Where's God In All of This?

Looking for ways to connect with the divine when TV just doesn't cut it anymore

Tag Archives: Ravi Zacharias

#0579sva – The Truth Behind The Lies


We live in an age where most individuals (including Christians) no longer believe in “Absolute Truth”.  Most people have bought the lie that “what’s right for you might not be right for me”  “That’s your interpretation” , etc.  This is called relativism and has invaded the world’s thinking and also the Christian Church worldwide. 

This video makes a case for Truth. 

#0516sva – Does Prayer Matter?


Does Prayer Matter?

There is an immense difference between a worldview that is not able to answer every question to complete satisfaction and one whose answers are consistently contradictory. There is an even greater difference between answers that contain paradoxes and those that are systemically irreconcilable.

Once again, the Christian faith stands out as unique in this test, both as a system of thought and in the answers it gives. Christianity does not promise that you will have every question fully answered to your satisfaction before you die, but the answers it gives are consistently consistent. There may be paradoxes within Christian teaching and belief, but they are not irreconcilable. To those who feel that Christianity has failed them because of prayers that went unanswered, it is important to realize what I am saying here.

I sat with a man in my car, talking about a series of heartbreaks he had experienced. “There were just a few things I had wanted in life,” he said. “None of them have turned out the way I had prayed. I wanted my parents to live until I was at least able to stand on my own and they could watch my children grow up. It didn’t happen. I wanted my marriage to succeed, and it didn’t. I wanted my children to grow up grateful for what God had given them. That didn’t happen. I wanted my business to prosper, and it didn’t. Not only have my prayers amounted to nothing; the exact opposite has happened. Don’t even ask me if you can pray for me. I am left with no trust of any kind in such things.”

I felt two emotions rising up within me as I listened. The first was one of genuine sorrow. He felt that he had tried, that he had done his part, but that God hadn’t lived up to his end of the deal. The second emotion was one of helplessness, as I wondered where to begin trying to help him.

These are the sharp edges of faith in a transcendent, all-powerful, personal God. Most of us have a tendency to react with anger or withdrawal when we feel God has let us down by not giving us things we felt were legitimate to ask him for. We may feel guilty that our expectations toward God were too great. We may feel that God has not answered our prayers because of something lacking in ourselves. We may compare ourselves with others whose every wish seems to be granted by God, and wonder why he hasn’t come through for us in the way he does for others. And sometimes we allow this disappointment in God to fester and eat away at our faith in him until the years go by and we find ourselves bereft of belief.

G. K. Chesterton surmised that when belief in God becomes difficult, the tendency is to turn away from him—but, in heaven’s name, to what?  To the skeptic or the one who has been disappointed in his faith, the obvious answer to Chesterton’s question may be to give up believing that there’s somebody out there, take charge of your own life, and live it out to the best of your own ability.

But Chesterton also wrote, “The real trouble with the world of ours is not that it is an unreasonable world, nor even that it is a reasonable one. The commonest kind of trouble is that it is nearly reasonable, but not quite.”(2)  He is right. Only so much about life can be understood by reason; so much falls far short of any reasonable explanation. Prayer then becomes the irrepressible cry of the heart at the times we most need it. For every person who feels that prayer has not “worked” for them and has therefore abandoned God, there is someone else for whom prayer remains a vital part of her life, sustaining her even when her prayers have gone unanswered, because her belief and trust is not only in the power of prayer but in the character and wisdom of God. God is the focus of such prayer, and that is what sustains such people and preserves their faith.

Prayer is far more complex than some make it out to be. There is much more involved than merely asking for something and receiving it. In this, as in other contexts, we too often succumb to believing that something is what it never was, even when we know it cannot be as simple as we would like to think it is.

Ravi Zacharias is founder and chairman of the board of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.
(1) Excerpted from Has Christianity Failed You? by RAVI ZACHARIAS. Copyright © 2010 by Ravi Zacharias. Used by permission of Zondervan. www.zondervan.com
(2) G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1995), 87.

#0501sva – Does Religion Poison Everything?


Does Religion Poison Everything?

A common claim made by many atheists is that religion causes evil, suffering, division and war. For example, at the Munk Debate in Toronto last November, Christopher Hitchens argued this very point against Tony Blair. Religion, Hitchens claimed, causes sectarianism, division, strife, disagreement, war, poverty and a host of societal evils. In his best-selling book, God is Not Great, Hitchens even wrote that “religion poisons everything.”

