Bill Mann is a very talented Christian tenor. I heard him tell this story on the radio: As a teenager he once sang for an audience in Birmingham, Alabama and afterward was told Helen Keller had been in the audience and wanted to meet him. She asked if he would sing for her personally, the Negro spiritual “Were You There?” When Bill asked her assistant how she would be able to “hear” him sing, he was told that Helen would put her hands on his vocal chords and sometimes on his mouth. She was enraptured as he sang and when he got to the last stanza, singing, “Were you there when He rose up from the dead?” she said in her slow, raspy voice (which Bill imitated in telling the story), “I was there! I was there!” (Being deprived of normal senses, I think God let her “see.” Don’t you love that?)
On his deathbed, D.L. Moody said, “If this is dying, it’s wonderful. My room is flooded with angels.”
As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ we are “dust fused to Glory.” (An expression I found in “Naturally Supernatural” by Mark Virkler.)
When her grandson Stephen was very young, Jill Briscoe observed this incident between him and his mother: Stephen was doing something out of bounds of permissible behavior and being called by his mother, he came to her but kept rolling his eyes in every other direction even as she kept saying, “Look at me Stephen.” Finally…..he locked eyes with her and at that moment she said, “I love you, Stephen.” She then proceeded to talk to him about his behavior. (I’ll leave this with you to apply personally to your relationship with the Lord but have you possibly been afraid of what you’ll hear if you stop and look Him in the eye?)
Bill’s dear friend, Steve Stoner departed for Heaven-home almost two years ago but left us with his personal “rule of life” which we saw him live out---- a simple legacy we treasure: “Know Him. Make Him known.”
I have such an appreciation for A.W. Tozer. Here’s one of my favorite prayers, which I found in “Knowledge of the Holy.” It’s just so “classic Tozer!” (I’ve taken the liberty of changing the old English he liked to use since nobody talks that way, including God.) “You, O Christ, who were tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin, make us strong to overcome the desire to be wise and to be reputed wise by others as ignorant as ourselves. We turn from our wisdom as well as from our folly and flee to You, the wisdom of God and the power of God. Amen.”
Elvina Johannessen Tweten emigrated to the U.S. as a young girl in the early 20th century. She eventually married a fellow immigrant, also from Norway and they began life together with the husband pastoring a church in Wisconsin. Their church tradition called for plain clothes but Elvina loved and appreciated all things beautiful. She scrimped and saved and eventually made for herself a beautiful dress. In discovering her wearing it, her husband ripped it off her. Elvina carefully folded the shredded dress and put it away planning to show it to a visiting pastor as evidence of her husband’s abuse and providing a reason to leave him. When the visiting pastor did come, he spoke these words in his sermon to the small church: “When we offer to God our hurts and despair, God will pour His love and compassion into the wounds and His healing will come. Someone may be thinking, ‘I can never forget, even if I could forgive.’ You are right, you can’t forget, but you needn’t be devastated by remembering.
God’s love and forgiveness can and will cushion the memory until the imprint is gone. When you forgive, you must destroy the evidence and remember only to love.” With tears flowing, Elvina burned the dress---- the evidence--- and made it her offering to God. Later, her husband acknowledged his sin and asked for forgiveness. They had a long life together, full of ministry and love to their children and to many others. Generations in that family have been blessed because Elvina forgave. Her beautiful life is told by her daughter in a book entitled, “First We Have Coffee.” I read it every few years—it reminds me what really matters.
Lance Corporal Thomas Broadhurst Walton accepted the Lord in a meeting held in an Australian army camp during World War II. He was then up early every morning to worship “my beautiful Lord Jesus” as he liked to say. So lost in worship would he become that at times he would not hear the call to formation. Upon questioning, Tom told his commanding officer, “I begin to worship my Lord Jesus and I cannot hear anything. I do not hear the bugle. I do not hear the men. I do not hear anything.”
(Tom was killed not long after becoming a believer and a few weeks before the war ended. His death occurred in action on Borneo on 6 July 1945. He was 19 years old. He is buried in Labuan War Cemetary in Malaysia. I found a brief mention of him and his “lostness” in worship in a little book entitled, “How to Worship Jesus Christ” by Joseph Carroll and found his date of death and burial site through on-line sources.)