What is the most hopeful word in History?
For Billy Graham, that word is SALVATION.
Salvation from what?
From our selfish and self-destructive selves.
From the messes we get ourselves into.
From the sin that has haunted humanity from the beginning of time and the evil that pulls us down every day.
From the cultural deceits that blind us to God's saving message.
From the Hell so many don't believe in.
If we don't think we need salvation, we're fooling ourselves.
If we think we are beyond salvation, we're underestimating God.
If we just don't want to think about salvation, we're putting ourselves in eternal peril.
At the age of ninety-five Billy Graham proclaims God's Gospel with resolve and deep compassion. It is a message he has been preaching for more than seventy years. And in this book you will sense its urgency, filled with hope for the future.
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved" (Acts 16:31)
From America’s evangelistic elder statesman
Salvation is what we all long for, when we are lost or in danger or have made a mess of our lives. And salvation belongs to us, when we reach out for the only One who can rescue usJesus.
The saving message of the Gospel is the heartbeat of this preacher and evangelist. Millions around the world have heard Billy Graham proclaim this unchanging truth. He has never forgotten the transformation of his own life, when he first said yes to God’s gift of salvation, and he has witnessed multitudes turn their hearts to the God of Hope.
The Reason for My Hope: Salvation presents the essence of that transformative message. It is biblical and timeless, and though simple and direct, it is far from easy. There are hard words, prophetic words, directed toward a culture that denies the reality of sin and distracts us from the veracity of Hell. But through its ominous warnings shines a light that cannot be extinguisheda beacon of hope that Jesus came “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).
|Publisher:||Nelson, Thomas, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.70(d)|
About the Author
Billy Graham, world-renowned preacher, evangelist, and author, delivered the gospel message to more people face-to-face than anyone in history and ministered on every continent of the world in more than 185 countries. Millions have read his inspirational classics, including Angels, Peace with God, The Holy Spirit, Hope for the Troubled Heart, How to Be Born Again, The Journey, Nearing Home, and The Reason for My Hope.
Read an Excerpt
The Reason for My hope
By Billy Graham
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2013 William F. Graham Jr.
All rights reserved.
Rescued for Something
Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you.
—1 Peter 3:15 KJV
Have you ever been saved? I have.
Many years ago I was in a plane crash that could have taken my life and the lives of others on board. It was early in my ministry, and I had traveled to western Canada to speak at a conference. Back in those days much of the air travel was aboard small planes. As I settled into my seat on a Lockheed Lodestar for the final leg of my journey, the plane ascended smoothly out of Vancouver, British Columbia, in spite of a pouring rain.
While the other thirteen passengers slept, I was taking in the beauty of the Canadian Rockies until the flight attendant whispered to me that a problem had developed. The pilot had been told by a radio tower to set the plane down as soon as possible because the storm was worsening, the rain quickly turning to snow. The quandary was that all the airports in the area had been forced to shut down due to the heavy snowfall.
When the captain located an open field below, he announced that he was going to dive through a hole in the clouds. While his commanding voice was reassuring, the mood intensified when he explained that because of the snow cover he couldn't tell how the field was plowed or how the furrows were running. "I'll leave the wheels up, and we'll slide in the snow ... but it's going to be bumpy," he warned.
Sure enough, we touched down, and the small plane bumped hard before coming to an abrupt stop. People screamed at first, but when they realized they were safe, there were tears and sighs of relief. Hope for a safe landing was realized.
We spent the night on the plane, in the middle of a farmer's field, waiting for a rescue squad that came for us with a team of horses pulling a wagon. Dawn was breaking, and the passengers were content to ride the short distance to a waiting bus.
Not all air travel mishaps end this well, with all passengers saved from disaster.
Plunged into Dark Waters
The nation was stunned the summer of 1999, when news flashed around the world that a small plane flown by John F. Kennedy Jr. was missing. Kennedy had left New York with his wife, Carolyn, and her sister Lauren Bessette to attend a cousin's wedding at the Kennedy family compound on Cape Cod. When they didn't show up, the wedding was postponed and the hopes for celebration turned to hopelessness and despair—a tragic story that came to an end several days later when the Coast Guard pulled the three lifeless bodies out of the private plane that had plunged into the Atlantic. The cause of the crash: pilot error.
