What You Need To Know About Easter

Someone passed this on to me. I thought it was too good to keep to myself!

“The test will cover the last seven chapters”.

Those words or something like them still strike anxiety or fear in me.

It did help a bit if we were told “here is what you need to know”.

It would have been even better yet if another brighter classmate could have taken the test for me.

But now I find I need a substitute test taker for the driver’s test or the eye exam.

There is One who has created us, knows us, loves us, and examines us….and does so through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus. He has taken the exam on our behalf and the results are clear, summarized in the bible verse that many of us learned as elementary children, John 3:16.

FOR GOD — The Greatest Deity
SO LOVED — The Greatest Caring
THE WORLD — The Greatest Company
THAT HE GAVE — The Greatest Gift
HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON — The Greatest Perfection
THAT WHOSOEVER — The Greatest Invitation
BELIEVES — The Greatest Simplicity
IN HIM — The Greatest Attraction
SHOULD NOT PERISH — The Greatest Promise
BUT — The Greatest Difference
HAVE — The Greatest Certainty
EVERLASTING LIFE — The Greatest Possession
— Source Unknown

It’s “what you need to know” as we look forward to Easter.

Transformation not Reformation

It was a joy to be able to return to Angola Prison two weeks ago. I saw many men I met years ago when the team for Ruth Graham & Friends went to hold a conference there with the men. It felt like a reunion.

We didn’t have a lot of time there. A group of us were there to witness the seminary program established by The New Orleans Baptist Seminary in connection with The Global Prison Seminaries Foundation. While Burl Cain was warden at Angola he had a vision to put a seminary in the prison for the men to get their degrees and then be used as chaplains either at Angola or other prisons.

That is taking place! So exciting.

When I visited Angola years ago a young man gave me the big belt buckle he won at the rodeo – they have a rodeo twice a year where the men can compete as well as sell their crafts to the public. It is a great event they look forward to. As does the public. It is a huge event.

 I knew his belt buckle was a treasure to him and I was deeply humbled and honored that he gave it to me. I told him I would keep it safely and if he ever wanted it back, he could have it.

A couple of years later I went back to attend the rodeo. What a wild time it was! Since the men are in for life, they have nothing to loose! So they go for broke! Anyway, I took the belt buckle with me and asked to see the young man. When he came up to me after a chapel service, I again told him he could have it back. He sweetly said, no, he wanted me to keep it. Again, I told him I would keep it safe until he wanted it back – if he ever did.

Well, went I went back two weeks ago, I took the buckle with me hoping I would get the opportunity to see him. As we toured the new seminary building on the prison grounds we listened to the impact it was having in the men’s lives. As we left we were told one young man had just finished his doctoral dissertation. They held it up and told us the name of the young man: Alex Hennis. I let out a whoop! That was the young man who gave me the belt buckle!

I was thrilled. And asked if I might meet with him during lunch.

He came. It was a grand reunion. I am so proud of him. He not only got his doctorate but has earned 2 Masters degrees and is working on his third! His seminary professors attended his parole hearing, vouched for him and told the parole board they were going to make him an adjunct professor when he was released! Wow!

That is not reformation but transformation. And we are seeing that in every prison where there is a Seminary/Bible College. I am thrilled. I love it.

That’s how real prison reform takes place – in the heart. Not some government program. Not by throwing money at it. The men – and women – have to have a heart change by the power of the Lord Jesus.

This is real. The Global Prisons Seminary needs to be multiplied to reach every prison. I know they are now trying to get into the Federal prison system. This program has been researched and documented by scholars at Baylor University – it works!

Not reformation but transformation!

Ruth to lead Vespers Service during Staunton, Virginia’s Happy Birthday America Event!

Ruth will be the featured speaker for this annual July 3rd event in Staunton, VA.

Check out this story on newsleader.com: https://www.newsleader.com/story/news/2019/03/19/billy-grahams-daughter-feature-speaker-happy-birthday-america/3209872002/

 

Eyes That Wait

My new book manuscript is in! Praise the Lord! It’s like delivering a baby. Now the doctors (editors) say “Isn’t it nice. But let’s take off this toe and this finger and rearrange this arm.” The editing process is grueling.

