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Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Case For The Resurrection

Does circumstantial evidence confirm the resurrection of Jesus Christ? 
{Circumstantial evidence is indirect testimony,  evidence in which an inference is required to connect it to a conclusion of fact, like a fingerprint at the scene of a crime. EX. It was circumstantial evidence that earned Timohty McVeigh his death sentence for the OK City bombing. -}

If I was sitting on the jury the following would be enough for me:

1. Within 5 weeks of the death of Christ more than 10,000 Jews had suddenly altered or abandoned rituals that had long given them their national identity (animal sacrifice, Mosaic law, Sabbath keeping...). The implication was that something enormously significant had occurred.

2. The emergence of new rituals (Communion & Baptism) 

3. The rapid rise of a new church (begun by the companions of a dead carpenter), withing 20 years it had reached Caesar's palace in Rome and eventually spread throughout the Roman Empire.

4. Every one of Jesus' disciples was willing to suffer and die for his beliefs. At the time of Christ's death they had all run away, abandoned and denied their teacher. Following His Resurrection they spent their lives witnessing about the risen Christ - it seems ridiculous that they would have done this for a lie.
{, BreakPoint 4/19/01}

5.The empty tomb still exists.

6.The location and names of political leaders who sentenced Him are historically recorded by a variety of sources/cultures.

7. There were more than 500 eyewitness who saw Jesus after the Resurrection, recorded by New testament writers.

8. The very existence of the Christian faith, based on His death and Resurrection.

9. The cultural and political evidence of the time, including the Roman calendar separating all time into Before Christ and in the year of our Lord.
{Garry T. Ansdell, D.D.}

10. This one solitary life did more to change the world than any other. Of all the gods in the pantheon of history none was born as a baby and lived as a man. Only Christ offers mercy and grace, Following Christ is the only of the world's beliefs systems that salvation is based on faith not one's "good works". This is why I beleive.


Monday, March 11, 2013

Vanity of vanities - Ecclesiastes

Sometimes its a good idea to just calm the fuck down.
Big sigh. 
I need a reminder pretty much daily on that one. 
I heard a great teaching earlier on Ecclesiastes from one of my favorites, Dr Jeremiah, it really got to me, and so I recommend it to you.

For me personally, the inclination to see the glass as half empty - to let fear penetrate into my bones is innate... to throw up my hands and say 'oh well', simply comes natural like.  I very often need to be reminded to take a big deep breath of 'man the hell up' ---  if you know what I mean.

Ecclesiastes 11-12:14

New King James Version (NKJV)

The Value of Diligence

11 Cast your bread upon the waters,
For you will find it after many days.
Give a serving to seven, and also to eight,
For you do not know what evil will be on the earth.
If the clouds are full of rain,
They empty themselves upon the earth;
And if a tree falls to the south or the north,
In the place where the tree falls, there it shall lie.
He who observes the wind will not sow,
And he who regards the clouds will not reap.
As you do not know what is the way of the wind,[a]
Or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child,
So you do not know the works of God who makes everything.
In the morning sow your seed,
And in the evening do not withhold your hand;
For you do not know which will prosper,
Either this or that,
Or whether both alike will be good.
Truly the light is sweet,
And it is pleasant for the eyes to behold the sun;
But if a man lives many years
And rejoices in them all,
Yet let him remember the days of darkness,
For they will be many.
All that is coming is vanity.

Seek God in Early Life

Rejoice, O young man, in your youth,
And let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth;
Walk in the ways of your heart,
And in the sight of your eyes;
But know that for all these
God will bring you into judgment.
10 Therefore remove sorrow from your heart,
And put away evil from your flesh,
For childhood and youth are vanity.
12 Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth,
Before the difficult days come,
And the years draw near when you say,
“I have no pleasure in them”:
While the sun and the light,
The moon and the stars,
Are not darkened,
And the clouds do not return after the rain;
In the day when the keepers of the house tremble,
And the strong men bow down;
When the grinders cease because they are few,
And those that look through the windows grow dim;
When the doors are shut in the streets,
And the sound of grinding is low;
When one rises up at the sound of a bird,
And all the daughters of music are brought low.
Also they are afraid of height,
And of terrors in the way;
When the almond tree blossoms,
The grasshopper is a burden,
And desire fails.
For man goes to his eternal home,
And the mourners go about the streets.
Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed,[b]
Or the golden bowl is broken,
Or the pitcher shattered at the fountain,
Or the wheel broken at the well.
Then the dust will return to the earth as it was,
And the spirit will return to God who gave it.
“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher,
“All is vanity.”

The Whole Duty of Man

And moreover, because the Preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yes, he pondered and sought out and set in order many proverbs. 10 The Preacher sought to find acceptable words; and what was written was upright—words of truth.11 The words of the wise are like goads, and the words of scholars[c] are like well-driven nails, given by one Shepherd. 12 And further, my son, be admonished by these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is wearisome to the flesh.
13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:
Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.
14 For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Grace Illuminated
Chapter One
When did you get saved?
“Saved, from what?” was my initial response.  This was not a question that entered my life until I reached my early twenties. It wasn't that I had no idea that I needed a saving, that I was a lost soul in a fallen world had been clearly evident to me since childhood, and I was not even a church goer.  Then there was the second part of the question, “when?”. When…well, firstly I was not the one doing the saving so I felt strongly that only my savior could answer that one, was not He the only one who truly knew?

