Blindness, Sight, Compassion

Read on and you'll find out about this photo.

Matthew 20: 30-34

I read this passage in Matthew's Gospel some time last year, and the compassion of the Saviour really struck me.

Not for the first time, those who were approaching the Lord were discouraged by others - here, they were 'rebuked' by the multitude, but there were other occasions too:

- remember those who brought their young children to Jesus to be blessed by Him. Christ's own disciples tried to shoo them away. (Read Matthew 19:14 and you'll see the difference between how Christ's disciples treated the mothers, and how the Saviour treated them.)

- in Matthew 26: 2-13, we're given the beautiful account of the woman who anointed the Saviour with 'very precious ointment'. Instead of being commended for her selfless act of faith, the disciples indignantly spoke of her wastefulness. Thankfully, Christ gently rebuked them for 'troubling the woman', and He recognized her work as a good work.

- and here, in Matthew 20, two blind men cried out to the Saviour when they realized He was passing by. They were rebuked by the people in the vicinity, but they 'cried out the more'. Let this be an encouragement to anyone who is seeking Christ, and has found discouragement from any around them.

These men desired that they would have their sight, and Jesus 'had compassion on them'. Now, compared with eternal and spiritual sight, physical sight way less important. What is it if we see the world around us all our lives, only to be cast into outer darkness when our short time on this earth is over? There is no sight more precious than the gift of having spiritual life, our souls being brought alive and seeing both our need of Christ, and the sufficiency that is in Him to save us.

Nobody, I am quite sure, cared for the spiritual well-being of souls like our Lord. And nobody has ever walked this earth who knew the desperate need of souls like our Lord. And yet ... He had compassion on those blind men and healed their physical blindness because of His compassion. These blind men had the amazing experience of seeing what was around them, maybe for the first time ever, and then they 'followed Jesus'. Now they had physical light and spiritual light. What a day that was for them!

Of course I cannot give anyone spiritual sight - that is God's work alone; and I cannot give anyone physical sight - at times, and in increasingly amazing ways, doctors can work to restore the sight of the blind.

But reading of Christ's compassion awoke something in me. (Yes, I know I've read that passage hundreds of times before, but that's what so amazing about the Bible - I read parts I've read umpteen times before, and time and time again, new aspects of the Word are brought to my mind and to my heart.) And here is the connection to the photo at the beginning of this post....

The photo is of Sparkle (named in honour of our Queen's Diamond Jubilee), and she is in training to be a Guide Dog. You can read more of Guide Dogs for the Blind's work here

Isn't she lovely?

'Erm, Jackson, what are you doing here?'

No, this post is not about you. It's about really clever dogs who will, one day, be able to take those who cannot see for themselves out and about. 

Jackson! I don't care what sweet photo you show, this post is about Sparkle!

She is clever, smart, intelligent, witty .... Okay, so I'm not sure about the witty part, but she's SMART.

And soon, she will be transforming someone's life. She will give a person independence and the ability to go out and about, in ways they could never have done without her. I reckon that makes Sparkle more than worthy of her own blog post.

We are sponsoring Sparkle - her training doesn't come cheap ... What does?! As we hear more of Sparkle's progress, I'll let y'all know how she's doing. I sure hope she'll transform someone's life in the future. When I think of those who cannot see the world around them, I can't help but feel compassion. I wish I could do more for them, but for now, sponsoring a puppy-in-training seems like a good idea.

Have any of you had any experience with Guide Dogs? Let me know if you have (and I promise not to read out anything that would give poor Jackson a complex).



Giveaway ... on my Facebook Page

This wee puppy ...

... is not Jackson.

He also has nothing to do with this Giveaway.

I will introduce you to him in my next post, but meanwhile, I have a Giveaway over on my Facebook page. The FB page has reached 500 likes and so, being of the non-stingy Scottish variety, I am having a Giveaway. 

Oh, hang on... the Giveaway prize is actually being provided by the lovely Button Heart Crafts

So, if you do not already follow Button Heart Crafts, please head over to her page and 'Like' her.

This can be left as it is, or have the date and initials added with Harris tweed hearts optional.

I like the sound of that!

This is one of my own favourites - probably because Home is my favourite place in the world. Button Hearts Crafts is giving a plaque like this to my winner.

To have a chance of winning, please head to Button Heart Crafts, Like the page, and then head to Homeschool on the Croft's FB page. Leave a comment on the status with the photo of this plaque.

FĂ ilte means Welcome. I can really see this hanging inside our front door.

*      *      *   

So, for the Giveaway:
- head to Button Heart Crafts Facebook page, and Like the page;
- head to Homeschool on the Croft Facebook page, and leave a comment on the status with the photo of the handmade plaque.

All the best!


Scanning - from Last Year

A year ago this week, I posted this, and as the Wee Guy will be doing much about the same tomorrow as he was doing in this post, I will re-post last year's round-up of the Scanning Day.

The sun rises. Today is the day.

