Illustration results for world religions
For me, my belief in God was reaffirmed recently by something I would not have expected. While I was in England I visited St. Paul’s Cathedral. Worshiping in that great cathedral your eyes are drawn to the great dome. It is actually three domes, one on top of the other, with the highest and smallest dome having windows, making you think they are the very windows of heaven. I stood there in that great place, surrounded by exquisite art and architecture, and said to my friend: “This building makes me believe in God.” I think he was somewhat taken back by my statement that a physical, man-made building could make me believe in God. But I said, “What else could inspire such a sense of transcendence and create a feeling of otherworldliness — a world of unspeakable beauty and holy purpose?” These glorious monuments to God are all over England and Europe — countries which were strongly influenced by the Christian faith. “Name me one monument to the devil which has been built in his honor,” I said to my friend. “I can’t think of one.”
But then I began to think. Actually, I have seen a monument to the devil. It exists in a country I visited a few years before, whose national religion is Voodoo, or devil worship — the country of Haiti. We drove by it on our way to the mission station in Cape Haitian. It is the center for Voodoo worship — a large mud hole where chickens are strangled and their blood poured into the pool. Rumors are that there are even secret rites where human sacrifices are offered to the devil, and their blood becomes a part of the mud as well. There are unspeakable acts of evil performed there. Worshipers come to cover themselves with the mud of that cursed place. So there I stood thinking about one country whose religion worships Jesus Christ, and another country whose religion is devil worship. The monument to Jesus Christ was an exquisite cathedral, and the monument to the devil was a mud hole. One was transcendent in its themes and beauty, and the other was vile and ugly. One inspired noble thoughts and holy lives, the other aroused perverse thoughts and evil acts. One was elevating and the other degrading. One made you look up and the other made you look down.
The Significance of Nazareth
"God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee." (Luke 1:26)
Many Christian historians tell us that by the time of the birth of Christ, Nazareth had become an unimportant town. It was the home of Joseph and Mary (Luke 2:39) and Nazareth was where the angel announced to the virgin the birth of the Messiah. (Luke 1:26-28) Nazareth is where Jesus grew to manhood (Luke 4:16) and where He began His public ministry in the synagogue. (Matthew 13:54) Unfortunately, Nazareth around the time of the birth of Christ had established a rather poor reputation in morals and religion. Nazareth and the people living in her were despised by Romans and Jews and those living in her were considered a conquered people. Evidence of the citizen's spiritual condition in Nazareth is found in their treatment of Christ during His ministry. When He told them things they could not tolerate they drove Him out of town, they even tried to throw Him off the cliff. (Luke 4:16-22)
Symbolically, the significance to all this is that Nazareth in Jesus' time represented no reputation for religion. Jesus, having His connections to Nazareth shows us symbolically that God is just as able and willing to send His message to a people that are not willing to receive the message as well as to a people searching for God.
Gabriel can mean "the strength of God." Let the Holy Spirit place this truth deep within your heart. Gabriel's message informed Mary that she had found favor with God. (Luke 1:30)
Even though you live in a world that has no reputation for the things of God and no desire to worship Christ in spirit and truth, the Lord can get His message to you anytime and strengthen you to accomplish your part of the Great Commission this Christmas season. No matter where you live and no matter what circumstance you find yourself in, the Lord can reach into your life and make you a valuable part of the building of the kingdom of God.
If you find yourself in Nazareth, in poor reputation in morals and dead religion, then let the Holy Spirit open your heart to the Christ of Christmas, be strengthen enjoy the favor of God in your life.
Let Christ be Significant In Your Life!
In his autobiography, Mahatma Gandhi wrote that during his student days he read the Gospels seriously and considered converting to Christianity. He believed that in the teachings of Jesus he could find the solution to the caste system that was dividing the people of India. So one Sunday he decided to attend services at a nearby church and talk to the minister about becoming a Christian. When he entered the sanctuary, however, the usher refused to give him a seat and suggested that he o worship with his own people. Gandhi left the church and never returned, “If Christians have caste differences also, “ he said, “I might as well remain a Hindu.” That usher’s prejudice not only betrayed Jesus but also turned a person away from trusting Him as Savior.
WHAT MY MOTHER TAUGHT ME
My mother taught me RELIGION: When I spilled grape juice on the carpet, she instructed, "You better pray the stain will come out of the carpet."
