Refractive Crystals in God’s hands


Murano Island - FamilyMay 12, 2016 – Sangeetha and I celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary and the symbol for the 15th anniversary is a “crystal”.

When visiting the Murano Island near Venice in May 2015, we were mind blown by the exquisite and intricate work and beauty of the glass work which are known around the world as the Murano crystals.

The word crystal is recorded 5 times in the King James Version of the Holy Bible, once in the book of Job where it is likened to be not as value as wisdom and understanding (Job 28:12-18), once in Ezekiel where it is used in the description of the firmament stretched above the heads of the living creatures (Ezekiel 1:22) and three times in Revelation – first as the sea of glass (Revelation 4:6), then as the holy Jerusalem descending out of heaven from God (Revelation 21:11) and finally as the pure river of water of life proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb, Jesus Christ (Revelation 22:1). The Light Crystal

Crystals get their color and beauty in the way they bend (refract) light that is not reflected from its surface. They are usually singly refractive meaning that the light that enters the crystal is not not divided into two rays or they are multi refractive means that light that enters the crystals are divided into two or more rays, often causing a beautiful prism effect.

This is our prayer today, that Sangeetha and I are singly refractive of the pure water of life that has entered into our lives and that we would be multi refractive of the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, that we hold in these earthly bodies (jars of clay), creating a beautiful prism effect on others, as The Light of the world, Jesus Christ, shines forth from our lives. Our prayer is that we are refractive crystals in God’s hands and we seek that same prayer from you.

Revelation 22:1 (KJV)
And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.

2 Corinthians 4:6-7 (KJV)
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

Image Source: TEDCO

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The first curse; Go on your belly and eat dust


God asked Adam, where he was and if he had eaten the fruit of the tree that he had commanded him not to eat of. God asked the woman (who was beguiled by Satan) as to what she had done. But God did not ask, Satan, where he was (for God knew that he had fallen from heaven to earth – Luke 10:18; Revelation 12:9), or if he had rebelled against God (which was not new for Satan – Ezekiel 28), but instead cursed him for his deception.

Though man had sinned against God, the first curse was on Satan, who brought it upon himself for God said “Because thou (Satan) has done this (beguiling man to sin), you are cursed above all cattle and every beast of the field.” (Genesis 3:14).

The first curse of God can be exposited as being both literal and reflective. Literally, serpents crawl on their belly but what about eating dust? Snakes don’t eat dust or do they? Snakes have been observed to flick their tongue and lick the dust of the earth and take odor particles from the dust to an olfactory sensory organ (Jacobson’s organ) that is found in the roof of their mouth (buccal cavity). Once these particles reach the organ, the chemical compounds in these odor particles bind to receptors in the organ and sensory messages are sent to the brain. These organs helps snakes to hunt and track their prey, which in a sense is akin to eating (licking) dust to eat (hunt and track).

Reflectively, this first curse of God was on Satan, the ancient serpent (Revelation 20:2). The Bible teaches us that the things that go on their belly in an abomination (Leviticus 11:42). God told man that he was dust and to dust he shall return (Genesis 3:19). The Bible also teaches us that Satan is like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (eat) (1 Peter 5:8). So reflectively, to eat the dust for the rest of his life implies that Satan will continue to seek to devour mankind, till his appointed time.

To go (crawl) on the belly is a sign of disgust (abomination) To eat dust is a sign of despondency (Micah 7:17) which is the current cursed and future (the rest of his life) state of Satan

Points to ponder:
Sin brings with it a curse – the curse of death for the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23) and the soul that sins shall die (Ezekiel 18:20). Let us be sober (in the Lord) and watchful and not allow ourselves to be devoured as dust by Satan but let us be transformed now by believing in Jesus and look forward to the transformation of our bodies of dust (jars of clay – 2 Corinthians 4:7) to an eternal celestial glorious one like his (Philippians 3:21).

Genesis 3:14 (KJV)
14 And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:

Leviticus 11:42 (KJV)
42 Whatsoever goeth upon the belly, and whatsoever goeth upon all four, or whatsoever hath more feet among all creeping things that creep upon the earth, them ye shall not eat; for they are an abomination.

