-I Know That My Redeemer Lives

I Know That My Redeemer Lives

Once I was asked on my Bible answers website: “Why do you Christians keep celebrating Easter and the Resurrection of Jesus- something that happened 2,000 years ago and seems rather impossible?”

My Answer: Because Jesus Christ is still alive today and still appearing to folks and changing lives.

In fact, there has never been a generation in 2,000 years when Jesus hasn’t appeared to somebody.  Church history records a number of those appearances.

Lately, I have read the testimonies of a number of Muslims who converted to Christianity after Jesus showed up in their bedrooms. I also personally know a number of folks, even in my own family, who have seen the Lord and I have heard of many others.

Finally, I myself must testify that I have seen my Lord and talked to Him. Therefore for me this goes beyond faith or even strong conviction-

I Know That My Redeemer Lives

-Christ is Risen!, He Has Risen Indeed!

Happy Resurrection Day! Here’s a great article for today: Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?”  by William Lane Craig, professor of philosophy at Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, California. His answer to the question is obviously yes!

clip_image002Dr. Craig takes a look at all the facts surrounding the resurrection of Jesus. This is probably the best and most concise summary of the event that I have ever read:

“To answer the question of Jesus’ resurrection from a historical standpoint, we must first determine what facts concerning the fate of Jesus of Nazareth can be credibly established on the basis of the evidence and second consider what the best explanation of those facts is. At least four facts about the fate of the historical Jesus are widely accepted by New Testament historians today.”

<Read the Whole Article>           

-Happy Resurrection Day

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He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

May You and your family have a wonderful Easter. The Resurrection of Jesus should give us all hope regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in.

Happy Resurrection Day!

When the women went to the tomb on Easter morning the rock was rolled away and the tomb was empty. Not only that but an angel met them there and said:

“Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come see the place where he lay.”

…And behold Jesus met them and said, “Greetings! Do not be afraid…” –Matt.28:5-10

Another good scripture to remember–this is what Jesus told Martha before he raised her brother Lazarus from the grave:

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?  –John 11:25-26

The good question for each one of us today—Do you believe this?

-What is So ‘Good’ About ‘Good Friday’?

What is so ‘Good’ about ‘Good Friday? One would think it would be called ‘Bad’ Friday instead considering that the innocent Son of God-Jesus of Nazareth was misjudged, tortured, and crucified that day.

But what happened that day was ‘Good’ for us:

Isaiah 53:5 (ESV):

But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.

It was the culmination of God’s plan for our salvation:

John 3:16-17 (ESV):

“For God so loved the world,[a] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

When Jesus said; “It is finished” on the cross, it became possible for all who believe on his name and sacrifice to be forgiven of all of their sins and be reconciled to Father God for all eternity. On Resurrection Sunday (Easter), the Son of God demonstrated the destiny of all believers when he was resurrected from the dead:

John 11:25-26 (ESV):

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.[a] Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

Now that is ‘Good News’ for all who believe!

-“It’s Friday but Sunday’s Coming”

Here’s my favorite message for Good Friday. It has become a tradition to post it every year on this day:

It’s Friday but Sunday’s Coming” by Dr. Tony Campolo.

Here’s a link to where the famous tape can be downloaded.

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The whole tape is great but the best part is toward the end when Tony Campolo recalls one Sunday when he had a little preaching competition with the head pastor at the church where he was attending.

Dr. Campolo tells how he preached the perfect sermon in every way and had taken the congregation to ‘the heights of glory’. As he sat down beside his pastor, Dr. Tony patted him on the knee and simply said, “Top that.” The older black pastor looked at him and said, “Boy, watch the master.” Then Dr. Campolo recalls for us the very brilliant message which followed.

The following is just a taste of what the climax is like in the 45 minute tape/sermon.  it doesn’t really do justice to the original but this printed abbreviated version is inspirational none the less:

It’s Friday But Sunday’s Coming—

It was a simple sermon, starting softly, building in volume and intensity until the entire congregation was completely involved, repeating the phrases in unison. The sermon went something like this:

It’s Friday. Jesus is arrested in the garden where He was praying. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. The disciples are hiding and Peter’s denying that he knows the Lord. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Jesus is standing before the high priest of Israel, silent as a lamb before the slaughter. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Jesus is beaten, mocked, and spit upon. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Those Roman soldiers are flogging our Lord with a leather scourge that has bits of bones and glass and metal, tearing at his flesh. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. The Son of man stands firm as they press the crown of thorns down into his brow. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. See Him walking to Calvary, the blood dripping from His body. See the cross crashing down on His back as He stumbles beneath the load. It’s Friday; but Sunday’s a coming.

