Kendra Graham Online Bible Study: Mark 15:39

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study! This is a place where we can come together and share in our journey towards Scriptural truths and spiritual maturity. We pray this will be a safe, respectful, resourceful place to come and discuss God’s Word…to discover What it says…What it means…and What it means to you!Make sure you don’t miss a post, just enter your email in the “Subscribe Via Email” box in the upper left-hand corner of our blog. It’s free and you’ll receive these posts straight into your email inbox.

KENDRA GRAHAM NOTES FROM Mark 15:39

A Triumphal Entry

And when the centurion, who was standing right in front of Him saw the way He breathed His last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”

What Does it Say:
The Centurion standing right in front of Him saw the way He breathed His last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God”

What Does it Mean:
The book of Mark goes through the narrative of the crucifixion in a unique way.  Recently I was reading, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Roman Empire by Nigel Rodgers and was pretty amazed by what I read.

Romans had what was called a “Triumph”.  A triumph started probably back in the days of the Greeks, but Octavian, Caesar Augustus made the honor of triumphs for emperors of Rome only.  When Rome would win a major battle, there would be a huge parade, celebration in the street which would parade the captives of that particular battle in front as proof of his accomplishment and then the emperor, “humbly” behind.

The triumphator, the emperor, would be taken into the place of the palace called the Praetorium, where the Praetorium guard of Rome would be.  The elite soldiers would take a special sash called a toga picta, which symbolized, and drew the connection between the emperor and one of their Roman gods, like Zeus, Mars or Jupiter.  The emperors since Octavian were known as the “sons of the gods” and these triumphs would remind the people of that very thing.  The Praetorian Guard was the closest thing to the emperor so they would of course know the deity of the emperor more intimately than anyone, so for them to dress the emperor was a very important part of the triumphal process.  The emperors would often pay off the Praetorian Guard, so that they would really make a convincing show of this whole process.  The soldiers would place a crown of laurel upon the head of the emperor.  The emperor would begin the processional in the field of Mars  (Campus Martinus) and proceed down the sacred way to Capitoline Hill (the place of the skull where tradition has it that as the Romans were building their city, a full in tact human head was found here).  At Capitoline Hill the captives were either killed or they were set free depending on the rule of the emperor.  The Roman guard would go before the emperor on this journey and would exclaim to the crowd, “HAIL! The son of god!  HAIL, the son of god!”  The crowd would cheer and bow as the emperor passed. Lastly the emperor would ascend up the steps of the temple of Saturn with one man on either side.   One man would tell him that he is the son of god and the other would remind him that he is mortal.  The emperor at the top of the steps would be offered a goblet of wine, which he would pour out on the ground as an offering to the gods and to Rome signifying that the emperor would give his life blood for the gods and Rome. The crowd would cheer.  An animal would be sacrificed there, at that place to satisfy the payment to the gods in thanks in adoration for the victory and power that Rome enjoyed.  The city would feast the rest of the day.


(Picture:  Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified)

Now, read Mark chapter 15.  How would the disciples explain to the Roman world the triumph of the Savior, Jesus, to a pagan world who did not know the Word of God and were not looking for a Messiah?  Through the triumphal procession of Jesus.  The similarities cannot be ignored.  Mark 15:16, the soldiers took Him, Jesus into the Praetorium and dressed him in a fine kingly toga picta of purple and fashioned for Him a crown, not of laurel but of thorns.  They put it on Him.  The guard went before him on a procession (Mark 15:18) and exclaimed, “Hail! King of the Jews!” They led Him out of the palace and through the city, to crucify Him.  They brought Him to a place called , Golgotha, translated “The place of the skull” (Mark 15:22).  Jesus wound through the city along the way called the “Via dolorosa” which means the way of suffering and is seen today as “the sacred way” as many this Easter will make their pilgrimage down the same way.  The soldiers offered Jesus wine mixed with myrrh, Mark 15:23, but He would not drink it.  The guards continued their mocking and jeering in the face of the son of God who was not just symbolizing that He would pour His life blood out for His people the Jews and the world, but He was doing it (John 10:17-18).   He was crucified between two thieves.  One thief proclaimed, (Luke 23:39) “Are You not the Christ save yourself and us!” The other thief asked Jesus to “Remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Luke 23:42).


