The Rushmore Report – Should I Invest in the Stock Market?

I am often asked, “Should I invest in the stock market?” The volatility of the recent market makes this a more poignant question now than ever. This is my best advice. Proverbs 4:7 notes, “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” Before you decide how and even whether you should be involved to be in the stock market, consider this:

First: Understand your Finances.

Evaluate your own personal balance sheet, which includes your income, your assets, your obligations (your bills) and your debts. Too many of us are uninformed about our true financial picture.

In Proverbs we are advised: “Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds; for riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations.”

You can think of “a crown” as a job, which may end, and the flocks as savings and investment as livestock had value. Even kings need to know what’s in the bank.

Second: Understand the Difference Between Saving and Investing.

After you have established a budget that makes allowance for your obligations, such as tithing, and saving an emergency fund (for those undesirable events that happen to all of us), you will now know what you have available for investing. Your savings account should not be placed at risk. Investment funds are subject to loss but at various degrees of risk. If you cannot afford to lose the funds, they should be moved into a savings program consisting of money market funds, CD’s and/or treasuries.

Initially, we at Crown recommend that you invest about 5 percent of your income. You can learn more about budgeting here. But this is the important part — be prepared to lose it.

One of the realities of any investment is that sometimes it fails. What goes up often comes down.

Over the last few years, the stock market has enjoyed the financial momentum of emerging markets — these are growing economies in a group of countries called BRICS, representing the financial markets of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. But as you noted in your question, BRICS are in trouble. Brazil is headed into recession. China’s government is engaging in huge market corrections that worry investors about whether it is truly strong, and turmoil in the oil industry is impacting Russia and the Middle East. Of course here at home, we’ve had our own difficulties with job creation and a slow economy.

The bottom line is that when choosing investment or savings; don’t look for a quick profit from a deal too good to be true (it probably is). Choose carefully, and consider getting good financial advice from an advisor who shares your values.

Third: Understand and Practice Diversification.

Over the course of a lifetime of saving and investing, money will grow, but if you will need to retire soon, the stock market may be too volatile short term. Diversification is the only safe strategy for investing, to allow your money — the seed you have to sow — a chance to grow in more than one field, and to protect yourself from the rise and fall of markets.

Ecclesiastes 11:2 is Solomon’s timeless advice on diversification. It is the best hedge against uncertainty. He recommends dividing your “portions” or investment monies between 7 or 8 different opportunities. This equates to no more than 12-15% in a single fund.

Fourth: Understand that you have more options than just the stock market.

If you’re looking for a strategy for growing wealth and assets, consider the Proverbs 31 woman. She engaged in real estate, trading, fashion, working in a number of business ventures available to her. She diversified her investment, and rose early to make them profitable.

Perhaps investing in a local business would work better for you. Typically, investing in your own skills and talents pays the greatest dividends over time.

Fifth: Understand Slow Growth is Good.

All of us need to prepare for the future with wise saving and investing, but don’t be in too much a hurry as that can lead you to unnecessary risk.

“Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow,” Proverbs 13:11.

About the Author

Chuck Bentley is the CEO of Crown, the largest Christian financial ministry in the world, founded by the late, Larry Burkett. He is an author, host of My MoneyLife- a daily radio feature and a frequent speaker on the topic of Biblical financial principles. Follow him on Twitter @chuckbentley and visit Crown.org for more help.

The Rushmore Report – The Border Wall: Dems Were for It Before They Were Against It

According to the media, the government shutdown is President Trump’s fault because he won’t give the Democrats what they want. Of course, if the Democrats would give Trump what he wants, the government would open tomorrow. And while Trump is back in Washington waiting to negotiate, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi is vacationing in Hawaii. But the crazy thing is that these same Democrats were actually for the border wall – until they were against it.

The President’s new acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, was clear in an interview Friday. He blasted Democrats, including Senate leader Chuck Schumer, for supporting border security measures – including a wall – in 2006 and 2011, before abandoning the position when Trump took office.

Mulvaney said, “This is a crazy discussion to be having. It seems like Democrats really like border security when there’s a Democrat in office, and don’t like it when Donald Trump is in office.”