I had visited with John and Carolyn in 1996. They were an engaging young couple with endless opportunities ahead. As a small boy, John had bravely endured the horror of losing his father, the president of the United States, to an assassin's bullet. Years later he had watched his mother die a painful death from cancer. President Kennedy's son had learned how to graciously overcome the scrutiny of the public's watchful eye and the media's constant presence. He displayed the poise of a survivor in the face of ridicule or praise.
John also had a sense of adventure. His interest in aviation intrigued me because my son Franklin also loves to fly and is an accomplished pilot. To hear Franklin describe the likelihood of what happened in the cockpit of John's plane that night was chilling. When a pilot becomes disoriented in flight, survival is unlikely.
There isn't much hope for those who crash into the sea—few survive the impact. But I know someone who did.
Pulled from the Ocean
Louis (Louie) Zamperini, a former American Olympic distance runner and World War II prisoner of war (POW), has been a friend of mine for many years.
This decorated war hero was shot down in his B-24 bomber, the Green Hornet. He lived to tell about the 1943 crash into the Pacific Ocean, where he drifted on a life raft for forty-seven days until he was captured by the Japanese. Louie spent twenty months in a Japanese prison camp, enduring physical and mental torture. His courageous story—and ultimate victory—is told in Unbroken, which reached number one on the New York Times bestseller list and was acclaimed by Time magazine as the best nonfiction book of 2010.
When Louie was finally rescued from the prison camp, he returned to California a hero, only to fall victim to another enemy, imprisoned again—this time by alcohol. He tells the story of his rescue from that second prison, giving hope to weary hearts who long to be saved from mental anguish, disastrous circumstances, and physical defeat.
Rescued by Portuguese Fishermen
My friend John Coale, a successful attorney in Washington, DC, experienced his own brush with death on the sea, as he would later tell my son Franklin. John and his wife, attorney and television journalist Greta Van Susteren, surprised me by attending my ninetieth birthday celebration. I was with them again in 2011, when Greta covered book signings at the Billy Graham Library with former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura.
John knows about adventure that turns perilous. He also knows the relief of a successful rescue operation. He was saved out of the icy waters off the northwest corner of Spain in 1979, the same day that China invaded Vietnam.
At the time, John was a restless attorney looking for a thrill, but he didn't know that his voyage would turn treacherous. He had been drifting around Europe, trying his hand as a blackjack counter and had become pretty good at it. But his real love was sailing. An experienced sailor since his youth, John was waiting out the choppy waters to take a voyage from the North Atlantic to the Mediterranean. Europe's coast had been pounded with hurricane-force winds all winter, so when the wind calmed as much as it probably would, John gathered his crew—his fourteen-year-old brother and his brother's friend—and climbed aboard his sailboat. The Wolfwood, a thirty-five-foot steel ketch, left the port of La Caruña with three adventuresome souls aboard. Despite the squally winds, John managed to hoist the four sails and rev up the engine to a speed that would get him around the northwest corner of Spain. Fifty miles off the coast, the storm intensified, and gale-force winds began raging between thirty-five and fifty-five knots. The white-knuckled crew hung on for dear life as John worked hard to keep the boat steady while eyeing the compass.
Then he heard loud cracks! He knew it was the mast. The mainsail came down on him, and then the rear sail popped. The remaining sails collapsed and wrapped around the propeller, pulling the shaft out and causing the boat to start sinking. Chaos erupted, and the boat lost power. Like a cork on the water, the Wolfwood floated aimlessly as the cabin filled with water.
In those days Spain had no coast guard, so the fact that the antenna snapped didn't make much of a difference. The noise was deafening, and John had to bellow, "Abandon ship!" hoping his crew—just six inches away—would hear.
John fought the gales to inflate the raft—their only exit strategy. Grabbing essentials along with his brother and friend, John hastily transferred from the sinking boat to the sophisticated life raft and pushed the imperiled boat away as the winds battered their only hope of security. The prevailing current would pull them toward Iceland, and he knew they would never survive the thousand-mile journey. They may have been in a life raft, but they were still in extreme jeopardy.
