Billy Graham Q& A

Q:

Why won’t some people admit it when they’re wrong? My uncle has made a lot of bad decisions in his life, but he refuses to take responsibility for them or apologize when he’s hurt someone. Instead he always blames someone else for his problems. Do people like this ever change?


A:

Unfortunately, experience tells us that people like this seldom change; their pride gets in the way, and they can’t bring themselves to admit that they alone are responsible for their failures. The Bible says, “Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice” (Proverbs 13:10).

But note that I didn’t say they can never change, because sometimes they do—with God’s help. I think, for example, of King Nebuchadnezzar in the Old Testament. As the ruler of the Babylonian Empire, he was the most powerful person in the world. When some of Daniel’s friends refused Nebuchadnezzar’s command to worship a mammoth golden idol he had built, he had them thrown into a fiery furnace (although God protected them). Daniel warned him to repent of his evil ways and turn to God—but he refused (see Daniel 4:27-30).

In time, however, Nebuchadnezzar lost his sanity, and also his throne. In his distress, he humbly turned to God, and God delivered him and restored his power. His life was changed, and he issued a decree declaring that “I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and glorify the King of heaven. … And those who walk in pride he is able to humble” (Daniel 4:37).

Pray for your uncle, that God will help him admit his pride, and help him realize his need to open his heart and life to Jesus Christ. Pray too that you will be an example to him of true humility and Christ-like love.

Get closer to Christ. Here’s how.

Day By Dy By Grace

e-Sword Study Bible

September 8
David Urging Others to Trust in the Lord
Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass. (Psa_37:3-5)
Those who live by grace trust in God to work in their lives. We can see David’s heart to live this way, as he urges others to trust in the Lord. “Trust in the LORD . . . feed on His faithfulness . . . Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him.”
God wants His people to be characterized by goodness. Yet, David affirmed that no one does good on their own. “There is none who does good, No, not one” (Psa_14:3). So, for anyone to do good, the Lord must do a good work in and through their lives. Those who place their trust in the Lord find the will and the strength to do that which is good in the sight of God. “Trust in the LORD, and do good.” To be faithful in doing good, God’s people must be nurtured in God’s faithfulness. “Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.” Those who place their trust in a faithful God become increasingly faithful servants of God.
Of course, the work of God in lives is centered in the heart of man. David prayed for an undivided heart of reverential trust toward the Lord. “Unite my heart to fear Your name” (Psa_86:11). Everyone who is willing to let the Lord be the captivating joy of their inner man will have God Himself planting godly desires within their heart. “Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.” These implanted desires are then worked outward unto godly living.
As this godliness is developing, we desire that the Lord’s path for our lives would become increasingly evident. We have a growing interest in walking in the ways of the Lord. David had such a desire in his heart toward the Lord. “Show me Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me” (Psa_25:4-5). The Lord teaches those who are willing to entrust their lives into His directing. “Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.” Those who do place their lives under the sovereign care of God enjoy the great privilege of having the Lord God almighty governing the very steps that they take day by day.
Heavenly Father, I want to trust in You that I might see Your goodness developing in my life. I want to have You as the ultimate joy of my heart that You might have free rein to plant Your desires deep within me. I want to entrust my life into Your hands that I might have You controlling my daily path, through Jesus Christ, my Lord, Amen.

Our Daily Walk

September 8

The e-Sword Study Bible
THE DEVOTIONAL USE OF SCRIPTURE
“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” — Psa_119:105.
IN EACH verse of Ps. 119, the Psalmist mentions the Scriptures, with one exception, and the constant quotation of the Old Testament by our Lord and His Apostles yields abundant evidence of loving and reverent fellowship with the holy men of past ages, who wrote and spoke as moved by the Holy Spirit. It is specially remarkable that the Lord Jesus in His Temptation, in all His teaching, and in the agony of the Cross bore constant witness to the unique authority of the Word of God spoken through the Old Testament saints.
We may know God, says the Psalmist, through a threefold revelation. Though they have no audible voice or language, the heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament of space, studded with myriads of stars, shows His handiwork. Though speechless, their words witness for Him to the uttermost parts of the earth.
The closing stanza of this great Psalm unfolds God’s handiwork in the construction and direction of our moral nature. Between these golden clasps the Psalmist extols the Scriptures under ten striking similitudes, and that disposition must be indeed extraordinary that does not come within the scope of one of them. The soul that needs restoring; the simple who would become wise; the sad heart who would rejoice; the eyes that would be enlightened; the soul that longs for the gold of truth; the desire for sincerity and reality; the search for understanding and righteousness—all such needs and many more are met from a devout reading of Holy Scripture.
All great ministries which have remained fresh and fragrant through long courses of years have proved the wealth of inexhaustible teaching and inspiration which lies hidden in the Bible. Let us each one resolve to soak ourselves in the Scripture before turning to prayer, as water poured in to moisten the sucker will help to draw water up.
PRAYER
Teach us, O Blessed Spirit of Inspiration, so to read, mark, learn and inwardly digest Thy words, that we may be thoroughly furnished unto all good works, and be enabled to lead others into a true understanding of and love for its hidden treasures. AMEN.

