Loving the Person—Part 2
Do you think of the Holy Spirit as an “optional extra”—you can take Him or leave Him? Why would I want to have anything to do with a ghost? How can we grieve the Holy Spirit? All this and more in this week’s episode.
today on the johnny Coburg show. My guest is anne Graham lots. She was called the best preacher in the family by her late father Billy Graham An is an international speaker and a best selling author when an lost her husband of 49 years, she felt both shock and intense grief than just a few years later, her beloved father Billy Graham passed away and then six months after his funeral and was diagnosed with breast cancer. Yet through it all, she relied on the constant companionship of the Holy Spirit to help her. We invite you to join us on this edition of the johnny Karberg show to here and explain how you can rely on the Holy Spirit to be your constant companion. No matter what you are facing, welcome to our program. I’m john Achterberg and my guest today is anne Graham Watson. I’m so glad that you’re here and taking time out of your busy schedule. And we’re talking about a topic that I think is of interest to both the non christians and the christians and that is this some of you that are non christians and you’re thinking about jesus. You haven’t crossed the line yet, but you’ve heard people say if you do invite christ to come into your life, you don’t know what that means and you don’t know what it means when christians say, hey if you do, he’ll change your life and if you’ve got problems, if you’ve got a drinking problem, a drug problem, a marriage problem, there’s a mess somewhere at work or something. The fact is he can straighten those kinds of messes out in your life. And you say, how can he do that? And so we want to talk about how God does that. And then I want to talk to those of you that are Christians. Maybe you go to a church, maybe you’ve gone to church all of your life. And uh, like one lady told me, she said what I heard at church growing up, she said, I would, I listened to it for 16 years. When I came home, I looked at my family and I looked at the neighbors that went to that church and none of us did what they talked about from the bible in that church. And she said, therefore I left. Okay. And I want to answer the question, those of you that are christians is the holy spirit real to you. He said, who is the holy Spirit? And, and that’s the question we’re talking about today is how do people learn to know who the Holy Spirit is, Why he’s important, what he can do in our lives that some people have never been told starting anywhere that you’d like, you know, the Holy Spirit. For many of us raised in the traditional church, He’s treated like an optional extra. When I was growing up, he was referred to as the Holy Ghost and I didn’t want to know a ghost. So I just ignored him. And um, you know, focused on God the father God the son. But as an adult, as I studied the scriptures, I found he’s not a ghost, john, he’s not a dove, he’s not a flame of fire, he’s not a wind, he’s not oil, he’s not an ecstatic experience. Um, the, the Holy Spirit is a living, invisible person. He has a mind to think in the world, to act, emotions to feel. He’s referred to as the third person of the trinity, not because he’s the least, which is what I thought. And I thought it was, you know, we had the grand glorious god, the father, the beloved son and the Holy Spirit was like a PS, but that’s not, not. So he’s referred to as the third person of the trinity because it’s God. The father revealed primarily in the old testament. God the son and the gospels God, the Holy Spirit and acts and the epistles and he’s not an optional extra. He has a divine necessity, cannot function in your christian life without him. And I love the fact that you’re talking about him as a person, a person who loves you, that when you invite christ into your life, actually, jesus sends the Holy Spirit and he comes and lives in your life and jesus, he’s another just like me and the greek word, that another means he’s like the same, except he doesn’t have a physical body, jesus is a god man in heaven and the Holy Spirit is an invisible Godhead who is inside of us, he is the person of the Holy Spirit who can be grieved as well when we don’t know about him, When we don’t obey him, when we don’t recognize what he can do, why Jesus even sent him and we miss out on so many things. And this is what I want to talk about today. Maybe you’ve got a verse from scripture that would outline this for people that Jesus told the disciples on the last night just before he went to the Cross, he told him that he was going to send the Holy Spirit. Can you read that verse? He says in this is John chapter 16 and just the first few verses, if I can read five through seven, jesus said now I’m going to him who sent me yet. None of you asked me, where are you going? Because I’ve said these things, you’re filled with grief. But I tell you the truth, it’s for your good. I’m going away unless I go away, the counselor will not come to you, but if I go, I will send him to you and the counselor, as you already pointed out in john chapter 14, he said, he’s going to ask the father to give us another counselor. So jesus is a