Tag Archives: Ruth Bell Graham

Practical Insight for 2015 from Anne Graham Lotz, Inspired by her Dear Mother Ruth…

Reverend Billy Graham, his wife Ruth, and their entire family have fascinated me for years. As a little girl, I can remember my parents tuning in to watch Billy Graham at one of his many Crusades. (We had one, and only one black and white television in those days, just to date myself.)

When the Crusades were on, I got to stay up late. I’d like to report I became a changed child on the spot, but sadly, my all-about-me ways stayed put for more than a few more years. Good news is many a seed was planted in my heart.

MustardSeed

Who knew years later I’d have the chance to connect with Anne Graham Lotz? As is customary with her family, she did something beyond generous for our Book Club.

Trying to keep up with technology, our Book Club began Skyping with our authors. This was a huge treat to “meet them” and hear from them on the spot.

I approached Anne’s Assistant and asked if Anne might consider Skyping with us. She knew of our church, Southeast Christian Church (www.southeastchristian.org ), and after a time of prayer and consideration, we gleefully received the green light.

Our selection that month was one of my favorite books by Anne, The Magnificent Obsession: Embracing the God-Filled Life. It’s a must-read. (There’s a companion Bible study with it that’s also outstanding.)

MagnificentObsession

As our time approached for the Skype, I received a frantic email from Anne’s Assistant. Anne’s husband, Danny, because of his frail health, required a procedure on his heart. Docs were able to do it the very day of our meeting, preventing Anne from joining us. Disappointed, yes, but we totally understood.

Only a few days later, I received a mind-blowing email from Anne’s Assistant:

“Because Anne feels so badly for cancelling the Skype, she has made a short video, addressed to your attendees, you’ll be able to show the night of your meeting.” Goodness, how kind and thoughtful of her! I’ll never forget it. We were all so blessed to hear from her on such a personal level. She wrote me a handwritten letter after our meeting.

Recently I received the January issue of Decision magazine. (It’s a publication by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. www.bgea.org )

Decision-Jan15-Cover-175x229

Anne’s article, challenging as always, is timely for us with 2015 already in progress. I love Anne’s honesty…see if you can relate:

As I reflect on 2014, blessings come to mind. So do burdens.

Prayers that were answered, and other prayers that remain unanswered.

Friends who stood by me, and others who avoided me.

Days when I had health and energy, and other days when I was so tired I felt I couldn’t hold my head up one more moment.

Times to relax, and times of enormous stress.

Hope that filled my heart, and disappointments that crushed my spirit….”

With that, Anne gives us a glimpse into her days with her Mother, Ruth, knowing she, too, “must have had days and weeks and months and years” like Anne’s.

RuthGrahamPhoto

Ruth had a small gold-framed saying she kept over her kitchen sink, of which she gave Anne a duplicate. It reads:

“Praise, Pray and Peg Away.”

Anne says it’s become her motto for 2015. Her version looks like this:

Praise Him for His Position, Power and Purity.

(Just a few of the relevant Scriptures she suggests are: Isaiah 6:1-4, John 12:41, Philippians 2:5-11, Ephesians 1:20-23, Matthew 28:18, Acts 10:36, John 14:13-14, Romans 10:9-10)

Pray.

(Philippians 4:6-7, Acts 1:6-9,14, John 14:1-3, 1 Peter 4:7, Mark 13:32-33, James 5:16-18)

Persevere.

(Hebrews 10:23-25, Romans 8:23-25, James 1:3-4, 1 Peter 1:6-7, Romans 5:1-5 and Hebrews 10:35-39)

She concludes her article with a challenge:

“As we face another year,

     would you join me

          in claiming and clinging to His promises

                with praise, prayer and perseverance

                     until our faith becomes sight?”

I pray Anne’s and her Mother’s very practical insight blesses you and encourages you to “Praise, Pray and Peg Away”.

For me, and I suspect you, to “peg away”, or persevere, is key.

Of all the verses Anne suggests, James 1:3-4 in the Message really resonates. Eugene Peterson dubs it:

Faith Under Pressure”:

Butterfly

 

Ever the humorist, I’d like to show you Ruth Graham’s tombstone. You can see it at the unforgettable and most moving Billy Graham Library. (www.billygrahamlibrary.org )

“End of Construction—Thank you for your patience”

Gravestone_of_Ruth_Bell_Graham_IMG_4206

Let’s agree with Ruth and Anne to PRAISE, PRAY AND PEG AWAY…. praying for perseverance throughout 2015.

‘Til next time!

 

 

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A Croissant a Day…(Managing your Margin: Part 2 of 4)

Could it be possible for Satan to masquerade as a young, handsome maitre d’ on board our ship in France? And could he possibly sachet thru’ the dining room, every single morning, with a tremendous tray, tongs in hand, serving fresh, melt-in-your-mouth-nearly-foot-long croissants to each and every passenger because none of us could say, “no”?????

