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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.
Bishop Lalachan Abraham
GOD PURSUES YOU
God is constantly initiating and seeking man to come to him.
Malcolm Muggeridge, socialist and philosophical author, wrote, "I had a notion that somehow, besides questing, I was being pursued."
C.S. Lewis said he remembered, "...night after night, feeling whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all of England."
Lewis went on to write a book titled, "Surprised by Joy" as a result of knowing God.
TO WHOEVER FINDS THIS...I LOVE YOU
Several years ago there was a girl in an orphanage. She was unattractive and had mannerisms that were not very attractive either, and so she was disliked and shunned by the other children and was not liked by her teachers. The head of the institution looked for a reason to send her off to some other place.
One afternoon the opportunity came. She was suspected of writing unapproved, illicit notes to someone outside the institution. One of the little girls had just reported, "I saw her write a note and hide it on a tree near the stone wall."
The superintendent hurried to the tree and found the note. He then passed it silently to his assistant. The note read, "To whoever finds this, I love you."
In essence, someone else also wrote a note and put it on a tree outside a city wall at another place a long time ago. Of him, too, it was written "He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men" Isaiah 53:2, 3, NIV.
They sought to get rid of Jesus. They took him out to Calvary’s hill where they crucified him. They nailed him to a tree. But when men get there, they find a note on that tree that reads, "To whoever finds this, I love you."
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...
“God’s Algebra!” Romans 8:9-17 Key verse(s) 16:“The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.”
One of the unchangeable and mysterious laws of mathematics is that whenever you multiply a positive number by a negative number you will always get a negative number. I remember my 7th grade teacher, Mr. Kramer, drilling that into our heads. There was no way of adequately explaining why a negative times a positive will always equal a negative. And, for a math underachiever such as myself, it simply was a matter of memorizing the theorem and forgetting the understanding part of it. From a purely logical perspective, it always seemed to me that whichever number was the larger ought to be the determining factor in any equation. It just made sense. The big guy was going to defeat the little guy in a wrestling match. The larger hawk would always overpower the smaller sparrow. If you mixed a little bit of gravel with a lot of sand you would still have more sand than gravel. I always had a hard time understanding the concept of something small overpowering something very large.
This seemed logical to me for the most part. Even daily life as it played itself out around me testified to the fact that the equation embraced faulty logic. For example, when you were having a good day and things were going along pretty well and you stumbled into calamity for some reason, if the amount of good you had happened to collect did not exceed the magnitude of the calamity, the bad would always put the hammerlock on the good sending you down to the mat every time. It was a question of balance. If your alarm didn’t go off in the morning and you were late for class, that could be overcome in general if you simply negated it by hitting a home run at recess and added a couple of good test scores to the mix throughout the course of the day. That seemed pretty logical to 13-year-old kid who was simply trying to make the best of life at the moment and was determined to finish each day with more good on his plate than bad.
Sometimes being a Christian and having to deal with the bad and negative things in our lives also has this same underpinning of illogical calculation. Life can real deal out some pretty heavy blows sometimes. Even worse, when we are already down for the count, there are even those days when bad piles on bad. If we use the logic of the 13-year-old boy just trying to make it through the day, days like this become unbearable. There simply isn’t enough good within our grasp to deal with all the bad. That’s when despair steps in to put its heavy boot on the back of our neck to keep us down for good.
Thank God for they mystery of His Holy Spirit. When He is inserted into the equation of life, what Mr. Kramer taught me in 7th grade mathematics starts to become even more illogical, however in a reverse sort of way. Whereas algebra dictates that a negative times a positive always equals a negative, God’s textbook, the Bible, dictates that a negative times a positive always equals a positive. When life becomes overpowering it doesn’t matter how much of it is negative. When we put the Holy Spirit of God into the equation the outcome is always the same; we get the help we need to cope and to restore our faith. This is a mystery that flies in the face of earthly logic but it is trustworthy. Sorrow and Affliction x the Holy Spirit = Patience. But God’s algebra doesn’t stop there. Patience x Experience = Faith. It doesn’t seem logical at the outset, but no matter how big sorrow and affliction are, they never come out the winner in this equation.
