Judith D Collins
Where I Am
Heaven, Eternity, and Our Life Beyond
By: Billy Graham
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: 9/29/2015
My Rating: 5 Stars
The Final Chapter From Billy Graham.
While his earthly vision dims, the glory of heaven is illuminated as Billy Graham, the beloved evangelist, shares from his past, and his present, the reality of eternity.
Although Billy Graham may no longer preach from the stadiums of the world, in this book you will sense his heart still beats strong with the resounding assurance that he will spend eternity with Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. In Where I Am, Mr. Graham invites and strongly encourages all of us to contemplate our eternal hope.
When asked, “Where is Heaven?” Mr. Graham has wisely replied, “Heaven is where Jesus Christ is, and I'm going to Him soon.”
The greatest promise ever given to the human race came from the lips of our Redeemer when Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me...I go to prepare a place for you...I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:1–3). Just after his ninety-fifth birthday, Mr. Graham proclaimed with resolve, “When I die, tell others that I've gone to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ—that's where I am.”
A special thank you to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Dr. Billy Graham delivers a powerful, brutally honest, crucial, and thought-provoking message, as he invites others to secure their eternal hope, reiterated by his son Franklin Graham’s foreword—sharing his incredible past of eighty years of teachings to the present, at almost 97 years-of-age, in his final chapter: The “reality of eternity” in his 33rd book, WHERE I AM, Eternity, and Our Life Beyond.
Bookmarking almost every page, a book for everyone, no matter your age, walk of life, or religion. A well-written book, easy to understand, one to treasure for years to come-- as a constant reminder of our choices and God's reward for us. From a highly respected evangelist, and leader, there is so much great material here, from scripture to stories of the Bible, and Graham's own experiences. I am including some of the top highlights in the book, which I found insightful.
There is hope, and when the end of this life comes, eternity will be realized. When does eternity begin? Hell is real-- no matter how much we dislike the discussions. Each of us is left with a choice. A decision to make before the end of our life. None of us know our last day. It could be tomorrow, or an hour from now. There are no second chances. We either say yes, or no. No maybes, or straddling the fence—living in both worlds.
The saved and the unsaved. Two roads. Two choices. Sacrifice, or selfishness, salvation or damnation, belief in Jesus, or rejection of Him; abundant life, or eternal punishment? Heaven or Hell? Either way, it will cost something. Salvation is free to us, but it cost Jesus His Life. It will also cost you your sins if you choose to receive His gift.
Leading us from Genesis, the beginning; the creation, the freedom of choice—to live eternally or die spiritually. Here Adam and Eve were introduced to the idea of death and the interlude to eternity. A warning. Humans seem to defy warnings for our own good. Man’s sin. The original sin was, and still is the human choice to be one’s own god.
His creation plan was designed with eternal life in view, which is why He planted the tree of life in the midst, of the garden. Then came SIN. Then came death. God gives us a choice; to choose eternal life; or choose the horrors of outer darkness forever.
Surprisingly, many do not choose life. This is the sin of pride—to control one’s own life, to be in charge, not to be accountable to anyone, not even the One, who breathed into the body the very breath of life. Their eyes were opened to the difference between good and evil. The cross became the symbol of sacrifice; the tree of life.
Hell was created for the devil and his demons, and Satan wants to take the world with him into this diabolical place. As Graham reiterates, Hell is one of the most daunting and repeated topics seen in art, read in literature, debated among educators, and heard in music. The Bible spells HELL: Hopelessly, Everlasting, Literally Loveless.
When 911 occurred, Americans were brought to their knees, and churches were full as people were frightened and humbled; however, quickly grew complacent again. The story of the human race. We want God to bless us, and when He does we gladly accept His blessings. When bad things happen, we forget His blessings, and blame Him for our bad times.
Death stalks the rich and the poor, the educated and the uneducated. It is no respecter of race, color, or creed. Its shadow lurks day and night. We never know when the moment of death will come for us. Church membership does not save us. Doing good deeds does not save us. Unless we allow Christ to destroy the evil within us, the evil with us still wants to destroy Him.
Many refuse to turn from sin, afraid of man’s ridicule, than of God’s judgment. We recall how the whole world laughed at Noah, among others throughout the Bible. Not one thought God would carry out his warnings. He did. The flood destroyed.
Both the Old and New Testaments teach “life after death.” From the beginning of time, we see life, death, warnings, and judgments. God sent His Soon to rescue the human race. He still gives us the freedom to choose whether we will live for Him, or die in our sins.
“He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”-- John 3:36.
We love to talk about God’s Heaven but are reluctant to mention God’s judgment seat, Hell. Man’s heart is consumed with the mystery and terror of continued life after death. In today’s world steeped in immorality and threatened by terrorism—the human heart has an entrance---a decision to open or close. A universal phenomenon. The spirit. Yet, as the book so boldly exclaims, very few make the conscious choice of where they will spend eternity . . . even though it is their choice to make.
Every day should be lived with eternity on our minds. The big question: If we did, wouldn’t we live differently, with purpose? Any civilization that neglects its spiritual and moral life is going to disintegrate.
The good news! The blood of Christ provides life and all that sustains life: redemption, remission, cleansing, justification, reconciliation, peace, access, fellowship, and protection from evil and the evil one. We have to repent. God is ready to forgive.
Jesus died on the cross, He conquered death through His resurrection. There is no reason to fear eternity if you place your trust and faith wholly in the eternal One.
