Born November 7, 1918, Billy Graham wanted to be a baseball player, but in 1934, after attending a revival at age 16, his life changed.
Billy Graham became an evangelist in the 1940s.
"All are sinners and stand under the judgment of God ...
Christ came to make forgiveness and salvation possible.
What did He do? He died on the cross as the complete sacrifice for our sins. He took upon Himself the judgment that we deserve ...
But like any gift, it becomes ours only when we take it ...
I may say that I believe a bridge will hold my weight. But I really believe it only when I commit myself to it and walk across it.
Saving faith involves an act of commitment and trust, in which I commit my life to Jesus Christ and trust Him alone as my Savior and Lord."
"Yes, it costs to follow Christ. But it also costs not to follow Christ."
Billy Graham personally addressed crowds of over 210 million people in 185 countries, which is more than any other person in history.
Through his radio and television programs, he reached over 2.5 billion with the Gospel.
He repudiated racial segregation and insisted on racial integration at all his crusades.
At his New York City revival in 1957, he invited Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., to preach.
Graham wrote in his autobiography:
"One night civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whom I was pleased to count a friend, gave an eloquent opening prayer at the service; he also came at my invitation to one of our Team retreats during the Crusade to help us understand the racial situation in America more fully."
Becoming friends, Billy Graham shared a conversation with Rev. King:
"His father, who was called Big Mike, called him Little Mike. He asked me to call him just plain Mike."
Rev. King credited Billy Graham with reducing racial tension, as Graham even canceled a 1965 tour of Europe to preach crusades in Alabama, allowing the Gospel to bring healing between the races.
Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote:
"Had it not been for the ministry of my good friend Dr. Billy Graham, my work in the Civil Rights Movement would not have been as successful as it has been."
Billy Graham stated:
"Jesus was not a white man; He was not a black man. He came from that part of the world that touches Africa and Asia and Europe.
Christianity is not a white man's religion, and don't let anybody ever tell you that it's white or black. Christ belongs to all people; He belongs to the whole world."
"My study of the Bible, leading me eventually to the conclusion that not only was racial inequality wrong but Christians especially should demonstrate love toward all peoples."
President Bill Clinton addressed the National Prayer Breakfast, February 4, 1993:
"The first time I ever saw Billy Graham ... he came in the 1950's, in the heat of all our racial trouble, to Arkansas to have a crusade.
And the white citizens council tried to get him, because of the tensions of the moment, to agree to segregate his crusade ... He said, 'If I have to do that, I'm not coming.'
And I remember I got a Sunday school teacher in my church - and I was about 11 years old - to take me 50 miles to Little Rock so I could hear a man preach who was trying to live by what he said.
And then I remember, for a good while thereafter, trying to send a little bit of my allowance to the Billy Graham crusade because of the impression he made on me."
On January 20, 1997, Rev. Billy Graham delivered the invocation just prior to the Second Inauguration of President Bill Clinton, stating:
"Oh, Lord, help us to be reconciled first to you and secondly to each other. May Dr. Martin Luther King's dream finally come true for all of us.
Help us to learn our courtesy to our fellow countrymen, that comes from the one who taught us that 'whatever you want me to do to you, do also to them."
Billy Graham had an unprecedented access and influence on every U.S. President from 1950 to his death in 2018:
President George H.W. Bush;
President George W. Bush;
President Obama; and
In 1986, Chaplain of the U.S. Senate Richard Halverson stated:
"When Billy Graham comes to the Capitol, suddenly, the Senate and Congress are unimportant. To me, it's a miracle. Wherever Billy is, there is the gospel of Christ."
He was friends with Queen Elizabeth II, Pope John Paul II, and innumerable leaders around the world.
He lauded Pope John Paul II's 11th papal encyclical, titled "Evangelium Vitae" (Gospel of Life), issued April of 1995, as:
"A forceful and thoughtful defense of the sacredness of human life in the face of the modern world's reckless march toward violence and needless death."
At a news conference, March 21, 1956, President Eisenhower stated:
"This is what I see in Billy Graham - A man who clearly understands that any advance in the world has got to be accompanied by a clear realization that man is, after all, a spiritual being."