Conrad Hyers in his book, And God Created Laughter tells a of an 8 year old girl who wrote to Abraham Lincoln, who was then running for President suggesting that he grow a beard. In her opinion, Lincoln would stand a better chance of election if he grew one to hide the homeliness of his face. Lincoln could have been offended, but instead he answered her letter personally and thanked her for her suggestion, furthering adding that he’d like to visit with her when his campaign came to her area.
On the day that Lincoln’s campaign train was scheduled to pass through the town, practically the whole town was assembled at the station. There were the leading Republicans wearing their top hats, the shiny marching, band, the townsfolk in their finest attire. Almost everyone was there... al except the little girl. She was left home. After all, her father reasoned, Lincoln would be interested only in the politicians and their speeches - the votes and the voters - not the attentions of a little girl.
It so happened, however, that as the campaign train approached the town, it was forced to stop for repairs. Lincoln, not wanting to sit in the warm train, set off across the field afoot in search of the little girl’s home.
When Lincoln introduced himself at the door, the maid was speechless. But the little girl and her playmate, the maid’s daughter, welcomed him in as if they were expecting him. The two girls had been having a pretend party, drinking pretend hot chocolate out of their small teacups and they invited Mr. Lincoln to join them. After a while, Lincoln said he must be going, thanked them for the party, and asked them how they liked his new beard. Then he walked to the waiting train.
When Lincoln boarded the train, it started on its way and went right through the town without stopping. Right past all the waiting dignitaries, politicians, loud playing band and flag draped platform; right past ladies and gentlemen in their Sunday best... for Lincoln hadn’t come to visit people who were putting on a show for his benefit. He had come to visit and say thank you to a little girl who just wanted to spend time with him.
Cher and Nicholas Cage starred in a 1987 movie called Moonstruck. In the film, Cher’s fiancé rushes to his dying mother’s bedside in Sicily. During his absence, Cher meets his estranged younger brother, played by Nicholas Cage. Cher is thunderstruck when she takes an immediate liking to Cage and an uneasy romance develops. At one point in the movie, Cage tells Cher that he loves her, whereupon Cher slaps his face and says, “Snap out of it.”
We want to say the same thing when we read the Old Testament. Time and time again, Israel sins against the Lord. We want to shout to God, "Snap out of it!" That is, until we realize that we, too, have sinned like Israel--and God keeps loving us, as well.
Ortberg notes this about the inability to love:
1. The most serious sign of hurry sickness is a diminished capacity to love. Love and hurry are fundamentally incompatible. Love always takes time, and time is one thing hurried people don’t have (87).
2. The truth is look around at our society hurried people cannot love because they are always in a hurry!
3. Ortberg adds this thought about the hurry sickness (lack of patience syndrome): It is because it kills love that hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life. Hurry lies behind much of the anger and frustration of modern life. Hurry prevents us from receiving love from the Father or gi...
God does not change – even in the bad times. I think that is why Matt Redman writes that he is going to choose to say “Blessed be your name”
Blessed be Your name,
When the sun’s shining down on me
When the world’s "all as it should be"
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be Your name,
On the road marked with suffering
Though there’s pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name
… You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name
Dawn Marie Turner
In the book, “Let Us Break Bread Together” Fred Daniel Gealy writes,
“The word Epiphany is a great Christian word. The grace of God has appeared is the testimony of every page in the New Testament. My eyes have seen God has not just shown himself in the past; nor is his coming simply some far-off divine event. That the one who manifested himself to the fathers is here. The coming one has come. The light shines. And in the presence of this revelation we see ourselves as we are in our true relations to the world, to one another, and to God. In showing himself to us, God shows us ourselves. Light is not to look at but to see by.”