This message was given by Dr. Graham on New Year’s Eve in 1975. He talks of tomorrow’s football game being one of the biggest parts of everyone’s day on January 1, 1976. He also speaks of wars, possible nuclear war, drug use, poverty, and confusion. It is amazing and frightening to me that almost 47 years ago we were dealing with many of the same problems that we have today. Although, today’s problems are worse than they were then. In 1976 we were still more of a Christian nation than we are now. Much of the country still had “blue laws” on the books that closed many businesses on Sunday which is unheard of today. Television was not as focused on drugs for all sorts of diseases and the news actually reported real news rather than five and ten seconds worth of blurbs between drug commercials.
Much has changed in the last fifty years and none of it is for the betterment of our country. Some things are better but there are so many that are much, much worse until they outweigh the good things that have been done. If you look back at some sermons from preachers from fifty or one hundred years ago, the problems of society have not really changed all that much. The bad kids in school sixty years ago were putting gum under their desks or in girls’ hair. Now they are bringing guns and knives and drugs to school and the school can’t do much about it. I ask you to join me in praying for our country’s soul and that those who profess to be Christians will turn and become the disciples of Christ that they say they are.
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
1 John 2:15-16 KJV
Last year all of us wondered if there would be another year ahead but God gave us another year to be useful. Have you used this past year to be useful to Him? If you didn’t then you may have another year ahead to be used in His Kingdom to bring His message to those who need to hear it. Everyone who claims to have Jesus as their Savior is supposed to be His feet and His messengers to a lost and dying world. To those who go to church when they feel like it or even to those who have been members of a church for their whole life…you may be Christians IF you have accepted Jesus as your Savior. But sitting in a church for more than five or ten years doesn’t make you a Christian and just showing up when you feel like it doesn’t either. Salvation is found only in a solid belief in Jesus Christ as your Savior. When His Holy Spirit has convicted you of your need for Him and you give your heart to Him and you turn away from your old life and begin studying the Bible so you know Him better…that’s when your life changes!
There aren’t a ton of rules in being a Christian but you will find out what God blesses and what He doesn’t care for when you study His Word. So when you know His likes and His dislikes then you adjust your life to follow Him. That’s how you live your life trying to be more like Jesus every day. Yes, we fail at being like Him every day but we are trying with the Holy Spirit giving us strength to follow Him. Do we fall and fail to be like Him? Of course, we do many times a day…but at least we are trying to be better than we were and we can only do that with Him as our Savior.
Make this next year your best year as a follower of Jesus so that others can tell that you are a Christian even if you don’t tell them you are. Happy New Year!!
When you are hurting, thank the Lord for His mercy and grace even when you don’t feel thankful. God loves each of us and we need to tell Him “Thank You!” for all that He does. Some people may ask, “What does God do for me?”; if you can get up and walk, He has blessed you with that ability. Everything that we can do each day is a gift from God. Whether it is getting up for a cup of coffee or getting up to go to work…or just being able to get up!
God created us to be His companion and He has given each of us a purpose in life which is to go out and tell others about Him. Some will believe and some won’t but God is still in control of it all. Take comfort in that.
Many times I have been asked to pray in church, even when I was a pastor and the facts about our Savior just overwhelmed me and I would choke up. Some people may have thought I was weak or just a “cry-baby” by doing this although none of them would admit it. But when you consider the pain and suffering that Jesus had to go through on the day He was crucified to pay for all of our sins…it is overwhelming. God loves each of us who will give our hearts to Him and repent of our old ways and His love is so overpowering until we can’t understand it.
Why would God send His Son to go through all of the suffering and pain as a man in order to pay our penalty for our sins? It’s because of His love for us and nothing else. Every time He disciplined the Jewish people in the Old Testament He was trying to get them to turn to Him for their provision and for His love to be poured out on them as blessings. Sometimes they recognized this and sometimes they didn’t so for a while they would follow Him or the person that He sent to bring them back into a relationship with Him. But as soon as that person died, they would turn back to the idols that they had rather than continue to follow God’s leading.
God has always been close to our little world and He has protected us from many dangers that we never know about. Can I prove this? Not really…unless you look at the surface of our moon and see how many hundreds of asteroid impacts have ended on its surface rather than hitting Earth. I would guess that there have been a few extinction-level impacts that were intercepted by the moon instead of impacting and setting our world back a few thousand years or more.