... the day we take them to the local midwives and get some serious scanning done. Today, we find out whether 'It's a boy!' will be said more or less frequently than 'It's a girl!'.

No?? What do you mean we don't find out if they're expecting a boy or a girl??

(Oh, and did y'all notice the 'we'? Ahem.)

Serious discussion is all part of the day. See Katie sitting up on the wall? See the roadkill on her head? 

Nice. Not.

These, of course, aren't Big Brother's sheep.

They're not Blackface Sheep. Clearly.

You wont know this Wee Fella. He's my soldier-shepherd.

"Hallo, pal. This is your Mum. You remember - the one who wouldn't allow you to take the sword and shield out to the fank, even though you told me there would be rebellions to quash all the way between home and there."

I am so glad to see that, despite your lack of armour, you reached the fank. You, BB and cousin Daniel all safe and sound. Amazing, eh?

The scanner-man is inside this simple, er, box.

The man on the outside sprays the sheep with the appropriate colour.

Erm... red for a girl and blue for a boy, I think.

"What was that, BB?"

Oh, apparently, it's got nothing to do with the gender, but you and I knew that all along. It's one colour for one lamb, another for twins, and another for triplets.

Or, if the owner prefers, it's all one colour, but it's a spot on the shoulder for one, on the middle for twins and on the derriere for triplets.

Got it? Yep, me too.

This wee guy was with his dad. Now, seriously, you guys have got to hear a wee fella blether in Gaelic like 'one of the boys' to know just how adorably cute it is.

This little guy spends a lot of time with older folks, and you can tell it. On his talk. On his walk. And on how friendly and sociable he was. He was a real cracker.

Oh, Shhhh, everyone. BB is talking.

And if he is, you'd better Be Quiet and Listen.

(I asked Big Brother how John Wayne had Bruce had, er, performed. As you know BB loves to talk and go into all the detailed information with his very knowledgeable sister-in-law. You didn't know that? Oh yes. Well, kinda.

Anyway, the boys done good. I knew y'all would want to know.)


Guest Post ... Please Read about Christie and her Family

This is a guest post from Christie, who blogs at Satisfaction Through Christ.  I would love for you to read this short account of her story, and then head over to her blog, where you can meet her for yourself and read lots more about the extraordinary journey herself and her husband have been on in the past couple of years. This link will take you directly to Our Adoption Story.

Here is Christie, gorgeous Moriah, and Q

And here is Christie's story:

A week ago we received a phone call saying that we'd been chosen by a young birth mother in Florida.   Chosen for what?  To adopt her baby!  A story that started three weeks ago from a simple Facebook message has turned our world upside down, for the greater!  For the full story and our adoption announcement, please visit here.

Late last week our adoption agency gave us 15 days to come up with the first $10,000 needed for our precious baby girl's adoption.  To say that we were not prepared for this is an understatement!  As you read in our adoption announcement, we were waiting on fertility results the day that my friend contacted me.  So, to need $10,000 in such a short amount of time was a bit overwhelming.  But, the Lord soon laid an idea on my heart -- Operation 10:10:1 {10 Days: $10: 1 Baby Girl}!

I knew that friends and family were just as overwhelmed with the cost of adoption as I was and I figured, 'let's just chip away $10 at a time'!  

In the last six days we have raised over $3,000 towards our $10,000 goal!  I've been amazed at the response, the love, and the support from the online community!  

When Anne gave me the opportunity to share our story here, I knew that the Lord was giving me another avenue to give Him all honor, glory, and praise!

So, will you join us today as we seek to be obedient to the call that the Lord has on our lives?  We knew when we said, "Yes", that this was so much bigger than ourselves.  But, we knew that the body of Christ was big enough to accomplish it!

$10 and a prayer means more than you'll ever know!

*      *      *

Thank you, Christie.

Unfortunately, I am unable to add the Paypal widget on my own blog. But how about heading over to Christie's blog and give whatever you can to get them closer to this $10,000 mark.

Remember, every little helps ...


Patrice's Porch... On a Tuesday!

Hi Patrice! You'll be shocked when I arrive on your porch this week on Tuesday. Dearie me, I'll be there with all the other lovely folk who blog from your porch ... I'm not sure I'll know how to behave - me being so used to having the porch all to myself. After all, the other ladies only stay for one day, and I normally arrive fashionably late.

Without the fashionable part.

Here are your questions for today, Patrice:

* What is your favourite time of day to read? If you don't enjoy reading, then what is your favourite time watch TV/movies?

I take an hour's 'lunch break' for myself most days. I have my Quiet Time then, and I do a fair amount of reading in that time.

I really love reading around four o'clock in the afternoon. If I'm organized with school and with dinner preparation, I love to make a cup of tea, grab something nice, sit in a comfy chair in front of the kitchen stove, and open whichever book I'm reading. If I even get half an hour at this stage of the day, I really feel ready to get cracking with dinner, 'pieces' etc.

