Seeing ‘Clearly’? [v181]

MARCH 2014

Seeing ‘Clearly’?

A few weeks ago I had cataract surgery on my left eye—very surprising for those who know my ‘phobia’ about anything touching my eyes (contacts; eye exams; even Visine). I’m so bad, I cry when I see someone else putting in their contact lenses!

So, it took increasingly ‘foggy’ and ‘star-burst’ images, and my double vision getting really bad for me to first just consider getting new glasses—and then I was told that I really needed surgery. It had gotten so bad that I didn’t know which ‘set’ of oncoming headlights at night were the right ones! (My double vision was totally horizontal, so it looked like ‘one’ of the cars was driving in the middle of the road—though I logically thought that statistically the car was in the proper position in the lane, I had to close my left eye to be sure!).

[ If interested, here’s a video of what a cataract surgery looks like:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Go82c4f1emc ]

The surgery went well—even though I had to be put ‘totally under’ so I wouldn’t freak out and move—and I no longer see double images. I now can CLEARLY see the bottom line of the eye chart! I’m definitely glad I did it!


Being a very ‘visual’ person, I just can’t imagine being blind—and I probably wouldn’t do very well with it. But many people live with “legal blindness” every day. The “National Federation of the Blind” estimates that there are about 6.7M in the U.S. (Women: 3.7M; Men: 3M; Age 1-18: 0.6M; Age 18-64: 3.4M; Age 65 and older: 2.7M), with about 1.25M of them being gainfully employed! (Kudos!).

One of the most ‘famous’ blind people was Helen Keller—and she did A LOT during her life with this ‘disability’ (with a lot of help from another visually impaired person, Anne Sullivan). Sullivan would become Keller’s “governess”—with her husband John, and the housekeeper, Polly Thompson—and would have a 49-year-old friendship with Keller.

Determined to communicate with others as conventionally as possible, Keller learned to speak, and spent much of her life giving speeches and lectures. She learned to ‘hear’ people’s speech by reading their lips with her hands (her sense of touch had become extremely subtle). She became proficient at using braille and reading sign language with her hands as well. Shortly before World War I, with the assistance of the Zoellner Quartet, she figured out that by placing her fingertips on a resonant tabletop she could experience the music they played close by.

She authored 12 published books, many articles, and became a world-famous speaker (Her autobiography has been translated into 50 languages, and remains in print to this day). The Helen Keller Archives contain over 475 speeches and essays that she wrote on topics such as faith, blindness prevention, the rise of fascism in Europe, and atomic energy. However, the most lasting expression of her work was for the “American Foundation for the Blind.” She joined AFB in 1921, and worked for the organization for over 40 years.

The foundation provided her with a global platform to advocate for the needs of people with vision loss, and she wasted no opportunity. As a result of her travels across the United States, state commissions for the blind were created, rehabilitation centers were built, and education was made accessible to those with vision loss.

In 1946, when the “American Braille Press” became the “American Foundation for Overseas Blind” (now Helen Keller International), Helen was appointed counselor of international relations. It was then that she began her globe-trekking on behalf of those with vision loss. She visited 35 countries on five continents between 1946 and 1957.

Her wide range of political, cultural, and intellectual interests and activities ensured that she knew people in all spheres of life. She was honored around the globe and garnered many awards—especially many honorary doctoral degrees. In 1948, she was sent to Japan as America’s first “Goodwill Ambassador” by General Douglas MacArthur. Her visit was a huge success.

Senator Lister Hill of Alabama gave a eulogy during her public memorial service. He said, “Her spirit will endure as long as man can read and stories can be told of the woman who showed the world there are no boundaries to courage and faith.”

While researching Keller’s life, I came across a quote of hers that related to my cataract surgery. She said, “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no [clear] vision.”


This reminded me of a few stories in the Bible, in which Jesus heals people of blindness to give back them their sight. In one of them, Jesus also used it as an ‘object lesson’ for His disciples.

In the Book of Mark, it tells the story like this: “When they arrived at Bethsaida, some people brought a blind man to him and begged Him to touch and heal him. Jesus took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village, and spat upon his eyes, and laid his hands over them. “Can you see anything now?” Jesus asked him. The man looked around. “Yes!” he said, “I see men! But I can’t see them very clearly; they look like tree trunks walking around!” Then Jesus placed His hands over the man’s eyes again and as the man stared intently, his sight was completely restored, and he saw everything clearly” [Mark 8:22-25].

Now, Jesus has the power to do anything, how and when He wants to (and He previously healed a man of blindness by just saying so—without touching him). But, in this case, Jesus is using this opportunity teach his disciples an important point (since it will be soon after this that He will be crucified on the cross and die). Not only is the blind man not seeing clearly (physically), but also he and the disciples are not seeing Christ ‘clearly’ yet (spiritually).


When it comes to ‘seeing’ Jesus, there are three types of people: (1) Those who are ‘completely blind’ to Him; (2) Those who have a ‘blurred vision’ of Him; (3) The few that ‘clearly see’ who Jesus really is.

Firstly, a lot of people make guesses about who Jesus is. To some Jesus was just a ‘magician’, to others a ‘good guy’ with nice teachings, and other a ‘prophet’. The Bible says that these people are ‘TOTALLY BLIND’ to who He really is.

Secondly, like Peter and the rest of the disciples, some are a bit like the blind man after the first healing. They can see, but their vision is ‘BLURRED’. It’s like the letters at the bottom of the eye chart. We can see that there’s something there, but it’s not really clear. Peter understands that Jesus is “the Christ” (Mark 8:29), but he doesn’t yet clearly understand what that means.

Thirdly, seeing Jesus ‘CLEARLY’ means that we not only know who He is, but we also understand what He has done for us through His death and resurrection, and we understand how that impacts our own lives.

Later in the Gospel of Mark, to make sure His disciples ‘get it’, He makes it abundantly CLEAR of THE REASON He came to this earth: “For even I, the Messiah, am not here to be served, but to serve others, and to give my life as a ransom for many.” Ransom? What’s He talking about?

The Bible says that, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” [Romans 3:23], and “for the wages of sin is death…” [Romans 6:23]. Wow, not very ‘encouraging’ news. But…I didn’t finish each of those verses! They say, respectively, “and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” and “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Justification? Redemption? From what?


God is infinitely holy and righteous, and He must punish the ‘Law-breaker’ (sinner). If He didn’t, then His law is not ‘the’ Law—for there is no law that is a law without a punishment (just like our judicial system). But, the punishment for breaking His Law is death, and eternal ‘separation’ from Him (Hell). Therefore, we sinners need a way to escape the righteous ‘judgment’ of God—and that’s where Jesus comes in.

Jesus is God in the flesh. He is both divine and human. He was ‘born’ under the Law (Galatians 4:4), and He ‘fulfilled’ it perfectly. Therefore, His sacrifice to God the Father, on our behalf, is of infinite value, and is sufficient to ‘cleanse’ anyone from their sins, and make right the offense to God!


So, those who repent and believe in Jesus will be ‘credited’ with His righteousness before God the Father, and this will be accepted by Him as “paid in full.” In the Book of Hebrews it says: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.”

On the cross then, Jesus Christ’s blood was offered as sacrifice for all of the sins of mankind. Jesus’ life was sinless, and therefore He met every detail of God’s requirements for the perfect sacrifice to be offered for man’s sins. Jesus ‘delivers’ us from the curse and condemnation of the law. Man’s redemption has been completed, and God is totally satisfied!


All this to say, even more important than physical sight is your spiritual ‘sight’—but it takes some ‘effort’ on your part. In the Bible, 2 Corinthians 4:4 says, “The god [Satan] of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” But, be encouraged, God gives the knowledge of divine things to those who are ‘spiritually’ blind—if you ask for it! (“The LORD gives sight to the blind…” [Psalm 146:8] ).


So, now that you have found out a bit more about Jesus, you might be starting to ‘see’ something very ‘special’ about Jesus.

Like the man Jesus touched, you’re now not ‘totally blind’ anymore—you’ve improved from blindness to blurriness, but don’t yet have ‘clear vision’. You now know there’s something special about Jesus, but you really can’t say for sure who He ‘is’—it’s ‘blurry’ and hard to define. If that’s where you are, then you’re exactly the person Jesus had in mind when He chose to do this miracle the way He did—and you’re exactly the sort of person God is ‘talking’ to when He tells this story in the Bible.


At this point, let me encourage you to ask Jesus for the ‘lens of faith’. Ask Him to make your vision clear—He wants to help you with this! Consider that in no fewer than 11 instances in the Gospels, Jesus heals people who are blind and restores their sight. If interpreted figuratively, we can determine that Jesus wants to heal you and help you see God’s world more clearly through the ‘eyes’ of faith.

So, let me encourage you to trust Jesus’ death on the cross alone as the payment for your sins, and submit to Him as the Lord of your life! He will help you see the world the way He would have you see it, and that you ‘see’ him CLEARLY!

[ Excerpts from: Chris Mueller; Charles Haddon Spurgeon; Bruce Stanley; Matt Slick ]


RESOURCES:

Bible study of Mark 8:22-26 that talks about how Jesus healed the blind man, specifically how Christ’s love is not only personal, it’s purposeful—to teach us ‘dependence’ upon Him [ Discover The Word ]:
http://discovertheword.org/2014/02/25/how-jesus-answered-the-prayer-of-a-blind-man-in-an-unexpected-way/

http://discovertheword.org/2014/02/26/a-blind-mans-interaction-with-jesus-and-the-healing-he-found-at-christs-hands/

THE “EYE OF GOD”:
An image of the “Helix Nebula” that is described by astronomers as a “trillion-mile-long tunnel of glowing gases. At its center is dying star which has ejected masses of dust and gas to form tentacle-like filaments stretching toward an outer rim composed of the same material.
http://urbanlegends.about.com/od/naturalwonders/ss/Eye-Of-God.htm

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[P.S.: If you would like to investigate what the Bible says about how to draw closer to God in the here and now, visit the following link:
http://www.4vis.com/sfm/sfm_pres/sp_q12_d1_1of10.html


LIFE’S DEEP THOUGHTS (v181) for MARCH 2014
If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@comcast.net

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OPEN THE EYES OF MY HEART, LORD
Open the eyes of my heart, Lord
Open the eyes of my heart
I want to see You
I want to see You

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord
Open the eyes of my heart
I want to see You
I want to see You

To see You high and lifted up
Shinin’ in the light of Your glory
Pour out Your power and love
As we sing holy, holy, holy

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord
Open the eyes of my heart
I want to see You
I want to see You

Open the eyes of my heart, Lord
Open the eyes of my heart
I want to see You
I want to see You

To see You high and lifted up
Shinin’ in the light of Your glory
Pour out Your power and love
As we sing holy, holy, holy

[Repeat two more times]

Holy, holy, holy
We cry holy, holy, holy
You are holy, holy, holy
I want to see you

Holy, holy, holy
Holy, holy, holy
You are holy, holy, holy
I want to see you

Holy, holy, holy
Holy, holy, holy
Holy, holy, holy,
I want to see you
[Paul Baloche]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wutmEjdbedE

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AIN’T THAT A MIRACLE
Well, there’s a blind man—just a sad sack
Livin’ in a blindness since birth
He’s gonna demonstrate something to us from God
You know, ’cause Jesus just brought him the cure
He made some ointment with His spittle
Said “Clean it up” and He went off
And he looked up after he had bathed, shoutin’
“I can see everythin’ real good – because of God”

CHORUS:
Ah, but ain’t that a miracle? Yes, indeed
Ain’t that a miracle? Now he can see, baby!
Ain’t that a miracle? Totally free, yeah!
Little things happen when you believe
Oh, yeah, when you believe!

Now when the young man met the teachers
They said “This is an impossible occasion
He’s not the creepy man that was recently blind”
They said, “No, he must be some imitation!”
But he told them, “Yeah, I’m the one, sirs
The same boy who couldn’t see till presently”
But just like everything else those old Pharisees
Just tried to explain it away

CHORUS
(Oh, yes, they do for faithful folks like you and me)

Well, yes, Jesus can cure people
Some still say no, no, no
God’ll work into some guy’s life
And they chase you down if you call it a miracle—ooh yeah!
And they witness and excuse it
And say it’s no big deal
But the simple man, baby, knows He still can heal
If it’s God’s will

CHORUS

John 9:30
The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes.”

[ ApologetiX – Parody of “Pink Houses” performed and written by John Cougar Mellencamp (in the Bible: John 9:30) ]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDo-1Wyc0mM

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BE THOU MY VISION
Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best thought by day or by night
Waking or sleeping Thy presence my light

Be thou my wisdom and Thou my true word
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord
Thou my great Father, I, Thy true son
Thou in me dwelling and I with Thee one

Riches I heed not nor man’s empty praise
Thou mine inheritance now and always
Thou and thou only first in my heart
High King of heaven my treasure Thou are

High King of heaven my victory won
May I reach heaven’s joys, O bright heaven’s Sun
Heart of my own heart whatever befall
Still be my vision O Ruler of all

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CMclLT_Hjg

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DEEP THOUGHT:
“We are immersed in beauty, but our eyes have no clear vision.”
[Ralph Waldo Emerson]

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Hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ‘pool’ to receive from, and more to share with! Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

“As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening.

They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”

He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”

“Lord, I want to see,” he replied.

Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.” [Luke 18:35-43].

Mark

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Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

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