(Picture: Golgotha, where Jesus was crucified)

All this was taken in by the Roman Praetorian Guard in Jerusalem.  This particular centurion soldier at the cross saw Jesus as the undeniable Son of God.  How many times had that soldier been a part of Roman triumphs?  How many times was he forced to bend his knee to the emperor exclaiming that the emperor was the son of god?  How often had he been paid off by the Roman authorities to pronounce the deity of the Roman leader?  Yet here, in front of the cross, this man proclaimed without payment or force, “Truly this man was the Son of God”.  He had seen so many imposters, that here, at the cross, the Truth of Jesus was seen.  Even the Roman world would be able to see, understand and believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God (Matthew 16:16).

Do you see similarities to that of a Roman triumph?  Truly this was the ultimate triumph.  The triumph once and for all for sin.  Jesus triumphed at the place of the skull.  Jesus triumphed over sin at the cross and three days later rose again and triumphed over death at the grave.  The cross is not a defeat, but the greatest triumph that the world will ever see.

Many of us have seen failures of men who claim to be next to God.  We have seen failures of leaders who preach the Word the God.  We have seen failures of godly men and women who have fallen to adversity in this world.  We have seen failures of the church.  We have seen failures in Christian schools and universities.  We have seen failures in Christian organizations.  It is so easy to focus on all those who have fallen, but truly isn’t that just proof of the reason and desperate need of the world for Jesus?  This Easter, let’s join the centurion at the cross standing in front of Jesus alone.  As we look to Jesus this Easter may our words ring ever so similar to that centurion as we proclaim, “Truly, this is the Son of God!”.

What does it Mean to me?

Who do you say Jesus is?  Everyone must decide about Jesus.  This Easter will you make that choice to cry out to Jesus who alone is able to forgive and redeem your sin? (Acts 16:31, Romans 3:23, Romans 6:33, Romans 5:8, I Corinthians 15:3-4)

When have you truly taken the time to see Jesus for who He has proven Himself to be?

LIVE IT OUT.

Dear God, I am a sinner and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that 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. Guide my life and help me to do your will. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.”

Daily read the Word of God and get to know the love this God has for you since before time began.


Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer GardenClick here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

Follow us on social media. click map

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Pinterest

Cove Bible Verse for the Week of March 26th

God has great plans for you!

This week’s verse is Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.


Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer Garden. Click here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

Follow us on social media. click map

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Pinterest

Saturday Snapshot: Billy Graham on Peace

There is one thing we all have in common: We all have a desire for peace in our lives. The question is, how do we have peace in the midst of a difficult time in our lives? How do we have peace when it seems like everything around us is falling apart? How do we have peace when we watch the news and see the tragedies in our world?

The Bible says, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.” (John 16:33 NKJV).

Through the years, Billy Graham shared many messages with us about how to have this kind of peace. On today’s blog, we would like to share some of these words to encourage you this weekend.

As Billy Graham said, “Only Christ can meet the deepest needs of our world and our hearts. Christ alone can bring lasting peace- peace with God, peace among men and nations, and peace within our hearts. He transcends the political and social boundaries of our world.  God loves you and wants you to experience peace and life-abundant and eternal. ”

The answer for peace is found in Jesus Christ.  Dr. Graham shared with us that “The world doesn’t give peace, for it doesn’t have any peace to give. It fights for peace, it negotiates for peace, it maneuvers for peace, but there is no ultimate peace in the world. But Jesus gives peace to those who put their trust in Him.” That means that we have to completely put our life, our situations, our struggles in His hands. Jesus is the only one that can give us peace that is lasting. We must ask Jesus into our hearts, acknowledge that we are sinners and ask Him to forgive us of our sins. When we ask Christ into our hearts, He gives us that peace that the world cannot give. Billy Graham said “I know where I’ve come from. I know why I’m here. I know where I’m going- and I have peace in my heart. His peace floods my heart and overwhelms my soul!” We can all have that same assurance that Billy Graham had. If you want to know more about asking Jesus into your heart and how to have that everlasting peace,  click on this link to find out more.

When you have Jesus in your heart, you not only have peace but there is also a joy that fills your soul. The book of Nehemiah states in chapter 8, verse 12:  “The people went…to celebrate with great joy because they had heard God’s words and understood them.”

It is important to us at The Cove that we carry out the vision that  Billy and Ruth Graham had for this beautiful place. Billy had a vision for The Cove to always be a place of impact, intercession, instruction, and inspiration through the study of God’s Word. Ruth had a desire to see The Cove as a place for relaxation and retreat–a place to be refreshed and renewed. They both knew that if we could have focused time in The Word of God, away from distractions, we could hear from God and fill our soul with  His peace, joy, and love. We hope that you can come visit us. If you are not able too, then we encourage you to find that time alone with The Word and seek to know Him more each day.


Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer GardenClick here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

 

Follow us on social media. click map

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Pinterest

Cove Bible Verse for the Week of March 19th

May we serve the Lord with a humble heart this week!

This week’s verse is Luke 18:14

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”


Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer Garden. Click here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

Follow us on social media. click map

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Pinterest

Saturday Snapshot: Ruth’s Attic

We started our week off with snow but ended with a couple of beautiful days! We had many guests this week and our Ruth’s Attic bookstore stayed busy! We wanted to highlight a few of our most popular items in the bookstore!

Ruth’s Attic located in The Training Center at The Cove carries some of Billy Graham’s most loved books, including his latest “Where I Am.”  This book focuses on heaven, eternity, and life beyond.

It is great to have daily encouragement in your home  to remind you and your guests of His Word. We have this beautiful wall-art with different encouraging scriptures.

These pottery mugs are hand-crafted and are wonderful for coffee, hot tea, or chocolate! Many of our guests take these home as gifts for their family and friends!

Another one of our most popular collections are our  Billy Graham lotions! There are many different scents to choose from and they are perfect for a guest bathroom or gift! This could be a great gift for Mother’s Day!

We also carry magnets that are perfect for your fridge or even to use as a drink coaster. These are creative and will add a little farmhouse feel to your home!

If you want to visit Ruth’s Attic, you can call for an appointment or can visit anytime you are here for an event, seminar, or retreat! You can also order any of these items over the phone!  These are great as gifts for family and friends!


Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer GardenClick here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

 

 

Kendra Graham Online Bible Study: Isaiah 66:2

Welcome to Kendra Graham’s Online Bible Study! This is a place where we can come together and share in our journey towards Scriptural truths and spiritual maturity. We pray this will be a safe, respectful, resourceful place to come and discuss God’s Word…to discover What it says…What it means…and What it means to you!Make sure you don’t miss a post, just enter your email in the “Subscribe Via Email” box in the upper left-hand corner of our blog. It’s free and you’ll receive these posts straight into your email inbox.

KENDRA GRAHAM NOTES FROM ISAIAH 66:2

Be Humble. Be Faithful. 

For all those things My hand has made, and all those things exist,” says the LORD.
“But on this one will I look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit,
and who trembles at My Word.” (Isaiah 66:2, NKJV)

What Does it Say?
All things My hand has made, all things exist, BUT on this ONE I will look: him who is poor and of a contrite spirit and trembles at My Word

What Does it Mean?
As things are calming down in the family and in the media regarding the life of Billy Graham (“Daddy Bill,” to family), one thing consistently strikes me; one thing is constantly brought to the surface: Daddy Bill was faithful to the God he loved and remained faithful to the end. I have seen things on YouTube from the archives of the Billy Graham vault that I have never seen before: interviews he granted and shows on which he appeared, people he touched. I see God’s favor all over Daddy Bill’s life. What was his secret? IT was no secret at all; it is truly what God’s pleads for all of us to experience.

