Archive for the ‘self-denial’ Category

Forbid it that we should ever consider the holding of a commission from the King of Kings a sacrifice, so long as men esteem the service of an earthly sovereign an honour

January 12, 2010

Forbid it that we should ever consider the holding of a commission from the King of Kings a sacrifice, so long as men esteem the service of an earthly sovereign an honour…I am a missionary, heart and soul. God had an only Son, and He was a missionary and a physician. A poor, poor imitation I am or wish to be. In this service I hope to live, in it I wish to die.

David Livingstone, quoted in Michael A. Robinson, God Does Exist!, Author House 2006, p.188

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When it says ‘at the name of Jesus every knee should bow’, it means both your knees

December 19, 2009

When it says ‘at the name of Jesus every knee should bow’, it means both your knees.

A few of the victims of Nazi death camps were extremely wealthy. One man had come into the camp with hat, gloves and well-cut overcoat. A few days later he was working at the crematorium refuse heap

November 17, 2009

A few of the victims of Nazi death camps were extremely wealthy. One man had come into the camp with hat, gloves and well-cut overcoat. A few days later he was working at the crematorium refuse heap. He, ‘who had looked like a diplomat, had become a dirty, lice-infested, human wreck, his spirits broken.

I saw him go over to one of the camp foremen and whisper (something). The prisoner…brought out a small leather pouch (and) shook the contents into his palm. Like a million little suns the diamonds shone and sparkled. The foreman nodded and held out three miserable uncooked potatoes, and the elderly man, shaking with impatience, tore them out of his hand and put them to his mouth.

Here, in this Stock Exchange of Hell, the value of a bag of diamonds was three uncooked potatoes. And this value was the real one. Three potatoes…prolonged life, gave strength to work and to withstand beatings. For a while, a short while, it might delight the eyes of a ruthless murderer, but when the day of reckoning came it would not save his life.

Martin Gilbert, Holocaust, p.729

What is the true value of our possessions? What is the use of acquiring the world’s goods when a man may lose his soul?

I did it

October 3, 2009

The day’s work had ended; the tools were being counted, as usual. As the party was about to be dismissed, the Japanese guard shouted that a shovel was missing. He insisted that someone had stolen it to sell to the Thais. Striding up and down before the men, he ranted and denounced them for their wickedness, and most unforgivable of all their ingratitude to the Emperor. As he raved, he worked himself up into a paranoid fury. Screaming in broken English, he demanded that the guilty one step forward to take his punishment. No one moved; the guard’s rage reached new heights of violence.

“All die! All die!” he shrieked.

To show that he meant what he said, he cocked his rifle, put it to his shoulder and looked down the sights, ready to fire at the first man at the end of them. At that moment the Argyll (Highlander) stepped forward, stood stiffly to attention, and said calmly, “I did it.”

The guard unleashed all his whipped-up hate; he kicked the helpless prisoner and beat him with his fists. Still the Argyll stood rigidly to attention, with the blood streaming down his face. His silence goaded the guard to an excessive rage. Seizing his rifle by the barrel, he lifted it high over his head and with a final howl, brought it down on the skull of the Argyll, who sank limply to the ground and did not move. Although it was perfectly clear that he was dead, the guard continued to beat him and stopped only when exhausted.
The men of the work detail picked up their comrade’s body, shouldered their tools and marched back to camp. When the tools were counted again at the guard-house no shovel was missing.

John Piper comments: The guard had miscounted. The young soldier who stepped forward had not stolen a shovel. He had given his life for his friends.

Extract from, Ernest Gordon, To End All Wars

Seeing a Japanese grenade falling in the midst of his colleagues, Osborn shouted a warning and threw himself on it as it exploded, saving at least six others at the expense of his own life

October 3, 2009

Seeing a Japanese grenade falling in the midst of his colleagues, Osborn shouted a warning and threw himself on it as it exploded, saving at least six others at the expense of his own life. After the war, when returning PoWs tell of Osborn’s deed, he is awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross, the only one of the Hong Kong defense.

Martin Gilbert, WWII, p.280 (December 18th, 1941)

Company Sergeant Major John Osborn was a World War I veteran.

