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I want to read to you the opening story from David Platt's book "The Radical Question" (Multnomah Press).
Imagine a scene that took place in Asia not so long ago:
A room in an ordinary house, dimly lit, all the blinds on the windows closed. Twenty leaders from churches in the region sit quietly in a circle on the floor, their Bibles open. They speak in hushed tones or not at all. Some still glisten with sweat; others' clothes and shoes are noticeably dusty. They have been walking or riding bicycles since early morning when they left distant villages to get here.
Whenever a knock is heard or a suspicious sound drifts in, everyone freezes while a burly tough-looking man gets up to check things out.
These men and woman have gathered in secret, arriving intentionally at different times throughout the day so as not to draw attention. In this country it is illegal for Christians to come together like this. If caught, the people here could lose their land, their jobs, their families, even their lives.
I was in that dimly light room that day, a visitor from America. I huddled next to an interpreter, who helped me understand their stories as they began to share.
The tough-looking man--our "head of security"--was first to speak up. But as he spoke, his intimidating appearance quickly gave way to reveal a tender heart.
"Some of the people in my church have been pulled away by a cult," he said. Tears welled up in his eyes. "We are hurting. I need God's grace to lead my church through these attacks."
The cult that had been preying on his church is known for kidnapping Christians, taking them to isolated locations, and torturing them, my interpreter explained. Many brothers and sisters in the area would never tell the good news again. At least not with words. Their tongues had been cut out.
Bernard Martin, writes the following story in his book If God Does Not Die.
One day a pastor was called from a children's party at the Sunday school to visit a young woman whose world had collapsed into an acute depression following the death of her husband in an auto accident. She had withdrawn from everyone and shut herself in her bedroom with the blinds pulled, and she didn't communicate with anyone, including her children, because she said they reminded her of her dead husband. The minister left the party in a show of confetti which the children had thrown at him. He brushed it out of his hair and from his coat as he prepared to call on the depressed woman.
When he arrived at the woman's house, he entered her darkened bedroom and told her who he was, but there was no response. He could faintly see her pitiful form lying motionless on the bed. He tried to carry on a conversation with her, but she was unresponsive. He reached out to touch her hand, but it lay lifeless in his. So he just sat with her in the dark silence for a time.
Then he decided to act. He wanted to see the woman face to face,
to read Scripture and pray. So he turned on the bedside lamp.
The woman blinked and stared at him blankly. As he took out his Testament which he carried in his handkerchief pocket of his jacket,
and opened it, confetti fell from it all over the bed. After an anxious and flustered moment, the minister burst into laughter.
And that did it. First a smile appeared on the woman's face, and then she broke into quiet laughter. She reached out her hands to the minister in the joy of resurrection. They prayed together and she left her darkness to return to the light.
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
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...
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."
John Newton: Infidel Restored
John Newton continued his ministry into his old age, turning a deaf ear to friends who urged him to accept retirement, as by the time he reached 80 he was almost blind and partially deaf. "I cannot stop" he replied. "What! Shall the old African blasphemer stop while he can speak?"
But in December 1806, the end was coming. His diary recorded his prayer asking God to help him meet his end with a faithful spirit: "Oh for grace to meet the approach of death with a humble, thankful, resigned spirit becoming my profession. That I may not stain my character by impatience, jealousy or any hateful temper but may be prepared and permitted to depart in peace and hope and be enabled, if I can speak, to bear my testimony to thy faithfulness and goodness with my last breath. Amen." That’s the prayer that I would make my own and perhaps you as well.
Newton’s friend wrote: "I saw Mr Newton near the closing scene. He was hardly able to talk; and all I find I noted down upon my leaving him was thus: ’My memory is nearly gone but I remember two things: That I am a great sinner and that Christ is a great Saviour.’"
Newton would not have been pleased by the eulogistic reference in The Times report of his death to his "unblemished life," for he never forgot that he owed his redemption from a life of sin to a life in Christ entirely to divine mercy. He made this clear in the epitaph he wrote for himself. It was to be the inscription on his tomb at Olney and on a commemorative tablet to him at St. Mary Woolnoth:
"Once an Infidel and Libertine,
A Servant of Slaves in Africa,
Was, by the rich mercy of our Lord and Saviour JESUS CHRIST,
Preserved, restored and pardoned,
And appointed to preach the faith
He had long laboured to destroy."
A teacher gave the following situation to a class of students. How would you advise a mother who was pregnant with her fifth child based on the following facts. Her husband had syphilis. She had tuberculosis. Their first child was born blind. Their second child died. Their third child was born deaf. Their fourth child had tuberculosis. The mother is considering an abortion. Would you advise her to have one? In view of these facts, most of the students agreed that she should have an abortion. The teacher then announced, If you said ‘yes’ you would have just killed the great composer Ludwig Von Beethoven!
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...
A few years ago the Birmingham, Alabama, paper had a headline on the sports page: "The Most Exciting Moment Of My Life." It showed a picture of Jack Nicklaus writing out a $5,000 check for charity. As a matter of fact, it was second $5,000 check that day. It happened because of a game of golf he lost.
A man by the name of Charley Boswell lives in Birmingham, Alabama. In 1937, he was the captain of the Alabama football team that played in the 1938 Rose Bowl. In World War II he was a captain in the infantry. He stepped on a land mine and blew his eyes out. Charley Boswell is stone cold blind! But for nine holes of golf he can shoot par golf. He hits a ball he can’t even see. The caddy rattles the pin in the cup, and the noise tells him where to putt. How does he do that? He said, "Holding mental pictures."
Jack Nicklaus went to Birmingham to help raise money for a Boys’ Ranch and gave $5,000. They had a banquet to honor Nicklaus for helping the fund-raiser and for his $5,000 check. Halfway through the meal, Charley Boswell stood at a table in the back of the room. "Mr. Nicklaus, they tell me you play a little golf." There was silence. "Yes, I’ve been known to play a round or two." "So do I, and I think I can beat you! I’ll play you nine holes of golf. If you can beat me, I’ll give $5,000 to the Boys’ Club. And, if I beat you, you give another $5,000. And to make the contest fun, exciting, and fair, you choose the course where we play, and I’ll choose the time we play -- day or night."
Guess what time Charley chose? Night, of course. The Birmingham paper had a full length picture of Nicklaus writing out his second $5,000 check. The headline said "The Most Exciting Moment Of My Life." Someone asked him about that headline. Why had he made that statement? "You have won every trophy, award, honor, accolade. Why would this be so exciting?" Nicklaus replied "I met a person today who refuses to let fear control his life."
“Dr. Garl Restored My Sight!”
There was this soft-spoken man who was a commuter on the Long Island Railroad—on the five o’clock local. Every evening, after the train had left the subway, he would begin a journey through the car from front to back. At each seat he would stop and say, “Excuse me. But if any of your friends are blind, tell them to consult Dr. Garl. He restored my sight.”
Why don’t we have that same courage and conviction and boldness?