Still serving as White House budget director, Mulvaney said he believes Schumer is willing to come to an agreement on border security funds, but Pelosi is holding up a deal. He said Pelosi will soon face a vote on becoming Speaker of the House and she does not want to be seen as caving to Trump’s demands.

“Nancy Pelosi cannot be seen by her party as being weak on negotiating with Donald Trump. So we fully expect that until she’s elected Speaker and has locked that vote up, we won’t hear from the Democrats again. They told us last night that they were not countering our last offer,” he explained.

Mulvaney called on Democrats to come back to the negotiating table to see if a deal can be reached at a number between their $1.3 billion offer and Trump’s $5 billion demand.

So we have two issues here, both lost – as usual – on the mainstream media.

First, as Mulvaney points out, Democratic leaders are balking at the very thing they voted for twice already.

Second, although the Executive Branch (president), House of Representatives, and Senate are all in agreement on the border wall, it takes 60 Senate votes to pass legislation. That means eight Democratic senators must vote with the Republican majority in order for the bill to pass. So, essentially, eight Democrats are holding up a bill that has the support of the White House, House of Representatives, and the majority of the Senate. Still, according to the media, the president alone is responsible for the shutdown.

Until the majority caves to the minority, the majority will be seen as obstructionists. Only in Washington.

The Rushmore Report – Border Patrol Chief Speaks: ‘We Need a Wall’

Everyone has an opinion on the border wall. Democrats claim a wall won’t help secure the border – despite their own votes to the contrary in 2006 and 2011, not to mention the 100 percent success rate of the Israeli border wall. Republicans claim the wall will work. So who’s right? Enter Carla Provost, the Border Patrol Chief. In a recent interview on Fox News, she was clear. “We certainly do need a wall. Talk to any border agent and they will tell you that,” she said on “Your World.”

Provost said Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer, Bernie Sanders, and Nancy Pelosi are simply wrong when they contend that the border wall (a) will not work, and (b) will be a waste of tax payer money. She said the $5 billion appropriation has already been “prioritized” to locations where walls should be built along the 1,954-mile border with Mexico.

Provost didn’t stop there. She contends that more billions of dollars are needed to sufficiently secure the border, which would fund new “anti-dig” and other technologies with any new wall construction to further optimize border security. She said, “The president has been extremely supportive,” touting the fact that apprehensions are up 88 percent over last year.

The debate on the wall will continue. Unfortunately, leaders such as the Border Patrol Chief – whose opinions should matter most – will be largely ignored in the process.

The Rushmore Report – 2019 Predictions Sure to Go Wrong

Another year has passed and you know what that means. A new year is upon us. In this space, 365 days ago, I made several predictions for 2018. I’m not going to bother to review them. Let’s just assume I got ’em all right. But this is a time to look forward, not back. So here are a few predictions – some important (sports), some not (politics). But I’ll cover it all. Here we go . . .

1. Liberal Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will not retire in 2019. The 85-year-old jurist, who has recently suffered from cancer, a heart stent, and three broken ribs, will try to hang on until a Democrat is in the White House, so her replacement will share her liberal views.

2. Clarence Thomas, and possibly Samuel Alito, will announce surprise resignations from the High Court, in order to place their conservative seats in the hands of Trump appointees, who will be 20 years younger. Thomas (age 71) and Alito (age 69) could both serve for another ten years or more, but they will yield to pressure to step aside. At least one of them will.

3. The Democratic presidential field will start with enough candidates to fill a small stadium, but quickly fizzle to four: Joe Biden, Beto O’Rourke, Kamala Harris, and a player to be named later. (Biden will win the nomination, but that is 2020 fodder.)

4. Two Democratic candidates will fail early and surprisingly – Bernie Sanders and Cory Booker.

5. Hillary Clinton will not run for president. (Her hope is that no one will emerge from the huge field, and that the party will eventually turn to her as their Savior. This will not happen.)

6. Robert Mueller’s report will finally come out. It will not conclude there was Trump-Russian collusion, but will cite enough questionable activities by the president to raise the specter of impeachment among House Democrats.

7. The Democratic House will narrowly decide against impeaching the president, but the process will still keep Congress at a stalemate for much of the year.

8. The stock market will continue a wild ride, finishing flat for 2019.

9. President Trump will initiate a major withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

10. The Golden State Warriors will beat whoever the Eastern Conference props up to be swept in four games.

11. The New Orleans Saints will defeat the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, with Saints quarterback Drew Brees earning his second Super Bowl MVP award.

12. The Houston Astros will defeat the Chicago Cubs for the World Series in seven games. Fox’s television coverage will be dominated by extensive shots of Kate Upton (wife of Astros’ pitcher Justin Verlander) in the stands with intermittent images of baseball mixed in.

The Rushmore Report – The Moral Bankruptcy of ‘Progressive’ Christianity

So-called “progressive” Christians love to bash conservative Christians. They call us dinosaurs. They mock us as outdated fundamentalists. They taunt us as “Bible bashers.” They claim to be the enlightened ones, and they celebrate their departure from the “traditional church.” But the reality is that they are simply following the spirit of the age, swimming with the current cultural tide rather than against it. In the name of conformity to Jesus, they are being conformed to the world. How ironic.

On Saturday night, while working on a major book project at my computer, I noticed a tweet from a “progressive” pastor. I had reached out him to several times before, but always without response. He wrote, quite out of the blue, “When hopelessly phobic people of faith like @DrMichaelLBrown claim that God is against ‘homosexual practice.’ #ThatsNotAThing”

As soon as I spotted the tweet, I replied, “Hey John, I’ve reached out to you on several occasions, always without response. Rather than engage in baseless (and silly) name-calling, let’s a have a mature, scripture-based, minister-to-minister dialog. You’re welcome on my show any time. Why not?”

For the record, he still has not replied to my invitations – not once, ever – and I continue to reach out to him. But despite his lack of response, I decided to engage some of his followers. Talk about enlightening!

The first thing that became immediately evident was this. There was virtually no substantive interaction. Instead, there was mockery and insult and misrepresentation, making me wonder out loud, “What’s so scary about the truth?”

It started out of the gate with this pastor maligning me as hopelessly phobic (for reaching out to the LGBT community with the truth of the gospel while opposing radical LGBT activism). And, remarkably, while the Bible consistently and categorically opposes homosexual practice (meaning, same-sex relationships and sexual acts) a pastor – yes, a pastor – came against me for standing with God’s Word.

How dare I – how dare you – do such a thing. How dare you agree with Scripture. How dare you affirm that the Lord’s ways are best. That is so 1950s!

Rather than interact with a single thing I said, he later posted, “Michael thinks LGBTQ people can NOT be LGBTQ. Michael thinks you can pray the gay away. Michael preys upon already marginalized people. Michael thinks other people’s bedrooms and body parts are his business. Don’t be like Michael.”

Now, you would think it would trouble a pastor to post blatant falsehoods about other people, but when you’re “progressive,” you’re morally superior, which means you are the judge of the motives of others. You determine what they really think and believe, despite what they say and do. In the name of not judging, you are now the judge!

Of course, the issue is not what “Michael” thinks but what God says. That’s why, later in the night, I posted this: “To all professing LGBT Christians and their allies: Please give me just ONE explicit verse in the Bible where God sanctions same-sex relationships. Just one. You know already there are clear verses saying the opposite.”

Not a single one gave me a single supporting verse. How telling!

In direct response to the pastor’s tweet, I wrote, “John, by God’s grace, I know MANY ex-gays and lesbians who are so thankful for new life in Jesus. And I continue to have fruitful ministry around the world, NOT focused on LGBT issues. I have simply responded to biblical deception and radical activism. You have accommodated sin.”

How did he reply? He tweeted, “No you don’t. You know people who you and others have badgered into modifying their behavior to stay in community. You’ve squandered your time here and you’ve caused irreparable harm to already marginalized people. That’s on you.”

Are you detecting a pattern? This “progressive” pastor has the right to misrepresent me publicly because, well, he’s progressive, so it must be right. He has the right to put words into my mouth (like “pray away the gay”) and make inane and ridiculous comments (such as the bedroom remarks), no matter how farfetched they may be.

But since, in his eyes, I’m a Bible-bashing religious fundamentalist and he’s a liberated progressive, his perceptions are the truth. Who cares about facts? Who cares about Scripture?

Not only so, he claims the right to deny the very real stories of thousands of ex-gays, people who, with God’s help, have left homosexual practice and gay identity behind. They do not exist. They cannot exist. If they did, it would cause his house of sand to collapse in an instant. It would mean that Jesus can change anyone.

So, in the name of standing with the marginalized, he casts out and mocks the most marginalized group in America today: ex-gays. This is the heart of Jesus? This is pursuing righteousness? This is practicing mercy?

The “progressives” also fail to realize that they are joining forces with those who want to take away rights, who want to silence Christians, who want to impose their ideology, who want to penalize all dissenters. (Yes, I’m talking about LGBT extremists and their allies, sometimes known as the pink mafia for a reason. I and many others have documented this steadily for years.)

And when it comes to fealty to the Word of God, the Twitter interaction proved extremely interesting.

A professing gay Christian tweeted with joy about his upcoming wedding to his partner, telling me the Scripture he would use at the event. When I came back to him with other scriptures about same-sex relationships, he told me plainly that the Bible was not his final authority and that God was bigger than a book. Fascinating!

When I challenged a zealous supporter of “gay Christianity” when she simply repeated the standard, LGBT theological talking points, she told me I was obviously not a scholar. How dare I set the record straight. How dare I share the fruit of decades of serious academic study of the Scriptures (in their cultural context and in their original languages, with due attention to the Spirit’s intent). How dare I rely on the best research by the best scholars. How dare I burst her bubble.

Of course, when I asked her for a verse to back her points, she had none. When I presented her with verses that rebutted hers, she had vacuous talking points and nothing more.

But she was progressive, and I was not. Of course she was right. Of course I was not a scholar.

What I experienced over the course of hours of interaction with scores of different people was a steady tide of condescending, name-calling, biblically-bankrupt, and morally-hypocritical rhetoric, and all of it devoid of a single substantive response.

So, these folks can have their “progressive” religion (although I pray they’ll see the light). I’ll stay with the Jesus of the Bible, the Jesus who liberates and transforms, the Jesus who doesn’t affirm us in our sin but delivers us out of it.

He was good enough for the last 2,000 years. He’ll be good enough for eternity.

About the Author

Dr. Michael Brown (www.askdrbrown.org) is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. His latest book is Donald Trump Is Not My Savior: An Evangelical Leader Speaks His Mind About the Man He Supports As President.

The Rushmore Report – Dems: Trump Wall Is ‘Immoral,’ Our Plan Will Keep More Immigrants Out . . . Huh?

Democrats sold it and the media bought it. The government shutdown is all President Trump’s fault. But here’s the inconvenient truth. Trump would rather shut the government down than cave on the wall. And Democrats would rather shut the government down than build the wall. But this is where it would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi have labeled Trump’s wall “immoral,” while at the very same time claiming their plan would actually keep more immigrants out than the wall. So Trump is immoral for keeping illegals out of the country, while they are presumably moral for keeping more illegals out of the country.

Of course, this is utter nonsense. Schumer and Pelosi would come off looking ridiculous if one of two things happened: (a) they did an interview with any conservative news outlets, or (b) the mainstream media actually did their jobs for once.

To summarize, the Democrats find it immoral that Trump would keep, say 10,000 immigrants out of the country, while at the same time, proposing their own “moral” plan to keep 20,000 immigrants out of the country.

This all makes sense to those who have no sense . . . or who aren’t paying attention.

Even if Mexico paid for the wall and it cost the U.S. nothing, the wall would still be immoral, according to Pelosi. She said, on December 6, “I consider the wall immoral, expensive, and if Mexico paid for it, it would still be immoral.”

I repeat – Huh?

So what is the Democrats’ real agenda? It’s simple. Stop Trump. If the president opposes cancer, they’re for cancer. If he is for the sunrise, they are automatically against it.

