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Reverend Billy Graham Goes Home

Evangelist Billy Graham speaks to members of the media at a news conference in New York, U.S. June 21, 2005. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

By Kami Klein

Reverend Billy Graham, considered to be the world’s greatest evangelistic force, is now in the embrace of His Loving Father in Heaven. Throughout his life He was regarded by contemporaries as humorous, non-judgmental, sincere, innocent and accepting. This powerful voice advised twelve Presidents and his wisdom earnestly sought by influential world leaders and royalty throughout the world.  This champion was a lion who’s heart wished only to give God’s biblical word to all who sought salvation, and he roared God’s message for over seven decades leading millions to Christ.    

Born on November 7, 1918, in Charlotte, North Carolina, Billy Graham was preaching at an L.A. revival and was a guest on Stuart Hamblen’s radio show in 1949. The publicity made Graham a superstar and he began broadcasting his sermons globally by eventually incorporated the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA). Graham began broadcasting his sermons over the radio during a Christian show called Songs in the Night. Once a week he also hosted a program called The Hour of Decision, a program ABC initially transmitted to 150 stations before reaching its peak of 1,200 stations across America.

The Era of  television brought his ministry to new heights although it was Billy Graham’s live crusades that would bring hundreds of thousands of people to his meetings. To listen to Billy Graham “live” brought the Holy Spirit directly to your heart and it spoke to Millions. Billy Graham has preached the Gospel to more people in live audiences than anyone else in history—nearly 215 million people in more than 185 countries and territories—through various meetings, including Mission World and Global Mission. Over 3 million accepted Christ!  Hundreds of millions more have been reached through television, video, film, and webcasts.  

In 1943, Billy married Ruth McCue Bell. Ruth was the daughter of a missionary, and lived with her family in China until she turned 17. After graduating with a bachelor’s in anthropology, Graham and Bell were married on August 13, 1943. They would eventually raise five children together, Franklin Graham, Anne Graham Lotz, Gigi Graham, Ned Graham and Ruth Graham.  

During his Ministry, Graham was awarded the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation Freedom Award, the Congressional Gold Medal, the Templeton Foundation Prize for Progress in Religion, the Big Brother Award, the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion, and the Speaker of the Year Award. Additionally Graham was recognized by the National Conference of Christians and Jews for promoting understanding between faiths, and bestowed with the Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empir

 In 1992, Graham announced that he was diagnosed with hydrocephalus, a disease similar to Parkinson’s Disease. His son William Franklin Graham III was chosen to take over BGEA upon his father’s retirement. Billy and his wife Ruth eventually retired to their home in Montreat, North Carolina, in 2005. In 2007, Ruth Graham passed away from pneumonia and degenerative osteoarthritis. Though filled with grief, Billy Graham was determined to continue his mission and it wasn’t until his 95th birthday that Reverend Billy Graham gave his last public sermon. In it, Graham spoke with the strength of his years, warning of a cultural slide in American Society saying that the nation is in great need of “a spiritual awakening.”

“There’ve been times I’ve wept as I’ve gone city to city and I’ve seen how far people have wandered from God,” he told viewers of the television tribute to his ministry called “The Cross”.

One of the most talked about Crusades of Billy’s life occurred in 1958. Billy Graham led an evangelistic campaign in his home town of Charlotte, North Carolina that lasted from September 21 to October 25. The meetings, which were held at the joint invitation of most of the churches in the city and the surrounding area, were held in city’s Coliseum, with overflow crowds watching the meetings on closed circuit television in the Ovens Auditorium next door. Total attendance for the five weeks was 423,387 people, of whom 17,653 came forward for salvation. Below is an excerpt from one of his sermons during that time which is as relevant today as it was then.  

Gazing down at the thousands of people gathered for Revival, Reverend Billy Graham spoke out with kind authority…

“God, looking down from heaven one day, saw this earth in its turmoil and strife and sinfulness, saw us in our lost condition, saw us in our sins. And the Bible says that God said, “I love you. I love you. I love you. I want to save you.”

But how could God? He fills all of space. He is the mighty God of creation that flung those billions of stars out into space. So God did something that astounded the universe. God became a man. That’s who Jesus Christ was. He was God. And when I see Jesus making the blind to see, I see God. When I see Jesus feeding the five thousand, I see God interested in the hunger and the desires of men. When I see Jesus dying on the cross,

I see God in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself. I see the nails in His hands. I see the spike in His feet. I see the crown of thorns on His brow. I hear Him say, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” [see Matthew 27:46]. In that terrible moment, Jesus was separated from God in a mysterious way that none of us understood. And now God said, “This is my Son, in whom I am well pleased. Believe in Him. Receive Him. And I will save you.” [See Matthew 17:5.]

