Friday, October 26, 2012

Just As I (Wish I Could Say) I Am

For the last several years, I have been privileged to be the song leader for various seminars held at 'The Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove.'  In addition, I have been blessed to play at special 'Christmas at the Cove' programs hosted by Cliff Barrows, with George Beverly Shea providing cameo performances.  I have been blessed by the opportunity to partner with these amazing men, along with their impressive wives.  My wife, Jennifer, and I even had the joy of meeting and ministering with Dr. Billy and his estimable bride, Ruth, who has since gone on to her eternal reward.

'The Cove' is the gift of the Graham's to the body of believers, dedicated to train people in the scriptures in order to share their faith with a needy and sin-sick world.  It also serves as a place of rest and refuge for the family of God, where everyone is treated royally, like children of a king, (which indeed they are)!  The hallways are filled with pictures depicting the life of Billy Graham, from past to present; display cases show mementos from their years of ministry; the decor reflects Ruth Graham's desire to make everyone who visits feel as if they are in their family home.

Should you ever decide to go there, you'll be fed with the finest of food; not only the culinary delights, but also the sumptuous servings of the Word of God, in which is our true delight!  All this will be experienced in the most beautiful of settings, the rolling hills of Asheville, North Carolina!

I have so enjoyed my continuing sojourn with the good folks at The Cove. It is, indeed, as close to heaven as one can find on earth!

There is only one problem I have when I am there.  I find myself surrounded by the evidences of Dr. Billy's 'life well lived!'  It is awe-inspiring to trace the history of what God has done with and through him these many years. One can only marvel to observe what can be done with and through a person wholly given to the Lord and His Gospel!  (And that is only the 'witness' of The Cove; there is a whole library in Charlotte testifying to the life of this ambassador for our Messiah, his family, and his ministry partners!)

My problem?  I can't help looking at my life in the light of what I see there...and it's sometimes painful to consider!  (As we say where I come from:  Oy vey!  That's Yiddish for, 'woe is me!')

The good news is that Dr. Graham never takes credit for his historic life; he always gives glory to God, exhorting people to think on what God--not he--has done.  Even his autobiography bears the title, 'Just As I Am,' taken from the hymn by Charlotte Elliott that says:

'Just as I am, without one plea, but that thy blood was shed for me.'

With this title, Billy Graham is communicating to all of us that it is only the sacrifice of the savior, Yeshua (Jesus), that has made us acceptable to the Lord.  None of us can glory in ourselves; only in Him who has saved us and sanctified us and 'delivered us from the power of darkness and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love!'  (Colossians 1:13)

Still...I can't help wondering if my life could have been...and could be... more fruitful, more effective for God, if only...(fill in the blank)!

Will my biography be titled: 'Just As I (Wish I Could Say) I Am?

That remains to be seen!  These day I lean hard on the promise that states: 'He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ)!'  (Phillipians 1:6)

However, I thought I would simply share some of my thoughts with you, my friends, with whom I have not communicated for a long while!  (Sorry!)  With these musings, I hope to 'nudge' myself into sharing some more in the days ahead!

Pray for Dr, Graham and his family; the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the Cove; and would you please pray for me!

Jenny and I, along with our daughter, Misha, would covet your prayers, and we thank you for your faithful interest in what we are doing.

In the meantime, I will meditate on a 'hymn' from our CD, 'Hope of Glory':

'Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.'   Psalm 90:12

'Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Yeshua from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Messiah Jesus, to whom be glory forever and ever, Amen.'  (Hey, that scripture is sung on 'Hope of Glory' as well!)

Please forgive the shameless plug!!

Thanks for listening!!

Just As We Are,
           Marty (and Jenny) Goetz