“Revival begins when you draw a circle around yourself and make sure everything in that circle is right with God.” – Anne Graham Lotz
I have been wondering what Billy Graham would do during this time and then I came across this quote by his daughter. She is also a speaker and writer like her father. He was such a powerful proclaimer of truth. I pray more voices like this will arise during our day. He never seemed to have a personal agenda, just to tell people that Heaven and Hell are very real and that the choice is ours to make. It is very black and white really. Relationship with our Creator forever or in bondage to satan forever? Worship and mansion living or a place so terrible that words are hard to type? To not decide is a actually a decision. I am praying many chose Him who died for every sinner ever born, which means the whole world.
I love reading the autobiography of Billy Graham, Just As I Am. It is such a detailed behind the scenes look into his life. It is fascinating to read words that could easily be written today. To make my point, I read that his team would advertise upcoming events. One ad announced the theme, “Christ for the Crisis”. He said that he “…wanted to let people know that the Gospel had a uniquely dynamic relevance to life as they experienced it here and now.” He brought current events right alongside the Gospel and in doing so, made Christ present; which He very much is and not just old fashioned as some would have you believe. For Jesus Christ has not changed and is completely in control today. Yes, Christ is here in our crisis that rages with the Coronavirus.
You know he use to hold meetings in tents? People would flock to these week long, and sometimes longer, revival meetings. Wikipedia says that “Revivals are seen as the restoration of the church itself to a vital and fervent relationship with God after a period of moral decline.” To say we have declined morally is an understatement. We are primed for a revival I would say and many are praying it to be so. And I will have to say that I am one of them. Just today when I saw the field hospitals set up outside of New York, I thought they looked very similar to revival tents. I pray that many miraculous healings take place in those tent hospitals and those around the world. And in the miracle, I pray that the only explanation points hearts to God.
The copy of Just As I Am that I read is the revised version and happened to include the sermon he gave on September 14, 2001. Our country had been attacked and everyone seemed to be looking for hope. I think we would all agree that we are in a similar state now with an unseen enemy. Interesting how an attack can bring people together again with the common need of hope. To those promoting division in our government, I would say this seems completely non-American right now. I would like to ask whose kingdom they are really trying to build? Yes, darkness is being exposed during this time.
I must share with you a passage included in his message from that day. It can be a prayer we unite in. “But we especially come together to confess our need of God. We have always needed God from the very beginning of this nation, but now we need Him especially. We’re facing a new kind of enemy. We’re involved in a new kind of warfare and we need the help of the Spirit of God.” Billy Graham was going to the Lord on our nations behalf, as many are doing now. Only God can truly help us be healed, not only from this virus, but from the turning away from Him in this country.
As his daughter reminded us, for revival to begin, it must start in each of us. I would ask you if you have gotten on your knees and confessed your need to God? He knows our sin and need anyway, so there is nothing hidden with Him. The most amazing news is that He loved you before any of your sins were ever even a thought. He died for you in spite of our rejection of Him. “From the cross, God declares, ‘I love you. I know the heartaches and the sorrows and the pains that you feel. But I love you.’ The story does not end with the cross, for Easter points us beyond the tragedy of the cross to the empty tomb. It tells us that there is hope for eternal life, for Christ has conquered evil and death and hell. Yes, there is hope!” We could use a good dose of hope right now.
Evil is not from God and is actually the complete opposite of His heart. Does He allow things? Yes, but He always works satan’s evil attempts for our good and His glory on His timetable. Just look at all the good that came following 9-11. I read in this book something I had forgotten. Congress actually stood together and sang, “God Bless America”. Can we dream that this might happen now? Rev. Graham also said, “One of the things we desperately need is a spiritual renewal in this county. We need a spiritual revival in America. And God has told us in His Word, time after time, that we need to repent of our sins, and we’re to turn to Him and He will bless us in a new way.”
I can think of no better time than now. Tomorrow we will celebrate Palm Sunday. This is the day that Jesus rode into Jerusalem before the Passover celebration. A crowd heard He was coming and, “They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, ‘Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the king of Israel!” (John 12:13). In my study Bible notes, it says that palm branches were used in celebration of victory. Unbelievable! I wonder if they knew that in just a short weeks time, Jesus would be victorious over sin and death? A victory we get to live in today. And the word hosanna means save and becomes an expression of praise. Jesus’ death saved us and is worthy of our praise. Billy Graham wanted everyone to hear this good news too.
As I read the conclusion of this message given to us after such a horrible event in our nations history, I see more words of hope for us today. He prays for wisdom and courage for our President and for us to feel God’s arms around us. I pray you know these comforting arms. We are never alone and in days of quarantine, this brings such peace. Billy Graham declared that, “this is going to be a day that we will remember as a day of victory.” Palm branches will be waving in homes tomorrow if they can be found to celebrate. May our voices of praise be raised to our victorious King as we watch to see Him be glorified.
Lord, start with each of us. Start in our hearts and do what only you can do. As one of my boys prayed tonight for the families, who sent us Christmas cards that are now out on our dining room table to pray over, “God, fill their hearts with your Holy Spirit.” Amen. Do it a again, Lord! Do it again!
*Picture was from Easter 5 years ago. The kids have grown so much!