It says in Psalms, “God is close to those that are hurting. God is close to the broken hearted.” God knows when you’ve gotten a bad medical report. He knows when you’re struggling in your finances. He knows when you’re being mistreated. You may not see anything happening, but you can be assured that Almighty God is not only aware, He is at work. He already has the solution. If you will stay in faith, at the right time, He will release a flood of His power, a flood of healing, a flood of restoration. He will not only bring you out, He will bring you out better off than you were before!
………………………………………. Our life our story(Christians) More confusion came in when these Rome Christian converts started symbolising God’s words of Knowledge with art! (Christian art) — lack of ideas/visions ended up copying them pagan iconic symbols
A quick look at: the early Christian catacombs of Rome.
Christianity began in Rome as a prohibited, and therefore underground religion -which is why most of our earliest examples of christian art appear in the catacombs and on sarcophagi.
Literally an underground religion, Christianity had to hide in the corners of the Roman Empire to escape harsh persecutions. Under the city of Rome rests a hundred miles of catacombs, sometimes five stories deep, with millions of interred bodied. Finding the Roman practice of cremation repugnant, Christians preferred burial because it symbolized Jesus’s, as well as their own, rising from the dead -body and soul. (Nici 2008)
The famous Christian catacombs along the roads extending from Rome became steadily extensive into immense networks that bear witness to the burgeoning Christian community there. The Christian catacombs provided for modest but dignified burials in rectangular niches (loculi) dug into the walls of long corridors in horizontal rows, though wealthier families used small connecting chambers (cubicula) for their burials. (Dunstan 2010)
The catacombs were extensively decorated with frescos, rather poor in quality. In the earliest times the subjects of frescos and sculpture were very vague, and could easily be interpreted in a pagan sense, doubtless as a measure of self protection. (Jones et al. 2013)
The image of the shepherd [see photo 2] is a particularly popular one in early Christian art, occurring over 100 times in the catacombs as a whole. The shepherd symbolizes care and protection, as prefigured in the 23rd Psalm. Pagan imagery of Hermes in this aspect was adapted by Christians to form the image of Christ the Good Shepherd. (Williamson 2004)
The example shown is the Catacomb of San Callisto, built after AD 150. Shown in the centre of the final photo is one of the earliest forms of christogram -the Chi Rho, which represents Christ. Also, note the fish to the right of the final photo. The image of the fish was used as a secret symbol for early Christians to identify themselves as followers of Jesus Christ. Again, like most of the early Christian catacomb art, the average non-Christian Roman would not have recognized the image’s association to Christianity.
-Barron’s AP Art History, John Nici, 2008
-Ancient Rome, William Dunstan, 2010
-The Oxford Dictionary of Christian Art and Architecture, Tom Jones, Linda Murray, Peter Murray, 2013
-Christian Art: A Very Short Introduction, Beth Williamson, 2004
Photos courtesy & taken by Jim Forest.
By Pastor Chris
Tuesday, March 4th
You Can Win Always
Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place (2 Corinthians 2:14).
One Bible character that inspires me greatly is King David; there’s so much about him in Scriptures that’s so inspiring. He was a very successful king, who never lost a battle. The only time Israel ever lost a battle in David’s day was when he didn’t go. How could a man be so successful? It shows us the kind of mindset that he had. Think like that: you’re ordained of God to win always and never lose.
There’re people who are used to winning and losing. They say, “Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose; sometimes you’re healthy, and sometimes you’re sick.” For them, life is full of ups and downs, but that’s not the way it should be. You can, and should, always win. That’s the life of the man in Christ—a life of glory, excellence, and constant victories. Jesus was always a winner; He was always victorious because of who He was and what He knew. Success or failure will depend on who you are and what you know.
God said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…” (Hosea 4:6). Some of God’s people suffer because they lack spiritual knowledge—true knowledge of God’s Word. However, 2 Peter 1:2 says, “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord.” Notice he didn’t say grace and peace will be added, but that they’ll be multiplied through knowledge. This is a special kind of knowledge; it’s not “ginosko” (the introductory knowledge you receive when you accept Christ as Lord of your life). This knowledge is “epignosis”; it’s specialized and accurate knowledge. It is experiential knowledge; knowledge that relates with that which is known.
All the beautiful and wonderful blessings and promises God has given you in His Word won’t do you any good if you don’t know about them and know what to do with them. To win always in life, you need the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord. Through this knowledge, you multiply grace and peace in your life. “Peace” here means “power over crisis.” Meaning that, in the midst of the storms and troubles of life, you’ll always win. Glory to God!