So God, in His love and mercy, gave us His Word to cling to, day in and day out.

I love this verse in Isaiah! God is saying in HIS WORD, which never fails or changes (See Numbers 23:19, Hebrews 13:8, James 1:17), that over everything He has created in the earth and in heaven, the ONE thing He looks upon is “him who is of a poor and contrite spirit.” We all want God’s hand upon our lives, do we not? Do we not pray that for our families, children, churches, nation and ourselves? Have you ever thought about that—really thought about it? The hand of God! Just how big is the hand of God? How heavy do you think His hand is? If the hand of God is upon you, can you even stand? These are just a few of the questions I’ve thought about with regard to the hand of God.

So God, by His grace, keeps me low, dependent and on my knees. This is NOT a bad thing, it is a gracious thing. In order for me to stay in God’s presence, He demands humility. (Ugh!) This is a HARD thing, absolutely; but it is the loving-kindness of a Father who does what it takes to keep me in His presence. In Micah 6:8 the Bible says that God requires of us to walk humbly with Him. It is not in us to be humble; it is in us to be proud and self-serving. Oh, we can sometimes be selfless, if it serves us better. The only way true humility is possible is through being in the Word of God daily and allowing God to keep His hand upon us, even when it hurts, even when our knees buckle—especially when our knees buckle.

It was in desperation that the disciples called out to Jesus who was asleep in the boat when they thought they were going to drown. Those disciples tried every sailing trick in the book before they went to wake Jesus; and honestly they did not ask Jesus to fix the situation, they demanded Jesus look at the situation that He sent them to (see Mark 4:35-41). If we were never desperate, we would never see our need for God. God loves us enough to allow us to be desperate.

Faithfulness is who God is (see Deuteronomy 7:9 and Psalm 86:15). It is His character. Faithfulness is something each of us must decide to embrace on a daily basis. Some of us think it’s too late; too many mistakes have been made. That is a lie. Start today—this very moment—one step at a time. Get into God’s Word. Allow the hand of God to burden you and bring you to your knees, contrite and poor in spirit. The lower we are, the more God is visible. Do we really want people to see us anyway? REALLY? Our failures and pitfalls become very small as we fall in the presence of Jesus; the grace and love of God who loves us with an everlasting love becomes very BIG and very visible. When this happens, it is not us they see, but it is Yaweah,  who has come desperate for His handmade creation to know Him and to walk in His presence.

SO…how heavy is the hand of God? It is so heavy that it keeps us low, and it is gracious enough to keep us in His presence; for if the hand of God be upon us, we will find ourselves at His feet.

Dr. Billy Graham led a life that mattered to so many people and touched so many lives because he was willing to be:
1. humble
2. faithful.

“Daddy Bill” had a life lived with God’s hand upon him, and he was willing to stay in a dependent, humble posture which allowed God to use whatever means necessary to keep him there. Now THAT is a hard prayer to pray! God, keep us a people of humble and contrite spirits.

What Does it Mean to Me?

What does it take for you to remain dependent upon God? Do you hate God for it? Do you raise your fist in bitterness and anger? Or do you bend your knees, allowing your spirit to be poor and contrite in the face of a God who loves you so much that He died for you? (See John 3:16.)

Does it bother you or encourage you that God looks upon the poor and contrite of spirit? How would your spirit be described by God? Are you willing to ask God to look upon you and place His hand upon your life?

LIVE IT OUT:

Today, allow the hand of God to keep us in His presence as we open His Word and allow it to transform us. Begin today to learn what it means to walk humbly with God as we learn more about Him in His Word, so that we too can say, “The Bible says,” when those hard questions are posed.

