My Utmost To His Highest

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Prayer in the Father’s House

…they found Him in the temple….And He said to them, “…Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”  Luke 2:46, 49

Our Lord’s childhood was not immaturity waiting to grow into manhood— His childhood is an eternal fact. Am I a holy, innocent child of God as a result of my identification with my Lord and Savior? Do I look at my life as being in my Father’s house? Is the Son of God living in His Father’s house within me?

The only abiding reality is God Himself, and His order comes to me moment by moment. Am I continually in touch with the reality of God, or do I pray only when things have gone wrong— when there is some disturbance in my life? I must learn to identify myself closely with my Lord in ways of holy fellowship and oneness that some of us have not yet even begun to learn. “…I must be about My Father’s business”— and I must learn to live every moment of my life in my Father’s house.

Think about your own circumstances. Are you so closely identified with the Lord’s life that you are simply a child of God, continually talking to Him and realizing that everything comes from His hands? Is the eternal Child in you living in His Father’s house? Is the grace of His ministering life being worked out through you in your home, your business, and in your circle of friends? Have you been wondering why you are going through certain circumstances? In fact, it is not that you have to go through them. It is because of your relationship with the Son of God who comes, through the providential will of His Father, into your life. You must allow Him to have His way with you, staying in perfect oneness with Him.

The life of your Lord is to become your vital, simple life, and the way He worked and lived among people while here on earth must be the way He works and lives in you. From My Utmost for His Highest Updated Edition

Bible in One Year: Psalms 72-73; Romans 9:1-15

The Only Way to the Father

“ ‘You know the way to where I am going.’ Thomas said to him, ‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ ”

– John 14:4–6

The disciples were understandably worried after Jesus told them of His impending betrayal and departure at the Last Supper (John 13). So, He moved to calm their fears by telling them that His returning to the Father would be for their benefit, that He would be preparing a place for them (14:1–3). And, as today’s passage reveals, after telling the disciples this comforting truth, Jesus told them that they knew the way to where He was going (v. 4).

Given that the disciples have shown some confusion about what is about to happen to the Lord (13:37), Jesus’ comments might strike us as odd. In fact, they strike Thomas as odd, for he objects that the disciples do not know where He is going (14:5). But our Lord’s point is not that the disciples have complete knowledge of all that is about to transpire in the arrest, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of Christ. No, His point is that they know the way to where Jesus is going because they know Him. As the author of Hebrews makes clear, Jesus goes back to the Father on high as our forerunner; He returns to heaven ahead of us in order to bring us there (Heb. 6:20). But the only way to get to heaven, the only way to be reconciled to God, is through Jesus. So, while the disciples do not yet fully know where Jesus is going, they know the way to get there because in knowing and belonging to Jesus they will be taken to the Father as well.

This point is confirmed in John 14:6, which features one of the most important teachings regarding our salvation in all of Scripture. Jesus proclaims Himself as the way, the truth, and the life—the only way to the Father. Here we read perhaps the boldest declaration of the exclusivity of Christ ever spoken. There are no alternatives for redemption other than Jesus; only He can reconcile us to the Father. John Calvin comments that “if any man turn aside from Christ, he will do nothing but go astray; if any man do not rest on him, he will feed elsewhere on nothing but wind and vanity; if any man, not satisfied with him alone, wishes to go farther, he will find death instead of life.”

We must never compromise on this point. To reject Jesus’ teaching and authority here is to reject His other teachings about Himself and His work. Dr. R.C. Sproul writes in his commentary John: “Our friends, our community, and even many churches tell us that we must deny the uniqueness of Christ. But to do that, we must deny the church’s confession of faith, and more importantly, we must deny Jesus’ own confession about Himself.”

Coram Deo

It is scandalous in our age that Jesus is the only way to the Father. But to confess otherwise is tantamount to rejecting our Lord. Dr. Sproul comments that “if [we] deny that [Jesus is the only way to God, we] deny Him.” Let us resolve never to deny that Christ is the only way to the Father, and let us pray for strength to confess this truth no matter the pressure to say salvation is available through other means as well.

Will Graham: ‘Nearly Everyone Is Searching for the Same Thing’August 6, 2019

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Will Graham was excited for the opportunity to share the stage one night in Kaua`i with his father, Franklin Graham—just as Franklin and Billy Graham had done many times at Mr. Graham’s Crusades.

