A collection of past contributions…
The name Billy Graham has stood for a spiritual presence in our nation for decades. Adviser to presidents from both sides of the isle, preacher at massive Gospel crusades that filled arenas all over the world, even speaking to over a million people at a coordinated Korean crusade outreach in 1973. Billy Graham became a household name for many years as he presented the simple gospel of repentance from sin and acceptance of Jesus Christ as personal Savior.
Today, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association continues sharing God’s love and redemption. His son, Franklin Graham, heads Samaritan’s Purse (www.samaritanspurse.org), a world-wide relief organization that has accomplished much in relieving suffering in the midst of disasters: “After sharing the story of the Good Samaritan, Jesus said ‘Go and do likewise.’ That is the mission of Samaritan’s Purse—to follow the example of Christ by helping those in need and proclaiming the hope of the Gospel”.
Touring his boyhood home and the Billy Graham Library and Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina, I came upon a little open book on display. It was a young Billy Graham’s New Testament. At the age of 15 he recorded his decision to personally accept Jesus Christ: “Being convinced that I am a sinner, and believing that Christ died for me, I now receive Him as my personal Savior, and with His help I purpose confessing Him before men.” It is signed “Billy Graham, November 1, 1934”. That was just six days before his 16th birthday. He has lived up to his commitment.
So, just like each of us, Billy Graham needed a new beginning. And just like for each of us, it is a new beginning of forgiveness, purpose, and solid hope for the future.
Have you had your new beginning? If not, or if you’re not sure, or if your path needs renewal, visit www.peacewithgod.net. Find out about God’s great love for you. And no matter what your age, start a whole new adventure! An adventure that leads to the ultimate new beginning in heaven.
Thank you, Billy Graham, for your words of hope for each of us. DCH
One Bible passage that has puzzled me is in The New Testament in the book of Hebrews. It goes like this: “…though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered”. (Hebrews 5:8, NKJV) How is it that the perfect Son of God had to learn anything about obedience? He was sinless, spending His life doing His Father’s will. What was there to “learn”?
Exploring translations and paraphrases was not particularly helpful, but looking at the context I think there may be something significant for you and me in this passage.
Some aspects of obedience cannot be learned except through suffering. This passage reveals this to be true even of Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God.
No one enjoys suffering. We would rather avoid sickness, troubles, loss of loved ones. But when we suffer we have new opportunities for surrender. Jesus would rather have skipped the cross if that were possible, but as He told Peter in the Garden of Gethsemane, “…the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?” Later in Hebrews (12:2,3) we find: “…for the joy set before Him He endured the cross, despising the shame…” The joy? Yes, after the suffering – but not without the suffering.
By His willingness to suffer the shameful and undeserved death of crucifixion Jesus showed us how suffering and faith plays out. He experienced suffering and death so that He (and we) could experience resurrection. Without death there can be no resurrection. That’s one reason why Jesus’ physical death on the cross is so critical to true Christianity. Without His death He could not be resurrected. Without His resurrection we are still in our sins, and our future is hopeless. (see 1 Corinthians 15)
Suffering can lead to hope when we remember that God honors the surrender of faith.
As I sit here writing this article I see the first sunshine I’ve seen in many days. It’s very refreshing. There are places in the world where there is no sunshine for extended periods of time. Places like Thule, Greenland, where the sun is up for three months in the summer and is nowhere to be seen for the other nine. Thule’s beautiful sunset lasts for weeks as the sun travels lower and lower around the horizon, but many find the nine months of darkness that follows difficult. Depression becomes an issue. Some people try to deal with the darkness resorting to alcohol to dull the sense of hopelessness that extended darkness creates. Full spectrum lighting can sometimes help. Physical activity can also help. But nothing replaces the encouragement of real sunshine.
There are other kinds of refreshing sunshine we all need in our lives as well.
Not the Sol-type, but the soul-type. Real sunshine for the soul. We all deal with times of discouraging, extended darkness. Times when we can’t see the light at the end of this tunnel we’re traveling though right now. Times when even the full spectrum lighting of positive-thinking can’t replace the real thing. We need real reason for hope – real soulshine.
When the sun is missing we need to look to the Son – The faithful Son of God who promised to never leave us or forsake us through all of our dark times. He’s there when the sun shines and He’s there when it doesn’t.
Unfortunately the only way we find His sufficiency in the dark times is to actually have those dark times. Jesus was “…led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 4:1), but He was helped by angels when He was there (Matthew 4:11). He made it through. He will lead us through too.