I LOVED that interview. So worth watching. A man who walked humbly with his God and loved people more than platform.


Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer GardenClick here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.


 

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Pinterest

Cove Bible Verse for the Week of March 12th

Be filled with joy and peace this week!

This week’s verse is Romans 15:13

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.


Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer Garden. Click here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

Follow us on social media. click map

Facebook Twitter YouTube Instagram Pinterest

Saturday Snapshot: God is Faithful

The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove is a place that Billy and Ruth Graham founded to train people in God’s Word to win others to Christ. We have remained committed to that vision for more than 30 years, and today we continue to see lives transformed and changed through what God is doing here.

This past week we held one of our Military Marriage Retreats led by Michael Easley. One of our favorite parts of this retreat comes at the end when couples share how their marriage has been impacted and what this time together meant for them.  Here are a few testimonies from couples who were at the retreat:

“We just celebrated our 10 year anniversary on March 1st.   We are here celebrating our anniversary at this retreat. A good part of the 10 years have been a struggle. There have definitely been more downs than ups.  We have really been struggling through those years. But, a few years ago, God placed on my heart that  the ten year mark would be the end of the struggle. This year has been better! But,  as we were walking through the woods, I was talking to my husband and shared with him that I still have doubts and fear that  it is not going to last. Even though God put on my heart years ago that the struggle would end, I kept in fear of not knowing. How could it be a  guarantee that it would last?  How will we keep this feeling? As I just finished sharing this with him, we walked past one of the verses in the garden.  It read  ‘Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.’ (Philippians 4:6-). I knew at that point that God was telling me that I did not have to worry, it will all be ok. I can trust Him.”

“My husband and I have been to four of these Military Marriage Retreats. The first time we were here, our marriage was in crisis. We had been through over a dozen deployments. Never before had we received help for our marriage.  The Vet Center in Ohio told us about The Cove and the Military Marriage Retreats. We submitted our application in July. The seminar was scheduled for September.  When we  submitted our application, I honestly did not know if we would even make it to September.  I prayed everyday for us to get accepted  to this program. When the acceptance came back saying ‘yes, you are in’, I saw that as a huge answer to prayer! I was just hoping we would make it to September. That first seminar literally saved our marriage. Since then, we have been to three more! I just want you all to know the power of this place, what you all do, and that you don’t know what we have been through before you see us walk in the door, you don’t know what we are going through.  I just want to thank you all at The Cove  and want you to know that we have been blessed.”


Military Marriage Retreats include free materials, meals, and lodging for active-duty, Guard, and Reserve military members and their spouses.  If you or someone you know would like to attend one of our Military Marriage Retreats or any of our seminars, click here. 


Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer GardenClick here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

 

A Tribute to Jane Derrick

We have been blessed to have Jane Derrick lead our morning Women’s Bible Study for the past 22 years! We are so grateful for her years of faithfully teaching God’s Word and being a mentor and and encourager for so many women.

Jane is a longtime Bible teacher and Asheville resident. She became a Christian in 1976 while an Army wife, living in Germany. Since her husband’s death in 1994, Jane has spoken at women’s retreats and conferences throughout the U.S. and Romania. She formerly held teaching and other leadership positions with Bible Study Fellowship International for over 10 years. We have definitely been so blessed to have her with us these past 22 years at The Cove.

Yesterday, March 6th, marked Jane’s final Bible Study teaching at The Cove.  Men and women filled The Training Center Auditorium and  the morning began with beautiful worship led by Carole James.

Following worship, Will Graham addressed the group and shared his personal journey these past few weeks since the passing of his grandfather. He thanked everyone for their prayers and then gave an encouraging word reminding everyone that there is no reason to fear death,  because  “death is entering the presence of God.” He shared this with tears and with a thankfulness for the ministry of Billy Graham.

