Posts from the ‘hope’ Category

They Gave Christ a Cross, Not Guessing that He Would Make it a Throne

ChristBetweenTwoThieves

“He did not conquer in spite of the dark mystery of evil. He conquered through it.”

~James Stewart~

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“It is a glorious phrase of the New Testament, that ‘he led captivity captive.’ 

The very triumphs of His foes, it means, he used for their defeat. He compelled their dark achievements to sub-serve his end, not theirs.

They nailed him to the tree, not knowing that by that very act they were bringing the world to his feet.

They gave him a cross, not guessing that he would make it a throne.

They flung him outside the gates to die, not knowing that in that very moment they were lifting up all the gates of the universe, to let the King of Glory come in.

They thought to root out his doctrines, not understanding that they were implanting imperishably in the hearts of men the very name they intended to destroy.

They thought they had defeated God with His back the wall, pinned and helpless and defeated: they did not know that it was God Himself who had tracked them down.

He did not conquer in spite of the dark mystery of evil. He conquered through it.”

James Stewart (1896–1990) was a minister of the Church of Scotland

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” And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh,

He has made alive together with Him,

having forgiven you all trespasses,

having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us,

which was contrary to us.

And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

 Having disarmed principalities and powers,

He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.”

(Colossians 2:13-15)

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

(John 3:16)

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Pontius Pilate Shares His Torment with Gaius (fiction, audio)” Ravi Zacharias from “Jesus as they Saw Him”

Read by Ravi Zacharias, this dramatic audio adaptation of the Biblical account of the trial of Jesus Christ is told from the fictional perspective of the man who reluctantly delivered Christ to be crucified, the Roman ruler assigned to Israel , Pontius Pilate.

Much of this does however dramatically reflect what we gather from the Biblical account.

The text is also included below.

Its almost fitting that the only recording of this I could find is a video shrouded in darkness similar to the ruminations of this dialogue.

Darkness really did come upon the middle of the day when Christ Jesus died.

Praise God for the resurrection and Light and Life everlasting.

“While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, “Have nothing to do with that just Man, for I have suffered many things today in a dream because of Him.”
(Matt 27:19 NKJV)
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“… “It suddenly closed in on me Gaius, the impact of how trapped I was. The proud arm of Rome with all its boast of justice was to be but a dirty dagger in the pudgy hands of the priest. I was waiting in the room, Gaius, the one I use for court, officially enthroned with cloak and guard when they let this Jesus in. Well Gaius, don’t smile at this, as you value your jaw, but I have had no peace since the day he walked into my judgment hall. It’s been years but these scenes I read from the back of my eyelids every night.

You have seen Caesar haven’t you? When he was young and strapping inspecting the legion. His arrogant manner was child like compared to that of the Nazarene. He didn’t have to strut, you see. He walked toward my throne; arms bound but with a strident mastery and control that by its very audacity silenced the room for an instant and left me trembling with an insane desire to stand up and salute.

The clerk began reading the absurd list of charges. The priestly delegation punctuating these with palm rubbings and beard strokings and the eye rollings and the pious gutturals I had long-since learned to ignore. But I more felt it, Gaius, than heard it. I questioned him mechanically. He answered very little but what he said and the way he said it, it was as if his level gaze had pulled my naked soul right up into his eyes and was probing it there. It seemed like the man wasn’t even listening to the charges brought against him as a voice deep within me seemed to say `You are the one on trial, Pilate.’ You would have sworn, Gaius, that he had just come in out of a friendly interest to see what was going to happen to me. The very pressure of his standing there had grown unbearable when a slave rushed in all a tremble, interrupting court to bring a message from Claudia. She had stabbed at the stylus in that childish way that she does when she is distraught. ‘Don’t judge this amazing man, Pilate,’ she wrote. ‘I was haunted in dreams of him this night.’

Gaius, I tried to free him. From that moment on I tried and I always will think he knew it. He was a Galilean so I delivered him out of my jurisdiction, but the native King Herod discovered he was born in Judea and sent him right back to me. I appealed to the crowd that had gathered in the streets, hoping that they were his sympathizers, but Caiaphas had stationed agitators to whip up the beast that cry for blood and you know how any citizen here just after breakfast loves to cry for the blood of another. I had him beaten, Gaius, a thorough barracks room beating. I’m still not sure why. To appease the crowd, I guess. But do we Romans really need reasons for beating? Isn’t that the code for anything we don’t understand? Well, it didn’t work, Gaius. The crowd roared like some slavering beast when I brought him back.

If only you could have watched him. They had thrown some rags of purple over his pulped and bleeding shoulders. They jammed a chaplet of thorns down on his forehead and it fit, it all fit! He stood there watching them from my balcony; lame from weakness by now but royal I tell you. Not just pain but pity shining from his eyes and I kept thinking somehow this is monstrous; this is all up-side-down. That purple is real, that crown is real, and somehow these animal noises the crowd is shrieking should be shouts of praise.

Then Caiaphas played his master stroke on me. He announced there in public that this Jesus claimed a crown and that this was treason to Caesar. And then the guards began to glance at each other and that mob of spineless filth began to shout, hail Caesar, hail Caesar. I knew I was beaten and that’s when I gave the order. I couldn’t look at him, Gaius. And then I did a childish thing. I called for water and there on the balcony I washed my hands of that whole wretched affair, but as they led him away I did look up and he turned and looked at me. No smile, no pity, he just glanced at my hands and I have felt the weight of his eyes upon them ever since.

