“For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.”
Will Graham’s new book, Redeemed: Devotions for the Longing Soul, was birthed from his desire for others to know the love and redemption of Christ. In the book’s 50 devotions, Will shares experiences from his life, including lessons from his grandfather Billy Graham.
I can remember the exact moment when I realized that there was something different about my grandfather. I was in elementary school, and one of the teachers put her hands on my shoulders and told another teacher, “This is Billy Graham’s grandson.” I wondered how on earth she knew my grandfather.
You see, we—my brothers, sister, and I—were raised in the mountains of North Carolina, a world away from the large audiences that would gather to hear my grandfather’s messages. We were good kids. We would get into mischief but were mostly harmless.
One Sunday morning when I was nearly six years old, I sat next to my parents in the pew at church. I noticed that they were passing out a snack and everybody was getting a bite. I couldn’t be sure, but it looked like it might be a bit of bread and a cup of grape juice.
I was excited! I was hungry and wanted a snack!
As the tray of bread came by, I reached out to take a piece. Suddenly my dad reached up and smacked the back of my hand, not hard enough to hurt but enough that I understood the message and let the plate pass. I couldn’t figure it out. I had been good all service (which isn’t necessarily easy for a young boy who is used to running around the mountainside). I could only assume that my parents were afraid I would spill it on the church carpet.
That afternoon my dad took me up to my room and began to explain to me what communion is. He shared that it’s a time of remembrance for those who have accepted Jesus as Savior. He told me about what Jesus did for me on the cross. He explained how Jesus died for my sins and that I can spend eternity with Him in heaven.
That was the day my dad used communion to explain the gospel, and I surrendered my life to Jesus.
I didn’t have all the answers. I didn’t understand the whole Bible. But I did know a few things. I knew that I had sinned; I knew that Jesus took my sins to the cross; I knew that He conquered the grave; and I knew that I wanted a relationship with Him as my Savior.
You see, the fact that I was a good kid and that my last name was Graham didn’t mean anything in the scope of eternity. Being Billy Graham’s grandson and sitting still in church on Sunday morning was not enough to gain entrance into heaven.
“Your salvation depends on what [Christ] has done for you, not on what you do for Him. It isn’t your hold on God that saves you; it’s His hold on you.” —Billy Graham
Similarly, you may be the pastor’s son or daughter. You may be a deacon or Sunday school superintendent, but your family lineage and good works cannot save you either.
Rather, the decision I made that day with childlike faith was what secured my eternity with Christ.
It’s that moment of surrender that has allowed me a lifetime of joy, peace, and purpose in this world and the hope of salvation when my days here are done. Jesus can and will save you as you seek His forgiveness and begin a relationship with Him.
Can you remember a time when you surrendered your life to Jesus? If the answer is no, what is holding you back from doing so?
Prayer: Dear Jesus, I know that I’m a sinner. I’m sorry for my sins. I believe that You died to pay the punishment for my sins. Please be the Lord of my life. In Your name. Amen.
Do you want to have peace with God? Start a relationship with Him today.
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