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Several years ago C.S. Lewis wrote a book entitled “The Screwtape Letters. Screwtape was a Master Demon who wrote a series of letters to his nephew Wormwood, who was a Demon in training. I came something this week that someone who had obviously read Lewis’ book had written. It is another letter. This one written by a Demon named Twisttape to his young apprentice Harshwood. I made a few changes to it, and want to share it with you in closing today. The letter begins: Dear Harshwood, I understand that you are about to graduate with honors and begin your work on earth. I’m Glad that your training went so well. I would like to give you one piece of advice, one bit of devilish wisdom that I feel will be very useful to you as you begin your tour of duty on Earth. One of the most important things I learned about humans during my tour of duty was that they think very highly of themselves. For the most part they consider themselves to be good, moral and upstanding people. The faults, the shortcomings and even the sins of others are very obvious to them. But when they look at themselves all they see is what they want to see, which of course are their good points. My advice to you my dear Harshwood, is to encourage that kind of thinking. Encourage it for all its worth. Our Enemy wants them to see their sins as He sees them, so they will turn back to Him. But that’s the last thing we want. I encourage you to blind their eyes, their hearts, and their souls to that revelation. Encourage them to think only of their good points and you, my dear friend Harshwood, will succeed in damning thousands of human beings to the fires of Hell. When Pastors and Evangelists preach about repentance convince them that there is no need for them to repent, that the pastor is really talking about the person sitting in the balcony or on the other side of the church. Convince them that they are in pretty good shape, that there is no need for them to repent, and then you’ll have them. For you see my dear Harshwood, when human beings start thinking about how good they are, they get filled with pride, and when that happens they are as good as ours. Good luck on your tour of duty, my heart goes out to you as you use every trick, every scheme, every evil desire, every good intention, every proud thought to win souls for the god of this world, our lord and Master, Satan himself. Signed Your Devoted Teacher, Twisttape
John 5:1-7 (Impotent man)
1 After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 2 Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. 3 In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. 4 For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. 5 And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? 7 The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.
Man had been this way 38 years. Jesus asks strange question ‘do you want to be healed?’
‘Of course I do, you’d say.
What was response?
Excuses – v.7
Feeling sorry for self won’t help.
God responds to faith, not tears.
Jesus didn’t allow the man room for self-pity.
His confidence was in angels and bubbles, not in God.
This man needed to stand up on the inside first before he stood up on the outside.
The man was in self pity; self pity feeds on itself and God can’t help you.
Do you really want to be made whole? Then have confidence in God.
Don’t dwell on past failures or defeats. Dwell – meditate on God’s grace and mercy.
Don’t wait for someone also to rescue you.
A couple years ago, I took a tour of a cave near Raystown. The guide taught us an interesting fact about this. A person who lives in total darkness for just a few months will become irrevocably blind. Darkness not only hinders sight, it causes blindness.
AWL FOR THE GOOD
In 1809, Simon Renee Braille and his wife Monique welcomed their fourth child into the world-- a lively boy named Louis. They lived in a small stone house near Paris where Braille was the local harness maker. Leather working tools are dangerous, so the toddler had been instructed not to go into his father's shop alone.
But when Louis was still small, he slipped into the shop, and with curiosity started to handle all the fascinating tools. As Louis was inspecting an awl, the sharp tool used to punch holes in leather, he slipped and punctured a part of his eye with the tool. The injured eye became infected. The little boy could not keep his hands from rubbing and scratching the wound, and soon the infection spread to his other eye as well. When Louis was only 4, he became completely blind.
Louis was fortunate enough to study at the Royal Institution for Blind Youth in Paris. He excelled as an organist, and at twelve years old began asking the question “How can the blind read?” Over his summer break at home, Louis was determined to find the answer. As He moved and groped around his father’s shop in search of the right tool for his task, the awl presented itself as perfect for the job. The awl would make the raised dots he had seen in the French military system of “night writing.”
And with the very instrument that had blinded him, Louis worked and worked until he had created a syste...
The famous preacher, Charles Swindoll once said, "Kindness is a language that deaf people can hear and that blind people can see."
For more from Chuck, visit http://www.insight.org
Sermon Central Staff
COMING TO GRIPS WITH THE SOVEREIGN WILL OF GOD
I want to tell you a story about my friend, Jim Pence. Jim is an author who has written several books. But his first novel was titled "Blind Sight" and was published by Tyndale a number of years ago. Jim wrote this book, but he really didn't think it was all that of a success. Many writers write their first book and it's a springboard to others. It's a great book, but it wasn't his favorite work.
But for some reason, he wrote this book. Recently Jim emailed this story to me about his book:
"This past spring, two young men broke into Terry C's home before dawn. They shot him and killed his wife, and then went upstairs and murdered the couple's two young sons. They then set fire to the house and left the family for dead. Although he had been shot five times, Terry escaped through the bathroom window and crawled three hundred yards to a neighbor's. To make matters worse his daughter was implicated in the crime. Overnight, Terry lost his entire family.
"A few months later, Terry went back to his property. The remains of the house had been bulldozed and little was left. Torn with grief, and unable to understand why God had taken his family and allowed him to survive, Terry cried out to God, "Why did you take my family? Why didn't you take me, too? I don't understand."
