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November 7, 2017
“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.…I will be with him…I will deliver him…I will honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” Psalm 91:14-16
Today, November 7, 2017, my father turns 99 years of age! And thus he enters into his 100th year! I think I can speak for my entire family when I say we are all amazed…and very thankful…that he is still with us. My mother moved to Heaven, the place Jesus called our Father’s House, ten years ago. And I, for one, never imagined Daddy would continue to live without her, much less outlive her for such a lengthy period of time. What a treasure it has been to have these last ten years to enjoy his presence that has always included his humor, his prayers, his insights, his stories, his encouragement, and his love.
But Daddy has grown very quiet in the last few months. It’s as though after years of preaching the Gospel, he has nothing more to add to what he has repeatedly stated more times than can be counted: Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me…For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 14:6, 3:16)
The life and message of Billy Graham are so entwined with that simple Gospel message, it cannot be unwound. My prayer on this, his 99th birthday, is that in the silence I will hear my own voice in a chorus of dozens…hundreds…thousands…millions of other voices picking up the message and proclaiming it without compromise to a world that desperately needs to know the Hope of everlasting life by coming to the Father through faith in His Son.
I can’t think of a more meaningful way to celebrate Daddy’s birthday than by sharing the Gospel with someone else! Join me in the celebration…
Happy Birthday, Daddy!
From All of Us
The following link is to my all-time favorite version of a hymn that was written as a beautiful tribute to Daddy. Make sure you listen to it all the way through.
Fernando Ortega: Just As I Am
November 6, 2017
I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. John 11:25
Like the rest of America, I am in total shock! Grief! Tears seem to come and go unexpectedly throughout the day. A heart that doesn’t stop aching for the family members and friends of those massacred in the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs. When I awaken during the night, I’m aware that my spirit has been praying for them even as I sleep. During the day I find myself praying for them without ceasing.
Why? Why, dear God, would You allow something so horrific to take place? In a church? So evil. So senseless. So terrifying. Help me understand.
In answer to my heart’s cry, John 11 came to mind. Mary and Martha had sent word to Jesus that their brother Lazarus was sick. Implied was a desperate plea for help. But Jesus stayed where He was for four days. And Lazarus died. When Jesus did show up, Mary and Martha responded like many I have read on social media following the Texas massacre: Why didn’t You come when we asked? If prayer worked, Lazarus wouldn’t be dead. You’re late! Although I’ve paraphrased what they actually said, that was their meaning.
And then Jesus gave them, and us, a radical perspective. And it’s this. Life is about more than temporary safety, health, happiness, prosperity. It’s about a relationship with Him that transcends those things. He never, ever has promised to protect us from suffering, pain, and death. But He has promised to be with us and bring us through…when we place our faith in Him.
Standing at Lazarus’ tomb, Jesus challenged Martha, Do you believe this? Martha affirmed, Yes, Lord. I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God.
Then Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. The simple answer to my why question is this: Trust Jesus when I don’t understand. His ways are not my ways. He is accomplishing a greater purpose. I just have to trust His heart of love to do what’s best. Trust Him.
For more about trusting God when you don’t understand: Why? (paperback) by Anne Graham Lotz (This small book will help you understand and deal with suffering by leading you to the One Who knows your needs, shares your grief, sheds your tears and promises glory to come! Based on John 11. Foreward by Joni Eareckson Tada)
As Irma was hitting the Florida Keys, I received a request from FoxNews.com to submit an article along the lines of what I would say to those after the storms passed. I agreed to do my best, but knew immediately that I didn’t want to write what I wanted to say, but what God wanted to say. And so I began to earnestly seek Him. I knew I needed to be very careful not to put words in His mouth. Did He have something to say through the storms? The following is what came to me. It was posted on the FoxNews.com homepage September 12.
August 17, 2017
…Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13
Guilt is our friend. If you are like me, it’s a friend you don’t want showing up on your doorstep. But, more than likely, without it you and I would go on in wrongdoing until becoming dominated and defeated by it.
Guilt is an alarm system that points us to our own misconduct. Yet instead of heeding the alarm, we ignore it, rationalize it, deny it, excuse it, drown or drug it. What we rarely do is to use our guilt for good, letting it redirect and thus transform us into better people. We tend to let it consume and destroy us. Much like drinking poison, guilt and the inability to forgive ourselves can slowly eat away at who we are, rob us of our inner peace, and ultimately shatter our spirits.
August 7, 2017
The sun will be turned to darkness…before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. Joel 2:31
A few years ago I was teaching through the book of Joel when the ancient words of his prophecy came up off the page. I knew with hair-raising certainty that God’s severe judgment was coming on America! I have taught Joel several times since. Each time has served to confirm with deep conviction that God is warning America of impending disaster and destruction.