Safe Place with Ruth Graham

War is hideous. In recent years I think, in many ways, we have become immune to war’s hideousness and ugliness. We watch wars play out on television sitting in our living rooms. War is a decision men/women make in Washington and we rarely feel it’s consequences.

But this weekend may we pause to think about war. And those that fought. And those that lost their lives. And the families that miss them. Let us remember those that served us so bravely and sacrificially.

The movie, American Sniper seemed to show the hideousness of war from all angles. Not just the deprivation and hardship of the battlefield but the emotional toll taken by the men and women and their families.

As we raise our beer glasses and flip our burgers there are many who are not here to enjoy our celebrations. They paid the ultimate sacrifice. As did their family. We cannot remember our brave men and women without remembering the spouses, the parents, the children, the cousins, the aunts and uncles that remember them every day of the year. Not just on Memorial Day.

Those of us able to enjoy the holiday weekend are blessed by those who have worked so hard to protect our freedom. Let us thank God for His rich blessings on us and for those who protect us even now in a foreign land.

I heard on the radio this morning that ISIS has taken more Christian hostages in Syria. And the politicians are wringing their hands wondering what should be done.

So much is happening in the world but Monday morning the news broadcasts were filled with news about the Oscars: who won, who wore what, who said what…

Is it the proverbial “whistling in the dark” or the “Ostrich” syndrome? Are we really so shallow?

I did see and hear Melanie Griffiths’ answer when a reporter (although not a journalist) ask her if she had seen her daughter’s movie, “Fifty Shades of Grey”. She said, “No, I know she is a good actress without seeing that movie.” Good for her. I know I wouldn’t want to see my daughter is such a film. (I haven’t seen it or read the books but I know enough to know to stay away. If the lead actress’ mother won’t go see it, why should I?) I can spot a garbage dump without climbing into it.

I was flipping through the channels to try to find some “hard news” – something of substance. The network morning news shows are not news anymore. Oh they tell pop-culture news but the talking heads are not journalists they are in the entertainment business. There are some

Many of our so-called journalists have proven to be liars. I loved the congressman who apologized for saying he served in the army Special Forces, when he had not. He apologized for “mis-speaking”. That’s the new term for “lying”. He out and out lied – as did NBC’s Brian Williams and CBS’s Dan Rather. Making mistakes is one thing; lying or making something up is quite another.

Just as we no longer have statesman in DC (or very few) we no longer have journalists. Where are the Edward R. Murrows or David Frosts of our day? We are not demanding more so we get less and less. Are we hostages to the lack of critical thinking and lack of hard questions with truthful answers?

We have heard that 21 Coptic Christians died at the brutal hands of ISIS over the weekend. They are martyrs for their faith.

As I was having my devotions this morning the words of an old hymn written by Frederick Faber came to  mind:


Faith of our fathers living still

In spite of dungeon, fire and sword:

O how our hearts beat high with joy

Whene’er we hear that glorious word!

Faith of our fathers holy faith!

We will be true to thee till death!


Our fathers, chained in prisons dark,

Were still in heart and conscience free:

How sweet would be their children’s fate,

If they like them could die for Thee!

Faith of our fathers holy faith!

We will be true to thee till death!


Faith of our fathers

We will strive

To win all nations unto thee,

And thro’ the truth that comes from God,

Mankind shall then be truly free.

Faith of our fathers holy faith!

We will be true to thee till death!


Faith of our fathers

We  will love

Both friend and foe in all our strife:

And preach thee too as love knows how,

By kindly words and virtuous life.

Faith of our fathers holy faith!

We will be true to thee till death!


These 21 martyrs were true ’til death.

The last verse is the hard one – to love both friend and foe. We are commanded to love our enemies. That does not mean to be weak. We have a God-given duty to protect our homeland and families from the evil that is crouching at our gate. And it is evil – pure and heinous evil – straight from hell itself. These militants, radicals, have one thing on us – they are committed to what they believe!

Am I that committed to Jesus? Are you?

I arrived back in the US Wednesday afternoon after traveling almost 20 hours from India – literally half way around the world. It was  a marvelous, fascinating, exhausting trip. A host of wonderful memories of sights and sounds.

Last Sunday as we drove to the tent (a temporary, bamboo structure covered with cloths of many colors) where the convention was held we saw people beginning to gather. The tent was set up in dry rice paddy fields – very flat except for the dried mud berms that separate the paddies – like high speed bumps. It had a real festival atmosphere. There was excitement in the air.

The ladies dress in such beautiful colors! But they were gathering from every corner – East, West, North and South – they told me 40,000. A beautiful sight. It reminded me of the verse in Luke, “And He will send His angels and gather His elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.” They were gathering. With that many people you would expect it to be noisy and raucous. It wasn’t – it was quiet, orderly and peaceful. They sat on the ground quietly, patiently, packed in tightly – maybe sardines would give you a clearer picture!

The convention is their annual event – each church builds its own tent for sleeping and eating and fellowship times. It was a city of tents – I would loved to have seen it from the air. I was amazed.

In brief, I came away from India with a profound sense of gratitude for all Jesus has done for me. I do not have to appease my God. He loves me and sacrificed His only Son so that I might be free from the bondage of  sin and have a personal, intimate relationship with Him. He loved me. I need not live in fear.

What a profound message for the dear people of India.

As it would happen as I got on the plane in DC to go to India my iPhone gave me this message, “your phone has been disabled”. Great. No camera! But my assistant had hers so when she is ready she’ll forward them on to me and I will post them for you all.

Great joy to see the Himalayas from the Bhutan border. Magnificent. And what I saw were just the foothills!

We serve a magnificent God Who loves us and has provided the way for salvation. No sacrificing to Vishnu, Brahma, Shiva, Durga, Mahadeva…etc.  Over 6000 gods. We serve the one true God who paid it all for us. Hallelujah!