Friday, February 23, 2018
|By Billy Graham, Tribune Content AgencyFeb 23, 2018|
|We were very saddened to hear of Billy Graham's passing. We will continue to run new and archived versions of his column until it is no longer syndicated.|
Q: I think it's wrong to believe that one religion is any better than any other religion. I think all religions have glimpses of the truth, and I hope that eventually they'll all get together and become one great religion. You probably won't agree, but why? -- Mrs. L.N.S.
A: Although I can't agree with you, I sense that in your soul you have a hunger for God -- and I hope you won't ever be satisfied with anything less than discovering the living God. God's promise is for you: "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart" (Jeremiah 29:13).
Let me use an illustration to explain what I mean. Suppose you were a medical researcher, and one day you developed a new drug that -- for the first time -- completely cured a particular type of cancer. Would you keep it to yourself? Or would you tell doctors that it really didn't matter which drug they used? No, of course not. You'd do everything you could to convince people to take it.
The same is true with Jesus Christ. The human race, the Bible says, has a deadly disease -- a "spiritual cancer" the Bible calls sin. Not only does it pollute our lives and twist our personalities, but it cuts us off from God and from Heaven. Is there any cure? Yes! God has given us the cure -- and that cure is Jesus Christ, God's only Son, who gave His life for us.
Don't wander down spiritual paths that will only deceive you and end up leading nowhere. Instead, turn to Jesus Christ and discover the hope and forgiveness He alone can give. Only Christ could say, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6).
(Send your queries to "My Answer," c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or visit the Web site for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association: www.billygraham.org.)
|DEVOTION FOR FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2018|
|2 Corinthians 4:1–18|
|WE ARE WEAK, BUT HE IS STRONG|
Since 1862, children around the world have been singing the words of Anna Bartlett Warner’s hymn, “Jesus Loves Me.” Its first stanza contains a line that is true for children and adults alike: “Little ones to Him belong—they are weak but He is strong.”
At this point in our study of evangelism, you may be feeling overwhelmed. We have a wonderful task—to share God’s love in Christ with the people around us. But we are also aware of our own frailty. None of us is as winsome or prayerful or bold or faithful as we know we ought to be. All around us, people are drowning in their sins and we feel like we can’t throw out enough life rafts fast enough. Or, we are throwing out life rafts and our friends and neighbors seem to just ignore them.
Today’s passage offers us rest and encouragement. Our weakness is not a surprise to God. He has deliberately and lovingly placed the treasure of His gospel “in jars of clay” (v. 7). In fact, throughout the Bible, God repeatedly uses frail people. He made Moses, who struggled to speak, His prophetic mouthpiece (see Ex. 6:10–12). He made women, whose testimony was suspect in the first century, the primary witnesses of His resurrection (see Luke 24:1–11). He made Paul, with his constant physical affliction, His world-traveling missionary (see 2 Cor. 12:7–10). And he made each one of us, with our weakness and struggles, His evangelists in the world.
Why? He does this so that we will not depend on ourselves or focus on ourselves. He does this so the world will know that the power of the gospel comes from Him alone. He is the one who takes our feeble evangelistic efforts and uses them to accomplish His saving purposes. “Therefore we do not lose heart” (v. 16).
|APPLY THE WORD|
We can become discouraged when we are aware of our weakness. Take heart in God’s encouragement that He is glorified even in our frailty, and He uses us to accomplish His saving purposes. Sing “Jesus Loves Me” as an acknowledgment of your weakness and an affirmation of your trust in God. We are weak, but He is strong!
February 23, 2018
The Scriptures are full of verses that speak of the enjoyment God’s people find in Him, and this sometimes leaves us wondering why our experience doesn’t match theirs. If we aren’t delighting in the Lord on a consistent basis, there may be some hindrances in our life.
We may not know God. No one can have a personal relationship with the Father except through His Son Jesus. But when we believe in Christ as Savior and Lord, we become children of God. Then through His Word, we learn He’s not a Father who is quick to punish us for breaking His rules, but He’s one who tenderly watches over us and restores us when we fall.
We may be afraid of God. When the Scriptures tell us to fear the Lord, it means to honor, revere, and obey Him as a child does a parent. But if we see Him as a tyrannical Father, we’ll be afraid of Him, and this kind of fear keeps us from experiencing joy in our relationship with Him. We must remember that our heavenly Father loved us so much that He sent His Son to rescue us and has placed us securely in His loving family.
Sometimes the problem is sin. When we disobey the Lord, our fellowship with Him—but not our relationship with Him—is broken. If we confess our sins, then He is faithful to forgive us and restore our intimacy with Him. (See 1 John 1:9.)
When we really enjoy the Lord, we find ourselves slow to leave His presence and desiring to linger. Does this describe your relationship with your heavenly Father?
Bible in One Year: Deuteronomy 6-8