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February 22, 2018
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown… 2 Timothy 4:7-8
Until 7:30 a.m. on the morning of February 21st, when I received the news that Daddy had moved to Heaven, I had enjoyed watching the Olympics. Besides being thrilling to me, from time to time I have been able to catch life-lessons from the competition.
One such life-lesson has emerged from the mist of grief over Daddy. It is the memory of the 5000-meter speed skating race that was held the opening weekend. The next to last pair of skaters to compete included a man named Sven Kramer. The announcer described him as a rock star in his native country, the Netherlands. When Sven had been asked how he felt about all of the adulation, he had replied that the people in his country were really good to him, and he loved what he did. He struck me as a genuine athlete who knew he was really good and didn’t have to brag.
When his race was called, Sven Kramer walked out on the ice with the confidence of a man who owned it. He dug his skates into the starting position, then held absolutely still. When the starting gun went off, Sven Kramer began his race with smooth, powerful strides. He didn’t even look like he was exerting maximum effort. Around and around the track he went as the announcer began to give the times in comparison to other skaters. When Sven crossed the finish line, he made it look easy. Then his time was announced. 6:09:76 minutes! He had set a new Olympic record! He not only had won the gold medal for his race, but he had set two other Olympic records: one for having won a gold medal in the same event in three successive Olympics, and the other as the speed skater who has won more Olympic medals than any other in history! Without any doubt, there is no one like Sven Kramer.
But the scene that brought tears to my eyes was not on the track, it was up in the stands. Because as Sven Kramer crossed the finish line, the camera panned across the crowd and focused on one man who was on his feet, wildly applauding. The announcer identified him. He was the king of the Netherlands.
And this is the life-lesson that came into focus for me. My father ran his race of life with grace and power. There has been no one, there is no one, and there will not ever be anyone like Billy Graham. He was a rock star in the Kingdom of God who loved people and loved what he did…telling them that there is a God in Heaven who loves them, who sent Jesus, His own Son, to die for them; and that if they place their faith in Him, they would receive forgiveness for their sin, peace with God now and a heavenly Home when they die. On Wednesday morning, Daddy finished his race. The vision that has come to my mind’s eye is that of The King, standing to applaud His runner who finished strong!
Well done, Daddy! Now there is in store for you the crown…
For more – see Anne’s post, DADDY IS HOME.
February 21, 2018
STATEMENT by ANNE GRAHAM LOTZ
Regarding the death of her father, Billy Graham
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?
February 20, 2018
All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags…
No one calls on your name or strives to lay hold of you…
Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.
Isaiah 64:6-7, Acts 3:19
As I listen to the unending speculation regarding how a young man could open fire and kill 17 innocent people, then listen to the solutions that are offered, my spirit is actually outraged and grieved. While some of the suggestions may have validity, the ones I have heard and read are more like band-aid treatments for what is a deep, gaping wound in our nation–a wound that is becoming infected. No one person, no one administration, no one political party is responsible for the outbreak of lawlessness and violence that is gripping our nation. We are all responsible! Our entire culture is to blame!
February 17, 2018
I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord… Psalm 121:1-2
I am at a loss for words. What else can be said about the horrific shooting in Parkland, Florida? So many shattered lives have left me numb, with a nauseous knot in the pit of my stomach. I want to gather every one of those mothers, every one of those fathers, every one of those siblings, every one of those classmates, every one of those teachers and coaches and administrators, every one of them, and place them in the arms of Jesus.
O God, hear our sobs! Our screams! Our silence! Our pain is white-hot. We are angry. We are broken. We are oppressed. Please, comfort the grieving. Speak peace to the fearful. Draw near to those who are crushed in spirit. Bind up their wounds.
January 24, 2018
This blog post was written by Vicki Bentley, member of AnGeL Ministries Board, and Anne’s traveling companion during her recent trip to India.
Some people question whether God still works as He did in the days of the Book of Acts. Anointed by the power of the Holy Spirit, men and women boldly shared the Good News “Jesus is Lord”. Opposition could not stop them.
What I witnessed in India confirms that the Book of Acts continues today! I was there to see and experience the next chapter. Let me testify of what I saw.