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Bishop Lalachan Abraham
RAVI ZACHARIAS: SYMBOLS OF THE PURSUIT OF GOD
2 Corinthians 4:6 “For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ."
Ravi Zacharias said: "The pursuit of the Hebrews was idealized and symbolized by light. 'The Lord is my light and my salvation.' 'The people that sat in darkness have seen a great light.' 'This is the light that lighteth every man that comes into the world.'
"The pursuit of the Greeks was symbolized by knowledge. That’s why the Biblical writers say, 'These things are written that you might know that you have eternal life.' For the Hebrews, it was light. For the Greeks, it was knowledge.
"For the Romans, it was glory. The apostle Paul, a Hebrew by birth, a citizen of Rome, living in a Greek city, had to give to them the ideal of his ethic. And he says this: 'God, who caused the light to shine out of darkness, has caused His light to shine in our hearts, to give to us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus our Lord.'
"For the apostle Paul, the ultimate ethic was not an abstraction, not symbolized merely by light, not merely by knowledge, not merely by glory, but in the very face of our Lord.
There’s another beautiful picture of baptism given here: “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” Did you catch it? Baptism clothes us with Christ. We’re wrapped up in Jesus and all of his goodness in baptism. We’re clothed with his work and his righteousness. Armani, Gucci, Abercrombie and Fitch – none of those designer labels can compare with the garments we have in Jesus’ name. God “clothes” us with forgiveness and salvation. In other words, he says that these things are ours. They’re real, just like a change of clothes. All who believe that these garments are theirs have what’s needed to be part of God’s family.
The Lord offers a wonderful wardrobe for his people. It’s his Son’s life, death, and resurrection. These are ours to “wear” spiritually. God does have a dress code for his family. This is what identifies the Christian as such. Let’s face it. People often wear the clothes they do because the want to be noticed. Quite often it’s the label or the name brand that supposedly makes a person a “somebody.” Well, you want to be labeled as a “somebody”, then be labeled as one who is wrapped up with Jesus. Be labeled with Christ. Be proud that you are a Christian. Don’t be ashamed of all the Christ has done for you! God has made you part of his family.
D. L. Moody said, “One day you’ll read that Moody is dead. Don’t you believe it for at that moment I will be more alive than ever before!”
"WHAT MAKES A GOOD CHURCH?"
If all the lazy folks will get up,
And all the sleeping folks will wake up,
And all the discouraged folks will cheer up, And all gossiping folks will shut up,
And all the dishonest folks will confess up,
And all the estranged folks will make up,
And all the disgusted folks will sweeten up,
And all the lukewarm folks will fire up,
And all the dry bones will shape up,
And all the sanctified folks will show up,
And all the leading folks will pay up,
And all the true soldiers will stand up,
Then, and only then, we have a good chu...
Heres what Cambridge scholar N.T Wright has to say about the subject, "Why did christianity arise, and why did it take the shape it did? The early Christians themselves reply: We exist because of Jesus’ resurrection…. There is no evidence for a form of early Christianity in which the resurrection was not a central belief. Nor was this belief, as it were, bolted on to Christianity at the edge. It was the central driving force, informing the whole movement."
One of the characters in the movie, Toy Story, is Buzz Lightyear, a new toy to Andy’s room. Buzz is an astronaut, with a lot of neat things attached to him.
Buzz comes into the other toys’ lives thinking that there are no other Buzz Lightyears around. He is the only one.
Woody, a cowboy toy, and Andy’s favorite tries to convince him that he is only a toy not the character that he says he is.
Well in the course of the story, Buzz and Woody find themselves next door at Sid’s house, a little boy who likes to blow-up toys. During an attempted escape Buzz runs into a room in which we find Sid’s dad sound asleep in a chair with a beer in his hand and the TV on.
Buzz walks into the room at the very moment an Al’s Toy Barn commercial comes on about Buzz Lightyear’s on sale! As he watches the commercial he begins to realize that he is not who he thinks that he is.
He walks out of the room in a state of shock and dismay to the top of the upstairs landing. He deploys his wings, and in what turns out to be a final attempt at trying to prove that he is Buzz Lightyear by trying to fly.
He sails into the air, at first thinking he can, and then as the action is placed in slow motion you watch the expression on his face change to a grimness that fades as he does to the bottom of the landing.
As he lands, one of his arms comes off and the camera pulls back to a shot of Buzz lying there on one of the bottom steps and looking at this other arm on another step. He is broken and he cannot fix himself.
One of the painful realities of life is that we cannot fix ourselves nor, despite the illusion that we can, fix one another. We are broken; we are in need of a repair that we cannot make.
In the foreward of his book, Inside Out, Larry Crabb writes this: “Modern Christianity, in dramatic reversal of its biblical form, promises to relieve the pain of living in a fallen world. The message, whether it’s from fundamentalists requiring us to live by a favored set of rules or from charismatics urging deeper surrender to the Spirit’s power, is too often the same: The promise of bliss is for NOW! Complete satisfaction can be ours this side of heaven.....
We are told, sometimes explicitly but more often by example, that it’s simply not necessary to feel the impact of family tensions, frightening possibilities, or discouraging news. [We are told that] life may have its rough spots, but the reality of Christ’s presence and blessing can so thrill our soul that pain is virtually unfelt. It simply isn’t necessary to wrestle with internal struggle and disorder. Just trust, surrender, persevere, obey.
“The effect of such teaching,” continues Crabb, “is to blunt the painful reality of what it’s like to live as part of an imperfect, and sometimes evil, community. We learn to pretend that we feel now what we cannot feel until Heaven.
But not all of us are good at playing the game. Those whose integrity makes such pretense difficult sometimes worry over their apparent lack of faith. “Why don’t I feel as happy and together as others? Something must be wrong with my spiritual life.” To make matters worse, these people of integrity often appear less mature and their lives less inviting than folks more skilled at denial. And churches tend to reward their members who more convincingly create the illusion of intactness by parading them as examples of what every Christian should be.
[But] beneath the surface of everyone’s life, especially the more mature, is an ache that will not go away. It can be ignored, disguised, mislabeled, or submerged by a torrent of activity, but it will not disappear. And for good reason. We were designed to enjoy a better world than this. And until that better world comes along, we will groan for what we do not have. An aching soul is evidence not of neurosis or spiritual immaturity, but of realism.
In 1947, someone came across some old jars. These old earthen vessels contained the Dead Sea Scrolls, which are a very valuable source of study for the Church. The jars themselves were not s...
“The Lord’s mercy often rides to the door of our heart upon the black horse of affliction.”
Charles Hadden Spurgeon
"I do not ask to walk smooth paths nor bear an easy load. I pray for strength and fortitude to climb the rock-strewn road. Give me such courage and I can scale the hardest peaks alone, And transform every stumbling block into a stepping stone."