When Giants Fall – Ravi Zacharias

It is with great grief we hear of Ravi Zacharias’ sins. Another giant has fallen. As we grieve our many-leveled loss, let us come to grips with the fact that our sins are just as grievous to a Holy God.

The truth Ravi taught is still the truth. We can be thankful that we have his wisdom in his writings and videos.

And let us please pray for his family. I cannot imagine the pain and questions. And let us pray for the Church, that we respond in a healthy way.

By the way, the article in the New York Times written by Ruth Graham was NOT me. There is another writer with my name who does not share my world view.

I posted this blog a while ago, but it bears repeating:

My house is surrounded by huge oak trees. I am not good at estimating sizes but most of them are about 6 to 8 feet in diameter and rise to a lofty height of 100+ feet. These are magnificent giants. I enjoy their shade and watching the squirrels romp along their long, sturdy branches. They are messy trees in the fall as they drop millions of acorns not to mention leaves. In the spring their stringy pollen clogs gutters, drain pipes and it is tracked into the house where I try to keep a futile effort to keep it out. In the summer the squirrels begin to build their drays and drop leaves and branches. Each morning I arise to find a new crop in my yard. And it’s sort of fun to see how they travel from one yard to the next making a mess on different lawns – “The case of the traveling squirrels”. They have a whole neighborhood going in on my street! Anyone who lives under oak trees can identify.

This summer we had a violent thunderstorm one night and lightening struck hard. I knew it had hit close but didn’t think much about it. The next morning I was up early to fix my coffee and noticed one of my trees had split bark. I looked twice thinking, “I don’t think that tree looked that way yesterday.” When I went into my yard a little bit later to weed my flower beds there was shredded bark everywhere. Even on my roof! Still, sort of clueless, I picked up the large chunks of bark to throw out. As I got closer to the tree I could see that the bark had been skinned away – not off – just away from the trunk. It was a huge gash that went all the way down the tree. Then it began to dawn on me that the tree had been hit by a powerful bolt of lightening.

But I was hopeful. Since it hadn’t been girdled I thought perhaps it would survive. I hate to see big trees being cut down or dying. The tree expert came out and informed me that when lightening strikes a tree the sap boils and causes the bark to explode outward. Sadly, he said that a tree that size rarely survives. It wasn’t long before I noticed that the topmost leaves were withering, turning brown and falling. It would have to be cut down – and that will be quite a project!

It will leave a huge gap in my skyline. The shade it provided for my yard will vanish. The breeze in its’ branches will cease. The playground for the squirrels will go. It makes me sad and I wish somehow I could save it.

In all of this I have thought a lot about giants falling.

In the past few years we have seen giants fall very publicly and in very ugly ways. Politicians. Preachers. Actors. People we respected. It is painful. It makes us cynical. Too often we feed on the titillating details. We buy the gossip magazines. We think, “If they did that, then maybe I am not so bad after all”. In a perverse way we feel better about ourselves. How many of us stop to pray for them, their families and those affected by their fall?

I would hope that at some point we would examine our own lives. I would not like to have my deepest failings and sins paraded out on the evening news. Where are we, where am I, vulnerable to lightening strikes? In ethics? Morality? Finances? Addictions? Anger? Our leaders stood tall because we put them in that place. We like to put people on pedestals. We look up to them. Yet fail to recognize that they are just humans – like you and me. We stood in the shadow of their leadership. True and righteous leadership is found in God alone. We felt stronger because they appeared strong. Our strength comes from God alone. We listened to their wisdom forgetting that true wisdom is embodied in the Person of Jesus Christ.

Sadly we have hewn out cisterns that leak. Don’t hold water. (Jeremiah 2:13) And we are surprised when they fail. They, we, all need grace and forgiveness. The good news is that God is a God of grace and forgiveness. He redeems and wastes nothing – even our faults and failures.

This giant tree fell. But it doesn’t mark destruction alone. It marks a new beginning. Knowing God does not waste anything I began to think about the positive side. The shade may go but a new vista shows as mountains become visible. More sunlight will shine on my yard which will be good for my flower beds. The breeze in the tree tops may cease but the lumber will be used to build new homes. The play ground for the squirrels will go but the squirrels will find another tree to build their drays. God has already provided for them. And just think there will be fewer leaves to rake this fall!