counselor, but the word, another as you pointed out means someone exactly the same as So the Holy Spirit is exactly the same as jesus, but without his man’s physical body. And so one of my favorite names is one that we ended our last program on that he’s jesus in me. So when I put my faith in, jesus as my savior invited him to come into my heart as my Lord surrendered my life to him, he came into me in the person of the Holy Spirit. And at the time john I was 789 years of age, I asked Jesus to come in my heart. I didn’t know about the Holy Spirit. You know, at that point, Jesus understood. So he, he honored my faith and he came in to me even though I was inviting jesus to come in, he came in in the person of the Holy Spirit. So if there’s somebody out there who’s asked jesus to come into their heart and they think, well then I don’t have the Holy Spirit, Yes, you do. Because the Holy Spirit is jesus in you. So um, we can’t function without him and he has many wonderful names. Uh, Jesus in me is sort of implied in john chapter 14 and john chapter 16, but Jesus said in that verse in verse seven, that it’s better for jesus to go away so that the Holy Spirit can come. So, so having the invisible presence of jesus is better than having his visible presence. And that’s an amazing thing. Now, one of the things that just struck me in is that why has God raised you up to be such a great speaker all over the world and people love to hear you speak all right, when the apostle paul who was saul at that time met jesus, the risen jesus on the road to Damascus, he was blinded by it. And the fact is he actually saw jesus and then was blinded by it and he saw the resurrected jesus and as he was recuperating God sent a man to him and said, I want you to go and tell this man how great I’m going to use him. But I also, and there’s a P. S to it, how much he’s going to have to suffer for doing this. You have suffered. God’s used you in a great way. But in reading your book, I realized how much you have suffered. And I don’t think that people realize that the daughter of Billy Graham has suffered. Things like they have and one of the things that we’re going to talk about is he’s the comforter, he’s the helper. But the fact is tell folks out there some of the things that you’ve gone through in your life where you’ve needed the Holy Spirit and how he’s helped you, He’s comforted you, You know, um it’s difficult for me john to go over some of those things because God has been so good to me and I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining, you know, life just throws us curve balls, doesn’t it, life is hard and when you’re my age, you know that and if somebody’s had an easy life all of their lives, then praise God for it. But, but I think we had talked earlier about the fact that I’m married young. Um, I had two miscarriages when I desperately wanted to have a baby and then I won’t go into it. But I prayed and fasted one day a week for a year until God whispered in my heart and said he would give me a son next month. I got pregnant and had a son. He grew up 28, he was diagnosed with an unusual form of cancer and went through surgery, radiation. Um, he also married and his marriages have ended in divorce, which was not my picture for my son and I prayed for him every day, you know, my life before pregnancy, every day of pregnancy every day of his life. And that was um, there’s no pain like that of a parent who sees a child sort of going over the edge. Um, and just to say parenthetically he’s over 20 years out of his surgery. And he also has really come through spiritually and to a very, um, he loves the Lord, he preaches the gospel. He’s not interim pastor in the church as well as doing manual work. So God has blessed that. But the suffering of a, of a parent of a mother is very difficult and Um, my husband had adult one diabetes and went through all sorts of issues. You my wife was telling me about a time when she found you on the floor with some emergency and I can’t tell you how many times I found my husband on the floor covered in blood because of something that had happened. He was on dialysis. Yeah, he was on dialysis the last six years of his life and I went home the last three years of his life. I just got off the road to take care of him. Which was my joy. I loved taking care of him. Um Almost 13 years ago now my my mother went to heaven. That’s maybe one of the hardest deaths I’ve been through because the mother is somebody very precious and she understood me, she knew me, she didn’t have to explain things to her, she just got me, you know, and so her her move to heaven was devastating to me. Um And then it was five years ago I found my husband unresponsive in our pool and he was rushed to the hospital, put on life support and three days later we released him and he went to heaven. And two years after that is when my father went to heaven, I was at a friend’s house, she was giving me a back massage when I got that phone call and as soon as I got the phone call, she overheard and she just put her arms around me and prayed for me. And um, then I had to go through all the things that were associated with that. It’s very difficult to grieve publicly, you know? And um, and then six months after that, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and went through surgery, chemotherapy radiation, um, still checking with the doctor every few months, you know, and have some other issues. But so, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We can talk about some other things spiritually. I’ve been um, wounded enormously by God’s people. The the wonderful thing is, I’m so thankful that I know God well enough. And this is the Holy Spirit in me that reveals, you know, at the end of this passage, it says he’s the one that reveals jesus to us. He reveals the truth to us. And so, going through some of those wounds, I knew that God was not like the one that these people were portraying and that God God loved me, he was in my corner, He was for me. And uh, and the Holy Spirit just brought me through some horrific times. So, suffering is part of life. But but the wonderful good news is that we have the Holy Spirit to carry us through all of that, right? Say a word to the people that are watching right now and they’ve experienced one or two of the things that you’ve gone through this whole list. Okay, tell them about the Holy Spirit taking you through each of these things. This is our whole purpose for this program is that they would want to experience and love the Holy Spirit. How can they do that? You know you you said at the beginning um that the Holy Spirit is somebody who will change you and sometimes that’s off putting to us because we think I’m a pretty good person, I don’t think I need to change. But but I think rather than looking at big character changes, he can take the despair in your life and turn it into hope and he can take the grief. That’s um only you know about in the middle of the night when you’re just heartbreaks and the tears wet your pillow, he can turn that into peace and comfort. He can take anger and turn it into love. Um he he changes some of those things so he settles us down on the inside. He makes sense. Out of the senseless. And when we’re confused he brings clarity and when we don’t know what to do, he gives wisdom. And so the Holy Spirit, you know every situation in life is different. But one of the things that we need to learn as christians is to rely on the Holy Spirit and we talked about his being a standby and you referred to a car accident that I had. Yeah. Now where are we getting these names were taking the amplified version which gives you a definition and it gives you all of the names that we’re talking about. We’re talking about helper comforter, advocate. Intercessor counselor strengthen er and stand by which we haven’t covered yet. All of these words come out of one greek word which is loaded. You always see it in john 16 7, you’ll see a footnote next to it, jesus and I’m gonna send you another the comforter or a helper. And if you define that word, all of the different meanings, this is where we’re getting all of these things that the Holy Spirit actually does in our life and this is what I don’t want the people to miss. This is not just for you and me, this is for them. This is for the average person all around the world. Maybe they’ve never even gone to school, can’t sign their name. They’re just listening right now. The fact is the Holy Spirit of God thinks they’re important so much. He loves them and he’s willing to work with them. Now one of the words that comes out of the amplified version, the definition of helper is the fact is stand by and you’ve got a fantastic illustration that’s in your book here. You’re coming home from your dad’s house and you’re gonna drive and tell me what happened You know um standby. He’s he’s there for regular use of emergencies and so stand by when you have an emergency. You just need him right then and so I was driving back, we have an interstate. I was going about 70 mph I was I had both hands on the wheel um I wasn’t listening to the radio, I was just thinking back on my visit with my father and I went to pass a car and I went to pass her and instead of you know nobody was on the road just she was there and I was there and I went to pulling around her and suddenly she just made perpendicular move to the left, right, straight in front of me and so going that fast I slammed on the brakes as hard as I could but I knew I was gonna plow indoor and I could just see her head over the door in the window in her car and I just um somehow God kept me from hitting her broadside but I spun around and she spun around and then our cars were like bumper cars, you know when you just crash into each other, the glass, the breaking metal, the when I came out of the spin um I found myself going across the interstate straight headed for an embankment when I knew I would crash down, I don’t know how many feet and uh and just at that time I put on the brakes this time my brakes pulled the car to a stop and I slowed to a stop beside the road and and the most amazing thing was in my here I heard cheering and high fiving and and that was tremendous. What a great piece of driving you did great. And um there was nobody in my car. I had, it was below freezing outside there to um other vehicles that had stopped to just stick there facing that I couldn’t speak to him. They thought I was in shock, but I was listening to what I believe was an angelic