John began shooting flares, hoping his distress procedure would be seen. As the boys were complaining about the smoke from the flares, John saw hope on the horizon—a two-hundred-foot Portuguese fishing boat. He thought to himself, Oh man, there is help up there! Thank God, now we've got a shot [to be saved].
After enduring six to eight hours on the ocean, the approaching boat was a welcome sight. But when it drew close and John craned his neck to look twenty-five feet straight up to the deck of safety, he wondered how they would ever ascend. Someone tossed down a rope, and it whipped around like a twister. Clutching their only lifeline, they managed to pull themselves toward the side of the ship. The wave surge acted like an elevator, hoisting each of them one at a time. The fishermen grabbed hold and tossed them fifteen feet through the air into the fish hole.
Though the rescue team did not speak English, the burly fishermen showed their thrill of triumph by bear-hugging each one as though they themselves had been saved from death at sea. John couldn't help but say, "Thank You, Lord, for giving me this day." There was hope for the future after all.
Reflecting on the experience years later, John remembered,
I didn't realize that news of the dramatic rescue had reached shore long before we did. When we docked and were escorted off the ship, television cameras and reporters were everywhere. The next day the story made the front page, with the Chinese invasion of Vietnam a secondary story. I guess that's when it really hit home that we had been saved. In my experience as a defense attorney since then, not even a judge could put the scare in me after living through something like that.
I remember surviving my first brutal storm at sea a few months before this incident. I had never been so scared in my life. A little girl was on the boat, and in her French accent she yelled to me, "Johnny, isn't this beautiful?" When I looked around and saw nothing but horror, her words caused me to look beyond the pending doom and see the powerful beauty of a storm at sea. I thought, Even this is God's gift. The reality of the storm at sea took away my extreme fear of the pounding waves and rushing waters because it taught me that fright can be replaced with faith in the hope of overcoming fear. To be saved out of the power of the sea made me figure there's "somebody" up there looking down.
John is so right. God looks down, and every other living creature must look up to Him.
Panic at Sea
Some experience adventure in the struggle to survive while others may thrive on adventure for the thrill alone. Still others seek adventure to escape the routine of life. God gives us the taste for adventure; it is part of the DNA of the human race. An example of this is seen in the millions of vacationers who visit exotic places across the sea.
Perhaps you are among these millions. For example, did you ever wish to travel the Mediterranean Sea aboard a luxury liner? On January 13, 2012, many did: newlyweds, retirees, university graduates, sightseers, and even experienced travelers took the trip of a lifetime aboard a large cruise ship, dubbed the Titanic of the twenty-first century because of its first-class accommodations and luxurious amenities. But for these adventure-seekers their dream turned into a nightmare.
Two hours after boarding the Costa Concordia off the west coast of Italy, some passengers sat down to a seven-course dinner, sipping on wine and champagne; others were entertained by magicians in theaters or by a drama on the silver screen.
But when passengers felt a jolt and the lights went out, the taste of the wine didn't calm their nerves, nor were their minds riveted to the jumbo screen. Instead, the drama of the Titanic that had occurred almost one hundred years earlier—on April 15, 1912—flashed in the minds of Concordia's passengers. Some wondered if the cruise line was playing a Friday-the-thirteenth prank. Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On," the theme song of the 1997 movie Titanic, was playing through the speakers in one of the restaurants when the ship hit the rocks.
Imagine a jolt that knocks you off course; lights are snuffed out, leaving you in sudden darkness, and the music of romance halts, giving way to eerie silence—until a voice announces all is well and assures passengers that the electrical blackout is temporary. This was the scene. Then the command was given to "remain seated," assuring passengers that there was no cause to panic. But many who were not comforted by the announcements began assessing the situation from their iPhones. The data told them that the ship was listing rapidly. Hope was in peril.