But you’re yawning, Gaius, I’ve kept you up. And the fact of the matter is you are in need of some sleep and some holidays. Yes, sleep. Claudia will be asleep by now. Rows of lighted lamps line her couch. She can’t sleep in the dark anymore. No, not since that afternoon you see, since the afternoon when the sun went out and my guards executed him. That’s what I said, I don’t know how or what or why—I only know that I was there and though it was the middle of the day it turned as black as the tunnels of hell in that miserable city and while I tried to compose Claudia and explain how I had been trapped she railed at me with her dream. She has had that dream ever since when she sleeps in the dark—or some form of it—that there was to be a new Caesar and that I had killed him.

Oh, Gaius we have been to Egypt to their seers and magicians. We have listened by the hour to the oracles in the musty temples of Greece chattering their inanities. We have called it an oriental curse that we are under and we have tried to break it a thousand ways, but there is no breaking it.

Do you know why I kept going, Gaius? Deep within the curse is the haunting, driving certainty that he is still somewhere near, that I still have some unfinished business with him, and that now and then as I walk by the lake he is following me and as much as that strikes terror I wonder if that isn’t the only hope. You see, Gaius, if I could walk up to him this time and salute him and tell him that now I know that whoever else he was he was the only man worthy of his name in Judea that day. Tell him that I know I was entrapped—that I trapped myself. Tell him that here is one Roman that wishes he were Caesar. I believe that would do it wouldn’t it Gaius? I believe he would listen and know I meant it and at last I would see him smile.

Quiet tonight isn’t it Gaius? Not a breeze stirring by the lake. Yes, goodnight. You had better run along. Would you please waken the slave outside the door and tell him to bring me a cloak, my heavy one please. I believe I will walk by the lake. Yes, its dark there, Gaius but I won’t be alone. I guess I really haven’t been alone—not since that day. Yes goodnight, Gaius.”

Watch “The Cross – Billy Graham’s Message To America”

Witness the power and reality of a man who knows Christ to such a degree that he became God’s prophet to the nations of the world.

Millions have come to know Christ through the ministry of the Reverend Billy Graham.

Watch this video and see how God has used and is still using Billy Graham as His instrument to bring life through Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world.

” For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

The Deconstruction of Absolute Truth and the Arts

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“Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

Imagine a painter throwing away half of his or her color palette.

Or imagine a black and white photograph without white, only shades of dark gray.

Whether the subject is painting,photography,theater, or literature, all the above involve using contrasts to make images or tell stories.

Painters use colors ranging from light to dark.

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Photographers use bright sunlight to dark shadows.

Theater and literature use contrasts in good and evil, peace and conflict, justice and injustice, love and hatred,truth and falsehood.

Now imagine a World that no longer accepts or believes in Absolute Truth, where the contrasts between right and wrong are no longer clear, and men stumble in the darkness because they cannot see.

Discovering that God is Love While in a Nazi Concentration Camp – Viktor Frankl “Man’s Search for Meaning”

Deutsch: Viktor Frankl

Deutsch: Viktor Frankl (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Vitor Frankl was a psychologist who was trained in Vienna.  and was imprisoned in Auschwitz, and other Nazi Germany death camps, as well as his wife and family.

Even though the Nazi prison camp meant facing death, and surrounded by constant threat and hatred, Victor Frankl found the meaning of life there.

From  “Man’s Search for Meaning”- Experiences in a Concentration Camp”

“A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth — that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way — an honorable way — in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment. For the first time in my life I was able to understand the meaning of the words,

“The angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory.”

Viktor Frankl

1 John 4:10

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:10)

“Ravi Zacharias – The ultimate test of civilization will be in what it does to its children” -Video

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The First Christmas Gift – God Came Down To Us

 

Immanuel

 

The First Christmas Gift – God Came Down To Us

Click on this link above to watch an amazing Christmas pageant by Kensington Church in Troy Michigan.

The humorous intro includes NFL ,(American), Pro Football Detroit Lions players Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson.

Following that is ,”The Christmas Song”, an original Jazz/Rock piece by the Kensington praise musicians that about blew me away.

Most or all of this stage performance was recorded live, so the video includes a 1 minute intercession after the initial song.

What follows is an amazing  theatrical story that illustrates how when God came to be with us , He brought life and light into our dark and dead world.

The Bible says that we didn’t understand who Christ,why He came, or what He was doing.

When the story begins, everything is in shades of black, white , and gray.

Interestingly, the color red is used, the color of blood, to symbolize how Christ gave His life in order to give us life.

Then everything bursts into vibrant color to symbolize new life through Christ.

The video is 86 minutes long but can be started or stopped at any point.

If you wonder what Christmas is all about, or if you feel like you have lost the joy for Christmas, this video will help you find your joy.

The pageant is filled with amazing original music and a simple yet profound message.

I recommend watching this regardless of your condition in life.

Whether alone or with family,..

this message is meant for each one of us no matter where we are in life.

God came down to us!

The first Christmas gift was to us!

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