Pray for the family, Please Team Jesus! Ravi touched millions of lives for JESUS! Let is learn from his life for God! Thank you to Pastor Leonard Navarre for passing the news along to us!
From poison to Christ: How the life and legacy of Ravi Zacharias inspire us to love God with our minds
In The Daily Article for May 20, 2020
- A prayer that changed Ravi Zacharias’s life
- “Let My People Think”
- Three ways to love God with our minds
Christian apologist and author Ravi Zacharias, left, talks with associate professor Lenny Luchetti during the Society of World Changers induction ceremony Wednesday, March 30, 2016. (Jeff Morehead/The Chronicle-Tribune via AP)
Ravi Zacharias, one of the most effective apologists and communicators in the Christian world, died yesterday at the age of seventy-four.
He was born on March 26, 1946, in Chennai, India. His family went to church and observed Christian rituals, but he said he never heard the gospel. “I attended more Hindu festivals and celebrations than I did Christian ones,” he wrote in Christianity Today.
As a young man, Zacharias attended a Youth for Christ rally, where he responded to the invitation with what he later termed “a kind of half-hearted commitment.” At the age of seventeen, in response to poor academic performance that he felt brought shame on his family, he took poison to kill himself.
He was rushed to the hospital, where a representative of Youth for Christ left him a Bible opened to John 14 and Jesus’ statement, “Because I live, you also will live.”
“Jesus,” he prayed, “if you are the One who gives life as it is meant to be, I want it. Please get me out of this hospital bed well, and I promise I will leave no stone unturned in my pursuit of truth.”
God answered his prayer, and Ravi Zacharias kept his promise.
“Let My People Think”
Zacharias received a bachelor of theology degree from Ontario Bible College (now Tyndale University College and Seminary in Toronto) in 1972 and a master of divinity degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, four years later. In 1984, he founded Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM).
Zacharias preached the gospel in more than seventy countries. He wrote or edited more than twenty-five books about theology, apologetics, comparative religion, and philosophy. RZIM has grown to about two hundred employees in sixteen offices around the world with twenty traveling speakers. Their ministry strategies include evangelism, apologetics, humanitarian aid, spiritual growth, and training institutes at Oxford University and elsewhere.
Let My People Think, a weekly radio program, airs on more than two thousand outlets in thirty-two countries. A television program by the same name is broadcast on thirty-one stations in Canada and Belize, with global coverage into Africa, China, and Europe. A version of the program airs in his native India as well.
Ravi Zacharias and I were to share the platform at a statewide college ministry event earlier this year, but he had to cancel due to health concerns. It turned out, he had cancer. Despite surgery and further treatment, the malignancy was deemed untreatable. Last week, as news of his condition spread, social media tributes to his life and legacy were posted from around the world.
Three ways to love God with our minds
We are focusing this week on finding ways to love our neighbor during this ongoing pandemic (Mark 12:31) by first loving God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength (v. 30). As we noted yesterday, when we love God with our strength in the practical commitment of our lives to his lordship, we will be empowered to love others in practical ways as well.
Today, let’s think about ways to love God with our minds so that we can love him more fully with our strength and thus love our neighbor as ourselves. Paul called us to be “transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Romans 12:2). Consider three biblical steps.
One: Stay surrendered to the Holy Spirit.
Paul warned us: “Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:5–6).
Begin every day by asking the Spirit to take control of your mind and life (Ephesians 5:18). Read Scripture and think biblically throughout the day. Choose to yield your mind to your Master.
Two: Refuse unbiblical thoughts.
There is an old computer programming saying: GIGO (garbage in, garbage out). The same is true of our minds. To stay surrendered to God’s Holy Spirit, we must refuse that which is unholy.
Paul testified, “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). He urged us to “set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:2). Sinful thoughts will result in sinful actions and lives.
Three: Seek intellectual excellence.
Christians should be the best scientists and scholars, since by God’s indwelling Spirit “we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16). We should therefore be committed to educational and intellectual excellence to the glory of our Lord. As a wise mentor once told me, “The Holy Spirit has a strange affinity for the trained mind.”