chorus of the standby who had sent his angels to guard me in a situation like that. I pulled out of it. My car was not quite totaled, but it was just a mess. Her car was totaled, but both of us walked away from that accident without any damage to ourselves. And so the point I want to make john is that um when you have an emergency, you don’t have time to prepare for it. So there’s no time to confess your sin, Get right with God, claim jesus as your savior, invite the holy spirit to come in. All you can do is just say, help me, God help me. And and so it’s important to establish that personal relationship with God before the emergency rises because emergencies are emergencies because they’re emergencies. You know, their crises, we we can’t plan for them or expect them or know when they’re coming. They just boom and all of a sudden, you know, your spouses walked out all of a sudden you’ve been fired from a job. All of a sudden you’re kid is in rebellion. All of a sudden you’re in a car and all of a sudden the doctor says you’re dying. You know, it’s just all of a sudden like that. And and at that moment your emotions, you almost frozen on the inside. You don’t know what to do except say help me. And the Holy Spirit is standing by to help you when we call on him now. And a lot of people that are listening to us, they’ve gone to church and they’ve actually got hurt by other christians at church. Okay. And here is the intercessor. The Holy Spirit is an intercessor. He pleads our cause and defends us when things happen to us that we didn’t even do okay. You had this happen to you. Well, my husband and I have been in this particular church for 15 years and I had taught a large women’s bible class in the church. 500 women came every week for for nine years including the pastor’s wife, I’d say that’s pretty good. Yeah, it was, you know, the Lord blessed that many lives were changed, including mine because that’s when I got into the scripture, I discovered so many of these things. Yeah. And uh, and then they decided that the pastor was retiring and they were going to look for another pastor and um, my husband was on that search committee, They were concerned because they didn’t want somebody who believe it or not um believe in the inerrancy of the scripture, they wanted somebody who was more, I don’t know what you’d call them, liberal, progressive, moderate. Um however, those terms are, but somebody who didn’t really present the word of God is the word of God, which it is, which is I believe it’s an errant infallible inspired. And um so one thing led to another, they removed my class um and another church of the same denomination opened their doors and um so I I didn’t miss a beat, you know, my class went on, but then um when sunday morning, when the congregation was present for for worship service, they had a business meeting and they voted my husband off of the search committee. Um and when they called the vote, the vote was like 600 to 200. And when it was announced the whole sanctuary was filled with applause and just applauding the fact that my husband who had been chairman of the board of deacons, head of the men’s fellowship, taught the largest sunday school class in the church. He was now removed from the search committee. And as we walked to the parking lot and I was holding my husband’s hand, I just told him I can’t go back, you know, and so he agreed. And um but then the newspapers picked it up, you know, so Billy Graham’s daughter thrown out of the church. And um so they had lots of things that were not accurate in the newspaper of course, because it’s my town where I live, it’s not, you know, and so they’re saying things that aren’t right, but but I was taught not to defend myself, let the fruit speak for itself in my class, there are many changed lives. God had poured out his blessings so people could just look at the class, but during that time, what did God do in your heart? Um, you know, he taught me that I needed to live out my um my faith. So I had to live out um forgiveness. I had to live out. I had to release any bitterness, anger, but but what I want to point out that that newspaper that had me on the front page, somebody thrown out of the church one year later, they did a profile piece about three pages on me and it totally vindicated not just me, which I wasn’t concerned about so much, but my class and what was being taught and so the holy Spirit on you had been my really my advocate in that case, just pleading my cause and giving me favor in the eyes of the very um paper that had disparaged me and the class went on a class is still going on today. I’m not teaching it every week, but now we have 10 classes, his bible study fellowship, 10 classes in Raleigh that God has poured out his blessing and um so I I know that the advocate, I pleaded my cause not in the church, you know, I haven’t been back in the church, that particular church, but in the meantime take one more minute and pray a prayer that folks that are hurt in their own heart, things like this have happened to them or they’ve had an emergency that’s come on, they weren’t expecting prey for them. Maybe a prayer that they could say to the Lord to take the hurt out of their heart to give them calmness in all of these emergencies