The love that God has for us, each of us, is so magnificent and deep until we cannot possibly understand or even comprehend it and it was because of that love that He came in the guise of Jesus to pay our debt so we wouldn’t have to. Just consider His love for each of us because He even knows how many hairs are on your head and mine! He knows when a bird falls from the sky because in the Bible Jesus said that “not even a sparrow falls without the Father knowing it”. If He cares enough to watch a small bird and know when they die, don’t you think that each of us is worth a little more than a little bird?
When you or I consider the deep and abiding love that God has for each of us, how can you not shed a tear or get choked up a bit? Not one of us deserves His love but He thinks that we do and He does care for us more than we could imagine or hope for. Give your life to Jesus and ask Him to come into your life and help you clean out your heart because your future depends on this decision. He has already paid for your past mistakes (sins) and for any future ones too, all you have to do is repent of them and ask Him to come into your life and make it useful for His Kingdom.
When you have given your heart and your life to Jesus, He gives His Life to you. You are a beneficiary of the Lamb of God and you have been adopted into God’s family. God loves each of us dearly, whether we love Him or believe in Him or not. The problem that many people have with God and His provision for them is that He knows exactly who among us will accept His provision and His salvation through Jesus and His sacrifice for them. He also knows who will not accept it. This upsets some people. Because they think that they might be in the group that won’t accept it, they choose not to and go on with their lives. The problem with this is that He knows but you do not and it is Satan who is telling you that you aren’t wanted by God so go back to your life like it was before.
You are wanted by God but it is still your decision to make. He doesn’t force or try to manipulate you into giving your heart to Jesus it must be a willing decision on your part. Satan knows this and that is why he tries his best to convince you to go back to your “old life”.
God provides us with every imagined good thing in our lives. Some of it is our stuff that we are able to have because of the gifts and abilities that He has blessed us with but most of these blessings are because of His love for us. The air that we breathe, the ground that we can walk on and the planet that we live on are all provided because of His love for us. I know that some scientists say that God didn’t have anything to do with our planet or the universe’s formation. It just happened because of the “big bang” and chance. Really? How many mountains have you ever seen form because a bomb was dropped and exploded? I haven’t seen any.
Things, like stars, planets and galaxies, do not form from gas and dust for no reason. Some of you may not want to hear or read that but it is true. There was and is a Designer in charge of all of the matter and “star stuff” that is present in our universe and His name is God!
We have been given far more than we deserve in the lives that we live, whether we live them for Jesus and His Kingdom or not. Our problem is that mankind has been in rebellion against God almost since the very beginning. We are like little children. We want it now and we want it our way, not the way that God wants us to do it. I pray that each of you who may read this will consider giving your heart to Jesus for your salvation. Then get into the Bible and read two books first afterwards. Read John and Romans. John because it will give you and good foundation in what Jesus’ teachings were and Romans because it goes into depth with those teachings and gives you a better understanding of why they are important to your Spiritual life in Christ.
This past week has been cold all over the United States. Why would I celebrate this cold and dangerous time in our country? Everything in our country can’t always be good and equitable for everyone. Life always has ups and downs. Good days and bad.
God loves each of us and offers us eternity with Him so why do people refuse His offer? We go through trials and trouble and problems with our bodies and at our jobs and even with our relationships. Sometimes we depend on God for our help with these things and sometimes we tell Him that we can handle it even when we know that we can’t. Oh, we may not actually tell Him that we will handle things but when we don’t seek His help with whatever it is then we are telling Him to His face that we can do it. He will let us try and usually we will fail. Then, if we have any conscience at all, we will seek His help to fix the mess that we have now.
After all of this ice and snow melts we will have really mushy yards and mine is already on its way to being that way. It is pretty when it falls and stays for a while but it is a pain and so muddy when it is melting and going away. That is another way of looking at our life with or without Jesus in it. I’m not saying that becoming a Christian will solve all of your problems immediately because it won’t. Satan will still attack you on many fronts and try to take your witness away or at least mess it up so that people who don’t really know you will just dismiss your witness as fake.
That is why when the ice storms and the hail and sleet come into your life as problems and pains and broken hearts, make sure that you turn to and lean on Jesus. He can strengthen you and give you the faith and ability to get through all of these problems. Some people will scoff at this but God does care about each of us and He will be near you in all of your problems IF you give your heart to Him and repent of your sins. Don’t expect Him to comfort you if you don’t belong to Him. That would be like expecting a total stranger to comfort you and take care of your needs. Some people might but not all.
God has always been close to humanity because of Israel and the Jewish people. He always has His attention on us and if you are a believer He knows you more intimately than anyone.