Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Actions Speak Louder than Words" (without using the actual phrase). (02/21/08)
TITLE: The Sound of Music
By William Stevenson
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In the 1940’s an atheist was touring the world, lecturing against belief in God. His gambit was to place a glass of clear liquid on the table before him and say, “ Are there any Christians in the audience? If so please show it by raising your hands.” When hands were raised and he continued.
“In Mark 16 we read that Jesus promised that if those who believed were to drink of any deadly thing it would not harm them. This glass contains deadly poison; I invite any one of you Christians to come up and drink the contents of the glass.”
As far as I am aware no one ever accepted his challenge, and after he had downed the glass of water he would have his audience in his hand.
Some years later I asked a leading minister of a Pentecostal church why no one was willing to take up the challenge. His answer was, “We are told that we are not to put the Lord our God to the test.”
While I agree that we are not to put God to a test, I cannot accept that we should not answer a challenge on His behalf.
* * * * * * *
Now let us go back in time to Babylon where three young Hebrews had been taken captive. Because of their breeding and intelligence they had been given high positions in Babylon, and new names, Shadrack, Meshech and Abednego, but they still held fast to their worship of God.
The King of Babylon, being very successful, considered himself able to grant his people any thing they wished, and so determined that they should worship him. Naturally Sharack, Meshech and Abednego said that they would not.
To put his people to the test the King said that whenever the band struck up all other activity should cease and everyone should bow down to him.
The band started to play and the three boys refused to bow. The king was angry but offered these boys another chance to bow. Shadrack, Meshech and Abednego told the king they would never do so.
“Refuse; and I will throw you into a burning furnace. What God is there that can save you from the fire?” roared the king.
“Our God is able to save us from the fiery furnace,” they replied, “but even if He doesn’t, we still will not bow down and worship you, O king.”
They were taken and thrown into the fiery furnace but came out unscathed, and the king began to worship their God.
* * * * * * *
In Durban, South Africa, a minister attended an Indian wedding where firewalkers walked the fire while in an induced trance. As they came to the end of the red-hot ashes these firewalkers turned to the minister and said, “What can your God do?”
The minister removed his shoes, but forgot to remove his socks, and walked the length of the glowing ashes three times proclaiming, “In the Name of Jesus!” To the amazement of all who saw it, not even his socks were singed, and a revival broke out among the Indian community. We need to remember that the Indians only ever cross the ashes once.
* * * * * * *
From this I conclude that if any person had acted on their faith, in the atheists’ lectures, they would have claimed a victory. Even if they had not lived they would have gained his audience’ sympathy. Words alone are often empty.(610 words)
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