Devotional Devotionals

September 8
The Doubting of Thomas
But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe — Joh_20:25
The Supreme Importance of the Resurrection
There is no reader of the New Testament who has not observed the supreme importance given to Christ’s resurrection. It underlies all arguments; it inspires all pleadings. It is the mould in which the apostles’ thought is cast; it is the morning star that lights their feet. I do not know that we have kept the accent there. We are so fond of asking what would Jesus do, that we almost forget the most stupendous thing that Jesus did. It calls for a tingling sense that Christ has risen to give us back again the apostolic music. In the Life of Dr. Dale of Birmingham there is no passage more arresting than the page where he tells how it flashed on him that Jesus lives. He had been ministering, preaching, praying, when suddenly, as in an inspiration, there broke on him the sense that Jesus was alive. We need to be touched like that. We need a new faith that the stone was rolled away. We need a new baptism of the conviction of Thomas, when, clasping those risen feet, he cried, “My Lord and my God.”
The Character of Thomas Gives Weight to His Conviction
First note, then that the character of Thomas gives tremendous weight to his conviction. Do we not sometimes wonder at the Master’s choice of disciples? Do we not feel that some of the twelve must have been very uncongenial company for Jesus? Why did He choose them, then? I can understand how a St. John would serve the world. But what service could a man of the character of Thomas render? I think the chief service of Thomas to the world was his magnificent witness to the resurrection. Peter was passionate, impulsive, rash, springing to his conclusions just as he sprang that morning on the waves; but when a great miracle is in the balance, I want the witness of another character than that. And John?—John loved so splendidly, that a loveless world has ruled him out of court. But the world cannot rule Thomas out of court; his character gives tremendous weight to his conviction. For Thomas was a very stubborn man. There was a grim tenacity about him that almost made him dour. Some men have only to see a thing in print to credit it. They would believe anything on the joint testimony of ten friends. But the ten disciples came hurrying to Thomas; and Peter and James and John were crying “We have seen the Lord,” and Thomas knew what truthful men they were, yet Thomas stubbornly refused to be convinced. There was something very dour in that—and it was wrong, as stubbornness generally is—but in the measurements of history it was superb. If that man is convinced, I am convinced. If the man who snaps his fingers at Peter and John comes round, I yield. And the next Sunday Thomas is on his face, crying “My Lord, my God.” Then, too, Thomas was a despondent man; brave but despondent, a more common combination than we think. Do you remember how when Christ was summoned to the grave of Lazarus, it was such a hazardous thing for Him to venture near Jerusalem that His disciples tried to dissuade Him from the journey? “Goest thou thither again?” said one. “Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well,” parleyed another. But Thomas said, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” It was the word of a brave but a desponding man; a man who naturally saw the darker side—and we can thank God there was such a melancholy heart among the twelve. It is easy to persuade a merry heart. When I am full of hope, I shall credit the sunshine, though all the sky be cloud. But a melancholy man is hard to turn; and when a melancholy heart like Thomas’s turns in an hour, passes from death to life, accepts the joyfullest fact in the world’s history and worships, I bow the head before the infinite wisdom that set such a man among the twelve.
His Conviction Was Reached by the Dark Road of Doubt
So the character of Thomas gives tremendous weight to his conviction. Now mark, in the second place, that this conviction was reached by the dark road of doubt. I wonder if we could classify this doubt of Thomas? Well, there are some who doubt because their will is biased. That doubt runs down to life and character and is a dishonest, miserable thing. “Ah, if I only believed what you believe,” said one to Pascal, “I should very soon be a better man.” “Begin by being a better man,” Pascal replied, “and you will very soon believe what I believe.” There are those who will tell you they doubt this or that and give you a score of reasons for their doubts, and at the bottom it is a moral question. There is some habit that would have to go; there is some doubtful practice that must cease; there is some little reputation that would vanish, and the cloak of doubt is used to dally with sin. But no man would charge Thomas with that; whatever he had, he had a clean heart. He was a despondent, but not a dishonest doubter. Then there are others whose doubt is intellectual, and this is the prevalent doubting of today. But I do not think that is the doubt of Thomas. I cannot think that a man who had seen Lazarus’s resurrection could be intellectually skeptical of the resurrection of Lazarus’s Lord. His doubt sprang from another source than that. He doubted because he felt so deeply, and that perhaps is the sorest doubt of all. You mail a score of letters in a week, and you never doubt about their safe arrival. One day, you mail a precious manuscript, and instantly the possibilities of some mischance are wakened, and you cannot rest, you doubt its safety so much. It is because you feel so strongly, that you doubt. And Thomas felt so strongly that he doubted too. For the rising of Jesus meant everything to him. His heart was agonized lest it were false. Perhaps there would be more of Thomas’s doubt today if there were more of Thomas’s love.
Thomas’s Doubts Were Dispelled by Christ’s Gentleness
Lastly, these doubts were dispelled by the gentleness of Christ. Thomas set up one test. “Comrades,” he said, “I love you; but it is all too wonderful, and I cannot believe you. But hark, when I see with these eyes the gashes of the nails, and put this hand into the wound which the spear made, I shall believe our Lord is risen.” Then the next Sunday evening Jesus is in their midst, transfigured, beautiful; and He is saying, “Thomas reach forth thine hand, and touch, and be convinced—it is thy test.” And do we ever read that Thomas did it? Never. And do you dream he peered into the gashes? Here was his little test, and he forgot his test. The little particular was swept aside in the overwhelming argument of love. It was the look, it was the tone, it was the love and gentleness of Christ that won the day. Thomas was at His feet crying, “My God!”