Beliefnet
Safe Place with Ruth Graham

 

Back in the 70s many on college campuses were asking the critical questions we all must answer: Why am I here? What is my  purpose? Is there a purpose bigger than just to eat, live and die? They looked for self-fulfillment. Many young people were asking the right questions but looking in the wrong direction for answers. They turned to sex, drugs and Transcendental Meditation.

That’s when the sexual revolution and women’s lib started. The answers folks came up with didn’t seem to satisfy. They pursued all sorts of things going farther and farther from the truth. We cannot satisfy our quest apart from God.

Blaise Pascal said,

“What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace?

 

This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself”

[This is from page 75 of Blaise Pascal’s Pensees (New York; Penguin Books, 1966).]

Basically, he is saying there is a God-shaped vacuum in all of us that can only be satisfied by a personal relationship with God.

In my Bible reading this week I was reading I Corinthians 8 verse 5 through 6. “For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we live: and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom all things were created, and through whom we live.”

Those two little verses pack a lot of existential truth. It tells us where we came from and why we are here. We are here because God placed us here. God is the Creator and Jesus is the Keeper. We exist for Him. So we do not live for ourselves but for Him.

If that is true, does my life reflect it?

Today is my father’s 99th birthday! We will be celebrating his 100th year all year with memories of all God did in those 100 years. It is an amazing story of God’s faithfulness and grace.

It is such a blessing to be his daughter. I am reminded so often by those that come up to speak with me. This morning I went to the grocery store and many came to tell me how much they loved him. Usually it is followed by how they came to a personal relationship with Christ through his ministry – whether in person in a vast arena or on television, or in a movie, or by way of radio – so many lives touched and changed by the Gospel.

Yes, it is a blessing. And I feel loved by virtue of their love for him.

Like being in Ireland last month – everyone I met had a Billy Graham story. They remembered the historic meetings in London and Belfast. Their grandparents parents took them or made them listen on the “telly”. I felt like was wrapped in a warm blanket of love.

What a precious legacy I have!

Just wait till we all get to heaven. What a day that will be!

We’ll all be wrapped in God our Father’s

1950s with my parents

1950s with my parents

great love.

 

This coming Sunday is the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.

Persecution of Christians is on the rise – 250,000,000  (250 million) Christians experience some form of persecution. Did you know that in 2016, 90,000 people were killed because of their faith in Christ? That doesn’t include beatings, rapes, house burnings or intimidation.

Open Doors is an organization that has the World Watch List that ranks the top 50 countries where the most severe persecution takes place. It is not a surprise that North Korea is the #1 place that targets Christians – Somalia is #2.

This Sunday, please ask your pastor to emphasize the persecuted in his morning prayer. We cannot sit idly by as our brothers and sisters in Christ are suffering in unimaginable ways simply because they profess faith is Jesus. We are all of the same body of Christ. We have to do something!  We can all pray.

I pray for God’s mercy to reign and His grace to enable. And I pray for those who are doing the persecuting that through the witness of those they target, they will see Christ in a powerful way and come out of the darkness.

Join me on Sunday as we praying for our brothers and sisters.

 

 

I just got back from a ministry trip to Ireland. My oldest grandson went with me and he thoroughly enjoyed his time there. He is into medieval history and the “Game of Thrones” and much, if not all, of that show is filmed there in Ireland. I’ve only seen one show and that was on the plane coming back!

It is a lovely country. The people are friendly and warm. I have friends from my last two visits to the island that are so dear. We had great fun driving around northern Ireland. They tend to talk over each other and it’s hard to choose which one to listen to! They are like chattering, happy birds.

I spoke 6 times in 6 days and had 4 hotels. Countless books to sign – on top of the jet lag. I’m afraid the last night I was so exhausted I wasn’t able to form my thoughts in an organized way. That’s when God takes over. And He did.

On that last night…the last person to come speak with me was a lovely lady with silver hair – gorgeous complexion. Her husband had been unfaithful for years, she felt marginalized by the Church and no longer attended church or fellowship events with her friends. She felt ashamed and terribly wounded. She felt shut out. My heart ached for her.

But boy! I could relate. I think the Irish church is where we were back in the 80s and 90s. They just don’t want to deal with the messy stuff. But it’s there whether they want to see it or not. In every Irish pew sits a broken heart. That’s true world-wide, no matter the country. People are hurting and unfortunately, the Church isn’t very helpful and, in many cases causes more damage. That was the case for this dear lady.

I encouraged her to find like-minded friends and, if need be, go to another church that would be more encouraging to her. But I know it is so hard to start again by yourself.

If you think of it, please pray for her. Her name is Elizabeth.

Good ministry took place. They were keen to hear about brokenness and how God uses it in our lives. So often we think broken or flawed, means useless, throw away. Not in God’s economy. Brokenness qualifies us. He doesn’t expect perfection and our goodness is not what He requires.

It is a privilege to touch people’s hearts and lives with the grace of God.