Archive for the ‘Scripture’ Category

I attacked a giant pile of paperwork over the weekend. Most of it was related to insurance, Social Security, and legal issues. I scanned more than 70 documents and probably filed an equal number – and I like to think I stay organized!

But I did find something fun in all that mess:

Bible Passages

I wish I had dated it; it was in the late 1990’s given some other things around it.

My Bible reading must have been in 1 Kings when the thought came to document disease and disability in the Bible. And at the time I missed 2 Kings 5 – one of my favorite chapters on God’s sovereignty over disease!

But it was a start. That crumpled piece of paper eventually turned into a spreadsheet with more than 400 references to disease or disability in more than 300 Bible verses – and I didn’t include 1 Chronicles 26:10. I’ve puzzled many times over many verses!

Don’t believe anyone who tells you God isn’t interested in disability!

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New Hope Church put together a great video, less than 3 minutes, that includes an exhortation from Pastor John with pictures of New Hope Church’s members with disabilities.

The entire sermon can be heard or watched here: Why Was This Child Born Blind, preached by Pastor John on May 21, 2011.

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Matthew Henry, writing his commentary on John 9:3:

God has a sovereignty over all his creatures and an exclusive right in them, and may make them serviceable to his glory in such a way as he thinks fit, in doing or suffering; and if God be glorified, either by us or in us, we were not made in vain. This man was born blind, and it was worth while for him to be so, and to continue thus long dark, that the works of God might be manifest in him.

Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible, John 9.

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Henryk Thiel had a short life – only five months.  He died in January.

Henryk’s dad has a good friend who loves him and who loves God.  That friend, David Mathis, preached at Henryk’s funeral.

And God gave David a message you want to hear or read:

Henryk was weak, but we won’t mainly think of him as weak. He was small, but we won’t mainly think of him as small. Henryk was disabled, but we won’t mainly think about him as disabled. For those who have eyes to see, the main thing we’ll remember is the unexpected and surprising way the greatness of God was so clearly on display in Henryk’s life, and through his parents. It was not the greatness for which the world typically looks. It was a gospel greatness. It was the greatness of another world, one that’s not here yet, but is coming so quickly. It was the greatness of power in weakness (like 2 Corinthians 12:9). It was the greatness we sense when we catch a glimpse of divine strength in the very midst of human frailty.

So let me give you just a five reasons—one for each month of his life—for why I will remember Henryk Otto Thiel as “Henryk the Great.”

You can listen to the entire 19 minutes here: Funeral Service of Henryk Otto Thiel

Or you can read it here.

Please, give yourself the gift of knowing God better through this God-centered honoring of Henryk’s extraordinary life and impact.

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Happy New Year! I expect that 2013 will be full of many graces and many hardships, just like every other year.  Let us prepare!

Several Bible reading plans begin at the beginning:

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
(Genesis 1:1 ESV)

And God keeps creating:

Then the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD?
(Exodus 4:11 ESV)

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
(Psalm 139:13-14 ESV)

All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
(John 1:3 ESV)

But even before he created anything, he had thought about us:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.
(Ephesians 1:3-4 ESV)

And all for a purpose!

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
(Jeremiah 29:11 ESV)

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
(Romans 8:28 ESV)

For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you. . .
(1 Thessalonians 1:4 ESV)

And someday, we get to be part of the new heaven and new earth with him:

And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.
(Revelation 21:6 ESV)

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! (Revelation 22:20 ESV)

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Top Moment of 2012

I don’t have a top ten list of anything.  There were too many instances of God’s help and kindness – Paul’s seizures coming under control, my dad’s heart issue being dealt with, Mike Beates’ book, the vote on Pastor Jason, the long-anticipated vacation in Colorado, the Desiring God disability conference, etc., etc.

But there was a special moment or, more accurately, 10 minutes, when I felt the presence and pleasure of the Holy Spirit as his word was spoken back to him by a young women who has lived her entire life with disabilities.

The Works of God-36 Krista Horning - The Works of God Presentation Krista Horning - The Works of God

As Krista spoke her opening sentences, I knew the many prayers offered for the conference and for her talk were about to be answered:

People ask me how I live with disability.
How do I live with disability?
How do I live with Apert Syndrome?

