Anne Graham Lotz on the Journey of Faith

Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of evangelist Billy Graham, talked with Beliefnet about her new book, "The Magnificent Obsession." She described why she chose Abraham as a model of faith in this book, and also talked about her father's legacy and why religion can be an impediment to a relationship with God.

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Problems are part of human life, but He promises that, in the middle of all that, He will be with us. I have people say, "Anne, I don't feel His presence." Well, if you could feel it, it wouldn't be faith.

There are times when I felt abandoned. I had no feeling of His presence. But, I read my Bible, and it says--Hebrews 13, "I will never leave you, never forsake you." So my faith has to go down to His words... It's the voice of God coming through scripture. That's the basis of your faith, not your feelings, not your circumstances.

Abraham wasn't perfect. He failed, made mistakes. But, he would go back, get right with God, and then just keep moving forward. He didn't quit when things got hard. He just kept on going. And everywhere he went, God was there. God was with him.

We need to keep our eye, if we can, on the big picture. He's a God for here and now, and He can walk with you through whatever you're going through. He promises it in Psalm 23. "You walk through the valley of the shadow. I'll be there."

Q: In addition to personal struggles, there are political debates going on about abortion, gay marriage--issues that people of faith speak out on. What do you think the biggest issue is facing our country?

I think that it's sin. What I have seen is that, within the church, there is such biblical ignorance. People don't know God's word. Now, I'm speaking generally. You're going to find some great churches, and great people.

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Generally speaking, across all denominations, they're more familiar with their denominational material or their rituals or than they are with what God's word says. And when you take yourself away from God's word, you're just that--farther away from God himself.

You're either guessing what He says, or you have to get it secondhand through a pastor or a priest, and then, pretty soon, you live your life in comparison with others.

I think within the organized church, people who call themselves Christians, sometimes it's hard to tell they are. In fact, I think some people who say they're not Christians can behave in a more godly fashion than people who call themselves Christians.

For me, rather than pointing my finger at all the social ills, I think, "You know what? It's time for us to get ourselves together before God." There are sins in our culture. But first of all, I need to look into my own heart and get right with God.

And then, God says that we can go into the world and share the love of Christ, and I'm free to love those people. I don't have to judge them. When they come to faith in Jesus Christ He'll deal with some of the issues that we keep harping on.

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