It will be fun to discover what grows. There will be more sky and space. I’ll have more sunshine in my back yard. And I love sunshine!

So it is when giants fall. It is a time for a new beginning as God gets rid of the dead wood in lives. Sometimes His pruning is hard – lightening strikes – we feel stripped, exposed, angry, hurt, humiliated, ashamed but His purposes are always for our good. New areas for service and growth show themselves. God’s light will shine in ways not possible before because the giant blocked the light. Look at the change in Charles Colson after he fell.

When giants fall it is a time for forgiveness, grace, humility and self-examination.  The scriptures say in Galatians 6:1-2, “…even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens and thereby fulfill the law of Christ”.  And again in II Corinthians 2:5, “But if any has caused sorrow…sufficient for such a one is this punishment which was inflicted by the majority, so that on the contrary you should rather forgive and comfort him, otherwise such a one might be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. Wherefore I urge you to reaffirm your love for him.”

Chariots and Christmas Peace

What does a chariot have to do with Christmas? Chariots are not part of the Christmas story. They usually have to do with transportation or war back in biblical times.

I think we all have been bogged down by the events of our national election – or at least I have. I have prayed. I have fasted. I have repented. I have stewed. I have churned. No peace there. The peace of Christmas seemed to mock me.

One evening when I was in knots the Lord graciously reminded me of Psalm 20:7, “Some boast in chariots and some in horses, but we will boast in the name of the Lord our God.”

My focus had been on “horses and chariots” – no wonder there was no peace. I had to readjust my focus. I had to turn my focus on to the great name of The Lord God – Jehovah. His name is mighty. It is powerful. He is in charge. He is still on the throne. He has a plan and it is good.

Mary and Joseph’s world was one of turmoil – to say the least. But they trusted God. Think about it. Mary is 9 months pregnant needing rest and the comforts of home. But the ruler of the day decided to take a census which meant they had to travel back to their home of origin – by donkey. And the roads – paths really – were teeming with others trying to get home.

They didn’t know what the future held. They lived in an uncertain world. They had each other and they had Jehovah God. They didn’t trust in horses or chariots – they didn’t have any. They had God alone.

And that was enough! Is it enough for you? For me? This Christmas, let’s put our future in the hands of the Almighty God who loves us desperately and has a plan that is good.

Billy Graham’s Prayer for the Nation ’69

My father, Billy Graham, prayed this prayer at Richard Nixon’s inauguration. Sometimes when we don’t know how to pray it’s good to look to others who do know how. We are at a critical juncture in our nation. We need to pray.

Our Father and our God, Thou hast said, “Blessed is that nation whose God is the Lord.” We recognize on this historic occasion that we are “a nation under God.” We thank Thee for this torch of faith handed to us by our forefathers. May we never let it be extinguished. Thou alone hast given us our prosperity, our freedom and our power. This faith in God is our heritage and our foundation!

Thou hast warned us in the Scriptures, “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” As George Washington reminded us in his farewell address, morality and faith are the pillars of our society. We confess these pillars are being eroded in an increasingly materialistic and permissive society. The whole world is watching to see if the faith of our fathers will stand the trials and tests of the hour. Too long we have neglected Thy word and ignored Thy laws. Too long we have tried to solve our problems without reference to Thee. Too long we have tried to live by bread alone. We have sown to the wind and are now reaping a whirlwind of crime, division, and rebellion.

And now with the wages of our sins staring us in the face, we remember Thy words, “If my people who are called by my Name shall humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Help us this day to turn from our sins and to turn by simple faith to the One who said, “Ye must be born again.”

So we pray, O God, as we enter a new era, that we as a nation may experience a moral and spiritual restoration.

Thou hast said, “Promotion comes not from the east nor from the west, but from Thee.” We acknowledge Thy divine help in the selection of our leadership each four years. We recognize, O Lord, that in Thy sovereignty Thou has permitted Richard Nixon to lead us at this momentous hour of our history.

We beseech Thee that he will have Thy divine guidance and power daily. Help him as Thou didst help Thy servants of old. Our Father, we know his burdens and responsibilities will be overwhelming. He will hold in his hands the destiny of more people than any man in history. O God, our new President needs Thee as no man ever needed Thee in leading a people! There will be times when he will be overwhelmed by the problems at home and abroad that have been building up to the breaking point for many years. Protect him from physical danger. And in the lonely moments of decision grant him an uncompromising courage to do what is morally right. Give him a cool head and a warm heart. Give him a compassion for those in physical, moral, and spiritual need. We pray that Thou wilt so guide Richard Nixon in handling the affairs of state that the whole world will marvel and glorify Thee.

O God, we consecrate Richard Milhous Nixon to the Presidency of these United States with the assurance that from this hour on, as he and his family move into the White House, they will have the presence and the power of Thy Son who said, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.”

What we pray for President Nixon we pray for Vice President Agnew and members of the Cabinet. May they be given a wisdom and a courage that is beyond their own. Bless them as a team to lead America to the dawning of a new day with renewed trust in God that will lead to peace, justice, and prosperity.

We pray this humbly in the Name of the Prince of Peace who shed His blood on the Cross that men might have eternal life. Amen

Gladness and Singing

Posted where I can see it regularly is the Bible verse, Psalm 90:14: “Oh satisfy us in the morning with your lovingkindness, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.” I began to think about that.

Certainly we must be satisfied with His marvelous, endless, boundless lovingkindness. But how many of us gripe and complain? His lovingkindness is on display daily – in the sunshine. We are enjoying October’s bright blue weather! The mountains are putting on their tweed coats from the top down. This is a glorious time of year. I don’t go hungry because of His lovingkindness to me. I am not in ill health because of HIs lovingkindness to me. I have a wonderful family that loves me and surrounds me because of His lovingkindness to me. I could go on…like I said His lovingkindness is boundless.

That verse is from Psalm 90 that begins with, “Thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.” That’s enough to make you satisfied – Shelter, security, safety…

But the next part of the verse caused me to pause. “That we may sing and be glad all our days.” It seems to me that gladness would come before singing. Because when we are glad, happy, we want to sing. But the Psalmist doesn’t put it that way. He wants us to sing before we are glad. Just how do we do that? It’s not easy to do.

But I have noticed that people, I would assume have every reason not to sing, are usually the happiest people. They sing as they wake up. They sing of His goodness and faithfulness to them. While I tend to grumble. They start their day remembering His lovingkindness.

Singing comes first. It tunes the heart. It prepares us to be glad. Not just some days but all our days. Then as we sing, gladness comes. Maybe like the dawn itself…slowly until we burst into song. We cannot help but sing!

Coffee & Kindness

How far does a spilled cup of coffee go? A looong way! I was making my coffee this morning, as I always do. I make it with a French press, letting it steep for four minutes, and then have frothed milk with it. It had steeped and I poured it into my pre-heated mug but something happened and it tipped over. Oh my word! What a mess.

I had spilled coffee in my oven, in my cabinets, on the counter and the floor. I had it in crevices, behind and under my counter appliances…on and on it went.. At least I like the smell of coffee! And nothing was ruined. I made another cup and sat down with my Bible to have some time with the Lord.

But it made me think about kindness. A little bit goes a long way. There seems to be so little of it these days so it is even more important and more noticeable than ever. With us all wearing masks, it is hard to see a gentle smile or hear a “thank you”. So we have to make a greater effort.

The world needs kindness right now. Our country needs kindness. My town. My family. We all need a little bit of kindness.

It grieves me when I go to the grocery to hear mothers berating their children, belittling them for just being children. Or a husband being rude to his wife. Or vice versa. It doesn’t take much to be kind.

Hold the door for another who is behind you. Help someone across the parking lot. I have noticed how so many older folks hobble or limp into the store revealing they are in pain. People carry burdens we know nothing about. Isn’t it nice to think we can add some sunshine to their day? It’s a worn out phrase but, “What would Jesus do?”

Proverbs 19:22 says, “What is desirable in a man is his kindness..” People say, cleanliness is next to godliness.” I’m not sure who came up with that but I would say, “Kindness is next to godliness.” The Bible tells us that God’s, “lovingkindness is great toward us.” We have been recipients of God’s great lovingkindness…

Paperback version now available….

Ruth’s recent book, Forgiving My Father, Forgiving Myself, is now available in paper where books are sold.


Politics! Good grief! Can we get away from it?