The reality is that none of us will ever escape the righteousness of God. Where do you fit in? All people are sinners. Our sins nailed Jesus Christ to the cross and we have His blood on our hands. But God wants the blood of His Son to cover the sin in our hearts. This is why he came.
However, God is a God of justice and righteousness. He is not preparing a place in Heaven for unrepentant sinners. While we have contributed nothing to God’s free gift of salvation, there is a condition to possessing it—we must confess our sins, turn from it, and receive Christ on His terms.
God desires all people be saved. Those who repent of sin against God, receive His forgiveness, and live in obedience to Him will have the goodness of Heaven. But those who reject His love, those who are not willing to turn their backs on evil, and look to Him as their Master; God in His righteousness must judge them if they decide to remain in their sins and self-pleasure, choosing Hell for themselves. History will someday come to an end, rendering the world dominated by evil, a total failure. Wickedness in every form will cease: hatred, greed, jealousy, war, and death.
In WHERE I AM, Dr. Graham explores what the Bible says about the two roads to eternity. The world constantly is talking about eternity. He stresses it is time for the true church to tell others how to get to Heaven and how to avoid Hell. The glorious joy that awaits those who will follow Him!
WHERE I AM is a gathering of God’s Promises from the Scriptures, all sixty-six books of the Bible, by a man who is still a preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, in the midst of political, economic, and cultural uncertainties, to find comfort in the hope that comes from the unchanging truth of God’s Word. Even though he no longer preaches from the stadiums his message remains the same—he urges readers to take the message seriously.
God has prepared Heaven for those who obey Him. He also has prepared a place for Satan, his demons and all those who reject Christ.
Dr. Graham delivers a crucial message and challenges churches, in turmoil today—molding their programs around the community—not the Word of God. Churches are spending more time learning worldly ways than the Word, leading people astray theologically— to spiritual and moral decay, left drifting without a compass. They need to discuss Hell. Not just Heaven.
We are an obsessed society accumulating material possessions, building our bodies to impress others, worshiping money and devising ways to get more; power and position to lord over others, while exchanging truth for lies. Religious services now focus on good deeds as a placement for living in obedience to Christ. We are educating the mind, and neglecting the soul.
Satan is very much out in the open, flexing his power, alluring through music, movies, TV, and other entertainment. The Bible explains in detail what Hell is really like. A place of sorrow, unrest, torment, and darkness; a place of everlasting punishment for those who reject Christ. The purpose of Hell is judgment is sin.
What about you? Do you know where you will be when you step into eternity? The cross is the meeting place between God and man and Jesus is the bridge. The cross is the symbol of forgiveness. It represents reconciliation, and victory. Once you have been there you can never be the same. It does not fade. The cross is in the hearts of those who have committed themselves to Him. It is eternal.
Each short chapter examines the biblical reality that mankind chooses where to spend life after death. There are no second chances. No turning back. There is no afterthought in the afterlife. Today is the time to decide where you will last forever—either Heaven or Hell. What will be your eternal destination after this earthly life is over?
As Graham reiterates, the great revelation for him is to know that when the Lord calls him home, “Where I am then, is where He will be, in the place He has prepared from the beginning.” (John 14:3).
Graham's integrity has encouraged millions to heed his spiritual guidance, including Martin Luther King, Jr., Bono, Muhammad Ali and United States presidents from Eisenhower, to the present. He has been rated by the Gallop organization as "One of the Ten Most Admired Men in the World" a staggering 51 times. He is regarded by contemporaries as humorous, non-judgmental, sincere, innocent and accepting.
As a native of Charlotte, NC (as is Dr. Graham), around the same age as my parents, and I the same age as his son— a constant household name. Growing up in a Southern Baptist household, in the fifties and sixties, I recall many nights, with the family gathered around the B/W television, watching Rev. Billy Graham’s many crusades and invitations.
By the middle 1970s, many deemed him "America's pastor" from his radio programs, his televised programs and crusades. The charismatic and heartfelt gospel sermons reached billions, and have touched many hearts and souls through his tremendous work and affiliations.
Highly recommend WHERE I AM; one of Graham’s top books. I feel fortunate to have had Christian leaders in my life, such as Dr. Graham, and hope this book will empower you, to make your choice of how you will spend eternity. It speaks to all of us.
After all, "Eternity is Forever", and deserves preparation and planning for your final much awaited destination.
About the Author
Evangelist Billy Graham took Christ literally when He said in Mark 16:15, “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.”
Mr. Graham has preached the Gospel to more people in live audiences than anyone else in history—nearly 215 million people in more than 185 countries and territories—through various meetings, including Mission World and Global Mission. Hundreds of millions more have been reached through television, video, film, and webcasts.
Mr. Graham is regularly listed by the Gallup organization as one of the “Ten Most Admired Men in the World,” whom it described as the dominant figure in that poll since 1948—making an unparalleled 58th appearance and 52st consecutive appearance in 2014. He has also appeared on the covers of Time, Newsweek, Life, U.S. News and World Report, Parade and numerous other magazines and has been the subject of many newspaper and magazine feature articles and books.
Mr. Graham founded the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) in 1950, headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn., until relocating to Charlotte, N.C., in 2003.
Mr. Graham’s counsel has been sought by presidents, and his appeal in both the secular and religious arenas is evidenced by the wide range of groups that have honored him, including numerous honorary doctorates from many institutions in the U. S. and abroad. Read More Twitter