Finding God While Growing Older (Billy Graham)

By Karen O’Connor:

We can find inspiration in many who are growing older yet continue to live with purpose.

 

The Rev. Billy Graham

The Rev. Billy Graham

“You’re 90 years old?” I asked Charlie, the elderly man who accompanied my daughter to an afternoon concert with my husband and me. As he slipped out of his seat and into the aisle at the end of the program, I noticed that he appeared to be about twenty years younger than the ninety he had claimed in our previous conversation.

He smiled. “Yep. Celebrated my birthday on Christmas Day.”

“Let’s have a party,” my daughter suggested. “We’ll meet at my house.” We did, and had a wonderful time sharing stories. We mostly listened to Charlie tell us of his many experiences while working as a nuclear physicist during his career, and about many adventurous trips he’s taken over the years.

As he talked and we hung on his every word, I realized how easy it is to find God while growing older—especially when, like our friend, we remain vibrant, connected to people, and grateful for what the Lord has done in our lives.

I remember reading a saying once by an unknown author. “Do not regret getting older. It is a privilege denied to many.” Those words alone keep me on my toes as I move into my later years. I may have wrinkles and white hair, but I’m still here—available to family and friends and aware of the great blessings God has graced me with.

Gray hair is a crown of glory;
it is gained in a righteous life. (Proverbs 16:31 the Bible)

For a beautiful testimony about aging, you might enjoy reading this interview with the famous Christian author and speaker Billy Graham: Q & A: Billy Graham on Aging, Regrets, and Evangelicals in Christianity Today. Perhaps you too, will then find God while growing older.

Enjoy also this neat interview with Franklin Graham on 100 Huntley. He talks with Moira Brown about what it was like as his father, Billy Graham, wrote his recent book on growing older.

Click here to find the Rev. Billy Graham’s recent book: Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well [Kindle Edition].

You may also enjoy taking a look at this YouTube video focusing on the hope of seeing change—regardless of one’s age and situation, at http://youtu.be/9IBC1aRjPuM.

©Karen O’Connor. Karen is an author, writing mentor, and frequent contributor to the Finding God Daily blog. Visit Karen on the web at www.karenoconnor.com, on Facebook or follow on Twitter: @karenoconnor

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Finding God in Aid to Children: Kony 2012 Controversy

By Laurie Winslow Sargent:

Finding God in Aid to Children Despite the Kony 2012 Controversy


Image from ‘africa’: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Seven years ago I became aware of  a movement against a man named Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) upon seeing a film produced by Invisible Children.

The images in the film stuck with me for years; masses of Ugandan children hiding and sleeping in bunkers at night for fear of being kidnapped, then those who were captured, forced to commit  murder. It was painful to see interviews with children who had been victimized before finally being rescued.

On March 5, 2012, film director Jason Russel uploaded Kony 2012 to YouTube to increase public awareness through social media on the plight of these children. (See the video below.) Three days later, the video had 50 million views and as of today it has been viewed a phenomenal 87,945,716 times.

Meanwhile, as typical on the Internet, many impulsive viewers posted harsh and vulgar comments about Russel, including accusations about lack of financial accountability. Russel emphatically disputed these claims in a video interview (see below) and he also posted online Invisible Children financial annual reports.

Russel has also been accused of not keeping current with the LRA activity (countries affected), yet below the Kony 2012 YouTube video, he included the message, “You can learn more about Invisible Children’s recovery efforts in the post-conflict regions of northern Uganda AND their work with communities currently affected in D.R.Congo, Central African Republic and South Sudan at: http://www.invisiblechildren.com/programs.html. ” Additionally, there is also a link connecting to Real Time Reports on LRA Activity in the D.R.Congo, Central African Republic and South Sudan.

Sadly, within two weeks of posting Kony 2012 online, Russel suffered a temporary mental breakdown attributed to stress and severe dehydration and was hospitalized (not arrested) for exhibiting disturbing public behavior.

According to a Reuters article by By Dan Whitcomb and Cynthia Johnston, Ben Keesey (Invisible Children CEO) stated:

“The past two weeks have taken a severe emotional toll on all of us, Jason especially, and that toll manifested itself in an unfortunate incident yesterday,”  and “Jason’s passion and his work have done so much to help so many, and we are devastated to see him dealing with this personal health issue.”

The full impact of the Kony 2012 video remains to be seen. Yet when my own teen daughter told me about it with tears in her eyes, I knew that video must have sensitized millions of  young people to the needs of terrorized children in other countries.

More Help from Samaritan’s Purse

Samaritan’s Purse is another organization that has provided emergency aid to thousands affected by the LRA. Here’s a quote from Franklin Graham (son of the Rev. Billy Graham) in the April 2012 newsletter I received in the mail today, with the article: Combating Kony’s Reign of Terror: “Samaritan’s Purse is no stranger to Kony. For more than a decade, we have been ministering to the victims of his atrocities in Uganda, South Sudan, and Democratic Republic of the Congo.” Samaritan’s Purse continues to provide food, clean water, shelter and help for victimized children.

The Samaritan’s Purse online version of the article added: “Kony claims to be a spirit medium who communicates with the Holy Spirit and with angels he knows by name. He mixes elements of Christianity, voodooism, and tribal beliefs into a twisted belief system that condones murder, rape, child abduction, and slavery to achieve his goals.”

What a terrible crime it is, not only for Kony to commit such atrocities but to also tarnish Christianity and to take our Lord’s name in vain.  Please pray that despite the Kony 2012 controversy, many children will find help. Pray as well for the Russel family.

©Laurie Winslow Sargent. Laurie has been a magazine article writer and book author since 1988. You can visit her on Twitter as @LaurieSargent and at her website, www.lauriewinslowsargent.com.

Kony 2012

Invisible Children CEO Responds to ‘Kony 2012′ Criticism

 

UPDATED VIDEO  (Added April 21 to Finding God Daily)

KONY 2012: Part II – Beyond Famous plus Cover the Night call to action:

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