“If any of you wants to be my followers, you must forget about yourself. You must take up your cross and follow me.”
Jesus begins to tell His disciples that He will soon be rejected and crucified, but on the third day He will rise to life.
Peter rebukes Jesus for this, but Jesus says to him “Get behind me satan!”
Jesus then tells the crowd that if anyone wants to be a disciple they must die to themselves and take up their cross to follow Him. To win the world and lose your soul is tragic loss.
Jesus rejects all anti-gospel, self-fulfilment messages. It is not “Your Best Life Now” but “Die to yourself.”
The message is both scary and strangely appealing.
Many christians fail to grow because they never settle in their heart that they have to die to themselves. The christian life is not just about asking Jesus into your heart even though it starts there. Being crucified is hard work, undignified, painful and deadly. It is everything that our fleshly nature revolts against.
How are we to die to ourselves?
1. Decide daily TGIF- Today God Is First. I am no longer my own; I was bought at a price by Christ. I am literally His slave.
2. Sacrifice all ambition. The career ladder and professional advancement may not be what the Lord has for you. The nice house may not be in His plans either.
3. Humility. Our culture both hates and admires humility in others. We like leaders who have “the common touch” but are not too common themselves. I must always look at my life through Christ’s eyes not through the distorted lens of self-image.
4. Be a servant, totally dedicated to serving others and the Lord. Going out of my comfort zone to help others is good for my soul.
Lord, you call me to take up my cross to follow you. I confess I find this call scary. I want to follow you in all things. Please help me to put to death all selfish ambition and to live entirely for you. Amen.
The most famous evangelist in our era has gone home to the Lord. What an awesome influence for good this man has had over his 99 years of life.
Ed Stetzer reflects on this life:
Reflections on the Passing of Rev. Billy Graham, One of the Greatest Christian Heroes of Our TimeEd Stetzer, who holds the Billy Graham Distinguished Chair at Wheaton College (Billy Graham’s alma mater), shares his thoughts. |
Image: Billy Graham Center Archives
Eighty million people. That’s the number of people that Rev. Billy Graham is thought to have preached the gospel to during his years of active ministry. This doesn’t include those who heard via radio or film. Millions have come to faith in Christ as a result of his commitment to his Savior and his pursuit of the call of God on his life. He has held the position ofone of the most admired people in America more than any other individual.
Billy Graham was beloved by both Christians and non-Christians, admired by those who love Jesus and those who have rejected Him. And with his passing today, we are at a loss for words in many ways.
His impact on modern Global Christianity is unparalleled. And yet His life calling was one of simple obedience. “My one purpose in life,” Rev. Graham once said, “is to help people find a personal relationship with God, which, I believe, comes through knowing Christ.”
In the Billy Graham Center, where I work, we have an entire section devoted to the life and ministry of Rev. Graham. On the walls are panoramic pictures of him at Crusades, him with his family, him on magazines, and perhaps most importantly, him praying to the God he loved so dearly.
These walls tell the story of Rev. Graham, from the time he was born in 1918 and through his latter days. Having walked through these sections many times, it is hard to believe he is now face to face with the One he told millions about.
William Franklin “Billy” Graham Jr., the eldest of four children, was born on November 7, 1918, near Charlotte, North Carolina. He grew up on a dairy farm, and at the age of 16 went to visit evangelist Mordecai Ham. He trusted in Jesus at one of Ham’s revivals. Graham attended Florida Bible College, where he received his call to ministry, and later Wheaton College, where he met his future wife, Ruth Bell, the daughter of a medical missionary. The couple had five children.
While attending Wheaton College, Graham became pastor of the United Gospel Tabernacle and later served as pastor of First Baptist Church in Western Springs, Illinois, after which he took over the radio program “Songs in the Night” from his friend and fellow evangelist Torrey Johnson. In 1947, at the age of 30, Graham was named as President of Northwestern Bible College in Minneapolis. He served in that position until 1952. During this time he became the first full-time evangelist with Youth for Christ and in 1949 held a crusade in Los Angeles, which launched him into national prominence.
Over his ministry career, Rev. Graham held over 400 crusades in 185 cities. He also spoke at InterVarsity’s Urbana Student Mission Conference nine times.
In 1950, Rev. Graham founded the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
It is nearly impossible for me to imagine the welcome he is receiving in heaven, the “well done” spoken directly to him from the One he spent his life telling others about.
As an Evangelical leader, and now holding my position as head of the Center that bears Rev. Graham’s name, it is hard for me to put into words how I feel and respond knowing that he has passed into heaven.
