Disability Ministry – Hope

Disability Ministry – Hope


>>And I tell you, our message is a message
of hope that God loves every person and he has a plan for them. God is a sovereign God
and he knows every disabled person by name. Exodus 4:11 tells us God declares ‘who gave
man his mouth or who makes him deaf? Who makes him mute? Who gives him sight or make him
blind? Is it not I, the Lord?’ I say to every person listening, whether you’re
disabled or non-disabled, that you are not a mistake. Whether physical or intellectual
disability, you are made in the image of God. You have value, worth and dignity and that’s
a message, friend, that needs to go out from the church. God has reconciled a world to
himself and that includes you. He also says that our circumstances lead us
the Christ. Romans 5:3-6 reminds us that suffering leads us to the hope found in Christ, and
that’s often through our disabilities and our suffering. Hope that is grounded in the
character of God, the promises of God and the redemption that is found in Christ Jesus.
You see, God is a good God. And in his goodness he has a plan for those that believe in him.
We see in Romans 8:28 that he works all things, including our disabilities, for the good of
those who love him and are called according to his purposes. We can think of biblical characters over and
over again where God allowed and used suffering for his eternal purposes. I think of Abraham,
Moses, Joseph, Paul, and, of course, Jesus himself. I think of Joseph in Genesis 50:19-20
as he declares, ‘am I not in the place of God?’ As he contemplates the suffering that
God led him through for his own eternal purposes. Acts 3:18 reminds us that Christ’s sufferings
were used by God for the eternal salvation of our souls. Philippians 1:6 tells us that God will bring
to completion until the day of Christ his plans that he has for all of us who believe,
including those affected by disabilities. We have confidence, friends, in the goodness
of God, the purposes of God and the eternality of God, that God indeed has a plan and a purpose
for those with disabilities. Hope is within their grasp when they call upon the name of
Jesus. When I think of people with disabilities who
have experienced hope, I think of Tofili (sp?). Tofili (sp?) lives in Africa. At an early
age, she was affected by polio. By the time she was a teenager she had limited mobility
in her legs. Cast out of her home by a father who in his eyes did not want to raise an invalid,
Tofili found herself living in the streets. But Tofili did not give up. She wanted to
have a life, she wanted to have a family, she wanted to have an education. So she would
gather newspapers and books off the street in her language whenever she could find them,
take them to her place of dwelling and read them. One day she came across a book that was in
her language but the cover was torn off. She began to read that book and little did she
know that that book would forever change her life. For this book spoke of a hope, a hope
that involved a loving God with a plan for her life, a plan that included forgiveness
of sins, a relationship with a Heavenly Father who would not reject her and this book had
a message that God had a plan for her life here on this earth and hope for the afterlife.
And what was unique about this particular book is that this book was written by another
lady with a disability who was also disabled as a teenager. Friends, Tofili was reading the Joni book,
and after reading the Joni book and recognizing that if God had a plan for this young teenager
named Joni Eareckson Tada, that she had a plan for her own life in her own circumstances
in her own situation. Friends, I’m happy to tell you that today
Tofili is married with a family. Tofili has a ministry that she is reaching out to the
community around her. She is impacting the local government and the religions around
her area for the kingdom of God. And Tofili is one who found hope not in this world but
hope in Jesus Christ, a hope that truly goes beyond suffering. I want to just quickly introduce you to her
on the screen. This is Tofili on the left and she is about to go speak to an organization
about people with disabilities and that’s Tofili on the right at her place of training
where she works with people affected by disability. And here is one of the small groups that she
works with. Here we are with her visiting with her and these are all people affected
by disability where she is teaching them not only truths of the Word of God but practical
vocational skills as well.

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