Saturday, December 3, 2011

Book Review: Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well by Rev. Billy Graham

What I truly love about Billy Graham is that he is who he is whether he is preaching to a stadium filled with people or writing a book.  In either setting, Rev. Graham always seems he is talking just to you in a treasured one-on-one conversation and that makes for not only good preaching but good reading. Turning the pages of his latest offering, Nearing Home I get the feeling I am sitting on his front porch listening as he imparts wisdom, shares scriptures, and invites us to live every moment of our lives for Christ, even our latter years.

"We never know at what stage, or age, we are living the last chapter of life. Some do not survive birth. Others are taken in their youth. Many are snatched from this earth in the prime of life" (Graham, 2011, pg. 163). It is those simple words found in the pages of Billy Graham's latest book titled, "Nearing Home" that have struck a chord with me and made me realize his message within this book is not just for the aging but for the young adult and middle aged. This book provides a great source of wisdom about life. However, living, dying and the in-between is consistently examined through a biblical lens which is encouraging.

Rev. Graham's thoughts range from the practical (living wills and estate plans, making your own funeral arrangements) to the inspirational (keeping depression, crankiness and loneliness from seeping in, the importance of making amends). He returns often to the theme of making peace with one's declining physical abilities. As always, Rev. Graham tells the story with vast Biblical knowledge, grace, integrity, and beautiful simplicity. The book is filled with wisdom from this spiritual giant of a man, the most celebrated and followed minister of our time. His complete love and devotion to his Lord, Jesus Christ, and his family are totally evident as he remembers life-events and gives simple, loving advice to the reader.

Most poignant for me, though, were the moments when Mr. Graham becomes reflective about his wife Ruth, who died four years ago, and about his personal interactions with others, including President Reagan during his declining years with Alzheimer's and a pastor in South Carolina whose television broadcasts Mr. Graham comes to rely on for spiritual sustenance.

I highly recommend this book. Its not just for people "Nearing Home". Its for anyone who wants to know how to age gracefully in God's eyes. The words of Psalm 92:14 come to mind, "They shall still bear fruit in old age; They shall be fresh and flourishing."

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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