I like to read myself to sleep too, but the Builder moans and groans about the light being on, so I hardly ever do that. 

I like to read if I'm waiting for an appointment, and feel dreadfully disappointed if the doctor or dentist is running on time. I don't want them to be on time ... I want to relish as many extra minutes of reading as I can!

* Did you watch the Superbowl? If so, what was your favourite commercial? If you didn't watch it, what did you do Sunday night?

Our Sunday nights are almost always the same. We come home from our evening service just before 8pm, and we sit and have supper.

After supper, we sit and talk.

We often say we wish Sunday evenings would go on and on. We don't want that time to come to an end.

* Have you been watching Downton Abbey? Who's your favourite character? If not, have you seen any interesting TV or movie series lately?

Strangely enough, Catherine, Katie and I were talking about this today. We have not watched Downton Abbey at all, and a friend of Catherine's, who has it on DVD, is horrified! No doubt, given that it's a period drama, it's bound to find its way into our Family Room very soon.

As for other interesting TV programmes ... I have just watched the second, and final, episode of the Mary Berry Story. (You Americans will probably not know Mary Berry, but she's been on our screens for decades, giving cookery demonstrations, and showing the nation her baking skills.)

I thoroughly enjoyed these two programmes. She is such a lovely lady, and tonight I cried when she told that their 19 year old son was killed in a car accident about twenty years ago. I hadn't realized she'd known such sadness in her life. It was so lovely to hear her speak of her husband, her 'lifelong partner' as she called him, for whom she was so grateful at their time of dreadful sadness, but also throughout her whole adult life.

* Do you enjoy home parties for selling items? (like Pampered Chef, Southern Living, Mary Kay)

Excuse me, Patrice, this is Ness. Are you serious?

I do love the sound of the Southern Living one though. Maybe if I ever get to the US again, I'll try and gatecrash someone's Southern living party!

* Please finish this sentence: "If I work very hard, I can ________________________ "

If I work very hard at my housework in the mornings, I can sit with tea and cake in the afternoon.

If I work very hard at our homeschooling work, I can sit with tea and cake around four o'clock.

If I work very hard at meal planning, I will have plenty money to buy baking stuff. Then I can have tea and cake.

If I work very hard and exercise, I can eat as much cake as I please.

Actually, scrub that last one. I'm not sure even the promise of cake makes exercise a possibility.

*      *      *


One of my Favourite Texts

One of my favourite texts in Scripture was spoken by enemies of the Saviour. 

In Luke 15v2, we're told: 

"The Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, 

'This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them'."

Do you hear what they said of Christ? He receives SINNERS and He eats with them. I want to punch the air and whoop with joy when I read these words. 

I guess the reason they affect me so much is because I know they are true. I am one of these sinners that Christ received. Oh, I know we are all sinners. Every single person born since the fall of Adam has been a sinner. Noah, that man of obedience who built the ark and preached faithfully to those around him, even though he saw no encouraging conversions; Abraham, the father of the faithful; John, the beloved disciple, who loved his Saviour so much. I know they were all sinners too. 

But I was a great sinner. I knew, and was convicted of this, that I was one of the greatest sinners who'd ever lived. And what was my greatest sin? 

It was my rejection of Christ - day after day after day. You see, unlike Stalin, that murderer of millions, I knew about Christ. Unlike Hitler, that murderous man who wished to wipe out God's chosen people of old, the Jews, I had grown up with the Gospel all around me. I knew the Bible was true. I knew that one day I was stand before the judgement seat of Christ and have to give an account of everything I'd ever done, said and thought. Yet still, I rejected Christ, and the life God's Word would have me lead. I rejected Him and the life of the Believer because I loved the life I had. It's a simple as that. I loved the life I was living more that the life that was promised me if I repented and came to Christ.

Christ promised me Eternal life ... yet I chose the temporary pleasures of the life I was living. Day after day. Month after month. Year after year.

And so, do you wonder that Christ receiving sinners is such a wonderful truth to me? I thought I'd sinned any chance of salvation away. I thought there was no way I'd ever, ever find pardon. I thought I was too great a sinner.

Sinning against light is a terrible sin. And that was my sin. 

Imagine if I had to end the story there. What despair! 

But because of this text: 'He (Christ) receives sinners', that is not the end of the story, and I speak not of despair but of joy and of wonder and of praise and of thanksgiving.

Twenty-five years after that first time that He received this sinner, I am still amazed at this text. He receives sinners. He received ME!

I will never, ever stop praising my Saviour for receiving me, and eating with me. Throughout the endless ages of eternity, I will never cease wondering at what He did for ME. 

Psalm 40 says:

I waited for the Lord my God,
and patiently did hear;
At length to me He did incline
my voice and cry to hear.

He took me from a fearful pit,
and from the miry clay,
And on a rock He set my feet
establishing my way.

He put a new song in my mouth,
our God to magnify:
many shall see it and shall fear,
and on the Lord rely.

                                                  (Scottish Metrical)

What a Saviour He is!

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