In 1956, he was a young preacher at the age of 37. He preached twenty-six services over four weeks in Louisville, KY.
My parents and grandparents held a large reception for him when he came to town and I vividly remember meeting Dr. Billy Graham. I remember shaking his hand and looking up as he towered over my tiny body.
I stood in awe. I don’t know that any words came out of my mouth. As I looked into his crystal blue eyes, I thought I had just met Jesus!
I don’t think my parents took me to the crusade. I have no recollection of attending. I was only ten years old. However, I do remember another one. One very important one that forever changed my life.
In the summer of 1957, Dr. Graham held his historic crusade in New York City. Between May 15 and September 1, he preached the gospel to more than two million people. After my eleventh birthday in July, my parents and I went to New York City to attend the crusade.
According to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, more than fifty-six thousand people left their seats to go forward to pledge their lives to Christ during that time.
Being one of those thousands, I walked that concrete floor to the tune and words of Just As I Am and gave my heart to the Lord that night. I remember my mom trying to hold me back to wait until we got home to our church, but the Holy Spirit was stronger than my mom! I told her I HAD to go! I think Mom was more concerned about my safety in that large crowd of people.
That was now more than 55 years ago!
When do we, as moms (and dads), teach our little ones about Jesus? When they are very small, when they are a little older, or not at all? Do we take them to church or talk about the Lord as our personal Friend and Savior?
God told the Israelites, “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” (Deut. 6:6-7 NKJV)
What are we teaching our children? How do we live our lives?
* Do we have a Sunday face and a Monday-through-Saturday face, making us two-faced?
* What about the way we talk, the things we read, watch, and listen to?
* Are our choices spiritually sound or are they worldly?
* Is the Lord pleased with our choices?
* How are our choices affecting our children?
* Is our way of life taught or caught by our children?
Do we teach them what David wrote, “Come, my children, and listen to me, and I will teach you to fear the Lord. Does anyone want to live a life that is long and prosperous? Then keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies! Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right; His ears are open to their cries for help.” (Ps. 34:11-15 NLT)
One time in Judea, Jesus taught the multitude that followed Him. “Then little children were brought to Jesus for Him to place His hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them.” (Matt. 19:13 NIV)
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 19:14 ESV)
Do we do anything consciously or unconsciously to stop or hinder our children in any way from going to the Lord?
I pray as David did, “O Lord God of the armies of heaven, don’t let me be a stumbling block to those who trust in You. O God of Israel, don’t let me cause them to be confused.” (Ps. 69:6 TLB)
And when they have given their hearts to the Lord, Jesus says, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea.” (Mark 9:42 NASB)
Whew! Does that scare you like it does me? Oh, moms (and dads), we have such an awesome responsibility with our children.
What are you teaching your children? How do you live your life?
Teach your children well.
“Direct your children onto the right path,and when they are older, they will not leave it.”(Prov. 22:6 NLT)