I was brought up learning about God from Billy Graham.
My parents, preacher, youth ministers, choir ministers, Sunday School and Training Union teachers also fed my young heart that was eager to learn but Billy Graham was special. No one told it so clearly and so personally like Billy Graham did. In our home, there was never any discussion about whether we would watch Billy Graham preach when one of his crusades came on television.
If you’re not a Christian I hope this video of one of Mr. Graham’s sermons speaks to your heart. If you are a Christian I hope you are lifted up in your beliefs!
I am so thankful for the messages Billy Graham left on my heart and that his ministry goes forward with his son Franklin Graham and others in the Graham family.
God’s Word is clear—Christians from all walks of life are called to pray for “all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life” (1 Timothy 2:2, NKJV). President Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh is a powerful reminder of how important it is to lift up America’s leadership in prayer. If confirmed, Judge Kavanaugh could affect our nation’s laws on everything from abortion to religious freedom right now—and for future generations. It’s critical for God’s people to pray. Here are a few ways to pray:
• Ask God to give the men and women of the Senate Judiciary Committee wisdom and guidance as they meet with Judge Kavanaugh—and to deliver them from opinions that are contrary to His Word.
• Pray that the Lord will bless Judge Kavanaugh—and his loved ones—with strength, endurance, and stamina during this intense process.
• Let’s thank God for the opportunity to have a Supreme Court that adheres to Biblical values and pray for a smooth confirmation process.
Franklin Graham wrote this op-ed piece which ran on USAToday.com on February 21, 2018.
My father never gave up on me, even when I caused him pain. He lived like the Gospel he preached—a message he repeated till his last breath.
My father has joined my mother in heaven. He went to sleep in his home in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina and woke up in the arms of Jesus. While many around the world mourn his physical death, he is now celebrating the eternal life he spent over 70 years telling millions of people about.
In the summer of 2005, he preached his final series of public messages to more than a quarter of a million people in New York City over three days. It would be his final live evangelistic crusade. That same year, a Gallup poll revealed that one in six American adults—35 million—had heard Billy Graham preach in person.
Since 1947, some 215 million people at more than 400 crusades, simulcasts and evangelistic rallies heard my father tell them, “The Bible says, ‘For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life’” (John 3:16). Today, he is experiencing what he devoted a lifetime to telling others they could experience if they placed their trust in Jesus Christ.
During that final crusade in New York, he spoke with a national magazine about death. “Do I fear death? No. I look forward to death, with great anticipation. I am looking forward to seeing God face to face. And that could happen any day” (Newsweek, July 4, 2005).
Well, that day has come, and while I miss him (and my mother) dearly, I take great comfort in knowing I will see him again.
The man the world knew as Billy Graham was always “Daddy” to me. I was well into my teens before I fully comprehended that my father had a household name and a worldwide ministry. He was home a few days, then gone for weeks—sometimes months. Had it not been for my mother’s cheerful attitude and spiritual strength, his absence may have had a devastating impact on me. Her eyes flickered like the flames in the fireplace as she described Daddy’s travels, crusade meetings and people he met from all walks of life.
His homecomings were always a big deal. We waited eagerly at train stations and airports watching for his long legs to step onto the railway platform or airport tarmac. Other times, we ran to the driveway when we would hear the car coming up the mountain. My three sisters, brother and I would tackle him, but he always managed to scoop us up into his loving arms, letting us know how much he had missed us. Then, he would turn his attention and affection to the woman he loved—and who shared her life with him for 64 years. Those were happy times.
My Time with Daddy
On most Sundays for the past 20 years, I have driven an hour-and-a-half to have lunch and spend the afternoon with my father. I’ll forever cherish these special times we spent together. But there was a time when our relationship wasn’t so good, a time when I caused my mother and father quite a bit of anguish and heartache. During my teens and early 20s, I proved to be anything but what most people expected Billy Graham’s son to be. I’m so thankful he never gave up on me or quit loving me.
After graduating from college in 1974, I headed for Lausanne, Switzerland, to work at a conference the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association was sponsoring for 2,500 evangelical leaders from around the world. My life was a mess; I was empty and lonely. During that conference, my mother and father wanted to take me to lunch to celebrate my 22nd birthday. After lunch at a little Italian restaurant on Lake Geneva, Daddy and I walked along a pathway beside the lake when he turned to me and said, “Franklin, your mother and I sense there’s a struggle going on in your life.” Somewhat stunned, I wondered, “How does he know this?” He continued, “You’re going to have to make a choice either to accept Christ or reject Him. You can’t continue to play the middle ground.”
With my mind racing, wondering what he was going to say next, I heard these words: “I want you to know we’re proud of you, Franklin. We love you no matter what you do in life and no matter where you go. But you’re going to have to make a choice.” He had pricked my conscience to the point I was actually angry. I couldn’t figure out how he knew about the struggle that had been going on inside me—but he did, and he was right.
