To the first Adam God said, “Obey Me about the Tree and I will bless you” – and Adam didn’t do it. But to the second Adam He says, “Obey…
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Just before Christmas in 2000, a 7-year-old boy named Tyrel Wolfe stuffed a humble shoebox with simple gifts, along with a picture of himself dressed like a cowboy, and mailed it overseas in the hopes it would bless a child in need.
Though he didn’t know it, the boy would one day receive a much greater blessing from the recipient.
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Early tests on Jeff and Lynel Willis’ unborn baby revealed serious neural tube defects. Doctors advised the heartbroken mother and father to “interrupt the pregnancy” – a medical way of saying abort – because the fetus wouldn’t survive the pregnancy.
10 years later, they’re really glad they didn’t.
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It was a normal game of kickball, by a normal group of kids, on a normal 4th of July. Even when the ball struck 9-year-old Jacob Holdaway in the head during the course of play, most labeled it a fairly normal occurrence for that particular game.
But what happened next was anything but normal.
You’ve probably heard “Safe in the Arms of Jesus,” “Blessed Assurance,” “To God be the Glory,” “Pass Me Not O Gentle Savior,” and “Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross.” Chances are good you’ve even sung those hymns at one point or another.
But did you know that the author of those world-famous hymns almost never made it out of childhood?
If you want to know what the face of forgiveness looks like, just take a glance at the face of Rev. Johannes Christian. Now…be warned: it’s a horribly disfigured face…one that has required approximately 40 reconstructive surgeries in the past decade.
But his is literally the face of forgiveness, nonetheless.
In Game 5 of the 1988 World Series, the Oakland Athletics hosted the Los Angeles Dodgers at Oakland County Coliseum in front of 50,000 fans (and millions more via television). The Dodger’s mighty pitcher, Orel Hershiser, had put his team up 3-games-to-1, but as cameras zoomed in on him in the dugout, they spotted him mumbling to himself.
Had the pressure of the moment finally gotten to him? Was he losing his mind?
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Barbara Glanz, a motivational speaker, was speaking to three thousand employees of a grocery store chain. Everybody from truck drivers to cashiers to managers were found in the crowd.
So was Johnny, a 19-year old bagger, who suffered from Down Syndrome.
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Most of us have the same reaction to painful situations in life: we ask some version of the question, “Why?” But can you imagine having something terrible happen to you…and being incredibly thankful for it as a result?
Kathleen Murphy can.