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Juan Barrientez II
WHAT ARE YOU WORTH?
The price of a dead body to be used by medical students and CNBC had the following information:
Spine - $900
Hand and Forearm - $385
Heart - $500
Corneas - $6,000/pair
Kidneys - $300-500
Intact Head - $6,000
Brain - $600
Knees - $650 each
Tendons - $1,000 each
Every corpse that travels through the system can generate anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000 depending on how it is used.
The real question is, what does God think you are worth?
It was a mild October afternoon in 1982 and Badger Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin was packed. Over 60,000 die-hard University of Wisconsin fans were watching their beloved football team take a beating by Michigan State. What seemed odd was that as the score became more and more lopsided bursts of cheers and applause kept being heard in the stands. It was only natural that some people began to wonder who these strange people were who were cheering while their team was being pummeled.
As it turns out seventy miles away from Badger stadium the Milwaukee Brewers were beating the St. Louis Cardinals in game three of the World Series. Many of the Badger fans in the stands were listening to portable radios and responding to something else besides what was happening right in front of their eyes.
In many ways that is a fairly accurate description of what the Christian life is like. We might be in the midst of horrible circumstances in this world and yet we have something to cheer about. We are see by faith the victory that is ours in Christ.
Warren Wiersbe writes, "Our values determine our evaluations. If we value comfort more than character, then trials will upset us. If we value the material and physical more than the spiritual, we will not be able to count it all joy! If we live only for the present and forget about the future, the trials will make us bitter, not better."
STUBBORN JOY--Communion Meditation
"No man had more reason to be miserable than this one – yet no man was more joyful.
His first home was a palace. Servants were at his fingertips. The snap of his fingers changed the course of history. His name was known and loved. He had everything – wealth, power, respect. And then he had nothing.
Students of the event still ponder it. Historians stumble as they attempt to explain it. How could a king lose everything in one instant? One moment he was royalty; the next he was in poverty.
His bed became, at best, a borrowed pallet – and usually the hard earth. He never owned even the most basic mode of transportation and was dependent upon handouts for his income. He was sometimes so hungry he would eat raw grain or pick fruit off a tree. He knew what it was like to be rained on, to be cold. He knew what it meant to have no home.
His palace grounds had been spotless; now he was exposed to filth. He had never known disease, but was now surrounded by illness.
In his kingdom he had been revered; now he was ridiculed. His neighbors tried to lynch him. Some called him a lunatic. His family tried to confine him to their house.
Those who didn’t ridicule him tried to use him. They wanted favors. They wanted tricks. He was a novelty. They wanted to be seen with him – that is, until being with him was out of fashion. THEN they wanted to kill him.
He was accused of a crime he never committed. Witnesses were hired to lie. The jury was rigged. No lawyer was assigned to his defense. A Judge swayed by politics handed down the death penalty.
They killed him.
He left as he came – penniless. He was buried in a borrowed grave, his funeral financed by compassionate friends. Though he once had everything...
General William Booth had lost his eyesight. His son Bramwell was given the difficult task of telling his father there would be no recovery. "Do you mean that I am blind?" the General asked.
"I hear we must contemplate that," his son replied.
The father continued, "I shall never see your face again?"
"No, probably not in this world."
"Bramwell," said General Booth, "I have done what I could for God and for His people with my eyes. Now I shall do what I can for God without my eyes."
Nothing was going to stop him serving GOD’s purpose! He would serve God! Why? Because even when he was blind, he saw the need!
NOT WHY, BUT WHAT
Technically speaking, David Ring was born dead. Quick acting medical personnel were able to get him breathing, but oxygen deprivation left him with cerebral palsy. He suffered from a speech impediment, hands that don’t cooperate, and a limp. As if that wasn’t enough adversity for one person, both his parents died by the time he was fourteen years old, and his hemophiliac brothers subsequently dies of AIDS.
David’s remaining family members feared that David would never have a normal life, because they assumed he would never marry, have children, drive a car, earn a living or take care of himself.