Thankfulness and extreme gratitudetop my list—gratitude that he rarely lost sight of his true calling to proclaim Christ to a lost and hurting world. Rev. Graham was on a mission to tell people about our Savior so much so that he once said, “I’ll preach until there is no breath left in my body. I was called by God, and until God tells me to retire, I cannot. Whatever strength I have, whatever time God lets me have, is going to be dedicated to doing the work of an evangelist, as long as I live.”
Awe and admirationcome in a close second. Rev. Graham was a man who knew what was important. His God, his family, his friends. He didn’t waver in the face of numerous opportunities to be esteemed and lifted high in the sight of man. He didn’t cower in speaking the name of Jesus at all times, in all ways, to all who would hear. His singular vision to see our world know Jesus is nearly unparalleled.
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Abraham never doubted or questioned Gods promise. His faith made him strong, and he gave all the credit to God.
God promised Abraham the world. The promise wasn’t about Abraham obeying a law but because of his faith.
God’s anger burns against law breakers. But if there is no law it can’t be broken. Everything then depends on faith, and His promise comes to us through faith.
Even when God’s promise to Abraham that he would father many nations seemed impossible, Abraham still believed the promise.
The promise of Abraham being made righteous through faith still applies. We are still made acceptable to God through our faith in Jesus’ death.
Abraham never doubted or questioned God’s promise. He clung to that promise even when he was way past the age normally associated with reproduction.
His faith made him strong. He knew that he could trust God because of God’s nature. It is not God’s character to lead us on with false promises. He is faithful and trustworthy.
Abraham had a strong faith. But faith made him strong in character and in resilience. Despite numerous set backs, Abraham knew he had a destiny and a purpose, so he kept moving forwards to that destiny.
Knowing that God has given us a purpose can help keep us going against incredible odds. We might not see the final destination- like Abraham who died long before the promise was fulfilled- but we can know that we have played our part in God’s plan.
Lord I thank you that my final destiny is greater than I can imagine right now. Your plans for my life are more fruitful than I can know. Help me to see your purposes in my life and to live up to the high calling you have for me. Amen.
From Jo Nova- the truth about “free power from nature”
Electricity prices fell for forty years in Australia, then renewables came…
Electricity prices declined for forty years. Obviously that had to stop.
Here’s is the last 65 years of Australian electricity prices — indexed and adjusted for inflation. During the coal boom, Australian electricity prices declined decade after decade. As renewables and national energy bureaucracies grew, so did the price of electricity. Must be a coincidence…
Today all the hard-won masterful efficiency gains of the fifties, sixties and seventies have effectively been reversed in full.
For most of the 20th Century the Australian grid was hotch potch of separate state grids and mini grids. (South Australia was only connected in 1990). In 1998 the NEM (National Energy Market) began, a feat that finally made bad management possible on a large scale. Though after decades of efficiency gains, Australians would have to wait years to see new higher “world leading” prices. For the first years of the NEM prices stayed around $30/MWh.
But sooner or later a national system is a sitting duck for one small mind to come along and truly muck things up.
Please spread this graph far and wide.
Thanks to a Dr Michael Crawford who did the original, excellent graph.
“I will always keep the promise I have made to you and your descendants, because I am your God and their God.”
When Abram is 99 years old, the Lord again appears to him. He promises to give him many descendants. Abram will be the father of many nations and is now to be called Abraham.
The Lord promises to keep His promises to Abraham and his descendants. As a response to this , every male- man, boy and even slaves- is to be circumcised. Future baby boys are to be circumcised on their eighth day.
Sarai is be called Sarah. She will bear a child and will become the mother of nations.
God always keeps His promises. This is a fact that can give us hope in the darkest times.
God is faithful even when we are not. He keeps His promises to us and to our children.
We need to be careful that we heed the conditions of the promises. We often overlook the “If” and jump straight to the “I will…”
We must also learn to be patient when we claim God’s promises. He does things at the right time, not at our time. There is a 13 year gap between Genesis 16 and Genesis 17. Abraham was 100 years old when the son of promise was born.
When we think it’s too late, taking too long, past its “use by” date or just simply impossible, that is when God steps in.
God always keeps His promises. When we go off track, He coaxes us back in. When we give up hope, He gives us a glimmer of revelation to restore hope.
The only thing needed on our part is to stay faithful. God is faithful to His promise. We must remain faithful to Him.
Thank you Lord that you always keep your promises. Even when we think we have missed it, nothing is too hard for you. Amen.