However, the Word of the Lord is eternal and true.

Psalm 123:2 talks about us waiting on the Lord like a servant’s eyes are on the master watching how they might serve. But it says a curious thing “our eyes wait upon the Lord our God until he has mercy on us…” (KJV) How do our eyes wait? The Amplified version says, “our eyes look unto the Lord.” That is probably more of the meaning.

The Message puts it this way: “We’re watching and waiting, holding our breath, awaiting your word of mercy.”

While those translations are true and help us understand I began to think about my eyes waiting…

Eyes are a reflection of a soul – a window to the soul. I was recently in the store and I went up to one of my favorite associates. She was her cheerful self but her eyes were sad. I told her she looked sad and she began to cry. Yes. Eyes tell us quite a bit. They can tell when we are tired. Angry. Puzzled.

When we are frantic our eyes can be rather jumpy, not able to focus on any one thing – just going from one thing to the next.

To get our eyes to wait we have to settle. We have to focus. This scripture tells us to have our eyes wait on the Lord. Carefully, watching. Focus on Him!

What’s happening in Richmond?

I live in Virginia. It has always been a lovely, genteel state. Maybe we are a bit arrogant in our thinking of ourselves…UVA is called “The University”, as if there are no others…! My mother used to laughingly say, North Carolina was “A valley of humiliation between two mountains of conceit.” Her parents were both Virginians…going way back. And being able to trace your family “way back” is important to Virginians. They have the “FFVs” – First Families of Virginia!
Like I said, the attitudes can be a bit on the arrogant side.
What has happened to our governor, I can understand. What he did years ago should not play havoc with his life now. Not if he does not hold racist views. And I do not believe he does…he was a product of his time and culture. Right or wrong.
But he is now trying to use all the current buzz words to get himself free of this mess. Like he was born into “white privilege”. That he needed to be more “sensitive”. All that may be true and I believe he will come to terms with it.
For him and the abortion activists, this was a God-send. The media is not talking about his radical position on late-term abortion but on some years ago photo that may or may not have been him.
Why?
In his interview about abortion, he stated the baby could be born, kept comfortable while the parents and the doctors decided whether or not to end its life! That would be murder. He is an advocate of that. He is a pediatric neurologist for crying out loud. If a baby has to be kept comfortable till the doctors and parents make a decision…then they can end its life! That is ludicrous!
We ought to be screaming about the injustice and evil of this.
He doesn’t need to resign over the racist photo but his stand on abortion. Wake up folks!
This is pure evil.

Nashville Christian Family Magazine Article

Check out the article about Ruth in the current edition of Nashville Christian Family Magazine.  Access the publication here:

www.christianfamilynashville.com

How to Praise God

I had an interesting conversation with my 9-year-old grandson yesterday morning. He was asking how I could be sure God was the real God when there were thousands of God’s. He likes to argue.

The last Psalm, 150, which I read this last day of the year is full of praise for our exalted God.

It begins with the exclamation and command: Praise the LORD! When “Lord” is capitalized it is the Almighty God. Yahweh. It makes us have big thoughts about God – too often my God is too small. I need to think worthily of Him.

Then it says to praise Him in His sanctuary – that’s inside. Then to praise Him in His mighty expanse – that’s outside. So praise Him everywhere.

Then praise Him for His mighty deeds – what He has done for you. Praise Him according to His excellent greatness. Not just plain greatness, but excellent greatness. That’s who He is.

Praise Him with trumpets. Trumpets usually herald or announce. Tell of His greatness to all you meet in 2019. Praise Him with harp and lyre – that is usually comforting and soothing. He is our comforter.

Praise Him with dancing – praise Him bodily. I’m not good at that. I was raised a staid Presbyterian so that sort of thing is difficult for me. We never danced! It is not my usual display. That’s something I need to learn.

Praise Him with stringed instruments. The strings of any instrument are under enormous pressure. A typical piano has 10 tons of pressure on its strings. Praise His while you are under stress and pressure. Praise will put it all in perspective.

Praise Him with cymbals. Cymbals are usually for celebration! So praise Him in the joyful moments to the coming year…and repeat it.