John F. Kennedy told the Presidential Prayer Breakfast, March 1, 1962:
"We bear great responsibilities and great burdens not only to ourselves in this country but to so many around the world ...
I commend ... Reverend Billy Graham, who has served this cause about which I speak so well here and around the world.
He has, I think, transmitted this most important quality of our common commitments to faith in a way which makes all of us particularly proud."
Ronald Reagan introduced Billy Graham at a California rally, stating:
"Why is a representative of government here?
To welcome with humble pride a man whose mission in life has been to remind us that in all our seeking ... the answer to each problem is to be found in the simple words of Jesus of Nazareth, who urged us to love one another."
"In a world that might say one vote doesn’t matter … it does matter because each person is of infinite worth and value to God …
Your vote is a declaration of importance as a person and a citizen."
In answering a question about voting, Billy Graham stated, July 28, 2016:
"The Bible says we should do everything we possibly can to be good citizens and work for the betterment of our society, and one of the ways we can do this is by voting. God tells us to 'seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you' (Jeremiah 29:7).
Rightly or wrongly, you say you’re disillusioned by what you see in politics today. But how will it be changed? Let me tell you how it won’t be changed: It won’t be changed if concerned people refuse to vote!
... It also won’t be changed if good people refuse to run for office, or if no one votes for them.
In other words, staying away from the voting booth may only perpetuate the problems you see. Although this election has passed, don’t let another one go by without your intelligent involvement.
... Christians in the first century didn’t have the privilege of voting; Caesar was a dictator, not elected by popular vote.
But those early believers were commanded to do the one thing they could do to make the world a better place:
They were told to pray. The Apostle Paul wrote, 'I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority' (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
Our world will never be perfect—not until Christ returns. But in the meantime, God wants to use us to overcome sin and establish a more just world for His glory."
Rev. Graham added:
"Bad politicians are elected by good people who don't vote."
Upon receiving the Congressional Gold Medal, May 2, 1996, Billy Graham continued his message, "The Hope for America":
"After World War II ... we had the opportunity to rule the world ...
Something has happened since those days and there is much about America that is no longer good ... the list is almost endless ...
We have confused liberty with license - and we are paying the awful price. We are a society poised on the brink of self-destruction ..."
Rev. Graham continued:
"What is the problem? The real problem is within ourselves ...
I believe the fundamental crisis of our time is a crisis of the spirit.
We have lost sight of the moral and spiritual principles on which this nation was established - principles drawn largely from the Judeo-Christian tradition as found in the Bible ...
What must be done? Let me briefly suggest three things.
First, we must repent. In the depths of the American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln called for special days of public repentance and prayer.
Our need for repentance is no less today ..."
He explained further:
"What does repentance mean?
Repentance means to change our thinking and our way of living.
It means to turn from our sins and to commit ourselves to God and His will.
Over 2700 years ago the Old Testament prophet Isaiah declared
'Seek the Lord while he may be found, call on Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the evil man his thoughts.
Let him turn to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him, and to our God, for He will freely pardon' (Isaiah 55: 6-7, NIV) ..."
"Second, we must commit our lives to God, and to the moral and spiritual truths that have made this nation great.
Think how different our nation would be if we sought to follow the simple and yet profound injunctions of the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount.
But we must respond to God, Who is offering us forgiveness, mercy, supernatural help, and the power to change ..."
Rev. Graham concluded:
"Third, our commitment must be translated into action - in our homes, in our neighborhoods, and in our society.
Jesus taught there are only two roads in life. One in the broad road that is easy and well-traveled, but which leads to destruction.
... The other, He said, is the narrow road of truth and faith that at times is hard and lonely, but which leads to life and salvation ...
What are YOU going to do? ...
As I look out across this distinguished group gathered here, I see more than a few men and women who have what it takes, under God, to lead our country forward 'through the night'"
After the terrorist attacks of 911, Billy Graham prayed with national leaders, stating:
"We are more united than ever before.
I think this was exemplified in a very moving way when the members of our Congress stood shoulder to shoulder the other day and sang God Bless America."
Rev. Billy Graham gave a sober warning on October 27, 2015:
"In the event of a national catastrophe, much confusion, terror and consternation would reign ...
Suppose persecution were to come to the church in America, as it has come in other countries.