How might a Christian respond? Well, first, I’d point out there’s a major problem with Hitchens’ argument. You could remove the word “religion” from his statement “religion poisons everything” and replace it with many other words. Politics, for example. Politics causes division, bloodshed, argument, and war. Politics poisons everything. Or what about money? Money causes crime, resentment, bloodshed, division and poverty. Money poisons everything.

You see the problem is that atheists like Christopher Hitchens have built their worldview on the idea that human beings are essentially good and that the world is getting better—a kind of naïve utopianism. But the world isn’t like that, is it? Rather, it seems to be the case that whatever human beings lay hold off, they use to cause damage. That applies to money, politics, government, science—and religion. The problem is not with religion or politics, the problem is not out there somewhere, the problem lies in here, in the human heart.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the Russian novelist and political commentator, who survived the Russian gulags and wrote with amazing insight into the human condition, once famously said this: “The dividing line between good and evil runs right through the middle of every human heart.” What the world needs, as an answer to violence and injustice, poverty and pain, is not a clever philosophy, not a religious system, not a new politic, not more money, more education—none of these will fundamentally change anything. Rather, it needs individual transformation, a radical transformation of the human heart. Only Jesus Christ offers that possibility if we are willing to surrender our lives to him.

I often find it interesting to point out to my atheist friends that Jesus himself was also anti-religion. He regularly clashed with the religious leaders of his day because he saw empty religion as powerless, damaging, and enslaving. Ultimately that stance led to his crucifixion. And Christians, of course, cannot talk about suffering and evil, pain, and violence, without talking about the example of Jesus, one to whom violence was done. His example has inspired millions if not billions of Christians to give sacrificially, to love their neighbors, to engage in peace making. One of the most powerful recent examples was the Amish School Shooting in 2006. Not only did the families of the victims publically forgive the perpetrator and offer pastoral support to his family, they set up a trust fund to help the wife of the shooter, who had killed himself too. Only Jesus Christ offers the transformative power that makes that kind of choice possible.

Andy Bannister is a member of the speaking team at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Toronto, Canada.

#0314sva – The Scandal of the Cross


The Scandal of the Cross

There is a striking verse in the New Testament, in which the apostle Paul refers to the cross of Jesus Christ as foolishness to the Greek and a stumbling block to the Jew.  One can readily understand why he would say that.  After all, to the Greek mind, sophistication, philosophy, and learning were exalted pursuits.  How could one crucified possibly spell knowledge? 

To the Jewish mind, on the other hand, there was a cry and a longing to be free.  In their history, they had been attacked by numerous powers and often humiliated by occupying forces.  Whether it was the Assyrians or the Babylonians or the Romans, Jerusalem had been repeatedly plundered and its people left homeless.  What would the Hebrew have wanted more than someone who could take up their cause and altogether repel the enemy?  How could a Messiah who was crucified possibly be of any help?

To the Greek, the cross was foolishness.  To the Jew, it was a stumbling block.  What is it about the cross of Christ that so roundly defies everything that power relishes?  Crucifixion was humiliating.  It was so humiliating that the Romans who specialized in the art of torture assured their own citizenry that a Roman could never be crucified.  But not only was it humiliating, it was excruciating.  In fact, the very word “excruciating” comes from two Latin words:  ex cruciatus, or out of the cross.  Crucifixion was the defining word for pain.

Does that not give us pause in this season before us?  Think of it: humiliation and agony.  This was the path Jesus chose with which to reach out for you and for me.  You see, this thing we call sin, but which we so tragically minimize, breaks the grandeur for which we were created.  It brings indignity to our essence and pain to our existence.  It separates us from God.

On the way to the cross two thousand years ago, Jesus took the ultimate indignity and the ultimate pain to bring us back to the dignity of a relationship with God and the healing of our souls.  Will you remember that this was done for you and receive his gift?

You will then discover that it is sin that is foolishness.  Our greatest weakness is not an enemy from without but one from within.  It is our own weak wills that cause us to stumble.  But Jesus Christ frees us from the foolishness of sin and the weakness of our selves.

This is the very reason the apostle Paul went on to say that he preached Jesus Christ as one crucified, which was the power of God and the wisdom of God.  Come to the cross in these days given for our contemplation and find out his power and his wisdom.    

Ravi Zacharias is founder and chairman of the board of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.

