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In a speech made in 1863, Abraham Lincoln said, "We have been the receipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prospertiy; we have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us."
Bishop Lalachan Abraham
RIGHTEOUSNESS IN THE HEART
A CHINESE PROVERB: "If there is righteousness in the heart, there will be beauty in the character. If there is beauty in the character, there will be harmony in the home. If there is harmony in the home, there will be order in the nation. If there is order in the nation, there will be peace in the world."
1 Peter 1:13-1:25
A Nation of Bible Illiterates
George Barna wrote The State of the Church in 2002. Barna conducted a survey of self-pronounced Christians and here’s what he found about their knowledge of the Bible. These are Christians.
• 48% could not name the four Gospels.
• 52% cannot identify more than two or three of Jesus’ disciples.
• 60% of American Christians can’t name even five of the 10 Commandments.
• 61% of American Christians think the Sermon on the Mount was preached by Billy Graham.
• 71% of American Christians think “God helps those who help themselves” is a Bible verse.
George Barna said, "Americans revere the Bible, but by and large they don’t know what it says. And because they don’t know it, they have become a nation of biblical illiterates."
Just as the people in this Barna poll are woefully biblical illiterate, Christians are far too ignorant of the Word of God. No wonder 21st century Christians are failing to finish their marathon race. No wonder Christians by the thousands are falling prey to the false teachers of our day. They are being feed junk food and don’t feed themselves on the Word of God. They are desperately in need of a solid diet of good food, Scripture. We need to get into "spiritual shape"!
One of America’s greatest poets is Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The year 1860 found Longfellow happy in his life, enjoying a widening recognition, and elated over the election of Abraham Lincoln which he believed signaled the triumph of freedom and redemption for the nation.
The following year the Civil War began. On July 9, 1861 Longfellow’s wife, Fanny, was near an open window sealing locks of her daughter’s hair, using hot sealing wax. Suddenly her dress caught fire and engulfed her with flames. Her husband, sleeping in the next room, was awaked by her screams. As he desperately tried to put out the fire and save his wife, he was severely burned on his face and hands.
Fanny died the next day. Longfellow’s severe burns would not even allow him to attend Fanny’s funeral. His white beard, which so identified with him, was one of the results of the tragedy – the burn scars on his face made shaving almost impossible. In his diary for Christmas day 1861 he wrote, “How inexpressibly sad are the holidays.”
In 1862 the toll of war dead began to mount and in his diary for that year Longfellow wrote of Christmas, “A merry Christmas say the children, but that is no more for me.”
In 1863 his son who had run away to join the Union army was severely wounded and returned home in December. There is no entry in Longfellow’s diary for that Christmas.
But on Christmas Day 1864 – at age 57 – Longfellow sat down to try to capture, if possible, the joy of the season. He began:
I heard the bells on Christmas day.
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
As he came to the third stanza, he was stopped by the thought of the condition of his beloved country. The Battle of Gettysburg was not long past. Days looked dark, and he probably asked himself the question, “How can I write about peace on earth, good will to men in this war-torn country, where brother fights against brother and father against son?” But...
Bishop Lalachan Abraham
NAPOLEON ON JESUS
The emperor and conqueror of nations, Napoleon Bonaparte, rightly recognized the absolute uniqueness of Jesus, & expressed it in these words: "I know men, and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man. Between Him and every other person in the World there is no possible term of comparison. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne and I have founded empires. But on what did we rest the creations of our genius?--Upon force. Jesus Christ founded His Empire upon Love, and at this hour millions of men would die for Him."
The greatest command in the law is the secret to destroying racism and that is to love God with all your heart. Then love your neighbor to the same degree that you love yourself.
Sermon Central Staff
THE VACUUM SALESMAN
A vacuum salesman down in rural Tennessee. He had a his vacuum cleaner and all of this tools and everything, and he went out there and he told a lady, "I’ve got the most exciting vacuum cleaner you have ever seen. It will clean your house from top to bottom...you only have to pay so much down."
And the lady said, "It sounds real good."
He said, "You see that big pile of dirt right there on the floor with all those fur balls and bugs and things." He said, "My vacuum cleaner will just pick up all those things up just like that and if they don’t, I’ll eat it."
She said, "Well, you might as well get your knife and fork, because we do not have any electricity out here!"