My personal gratitude for Ravi Zacharias
When we submit our minds to the Spirit, refuse unbiblical thoughts and lies, and seek intellectual excellence that honors Jesus, others will be drawn to the Christ we serve and the faith we embrace.
For example, I was never privileged to know Ravi Zacharias personally, but I was especially encouraged by his commitment to Christ. He was one of the most brilliant people I have ever read or heard. If he, with his intellect, could be so certain of the truth of Scripture and veracity of our faith, the rest of us can follow his example with confidence.
And when we love Jesus with our minds, we will be equipped to love him with our strength and our neighbors as ourselves.
This is the legacy of Ravi Zacharias in my life and our world. Thanks be to God.
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Ravi Zacharias, Now with Jesus
An announcement from Sarah Davis
On January 4, my dad recited a stanza from this hymn from the late Richard Baxter (1615-1691):
“Lord, it belongs not to my care
Whether I die or live;
To love and serve Thee is my share,
And this Thy grace must give.
If life be long, I will be glad,
That I may long obey;
If short, yet why should I be sad
To welcome endless day?
Christ leads me through no darker rooms
Than He went through before;
He that unto God’s kingdom comes
Must enter by this door.
Come Lord, when grace hath made me meet
Thy blessed face to see;
For if Thy work on earth be sweet
What will thy glory be!
Then I shall end my sad complaints
And weary sinful days,
And join with the triumphant saints
That sing my Savior’s praise.
My knowledge of that life is small,
The eye of faith is dim;
But ‘tis enough that Christ knows all,
And I shall be with Him.”
None of us could have imagined just two months after reciting that last stanza that my dad would learn he had cancer and he would experience the realization of this more than 300-year-old hymn so soon. Today we affirm, as my dad recited and Baxter penned, “But ‘tis enough that Christ knows all, and I shall be with Him.” My dad, at 74, has “join[ed] with the triumphant saints that sing [his] Savior’s praise.” We who knew and loved him celebrate his life, and more importantly, his Savior.
It was his Savior, Jesus Christ, that my dad always wanted most to talk about. Even in his final days, until he lacked the energy and breath to speak, he turned every conversation to Jesus and what the Lord had done. He perpetually marveled that God took a seventeen-year-old skeptic, defeated in hopelessness and unbelief, and called him into a life of glorious hope and belief in the truth of Scripture—a message he would carry across the globe for 48 years.
His thoughts and conversations in recent years and his final weeks were saturated with gratitude for this team of evangelists, apologists, and staff that he called family: RZIM—Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. He spoke of our evangelists’ tender hearts and their love for people. Some have said my dad blazed a trail when he began commending the Christian faith and addressing life’s great questions of meaning nearly five decades ago. As one friend dear to him remarked, he has also paved that path, desiring that his teammates around the world would continue so untold millions might know the same Jesus he faithfully served—the one he now sees face-to-face.
My dad’s humility, grace, tenderness for people, and above all love for the Lord are forever imprinted on my mind, my heart, and my life. His love for our family will be impossible to replace until we join him in heaven one day. Ravi and Margie just celebrated their 48th wedding anniversary. My mother was entirely committed to my dad’s calling and to this ministry, believing God called them together. I cannot recall even one moment when I saw her commitment to this calling weaken, because she always placed unwavering trust in the God who called them and in His purposes. We experienced God’s kindness and faithfulness in so many ways as we felt Him journeying with us in bringing my dad home. For this we are at peace and filled with deep gratitude to God for the innumerable expressions of His love. Naomi, Nathan, and I are deeply grateful for your continuing prayers for our mother, Margie, and the many expressions of love you have shown to her and to us.
Soon our family will gather for a graveside service. In the days ahead we will provide details for a public memorial service to be held in Atlanta and streamed around the world.
The Gospel of John records these words of Jesus: “Because I live, you also will live” (14:19)—seven words that changed the trajectory of Ravi Zacharias’s life some 57 years ago. It is a verse etched on his grandmother’s grave stone and will be etched on his too. Today my beautiful father is more alive than he has ever been. We thank God for him and recommit our lives to sharing this truth with all who will hear, until He calls us to our eternal home.
With deep love and gratitude, and on behalf of Margie, Naomi, and Nathan,
Sarah Davis More Here