I’m a winner, a success, and a victor at every count. I walk in continual victory because I know who I am. Everything I’m involved in prospers because I have the life of God in me and have overcome the world.
f u r t h e r s t u d y: Proverbs 11:9; 2 Peter 1:3
Daily Scriptural Reading
1 Year Reading Plan: Mark 10:32-52 Numbers 14-15
2 Year Reading Plan: Acts 24:1-9 Psalm 56
Jesus, in response to the Pharisees’ question “Who do you think you are?” said “‘Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.’‘You are not yet fifty years old,’ the Jews said to him, ‘and you have seen Abraham!’ ‘I tell you the truth,’ Jesus answered, ‘before Abraham was born, I am!’ At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds.” The violent response of the Jews to Jesus’ “I AM” statement indicates they clearly understood what He was declaring—that He was the eternal, incarnate God. Jesus was equating Himself with the “I AM” title God gave Himself in Exodus 3:14.
If Jesus had merely wanted to say He existed before Abraham’s time, He would have said, “Before Abraham, I was.” The Greek words translated “was” in the case of Abraham, and “am” in the case of Jesus, are quite different. The words chosen by the Spirit make it clear that Abraham was “brought into being,” but Jesus existed eternally (see John 1:1). There is no doubt that the Jews understood what He was saying because they took up stones to kill Him for making Himself equal with God (John 5:18). Such a statement, if not true, was blasphemy and the punishment ascribed by the Mosaic Law was death (Leviticus 24:11-14). But Jesus committed no blasphemy; He was and is God, the second Person of the Godhead, equal to the Father in every way.
Jesus used the same phrase “I AM” in seven declarations about Himself. In all seven, He combines I AM with tremendous metaphors which express His saving relationship toward the world. All appear in the book of John. They are: I AM the Bread of Life (John 6:35, 1, 48, 51); I AM the Light of the World (John 8:12); I AM the Door of the Sheep (John 10:7,9); I AM the Good Shepherd (John 10:11, 14); I AM the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25); I AM the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6); and I AM the True Vine (John 15: 1,5).
Recommended Resources: Jesus: The Greatest Life of All by Charles Swindoll and Logos Bible Software.
Saturday, March 1st
By Pastor Chris
Be Committed To Actualizing His Dream
Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants….Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me (Philippians 2:25-30).
We have a divine commission to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Jesus said: “…Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). You can be rest assured that what we require to achieve this great task is already available to us. The Lord Jesus said something remarkable to His disciples: “…When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye anything? And they said, Nothing” (Luke 22:35). When God sends you on an assignment, He sees to it that everything you require to accomplish that assignment is made available to you.
All God needs from us is our commitment to actualizing His dream. You have to make a commitment that there’ll be no limit to how far you’re willing to go and do for the Gospel. As far as God has given breath in your nostrils, as far as He has made your body His living tabernacle, the Gospel will not be limited. That’s the kind of commitment David made in Psalm 145:3-5. He said, “Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts. I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works.”
There’re people who have committed their time and resources to ensuring that the Gospel of Jesus Christ reaches every nation of the world. They do great exploits for the Kingdom, making up for what others may not have been able to do. They give so much money to the furtherance of the Gospel; and the more they give, the more the Lord channels resources their way so they can accomplish greater things for Him.
What’s your commitment to the Gospel? What’s your role in ensuring the establishment of Christ’s Kingdom on earth? Let the actualization of His dream be your greatest pursuit. Decide that through you, the Gospel will continue to prosper, and you’ll keep at it, until the “roll is called up yonder,” when we stand before the Master.
I’m convinced that the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes, hence, my avowed commitment to its continued propagation around the world. By the ability of the Spirit, I’ll keep preaching and fulfilling God’s plan of bringing many to righteousness, in the Name of the Lord Jesus. Amen.
f u r t h e r s t u d y: 1 Corinthians 9:16-18; Romans 1:14-16
Daily Scriptural Reading
1 Year Reading Plan: Mark 9:14-32 Numbers 7-8
2 Year Reading Plan: Acts 23:1-10 Psalm 50-51
The New Yorker highlights Carl Van Vechten’s timeless photographs of the African American experience in Harlem.
Top: Zora Neale Hurston, 1940
Row two: L: Leontyne Price, 1953 R: Muriel Rahn, 1944.
Row three: L: Ethel Waters, 1940. R: Ella Fitzgerald, 1940
Bottom: Alvin Ailey, 1955
Photographs by Carl Van Vechten. Courtesy of the Carl Van Vechten Trust/Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.
Running away from your problems only creates more problems, and it doesn’t solve the original ones either.
Attacking your problems will probably solve them, but it can leave a trail of hurt people and you’ll soon drive everyone away.
Regardless: face your issues. Denial only feeds them, and delaying them will only hurt people anyway. Problems are not broken lamps that can be swept under a rug. And neither are the friends involved.