But Jesus didn’t stay on the cross. They put Him in the tomb, and on the third day He rose again. And I do not offer you this afternoon a dead Christ. I offer you a risen Christ, a Christ that is at the right hand of God the Father, and who is someday going to come to judge the quick and the dead [see Acts 10:41,42]. I offer you a triumphant Christ who is going to win.

A lot of people say, “Do you think communism is going to win the world?” They might win it temporarily, but it will only be temporarily. Because the Bible says that Jesus Christ is going to establish His kingdom, and the church shall someday triumph. Someday those of us who know Christ shall reign.

Reverend Graham passed away at his home in Montreat, North Carolina, on February 21, 2018, at the age of 99. Although his health had been in decline in recent years, he reportedly died of natural causes.

At the end of the broadcast for “The Cross”, Graham invited viewers to become followers of Jesus as he know doubt would do the very same today, on his day of entering heaven….

“Today, I’m asking you to put your trust in Christ,”

He would pray this prayer for all of us, would you please take a moment to pray together with us now?

Dear God, I’m a sinner. I’m sorry for my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I believe Jesus Christ is your Son. I believe He died for my sin and that You raised Him to life. I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Jesus, I put my trust in You and I surrender my life to You. Please come into my life and fill me with Your Holy Spirit. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

Today, Heaven did indeed receive one of Christ’s greatest warriors!

 

Smells like heaven: Israeli farm recreates Magi’s gifts to Jesus

A visitor walks in the cave, where Virgin Mary is believed to have given birth to Jesus, inside the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank town of Bethlehem December 12, 2017.

By Rinat Harash

ALMOG, West Bank (Reuters) – The aromatic plants bestowed on the infant Jesus are being cultivated by an Israeli entrepreneur who aims to transform the gifts of the Christmas story into therapeutic balms and incense.

Manger aside, the baby Jesus may have been swaddled in pleasant and pricey fragrances, thanks to the presents that the Bible says were given to him by the Wise Men of the East.

The frankincense (pungent and sweet) and myrrh (sharp and piney) recounted in the Gospel of St Matthew are being grown by Guy Erlich, a businessman who hopes to revive the rare plants’ use for commercial ends.

And what about gold, the third gift brought by the Magi according to the New Testament story?

Some Christians believe this refers to the precious amber resin of the Balsam of Gilead, an aromatic mix resembling citrus and cinnamon that Erlich also cultivates on his farm in the Judean desert.

“I see myself as a modern Magus,” he told Reuters.

“I decided to focus on plants that no one else in the world grows. Since those plants, those medical plants of the Bible were in medical use for so many years, there must be something about them and it is our duty to look for it.”

Dried and crushed resins of all three plants smolder in a nearby censer, filling the air with heavenly smells of fruity freshness.

Guy Erlich, an Israeli entrepreneur, taps a frankincense plant at a plantation in Kibbutz Almog, Judean desert, in the West Bank, November 30, 2017.

Guy Erlich, an Israeli entrepreneur, taps a frankincense plant at a plantation in Kibbutz Almog, Judean desert, in the West Bank, November 30, 2017. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

Such smoke was used for religious rites and fumigation in ancient times. The plants have also been known to produce balms, poultices and perfumes. The Balsam of Gilead resin, Erlich says, was used as the oil with which biblical kings were anointed.

Archaeologists doubt the claim that it could be identified as the Magi’s gold, and attribute the origins of this theory to Christian evangelical circles.

But Christianity scholar Yisca Harani explains it may be plausible in at least a literary way, if there was a translation inaccuracy of the word “gold”.

“Maybe it was this very precious Balm of Gilead. Maybe it was another statement from Biblical times saying these are the perfumes that are typical of the prophecies of God, these are the gifts of the land.”

Prof. Shimshon Ben Yehoshua, from the Volcani Agricultural Research Centre and the Hebrew University’s Faculty of Agriculture, says Erlich’s plants are most likely the same as those from ancient times.

“For the frankincense and myrrh which I believe are similar to the ones that were growing in the past in Israel, those are many species but I believe that the species he (Guy Erlich) grew has the desirable qualities,” he told Reuters.

In addition to Christians interested in sampling the scents, Erlich says he has been fielding inquiries from pious Jews who thrill at the prospect of recreating the incenses that were burnt in their Roman-era temple in Jerusalem.

“My plants are sacred to all religions,” he said. “Now they can be a uniting factor. They can be a common ground. They can connect people.”

