Safe Place with Ruth Graham

A friend gave this to me for this election season. It is a prayer written by Lloyd John Olgivy who was chaplain of the U.S. Senate. It seems appropriate on many levels.

Almighty God, Sovereign of our nation, thank You for the privilege of living in a free land where I have the opportunity to vote. Work through the election process so that people will be elected who will glorify You. Strengthen their commitment to trust You to guide them as they confront the problems and claim Your best for their realm of leadership. May they never forget that they are in office by Your choice and are accountable to You for how they lead. May the immense responsibilities they assume, and the vows they make when sworn into office, ring them to their knees with profound humility and unprecedented openness to You.

Save them from the seduction of power, the addiction of popularity, and the aggrandizement of pride. Lord, keep their priorities straight: You and their families first; the good of the nation second; the consensus around truth third; party loyalties fourth; and personal success last of all. May they never forget that they have been elected to serve and not be served. Consistently replenish the reserves of strength and courage so often drained by pressure and stress. Anoint their minds with our Spirit and guide them as they seek to know and do Your will in the crucial issues before my city, region, and nation. I firmly believe that this can be our country’s finest hour awaiting leaders imbued with Your power.”

Last year, as you may know, I attended the “Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians” in Washington, DC. I was so moved by what I heard and saw that I knew I had to do something.
I asked a few local pastors and Christian leaders to meet with me over lunch to talk about what we might be able to do in our area.

We decided on a “prayer gathering” on the “International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted” on November 7th. We had about 500 people gather and we prayed – we talked about the needs of various areas and then we prayed! We didn’t talk about prayer, sing about prayer, preach about prayer – we prayed. It was a thrill for each one there – we felt God’s presence in a powerful way. It was thrilling!

Since then, we have met on a monthly basis to pray for our local pastors as well as to look to this year’s International Day of Prayer which is November 4th. It has been so rewarding to gather early on a Tuesday morning without coffee or “goodies” (until today thanks to my sweet friend, Peggy) and just pray for our churches to be aware, for pastors to be bold preaching God’s Word and especially those who suffer persecution simply because they love Jesus.

What a joy it was to see Andrew Brunson step off that plane in Germany on his way home! It’s what we have been praying for. And then to see him humbly kneel beside the President to pray for him. Tears streamed down my face. But for every Andrew Brunson there are 100s more. He was fortunate to be an American where the government would not forget him – not leave him behind. There are so many whose governments are the very ones oppressing and persecuting. It is dangerous to be a Christian in certain parts of the world.

According the the World Watch List, North Korea is #1 for persecution of Christians. That’s no surprise! (I am hoping that will soon change due to the opening of N. Korea to diplomacy.) Afghanistan is number 2. Somalia is number 3.

Let’s pray for our brothers and sisters who are suffering.

I’m back!

It was a busy summer and much has happened. Uppermost in my heart and mind is my sister, Anne’s diagnosis of breast cancer. She has a virulent form and they will attack it aggressively. I hate it for her. She has a great attitude and goes into this physically strong – she has taken good care of herself. I know she wants God to be glorified through out the process. (I have a lovely photo of the 2 of us at our Father’s 90 birthday party but I had to scan it to my computer and it won’t go into this blog! AHRRRUGH!)

This summer I have been working with my surgeon to get the correct balance of fluid in my brain. Not an easy process with some difficult side effects – as you can see – a “face plant”! But he is patient and I am wild about him and his staff. They treat me beautifully. Last time I went down to Richmond for the adjustment is was just before the hurricane…lots of rain an wind predicted. I mentioned my concern about driving since I had relatively bald tires, to a sweet friend in church and she volunteered to take me. So dear of her to spend her whole morning hauling me down and back. I am grateful for such special friends. I did a couple of “face plants. Proof!IMG_1953

We spent some time trying to clear out my Father’s home. We had a good time together and when one of us would get teary, the others would cheer them up. So hard to see it “moth-eaten”. Not like my Mother had it at all. Sad. But we all go through the same thing when our parents die.IMG_2113

My children and their families all spent a week together – and me – at our favorite beach. Such chaos! Such fun. A photo of them all except one who was upstairs watching TV and missed the photo call – we got it later. IMG_2041
We had our Bible Museum t-shirts on.

We had gone up there to see the display honoring my Father. So grateful to the Green family for what they have put in the center of DC. It honors God and the Bible. An amazing collection of artifacts! Museum of the Bible display

We got together with family – all the cousins enjoyed each other. The grown cousins and the little cousins. Such fun!IMG_1956

I saw a special friend – I always try to see her on the way back from the beach. Special lady – Jane Bateman and fabulous speaker. I love her. .IMG_2053

Then I had occasion to go to Maine IMG_2136for a prayer event for the Persecuted Church and got to see my dear college roommate. IMG_2135 (1) we’ve been close for many years.

Well, that’s probably all you need to know for now! But there is more to tell!

I read this morning that God’s Word “is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” (Psalm 119:105) When that was written, in ancient times, folks didn’t have flashlights. To light up the night, they used torches – as they did when the leaders of the synagogue, arrested Jesus in the garden. Torches were not always suitable – casting too much light.

It brought a memory back to me.

Some years go when my family and I visited the Holy Land, our guide showed us a small oil lamp that could be attached to your shoe or sandal to light your path. That’s what the Psalm is referring to: “a lamp unto my feet”. Its’ light only spread as far as your next step. You couldn’t see a long way down the path. You had to tread carefully as you navigated the path, not going farther or faster than your lamp shown.

It’s a good illustration for me. Jesus is that lamp – that light. He said, “I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

I know if I am walking into a dark place, I look for a light switch and if there isn’t one, I look for a candle. And if I see a light in the distance, I am comforted and head towards it. I have to respond to it either by heading towards it or turning on the light switch or lighting the candle.

Isn’t that what we all want – light? We live in a darkening world…we see people stumbling aimlessly into each other, into unsubstantiated claims by self-proclaimed prophets, into lies and false promises, into one relationship after another that do not satisfy… walking in darkness.

We have closed our ears and eyes.

It is sad. Especially, since the one true Light is inviting us into a personal relationship with Him. He has issued an invitation to us: “Come unto me all ye that are burdened and heavy laden…” We have to respond to that personal invitation. Have you?