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…Well done, good and faithful servant.
Matthew 25:21 ESV

Just a little over 10 days ago on November 7, Christ-followers – and likely heaven itself – celebrated what would have been the centennial birthday of the Rev. Billy Graham. At the time, His Own Heart was scurrying to wrap up its series, The Difference Maker. We therefore chose to save this particular post for this particular week because it seemed to fit perfectly into this particular slot.

If you joined us for The Difference Maker Parts 1, or 3, for example, you’ll likely recognize that Graham typifies the very pattern for making a difference as described within those three posts. Additionally, with the United States tradition of Thanksgiving being celebrated this Thursday, we think this is an opportune time to pay homage to the man deemed America’s Pastor over the course of his 99+ years on this earth.

There are so many stories, so many compliments, so many biographical facts we could list here in this post as pertain to this man who touched lives close to him geographically as well as globally. I’ll gladly take a place line to thank him for those contributions at some point in heaven.

In the here and now, though, I find that the best way by far to celebrate Graham is to – well – let him speak for himself; then to take serious heed of his wisdom, his wit, his simple way of getting to the heart of the matter of living a life that makes a difference for the Difference Maker.

On that note, His Own Heart would like to share with you a brief list of Graham’s words – the ones that have especially encouraged our meager efforts to follow Jesus Christ not out of duty, but out of pure love for the Savior:

  • Ruth and I don’t have a perfect marriage, but we have a great one. How can I say two things that seem so contradictory? In a perfect marriage, everything is always the finest and best imaginable; like a Greek statue, the proportions are exact and the finish is unblemished. Who knows any human beings like that? For a married couple to expect perfection in each other is unrealistic. We learned that even before we were married. 
  • Hot heads and cold hearts never solved anything. 
  • Dogs are quick to show their affection. They never pout, they never bear a grudge. They never run away from home when mistreated. They never complain about their food. They never gripe about the way the house is kept. They are chivalrous and courageous, ready to protect their mistress at the risk of their lives. They love children, and no matter how noisy and boisterous they are, the dog loves every minute of it. In fact, a dog is stiff competition for a husband. Perhaps if we husbands imitated a few of our dog’s virtues, life with our family might be more amiable.

  • God has given us two hands, one to receive with and the other to give with. 
  • The greatest form of praise is the sound of consecrated feet seeking out the lost and helpless. 
  • We are not cisterns made for hoarding [the gospel], we are channels made for sharing. 
  • Truth is timeless. Truth does not differ from one age to another, from one people to another, from one geographical location to another…the great all-prevailing truth stands for time and eternity. 
  • The secret strength of a nation is found in the faith that abides in the hearts and homes of the country. 
  • Love your children — and let them know you love them. Children who experience love find it far easier to believe God loves them. 
  • Most of us, when we are young, think that we are never going to get old. I certainly admit feeling that way from time to time. … I know my time on earth will not be over until he calls me home. I admit I don’t like the burdens of old age—the slow decline in energy, the physical annoyances, the pain of losing loved ones, the sadness of seeing friends decline. But old age can be a special time of life, and God has lessons to teach us through it. 
  • The Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say, ‘O God, forgive me,’ or ‘help me.’ 
  • What does repentance mean? It means to change — to change your mind, change the way that you’re living — and to determine that with God’s help you will live for Christ. 
  • Certainly, one lesson is to remind us of our responsibility to be diligent in our service for God right now. I may not be able to do everything I once did (nor does God expect me to), but I am called to be faithful to what I can do. Another lesson surely is to make us realize in a fuller way that this world is not our final home. If our hope truly is in Christ, we are pilgrims in this world, en route to our eternal home in heaven. 
  • About one thing I have absolutely no regrets, however, and that is my commitment many years ago to accept God’s calling to serve him as an evangelist of the gospel of Christ. 
  • It is not the body’s posture, but the heart’s attitude that counts when we pray. 
  • The most eloquent prayer is the prayer through hands that heal and bless. 
  • Nothing made by the hand of man has ever been so beautiful as starlight on the water or moonlight on the snow. And the same hand that made trees and fields and flowers, the seas and hills, the clouds and sky, has been making a home for us called heaven. 
  • I know that soon my life will be over. I thank God for it, and for all he has given me in this life. But I look forward to heaven. I look forward to the reunion with friends and loved ones who have gone on before. I look forward to heaven’s freedom from sorrow and pain. I also look forward to serving God in ways we can’t begin to imagine, for the Bible makes it clear that heaven is not a place of idleness. 
  • If you want to know what God is like, then take a look at Jesus Christ. 
  • God loves you and wants you to experience peace and life—abundant and eternal. 
  • Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose from the grave. He paid the penalty for our sin and bridged the gap between God and people. 
  • We must trust Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and receive him by personal invitation. 
  • Being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion – it is a daily process whereby you grow more and more to be like Christ. 
  • There is nothing wrong with men possessing riches. The wrong comes when riches possess men. 
  • Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened. 
  • Mountaintops are for views and inspiration, but fruit is grown in the valleys. 
  • Comfort and prosperity have never enriched the world as much as adversity has. 
  • Churchgoers are like coals in a fire. When they cling together, they keep the flame aglow; when they separate, they die out. 
  • Don’t ever hesitate to take to [God] whatever is on your heart. He already knows it anyway, but he doesn’t want you to bear its pain or celebrate its joy alone. 
  • Many people are willing to have Jesus as part of their lives – as long as it doesn’t cost them anything. They may even profess faith in Jesus and join a church. But Jesus to them is almost like an insurance policy – something they obtain and then forget about until they die. What keeps you from being his disciple? 
  • The very practice of reading [the Bible] will have a purifying effect upon your mind and heart. Let nothing take the place of this daily exercise. 
  • God created us in his own image to have an abundant life. He did not make us as robots to automatically love and obey him. God gave us a will and a freedom of choice. We chose to disobey God and go our own willful way. We still make this choice today. This results in separation from God. 
  • Sin is the second most powerful force in the universe, for it sent Jesus to the cross. Only one force is greater – the love of God. 
  • Salvation is an act of God. It is initiated by God, wrought by God, and sustained by God. 
  • I’ve read the last page of the Bible. It’s all going to turn out all right.

(A great resource for more of the wisdom of America’s Pastor is The Quotable Billy Graham, compiled/edited by Cort R. Flint for Droke House Publishers, Inc., Anderson, South Carolina.)

– Copyright 2018 Carole Anne Hallyburton. All rights reserved.