. . .My parents and my pastor told me to keep looking in the Bible.
That’s where I would find answers.
And they helped me to see things that I was missing.
They helped me see that God tells the truth.
So I keep listening to him.
He opens the eyes of my heart and I believe.
I trust him and his words.
God says beautiful things to me.

It would be an easy mistake to say Krista did a great job (though she did) and leave the emphasis there.  That would not honor Krista at all because that wasn’t the point of her talk.  She was helping us see God more clearly. The power was in the God-given faith that God’s promises are true and have relevance to every moment of every day.

I also had a great vantage point:

Watching Krista HorningWatching her intently are Mary and Bob Horning (her mother and father), Pastor John, and Greg Lucas.

So, that is my top moment of 2012.  God was kind to give it:

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The God who creates some to live with disability:

Then the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? (Exodus 4:11 ESV)

Is the same God who intends for those living with disability to do the work God has given them to do:

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10 ESV)

So, Christ’s church should be actively preparing everyone, disabled and non-disabled, to serve using the gifts God has given them!

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Along with a Bible reading plan, I also highly recommend a good study Bible.  For example, this was from my reading on December 3 from Habakkuk 3:

Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
GOD, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer’s;
he makes me tread on my high places.
To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments.
(Habakkuk 3:17-19 ESV)

The meaning is plain from the text.  But there is more, and my ESV Study Bible helped me see it:

Anticipating great destruction at the hands of the Babylonians, Habakkuk has radically changed-he began by informing God how to run his world, and ended by trusting that God knows best and will bring about justice. Though the fig tree should not blossom. Verse 17 contains a frequently quoted list of material disasters in which all crops and livestock are lost, and as a result it is unclear there will be food to eat. Yet even amid suffering and loss, Habakkuk has learned he can trust God, and with that trust comes great joy, not in circumstances but in God himself: yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. Yahweh has become Habakkuk’s strength (see Ps. 18:32, 39).

ESV Study Bible, Crossway Bibles, p. 1727.

“Yet even amid suffering and loss, Habakkuk has learned he can trust God, and with that trust comes great joy, not in circumstances but in God himself.” Of course it is in the text, but I missed it!  I’m grateful for good tools that help me see and think on and enjoy more of what God’s word has for us.

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Another reason to read the Bible in a year: the interesting, hopeful, awesome things that prepare us for Christmas!

This was in my reading for Thursday:

1 Now muster your troops, O daughter of troops; siege is laid against us; with a rod they strike the judge of Israel on the cheek.
2 But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.
3 Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has given birth; then the rest of his brothers shall return to the people of Israel.
4 And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth. Micah 5:1-4

Crossway has several reading plans, all for free at their website – mobile, print, email, iCal and RSS.

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I came across this quote on the purposes of Christ’s suffering in A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life:

Ambrose also warned that faith in Christ is more than just an emotional response to the history of His sufferings. Natural human compassion can be stirred by the story of anyone suffering, but this is not faith in Christ. Faith looks to the “meaning, intent, and design of Christ in his sufferings,” Ambrose said, namely to “redeem us from the slavery of death and hell,” and “to free us from sin…destroy it, kill it, crucify it.” (Emphasis in bold is mine)

Beeke, Joel R.; Jones, Mark (2012-10-14). A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life (Kindle Locations 14133-14136). Kindle Edition.

And that reminded me of Pastor John’s sermon, Why Was This Child Born Blind:

They say in verse 2 (of John 9), “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” In other words, what is the cause of this blindness? The man’s sin? Or the parents’ sin? Is this blindness a punishment for the parents’ sin or a punishment for his own sin—some kind of inherited sinfulness already in the womb?

Jesus says, in effect, specific sins in the past don’t always correlate with specific suffering in the present. The decisive explanation for this blindness is not found by looking for its cause but by looking for its purpose. Verse 3: Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” (Emphasis in bold is mine)

Jesus fulfilled his purpose through his suffering.  God has purpose in disability.  And the end result isn’t just relief, it is gladness!

But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. (1 Peter 4:13 ESV)


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