There are times I want to pull the covers over my head and forget about it. But we cannot do that. We live in a world dominated by politics – it seems to contaminate everything – even the church.

What are politics? According to my dictionary it is: “the science or art of political government, the practice or profession of conducting political affairs, the use of strategy or intrigue in obtaining power, control or status”.

It seems odd that the definition contains the word politics or political. When I was in school that was not allowed. You could not define a word with itself. But so many things have changed, maybe that has too.

But politics seems to be a nasty business. A lot of maneuvering and manipulating to get others to do what you want them to. Truth gets lost along the way.

Is there an honest politician? I can’t answer that. I would certainly hope so.

But our solutions will not come from politics or politicians. They can formulate all the policies they want. Give all the speeches we can stand.They can stay in the basement or they can have public rallies. They can wave their banners and post their signs. They can organize us to the hilt. They can promise us the moon – which I think they do and can’t deliver.

Why do we get caught up in it?

I guess it’s in our human nature. We hope things will get better and we look for someone to make it better. The truth is there is no one on the horizon that can fix this country or world. No one. The is no policy that will solve our problems. It matters not if it is the “new green deal” or health care for all” or a new vaccine.

Nothing touches the real issue: man’s sin and need of a Savior.

While I can be fascinated with politics, I know that is not where my hope is. My hope is in Jesus. He is the hope of the world. He alone has the right policy: repentance and forgiveness from Jesus and loving your neighbor as yourself. Simple but hard to implement because our human nature is sinful. But we have a power the world knows nothing about – the power of the Holy Spirit. He convicts us of our sin and brings us to repentance. Then He comes to live in us to empower us to love our neighbor as ourselves.

That’s our hope – our only hope.

Living Free Online Conference

Make plans to join Ruth for the first Living Free Online Conference, “Sharing Hope In A Time Of Crisis” on Saturday, August 29, from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. EST. Available via Facebook or YouTube.



I have steered away from writing about COVID-19 because everyone was. I am not a physician nor am I an expert on viruses.

But there is a virus spreading faster than COVID-19 that I do know something about. FEAR! I think most of us, if we are honest will admit we have felt fear during this season. Fear of the disease. Fear that our family members may contract it. Fear of going outside. Fear of going into a store to get groceries. Fear of the unknown.

And some of you have lost someone to the virus. There is fear of how to go on without them.

I have a sign in my study that my mother gave to me years ago as I faced uncertain times: “Fear not tomorrow God is already there.” I eventually wrote a book by that title. The message is clear. God is in tomorrow. He is in today.

He has always been. And He knows what is happening. He is in control. Oh! It doesn’t seem like it but He is. Covid-19 did not take Him by surprise.

And He wants us – you and me – to trust Him. Trust Him with our tomorrows. Trust Him for our todays. He will take care of us. Jesus told us, “Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.” (John 14:1) Paul told us to “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let you requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

Those are big statements. God wants us to take them seriously – and Him seriously. God is able to fulfill His promises to you and to me. We have to memorize them. We have to make them our own.

King Solomon, considered the wisest man in the world said this “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe.” (Proverbs 18:10) Study the names of God and you will find fear fades. We have a great God. A big God. A loving God. Study Him during this time of uncertainty.

Trust in the Lord

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5–6

These days it is hard to trust. There is so much uncertainty. But that is exactly what God is telling us to do. Trust Him.

Trust is not my default position.

When a situation arises, I am quick to fret over finding solutions. I am a fixer. I forget that God is already at work in the situation. I strategize, plan, work and when things don’t move fast enough for me, I try to help them along under my own power. I wear myself out in my futile attempts to change what I cannot change. That is leaning on my own understanding.

That is not God’s way. God asks that we trust Him. That’s not always easy when decisions need to be made. Which way to go? What to do? Certainly, there are times when we need to take action using our God-given problem-solving skills. But trust means recognizing that God is actively at work already and that He will shine the light we need to take the next right step.

He sees your past, present, and future. He knows you better than you know yourself. And He loves you totally. He will guide you step by step.

Now think about what you are facing today. Choose to trust God in this moment about this situation. This isn’t about answers or quick fixes; this is about choosing to put your finite understanding into His infinite wisdom and trusting God that He will show you the way.