#0302sva – The Scent of Water


 

BOOK REVIEW

The Scent of Water
 A Grace for Every Kind of Broken
by
Naomi Zacharias

Listen to Naomi’s Story…and Begin to Understand Your Own

Follow Naomi as she talks to women working in brothels in Mumbai, survivors of an Indonesian tsunami in which more than 230,000 lives were lost, a young girl waiting on an operation to save her live, and victims of domestic violence horrifically burned by fire. Be still with her when she realizes the pain she feels in the face of these extreme injustices reveals a common struggle that exists within all of humanity.  And rise with her as she wrestles with confusion over her identity, comes face-to-face with redemption, and then begins to understand her own story…and find her calling.

The Scent of Water will open your eyes to the complexities of the world and the healing power of God’s grace, showing you that pain can also be beauty, and how each are found in the unlikeliest of places.

Zacharias doesn’t have all the answers. But she has hope and encouragement that will empower you to find and begin the adventure of your life.

The Forward was written by: Bernice A. King, daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The title of this book is based on Job 14:7-9 (esv)

For there is hope for a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its shoots will not cease.  Though its root grow old in the earth and its stump die in the soil, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put out branches like a young plant.

Her father is Ravi Zacharias who is the 21st century’s leading Apologist.  He is likened to C.S. Lewis of the 20th century.

Here is his comment regarding this book:

The famed Dr. Jowett said once: “If you write to a hurting people, you will never lack for an audience.” He was so right, and over the years I have sensed that truth with greater intensity. The Scent of Water by Naomi Zacharias is one of the most painstakingly written books about the problem of pain. It will be impossible to read this book without your emotions being drawn in. You will see why the title is what it is. It is lifted from Job. The verse refers to a tree that is on the verge of dying but at the scent of water sprouts fresh roots. Such is the great message of this book. I believe it will go across cultures and languages and spell hope to thousands.

Naomi has, in her young life, seen so much. Soon after graduating from Wheaton, she left for the Dominican Republic to work with orphans in the mountains of Jarabacoa. I remember going to visit her and seeing her get off a public bus with her backpack. I have watched her over the years visiting the world’s wounded and rejected. Her whole ministry is to women and children at risk. From Malaysia, to Pakistan, to India, to Thailand, to South Africa, to Kenya, to Holland, and numerous other countries, she has been in the center of listening to the cries of the human heart.

It is my sincere hope that this book will be as much of a blessing to you as it has to us here at RZIM.

Ravi Zacharias

This is a must read.  You can purchase this book at: www.rzim.org  or www. Amazon.com

 

#0246sva – Is Anyone Listening?


Is Anyone Listening?
Does Anyone Care?

by

Ravi Zacharias

There is no getting around the fact that the answers to prayer that Bakht Singh and George Mueller regularly experienced don’t fit the common experience. My daughter Naomi has experienced some tough situations, but, by God’s grace, has kept her feet steady. She travels the globe, working on behalf of the neediest of the world. Whether in the rescue or rehabilitation of women enslaved by the sex-trafficking industry or help for children affected by AIDS — either through the loss of their parents or their own diagnosis of HIV positive — she is in the thick of situations where the need and pain are overwhelming. She often says that perhaps God intended her place to be among the broken people of the world, and in her own personal life she has endured much pain, disappointment, and betrayal. Every now and then I hear her say, “I wish God would answer some of my prayers in a way that would let me know he is even just listening.”

She currently makes her home in a quiet neighborhood on the West Coast of the United States. Recently, after a visit with us in Atlanta, she returned home to be greeted by her energetic Golden Retriever, India, who insists that Naomi first make up for all the lost time with her before anything else is done. Her landlady also came running to welcome Naomi home. So she set her suitcase on the ground just outside her door and got down on the floor, greeting the dog with all the preoccupation of the one-way conversation that a person with an affectionate dog regularly engages in, and also responding to her landlady’s conversation. Finally she turned back to grab her suitcase. Only ten minutes had elapsed from setting it down outside the door and returning to retrieve it, and when she opened the door it was not there. She began to wonder if she had left it in her car, although she was sure she remembered unloading it. But her landlady confirmed that the suitcase had been at the door, which is how she had known that Naomi was back. She searched the periphery of the house in case it had been moved, but there was no sign of either the suitcase or its contents. I was ten thousand miles away when she called home, quite upset. Some of her favorite things were in the suitcase, as well as a few new things she had bought while she was away. She reported the loss to the police, and after two days when it still hadn’t been located, they didn’t give her much hope that she would ever see it, or anything in it, again.

