Evangelist Billy Graham needs no introduction. He has spoken in person to more people than any man in the history of humanity (including rock stars, poets, politicians, presidents and professional athletes). My Dad met him twice and I would love to meet him just once but thanks to Calvary if I miss Dr Graham down here then look for me on Grace Avenue & Glory Blvd because I will be the one playing checkers with him in Heaven
Dr Graham was invited in the mid 1970′s, (before the days that the military hindered the “GOOD NEWS” to be preached at a National Day of Prayer) to stop briefly and encourage the American troops overseas with a presentation of the Gospel. An hour before his arrival the sky grew dark and the Heaven’s opened up releasing the most intense storm of the summer season.
Due to the rain, the mini crusade scheduled to take place outside had to be scratched and military officials elected to bring it indoors in the largest airplane hanger on base. Soliders packed like sardines stood side by side waiting for the arrival of the famed evangelist. What was to be a 30 minute message was reduced to a 10 minute sermon and when he preached and concluded with an invitation; countless commitments were made professing Christ as Savior. What made the difference?
Yes, God’s Word is anointed and God’s man was surely appointed “for such a time is this” but it is safe to say that the reputation of Dr Billy Graham went before him. He didn’t have to say much because his life and integrity went before him. The soldiers who had never saw him personally had already heard of him professionally. The Bible says to “beware of folks who pray long prayers publicly on the street corner.” The choice servants of God that I have met up close and personal have all told me that those who pray long in public only pray short in private. It should be reversed. May we pray long when no one is looking and preach with power when everyone is watching.
I love that verse: “Even in death, they still speak.” In life and death, may our lives resemble the love and loyalty of our Lord. May our “brand” broadcast the Lamb of Beulah Land. May our reputation resemble the Redeemer because as it goes before us we can take great comfort that Christ is in us. When our slogan is showcasing our Savior we don’t have speak often but openly that Christ loves sinners, was slain for our sin, died in our place, arose on the third day and Heaven is ours for FREE when we embrace Jesus as our Substitute, Savior and Source of Strength for this life and the one to come.
The difference between arrogance and confidence is this. Arrogance relies on self but confidence depends on God. We find a beautiful boldness when we have been bathed in the Bible. When His Will is our only will than we roll on all cylinders. We not only can fight the good fight but finish the work that God has called, commissioned and compelled us to do. Integrity to an individual is fuel to a Ferrari. It’s the Spinach to Popeye, the cape to Superman and the rage to the Incredible Hulk. I was told over 20 years ago: “Frank, better to be than appear to be.” The fact is, it takes more energy to cover up a double life than invest in living right all along. No need to cover up tracks when we walk by faith following the Footsteps of the One who has gone before.
Integrity isn’t an option for those serious about honoring the Lord in our daily lives. Remember this, God uses imperfect people to promote His perfect Son. Our righteousness are as “filthy rags” but when we wear the sinless Savior, the garments of God’s great grace and His Royal Robe of Righteousness we inherit the INTEGRITY of Immanuel. Friend, forgiveness is not a license to sin but a “drivers permit” to travel the world telling all that Jesus loves, LIVES and still leads the “lost” Home. GO GOD!!
In closing, tomorrow as you go to your cubicle at work, board the bus for school or enter that next meeting in the evening may folks realize who you are and Who’s you are by the way you walk and talk. We have been “bought with a price” and why sit down when a lost world needs to see the Savior lifted up in our daily lives. Some see it is a complaint but its a compliment to God when folks know what you stand for long before you ever walk into the room. Don’t live “small” now because you won’t make a BIG impact when the moment comes to share the love of God.
Intentionally, I wrote INTENSITY on the title of this post. When we are in God’s Will and part of His Kingdom Work we find a sacred strength stronger than steel. We find a platform more powerful than the Pentagon and more mighty than man’s military. We find a peace, power, purpose and a position that is not insane but intense! It is not reckless or “religious” but a reality when aligned with the agenda and attributes of the Almighty. Our faith becomes a force that illuminates a thousand midnights and God can do more in a day than we could in a decade on our own. The “lost” are intrigued by The Light and when we walk with God; folks can sense and SEE a difference in our countenance, character and core beliefs (integrity).
Living in sin slows down the process but living right in God’s Light propels us with an anointing that exudes power dripping out of our pores like water blasting out of an inner-city fire hydrant on a hot, July afternoon. That is not sweat but SWEET! Sin and sex sells in our society but integrity is not insecurity but a desperately needed commodity to make criminals’ curious, the thirsty satisfied and lost souls make U-turns at Calvary’s culdesac now heading to their Heavenly Home.
You may not be a preacher or a teacher but all of us are called to be “REACHERS” to help rescue sinners from the reality of a burning Hell that awaits all who die without knowing personally Jesus as Lord and Savior. This is not glamorous but the GOSPEL Truth. The Yellow Pages implies: “Let your fingers do the walking” but may our lives do the talking even before opening our mouths. The last three letters of “shout” spell out. You don’t have to shOUT when you are living it out.
Saint Francis of Assisi quote is timeless – “Preach the gospel at all times — If necessary, use words.” I love that Country classic: “You say it best – when you say nothing at all.” We can live a legacy and leave a legacy when we walk out in humility and integrity a life that honors Him. May we live right so others are not LEFT out. God goes before us and so does our reputation.