 Will Graham then called Jane Derrick to the stage and thanked her for her years of faithful service in teaching the Word of God and being part of The Cove family. He presented her with a copy of one of his favorite paintings called “The Sower,” explaining that this painting means a lot to him because it gives a true depiction of his grandfather’s faithfulness in sowing the seeds of the Gospel.

Following this sweet tribute by Will Graham, The Cove’s Program Staff also wanted to show her their appreciation. They presented her with beautiful flowers and a wonderful cake that everyone could share after her final teaching.

It was such a beautiful day honoring someone so special to all of The Cove.  We would like to end with Jane’s favorite scripture.  “For all things work together for good for those you love God and are called according to His purpose. “- Romans 8:28

If you would like to send Jane Derrick a thank you note or message, feel free to email Michelle Bachelor at mbachelor@thecove.org.


 

PRAYER NOTE — MARCH 2018

We hope you will enjoy our “Prayer Note”—an internal communication here at The Cove, created each month to remind and encourage our staff to pray. We share these with you at the beginning of each month in hopes that you, too, will be encouraged.

Prayer Note(3)

Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord…that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.  (Revelation 13:14, NKJV)

One week ago yesterday the word came that our beloved founder Billy Graham had passed into the presence of the Lord. The days since have been a mixture of the heaviness of loss and the sweet and certain hope of heaven.

We’ve heard funny stories about Mr. Graham and chuckled. We’ve wept as we heard tender accounts of his kindness, humility and love for the Savior. We filed past his simple pine casket and later lined the Training Center entrance in solemn silence, hearing the bell toll as Mr. Graham’s earthly body exited the building for the final time. We watched in awe as the motorcade passed through miles and miles of North Carolina streets and highways lined with citizens standing quietly to pay their respects to a man they loved, although most had never known him personally. Flags flew. Homemade signs were held high. Respect was shown and love was poured out.

Prayers were lifted. As a staff we’ve prayed for comfort and strength for Franklin, Will and the entire Graham family. We’ve prayed for the memory of Mr. Graham to be honored and for God to be glorified in the events at The Cove, in Charlotte and in the U.S. Capitol. We’ve prayed for the many who have heard or will hear the gospel for the first time as Mr. Graham’s final and most powerful sermon is preached through his death.

Prayer may be the most fitting way to honor the memory of Billy Graham. His ministry was birthed in prayer, and his entire life was bathed in it…

A FAR-REACHING PRAYER

In May of 1934, the prayer of a Charlotte businessman during a day-long men’s prayer meeting held at the edge of the pasture on the Graham’s dairy farm was prophetic, as he petitioned the Lord “that out of Charlotte the Lord would raise up someone to preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth.”

Just 15 years old at the time that petition was voiced, young “Billy Frank” had not yet come to have a personal relationship with Christ. He would later write with regard to that prayer, “At that time, in 1934, it certainly wasn’t obvious that that someone might be me.”

 A PRAYER OF SALVATION

Later that same year, traveling evangelist Mordecai Ham arrived in Charlotte and began an 11-week revival meeting. It was at this tent revival that Billy Graham walked forward, knelt in the sawdust and prayed, confessing his sins and accepting Christ’s gift of salvation. When he rose to his feet “a new creation,” only God knew the incredible journey of faith that lay before him.

In his autobiography, Just As I Am, Mr. Graham described the prayer he prayed in his room at home later that night. “For the first time in my life I got down on my knees without being told to do so. I really wanted to talk to God. “‘Lord, I don’t know what happened to me tonight,’ I prayed. “You know. And I thank You for the privilege I’ve had tonight.’”

 A PRAYER OF SURRENDER

The next pivotal prayer took place in Billy’s college years during a solitary, late-night walk on the greens of a Tampa, Florida, golf course. There Billy knelt in the moonlight and surrendered completely to God’s call on his life.

“I got down on my knees at the edge of one of the greens. Then I prostrated myself on the dewy turf. ‘O God,’ I sobbed, ‘if You want me to serve You, I will.’”