Wang Jie was training a group of young soldiers to throw live hand grenades. One recruit was nervous and dropped his as he pulled out the pin.The seconds ticked by as he stared, transfixed, at the grenade lying just inches from his feet…

October 3, 2009

Wang Jie was training a group of young soldiers to throw live hand grenades. One recruit was nervous and dropped his as he pulled out the pin.The seconds ticked by as he stared, transfixed, at the grenade lying just inches from his feet. The other trainees threw themselves to the ground, but Wang Jie flung himself forward and covered the grenade with his body just before it exploded. His chest was blown to bits, but his action saved his comrades and the young recruit was unharmed. In his diary he had written, ‘Soldiers armed with Mao-Tse Tung thought are all conquering. For the revolution I fear neither hardships nor death. We must regard Mao-Tse Tung thought as our food, our weapon and our steering wheel and always act according to Mao’s instructions in our daily life.

Gao Anhua, To the Edge of the Sky, p.121

My feelings were those of a man who should suddenly be told, that every friend he had in the world was dead

September 28, 2009

In a letter to Charles Simeon, Henry Martyn recounted the moment when the full realisation of leaving England to be a missionary in India hit him:

It was a very painful moment to me when I awoke, on the morning after you left us, and found the fleet actually sailing down the channel. Though it was what I had anxiously been looking forward to so long, yet the consideration of being parted forever from my friends, almost overcame me. My feelings were those of a man who should suddenly be told, that every friend he had in the world was dead. It was only by prayer for them that I could be comforted ; and this was indeed a refreshment to my soul, because by meeting them at the throne of grace, I seemed to be again in their society.

Henry Martyn, missionary, translator of the Bible into Hindi and New Testament into Persian. His memoir is highly recommended to inspire spiritual devotion.

From, John Sargent, The Life and Letters of Henry Martin, Banner of Truth, 1985, p.91

The essence of evangelical humiliation, consists in a mean esteem of himself, as nothing, and as altogether contemptible and odious, attended with a mortification of a disposition to exalt himself, and a free renunciation of his own glory

September 28, 2009

The essence of evangelical humiliation, consists in such humility as becomes a creature under a dispensation of grace, consisting in a mean esteem of himself, as nothing, and as altogether contemptible and odious, attended with a mortification of a disposition to exalt himself, and a free renunciation of his own glory. — He that has much grace, apprehends, much more than others, that great height to which his love ought to ascend, and he sees better than others how little a way he has risen towards that height, and, therefore, estimating his love by the whole height of his duty, it appears astonishingly little and low in his eyes. —It most demonstratively appears that true grace is of that nature, that the more a person has of it, with remaining corruption, the less does his goodness and holiness appear, in proportion, not only to his past deformity, but to his present deformity, in the sin that now appears in his heart and in the abominable defects of his highest affections and brightest experience.

Jonathan Edwards

I’d rather be with God against men, than with men against God

September 12, 2009

Aristides de Sousa Mendes was, in 1940, Consul General for Portugal in Bordeaux, France. He was a graduate of the University of Coimbra, a wealthy lawyer from an old aristocratic family and he had represented Portugal in diplomatic posts in Brazil, Zanzibar and the United States. Hitler’s Nazi forces had marched into Paris and a flood of humanity had departed for the south, hoping to leave France. Their destination was Bordeaux where a Portuguese visa could assure them passage through Spain into Portugal, which was nominally neutral; from there they could perhaps hope to obtain a passport or a visa to America. Salazar had ordered his embassies not to issue exit visas to Russians, Portuguese political exiles or any Jews.

Thousands of refugees reaching Bordeaux had found the Portuguese Consul General’s apartment and had congregated outside, hoping for visas de Sousa Mendes, with great compassion, decided to disobey the Salazar orders and he, with his two sons, wrote by hand some 30,000 visas in order to save as many refugees as possible from the Nazis. 10,000 of these refugees were Jews. He was quoted as saying, “I have to save these people, as many as I can. If I am disobeying orders I’d rather be with God against men, than with men against God.”

The result of this magnificent action was that he was recalled to Lisbon in disgrace, but on the way he stopped in Bayonne and wrote out more visas by hand, thus saving another thousand refugees. When he reached Lisbon he was fined and prohibited from practicing law. He was reduced to selling off all his personal possessions to procure food for his family. He died in 1954 penniless and still in disgrace.

Aristides de Sousa Mendes’ name has been honored by the United States Congress, the Government of Israel, and has been recently restored to a place of honor and respect by the President of Portugal, Mario Soares.

source

But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.” Acts 5.29

The Greatest Conquest

August 26, 2009

Can you walk on water? You have done no better than a straw. Can you soar in the air? You have done no better than a fly. Conquer your heart; then you may become somebody.

Kharaja Abdullah, Ansari of Herat (1005-1090)

And the heart needs to be conquered due to its rebellion.