January 9, 2019
From the writings of the
Rev. Billy Graham
Q: I am determined to turn over a new leaf this year. But I am afraid it will be like all the years before. How can I make my New Year’s resolution stick?
A: Slogans have been around a long time, perhaps as early as the Middle Ages. Slogans were passwords used to help identify individuals in the heat of battle. Today they are used in advertising to “distinguish a short, striking or memorable phrase.” Various presidents have used slogans to dramatize their philosophy of government. Roosevelt had the “New Deal,” Truman had the “Fair Deal,” and Reagan had “Make America Great Aagain” (adopted by the current president).
“Out with the old, in with the new” is often the slogan of a new year followed by many resolutions made by people determined to “turn a new page” and do better than the year before. Sadly, most New Year’s resolutions die before the end of January.
Jesus Christ had memorable slogans that have endured through the ages, and we would all do well to pay attention to them and adhere to them. Jesus announced His great society, “His kingdom,” which was the promise of Heaven and eternal life with Him—forever. It will endure because the Kingdom of God is not built on a false promise—but the word of the Lord. Conversion is a requirement of citizenship in this wonderful place. Many people say that it doesn’t matter what’s believed (to get to Heaven). But Jesus Christ said, “Unless you are converted … you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).
Are you holding on to the solid Rock, Jesus the Savior? Do not delay. Start the new year off with a sure thing—God’s promise to give you a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).
Q: As a new year begins I am filled with anxiety about the future. I am especially undone when Christians talk about the end times, which instills fear, and use strange words like “apocalypse.” Is it useful to frighten people with such things?
A: From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
Every day headlines frighten people with news of murder, disease, scandal and corruption. Or how about headlines that warn people about cyber-theft, social networking traps, or perhaps something more easily spotted like a dangerous animal on the loose? The Bible says, “A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; he rages against all wise judgment” (Proverbs 18:1).
It is good to think on the things that are good and uplifting—and the Bible tells us to do so, but the Bible also tells us to be on the alert so that we are not caught off guard by things that can tempt us. God would not be the true meaning of love if He didn’t warn us of dangers ahead. A loving parent certainly would not raise children without warnings. God cannot show His love without first teaching His judgment. The word “apocalypse” literally means “an uncovering, a disclosure of knowledge.” The Word of God speaks of this clearly. Because of God’s vast love for His creation He has disclosed to us what is ahead by sending this critical headline: “Prepare to meet your God” (Amos 4:12).
What is so wonderful about this news alert is that it gives everyone the opportunity to consider God’s salvation. It is offered to every man, woman, and child and the Lord, out of His abundant grace says, “The Lord is … long suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). There is no reason to be frightened when your decision is to accept Christ as Savior.