The immunity to persecution that Christians in our country have experienced in the past two or three centuries is unusual.
Christ strongly warned Christians that to follow Him would not be popular, and that in most circumstances it would mean cross-bearing and persecution.
... The Bible says that all who 'desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution' (2 Timothy 3:12). Jesus said that as the time of His return draws nigh, 'They will seize you and persecute you' (Luke 21:12).
We have no scriptural foundation for believing that we can forever escape being persecuted for Christ's sake. The normal condition for Christians is that we should suffer persecution.
Are you willing to face persecution and death for Christ's sake?"
"Since we have experienced little religious persecution in this country, it is likely that under pressure many would deny Christ.
Those who shout the loudest about their faith may surrender soonest.
Many who boast of being courageous would be cowardly. Many who say, 'Though all others deny Christ, yet I will never deny Him,' would be the first to warm their hands at the campfires of the enemy.
Jesus, in speaking of the last times, warned, 'Then they will hand you over to be persecuted and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake' (Matthew 24:9).
... The Scripture says, 'because iniquity will abound, the love of many will grow cold' (Matthew 24:12).
The apostle Paul, referring to the coming evil day, said, 'Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done all, to stand' (Ephesians 6:13) ..."
He explained further:
"Even though most Americans see the storm clouds gathering on the horizon, by and large we are making few preparations to meet God.
This is a time for repentance and faith. It is a time for soul-searching, to see if our anchor holds.
Have you been to the cross where Christ shed His blood for your sins? Have you had the past forgiven? Have you come by faith, confessing that you are a sinner and receiving Christ as your Savior?
I tell you that this cross is the only place of refuge in the midst of the storm of judgment that is fast approaching. Make sure of your relationship with God ..."
Billy Graham concluded:
"We must fortify ourselves by meditating upon the person of Christ ... Christ must be vitally real to us if we are to prove loyal to Him in the hours of crisis.
Today our nation ranks as the greatest power on the face of the earth. But if we put our trust in armed might instead of Almighty God, the coming conflict could conceivably go against us.
History and the Bible indicate that mechanical and material might are insufficient in times of great crisis.
... We need the inner strength that comes from a personal, vital relationship with God's Son, Jesus Christ.
The wheels of God's judgment can be heard by discerning souls across the length and breadth of nations.
Things are happening fast! The need for a return to God has never been more urgent.
The words of Isaiah are appropriate for us today:
'Seek the Lord while He may be found, call you upon Him while He is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.'"
Billy Graham's daughter, Anne Graham Lotz, stated:
"For years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out.
How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?"
On November 7, 2017, Franklin Graham sent via Twitter a photo of his father:
"My father @BillyGraham turns 99 years old today. That means he's entering his 100th year - it has been an amazing journey."
President Donald Trump tweeted back:
"Franklin, such a great photo. HAPPY 99th BIRTHDAY to your father @BillyGraham! twitter.com/franklin_graham"
President Trump remarked on the National Day of Prayer, May 3, 2018:
"With us today ...is Jon Ponder, from Las Vegas ...
Jon was in and out of jail for years until, at age 38, he was arrested for bank robbery ...
Jon soon ended up in federal prison, relegated to solitary confinement. That’s where God found him. Jon began to read the Bible and listen to Christian radio ...
One morning, at 2 a.m., he woke up to the voice of the great Billy Graham ... through the airwaves, 'Jesus wants to be Lord of your life.' That night, Jon dedicated his life to Christ.
He spent the rest of his time in prison praying, studying the Bible, and bringing the Lord to his fellow inmates ...
Prayer changes hearts and transforms lives. It uplifts the soul, inspires action, and unites us all as one nation, under God."
Billy Graham died February 21, 2018. President Donald Trump ordered:
"As a mark of respect for the memory of Reverend Billy Graham,
I hereby order ... that on the day of his interment, the flag of the United States shall be flown at half‑staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions."
Speaking of his own death, Graham once said:
"Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don't you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God."
As he received the Congressional Gold Medal, May 2, 1996, Billy Graham exhorted:
"If ever we needed spiritual renewal, it in now.
And it can begin today in each one of our lives, as we repent before God and yield ourselves to Him and His Word."
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