RICK AND HIS DAD:
During his birth in Winchester, Massachusetts, Rick Hoyt was strangled by the umbilical cord, leaving him brain damaged and unable to control his limbs. Months later, doctors told the Hoyt family that Rick would live in a vegetative state the rest of his life and should be put in an institution.
“But the Hoyts weren’t buying it,” wrote Rick Reilly in a profile of the Hoyts for Sports Illustrated magazine (June 20, 2005). “They noticed the way Rick’s eyes followed them around the room. When Rick was 11 they took him to the engineering department at Tufts University and asked if there was anything to help the boy communicate.
“‘No way,’ Dick Hoyt says he was told. ‘There’s nothing going on in his brain.’
“‘Tell him a joke,’ Dick countered. They did. Rick laughed. Turns out a lot was going on in his brain.”
Then, hooked to “a computer that allowed him to control the cursor by touching a switch with the side of his head, Rick was finally able to communicate” with others. This technology enabled him to begin a new life. And that new life included, among other things, his father pushing him in a wheelchair in a charity marathon. After the race, Rick typed out, “‘Dad, when we were running, it felt like I wasn't disabled anymore!’”
Dick determined to give Rick that feeling as often as he could. Four years later, they ran the Boston Marathon together. Then someone suggested a triathlon, and since then the two have done hundreds of athletic events, with his father pushing or pulling him along.
“‘No question about it,’” Rick has typed out. “‘My dad is the Father of the Century.’”
We’ve got a lot in common with Rick Hoyt because we have a Father who, even more than Dick Hoyt loves Rick, loves us, cares for us, and was willing to sacrifice His only son for us.
Like Rick, the tragedy and debilitating effects of sin have paralyzed us all. By our own strength, the life we live isn’t anywhere close to the life we were meant to live. As hard as we might try, we will never improve ourselves enough to be saved. “Our condition through sin is unnatural, and the power that restores us must be supernatural, else it has no value.”—Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing, p. 428. We must be saved from outside ourselves because it should be obvious by now that we cannot save ourselves.
It was for this reason that people, at times, have looked up into the night sky for help outside of themselves: a Deliverer. Our spiritual ancestors, the Israelites, had a name for this hoped-for Deliverer: the Son of David, whom we know as Jesus of Nazareth.
And an inspired version of Jesus’ story is given in the Gospel of Matthew, our topic for this quarter. Matthew, a Jewish believer in Jesus, and one of the original disciples of Jesus, recounts the story of Jesus from His own Spirit-inspired perspective. Though in common with Mark, Luke, and John, Matthew’s theme is the incarnation, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, Matthew focuses strongly on the fact that Jesus is the Promised Messiah. He wanted his readers to know that the redemption of Israel was to be found in Jesus, the One of whom the prophets spoke and to whom all the Old Testament types pointed.
Though his audience was primarily Jews, his message of hope and Redemption speaks to us, as well; a people who, like Rick Hoyt, need Someone to do for us what we never can do for ourselves.
And Matthew tells the story of Him, Jesus, doing just that.
The Great Controversy in the Drug Dealer's Home
Luis belonged to an amateur rock band in the Brazilian city of Jequié, or Sun City, as it is sometimes called because of its average temperature of 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 Celsius). Luis and his friends often indulged in harmful drugs in their search for pleasure.
One day while in the home of a drug dealer, Luis found a copy of The Great Controversy. After leafing hurriedly through the book, he asked permission to borrow it. Luis found the subject intriguing. While he and his friends smoked marijuana, they took turns reading the book aloud to each other. Some of the guys liked what they read, others did not. Florisvaldo, a spiritualist, especially enjoyed the book.
One day three of the friends climbed a hill called Alto Cruzeiro and sat down to smoke and read the Bible together with The Great Controversy. Suddenly, Florisvaldo began to shout, "I don't want the Bible!" Recognizing that Florisvaldo was possessed by an evil spirit, the other friend jumped up and ran away in fright. But Luis kept on reading. He paused only long enough to ask his friend to think on the name of Jesus. Soon the evil spirit left him.
Realizing that his friend needed help, Luis persuaded Florisvaldo to go with him to a Seventh-day Adventist Church where he might receive help.
At the church both young men enjoyed a sermon preached by a lay member. Later they attended an Adventist youth camp, where they studied the Bible with other young people and gave themselves completely to Jesus.
Unable to keep his new joy to himself, Luis sent a copy of The Great Controversy to his cousin Thomas, a journalism student studying in the coastal city of Salvador. Being an avid reader, Thomas sped through the book with mounting interest. About halfway through, he felt condemned because of his sinful life. But he couldn't put down the book until he found out how the story ended. His conviction only intensified as he read the final chapters.
When vacation time came Thomas went to Jequié to visit his cousin. Luis told Thomas much about his new faith and took him to church. Gladly Thomas accepted Jesus and His promise of forgiveness. But he now faced another conflict-his girlfriend was against his interest in religion.
One night, while staying in the home of an aunt, Thomas dreamed he saw Jesus veiled in brilliant light. Next morning Thomas gave his life completely to Christ. His habits changed. He broke up with his girl friend and began preparing for baptism. Luis rejoiced to see his cousin and several members of his rock band baptized.
Ten people were baptized as a result of the working of the Holy Spirit through a copy of The Great Controversy found in the home of a drug dealer.
Today Florisvaldo, the former spiritualist, serves God as a literature evangelist, and Thomas became a Seventh-day Adventist minister.
You Are Next In Line For Transformation.
You will break new grounds this day.
