Category: Inspirational Sayings

The following quotation from Billy Graham went viral, being retweeted an average of every 20 seconds yesterday on Twitter:

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.”

Graham, who was an admirer of the evangelist Dwight L. Moody, founder of the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, borrowed and adapted an older quote by Moody.  Christianity Today has an interesting article on this.  It notes their common faith, and ends:

Though Moody and Graham have both left this world, their legacies live on. Indeed we can be confident they are “more alive” now that they have “gone up higher” and rest in “the presence of God.” And thanks be to God, through their ministries countless others, who now joyfully join them, can say the same.

“I haven’t written my own epitaph, and I’m not sure I should. Whatever it is, I hope it will be simple, and that it will point people not to me, but to the One I served.”
(Billy Graham)

“I have read the last page of the Bible. It’s all going to turn out all right.”(Billy Graham)

Billy Graham, “America’s Pastor”, has died today at age 99. It is said that through his evangelistic crusades, radio shows, and TV programs, he reached an estimated 2.2 billion people in his lifetime. Wikipedia notes: According to his staff, more than 3.2 million people have responded to the invitation at Billy Graham Crusades to “accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior”.

Graham was born in Charlotte, NC, and grew up on a milk farm. He became passionate about evangelism shortly after his own decision to come forward at an “altar call.” Though he had been raised Presbyterian, he switched to the Southern Baptist faith. NPR reports:

In his determination to replicate the evangelical style, Graham read the sermons of notable preachers and then practiced delivering them himself. According to his biographer, William Martin, Graham regularly closed himself in a tool shed and “preached to oil cans and lawnmowers. Or he paddled a canoe to a lonely spot on the river and called on snakes and alligators and tree stumps to repent of their sins and accept Jesus.”

He went to Wheaton college, where he met his future wife, Ruth. He briefly had a pastorate in a Baptist Church, then soon followed his passion into mass evangelism. His big break came at a tent meeting in Los Angeles. Originally scheduled for three weeks, these meetings were so popular that they were extended to eight. 350,000 people attended.

He is quoted as saying “I don’t need a successor, only willing hands to accept the torch for a new generation.” Very few of those hands will have the outsized impact that he had.

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted,or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”

“Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among Men.”
(Aragorn, in J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers, New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1994. Print.)

Luther, on trial for his life at the Diet of Worms, refused to recant his writings. Here is the famous conclusion of his speech, as determined by Reformation Scholar Keiko Olbermann:

“Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Holy Scriptures or by evident reason-for I can believe neither pope nor councils alone, as it is clear that they have erred repeatedly and contradicted themselves-I consider myself convicted by the testimony of Holy Scripture, which is my basis; my conscience is captive to the Word of God. Thus I cannot and will not recant, because acting against one’s conscience is neither safe nor sound. God help me. Amen.”

(Luther is often quoted as saying “Here I stand, I can do no other.” While stirring, this is felt by most Luther scholars to be spurious).

See Christianity Today article “What Luther Said“.

“Only Love can truly save the world.”
(“Wonder Woman” 2017)

“God is Love.”
(1 John 4:8, The Holy Bible)

Romans 8:18 is one of those oft quoted passages which many find to be a source of comfort in their times of trial. Saint Paul weighs present day sufferings against a future glory so vast that everything that tempts us to worry and fret simply pales into nothing:

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”

I recently listened to an old podcast sermon by Tim Keller, and a particular quote really grabbed my interest, and reminded me of the power of perspective. The following isn’t an exact quote, but comes close:

“If you are a Christian, if you lose something in this world it’s like someone pickpocketed 25 cents off you, when you have billions somewhere safe in a trust fund.”

(This was a tossed off remark; the full sermon discussing the part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount which is the source of the term “strait and narrow”, is available online at Gospel in Life).

“Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”

This quote is of unknown origin. Frequently it is misattributed to St. Francis of Assissi, who nonetheless once stated something fairly similar in sentiment:

Chapter XVII of his Rule of 1221, Francis told the friars not to preach unless they had received the proper permission to do so. Then he added, “Let all the brothers, however, preach by their deeds.” (St Anthony Messenger)

I knew a Taoist engineering professor, who often repeated the phrase: “He who knows the priority–what comes first and what comes second–knows the Tao, or the way that he must go.”

Christianity could almost be summed thus: “He who knows the Way (Christ), knows the priority.”