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Dr. Billy Graham and the Affect He had on my Life


Growing up in North Carolina, the Billy Graham crusades were on our TV whenever my mother could find him. It was a given, that he appeared regularly as I walked through our den listening to his words of hope and encouragement. It helped that my Aunt, my mother’s sister lives in Montreat and is close to some of the Graham family that eventually I became friends with.

I must admit those young years I took it for granted how his sermons were just a part of our life. Now, they are Biblical orations of wisdom and knowledge that I treasure.

In 1993 I moved to Black Mountain, NC which is directly connected to Montreat where Dr. Graham and his family have lived for decades. I joined the church there that they attended and became friends with Ruth’s nephew and his wife through my Aunt. My daughter played often with their son and we split time between our house and theirs which was the Bell Family home for the children to play.

The home was full of memorabilia and souvenirs from China where Ruth’s parents had been missionaries. Antiques and heirloom furniture that had been handed down filled the house with love and a true sense of family.

If you have the privilege as I did to get to know any of the Graham family, you will find them to be genuine, private and protective. I never once thought it as a celebrity relationship…they were my friends.

Twice before Dr. Graham retired from preaching I heard him preach at the Montreat Evangelical Presbyterian church. This beautiful rock chapel in the heart of Montreat is a sight to behold. Dr. Graham felt very at home there and his words resonated throughout the congregation. Now, I remember them as being 2 of the most historical times in my life. I also heard Franklin preach their once.  I was also able to hear one of the last times George Beverly Shea sang “How Great Thou Art” before he passed away.

One Sunday morning after that, I sat in a pew at the 11 o’clock service by myself by the window. Suddenly beside me was Ruth Graham. She had wheeled herself in by her wheelchair and parked right next to me. We had a nice chat as if we had known each other for quite some time.

I worked for 12 years at the local Chamber of Commerce. Tourists came from all over the country to visit the home of Dr. Billy Graham.  It was always a disappointment to them when we had to tell them going to his house was not possible.  Some would actually get angry they had traveled 1000 miles only to find out they were not allowed near his estate. Unfortunately, the way of the world and its threatening situations had forced the family to acquire necessary security measures for them to remain there.

As the news spread that Dr. Graham had passed away, my heart flooded with memories and thoughts of how this man has touched my life even though I never met him personally.

His simple message of God giving us salvation through Jesus kept me believing when times have been hard and difficult. His presence on this earth and in an area very close to my heart that I don’t live in anymore, always gave me a sense of feeling protected. Maybe it’s because I know God protected that man and his family with supernatural guardianship and countless angels. Those blessings of protection seem to flow outward to those of us who listened to him and know Jesus.

Maybe it’s more of the personal connection that I have to Dr. Graham and his family that has had the most profound effect on me. The truth of their honest, unpretentious and unaffected lives they have lived is a testimony in itself.

And now it’s time for the mantle he carried to spread over this earth for a much needed conversion revival.

What Dr. Graham has preached, his family lives.

Dr. Graham’s words are their heart and soul.

His steadfast faith and love for God is the cornerstone of the Graham family.

They are the real thing.

“Being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion – it is a daily process whereby you grow to be more and more like Christ.”

Reverend Billy Graham

 

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Who was Alexander the Metal Maker?


Yeah, who is this guy?sound doctrine

The Bible never ceases to amaze me. How anyone can think it is dull must not be reading the same one I read. Just when I begin to pat myself on the back for all I have learned (LOL) God reveals one verse unknown to my list of classroom unchartered territories.

2 Timothy 4:14 “Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done.”

Whoa.  He might find someone else to add as a reference on his resume.

Researching him, very little is found.  There are other references to an “Alexander” in the NT who all came from Ephesus. Whether these 3 are 1 in the same is questionable. However the determination that 2 of them resided in Ephesus within the period of time Paul wrote 1Timothy and 2nd Timothy so it is highly possible at least 2 of them were the same Alexander. To be clear, there were other “Alexander’s” mentioned in the NT but evidence doesn’t speak to them as being this particular person.

1 Timothy 4 goes into some detail of Paul’s instructions to Timothy before his “departure.”  He outlines instructions of how to act, what to do and to “keep his head” in all situations.

Sounds almost like Timothy didn’t have both oars in the water? Or not?

Why was Paul warning him?

He goes on to explain how many would:

       Turn away from sound doctrine

       Cater to their own selfish desires

       Listen to only what they want to hear

       Surround themselves with those who believe as they did

       Turn away from the truth

       Accept myths as the truth

What?

How did Paul know his words written toward the end of the 1st Century (time?)  would describe exactly the 21st Century?

Paul continues to inform Timothy, all his friends deserted him except Luke.  He asks Timothy to get Mark and bring him because he is a great support in ministry.  He also asks Timothy to bring with him some items he forgot such as his cloak and scrolls.

Now why is that in the Bible? Was Paul forgetful? Scatter brained? 

Paul prepares Timothy for his possible meeting with this metal maker, “Alexander.”

My take on this “Alexander” fellow reminds me of some big time names I won’t name.  He sounds like a modern day politician who indoctrinates others to his way of thinking or at least tries to.

 He was not to be trusted and was quite vocal about his stance against the Gospels.

 He refused the message Paul gave; may have done personal harm to the Apostle and could have been labeled “evil.”  Sound familiar?

Roaring Lion

Roaring Lion

And if I am not mistaken Paul refers to him as a “lion” in verse 17.

This Alexander guy was hardly mentioned but made such an impact on Paul he made sure Timothy was on his guard around this man.

Paul also clearly defined God saved him from the “Lions mouth” giving Timothy the assurance of protection and strength.

So….we should be able to take a lesson from our dear, old Paul…..

“Alexander’s” may be standing right in front of us, but what Alexander doesn’t see in between us will  stop  him.


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“Are you still so dull?”


Not exactly the words you expect out of the “Messiah’s” mouth but they were.

The disciples were often confused or misunderstood Jesus words and actions. Who wouldn’t?

His intellect/IQ is unmatched. Public speaking and teaching were built-in gifts.

We know Jesus’ annoyance with the Pharisees, but his disciples appeared dim-witted or sluggish or a little slow on the uptake of his purposes.Jesus and disciples

Jesus had no problem with being the Messiah.

Imagine sitting around a fire after dinner with Jesus.

Do you ask if he wants to play Gin Rummy? What about Monopoly?

Do you offer him fresh baked chocolate chip cookies and ice cream?

He may prefer a blueberry pie.

The disciples in their meager efforts had big shoes to fill before they ever put them on or knew they existed. Excusing them for their feeble mindedness is a given. Why?

How could you possibly play Gin Rummy with the Messiah and expect to win?

How could you sit around a fire without being in utter awe of his presence?

If it were me, mumbling may be the only communication I could muster up.

There is something to be said for praying to him unseen.

Jesus words from Matthew 15: 16 are in reference to his response from Peter,

Explain the parable to us.”

Jesus must have hoped by now his devoted protégés’ would have climbed out from under their rocks.

As easy as it is to identify with Jesus’ disappointment, it is equally understandable the disciples bewilderment.  The veil had been partially removed. In other words they just didn’t get it, yet.

Joyce Meyer’s famous quote, “I’m not where I want to be, but at least I left where I was” fits perfectly in this scene.

He was not only hard on those who slighted or refused him, Jesus exhibited his true nature of discipline on his closest friends and allies.

From the tone of Jesus’ words, “are you still so dull?” he may have hoped these special confidante’s knew him better than it appeared.   The message of the Gospel is to seek Christ for a personal relationship with him.  The relationship opens up the hearts and eyes for his followers to understand learn and know his word.

As time passed, Jesus’ character was revealed. Not only did he perform miracle after miracle, teach knowledge no one ever heard, he was love.

Jesus showed tangible love supernaturally.

Eventually the disciples understood this.

And the rest is history.

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Related articles from some blogging friends:

http://butchdean.wordpress.com/2013/06/25/the-choice-is-yours-alone/

http://proverbsgirl.wordpress.com/2013/06/24/if-we-could-see-inside-other-peoples-hearts/

http://samuelatgilgal.wordpress.com/2013/06/23/george-whitefield-on-walking-with-god/

http://goldenbible.wordpress.com/2013/06/24/perfect-in-christ/

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