Washington DC: November 7, 2017. (Debbie McDaniel) Happy 99th Birthday to Reverend Billy Graham today! Back in 2013, this world-famous evangelist told a group of people that he might just live to be 100. And it’s looking more like that vision may come true.
As Christian Headlines reported this past week, "Nov. 7 will be a big milestone for my father as he turns 99 and enters his 100th year,” shares Franklin Graham, the son of the edler Graham and the president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. “As a family, we are just so very grateful that he is still with us. His mind is good but he's quieter these days. He can't see or hear well, but his health is stable.
“On his birthday, some family will be with him and we'll give him his favorite cake—a lemon cake with lard icing. He loves those cakes—but it has to have the lard icing.”
Dr. Graham has preached the message of Christ’s freedom and forgiveness around the world, reaching over 200 million people in more than 185 countries. He’s had the privilege of leading hundreds of thousands of people to pray to receive Jesus Christ into their lives as Lord and Savior. He’s authored 33 books. Known as the “pastor to Presidents,” his integrity and wisdom have opened doors to offer spiritual support and guidance for United States presidents from Eisenhower to Bush. He has been a friend to celebrities, politicians, athletes, and leaders, such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Bono, Muhammad Ali, Johnny Cash, Larry King, and WWII hero and Olympian Louis Zamperini.
Billy Graham has been named by Americans as “One of the Ten Most Admired Men in the World,” a record-breaking 60 times with the Gallup poll. He has been known through the years as not only a world-renowned evangelist, but as a kind, non-judgmental, accepting, and humorous soul.
And it’s also been reported that this man who has filled stadiums and preached to millions, doesn’t even want his name mentioned at his funeral. He only wants the focus on Christ alone.
His message across 60 years is timeless, powerful, and still relevant for today, mainly because, it’s God’s truth. The phrase, “the Bible says,” resounds throughout his sermons, and still transcends all barriers of denominational differences, age, nationality, and culture. It has stood the test of time and generations, pointing millions to Christ.
And in his last message in the 2013 video-recorded My Hope America, he shares his heart for our nation today, and this simple, yet powerful prayer, a final reminder, that if we’re willing to come to Christ, he has the power to change our lives and future forever.
In recent days in our world, filled with tragic events, darkness, and uncertainties, it seems wise to focus again on the words of hope found here:
“Our country’s in great need of a spiritual awakening. There have been times that I’ve wept as I’ve gone from city to city and I’ve seen how far people have wandered from God.
I want to tell people about the meaning of the cross. Not the cross that hangs on the wall or around someone’s neck, but the real cross of Christ…With all my heart I want to leave you with the truth, that he loves you, and is willing to forgive you of all your sins.
Sin is a disease of the human heart…There is no other way of salvation except through the cross of Christ.
Today, I’m asking you to put your trust in Christ.
‘Dear Heavenly Father, I know that I’m a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness. I believe you died for my sins, and rose from the dead. I turn from my sin, I repent of my sins, I invite you to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow you as my Lord and Savior.
In Jesus’ Name,
Just as I am.
One of Billy Graham’s most shared quotes seems fitting for our nation today, “I’ve read the last page of the Bible, it’s all going to turn out all right.”
Yes, it will. No matter what uncertainty surrounds.
A truth to remember.
Thank you, Dr. Graham, for your faithful service to Christ, your powerful prayers, and your great love for people and for Jesus. The world is a better place because of you.