Would you have remained seated? While it is important to follow instructions, there are times when our instincts tell us that conditions have changed, and if we follow reckless orders, our lives could be in danger. This is exactly what happened on the Costa Concordia. As the linen-draped tables began to tip, sending fine china and crystal crashing to the floor, people began screaming and running toward the doors, fleeing the restaurants, casinos, theaters, and bars. There was bedlam as men, women, and children scrambled to the decks, hoping to find the light of the moon.
People frantically searched for life vests and gripped the ship's rails in order to stay on their feet while the captain was reporting to authorities that everything was fine and that there was only "a small technical failure." The truth was that the stricken vessel had already run aground.
According to port authorities, the captain continued to respond that there were no problems. Neither the ship's owner nor the Italian coast guard knew the pandemonium that was escalating as people pushed and shoved frantically through the corridors, screaming for help and guidance to the lifeboat deck. Many crew members calmly insisted that the passengers return to their cabins or remain in the lounges. Unfortunately, some did. Thankfully, most ignored the dismal and irresponsible advice. The crew had not been given orders to abandon ship, but passengers still begged the crew to launch lifeboats to save them from drowning.
Faith in a Lifeboat
In the aftermath of the disaster, some reporters scoffed at people's fears, pointing out that the Concordia, unlike the Titanic, was just a few hundred feet from shore.
While it may not be a practical comparison, one writer called the panic that occurred on the Concordia the "Titanic effect," claiming that passengers could have had "the odd idea that they were on the Titanic, [and] that lifeboats were their only means of salvation." They believed that if lifeboats did not come to their rescue, they were doomed—hope lost. They even may have been lulled into thinking "that it is the boats themselves, rather than human intelligence, good order, calm, and courage that are necessary to save human lives."
But panic was a natural response. If you did not see the lifeboats being lowered, would you cry out for the ship's captain to save you? Passengers knew that the elderly, young children, and the disabled would be incapable of swimming even the relatively short distance, especially in the dark and the cold.
One passenger reported that her husband insisted they jump off the stricken boat, but she hesitated because she couldn't swim. He gave his life jacket to her and jumped into the water, urging her to trust him. She did and survived, but he died in the water before they could get to shore.
As the story of the Titanic has become part of pop culture because of the blockbuster movie, it's unlikely that anyone in the past century would ever be on a sinking boat and not consider the fate of the Titanic. I recall as a young boy, hearing stories about Titanic's catastrophe and the vows that it would never happen again. Seems modern-day cruise-goers believed them.
Gripping What Cannot Save
When three thousand two hundred souls boarded the Concordia, they did so in the spirit of the Titanic—counting on a majestic voyage of leisure and awestruck beauty. One report said that there was a festive and upbeat atmosphere on deck as the ship set sail just two hours after the sun took its evening dip into the sea. But accounts from survivors were entwined with flashbacks of Titanic's doom.
The Titanic was acclaimed as "a monument to the promise of technology." At its launch an employee of the company boldly claimed that "not even God himself could sink this ship." This assumption was backed up with the fact that Titanic did not carry enough lifeboats for 100 percent evacuation, if one were to be necessary. When escape from the promised safety of the vessel was vital, the lifeboats that were launched off the ship were not completely filled because there were those who still believed Titanic could somehow be saved. During the evacuation, there were "reports of passengers refusing to get on the lifeboats, choosing instead to stay in the warmth and light of the doomed ship." They didn't believe that within an hour their decision would send them to death in the icy waters.
In contrast, Concordia crew members reportedly "were shoving their way past passengers. One of the crew was screaming: 'I don't want to die!'" One passenger "emerging from the terror inside the ship to find himself perched on top of the slowly submerging hull" said it was "like waking up from one nightmare and stumbling into another." He couldn't find a way to save himself but was grateful that someone else did.
Excerpted from The Reason for My hope by Billy Graham. Copyright © 2013 William F. Graham Jr.. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1 Rescued for Something 15
2 The Great Redemption 36
3 Sin Is In 65
4 The Price of Victory 97
5 Where Is Jesus? 130
6 Denning Christianity in a Designer World 172
7 No Hope of Happy Hour in Hell 221
8 He Is Coming Back 261
Afterword: Living Life with Hope 301
About the Author 347