As a young teenager, David came surrender his life to God and came to see his disability as a gift. Once he began to see his circumstances as being chosen for him by God, he began moving forward.
Today he is married, had four beautiful children, drives a car, and speaks to more than 250 audiences a year. At his speaking engagements he sells T-shirts bearing the slogan “Don’t Whine…SHINE!”
David ring has taken responsibility for his life—the bad, the difficult and the wonderful. And he continues to celebrate the difference he is able to make in the lives of others.
When people wrestle with difficult life experiences, the why question often gets in the way. One of David Rings Axioms is “Don’t ask God why. Ask What. What do you want me to do with this?”
SOURCE: Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop, Seven Keys to Spiritual Renewal (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1989), pp. 85-86.
"I am responsible. Although I may not be able to prevent the worst from happening, I am responsible for my attitude toward the inevitable misfortunes that darken life. Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have -- life itself." --Walter Anderson
THE MAGIC OF THREE DAYS
It was a beautiful spring day, and a sense of peace stayed with me as I left the cathedral on Easter Monday morning. I paused for a moment on top of the steps leading to the avenue, now crowded with people rushing to their jobs. Sitting in her usual place inside a small archway was the old flower lady. At her feet corsages and boutonnieres were parading on top of a spread-open newspaper.
The flower lady was smiling, her wrinkled old face alive with some inner joy. I started down the stairs—then, on an impulse, turned and picked out a flower.
As I put it in my lapel, I said, “You look happy this morning.”
“Why not? Everything is good.”
She was dressed so shabbily and seemed so very old that her reply startled me.
“You’ve been sitting here for many years now, haven’t you? And always smiling. You wear your troubles well.”
“You can’t reach my age and not have troubles,” she replied. “Only it’s like Jesus and Good Friday . . . ” She paused for a moment.
“Yes?” I prompted.
“Well, when Jesus was crucified on Good Friday, that was the worst day for the whole world. And when I get troubles I remember that, and...
Dr. Paul W. Brand, the noted leprosy expert who was chief of the rehabilitation branch of the Leprosarium in Carville, Lousiana, had a frightening experience one night when he thought he had contracted leprosy. Dr. Brand arrived in London one night after an exhausting transatlantic ocean trip and long train ride from the English coast. He was getting ready for bed, had taken off his shoes, and as he pulled off a sock, discovered there was no feeling in his heel. To most anyone else this discovery would have meant very little, a momentary numbness. But Dr. Brand was world famous for his restorative surgery on lepers in India. He had convinced himself and his staff at the leprosarium that there was no danger of infection from leprosy after it reached a certain stage. The numbness in his heel terrified him.
In her biography of Dr. Brand, Ten Fingers for God, Dorothy Clarke Wilson says, "He rose mechanically, found a pin, sat down again, and pricked the small area below his ankle. He felt no pain. He thrust the pin deeper, until a speck of blood showed. Still he felt nothing...He supposed, like other workers with leprosy, he had always half expected it...In the beginning probably not a day had gone by without the automatic searching of his body for the telltale patch, the numbed area of skin." All that night the great orthopedic surgeon tried to imagine his new life as a leper, an outcast, his medical staff’s confidence in their immunity shattered by his disaster. And the forced separation from his family. As night receded, he yielded to hope and in the morning, with clinical objectivity, "with steady fingers he bared the skin below his ankle, jabbed in the point--and yelled."
Blessed was the sensation of pain! He realized that during the long train ride, sitting immobile, he had numbed a nerve. From then on, whenever Dr. Brand cut his finger, turned an ankle, even when he suffered from "agonizing nausea as his whole body reacted in violent self-protection from mushroom poisoning, he was to respond with fervent gratitude, ’Thank God for pain!’"
Dorothy Clarke Wilson, Ten Fingers for God, pp. 142-145.
God does not change – even in the bad times. I think that is why Matt Redman writes that he is going to choose to say “Blessed be your name”
Blessed be Your name,
When the sun’s shining down on me
When the world’s "all as it should be"
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be Your name,
On the road marked with suffering
Though there’s pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name
… You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name