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Jun 17, 2018
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June 15, 2018
This Father’s Day, memories are precious. I’m reflecting, not on the public figure Billy Graham, but on the one I called “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.
Yet as I remember, I can’t help but 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. Until Daddy started staying home to be with Mother during the last years of her life, I could count on one hand the Father’s Days I spent with him. Yet again and again I’ve also stated that giving him up was more than worthwhile because I have met people all over the world who have come to faith in Jesus Christ as a result of his ministry.
So, 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. I pray that thousands will take up his message like a baton being passed in a relay race and faithfully pass it on to others. 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.
At Daddy’s funeral service, I publicly vowed that I would do my best to faithfully deliver that same message by preaching the Word, doing the work of an evangelist as I share the Gospel, and living my life so that five minutes before I see Jesus, I have no regrets. (2 Timothy 4:1-8) My gift to Daddy on this Father’s Day is to keep that vow. With that in mind, I recently had the privilege of speaking at the Israeli Knesset, and at the Jerusalem Prayer Breakfast. To my knowledge, there were people of other religions who placed their faith in Jesus Christ as their Messiah, Savior, and Lord.
So, the message which Daddy carried to the world that penetrated my own heart as a young girl continues to make impact. This Father’s Day, while my heart aches for the one I called Daddy, I’m celebrating with triumphant joy as I continue his legacy by passing the baton of Truth to as many people as I can.
This article can also be seen on www.BillyGraham.org : Anne on the First Father’s Day Without Her Dad – Billy Graham.
“No one is an island to himself because our choices make a difference for generations to come.” (The Daniel Key, Chapter 20)
Lord God of Eternity,
We worship you as the Great I am, the One who never changes. You are the same yesterday, as You are today, as You will be tomorrow and forevermore.
We praise You as One who committed Yourself to us— even to death on the Cross. You then, in turn, call us to deny ourselves, our wants, our goals, our will, and take up the cross of Your will every day, and come follow You.
We are fully aware that if we choose to follow You, You will lead us to a cross. But help us never to forget that after the Cross comes the resurrection and the power and the glory and the crown!
As I recommit myself to following You, mold and make me into a disciple who so clearly reflects You in all I say and do, that succeeding generations will be irresistibly drawn to commit their lives to follow You, too.
For the glory of Your great name,
“God has no back-room smoke-and-mirrors, clandestine relationships.” (The Daniel Key, Chapter 19)
Dear Lord God of Daniel and Father of Jesus Christ,
I worship You as a covenant- keeping God. Your word is as good as Your bond. Thank You for inviting me to enter into a covenant with You. I earnestly desire to be assured that You are committed to me forever. I long to belong to You. So right now, I confess to You that I am a sinner and have no merit of my own to deserve or earn this privilege. Instead, I have a strong tendency to do the wrong thing. To sin. So I confess to you my ______________ [fill in the blank with specific sins that come to your mind].
I’m willing to turn away from my sin, to stop sinning, but I need Your help. I believe Jesus died on the Cross for me. Right now, I choose to “drink the cup” of His blood shed on the Cross, applying His death to make atonement for my sin.
Please forgive me and cleanse me of all my sin and guilt. And I choose to “eat the bread” of His body, surrendering every part of my life to His authority. Please come into my heart and be Lord of my life.
I believe Jesus rose up from the dead to give me eternal life. I understand that eternal life means that Heaven is now my home, but I also understand that it includes the believer’s birthright that floods me with blessing after blessing. Without doubt, the most precious blessing of all is entering into this covenant and a personal love relationship with You. Thank You for hearing this prayer. I take You at Your word. I climb into the wheelbarrow and trust myself to You completely. Forever.
For the glory of Your great name,
“Daniel, whose greatness bridged world empires and transcends the centuries, who had every human ‘right’ to think very highly of himself, didn’t. As he began to pray, he smeared himself with ‘ashes’…” (The Daniel Key, Chapter 18)
Enthroned Living Lord . . .
Everything revolves around You. Everything.
How could we have become so out of focus? Our distorted perspective is first rooted in our hearts, then reflected in our prayers. Because . . .
what we have wanted seems so vital;
what we have thought seems so critical;
what we have felt seems so crucial;
what we have said sounds so spiritual;
we seem to be consumed with
We are so ashamed. In the light of who You are, we now get it. We understand that
it’s what You want that is vital, what You think that is so critical, what You feel that
is crucial, what You say is the wisdom of the ages expressed in unvarnished, eternal
truth. How could we have set ourselves up as gods, and expected You to fall in
line with us as though You exist for our personal benefit?
Now, in the privacy of this place, I choose to humble myself. I plead with You for what You have purposed to give, for what You have wanted to do, for what You have promised to fulfill in Your Word. I want Your kingdom to come, Your will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven. I want to be a part of what You are doing . . . to come alongside You as You accomplish Your agenda.
For the glory of Your great name,