that to give them confidence that he’s gonna be there, pray a prayer that they could pray to the Lord themselves and see what the Lord does in their life. Would you do that? I would love to do that. I will say this before I pray that the key to being released from that hurt and the wounds and the bitterness, you have to forgive the wound. Er um so that’s a tough call but let me pray that for you. So father, we just bow before you now and we think of wounds, oh my goodness and we see your hands and feet and the brow where the thorns were and we know you were wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities and through your stripes that were healed and so you understand what it feels like to be wounded by religious people who call themselves by God’s name, but they’re not. So Lord, I pray for those who are watching and listening who have been hurt by those who call themselves christians. They’ve called themselves by your name by religious people, maybe some other religion, but they have been deeply wounded. So right now would you let them know that you understand that you will heal their broken heart, you will bind up their wounds, but they need to bring them to you? And so Lord is right now, we just bring our wounds to you and uh, in our minds. Um, we, we see the wound er and the person who has perpetrated such injustice and hurt and right now we name who they are to you and we choose to forgive them and not because they deserve it. Lord, so many of them don’t at all, but because you for jesus sake have forgiven us and so our forgiveness of others is an act of worship. So we choose to forgive that other person and Lord, we also would choose to reach out and bless that person and maybe write a note, make a phone call, just do something that would bless that person, which would set us free so that we can get on with it. So we thank you that you understand you hear our prayer, Thank you dear Holy spirit that you’re a helper, but you’re also a healer and you can heal the wounded heart and we pray this in jesus name. Amen. Thank you Ann and folks, thanks for being with us this week and stay tuned. We’ve got a personal word for you and I’m gonna tell you a little bit about what anne is going to talk about next week. So stick with us. Stay tuned, john will be right back, Jesus said he came to seek and to save those who are lost. He says it was because God so loved the world. He loved you so much that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. You see, Jesus came into the world to pay for your sins. He died on the cross and then he rose again so that you can be completely forgiven and spend eternity with him. This isn’t something that you can earn through your own good works. He offers it to you as a free gift which you can receive through putting your faith in him. If you would like to do this right now by asking jesus to be your savior. I invite you to join me in this simple prayer. Just say, Dear God, thank you for loving me. I know I’m a sinner. I ask for your forgiveness right now. I believe that jesus is your son and that he died for all my sins on the cross. I also believe that you raised him from the dead and right now I want to trust him as my savior and follow him as my Lord from this day forward, please give me the strength to live for you. I ask this in jesus name. Amen you know folks, one day I said a prayer just like that. And if you prayed this today, I want you to know what God promises to do for you. The bible says who so ever shall call upon the name of the Lord, that’s you. If you just prayed this prayer and if you did, I want you to see what God says he will do. He says shall be saved. That’s what God does. He promises to save you. Now if you’d like to watch this program again or share it with a friend, you can do so for free, right on your phone, on our app, just go to the app, store on your device and search for anchor berg. Once you download it, you can watch this series over and over again. As well as 100 other programs, anytime, anywhere. Absolutely free. You can find these programs by tapping on the program’s icon on our apps. Homepage there, you can also find our large collection of question and answer videos where we have leading scholars answering your tough questions about the faith. Along with this our app lets you read and even listen to the bible in over 1000 different languages, simply tap on the bible icon displayed on the main page of our app. Once it opens, you can find your language by tapping on the box at the top. If you’ve never read or listened to the bible, I encourage you to find your language and check it out for yourself. The gospel accounts of Matthew, mark, luke and john are a great place to start. So in verse three and God said, that’s the word of God going forth. That’s the son of God. Everything he said was so, but it was working in connection with the Holy Spirit. So So I would apply the Holy Spirit’s presence to prayer today. So when we bathe something in rapid and prayer and then we give out God’s word or we’re in God’s word for ourselves. Day by day by day there’s transformation. There’s change in the end. In Genesis Chapter one. Planet Earth brought pleasure to God. It was beautiful and he blessed it and said it was very good.