Additionally, David Limbaugh points out, “Democrats will always embrace the natural progression: (a) illegals cross the border, (b) illegals are granted amnesty/citizenship, and (c) most of them presumably register as Democrats.

Of course, Schumer and Pelosi aren’t going to say, “We are against the wall because we want to score political points and we support bringing in more illegals to increase the number of Democrats in the country.” That would sound crazy. It would be truthful, but crazy.

So they will stick with their much more sensible talking points. “We are against the President’s plan because it is immoral for trying to do the same things we promise to do, but with less success than our plan.”

The funny thing is that this actually makes sense – if your name is George Stephanopoulos, Chuck Todd, Wolf Blitzer, Jake Tapper, Don Lemmon, Chris Cuomo, Jimmy Kimmel, or pretty much anybody on The View. Amazingly, there are actual accredited universities which granted degrees in journalism to these clowns.

Talk about immoral!

The Rushmore Report – The Best George H.W. Bush Story Ever

Over the past few weeks, we have read all the stories that reflect the greatness of our 41st President. George H.W. Bush was indeed a founding father from the 20th century. He was a war hero, a patriot, and a quiet man of God. But it is the story that just came to light a few days ago that takes the cake. It was the story that the president never intended to get out.

Almost 20 years ago, Mr. Bush, at the age of 75, attended a concert. At the end of the concert, Compassion International made a brief presentation. They were looking to sign up men and women willing to sponsor a child from a third world country. Moved with compassion, President Bush raised his hand so he could receive a card.

Dr. Wess Stafford, President of Compassion International, said, “I could see the security people going, ‘Is this okay?'” Stafford spoke with security and it was decided that the president’s identity should be protected if he sponsored a child.

Stafford said, “They couldn’t use his full name, so they went with George Walker.”

Thus, the unlikely relationship between the former leader of the free world and a five-year old Filipino boy began.

For 20 years, the two exchanged dozens of letters. Stafford said, “George Bush had a sense of humor and a bit of an impish spirit. So I don’t think he could help himself, and he started slipping in little hints of who he was.”

Bush wrote about his dog Sadie and how she’s met a lot of “famous people.” He wrote about visiting the White House for Christmas. Bush regularly asked the boy about his school work. He even sent the boy a calculator and art supplies, which he personally bought at the local Walmart nearest his home in Houston. When “Timothy” (the young boy) reached adulthood – and Bush’s Compassion International responsibilities went away – he continued to bless Timothy with gifts and notes of encouragement. And he never sent a gift that he had not personally picked out.

When the president’s health began to fail, Stafford commissioned his secretary, while on a trip to the Philippines, to tell Timothy why he would no longer be receiving letters and gifts. She told him who his friend really was.

Timothy was overwhelmed. He had no idea that the man who basically saved his life was the President of the United States. But more impressively, the rest of the world did not know, either. Why is that? Because George H.W. Bush was far more concerned with blessing others than getting an iota of credit himself.

That is the definition of a great American. That is the definition of George Bush.

The Rushmore Report – A Timeless Christmas Message by Billy Graham

Read this timeless piece, originally penned by Billy Graham in 1969, on the reason for Christmas.

Christmas is a special time. It is a family celebration. Other holidays are different. Good Friday and Easter are usually celebrated in church. National days are honored with speeches, parades and the ceremonies of government. But Christmas is glorified in the home because it is the celebration of a birthday.

Yet there is irony in the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. He was born away from home, on a journey that symbolized the restless and the wandering nature of the world into which He came. He was born in the insecurity of a barn, a symbol of the fact that during His public ministry, He would have very little home life. He roamed the roads and towns of ancient Palestine. He died, taking the ordeal of the cross so that out of His suffering and His victorious resurrection mankind could find redemption.

Christmas means different things to different people. To some, Christmas is merely a means to make more money. People vie with each other in their preparation for the celebration of the occasion. Some of them do not believe in Christ; they may even hate Him. But Christmas has become big business. People are more concerned to hear about their profit from Christmas than to hear about the Prophet from Bethlehem. The clinking sound of money is sweeter to some than the announcement of Jesus’ birth by the angels to the shepherds.

