You can be that regular person for someone else. Are you doing that? If not, will you start?

You can’t really control when God will call you home. That is not up to you. You don’t determine the date of your birth or the date of your death. But you have everything to do with what you do between those dates. So finish well.

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – The Holy Spirit Promised

dr_bright

“But when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you will receive power to testify about Me with great effect, to the people in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth, about my death and resurrection” (Acts 1:8).

Evangelists were gathered in Amsterdam, Holland, from more than 130 countries around the world to attend the International Conference for Itinerant Evangelists sponsored by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. On the third night of this historic event I was asked to bring the address on “How to be Filled With the Holy Spirit.” Just before I was to speak, a note from Billy Graham was handed to me. It said, “I consider this one of the most important addresses of the entire conference.”

According to the hundreds of thousands of surveys which our ministry has taken all over the world, 95 percent of the professing believers do not understand the ministry of the Holy Spirit. This includes a majority of pastors, evangelists and missionaries. In fact, if I had only one message to give to the Christian world, it would be how to be filled with the Holy Spirit and how to walk moment by moment in the fullness of His power. Indeed if I had to choose between introducing a non-believer to Christ or helping a defeated, fruitless, impotent Christian to understand the ministry of the Holy Spirit and share his faith in Christ with others, I would choose the latter because inevitably the end result would be far greater in terms of the number of people who would be introduced to Christ. The one great need of the Body of Christ today that transcends all other needs is to be awakened to the person and ministry of the Holy Spirit, to be empowered and controlled by Him, to allow Him to exalt and honor our Lord Jesus Christ in and through us, for that is the purpose of His coming. “He (the Holy Spirit) shall praise Me and bring Me great honor by showing you My glory” (John 16:14).

On hundreds of occasions throughout the world I have spoken on this subject and always, when the invitation is given, a good percentage indicate their desire to be filled with the Spirit. The Scripture promises, “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled.” Do you hunger and thirst after righteousness? If so, you are a candidate for the fullness of God’s Spirit. You can by faith appropriate His fullness right now by claiming His promise that God will release His power through you in order that you may be an effective witness for the Lord Jesus Christ.

Bible Reading: Romans 15:15-21

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: Today I will claim by faith the fullness of God’s Spirit in order to live the supernatural life and to be a more fruitful witness for the Lord Jesus Christ. I know that it is the Holy Spirit who will enable me to live that exciting, supernatural life.

 

Presidential Prayer Team; C.P. – Adore Him

ppt_seal01

“Sing choirs of angels / Sing in exaltation / Sing all ye citizens of Heaven above / Glory to God, glory in the highest / O come, let us adore Him.” It’s easy to sing this beloved Christmas carol and miss the awesomeness of it. A whole, thick book can be written about angels, as evangelist Billy Graham demonstrated.

When he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, “Let all God‘s angels worship him.”

Hebrews 1:6

Angels are amazing: supernatural, fearless and strong. When humans encounter these holy beings, they fall trembling before them, yet angels worship Jesus – who was both human and God. The entirety of Hebrews 1 points out Christ’s deity. The Heavenly Father gave this divine gift in human packaging that people might believe and receive eternal life.

Worship Him, as the angels do, and thank the Savior for leaving the glory of Heaven to express God to all people. And pray the nation’s leaders and citizens alike will receive revelation of who Jesus is…like Peter did, “Simon Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.’” (Matthew 16:16-17)

Recommended Reading: Matthew 16:13-20