Eight take-away’s from Billy Graham’s Funeral

On March 2nd, 2018, I watched the memorial service of Evangelist, Billy Graham and I found myself rejoicing but also shedding some tears as I was touched by a number of the moments shared during the service.  What a lovely service it was!

As a child, who grew up with a vibrant preacher Daddy, zealous about the Lord and his Word, I connected with Billy Graham’s Ministry.  I particularly liked the format of his Crusades and the simplicity of his messages.   He never compromised on the Gospel message, keeping it pure and real; he preached about heaven and he preached about hell.  And yet, he did not make the sinner feel condemned or worthless.   His preaching drew men to Christ.

As I sat and watched the live streaming of the Memorial Service, made possible by NBC News (Thank you NBC for such great coverage), I had to pause the video to grab a pen and piece of paper, so I could take notes; I just needed to capture some moments.  I knew instantly, that I had to write an article about my favourite points of the service, my take-aways. This is what this article is about;

“Eight take-aways” from Evangelist Billy Graham’s Funeral

Take-away number one

The first special item was a hymn sung by four women, the lead singer’s voice was sweet and melodious to my ear, capturing my heart and the song chosen, in my view, was perfect.  The song is known as “Until Then” Here are the words:

My heart can sing when I pause to remember
A heartache here is but a stepping stone
Along a trail that’s winding always upward,
This troubled world is not my final home.

But until then my heart will go on singing,
Until then with joy I’ll carry on,
Until the day my eyes behold the city,
Until the day God calls me home.

The things of earth will dim and lose their value
If we recall they’re borrowed for a while;
And things of earth that cause the heart to tremble,
Remembered there will only bring a smile.

But until then my heart will go on singing,
Until then with joy I’ll carry on,
Until the day my eyes behold the city,
Until the day God calls me home.

This hymn has another verse, but I chose to share just the two verses sung on that day.  I later found out that the lead singer was Linda McCrary-Fisher, she must’ve sang for the Billy Graham Crusades.  I enjoyed her very much.

As believers, we are travelling upward, and our troubles are just a stepping stone and as we travel and encounter difficulties, we should keep singing allowing the joy of the Lord to be our Strength.  Soon our eyes will behold the beautiful city, Heaven!  That’s where our beloved Billy Graham is now!

That song was beautifully done, melting my heart.

Take-away number two  Poem read by Gigi Graham (Billy Graham’s first daughter).

(It was written by their Mom (Billy Graham’s wife) when she was about 13 years old).  It is my honour to share this poem on this platform….wow!!

Dear God, I prayed, all unafraid, as we are inclined to do.

I do not need a handsome man, but oh God let him be like you.

I do not need one big and strong, or yet, so very tall,

nor need he be a genius, or wealthy Lord, at all.

But let his head be high, Dear God, and let his eye be clear,

His shoulders straight whate’er his state, whate’er his earthly sphere.

And oh God, let his face have character and a ruggedness of soul and

let his whole life show Dear God, a singleness of goal.

And when he comes as he will come, with those quiet eyes a-glow,

 I’ll understand that He is the man, I prayed for long ago.

This poem touched me deeply because it was a little girl’s prayer, that was completely answered.  This Poem describes Billy Graham perfectly. This is truly amazing!

Take away number three Anne’s (daughter) sharing on the significance of the date on which her daddy died, February 21st, 2018:  Her words…..

 “…I found out that February 21st, 2018 is the day when Jews focused on scripture reading that focuses on the death of Moses.  Moses was the great liberator, he brought people, millions of people out of bondage to slavery, got them to the edge of the promise land, and God took him to heaven, and then God brought Joshua to lead them into the promise land, to take them home.  And my father also, was a great Liberator, he brought millions of people out of bondage to sin and he gets us to the edge of heaven, the edge of the promise land and then God has called him home.  And then, could It be, that God is going to bring Joshua to lead us into the Promise Land, to lead us to heaven? And do you know what the New Testament name is for Joshua? It is Jesus!……………and I believe God is saying, wake up church, wake up world, wake up Anne, Jesus is coming! Jesus is coming!”

I was amazed because, God is very strategic, he does nothing by chance, “Could it be?”

Take-away number four – The passage read by Anne

1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18; it says;

“13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent them which are asleep.

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so, shall we ever be with the Lord.

18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”

I listened to this passage, soaking it all in; I was more than comforted!

Take-away number five – Ruth’s (daughter) Testimony – “My Father was not God, but he showed me what God was like that day”

Ruth spoke about getting divorced and then running of and marrying again against the will of her parents and her children.  She described herself as willful, sinful and stubborn. The moment for me was when she shared about deciding to return home to her parents, after making a mess of her life, and being worried about what they would say; she felt she was a failure.  Ruth went home nevertheless and was greeted by her dad, who was waiting for her in the driveway.  As she came out of the car, he placed his arms around her and said, “Welcome Home”.  In her own words; “There was no shame, there was no blame, there was no condemnation, just unconditional love”.  Ruth saw God that day in her Father and she was never the same.

This may just be my favourite take-away of all.

Take away number six – Shared by Ned Graham (Son) – F.A.T.

“My Father was F.A.T.”  I thought to myself, ouch, that sounds raw.  But then he explained the acronym F.A.T., he described his father as; Faithful, Available and Teachable!  As listeners we were all encouraged to be F.A.T.

Take away number seven –  Franklyn Graham (Son) His best memory of his father

“I cannot remember my Father without remembering my Mother.” His words.

He admired how his parents loved each other.  He spoke about his Mother’s death, almost 11 years ago, and described it as “a big hole in his (Father’s) heart”.   He reminisced on the last few days of his mother’s life, how his father would come into the room and sit beside her, and they would stare at each other for hours.

“He loved her, and she loved him”

“My mother was a part of my Father’s life at every turn.”

Take away number eight – The Bible, the infallible word of God.

Franklyn shared how his Father believed in carrying his bible to the pulpit and would always preach clearly stating what “the bible says”. What really stood out to me was the simple gospel message presented by Franklyn, Billy Graham style.

“The best news ever declared is that God so loved the World that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosever believeth in him should not perish but should have everlasting life”.

“A man Christ Jesus came to seek and save that which was lost.”  “Jesus said, I am the way the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father but by me.”

Check out the link, you got to hear the simple profound message shared on that day.

There is so much more that touched my heart, but I would leave it here.

I will treasure the memories forever!

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