Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Billy Graham Through the Lens of the Self Compass

Most of us find great people fascinating. We want to know what they believe, what hardships they've lived through, and what legacy they hope to leave. Billy Graham is such a person. Not many who live nearly a century are able to tell the world what they've held most dear for a lifetime. In his book Nearing Home, written at the age of ninety-three, Graham does just that. 

Dr. Billy Graham at the Billy Graham Library
Using the Self Compass as a lens for seeing into Billy Graham's personality and life perspective, I've organized quotes from Nearing Home into the compass categories of Love and Assertion, Weakness and Strength.

LOVE COMPASS POINT

"God proved His love on the cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, 'I love you.'"

"When we come to Christ and trust Him alone for our salvation, God forgives our sins, and we become reconciled to Him forever. He also comes to live with His Holy Spirit and adopt us into His family as sons and daughters. And because we now belong to Him we will be with Him in heaven some day. In the meantime He is with us every moment of the day, to the very end of our earthly journey."

"One of my saddest moments was when Ruth preceded me in death. I watched her suffer with dignity, with feisty humor, and with a gentle spirit ready to meet our Lord. She taught me so much about the last chapter of life. Knowing where she is, the One she is with, and the fact that I will be with her soon are of monumental comfort to me."

ASSERTION COMPASS POINT

"At the time of our personal surrender and acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, He commands us to walk in His footsteps. Receiving His power gives us courage to follow him and abide in His presence."

"For many years I made it a practice to read a chapter a day from the book of Proverbs, thus covering the entire book every month. Proverbs is filled with practical wisdom on a wide variety of topics: relationships, possessions, family, speech, work, habits, and so much more. The Bible is our authority in everything."

"God wants to use you right where you are. Every day you probably come into contact with people who will never enter a church or talk with a pastor or open a Bible. You may be the bridge God uses to bring them to His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ."

WEAKNESS COMPASS POINT

"Grief is a reality; those who say that we shouldn't grieve the loss of loved ones 'because they're better off now' have never understood the enormous hole that is left in our hearts when loved ones die. Yes, they may be better off if they are in Heaven—but we aren't better off. A major part of our lives has been ripped from us, and just as it takes time to heal from a major surgery, so it takes time to heal from the loss of a loved one."

"Death is always an intruder, even when it is expected. It disrupts our lives and brings grief in its wake. No one welcomes death's legacy of pain and emptiness and loneliness—but God has not abandoned us and even in the midst of life's greatest sorrows His Word is still true: 'Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you' (Hebrews 13:5)."

"Why is it that money, success, and pleasure bring no lasting satisfaction? Because they ignore one of life's greatest truths: we don't have just bodies and minds, but we also have souls, also called spirits. If we ignore this truth—if we feed our bodies but starve our souls—our lives will be incomplete and unfulfilled, and we will find ourselves weak and unprepared for life's inevitable challenges."

STRENGTH COMPASS POINT

"George Beverly Shea enjoys life at a hundred and two. He considers me his younger friend. Those who are blessed with living a healthy and full life for a century and counting are in a class of their own. Many often ask why Bev can so effectively communicate with the young. I believe the reason is that Bev embraces his age with grace and humor and people are drawn to that authenticity. They are invigorated by his good spirit and his testimony to what the Lord Jesus means to him."

"God doesn't want us to waste our later years or spend them in superficial meaningless pursuits. Instead He wants us to use them in whatever ways we can infuence those whill come after us. God wants us to finish well—and one of the ways we do this is by passing on our values and our faith to those who follow us."

"No matter what our age nothing prepares us for the future like a solid moral and spiritual foundation based on God's will for our lives."

In what may well be the his last written words, Graham closes Nearing Home with an assuring word to every Christian:

"For those who have received the most precious gift of Christ's redeemed blood...you have reason to look forward to the glories of Heaven, for you will be perfected, you will be joyful, you will once again be active, and right now you can be certain you are nearing home."

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