Wherever you may be feeling inadequate, grace will be made available to you.
There is this story of a man who had a farmland but one day, he was told about a gold rush in a faraway country. The man then sold his farmland and went in search of the diamond. After sometime, the new owner of the farm found some shinning stones which were later discovered to be diamond on the farmland.The previous owner did not find any diamond where he went. He never knew that what he was looking for was right under his acres of farmland. Alas! He became poor and died a frustrated man.
Sometimes we behave like this man. We usually think we do not have anything, especially when it comes to starting new venture. But if we look carefully, we will discover this is not so.
Start With What You Have Where You Are and they are getting results. Your testimony is next
Donkey in the well (Motivational Story)
One day a farmer’s donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn’t worth it to retrieve the donkey.
He invited all his neighbors to come over & help him. They all grabbed a dirt & began to shovel dirt into the well.
At first, the donkey didn’t... realized what was happening & cried horribly. Then, to everyone’s amazement he quieted down. A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw.
With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing.
He would shake it off & take a step up. As the farmer’s neighbors
continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off & take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well & happily trotted off..!!!
LESSONS TO Always Remember in Life:
Life is going to throw dirt on you.
The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off & take a step up.
Each of our troubles is a stepping stone.
We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up..But by taking a step up.
In this world people will always throw stones in the path of your success, It depends on you..what You make from them A wall or A bridge
INSIDE STORY: Enlarge My Vision—Part 1
I never intended to become a Christian. I met God while enrolled in a public boarding school. Actually, I met a girl whom I wanted to date. I got up the courage to ask her out, then went to her study hall to charm her into dating me. I knew she was a Christian, but that didn’t bother me. When I entered the room, I found her reading a pamphlet. I sat down beside her and asked her what she was reading. She offered me one of the pamphlets, and I pretended to read it just to impress her. When I asked her for a date, she gently declined, but asked me to keep the pamphlet. Later that evening I sat down and read it. It was a Voice of Prophecy lesson about hell, and it worried me. I hardly slept that night.
I was often in trouble because I frequently broke school rules. On Saturday morning, the day after I had asked this girl for a date, I went to the administration building to see if I had been caught breaking any rules that week and had been assigned campus duties. As I was reading the list a boy came up beside me and invited me to come to a worship service with him that day in the auditorium. I hadn’t been to church in 10 years and wasn’t interested in religion. But for some reason, I accepted this boy’s invitation. I think even he was surprised when I accepted! We walked across campus together and entered the auditorium. It didn’t dawn on me that the girl I had asked out the day before was an Adventist.
Something else really strange happened. I had two dollars in my pocket that I had planned to spend drinking on Saturday night. But when the offering basket was passed, I surprised myself by giving the $2. Later I realized that this action saved me from drinking that weekend. I discovered that this group of high school students on campus did more than just pray and sing. They had a strong Pathfinder program. I was interested in what Pathfinders do, so I stayed the afternoon and watched. The next week I joined the Pathfinder Club. Everyone was surprised. While I hadn’t accepted the invitation to attend church because of the girl I wanted to date, I was glad when I saw her at church. She befriended me and helped me feel welcome at the church meetings. But she still wouldn’t go out with me.
From the first day I attended church I decided to stop smoking and drinking. Thank God, I never smoked or drank again. When I broke away from old friends, they gave me trouble about my new religious interest. They begged me to go drinking with them, and did everything they could to get me back. But I refused. I made new friends in church. Several months later I gave my life to Christ and followed Him in baptism. I was 17 years old at the time.
Enlarge My Vision—Part 2
After completing high school, I worked as a literature evangelist for three years. One day I visited a hospital, and there I saw someone who looked familiar. I barely recognized him, but it was one of my former drinking buddies, my childhood friend. He was dying of TB and AIDS. I stared at him in shock as he lay there unconscious. It was too late for me to share Christ with him, but I couldn’t shake the realization that if I had resisted God’s call, it could have been me lying there. My former friend died a few days later. This experience deepened my conviction that I must answer God’s call whenever and wherever it comes. To put it off could mean death. I planned to be a literature evangelist for the rest of my life. After all, it had been the printed page that had influenced me to consider Christ. But the local field called me to pastor three churches. I had no training as a minister, and had never thought about doing this kind of work. I struggled to decide whether to take this call, because it was not in the direction I thought God had been leading me. Nevertheless, I finally accepted the call.
After I had been in the ministry for several years, the conference urged me to study at Solusi University. During school breaks I held evangelistic meetings wherever someone asked me to go. Word spread that I was willing, and more invitations came. I discovered that this is what I love to do. During an evangelism field school a speaker challenged us to expand our vision of how God can use us.
Don’t limit yourself, he said,
and don’t limit God. The speaker’s words challenged me. But how could I expand my vision of what God expected of me? He had already done so much more than I thought would ever be possible!
Several months later I received a call to hold evangelistic meetings in South Africa. I looked at the calendar and realized that the dates they gave me were the dates of my final exams. Because of my prayer for God to expand my territory, I didn’t tell the people in South Africa of my dilemma, but I fasted and prayed that God would make it possible for me to go. I believed God would open the way. I knew that the dates for the meetings were not changeable, and I knew I could not change my exam schedule. God went to work on my behalf, and I learned that my exams had been moved up a full week. I could take my exams and still minister in South Africa! The meetings were such a blessing. Nineteen persons gave their lives to God. Surely God has increased my territory, enlarged my vision, and made a worthless sinner into a willing instrument of God’s power. Moses Muyunda is completed his studies in theology and is now serving as an ordained minister in Zambia.