Dear Friend,

The Bible says, “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near” (Isaiah 55:6, ESV).

In partnership with you, my father and I have had the blessed opportunity to carry the Gospel message around the world. In doing so, we’ve noticed a very clear reality: Nearly everyone is searching for the same thing.

Cultures are different. Clothing is different. Customs are different. But there’s one common denominator. People are desperately seeking hope. And from a worldly perspective, hope is in very short supply.

For instance, in recent weeks and months, we’ve seen an onslaught of destructive weather leading to tornadoes and flooding across a large swath of the United States. As our Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (RRT) chaplains have comforted those affected, they’re finding that the aftermath of the storm is simply another layer on top of the hopelessness that people were already facing.

>> Chaplains are also serving in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, after deadly shootings.

RRT chaplains are trained in crisis response and are there to offer emotional and spiritual care.

In Wayne County, Michigan, where devastating floods hit in late spring, Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains spoke with a young lady who described her difficult childhood as the daughter of a drug-addicted mother. She became the caretaker of her mother at a very young age and looked after her until her mom died of an overdose. The young lady was only 16 at the time. She felt lonely and hopeless, but had grown comfortable with the idea that “this is as good as it gets.” There are no coincidences with God, and—miraculously—the chaplain that ministered to this young woman had come from a very similar background, opening the door to share the true hope of Christ as the young woman prayed to receive Him as her Savior.

You see, where people are desperate for hope, the world only offers pain, broken dreams, and “this is as good as it gets.” Conversely, the Gospel of Jesus Christ heals the wounds of this world with its eternal, all-encompassing hope.

You, my friends, have a key part in this ministry and have made it possible for tens of thousands to find that hope so far in 2019.

God touched many hearts and changed lives for eternity in Kaua`i, Hawaii.

Earlier this year, I traveled to Kaua`i, Hawaii. If there has ever been a place on earth where one should feel hopeful, this was it. It’s hard to fathom such beauty. The residents of Kaua`i live in paradise. In spite of this, local Christians explained to me that hopelessness abounds on the island, with many people working multiple jobs to make ends meet. Suicide is a real concern.

One 44-year-old woman responded to the Gospel invitation during the evangelistic Celebration in Kaua`i. As a trained volunteer prayer counselor ministered to her, it became clear that the woman was searching for hope, deep in grief over the suicide of a family member. Again, God put just the right person in this woman’s path. The counselor with whom she was speaking shared about her father’s suicide when she was just 7 years old and about how, as she grew up, she had found healing through Christ. The woman was finally able to release the burden of pain and accept the peace that passes all understanding.

A prayer counselor talks with a woman who responded to the invitation to receive Christ as Lord and Savior.

Yes, hopelessness plagues this broken realm in which we live, but we know where our true hope comes from; not the kind of hope the world offers, but the hope that is rooted in the eternal promise of ChristYour partnership and support has carried that message of hope around the world, and many are claiming it as they surrender their brokenness to Jesus. As they do so, He doesn’t just put a bandage over their wounds. He gives them a whole new hope-filled life.

This month I will travel to Albania, a formerly communist state where no Billy Graham Evangelistic Association evangelist has ever preached. In fact, back in 1968 this country declared itself the world’s first atheist nation. Since the downfall of communist rule in 1991, some have come to grasp the truth of Jesus, but nearly 60 percent (three out of every five people) follow Islam.

From there I will hold a three-city tour in Montana called the Big Sky Celebration.Montana has a very different climate and culture than Kaua`i, but it’s similar in that it is a remarkably beautiful place that is troubled by issues like suicide, along with drug and alcohol addiction, gambling, and child abuse—all signs that point to epidemic hopelessness.

As we go into these areas with the Good News of Christ, I need your prayers. Pray with me that “the God of hope” would fill the people of Albania and Montana with “all joy and peace in believing, that [they] may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13, NKJV).

Dating back to 2010, I’ve held an evangelistic outreach in Australia every two years, reaching the smaller towns and Outback communities that don’t often get visited. This year I returned to Kalgoorlie-Boulder, where more than 5,900 heard the Gospel last May, and learned how the area has changed for the better since the proclamation of the Gospel. I also met with pastors around the country, encouraging them to continue being bold in sharing the love of Jesus with others.

Interestingly, during my father’s tour of Australia, he stopped in five out of the six Australian state capitals, with Hobart, Tasmania, being the only exception. God had another plan, I guess, because while I was in Australia I also had the chance to visit with Christians in that community about a possible evangelistic outreach there in the coming months or years. Please join us in praying about that potential opportunity.

Much closer to home, you may have heard that the next installment of my dad’s Decision America Tour will take place in our home state of North Carolina this fall. Though we’ve traveled the world with the Good News, the Tar Heel State is in our blood. It’s where my great-grandfather had his dairy farm and where my grandfather Billy Graham dreamed of being a baseball player (though God had a very different direction for his life, of course!). It’s where my dad rode motorcycles and my brothers and I ran through the Appalachian Mountains. It’s where most of his grandchildren are growing up as well.

Franklin Graham offers hope to a crowd during one night of the Decision America Northeast Tour.

Though North Carolina is often thought of as part of the Bible Belt, it’s quickly changing in the face of the struggles and battles that affect so much of our world. My dad knew it was time to come home and share the hope found in Christ here among his own state, the state that recently named his father its “favorite son.” We covet your prayers as the Word goes forth here in our local communities.

My friends, we live in a world void of hope. Sure, people search after it and try to find it in everything from good deeds to hobbies to destructive passions, but we’ve found true and lasting hope, and we’re sharing it with urgency in a dark and dying world.

Souls are being saved and eternities are being altered every day because of you.None of this would be possible without God’s blessing and your partnership. Thank you!

May God richly bless you,

 

 

Will Graham

9 Places You Won’t Believe Are in the Caribbean

Fun-in-the-sun seekers to the Caribbean will be surprised to learn that this region of the world isn’t just home to dreamscapes of sparkling white sand beaches and swaying palms. The dozens of island nations strewn across the Caribbean boast diverse landscapes and offer travelers a range of experiences beyond glossy resort stays. Here are nine places you won’t believe are in the Caribbean.

Arikok National Park, Aruba

CREDIT: MANDRITOIU/SHUTTERSTOCK

Totaling nearly 20% of Aruba’s land area, the vast Arikok National Park is a visually-striking landscape of rugged, cacti-covered terrain, glistening natural pools, and ancient limestone caves etched with petroglyphs. Carpeting much of Aruba’s east coast, Arikok’s arid desert wilderness is a stark contrast to the island’s verdant west coast. Discover the park’s unique flora and spot local wildlife such as vibrant, blue whiptail lizards, brown-throated parakeets, and burrowing owls. Explore Aruba’s highest peak, Mt. Yamanota, by horseback, mountain bike, or a free walking tour with a park ranger.

CREDIT: GEM RUSSAN/SHUTTERSTOCK

Billed as the world’s sole drive-in volcano, Sulphur Springs is a destination of rampant geothermal activity. Situated south of Soufrière on St. Lucia’s west coast, visitors pull up to the volcanic field by car and engage in some good, muddy fun. With the absence of a traditional magma chamber and crater, Sulphur Springs defies the appearance of a classic, cone-shaped volcano. Its volcanic activity produces naturally-heated thermal pools of roughly 110°F that are believed to embody healing properties. Soak in Sulphur Springs’ dark waters and apply natural mud facials to rejuvenate your skin.

El Yunque National Rainforest, Puerto Rico

CREDIT: DENNIS VAN DE WATER/SHUTTERSTOCK

This tropical rainforest in northeastern Puerto Rico is the sole rainforest in the U.S. National Forest System. The park features an enchanting 29,000 acres boasting lush mountains dotted with silvery waterfalls, secluded bamboo groves, and 23 miles of rewarding trails. Embark on the leisurely El Angelito trail through El Yunque National Rainforest, a roughly 4-mile trip that leads to the sparkling Las Damas pool in the Mameyes River, which is perfect for a cool dip on a warm day. Or for something more challenging, take the La Coca trail, a meandering path of slick mud and rock through dense vegetation that leads to secluded cascading falls and swimming holes. A natural soundtrack of the croaking coquí tree frogs plays nightly for a truly wild Puerto Rican experience.

Pitch Lake, Trinidad and Tobago

CREDIT: HOMO COSMICOS/SHUTTERSTOCK

One of three natural asphalt lakes in the world, Pitch Lake is Trinidad and Tobago’s most curious geological feature. The roughly 100-acre asphalt deposit just outside of the small town of La Brea is believed to have formed when the Caribbean continental plate shifted beneath the edge of another one. At its center, Pitch Lake reaches a depth of 250 feet and visitors can enjoy a soak in the warm sulfur pools that form in the rainy season, which are rumored to hold a number of healing qualities.

Valle de los Ingenios, Cuba

CREDIT: INSPIRED BY MAPS/SHUTTERSTOCK

The verdant Valle de los Ingenios nearly six miles east of Trinidad was once the economic powerhouse of Cuba in the 18th and 19th centuries. Ringed by the peaks of the Sierra del Escambray, the sprawling valley housed dozens of sugarcane estates at the height of its agricultural productivity. Most of the refineries met their demise during the War of Independence and the Spanish-Cuban-American War. Although remnants of slave quarters and lavish manor houses remain throughout Valle de los Ingenios, visitors can explore the region’s most intact refinery at Manaca Iznaga. Throughout history, its tower served as a means of monitoring the slaves who worked in the sugarcane plantations and now travelers can climb 136 steps to the summit for an unobstructed view of the valley below. Ride the early 20th-century steam engine train from Trinidad to Valle de los Ingenios or journey here on a 20-minute drive.

Willemstad, Curaçao

CREDIT: EMPERORCOSAR/SHUTTERSTOCK

Divided in two by Sint Anna Bay, Curaçao’s capital is comprised of Punta and Otrobanda, the two sides linked by the Queen Emma Bridge. Punta is an enclave of historic monuments and trendy restaurants, as well as the Curaçaosch Museum which recounts the island’s long history. On the other side, Otrabanda contains a network of winding alleyways lined with Dutch-inspired private residences. Explore Curaçao’s UNESCO-protected Old Town, lauded for its pastel-painted Dutch colonial dwellings. Varying dramatically in landscape from the white sands and swaying palms of a tropical island, Willemstad is a colofrul slice of the Netherlands in a paradisiacal Caribbean setting.

Valle de Viñales, Cuba

CREDIT: PRODESIGN STUDIO/SHUTTERSTOCK

A series of dramatic limestone cliffs dot the rust-colored ground of Valle de Viñales on the western end of Cuba. The valley’s extensive collection of tobacco plantations are the driving force of the sleepy agricultural town of Viñales, where traditional methods of farming are still employed and oxen regularly plough the fields. The valley’s rugged rocky outcrops provide ample opportunity for rock climbing and its network of dusty footpaths invite explorers for afternoons of hiking and horseback riding as well as swimming in the cool waters of a hidden cave. Evenings in Viñales are best spent on the wooden rocking chairs of rustic porches puffing on a famed Cuban cigar under the dazzling night sky.

Underwater Sculpture Park, Grenada

CREDIT: R GOMBARIK/SHUTTERSTOCK

Established by British artist Jason de Caires Taylor, the Grenada Underwater Sculpture Park began as a restoration project in a bid to regenerate coral growth that was destroyed by Hurricanes Ivan and Emily in 2004 and 2005. Situated in Molinière Bay north of St. George’s, a collection of sculptures were embedded on the seafloor beneath the sparkling azure waters of Grenada. Composed of a unique cement material to promote coral growth, these pieces lay at a depth of 16 feet and include the artist’s most prominent piece, Vicissitudes, which features a ring of outward facing children holding hands. Attracting populations of fish and sea sponges, Grenada’s Underwater Sculpture Park has become the island’s favorite site for diving and snorkeling.

Cayman Crystal Caves, Cayman Islands

CREDIT: KATIE THORPE/SHUTTERSTOCK

Enveloped by lush tropical forest, the series of three caves that make up the Crystal Caves are situated on the interior of the Grand Cayman. The stalactites and stalagmites that festoon the caves have recorded the result of rain water seeping through the ceiling of these limestone caves over millions of years and leaving behind calcium deposits. The Crystal Caves can be explored on 90-minute guided walking tours that also introduce visitors to the area’s surrounding tropical plant species and wildlife.

Dreamer extraordinaire. Ardent food lover. Vivian is prone to wander and escaping from responsibilities. At heart, she is a curious backpacker with a thirst for adventure. Based in Vancouver, Canada, Vivian is perpetually browsing through seat sales and scheming her next getaway.