My mother taught me LOGIC: From her decisive words, "Because I said so, that’s why."
My mother taught me FORESIGHT: "Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you’re in an accident."
My mother taught me IRONY: "Keep laughing, and I’ll give you something to cry about."
My mother taught me about STAMINA: "You’ll sit there ’til all that spinach is finished."
My mother taught me about WEATHER: "It looks as if a tornado swept through your room."
My mother taught me THE CIRCLE OF LIFE: "I brought you into this world, and I can take you out."...
In the villages of Northern India a missionary was preaching in a bazaar. As he closed, a Muslim gentleman came up and said, "You must admit we have one thing you have not, and it is better than anything you have."
The missionary smiled and said, "I should be pleased to hear what it is."
The Muslim said, "You know when we go to Mecca we at least find a coffin. But when you Christians go to Jerusalem, which is your Mecca, you find nothing but an empty grave."
But the missionary just smiled and said, "That is just the difference. Mohammed is dead; Mohammed is in the coffin. And false systems of religion and philosophy are in their coffins, but Jesus Christ, whose kingdom is to include all nations and kindreds and tribes, is not here; He is risen. And all power in heaven and on earth is given unto Him. That is our hope."
"a rabbi and soap maker who went for a walk together. The soap maker had some negative things to say about religion: "What good is religion? Just look around you. what do you see? Trouble, misery, wars - even after all these years and years of preaching and teaching about goodness, truth, peace. What good is religion with all its prayers and sermons if all this evil still exists?
The rabbi kept quiet as they continued their walk. Then they noticed a child playing in the gutter. The child was just filthy with dirt and mud. The rabbi said to the soap maker: "Look at this child! Now you say that soap makes people clean, but what good is it? With all the soap in the world this child is still dirty. What good is soap after all?"
The soap maker immediately answered him: "But rabbi, soap can’t do its job if it isn’t used!"
"That’s exactly right,’’ said the rabbi. And so it is with religion. It will not accomplish anything unless people use it!"
Back in the 1880’s Nietzsche declared that "God is dead," and before the turn of the Twentieth Century, Shaw and Wells chimed in saying the 20th Century would mark the end of the world’s "religious phase."
Yet, today a church now meets in Russia’s Museum of Religion and Atheism-the former center of atheism. Nearly half of the United States’ population attend Worship on a regular basis while revival is sweeping through Latin America and Christianity grows behind China’s iron curtain.
Story: At a comparative religions conference, the wise and the scholarly were in a spirited debate about what is unique about Christianity.
Someone suggested what set Christianity apart from other religions was the concept of incarnation, the idea that God took human form in Jesus. But someone quickly said, “Well, actually, other faiths believe that God appears in human form.”
Another suggestion was offered: what about resurrection? The belief that death is not the final word. That the tomb was found empty. Someone slowly shook his head. Other religions have accounts of people returning from the dead.
Then, as the story is told, C.S. Lewis walked into the room, tweed jacket, pipe, arm full of papers, a little early for his presentation. He sat down and took in the conversation, which had by now evolved into a fierce debate. Finally during a lull, he spoke saying, “what’s all this rumpus about?”
Everyone turned in his direction. Trying to explain themselves they said, “We’re debating what’s unique about Christianity.”
“Oh, that’s easy,” answered Lewis. “It’s grace.”
The room fell silent.
Lewis continued that Christianity uniquely claims God’s love comes free of charge, no strings attached. No other religion makes that claim.
After a moment someone commented that Lewis had a point, Buddhists, for example, follow an eight-fold path to enlightenment. It’s not a free ride.
Hindus believe in karma, that your actions continually affect the way the world will treat you; that there is nothing that comes to you not set in motion by your actions.
Someone else observed the Jewish code of the law implies God has requ...
Martin Luther said “A religion that does nothing, that saves nothing, that gives nothing, that cost nothing, that suffers nothing, is worth nothing.”
Illus.: “Buddah Is Sleeping”
In a large city in Sri Lanka there is a huge statue of Buddah in a reclining position. The chiseled face is calm, the eyes are closed and the head rests upon one hand. A full 50 feet long, the image is impressive except for one thing: Buddah is sleeping while the world goes by. He is paying no attention to his worshippers. How could he. The “he” is an “it.” It is a thing, not a person. How unlike that our God is. He cares for us. He watches over us. He protects and blesses us. Shame on us when we are filled with fear and uncertainty.