Micah 7:17 (KJV)
17 They shall lick the dust like a serpent, they shall move out of their holes like worms of the earth: they shall be afraid of the Lord our God, and shall fear because of thee.

Revelation requires Reflection


Jesus revealed to us that he is The Light of the world and whoever follows him shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of Life (John 8:12). This revelation however requires us to respond by reflecting this light of Life, for Jesus also said, “You are the light of the world”, expecting us not to hide him, the light of Life. He commanded us to shine our light before men, in such a manner, that they may see our good works (of following him) and give glory to God, our Father who is in heaven.

Only those who believe in Jesus and who follow him shall have the light of Life (John 3:16; John 8:12). Jesus is the light of Life and our earthly bodies, which are mere jars of clay, has the hidden treasure of Jesus within us (2 Corinthians 4:6-7), only to be showcased and reflected out of our lives. The revelation of God’s expressed image in the person of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:3) ought to be reflected from and by us. Let us not hide Jesus under a bushel.
Also, note that when we shine the light of Jesus onto the world, those who are blinded by the devil (2 Corinthians 4:4) are not going to be pleased as their works of darkness (of sin) will be exposed, and many will resort to persecuting us, wanting us to hide the light of glorious gospel of Jesus Christ. Let us just consider such persecution/trials, pure joy for in the end it yields perfection/triumph (James 1:2-4) and continue to shine – Let us not hide Jesus under a bushel.

Points to ponder:
Are you a follower of Jesus Christ? Am I a follower of Jesus Christ? We ought to be (Ephesians 5:1). Only if we follow him, shall we have the Light of Life within us that we must reflect.
If you and I are followers of Jesus Christ, Are we reflecting the revelation of God in Jesus Christ (despite any persecution that results from reflecting Jesus Christ? Let us not hide Jesus under a bushel! He is not meant to be.

John 8:12 (KJV)
12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Matthew 5:14-16 (KJV)
14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

2 Corinthians 4:6-7 (KJV)
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

Hebrews 1:3 (KJV)
Who [Jesus] being the brightness [shining light] of his [God’s] glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:

Jesus in the NT :: 2nd Corinthians


The book of 2nd Corinthians gives us a glimpse of who Jesus is in the New Testament (N.T).

Apostle Paul in his second letter to the Church in Corinth, refers to all those who have believed in Jesus Christ as an ambassador for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20). Come to think of it, we are ambassadors, because Jesus Christ himself was an ambassador; in fact, the greatest ambassador of all time – the ambassador of God to man.

An ambassador is one who has a mission; who belongs to the king/county he/she represents; who is an alien in the country where they are sent to serve; who is armed and dangerous; and who is willing to die for his mission. As aforementioned, the greatest ambassador of all is Jesus Christ himself, for He is God’s ambassador to mankind. Jesus had a mission (to save sinners). He belonged to God (for He and God the Father are one). He was an alien on earth (for he came to the world he created, and it knew him not; his very own rejected him). He was armed (with the power of God) and dangerous (against the spiritual forces of wickedness) and He willingly died for the salvation of mankind (He said, I lay down my life).

Apostle Paul also refers to Jesus as the priceless precious treasure hidden in jars of clay (earthern vessels) (2 Corinthians 4:7). Three of the four gospels records the story of the woman (Mary) with an alabaster jar full of perfume, with which she anoints Jesus symbolic of his preparation unto death (Mark 14:3-9; Matthew 26:6-13, John 12:2-8). The scripture records that the perfume was valuable and that she broke the jar. See the perfume is what is valuable, not the jar itself. The sweet aroma of life that is in Jesus Christ within us is what is valuable and not our bodies (the jar of clay) itself. In India, you will find piggy banks that are made of clay and the only way you can take the contents that are stored within is to break the pot. Likewise we must be broken so that Jesus Christ, the priceless treasure, within us can be shared and experienced by others.

In 2nd Corinthians, Jesus is the Ambassador of God to man; the hidden treasure in us, the jars of clay.