My father’s words haunted me for several weeks until I finally gave up running from God and made that choice to accept Jesus Christ as my personal Savior and turn my life over to Him. I’ve never looked back or regretted my decision.
About 20 years after our life-changing walk along Lake Geneva, my father told me something else that would alter my life in another way; he asked me to assume the day-to-day management responsibility of the organization that bears his name. I’m at least smart enough to know I could never fill Billy Graham’s shoes, but I’m grateful he gave me an opportunity to help him finish his race on earth well, and to continue his life’s work.
Proud of My Father
I don’t know that I’ve ever been more proud of my father than the sunny day in May 2007 when 1,500 people, including three former American presidents, turned out to help us dedicate the Billy Graham Library in his hometown of Charlotte, N.C. (He joked to the crowd that he felt as if he were attending his own funeral!) Seeing him standing in front of the 40-foot-high glass cross that serves as the entrance to the Library, I thought about something he once told British TV personality David Frost in an interview: “Well, I’m going to heaven,” he said, “not on my good works or because I’ve preached to all these people or read the Bible. I’m going to heaven because of what Christ did on the cross.”
Billy Graham’s message of the cross never changed since he preached it at his first crusade—to an audience of 6,000 at the Civic Auditorium in Grand Rapids, Mich., in 1947.
Many books have been written by my father and about him. For more than six decades, authors, reporters, scholars and observers have scrutinized his life and commented on it for the public record. But the purpose of Billy Graham’s life is captured in a single paragraph found at the end of a little book a number of years ago.
A Final Word
Following that final New York crusade in 2005, a well-known publisher released a book with the entire text of his three sermons at Flushing Meadows Corona Park. They invited him to write some closing thoughts for the book, which filled just two pages under the heading, A Final Word from Billy Graham:
“No matter what your problem is,” he wrote, “if you and I could sit down and talk, I would want to tell you one great truth: God loves you, and He can make a difference in your life if you will let Him.
“God loves you so much that He sent His Son into the world to die for your sins. When we open our hearts to Christ, He forgives our sins and comes to live within us by His Holy Spirit. He also gives us strength for the present and hope for the future. This is the message of the Gospel—and this is the message you have read in this book.”
If my father could speak or write to us today, he would say the same thing. It was what he lived and breathed—until his very last breath.
Franklin Graham, the son of Billy Graham, is the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse.
My Father’s legacy is one that encompasses the world…and engulfs my own life. When I think of him, I don’t think of Billy Graham, the public figure. I think of my Daddy. The one who was always a farmer at heart. Who loved his dogs and his cat. Who followed the weather patterns almost as closely as he did world events. Who wore old blue jeans, comfortable sweaters, and a baseball cap. Who loved lukewarm coffee, sweet ice tea, one scoop of ice cream, and a plain hamburger from McDonald’s. Who was interested in everything and everyone, from the small to the great. Whose mind remembered details that even a computer would have trouble recalling.
But when I think of him I also think of his message because he was immersed in it. Saturated in it. He was his message…a simple man who had responded to God’s love by placing his faith in Jesus, receiving the assurance that his sins were forgiven, that he would not perish, but would have everlasting life. Simple faith. Faith that now matters more than anything else.
For years, over his head as he preached was the banner that quoted the words of Jesus: I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Jesus completed that sentence by saying that no one comes to the Father but by Me. Based on what Jesus said, Daddy is safely with the Father. In Heaven. Daddy not only claimed Jesus as the only Way to God, he lived by the Truth publicly on platforms and privately behind closed doors, and is now enjoying real Life.
I have often stated that I was raised by a single parent because ministry took my father away from our family—for weeks and months at a time. Daddy estimated that he was gone from home approximately 60 percent of his children’s growing-up years. Now, he has left again. This time, he will not be coming back. At least, not until Jesus does, too.
While he may be physically absent and his voice silent, I am confident that his message will continue to reverberate throughout the generations to come. My prayer on this day of his move to Our Father’s House is that his death will be a rallying cry. That tens of thousands of pastors, teachers, evangelists, and ordinary men and women will rise up to take his place. That they will take up his message like a baton being passed in a relay race and faithfully pass it on to those with whom they come in contact. Because Daddy’s message is God’s message. And it’s a message of genuine hope for the future, of love for the present, of forgiveness for the past.
It’s a message, when received, that brings a fresh beginning, unshakable joy, unexplainable peace, eternal significance, meaning and purpose to life, and opens Heaven’s door.
It was this message, which Daddy carried to the world, that penetrated my own heart as a young girl and has created in me a personal, passionate resolve to communicate it myself to as many people as possible. And so, even as my tears seem to be unending, I silently rededicate my life to picking up and passing on the baton. Would you do the same?
