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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.
Charlie Brown and Lucy and Linus are lying on the ground, looking up into the sky. Lucy says, "If you use your imagination, you can see lots of things in the cloud formations. What do you think you see, Linus?" Linus responds, "Well, those clouds up there look like the map of the British Honduras on the Caribbean. And that cloud looks a little like the profile of Thomas Eakins, the famous painter and sculptor. And that group of clouds over there gives me the impression of the stoning of Stephen. I can see the Apostle Paul standing here to one side."
Lucy congratulates him, "Uh huh, that’s very good. What do you see in the clouds, Charlie Brown?" Charlie Brown replies, "Well, I was going to say I saw a ducky and a horsie, but I changed my mind."
What do you see when you look into the skies? The psalmist looked into the heavens and he saw ... God. He said, "The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands" (19:1).
During the late 1800’s an English evangelist named Henry Moorhouse made
several trips to preach in America. On one of those occassions he was
taking a walk through a poor section of town when he noticed a small boy
coming out of a store with a pitcher of milk in his hands. Just then,
he slipped and fell breaking the pitcher and spilling the milk all over
the sidewalk. Moorhouse rushed to the childs side and found him unhurt
but terrified. "Mu mama’ll whip me," he kept crying. So Moorhouse
picked up the boy and carried him into the nearby store where the
preacher purchased a new pitcher. Then he returned to the daity, hd the
pitcher washed and filled with milk. With that done, he carred the boy
and the pitcher home.
Putting the youngster down on his front porch, Moorhouse handed him the
pitcher and asked, "Will your mama whip you now?"
A wide smile spread across the boys tear stained face, "no sir, cause
this is a lot better pitcher than we had before."
In grace God saves us. He doesn’t patch up our old lifes that have been
shattered by sin and satan into a million pieces. That would not do.
His reputation is at stake. We are His workmanship!
R.C. Sproul in his book “The Holiness of God” says this about God’s holiness. “What God does it always consistent with who God is, He always acts according to His holy character. God’s internal righteousness is the moral excellence of His character. It is rooted in His absolute purity. There is no “shadow of turning” in Him. As a holy God, He is...
The funeral of King Louis XIV was held in the great cathedral of Paris, France. The cathedral was dark except for one candle placed on top of the golden casket containing Louis’ remains. At the appointed time, Massillon, the court preacher addressed the assembly of mourners. He arose, walked to the candle and snuffed it out. Then in the darkness he declared, ONLY God IS GREAT!
I once heard about a man who worked with children who lived in sewers - somewhere in South America I think. He used to go into the sewers himself to try and help the children who were living there. Imagine you had been one of those children - virtually blind through living in the darkness underground. Filthy through living in the waste from thousands of homes. Maybe this man offers you a chance to leave. You jump at the opportunity, but has he leads you out, as your eyes become accustomed to the light at the end of the tunnel, you start to see the state that you are in. You start to see the excrement on your clothes and in your hair. And no matter how hard you try to brush it off, the stains will not go away. And of course, the nearer you get to the light coming in from the entrance of the tunnel, the dirtier you appear. Naturally you would shy away from ever coming out of the sewer until you’re fit to be presented to the outside world. The problem of course, is that you cannot be made clean until you come out of the filth of the sewer, and by coming out it’s inevitable that you will be made aware of your own filth.
If we are to see God’s holiness, it is certain that we will recoil at our own sinfulness.
A story is told in which an accountant answered an advertisement for a top job with a large firm. At the end of the interview, the chairman asked, “One last question—what is three times seven?”
The accountant thought for a moment and replied, “Twenty-two.”
Outside he checked himself on his calculator and concluded he had lost the job. But two weeks later he was offered the post. He asked the chairman why he had been appointed when he had given the wrong answer.
“You were the closest,” the chairman replied.
Some people have the mistaken idea that God is like the man who conducted the interview. They think it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you’re close to the truth.
James O. Davis
Someone has said, “Christ dug deep the gorges, piled up the hills, and probed up the mountains with His will. The moon and the stars leaped on His arm. He did not have to write His signature on the corner of a sunrise because He is the creator. He did not have to place a laundry mark in the lapel of a meadow because He is the owner. He did not have to carve His initials in the side of the mountain because He is the titleholder. Christ did not have to put a brand on the cat...
John Williams III
At one time, there was a young man who was a friend to many with musical abilities and talents. It was unfortunate that he was not musically talented as they were. You would think the story ended there, but it did not. This young man had a talent that was somewhat hidden from his peers and even himself. Then, one day, he harnessed his whittling skills to the challenge of building a violin like the ones that his friends would play. When he built his first violin, he showed it to his friends who played his violin. They were astonished and told him to go and show his violin to the best musicians of his day. The best musicians of his day agreed with the younger violinists when they said that his violin was the best quality sounding violin that they had ever heard. The violins made by that person over three hundred years ago in Cremona, Italy are still among the best sounding violins today. Who was this person? His name was Antonio Stradivari. His violins are called Stradivarian violins. (paraphrased: Paul E. Holdcraft. 101 Snappy Sermon Starters. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1951, pp. 84-85).
The Temple in Jerusalem was built with a 3’ to 4’ high wall which ran through the court and separated the court of the Gentiles from the rest of the inner court. Only Jews were permitted past this dividing wall. Archaeologists in 1871 uncovered the inscription: ‘No man of another race is to proceed within the partition and enclosing wall about the sanctuary. Any one arrested there will have himself to blame for the penalty of death which will be imposed as a consequence.