According to some, once saved always saved, you recite a simple prayer and poof! Rescued from the fires of hell, salvation is yours. Really, that’s it? This was a challenging concept for me, what of those who are just paying lip service but in their heart, they do not truly believe? It could not possibly all be wrapped up in one prayer in my opinion, could it really be that simple? I did not pray the “Sinner’s prayer” until I was almost 30 years old, but I know in my heart my Messiah saved me long before then and continues to save me daily.  

My family was “unchurched”, no services or religious instruction for me unless I took the initiative and walked down myself, which at the age of about 8 - I did. The local Methodists welcomed me with open arms, this seemingly strange little girl from up the street, who was apparently seeking something. My Grandmother, in whose home I resided most of my life, was all about free-will when it came to relationship with God. Born at the height of the dust-bowl in the midst of the great depression, she spent her youth as a migrant farm worker in the southwest. At an early age she witnessed people fall flat out on the floor at tent revivals writhing, spitting and mumbling incoherently for hours at a time, handling snakes to prove they had been “filled” with the spirit. These behaviors, my Grandmother said, did not seem to testify to the Holy Spirit – but instead “scared the bejesus” out of her and led her to stay away from “church”. Mahota Walker Salerno was raised a bible believing Christian, her parents taught her it was not what proceeded from your mouth but instead what fruits came from the work of your hand. “Feed those that need feedin’, love those that need lovin’” is what her Father Benjamin Franklin Walker recommended as true “Christian” behavior. Ben was a member of the Choctaw tribe of Oklahoma and declared that his church was the woods and he went there far more often than Sundays. The bible was a part of their daily routine as a family; it was from this book that my Grandmother Mahota was taught to read and write before she went to Kindergarten. They were followers of Jesus Christ, but followers of organized religion they were not.

Quiet in her faith, Mahota would teach you if you had ears to hear. It wasn't until I was a mother and began a study of the Old and New Testaments myself that I discovered so much of what she shared in life, her words of wisdom - were scripture. You had to choose to seek God for yourself; there was never a time I was told what to believe or what truth was. And seek I did, from the little girl who went down to Sunday school alone, I grew into an agnostic adolescent -  Jesus in my mind, became way too narrow of a path, there had to be a broader gate – so I began to look for a more profound and all-encompassing answer. In college, as a feminist I was drawn to Goddess worship and the New Age earth religions, the duality of God was appealing to me. When I was married at age 19, it was in a Christian church, but I rewrote the ceremony and insisted that when we recited the Lord’s Prayer we did not say “Our Father” but instead, “Our Creator”, as to not offend the divine feminine. I became a practicing Wiccan, dipped my toe into Druidism and even read the Satanic bible- just to see what all the fuss was about. It didn't take very long for me to deduce that I was worshiping creation- not the Creator, and yes maybe gods, but not God (with a big “G”).  

The world of secular humanism held no appeal for me; the answer there said I was the same as an animal, the result of a series of a million accidents that yielded “life”. If God does not exist, then there is nothing special about human beings. I knew in my bones that I was not just primordial ooze, only a random collection of atoms with no greater purpose.  Everything within me cried out that this idea was wrong, I had no doubt that there was a spirit within me that said I was destined for more, that I was wonderfully and fearfully MADE.  By the age of 25, I had made an examination of all the world’s major religions and most of the minor ones as well.  A similar pattern had begun to emerge, they were based upon works – how “good” could you be – how many rules could you follow. There is no grace in Islam, Hinduism or Buddhism. My revelation was that all of the religions could be wrong but only one could be right.

In my youth, my Grandmother had quietly introduced me to the God-Man, at this point in my journey she encouraged me to take a second look at Jesus Christ. Mahota encouraged me to seek the real man not the caricature that was created by the church that came after Him, instructing me to not accept the misrepresentation of God by religion. “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Matthew 15:9) 

I was not one who could just believe blindly. It may be the case that blessed are those who have not seen and yet believed, (John 20:29) but I was a lot like the doubting Thomas. How could we know that this man had really existed, fulfilled prophecies and was God on earth? Claims so incredible must have evidence, that I had to go on faith alone was unacceptable to me. It did not take that long for me to see that God Himself has given us sufficient reason to believe. I do not believe in Jesus Christ because It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling, I believe because the circumstantial evidence is overwhelming that He lived, was crucified and then rose from the dead - the only one in all the recorded history of mankind to pull that off.

Dearest Reader, the reality is we are each of us walking corpses. Whether you have been given a clean bill of health or a terminal diagnosis, when you leave that Doctor’s office you could get hit by a bus – no encore. No one can live forever; all will die. No one can escape the power of the grave. (Psalm 89:48) The fierce urgency of now compels me to write this to you. We live in a world today that tells us to live for the moment, that there is no absolute truth or right and wrong. I’m here to tell you that is a lie. One man was born to testify to this truth, everyone who belongs to the truth listens to His voice. (John 18:37)  Can you hear it today? He speaks to you, it is no mistake that you are reading these words; He is calling your name :)

1 Corinthians 2: 1-4;  And when I came to you, my brothers, I did not come with wise words of knowledge, putting before you the secret of God.  For I had made the decision to have knowledge of nothing among you but only of Jesus Christ on the cross.  And I was with you without strength, in fear and in doubt.  And in my preaching there were no honeyed words of wisdom, but I was dependent on the power of the Spirit to make it clear to you: