Beliefnet
Safe Place with Ruth Graham

The massive flooding in Houston is on everyone’s mind and heart. The threats of North Korea are concerning everyone. The unprecedented divisiveness in our country is affecting everyone. There was the total eclipse of the sun for the United States. Blood moons last year. Stars aligning in an unusual ways this week.

Nothing seems to be at rest – all is in turmoil. There is no peace anywhere.

What are we to make of it? I know there are those who seem to think they know exactly what is going on and make definite predictions. But not me.

The only thing I KNOW FOR SURE is that God is still on His throne! Last year I studied the book of Revelation. It is not an easy book to understand and yet, there are those who want us to think they know it all. The two things I came away with from my study was that God is in control of all things and, in the end, He wins!

I’ve been told that the very first book of the Bible is the book of Job. A book about terrible suffering and the question of “Why?”. Job had four friends who tried to tell him exactly why he was suffering – they were no help at all. The very first thing God wanted us to know about Himself is that He is in control, He is far more than we can truly understand and He is with us in the storms. He is present with us.

Does that all sound too simple? Maybe. There are great minds, great scholars, great theologians that deal with these things regularly. Someone once asked Carl Barth, the Swiss theologian, what was the greatest truth he knew. He replied, “Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so.”

Simple. So simple we can all understand it.

This morning on one of the Internet news websites – remember I don’t have TV any longer – the headlines were “The Day Laughter Died” and “The Day the Sun Went Dark”. The two reports concerned the death of Jerry Lewis and, of course, the total solar eclipse for a large portion of the US.

It is interesting to me that we have such a US-centric view of the world. If it is happening to us then it is important. If it happens elsewhere it doesn’t grab our attention so much. I guess that’s human nature. I admit, I am the same way. If I stub my toe it hurts. If you stub yours, quit complaining.

But I desire to be a citizen of the globe. I want to see world events and my own neighbors through God’s eyes and have His perspective. He tells me to bear another’s burden; treat them like I want to be treated. He says over and over to strive for justice and care for the poor.

He tells me the world and its interests are passing away. It’s all very temporary. Yet we act as if it is all there is.

How do we correct our thinking? How do we sort out what is important and what is not?

The only way I know is to study God’s Word. He reveals what is important in the long run – obedience to Him. And He has said it quite plainly. “He has told you, O man, what is good: and what does the Lord require of you. But to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)

Today, when so much is going on in our world, let’s resolve to walk humbly with our God, the Lord Jesus Christ,  work for seek justice and love kindness. We don’t have to make it so complicated. If each of us did our part in our own area of influence…wouldn’t it be a better world until Jesus comes to take us to Heaven. Even so come Lord Jesus!

I am just back from a beach vacation with my children and grandchildren! We had a great time though the weather didn’t cooperate at all. We had only one good day out of 6 but that didn’t hold us back from fun.

The house we rented was smaller than last year with more bodies in it…a recipe for disaster for sure. But, no, we all got a long – not one cross word! Yes. Lots of chaos, mess and sand – and endless dirty dishes!

The little ones (7-11 yrs.) played well together. The house had a dock on the creek so they caught crabs but let them go. We rented 2 kayaks and had fun with them. My son, Graham, came and we all enjoyed him. He doesn’t usually come but I think even he enjoyed the beach and the kids. I know I LOVED having them all under one roof.

It’s a joy to hear my grown children talking together as adults and friends. I love my sons-in-law as I do my own son. They are terrific young men that face huge challenges. I am proud of them both.

The morning my oldest daughter and her family left, their Black Lab got sprayed by a skunk! But she had no time to wash her. She left her in the care of young man who took great care of her. When they returned they smelled something bad as well as skunk. As they searched of rare smell, they opened the garage to discover the origins. The skunk! It had been trapped in the garage and died! Poor skunk. They had skunk as well as dead skunk smells to contend with. Obviously, they live in the country.

While there I had lunch with precious friends, Tex and Sandy Reardon. He was the Crusade director for my father for 30 + years. Then he directed Ruth Graham & Friends during its best years. She was his “partner in crime.” Dear, dear people. He’s like a father to me. We also visited with one of Noelle’s college friends, sweet lady. One night each couple got to go out on a “date night” while we managed “the herd”. Then I got to go out one evening with my sweet friend, Lydia. So much fun to catch up.

On my drive up to North Carolina to see my father and meet with my ministry board, I stopped off to see my friend, Jane Bateman. So cute and fun. We met each other as speakers at a women’s conference at Gull Lake, MI. and we have stayed heart-friends – though we do not see each other often. And there was a third “girl” at the conference, the soloist, Jenni Rasberry. What fun we had together. Two years ago we had a reunion in Montreat and it was as if we had never parted. Lots of laughter, some tears, prayer, sharing books, insights and joy!

Ruth Graham Ministries held it’s board meeting in Montreat Saturday through Sunday. They hold my feet to the fire, asking hard questions and expecting good answers. I am blessed to have them as partners in this ministry.

I did see my father. The first night I went back to see him he was asleep. I just rubbed his hair back, kissed him and prayed over him. The next morning, it was the same. That night I went in and called his name – he slept on. Before I left, I read Revelation 4 – one of my favorites, to him and prayed. I don’t believe he was aware. He is comfortable and well taken care of by ladies who love him tenderly. He is somewhere between here and heaven. And I have to believe the Lord is sweetly ministering to him in a way we just don’t know. Angels surround him.

It was sad to hear the news about Charlottesville over the weekend. I live 30 minutes – and a world – away. But I was sad. Charlottesville was a sweet little college town but it has changed and this event probably changed us all. It made me ever more aware of the, my, world’s need of the Gospel of Jesus. It is the only remedy for our hurt, anger, resentment, injustice, hate and anger – our, my, sin. Jesus took it all to the Cross.

I am busy now preparing to speak at the Joyce Meyer National Women’s Conference in St Louis on September 23rd. Then Ireland in October. As well as writing a new book.

 

 

 

 

We are passed “lambing season” but lamb has been on my mind… As a matter of fact, I am serving lamb tonight for dinner. I enjoy a tender piece of lamb with mint sauce once in a while.

This week I served on jury duty. I didn’t really want to go and thought to ask my doctor to write a letter to have me dismissed but she died suddenly. I am very sad about her passing. She was a remarkable woman and I lost not only a doctor but a friend. Our whole community is saddened by her death.

She was bron in this community and lived here all her life with some years in Richmond while at medical school and setting up an E.R. there. Wonderful lady who forged her own way; marched to her own drum.  She was not one to suffer fools gladly. I had great admiration for her.

When I’d go see her she would tell me fascinating stories about her family and the folks in our town. She knew everybody. She was a horsewoman. She loved her horses. When she could no longer ride due to several serious accidents and her age, she took pleasure in breeding horses and bred some fine ones.

When she died I remembered conversations with her about faith, God, church. She wasn’t one for organized religion. Her church was nature. And I believe you can certainly commune with God while out in nature. But I don’t think it is a substitute for gathering with other believers in corporate worship. We had good conversations but I never looked her in the eye and asked if she knew Christ personally. I know she had religious training. But was there ever a time when she asked Jesus to be her Savior? I didn’t know – I don’t know.

I have had five deaths this summer. One from cancer. His sweet wife reported he gave a “thumbs up” to his docs and had lipstick kisses all over his face as he went to heaven!

The man who cared for my shrubs and tress dropped dead – apparently, a heart attack. I liked him a lot. He was a good country boy who knew about trees and shrubs – better than most. We’d stand in the yard and talk when he came but I never talked to him about Jesus. I went to his “viewing” and got the sense that he did know Jesus. His wife wrote me a note telling me she was sure she’d see him in heaven because of Jesus.

Then my dear friend’s former husband was burned in his apartment fire. They used to spend Thanksgiving with us…we had good conversations. He was well-read. He was compassionate. But I never confronted him with the need to make a clear decision for Christ. His daughter had to make the dreadful decision to take him off of life-support. I texted my friend to be sure of the condition of this soul. They did.

The father of the young woman I visit each week in jail died suddenly. I never met him. She was not allowed to go to the funeral. Sad. But I did talk to her specifically about the need to make a clear decision for Christ. She said she had.

I think I am reticent to talk to people boldly because I think that’s what they expect me to do since they know of my family. I assume they are defensive. I am rarely bold. I fear offending.

Now…back to jury duty…

I hoped I would not be selected…but I was.

Lawyers are paid by the word, I believe! They told us. Then they told us what they told us. Then they told us again. They showed us. Then they showed us what they showed us. Then they did id again. So tedious!

We jurors were tired of it. And in the end we felt the prosecutor over-charged the person. We could not convict on the felony charge and that was our only option. So, we decided “not guilty”. We all knew the person was guilty of a multitude of different crimes but not the felony. The law is very precise.

As jurors we were an amiable bunch. No loud-mouthed jerks or hot-dogs. As we finished one made a comment about “The big Man Upstairs”. I stepped out in front of the whole bunch and said, “Who are you talking about?” He said, “You know the Big Man Upstairs”. I pressed him asking who he meant. He finally said, “God.” I continued and asked, “What is His name.?” He replied “Jesus.” I then asked, “And what did He do for you?” He said, “He died on the Cross.” I said, “Yes. And we make a decision for Him now – not when we get to heaven.”

Then someone in the back piped up and said, “Tell them who you are.” Oh dear. I turned red. But that one volunteered to say I was Billy Graham’s daughter. The man I “drilled” couldn’t believe – he said he loved my father and came over and gave me a big hug! Then one identified himself as a pastor. (I immediately, sensed something about him that morning. He had a presence about him.) Several identified the churches they attended.

Why in the world did speak up so boldly? That is so not natural for me! I have to believe all those deaths made me think that I have to bring people to a place of decision. We never know if they’ll ever have another opportunity.

Back to Lambs…I read this morning in my devotions, “Your lamb shall be without blemish…and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it…and when I see the blood, I will passover you.” (Ex. 12:5-7, 13)

And, I Corinthians 5:7, “Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.”

He went to the Cross for me. Can I not speak boldly, and appropriately, about Him? Can you?