"As he stood there, Terry noticed a scrap of paper stuck to the trunk of a nearby tree. He went over and picked it up. The paper was part of a page from my novel, "Blind Sight." The edges of the page were scorched and it was difficult to read. But the words were like a direct message from God:
"'I couldn't understand why You would take my family and leave me behind to struggle along without them. And I guess I still don't totally understand that part of it. But I do believe that You're sovereign; You're in control...and I know that You've brought Justine and those children into my life. And they need me. Lord, You could have taken my life that day, but You spared it. And You've gone on sparing it. It doesn't matter what happens to me now, but if I can help them, please let me do it.'
"Those paragraphs turned Terry's life around. He found the strength to go on and is now sharing his testimony in churches around the country. When he speaks, he brings the page from my novel, now preserved in a frame, and shows it to the congregation.
"Not only had the house burned, but the site had been bulldozed and the debris hauled off. What little was left had been exposed to the weather for months. And out of a nearly 400 page book, all that remained was a brief passage where a man who had lost his family came to grips with the Sovereignty of God and decided to move forward.
That scrap of paper lay there against a tree trunk as if waiting for Terry C: a man who had lost his family and desperately needed to come to grips with the Sovereign goodness of God.
(From a sermon by Daniel Darling, Joseph, The Unsung Hero of Christmas - Message Two -- 2008, 2/17/2011)
If the Blind Put Their Hand in God’s
Helen Keller, shortly before her sixtieth birthday, expressed pity for the real unseeing, for those who have eyes yet do not see. Her long years of physical blindness have given her a spiritual insight which enables her to enjoy life in all its fullness. She says: "If the blind put their hand in God’s, they find their way more surely than those who see but have not faith or purpose."
Two Horses ~ Author Unknown
Just up the road from my home is a field, with two horses in it.
>From a distance, each looks like every other horse. But if you stop your
car, or are walking by, you will notice something quite amazing.
Looking into the eyes of one horse will disclose that he is blind.
His owner has chosen not to have him put down, but has made a good home
This alone is amazing.
If nearby and listening, you will hear the sound of a bell. Looking around
for the source of the sound, you will see that it comes from the smaller
horse in the field.
Attached to her halter is a small bell. It lets her blind friend know
where she is, so he can follow her.
As you stand and watch these two friends, you’ll see how she is always
checking on him, and that he will listen for her bell and then slowly walk
to where she is, trusting that she will not lead him astray. When she
returns to the shelter of the barn each evening, she stops occasionally
and looks back, making sure her friend isn’t too far behind to hear the
Like the owner of these two horses, God does not throw us away just
because we are not perfect or because we have problems or challenges. H...
THE TREASURE OF THE CHURCH
St. Lawrence was martyred in 258 A.D., but we remember him not for his martyrdom. We remember him as the Archdeacon of Rome. His responsibilities included maintaining the sacred vessels of the small, struggling church and distributing alms to the poor. While he was Archdeacon, the Governor of Rome took Pope Sextus captive and demanded, "Where is the treasure of the church?" The Pope would not tell, and they tortured him to death.
Next the Romans took Lawrence captive. "Where is the treasure of the Church?" they demanded, threatening with the same fate that befell the Pope. Lawrence replied, "Governor, I cannot get it for you instantaneously; but if you give me three days, I will give you the treasure." The governor agreed. Lawrence left.
Three days later he walked into the governor’s courtyard followed by a great flood of people. The Governor walked out onto his balcony and said, "Where is the treasure of your church?" Lawrence stepped forward, and pointed to the crowd that accompanied him – the lame, the blind, the deaf, the nobodies of society – and said, "Here are the treasures of the Christian church."
[“The Witness Principles,” Homiletics, Luke 24:36b-48, 4/17/1994]
TURN A BLIND EYE
We must obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29)
Have you turned a blind eye to God’s Word?
Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase "turn a blind eye," which means to ignore undesirable information. The saying comes from a 19th century British naval battle. On April 2, 1801, during the Battle of Copenhagen, the British fleet was attacking the combined navies of Denmark and Norway. Three British ships ran aground, so the admiral, Hyde Parker, decided that the fire of battle was "too hot to oppose." So Admiral Parker sent an order, through signal flags, that the younger admiral Horatio Nelson should "Discontinue Action" and withdraw.
When Nelson heard his own signalman relay the order, he pretended not to hear him. Mesmerized by the thrill of battle, Nelson had no intention of obeying the order. He turned to his captain and said, "This day may be the last for us at any moment," even as a Danish cannonball struck his ship’s mainmast, scattering splinters all around him. This was typical of Nelson’s stubborn and aggressive approach to war. In fact, he’d already lost sight in his right eye in a previous battle. So, when pressed again to respond to Parker’s order, Nelson told his flag captain Thomas Foley, "You know, Foley, I only have one eye—I have the right to be blind sometimes," and then Nelson held up his telescope to his good eye and said, "I really do not see the signal!"
Sometimes we are all like Nelson, with one good eye and one blind eye, and when an order comes through from God, we cover the good eye. As a result, we willfully ignore the leading of the Holy Spirit.
(Source: Christopher Hibbert, Nelson: A Personal History (Basic Books, 1994), pp. 260-261)