Many people cannot hear Christmas carols today because their ears are attuned to different sounds. Some minds are riveted to Wall Street, and their eyes are focused on reports about the stock market going up or down.

Pleasure-seeking consumes the time and the thoughts of many people. Some try to find a merry Christmas in what they call entertainment and fun. Instead of imbibing the spirit of Christmas, they choose to imbibe spirits at Christmas. For many people the holiday is an opportunity to celebrate in the wrong way.

The Apostle Paul once said, “I discipline my body and bring it into subjection” (1 Corinthians 9:27). He meant that he conquered his appetites and kept his passions and desires under control. We, too, need to conquer our hatreds, our fears, our doubts, our anxieties. We need to conquer selfishness—even the desire for special Christmas gifts for ourselves.

We cannot have a merry Christmas or a happy new year when we have become slaves to the passions and vices that hound us. These things—materialism, money, artificial pleasure—are crowding Christ out of Christmas for multitudes. They are so busy with a thousand and one other things that they have no time to consider the message of the Baby of Bethlehem.

On that first Christmas, 2,000 years ago, the world experienced three phenomena:

First, the star. Many stars shone in the sky, but none like this one. This one shone with aura and brilliance! It was as though God had taken a lamp from the ceiling of Heaven and hung it in the dark sky over a troubled world.

Second, a new song in the air. A world that had lost its song learned to sing again. With the coming of God in the flesh, hope sprang up in the hearts of people. Led by angelic beings, we can now take up the refrain, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14).

And third, good news—the Good News that at last a Savior had come to save men and women from sin: “You shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). Jesus was the central theme of that first Christmas. The star, the song, the gifts, the kneeling, the joy, the hope, the excitement—all were because of Him.

God’s star promised peace to the world if we will believe and trust Him. But having rejected Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, we have no peace in the world. Too often our synthetic stars bring only fear, anxiety and even more war.

In our world today are self-proclaimed saviors, people who claim to be God’s gift to the world. How different they are from Jesus, who “was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).

The Scriptures say, “There is born to you this day … a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). Heaven and Earth joined together! God and mankind reconciled. Hope for the hopeless, pardon for the guilty, forgiveness for the conscience-stricken, peace for those who knew no peace, Good News for those who have had nothing but bad news!

Yes, Jesus Christ can save us from despair. I have talked with many leaders, and one thing that most of them have in common is pessimism. The tensions, conflicts and seemingly insoluble problems of this world tend to make them cynical and doubtful.

Many cynics will blame God for the troubles of the world. We should blame ourselves. We have a spiritual disease, and that disease is called sin. Until sin is conquered, the world will not be a better place in which to live.

When people willfully reject the Prince of Peace, they pay a terrible price. A secular and materialistic society that has rejected the Prince of Peace yields to pessimism and despair. The blighting cynicism that has come as a result of our rejection of God is reflected in our literature, our art, our films, our television programs and even our pulpits.

Christmas should be a time of renewed hope—not hope in a particular political concept, but Christmas hope; Christian hope; hope in Jesus Christ; hope that, despite our tangled bungling, God will bring order out of chaos.

But Christmas is even more personal. The angel who said, “He will save His people from their sins,” was touching the very heart of your need.

People today would rather not talk about sin. They don’t want to face the reality of their spiritual disease. I heard of a man who found conversation about cancer distasteful. When the subject came up, he would walk away. He would not consent to periodic examination.

He would permit no X-rays. But one day, having experienced a loss of weight and appetite, he was persuaded to have a physical examination. The doctors found a cancer of massive proportions.

So it is with sin. Our reluctance to discuss it, our tendency to ignore it, our resentment of anyone’s talking about it, may be a revelation of our secret fear that we may be sin-filled.

Jesus Christ has a great deal to say about sin. He came on that first Christmas night to “save His people from their sins.” No doctor in the world can treat sin. No psychiatrist in the world can cure sin. They can work on symptoms, they can help the sinner to live with his sin, but they cannot get rid of the disease. Only Jesus Christ can heal the disease of sin.