(Writing by Dan Williams, Editing by William Maclean)

Thank You BoJangles

Matthew 5:4 ESV “Blessed are those, who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

As I’ve said before, I believe dogs are specially created by our Heavenly Father to remind us how much God loves us, even in our darkest times. They truly are God’s Little Helpers. However, like every living creature on this Earth, God recently called one of His helpers home. Continue reading

John Paul Jackson Passes Away

John Paul Jackson is now face to face with his Savior.

The news was posted on John Paul’s Facebook page Wednesday afternoon.  His condition had been degrading through the weekend and urgent prayer requests had been sent out Monday because of falling oxygen levels.

Jackson was diagnosed with cancer in May 2014 when doctors found a large growth in his leg that they identified as an aggressive form of cancer.  The tumor was described as “nerf football sized” and weighed 12 pounds when it was removed through surgery.

At the time, Jackson praised God for allowing his sciatic nerve to be saved and that he would be able to walk again.  He also said he would be fighting through prayer.

“I am pursuing the kingdom of God and equipping people to do the same as vigorously as I am able. I refuse to allow the enemy a stronghold in my thoughts. God is great and all-powerful,” Jackson said in 2014. “I believe He will take me through this battle. In the process, God will gain a great victory and His name will be glorified.”

Jackson was internationally known for his prophetic gifting and dream interpretation.  His The Streams Institute for Spiritual Developments has trained thousands to understand and use their revelatory gifts for the benefit of the Kingdom of God.

Boy Who Claims He Went To Heaven Recants

A boy who claimed that he went to heaven after a 2004 car accident has recanted his story and now says that he only claimed he went to heaven for the attention.

Alex Malarkey was the subject of the book “The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven.”  He was paralyzed in the accident and doctors said he would likely never come out of a coma.  When he woke up two months later, he told those around him that he had angels take him through the gates of heaven to meet Jesus.

Now, he says that was entirely false.

“I said I went to heaven because I thought it would get me attention. When I made the claims that I did, I had never read the Bible,” he explained. “People have profited from lies, and continue to. They should read the Bible, which is enough. The Bible is the only source of truth.”

Alex now is speaking out about the true path to salvation.

“It is only through repentance of your sins and a belief in Jesus as the Son of God, who died for your sins (even though he committed none of his own) so that you can be forgiven may you learn of Heaven outside of what is written in the Bible… not by reading a work of man,” he stated.

The boy’s mother told the Christian Post that Alex has not made any money from the book telling the story and that he never wanted the book published.

Home for the Holidays in Blue Eye

Most of us can relate to that warm fuzzy feeling we have about being at home for the holidays. Home is where we are surrounded by those that we love and those who love us.  It’s where you’re accepted unconditionally, and celebrated just for being you. It’s a place where the sheer joy of existing is tangible and hangs in the air like the pine scent of a freshly cut Christmas tree. Home is a delightful place, and the atmosphere of home feels like it just reaches around you and gives you a big hug.

Wherever the holiday gathering takes place, there is wonderful smells of delicious foods you only indulge in once a year, prepared lovingly for the expressed delight of those who will savor every morsel. Twinkling lights and red ribbons, pine wreaths and mistletoe, Christmas trees and bright centerpieces adorned with candles – all of these and more add to the magic of being home for the holidays. Continue reading

A Tribute to Grandma Maxine

I can look back over my life of nearly 75 years now and count on one hand the number of Godly women that have impacted my life so dramatically as Grandma Maxine Smith. I loved her dearly, and she loved me. It seems that God always sent me exactly who I needed when I needed them and Grandma Maxine came into my life at a time when God was restoring the things I never dreamt would be restored – the love and affection of a Grandma, for instance. You see, all my Grandmas had gone to heaven and God must have known how much I still needed one, so He sent me Grandma Maxine to fill a huge hole in my heart and fill it she did, right along with Grandma Irwin, my natural Grandma who had gone to be with Jesus many years before, and with Vestal Goodman, another of my adopted Grandmas.  Vestal held us all together when we were being torn apart in our great time of testing back in the ‘80’s. She was a great woman of God, and she loved us unconditionally. Continue reading

It’s Not Just About Survival – It’s About Revival!

Every week when it’s time to write a blog, I search the Lord’s heart for a timely word. Let’s face it, we don’t know how much longer any of this will continue as we know it. The world is changing and the days – every one of them – are getting shorter.  We have an opportunity to do or say something that will make a difference in people’s lives and I’m determined not to miss it.

First, I want to ask you if you know that you are saved and on your way to heaven? Until you are right with God, nothing else matters! What good would it do to survive the soon-coming troubles in the world if you then spent eternity apart from God? There is no greater hell than to face an eternity where evil is unrestrained and there is only wickedness constantly. Continue reading

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