Saturday, February 1o, 2018 B – A dear sweet loving lady at our church died this week, at the age of 96. We know her as Ms. Emily. Her full name is Emily Bankston Wall. I cried when I got the email from our church about her death. I cried when I went to the funeral home’s web page and saw her precious picture with her obituary. I cried when I texted our son Chip about her death. He’s always felt a connection with her since she was a very close friend of my mom, his Grannie. He’s said that visiting with Ms. Emily felt like a little bit of Mama was still here.
Roy and I went to her funeral Friday. I’ve had time to process the loss of this special little lady from the time I learned of her death until now. I’ve come to a place of joy for her as she now lives with our Lord in Heaven and will get to live with Him eternally.
I did not cry at the funeral. I smiled, enjoyed being with other Christians who loved Ms. Emily and had been touched by her presence in our lives. The songs that were played,the song sung by young Mia (our pastors 9 year old daughter) “How Deep the Father’s Love For Us” acapella, and Bro. Avery’s message all involved much happiness and a sense of celebration. We loved this special little lady and are all joyous as she is now receiving her eternal reward for a life dedicated to following Christ and lived as a Christian servant. Our pastor, Bro. Avery Dixon shared some of Ms. Emily’s life including how much she loved our Lord and served Him. Bro. Avery had grown to love Ms. Emily in the short time he’s been our pastor and you could hear it in every word he spoke.
A Christian’s funeral is unlike any other. I’ve requested that mine be a celebration of the fact that I, at that time, am living with my Lord and Savior for all eternity.
This song “Welcome to Heaven my Child”, is a song we played at Mama’s Funeral 10 years ago. I love it deeply. This video of someone singing it is a bit different from the original because it is specifically about a woman who was being welcomed to Heaven by God. I can just imagine God welcoming His child, Ms. Emily, to Heaven!
That’s how this week ended, with a joyous funeral where we said “See you soon, Ms. Emily.”
I’m pretty certain everyone has heard of Billy Graham. I’ve enjoyed his crusade sermons throughout my life. I still watch the reruns of really old ones, they are that special. Recently I’ve enjoyed reading devotionals and stories the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association publishes. Being Christmas time and since the song Mary, Did You Know? is one of my top favorite Christmas songs, I wanted to share today’s posting with you, my blogging friends and family!
(Editor’s Note: This is the first of a five-part series, taking a look at the meaning behind some of the favorite Christmas songs we sing).A lot of Christmas songs you hear on the radio date back to the ’40s and ’50s. But there’s a more modern song—well, modern in terms of Christmas tunes—that considers the story of Jesus from the view of the very woman who brought Him into this world. Here’s some background on “Mary, Did You Know?”—and something to think about when you hear it.You might have heard the phrase “A mom knows.” Maybe from your own mom. But that night in Bethlehem, when the promised Messiah finally came in the form of a helpless baby, there was a lot His mom didn’t know.
Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy would one day walk on water?
Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy would save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your Baby Boy has come to make you new?
This Child that you delivered will soon deliver you.
Singer, songwriter and comedian Mark Lowry wrote that song back in 1984, inspired by a Christmas program he was working on for church. It wasn’t until seven years later that Buddy Greene wrote the music and sang it for Mark over the phone.
While Michael English and Kathy Mattea were the first to record it, it has since graced the lips of dozens of artists—people like Vickie Winans, Kenny Rogers and Wynonna Judd, Cee Lo Green and a cappella group Pentatonix.
Sometime after the song became a hit, Mark once said, Gloria Gaither pointed out that it should be “Mary, Do You Know?”—but he laughs about it today and says “did” sounds better anyway.
The best part about the song, though, might be the audience. Today’s audience knows all about Jesus—or can know about Him by reading the Bible. We know about Him walking on water. We know about Him giving sight to the blind and calming the storm. We know the man He became—the Savior.
But do we act like we know? Mary didn’t fully understand what the future held or how her innocent Son would die for sinful people, but we can look back and read about it. The trouble is … sometimes we forget.
We forget how He calmed a fierce storm with His words and, instead, think He can’t handle our problems. We forget He created the world—think about that—and, instead, try to drown Him out. We forget He delivered us by grace and, instead, let guilt and feelings of inadequacy overwhelm us.
We do know who Jesus is. But do our actions show it?
“Did you know that your Baby Boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb? The sleeping Child you’re holding is the Great, I Am.”
I know this could never be so, but in the event you don’t follow my Wacky Wonderful Wednesdays blog, you may have missed this amazing version of Mary, Did You Know? sung by the a Capella group Pentatonix. Here it is for you to enjoy now. Click on the group’s photo below to hear this amazing song!