This is what the cross and the resurrection are all about. And Christmas is not Christmas without the message of the death and resurrection of Christ. This is why He was born. This was the message of the first Christmas night: “You shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” The Christmas message says that God’s grace is greater than our sin. It says that the sin question was answered at the cross. Christmas says that the cross went as deep as our needs. The cross was the cure—offered, paid for and administered by a loving God in His beloved Son.

I never come to Christmas without thinking of the thousands of people who are lonely, diseased and troubled at this time of year. Christmas is a reminder from God Himself that we are not alone. The Prophet Isaiah said that His name would be called Immanuel, which means God with us (Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:23). God revealed in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus a reconciling love that rescues us from separation and loneliness.

At this Christmas season you can be assured that Jesus Christ is here. He is here to give us hope, to forgive our sins, to give us a new song, to impart faith and to heal our spiritual wounds, if only we will let Him.

The Christmas message has not changed after 2,000 years. Christmas still reminds us that God is with us.

In spite of all the pessimism and cynicism, in spite of all the headlines about murders, assassinations, riots, demonstrations and war, Jesus Christ is alive. He is alive to conquer despair, to impart hope, to forgive sins and to take away our loneliness. He is alive to reconcile us to God.

This Christmas, accept Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. Give Him the gift that He wants—your heart, your soul, your life.

About the Author

Billy Graham was the most significant Christian figure of the 20th century.

The Last Lunar Mission

The Apollo lunar landing program ended on this day in 1972, when the last three astronauts to travel to the moon splashed down safely in the Pacific Ocean. Apollo 17 had lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on December 7. In July of 1969, after three years of preparation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) accomplished President John F. Kennedy’s goal of putting a man on the moon and safely returning him to Earth with Apollo 11.

From 1969 to 1972, there were six successful lunar landing missions and one aborted mission, Apollo 13. During the Apollo 17 mission, astronauts Eugene A. Cernan and Harrison H. Schmitt stayed for a record 75 hours on the surface of the moon, conducting three separate surface excursions in the lunar rover vehicle and collecting 243 pounds of rock and soil samples.

It’s hard to believe all that NASA accomplished in just ten years, from the time of Kennedy’s pronouncement at Rice University in Houston, Texas, to the final lunar landing. It has been nearly 45 years since that historic moment. Amazingly, most living Americans have no memory of man on the moon. In this era of modern technology, the generation that trains the rest of us in how to use a smart phone came after what is arguably the most significant technological achievement of mankind – going to the moon.

For those of us old enough to remember Neil Armstrong’s “giant step for mankind,” the Apollo program represents far more than winning the space race over the Russians. It represents everything that is great about the American spirit. Sadly, since that day in 1972, we have never been back to the moon.

So this is a good day to reflect on that incredible day – December 19, 1972.

The Boston Tea Party

The biggest tea party ever took place 245 years ago today. In Boston Harbor, a group of Massachusetts colonists disguised as Mohawk Indians boarded three British tea ships and dumped 342 chests of tea into the harbor. The midnight raid, popularly known as the Boston Tea Party, was done in protest of the British Parliament’s Tea Act of 1773, a bill designed to save the faltering East India Company by greatly lowering its tea tax and granting it a virtual monopoly on the American tea trade.

The low tax allowed the East India Company to undercut tea smuggled into America by Dutch traders, and many colonists viewed the act as another example of taxation tyranny. When three tea ships, the Dartmouth, the Eleanor, and the Beaver, arrived in Boston Harbor, the colonists demanded that the tea be returned to England. After Massachusetts Governor Thomas Hutchinson refused, Patriot leader Samuel Adams organized the “tea party” with about sixty members of the Sons of Liberty, his underground resistance group. The British tea dumped in Boston Harbor on the night of December 16 was valued at approximately $18,000.

What the colonists did 243 years ago remains at the heart of the American spirit today. They were all about fairness and democratic representation. As we enter a new year and a new presidential administration, these are unchartered waters. May God bless us with the same spirit and values of our founding fathers.