“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!”

May God bless you greatly in 2019!

Mistaken Identity

It has come to my attention that a columnist named Ruth Graham has made disparaging comments about President Bush’s dog. That is not me. I do not know this Ruth Graham nor do I personally know President Bush’s dog! I think you all know me well enough to know this is not my style. I have met both 41 and 43 and find them to be very special gentlemen. Their family and mine have a long-standing friendship. Please understand that this is decidedly not my thinking. I regret any confusion.

Persecution

Last year, as you may know, I attended the “Summit in Defense of Persecuted Christians” in Washington, DC. I was so moved by what I heard and saw that I knew I had to do something.
I asked a few local pastors and Christian leaders to meet with me over lunch to talk about what we might be able to do in our area.

We decided on a “prayer gathering” on the “International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted” on November 7th. We had about 500 people gather and we prayed – we talked about the needs of various areas and then we prayed! We didn’t talk about prayer, sing about prayer, preach about prayer – we prayed. It was a thrill for each one there – we felt God’s presence in a powerful way. It was thrilling!

Since then, we have met on a monthly basis to pray for our local pastors as well as to look to this year’s International Day of Prayer which is November 4th. It has been so rewarding to gather early on a Tuesday morning without coffee or “goodies” (until today thanks to my sweet friend, Peggy) and just pray for our churches to be aware, for pastors to be bold preaching God’s Word and especially those who suffer persecution simply because they love Jesus.

What a joy it was to see Andrew Brunson step off that plane in Germany on his way home! It’s what we have been praying for — and then to see him humbly kneel beside the President to pray for him. Tears streamed down my face. But for every Andrew Brunson there are 100s more. He was fortunate to be an American where the government would not forget him – not leave him behind. There are so many whose governments are the very ones oppressing and persecuting. It is dangerous to be a Christian in certain parts of the world.

According the the World Watch List, North Korea is #1 for persecution of Christians. That’s no surprise! (I am hoping that will soon change due to the opening of N. Korea to diplomacy.) Afghanistan is number 2. Somalia is number 3.

Let’s pray for our brothers and sisters who are suffering.

I’m Back! With Pictures!

I’m back!

It was a busy summer and much has happened. Uppermost in my heart and mind is my sister, Anne’s diagnosis of breast cancer. She has a virulent form and they will attack it aggressively. I hate it for her. She has a great attitude and goes into this physically strong – she has taken good care of herself. I know she wants God to be glorified through out the process. (I have a lovely photo of the 2 of us at our Father’s 90 birthday party but I had to scan it to my computer and it won’t go into this blog! AHRRRUGH!)

This summer I have been working with my surgeon to get the correct balance of fluid in my brain. Not an easy process with some difficult side effects – as you can see – a “face plant”! But he is patient and I am wild about him and his staff. They treat me beautifully. Last time I went down to Richmond for the adjustment is was just before the hurricane…lots of rain and wind predicted. I mentioned my concern about driving since I had relatively bald tires, to a sweet friend in church and she volunteered to take me. So dear of her to spend her whole morning hauling me down and back. I am grateful for such special friends.

 

IMG_1953Family spent some time trying to clear out my Father’s home. We had a good time together and when one of us would get teary, the others would cheer them up. So hard to see it “moth-eaten”. Not like my Mother had it at all. Sad. But we all go through the same thing when our parents die.

 

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My children and their families all spent a week together – and me – at our favorite beach. Such chaos! Such fun. A photo of them all except one who was upstairs watching TV and missed the photo call – we got it later. We has our Bible Museum t-shirts on

 

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We had gone up there to see the display honoring my Father. So grateful to the Green family for what they have put in the center of DC. It honors God and the Bible. An amazing collection of artifacts!

 

Museum of the Bible display 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We got together with family – all the cousins enjoyed each other. The grown cousins and the little cousins. Such fun!

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I saw a special friend — I always try to see her on the way back from the beach. Special lady — Jane Bateman and fabulous speaker. I love her

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Then I had occasion to go to Maine for a prayer event for the Persecuted Church and got to see my dear college roommate. We’ve been close for many years.

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Well, that’s probably all you need to know for now! But there is more to tell!