Rev Billy Graham, died 21 Feb 2018 aged 99 years.

Our home life changed forever in 1955 when I was a boy in Primary School. My mum went to Kelvin Hall in Glasgow to hear Billy Graham along with some ladies in the church who had the foresight to make the invitation. She had never heard him speak before, but when the ‘invitation’ was made to ‘get up out of your seat, and come to the front to accept Jesus as Saviour’ that’s exactly what she did. Mum was saved, converted, changed from the inside out and was never the same again. Dad had already been saved under the preaching ministry of the great Irish evangelist J P Nicholson. What a change in our house. It was now a Christian home, and as I look back, I see myself as being blessed to have had a Godly upbringing. I wonder what my life would have been like if Dad and Mum hadn’t got saved?


We don’t talk much about experiences like ‘being saved’, ‘repenting’, ‘getting converted’, or taking a public stand by walking to the altar at the front of the church to show you mean business with God. Somehow we have accepted the lie that these are old fashioned things and unnecessary. To a degree that’s true, after all these actions don’t save us, but they are a clear and unmistakable sign that we acknowledge our sin needs to be dealt with and we are doing something about it. It isn’t a secret after all, is it?


I fear that our churches and leaders are stepping back from these old fashioned ideas, in the hope and belief that people will make their own decisions in their own time, and at their own private place. Maybe so, but can we afford to drop the clear preaching of the convicting  Word of God to salvation? Billy Graham was called by God and of that there can be no doubt. He took the Gospel Message round the world to princes and presidents, and in some folks’ eyes he was a celebrity, but he remained humble even after being God’s man in the pulpit who brought millions under the sound of the gospel and into the Kingdom. When his son, Franklin, asked what he wanted inscribed on his gravestone, after a moments thought he replied ‘just put Preacher’. What a testimony, and there are many households that were changed just like mine, when a mum and dad took the long walk to the front of the church or stadium, to accept Jesus as their Saviour. How simple, but how profound, even after 60 years.


In the eternal interests of our children and grandchildren, can we afford to keep using the lesser methods of psychology, pulpit conversations, the inoffensive homily, and epilogue, or should we return to the unapologetic preaching of the Word of God in convicting power to salvation that changes lives?


How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?

Romans 10:14 NKJV


Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favourable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching. 2 Timothy 4:2 NLT



The definition of ‘dilemma’: a situation in which a difficult choice has to be made between two or more alternatives, especially ones that are equally undesirable.”


Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” But the people said nothing. 1 Kings 18:21 NIV


The thing that jumps out of the page at me is the fact that the people said nothing. Can you believe it? They didn’t make a decision either way, and in today’s language they sat on the fence. I may be taking this verse out of some context, but allow me some slack here.


The easiest thing to do when faced with a difficult choice is nothing. That is especially true when either choice is not a good one, or pleasant. Why not bury our face in our hands, close our eyes, and hope it goes away? But it doesn’t, and in fact it never does. Note that Elijah says, “how long”, telling us that ultimately a choice is necessary.


How I recognise this truth. Stuck between two thoughts, beliefs, or opinions and staying quiet, in the forlorn hope that the situation wasn’t there. But it is, and eventually I need to make a decision. No matter which way I choose, there will be disappointment and possibly hurt feelings, if not mine then someone else’s.


I have argued with myself for too long. How I wish I had someone to talk to. It’s time to decide and live with the consequences. I know understanding will be in short supply, and criticism will follow, even from friends. But what is more important? Saying nothing and continue to stew, or take a stand for conscience and getting rid of this burden?


As a Christian community of believers, we all agree that prayer is important, and in fact, essential for growth. I can see this importance in two ways.


Firstly, it is our duty and responsibility to pray and intercede for everyone and anyone who asks for prayer, and even for those who do not know we are taking their name before the throne of God. These petitions can range from health, finance, salvation, Christian growth, to fruit of the Spirit and others. We don’t always know the impact our prayers have on others, and there are times we can doubt their worth, especially when we don’t see results. We are even prone to ask, “what good is it doing”?


But look at it from the other side. The side of the person who doesn’t go to church often, and may not know how to pray, but who equally knows that they want and need the prayer support of those who do! They know they need prayer, and they believe it works, and there is no reason for them to think otherwise. What do they have to lose? So I ask you, who knows the importance of prayer better, the pray-er or the person on the receiving end of your petitions?


When we see prayer from these two sides, we have no reason to think or believe our stumbling prayers are not important. They are supremely important, and in the hearts of those who know full well that they need them, these prayers are essential. Prayer makes a difference to circumstances, but perhaps more importantly, prayer changes us! The moral? Keep on praying, even if you don’t see any results! After all, the Bible says:


The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16 NIV

Night Time

Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning. Psalm 30:5


How long does your night last? In some cases it can endure for a very long time. In one sense this Psalm refers to a painful single physical night time, followed by the dawning of a new day which rises and brings relief, and even happiness. I can see another interpretation. Your night of weeping may have lasted a long time, with no sign of relief. You have prayed earnestly and with tears for a loved one, but it is still night in your heart, and theirs too.


I can hear the heartache of a weary one saying, when will it be morning? When will the sun rise and bring me relief and this promised joy? My night time has gone on for too long God. Please make it stop! This period of darkness may be due to your, or another person’s, health either physical or spiritual. It may be the uncertainty of making ends meet and as basic as putting food on the table for family. It may be the death of a very dearly loved parent, spouse or sibling and the light may have gone completely. When will I feel the warmth of the dawn?


Two things are certain in this verse. The night time and the morning dawn. We are assured that as certain as there is a long night time of weeping pain, there will be a morning sunrise of joy! David knew this more than most, but he was still able to see through the bleak darkness to the certainty of the coming joy. However long your and my night time lasts, let us hold fast to the assurance of the coming sunrise. It’s not a matter of ‘if’, but a matter of ‘when’!

Who Cares?

If God makes what grows in the field so beautiful, what do you think he will do for you? That’s just grass—one day it’s alive, and the next day someone throws it into a fire. But God cares enough to make it beautiful. Surely he will do much more for you. Your faith is so small! Luke 12:28


Who do you trust with your deepest feelings but the one you trust the most? After all, why should you unburden your innermost thoughts and fears to someone who couldn’t care less what you are going through?


Praying is what we do, but the pray-er is the person who cares enough about you to remember to bring your hurts and problems to the Father in the act of intercession. If the pray-er doesn’t care, s/he will not remember to pray. They may have other things on their mind, and it may not be you.


I think the ultimate compliment we can be paid as a Christian, is when a friend asks you to pray for them, and their life. They will only do that if they trust you fully, and know in their heart that you will pray. Be thankful if or when you are asked to pray on behalf of another struggling soul. They have just placed their deepest trust in another struggling soul, but one whose integrity they respect. Let’s not take that trust lightly.


I have no one else like Timothy, who genuinely cares for you. Philippians 2:20


Give all your worries to Him, because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7