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Today, with sadness and much joy, we learned that the world’s beloved evangelist, Billy Graham, has gone home to heaven to receive his eternal reward. The greatest of which for him will be to be reunited with his beloved Ruth! Millions of people all over the world have been touched by his powerful ministry and will join him in heaven’s mansions one day. Truly he plundered hell and populated heaven with a message that was simple, true, biblically sound and life changing. In one sense he was just a preacher of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ. He told the message of the cross in words that the every day man and woman in the street could easily understand and so we shall ever remember those remarkable scenes of thousands of people streaming out to the center of a football field, rugby stadium or athletics field to repent of their sins and make Jesus lord of their lives. George Beverly Shea, accompanied by a huge choir sang, “Just as I am” and those responding had tears of repentance falling from their eyes and running down their cheeks. The power of the Gospel was evident everywhere and lives were forever transformed. Billy Graham was truly a gift to the world!
I first heard him preach in 1973 when he did so in a rugby stadium in Durban South Africa. He took John 3:16 as his text and believe me the whole country came to a standstill that day as they turned on their radios to hear the man of God. Thousands responded all over the nation and were truly redeemed from the ravages of sin and filled with the joy of salvation. Billy Graham touched the nation as he did many nations all over the world. We have lost a great man of God today!
America has not only lost a wonderful man of God but a prophet and pastor. He was in every way the nation’s Pastor even speaking into the lives of successive Presidents. Indeed up until the very end he was concerned with the welfare of the nation and wept over its sin. Truly Billy Graham was the “Gatekeeper of the Nation” and his loss will be felt everywhere. We feel a bit like Isaiah for, in the year that the godly king Uzziah died, he went before the Lord in anguish and despair essentially wondering what would happen now? How would the nation survive without a godly king? God’s answer was swift and sure and it was embodied in a question, “Who will go for us and who can we send?” Isaiah then realized that the time for him to step up had come and so he responded to God’s question by saying, “Here am I send me!”
Billy Graham’s life inspires us all to stand up and be counted. We must pick up his mantle and preach the Gospel of Jesus everywhere. It’s time for us to say, “Here am I, send me.” This is Isaiah’s message and exhortation and we will best honor Billy Graham’s life by likewise serving His Lord and Savior. Truly we thank God for the gift of Billy Graham’s life and we thank God that his ministry will continue among us by reason of his many books and stirring crusade videos!