I wrote to her, encouraging her not to lose hope. This was a small thing for God, and we continued to earnestly pray that he would restore it to her. Her prayer was, “I know it isn’t important in the grand scheme of things. It’s just a suitcase. But there are things in it that are important to me. I’ve experienced so much of the pain of life and seem to have known so few answers to my prayers — couldn’t you bring my suitcase back? It would mean so much to me to know that you are there and that you are listening.”

The fourth morning after its disappearance, she got up and checked outside the door as she had for the last three mornings — only to find nothing. She spent the morning working, frequently asking the Lord for the return of her suitcase. At noon she again checked outside the door, finding nothing. In the early afternoon she went out to run an errand, and when she came back there was still no suitcase in front of her door. A few minutes later, she went to the door, and sitting in the exact spot where she had left it three days earlier was her suitcase! She couldn’t believe her eyes. In great excitement she opened it up and found everything there. Not a single thing had been taken.

Now mystified but filled with gratitude to the Lord, she called me. “Dad! Dad, you won’t believe this! My suitcase is back, and nothing has been taken! ” Later that day, she wrote to me and said, “You know, it’s a small thing, but I needed that little small thing from God right now. I needed that little gesture just to know that he cares when I’m a little down.”

Someone once humorously quipped that if you really want your spouse to hang on to every word you say — to listen with rapt attention and remember every word — just talk in your sleep. Someone else told a story about a bishop who knelt before the altar and began praying, “Dear Lord….” And a voice came from heaven asking, “What is it?” They had to pick the bishop off the floor, as he had fainted. The reason these stories strike us as funny is that it is so important to us that someone care enough about us and love us enough to listen to what we say, to care about what we think. And when we pray, when we pour out our hearts and make ourselves vulnerable before God, we sometimes cannot help but wonder — even a little bit — if there really is anyone listening.

—excerpted from Has Christianity Failed You? by Ravi Zacharias @copyright 2010
 

 

#0243sva – Athesim, Feminism, & The Bible


 Its seems that every day in the news, we hear about athesim. This seems to be a very popular stand now taken by many university students in the United States and around the world.  Atheism and Women’s rights are at the forefront of the discussion.  Ravi Zacharias responds to a student’s question about atheism, feminism, and the Bible at Penn State University.

 Ravi asks, “When someone denies the existence of God, what are they affirming in its place?”

Watch as Ravi exposes how some atheists borrow from a Judeo-Christian worldview to debunk it.

 

#0226sva – The Perfect Gift


The Perfect Gift

Isn’t it ironic that the more we have access to, the further we are from finding the answer to our loneliness? We are like little Andrew surrounded by Christmas gifts. Minutes after the gifts have been torn into, poor Andrew sits staring at the wall, saddened at having exhausted so much in so little time.  Likewise, having tasted of every new experience that has come along, we too wonder, like Andrew, where all the promised fulfillment has gone.

Our world has seen many advances that offer the promise of a new day.  First, we live in the age of communication. Never before have we had such means to transmit content or create desire.  Yet even with such capacities, the walls between races, cultures, and generations still stand.

Second, we live in the age of technology.  But it has delivered a bill of goods for which the cost exacted is the loss of peace of mind.  Each new invention was supposed to save us time.  Yet less time is spent in building relationships while more is invested in the trappings of our “conveniences.”

Third, medicine has vastly improved our lives, and yet we have lost the definition of life itself.  How we have changed!  To the ancient of old, said C.S. Lewis, the question was how to conform the soul to reality, and the answer was in virtue and wisdom.  But to the contemporary modern, the question is how to reconfigure reality so it conforms to our passions.  Some change, isn’t it?

Fourth, human sexuality has never been more studied and pandered to in public, yet we have never been more confused about what is right and good.  Young minds are exposed to sights and sounds that foster cravings that no human experience can match or placate.

These advances have not been able to soothe the cry of loneliness heard from millions of hearts, have they?  If the answer lies not in a computer or a medicine bottle, where can we go? 