Actually, my stealth-like-resister-of-temptation-husband was able to turn this guy down. Yours truly? Not a chance.

Breakfast with croissants and coffee

Fresh butter and cheese and an assortment of lovely preserves enhanced the croissant. Slice of Heaven… All of this was a mere preamble to the breakfast we were about to order. So to answer my earlier question about the possibility of Satan masquerading as our maitre d’, oh, yes, I’m sure of it.

I could go further out on a limb and claim the croissant brought me margin (!!!), but that’d be a bit of a stretch. As in needing to wear stretch pants after a week of a croissant a day. And look at what was waiting for us in our workout room once we got to Paris:

apple a day

Alrighty then…

Last week we began by defining what margin is (Purposefully keeping space between your load and your limit. For more descriptions and suggestions, click on Part 1 of 2…)

This week we’ll discuss one of many concepts of margin. It comes from a well-known Scripture, Psalm 46:10a which says, “Be still, and know that I’m God…”

The NASB says, “Cease striving…”

The NLV says, “Be quiet.”

The VOICE says, “Be still, be calm, see, and understand I am the True God.

Author Rob Morgan, in his book The Lord Is My Shepherd: Resting in the Peace and Power of Psalm 23 points out that finding time to study and savor Scripture is “a challenge in an age of noise, earbuds, radios, iPods, television, and loudspeakers. But all my electronics (including my mobile phone) HAVE AN ‘OFF’ BUTTON.” Hello???

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Rob says, “We’ve got to steal away for stillness.” He recommends we “carve out a little zone of quiet each day for devotion and meditation.” Think about how you can do this today.

Ruth Bell Graham said, “The definition of traveling light may vary from one individual to another. But most of us need to trim off some excess weight.” (She’s not talking about excess weight on our bodies—as in pounds, plural, from consuming a croissant a day…She’s talking about in our calendars.)

She continues, “We have too many social involvements, an overabundance of good but unnecessary meetings…Remember this: ‘Beware of the barrenness of a busy life.’”

protection against stress

Let’s return to Mark Buchanan’s book, The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath. Mark admits his number one regret is being in a hurry. Anyone besides me relate to this???

He says, “I cannot think of a single advantage I’ve ever gained from being in a hurry…Thru’ all that haste, I thought I was making up time. Turns out I was throwing it away.”

The Rest of God

Now get a load of this: “The Chinese join two characters to form a single pictograph for busyness: heart and killing. That is stunningly incisive. The heart is the place the busy life exacts its steepest toll.” To further convince us of this, Mark adds, “This is true literally, physically, and cardiologically.”

Doctor Holding A Red Heart

He said his own father died of heart failure as did his father’s brother.  They literally worked themselves to death. Completely consumed and obsessed, they raced to a dreadful finish line. Scary.

Equally eye-opening is the Swahili word for “white man”–mazungu. It means “one who spins around”, as in spinning out of control. Mark says, “We’re flurries of going nowhere.” Ouch. “It’s Sabbath time,” Mark adds, “which invites us to stop turning around and around.”

The busy life is the antithesis to how God wants us to live. Ann Voskamp said, “Hurry always empties a soul.” Thus if we’re empty, we are rendered unable to glorify God. The light of Christ within us quickly becomes snuffed out. Scarier.

How then, must we live

To be still?

To manage our margin?

To restore our souls so that we restore the Sabbath?

This week, I pray you’ll consider ways to manage your margin every day. As I said last week, managing our margin translates into a huge benefit for our health and well-being.

I’ll leave you with a couple moments of margin while in France. Why don’t you leave a comment with some of your own ideas of favorite margin moments? We could all use some help!

John taking a moment of margin
This would be John’s idea of margin: relaxing on the balcony of our ship, taking in the beautiful scenery. (Yes, I did micro-manage just a tad and suggest he be careful to not kick his shoes off in the river!!! Fairly sure that little remark blew a moment or two of his margin…)

front of chocolate store
One of my ideas of margin occurred while drooling over some chocolate in a chocolate store.

moment of margin in cafe for coffee
This selfie (!!!) was taken one morning after a walking tour in Paris. It was a bit chilly and we wanted a hot cup of coffee. Café Americain, bien sur. Just what the doctor ordered for a moment of margin.

keep calm take a bible
Couldn’t resist this sign. Good advice….(And for you Frenchies, take the advice about your dog.)

Let’s return once more to Psalm 46:10 – “Be still and know that I am God.” May we find moments of margin to be still and not hurry thru’ what life we have left on this earth.

Next week we’ll look at some thought-provoking questions from Mark’s book. Heads’ up: they have the potential to stop you in your tracks…but for good reason. We’ll also have more moments of margin from France.

‘Til next time!

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Filed under Book Reviews, Family, Margin, Travel