 A PRAYER OF FAITH AND TRUST

In the late summer of 1949, a young Billy Graham knelt before a tree stump at Forest Home retreat center, settling once and for all an intellectual, spiritual and emotional struggle with regard to the truth and validity of God’s Word. In the shadowy moonlight, with an open Bible in front of him, he poured out his heart to God. “Father,” he prayed, “I am going to accept this as Thy Word—by faith! I’m going to allow faith to go beyond my intellectual questions and doubts, and I will believe this to be Your inspired Word.”

Mr. Graham would later write in his autobiography, “When I got up from my knees at Forest Home that August night, my eyes stung with tears. I sensed the presence and power of God as I had not sensed it in months. Not all my questions were answered, but a major bridge had been crossed. In my heart and mind, I knew a spiritual battle in my soul had been fought and won.”

He went on to speak as scheduled at Forest Home and saw 400 individuals make commitments to Christ. Weeks later he would begin his historic 1949 Los Angeles Crusade. Scheduled to last three weeks, the engagement ended up running for eight weeks as the huge tent was packed night after night. This would be the beginning of a worldwide ministry that would take him around the globe and allow him to preach the gospel to in person to more than 200 million people.

THE RESULT OF A LIFE OF PRAYER

And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’”  (2 Corinthians 12:9, NKJV)

At the age of ninety-nine Billy Graham was physically weak and had a desire to “depart and be with Christ” and his beloved Ruth; yet God saw fit to prolong his earthly life until Wednesday, February 21, 2018. While we do not know the reasons why, we are grateful God allowed Mr. Graham to see the beginning of his hundredth year. We can only imagine that perhaps it was for such a time as this.

It’s been said by many that Mr. Graham’s whole life was a sermon. Yet the final sermon he is preaching after his death may bring more individuals to Christ than were seen in his largest crusade. From the earliest Hour of Decision broadcasts, technology has advanced to the point that Billy Graham’s preaching is now available around the clock, around the world. The clear and compelling message of the gospel is being proclaimed to millions, and Christ’s strength is indeed being made perfect in the ultimate and final weakness of this North Carolina farm-boy–turned-preacher.

In an age of selfies and self-absorption, Billy Graham shines as an example of quiet humility and selflessness.

In a time of bitterness and rancor, he remains a kind and gentle voice for humanity.

In an age when many refuse to accept the concept of absolute truth, the voice of this powerful preacher still rings with the firm declaration, “The Bible says.”

In a world wracked with hatred, violence, and hopelessness, Billy Graham’s lifelong message is still being declared:

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him  should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16, NKJV)

As we enter the month of March, we do so in a spirit of gratitude and prayer: grateful for the privilege of serving in this remarkable ministry at “such a time as this” and prayerful that God’s strength will be made perfect in our weakness.

Keep praying and seeking…

—Donna Riesen


We appreciate you joining us in prayer for the following events taking place on The Cove property during the month of March:

Women’s Bible Study — Tuesday Morning, March 6
(Teacher: Jane Derrick; Worship Leader/Emcee: Carole James)
Living the Blessed Life (Matthew 5:1-12)

Michael Easley — March 2-4
(Emcee: Bill Wolfe; Worship Leader: Marty Goetz; Pastor-in-Residence: John Parrish)
Military Marriage Retreat — Living Like Heaven is a Real Place

Crawford Loritts — March 5-7
(Emcee: Glynn Bachelor; Worship Leader: Marty Goetz; Pastor-in-Residence: John Parrish)
Navigating Life’s Challenges   

An Evening at The Cove with The Collingsworth Family – March 14
(Emcee: Michelle Bachelor)

Jennifer Rothschild — March 22-23
(Emcee: Patty Stump; Worship Leader: Michael O’Brien)
Women’s Event — Unshakeable: The Keys to an Unbreakable Faith

 

The blog of the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove