I have been reading through the book of Deuteronomy and have been impressed at the mighty hand of God that moves dramatically throughout the pages of Scripture. The Bible recounts that as Moses neared the end of his life, he reminded the people of Israel about the mighty hand of God. “Because the Lord loves you … the Lord has brought you out [of Egypt] with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage” (Deuteronomy 7:8, NKJV).
After Moses died, the Israelites stood on the banks of the overflowing Jordan, ready to cross into the Promised Land. It looked impossible. The water was swift and deep. But God told Joshua to instruct the priests to go and “stand in the Jordan” (Joshua 3:8). As they approached the rushing torrent, nothing happened.
But when they touched the water’s edge with their feet, God worked a miracle and stopped the river. The priests stood in the middle of the Jordan until a million or more Hebrews had crossed into the Promised Land. When they stepped out on the other bank, the water resumed flowing.
Sometimes when we face difficult situations, we may feel that we are in bondage to our circumstances, but we must trust God and step out in faith. Obstacles may seem frightening, but the Bible says that God will honor a person who depends on Him to lead and guide. “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6–7, NASB).
Stepping Out in LA
Through the years, I’ve seen God’s mighty hand at work at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association as we proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This month we are depending on Him to help us as we go to Los Angeles to hold our first all-Spanish evangelistic Crusade in the U.S.
When I was a boy, we didn’t see many Hispanics where I lived. As recently as 40 years ago, Hispanics made up just 4 percent of the U.S. population. Today, 1 in every 6 people in America is of Hispanic descent, and 1 out of every 4 American children is Hispanic. Millions of our nation’s citizens speak Spanish in the home. They are a major part of our society, our economy, and our future.
Los Angeles is a hub of Hispanic influence, presenting a wonderful opportunity to proclaim the message of repentance and salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. What God does through Festival de Esperanza could have a far-reaching impact among Spanish-speaking communities throughout California and eventually across America.
More than 600 churches in the Los Angeles area are actively cooperating with us. Pray that people who make decisions for Christ will connect with a local church, grow in their walk with the Lord, and begin to share their faith with family and friends.
Stepping Out in the Midst of Pain
In the wake of the horrific tornado that killed more than 140 people, I visited Joplin, Missouri, to encourage and pray with survivors and relief workers. Many homes and businesses have been destroyed, as well as churches. Chaplains from our Billy Graham Rapid Response Team began ministering in Joplin shortly after the disaster struck, praying with people, providing spiritual counsel to those traumatized by the crisis, and bringing the hope of Christ into shattered lives.
Prior to a community memorial service, one of our female chaplains began a conversation with a woman seated next to her. The woman told how her son, a pizza restaurant manager, had died while saving others during the tornado. She began to pour out her heart. The chaplain, realizing the Holy Spirit had led her to that particular seat for a reason, listened intently and then prayed with the grieving mother. After the memorial service began, the mother began to sob uncontrollably and the chaplain simply wept with her, much like Jesus wept with Mary after the death of Lazarus.
Two chaplains encountered Kevin and Robert, friends who had ridden out the terrifying storm in their truck. They needed to talk, and the chaplains listened with compassion. When the conversation turned to spiritual matters, Robert had questions about eternal salvation. Before long, he asked the chaplains to guide him as he asked Jesus Christ into his life. After prayer, the chaplains gave him a Bible, showed him how to use it, and encouraged him to find a local church.
There are many other touching stories of God at work through the Rapid Response Team chaplains in the aftermath of this disaster. Joplin is a community in great pain, and our teams will be there for a number of weeks. Pray for the chaplains, for those they are comforting, and for those with whom they share the love of Jesus Christ.
Not all of life’s hurts are the result of a natural disaster. You may be experiencing some loss in your own life, or perhaps you are struggling through a period of fear, uncertainty, rejection, or loneliness. I encourage you to focus on the mighty hand of God, because it is God who gave us this promise: “Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand” (Psalm 37:24, NKJV).
Thank you for your prayers and your support. If God enables you, a gift this month would be a great help as we proceed through a very busy summer of evangelistic ministry.
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