“Every good and perfect gift is from above,” the Christian Scriptures tell us, “coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like the shifting shadows.”  The God of these Scriptures is the Giver of life.  His presence is our consolation.  His mercy is our salvation.  His glory extends immeasurably beyond all of our faltering answers and fleeting solutions, and yet, His love is extended to each of us personally.  Let us not be like little Andrew surrounded by gifts but not knowing joy.  Go to the Giver, who alone gives us perpetual wonder and fulfillment.

Note from Administrator:
This was written by Ravi Zacharias.  Ravi is the Christian apologist that I greatly admire.  If you want to delve deep into God’s Word—then he is the perfect teacher. He has authored a number of books and you can learn more at www.rzim.org.

#0204sva – Why the Bible?


 

 

 

 

 

If you have read this blog for any lenght of time, you will understand that I point out the false teachers/preachers that are so numerous. I feel its my duty in Christ to be the “Watchman on the Wall”

However, lest you think that there is only bad news——-

I want to introduce to you a true man of God who preaches and teaches God’s Word with all faithfulness.

You can read more about him at www.rzim.org.

Frederick Antony Ravi Kumar Zacharias (born 1946) is an Indian-born, Canadian-American evangelical Christian apologist and evangelist. He was converted out of Hinduism after an attempt to take his own life.

Zacharias is the author of numerous Christian books, including:

  •  Can Man Live Without God? –Gold Medallion Book Award
  • Light in the Shadow of Jihad 
  • The Grand Weaver.

 He is the founder and chairman of the board of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, host of the radio programs Let My People Think and Just Thinking.  These programs can be heard weekly and daily on Christian stations across the United States. You can also download them free on itunes.com.   Ravi is  a visiting professor at Wycliffe Hall of Ox Theseford, where he teaches apologetics and evangelism.

  Zacharias has been referred to as “the great apologist of our time.”

The question  was from a University of Illinois’ student and it was —Why the Bible? Why should we believe what it says?  Ravi gives his unique explanation.

 

 

#0152sva – Has Christianity Failed You?


 BOOK REVIEW

 

 Has Christianity Failed You?
By Ravi Zacharias

Is Christianity not what you thought it was?
Have you stumbled and fallen in your faith?
Do you have intellectual questions that are unanswered?
Have you been affected by hypocrisy in the church?
Are you swayed by the challenges to the Holy Scriptures?
Has science tested your Christian belief?

Has Christianity Failed You? was written for those who have struggled to understand their belief and faith in Jesus Christ. Ravi explores the hard questions about what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ and those who feel betrayed both intellectually and spiritually. In his landmark new book, he addresses the struggle he hears from both skeptics and Christians: Has Christianity failed us? And can irrefutable charges be brought against it by skeptics and disappointed believers alike?  

Exploring topics such as “Who Is Jesus?,” “How Does a Person Get Close to God?,” and “Are Purpose Driven and Reason Driven Always at Odds,?” Zacharias tackles head-on the question of why so many people today have given up on faith.  In the end, he asks whether it is God or whether it is the church—as God’s representative—who has failed. And, more dramatically, he asks if the irrational ends of the skeptic’s view of a world without God place at risk the very existence of humanity.

Zacharias writes for everyone who has left the church literally or emotionally, who lives with silent doubts and who struggles with the “simplistic Jesus is the answer” when suffocated with daunting questions.

Endorsements for Has Christianity Failed You?

“This is a book of simplicity, subtlety, and beauty. “Weaving together memorable anecdotes with graceful prose and striking observations, Ravi Zacharias gives us Christian solutions not only for the head but also for the heart.” — Dinesh D’Souza, , author of What’s So Great about Christianity

“Ravi Zacharias applies his unique gifts to address whether Christianity has failed us or we have failed its Author—the Author of life—and ourselves. With fearless intellectual honesty he acknowledges shortcomings of the church, but rejects, as unbiblical, the option of ‘jettison[ing] the institution that Jesus established for the propagation of the ultimate truth about life.’ Ravi shows that a Christian’s feelings that God (or Christianity) has failed him or her are not a result of God’s abandonment, but of his or her turning away from God’s teachings and will. But to experience God’s ‘nearness,’ we must pay the cost that any relationship of love and commitment demands. To rebuild the ultimate relationship—the one for which we were created—and to find contentment and purpose in our lives, we must turn back to Jesus Christ and place our trust in him.” — David Limbaugh, , syndicated columnist and author of Persecution.

 

Book can be purchased at:

 www.rzim.org, www. amazon.com or www.christianbook.com

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