2 Corinthians 5:19-21 (KJV)
19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

2 Corinthians 4:6-7 (KJV)
6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
7But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

Photos


On November 2, 2009, the penultimate day of our vacation in Mexico, after kayaking in the afternoon, Reuben started building some sand castles on the beach and as we searched for the camera to take a picture of what he had built, we realized that it was not in the bag that we usually carried it in. I went to the room to look for it and when I did not see it there, I started to panic. Panic stricken I asked Reuben to pray and we both prayed as Sangeetha walked over to the restaurant where we had lunch to see if we had left it there. I eagerly waited for Sangeetha to return with the good news that she had found it but that was not the case.

This is when it dawned on me that what I really felt concerned about was not the camera itself but the photos that was in the chip within the camera. We had taken about 200+ photos since the beginning of our vacation, including some family pictures at Chichen Itza, which is one of the seven wonders of the world. The camera is just a shell and was replaceable but the memories that were captured in the chip within were not only irreplaceable but priceless as well.

Likewise the shell of our bodies (jars of clay) is not what we should be concerned about but what we contain within it in our hearts (chip) is what truly matters. And what truly matters is the treasure of Jesus Christ (who is priceless and irreplaceable) whom we should hold within our jars of clay (2 Corinthians 4:5-7) in our hearts.

Eventually, we did find the camera which was in the room carefully stowed away by the housekeeping service personnel and now I believe that this experience was given to teach me a valuable lesson. i.e., what really matters is the treasure of Jesus Christ hidden in those who believe in His name and not our ephemeral bodies that will metamorphose one day into celestial ones.

2 Corinthians 4:5-7 (KJV)
5
For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.
6
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
7
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

Broken piggy bank


Earthern_Piggy_BanksMy beloved wife, Sangeetha, in a conversation about inculcating the principles of saving in our much loved son, Reuben, expressed to me how in India, piggy banks are usually pots made of clay  and in order for someone to get the contents from within, the only way they could do so was by breaking the pot. Interestingly, ‘pygg’ in Middle English referred to the clay used to make jars and kitchen pots and in the 18th century, the term ‘pygg jar’ was the changed into ‘pig bank’.

As she shared, I was struck with a profound revelation hidden in the Scriptures. Like the piggy banks made of clay, we are made in the image of God from the dust of the earth and the Bible refers to our bodies as jars of clay (2 Corinthians 4:7). Just as within the piggy bank, is stored content of high value, so we store in our jars of clay, THE TREASURE of high value, which is the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6). But what is really the most important for us to not lose track of, is that whatever is present within the piggy banks is of little value and cannot be used  as long as it remains within the piggy bank, however, when the piggy bank is broken, the valuable contents are now made available for use. Similarly, unless we break ourselves down, the treasure of Jesus Christ in us, just remains within us, but when we break ourselves, He is made available for the use (of salvation) to many. We need to be broken, humbling ourselves, becoming meek and decreasing in our self, so that He (Jesus) will increase.

The question then to reflect upon is Are you/Am I ready to be broken?

2 Corinthians 4:7 (KJV)
6
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
7
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels (jars of clay), that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

Standards for God


Imagine for a moment that God is interviewed by your favorite news anchor and He is posed the question – “What is it that can help us identify your true children?

His response:
I have made my children in such a way that when the people of the world are sitting, they would be standing;
when the world is standing, they will stand out;
when the world stands out, they will be outstanding; and
when the devil dares the world to be outstanding, my children will be the standards to be used.

The Bible tells us that God has set apart those who are godly for himself (Psalm 4:3). Apostle Paul writes that he is a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle (sent forth) and set apart (separated) unto the gospel of God (Romans 1:1).

So what does it mean to be set apart by God for Himself unto His gospel?
To be set apart is to stand when the world sits, stand out when the world stands, be outstanding when the world stands out and to be the standards of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance (Galatians 5:22-23) for all the world to see the hidden treasure we hold in our ephemeral bodies (jars of clay) which is the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, and the excellency of the power of God (2 Corinthians 4:7).

Are you/Am I a standard for God? If so, what kind of standard are we? If not, why not?