Power is the one thing nations, politicians and businessman
covet. But the power that we need is not an earthly
power. God has promised believers Spiritual power.
Vance Havner once rightly said,"We are not going to move this world by criticism of it nor conformity to it, but by combustion within it of lives ignited by the Spirit of God."
(From a sermon by Donnie De Loney, Pentecostal Power, 5/22/2012)
John Newton, the writer of the most popular hymn in history, "Amazing Grace" said:
"… if two angels in heaven were given assignments by God at the same time, one of them to go and rule over the greatest nation on earth and the other to go sweep the streets of the dirtiest village, each angel would be completely indifferent as to which one got which assignment.
It simply wouldn’t matter to them. Why? Because the real joy lies in being obedient to God. For a Christ follower, the important thing isn’t what God has us doing; the important thing is that we’re doing what God wants us to do."
Lee Strobel, God’s Outrageous Claims, 93
The Unbaptized Arm
Ivan the Great was the tsar of all of Russia during the Fifteenth Century. He brought together the warring tribes into one vast empire--the Soviet Union. As a fighting man he was courageous. As a general he was brilliant. He drove out the Tartars and established peace across the nation.
However, Ivan was so busy waging his campaigns that he did not have a family. His friends and advisers were quite concerned. They reminded him that there was no heir to the throne, and should anything happen to him the union would shatter into chaos. "You must take a wife who can bear you a son." The busy soldier statesman said to them that he did not have the time to search for a bride, but if they would find a suitable one, he would marry her.
The counselors and advisers searched the capitals of Europe to find an appropriate wife for the great tsar. And find her, they did. They reported to Ivan of the beautiful dark eyed daughter of the King of Greece. She was young, brilliant, and charming. He agreed to marry her sight unseen.
The King of Greece was delighted. It would align Greece in a favorable way with the emerging giant of the north. But there had to be one condition, "He cannot marry my daughter unless he becomes a member of the Greek Orthodox Church." Ivan’s response, "I will do it!"
So, a priest was dispatched to Moscow to instruct Ivan in Orthodox doctrine. Ivan was a quick student and learned the catechism in record time. Arrangements were concluded, and the tsar made his way to Athens accompanied by 500 of his crack troops--his personal palace guard.
He was to be baptized into the Orthodox church by immersion, as was the custom of the Eastern Church. His soldiers, ever loyal, asked to be baptized also. The Patriarch of the Church assigned 500 priests to give the soldiers a one-on-one catechism crash course. The soldiers, all 500 of them, were to be immersed in one mass baptism. Crowds gathered from all over Greece.
What a sight that must have been, 500 priests and 500 soldiers, a thousand people, walking into the blue Mediterranean. The priests were dressed in black robes and tall black hats, the official dress of the Orthodox Church. The soldiers wore their battle uniforms with of all their regalia--ribbons of valor, medals of courage. and their weapons of battle.
Suddenly, there was a problem. The Church prohibited professional soldiers from being members; they w...
John Williams III
To be God’s property mean that we are owned by God. There is a powerful story about an English missionary whose house was being looted. "An English missionary died in the early part of this century [the 20th century]. Immediately after his death his former neighbors broke into his house and started carrying away his possessions. The English Consul was notified, and since there was no lock on the door of the missionary’s house, he pasted a piece of paper across it and affixed the seal of England on it. The looter did not dare break the seal because the world’s most powerful nation stood behind it". (Billy Graham. The Holy Spirit. Dallas: Word Publishing, 1988, p. 74). To be sealed means that we are God’s property!
D. Greg Ebie
We can see in our national headlines the power of unity to fulfill a common goal. Each of us will never forget what happened September 11, 2001. Out of that terrible day we saw our nation join together in unity. President George W. Bush had the support of the nation as he led the nation into the war against the terrorist who murdered so many innocent Americans. Let’s go get ’em!
But now nearly 9 month later we’ve started pointing fingers. What did our president know before the attacks? What could the government have done to prevent the terrorist attacks? The unity that was born through terror is unraveling. We have forgotten who our enemy is.
The same happens within the church. We can so easily begin to point fingers at other "sheep;" we become critical of the "shepherd." All the while we forget that we have a common enemy outside the walls of the church. Satan seeks to "steal kill and destroy". Let’s not forget who the enemy is.