It’s Friday. See those Roman soldiers driving the nails into the feet and hands of my Lord. Hear my Jesus cry, “Father, forgive them.” It’s Friday; but Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Jesus is hanging on the cross, bloody and dying. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. The sky grows dark, the earth begins to tremble, and He who knew no sin became sin for us. Holy God who will not abide with sin pours out His wrath on that perfect sacrificial lamb who cries out, “My God, My God. Why hast thou forsaken me?” What a horrible cry. But Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. And at the moment of Jesus’ death, the veil of the Temple that separates sinful man from Holy God was torn from the top to the bottom because Sunday’s coming.

It’s Friday. Jesus is hanging on the cross, heaven is weeping and hell is partying. But that’s because it’s Friday, and they don’t know it, but Sunday’s a coming.

And on that horrible day 2000 years ago, Jesus the Christ, the Lord of glory, the only begotten Son of God, the only perfect man died on the cross of Calvary. Satan thought that he had won the victory. Surely he had destroyed the Son of God. Finally he had disproved the prophecy God had uttered in the Garden and the one who was to crush his head had been destroyed. But that was Friday.

Now it’s Sunday. And just about dawn on that first day of the week, there was a great earthquake. But that wasn’t the only thing that was shaking because now it’s Sunday. And the angel of the Lord is coming down out of heaven and rolling the stone away from the door of the tomb.

Yes, it’s Sunday, and the angel of the Lord is sitting on that stone and the guards posted at the tomb to keep the body from disappearing were shaking in their boots because it’s Sunday, and the lamb that was silent before the slaughter is now the resurrected lion from the tribe of Judah, for He is not here, the angel says. He is risen indeed.

It’s Sunday, and the crucified and resurrected Christ has defeated death, hell, sin and the grave.

It’s Sunday. And now everything has changed. It’s the age of grace, God’s grace poured out on all who would look to that crucified lamb of Calvary. Grace freely given to all who would believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross of Calvary was buried and rose again. All because it’s Sunday.

At the end of the message the pastor shouts out:

It’s Friiidaaaay!

And the whole congregation responds:

But Sunday’s Coming!

-So We Killed Him

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“…so we killed him.”

All of a sudden I was undone and tears were flowing down my cheeks. Yes, I was responsible for his death. All of a sudden I could see that in a way I never understood it before.

I had begun the morning in my easy chair with a tall cup of strong coffee enjoying my latest sci-fi read when unexpectedly there was a reference to Jesus and how humanity had killed him because he didn’t meet our ‘religious expectations’:

“…so we killed him.”

Intellectually I knew it was true. After all, I majored in theology in seminary. But this was different and personal, the Holy Spirit had just knocked me down and I was on my knees. I was just as responsible for the death of Jesus as the ones who nailed him to the cross or the crowd who shouted- “Crucify him!.” What a surprise and I couldn’t stop crying.

Fact is, everyone who has ever sinned is ultimately responsible for his death but I always self-righteously held special contempt for those religious leaders who planned it. But he did personally die for my sins and now I could no longer deny the implication. In a moment I could see my own part in his death.

But the story doesn’t end there does it! Jesus rose from the dead and everyone who believes on his name will also.

“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live…John 11:25-26 -ESV

–Michael G. Davis

-St. Patrick’s Day: -Celebrating His Ministry

Today is St. Patrick’s Day. Usually this is a day of parades, green beer, and rowdy drunken debauchery all done in the name of a historical character that was God’s apostle to Ireland—forget ‘Saint’ this guy functioned as an apostle and a power evangelist with signs and wonders.

The Real Story of St. Patrick

There is all sorts of stories about Patrick that today they call ‘myths’. I believe that a lot of the myths were probably based upon true events that seem far too supernatural for secular folks to accept today.

But who was this St. Patrick anyway? A man born into a Roman Christian family in Wales around 385 AD with the given name of Macwyn Succat. At age 16 he was taken from his home and enslaved by Irish Celtic raiders. He tended sheep for his new masters for 6 years and became closer to God in the process. The ‘voice of God’ directed his escape and later commissioned him to return to Ireland as a missionary. He went to seminary and became a Priest in preparation and later a Bishop.

He is recognized by all major Christian churches–Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, and Anglican since he ministered before the church was divided into all the different denominations we have today. So Protestants have just as great a claim on him as Catholics. And those of us who have Welsh blood running through our veins have as much right to claim St. Patrick as any Irishman.

It is said in documents from that period that he “baptized thousands of people,” and ordained hundreds of priests to lead new Christian communities and villages. He also converted the sons of Kings and chieftains leading to the conversion of an entire pagan nation to Christ.

It is said that he was also a healer and that he prayed for hedges of spiritual protection surrounding Christian homes, churches, and whole villages. Legend has it that snakes were banished from the island in the process, though scientists today doubt there was ever any on the island. Nevertheless, Druid priests were forced leave and demons and evil principalities were cast out and challenged by St. Patrick.

Here’s an example of the spiritual condition of  church that St. Patrick left behind—part of a prayer attributed to him but probably recorded a couple of generations later:

From “Saint Patrick’s Breastplate”:

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ below me, Christ above me, Christ to the right of me, Christ to the left of me, Christ where I lie, Christ where I sit, Christ where I stand, Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, Christ in every eye which sees me, Christ in every ear which hears me.

We could use this kind of spiritual maturity. What a great declaration to live by–a good example for those seeking a Kingdom culture and economy.    

-Read the Bible: An Excellent Idea for 2024

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A new year has come and many are looking to change their life for the positive in 2024. I believe that one of the best things one can do if not the best is read the Bible daily. It is life changing.

Several polls taken during the last year have unfortunately demonstrated that American Christians are somewhat illiterate when it comes to the Bible and particularly Biblical teachings. One good way to reverse the trend is to set aside time to read the good book everyday. An excellent idea is to read through the whole Bible or at least the New Testament during 2024. There are a number of good programs to help you in the process.

One of the easiest ways to get it done is to get a ‘One Year Bible’ where the whole year is divided up into daily readings usually with a selection from the New Testament, the Old Testament, and from Psalms. You can even get it in your favorite version at the book store or at Amazon.

If you find that reading all of it in one year is maybe too much, then you could read just the New Testament and Psalm offerings for each day and then maybe save the Old Testament or the following year (or visa versa).

There are also a number of good plans available that allow you to use your regular Bible for the reading. Here’s a few online: The One year Bible Online, Bible Gateway

You could also get the Bible on CD or tape and listen to it on the way to work this year or download it into your iPod, iPhone or MP3.

There are lots more Bible helps available just search online.

May God Bless you and yours during 2024.

-Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to you and yours

The Real Christmas Story

When our children were growing up it was a family tradition to read about the ‘real’  Christmas story in the Bible on Christmas Eve.

You’ve probably seen a dozen or so ‘Christmas stories’ on TV in the last couple of weeks but the real Christmas story is found in Matthew (Matt. 1:18-2:18) and in Luke (Luke 1:26-56, 2:1-40). However, Isaiah should never be ignored:

Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14)

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;

and the government shall be upon his shoulder,

and his name shall be called

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

Matthew gives us the story largely from the perspective of Joseph, including the dreams that he had and his family genealogy. In this gospel the ‘Kingship’ of Jesus is the major topic. Starting with the Davidic Kingly genealogy through Joseph and the coming of the Magi (Wisemen) who are looking for the new king. Also King Herod’s reaction is in Matthew.

The events in Luke are given to us from Mary’s view. The angel Gabriel appears to Mary and announces the coming of the child. Mary’s genealogy is also given in Luke (Luke 3:23-38), she was also a descendant of David, but not in the ‘Kingly’ line. Chapter 2 begins with the Christmas story that everyone is familiar with:

1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, who we celebrate which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

However, nothing explains the real reason for the season better than John 3:16-17:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.  -KJV

May we remember the first and greatest gift of Christmas:

God’s gift of his Son Jesus.

-Christmas and Attacks of the ‘Super Spiritual’ and ‘Knowledgeable’

Sometimes it is Sunday, Tattoos, the name ‘Christian’, contemporary worship, or any Bible but the KJV that gets them going.

But this time of the year it is Christmas that is under attack by those folks that I call the ‘Super Spiritual’ and ‘Knowledgeable’-folks that know it all and are way beyond the rest of us Spiritually.

I am sure you have all heard it by now from one source or another, December 25 was originally celebrated by the Romans as ‘Saturnalia’- the birthday of Saturn and the tradition of decorating trees comes from Druid pagan worship -‘Real’ Christians don’t celebrate Christmas and God hates and condemns it!

All that may be somewhat historically true and I guess if you are worshipping Saturn on the 25th of this month and you have dedicated and decorated a tree to a pagan god then they may have a point.

First time I heard this line was back in the early 70’s one Saturday when our family was decorating our tree. Then there was a knock on our door and a very fine couple from the Watch Tower (Jehovah Witnesses) proceeded to explain to us how what we we doing was pagan. It wasn’t very convincing to me then and still isn’t and I do know all of the history and the facts thank you very much.

Yes, Jesus was probably born sometime in the fall since the shepherds were still in the fields and the Wisemen didn’t show up till months later when they were living in a house, that’s why Herod had all the babies under 2 killed and not just the newborn. But the rest of the events and story we celebrate this time of the year is entirely true and recorded in Matthew (Mt 1:18-2:18) and in Luke (Lk 1:26-56, 2:1-40). However, Isaiah should never be ignored:

Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Is. 7:14)

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Is. 9:6)

As usual on Christmas Eve our family will break out the Bible and read those passages about the first Christmas and when we come to the part of the angels appearing to the shepherds my granddaughter will probably point to the angel at the top of our tree.

Oh yes, there will be no mention of Saturn or any other pagan deity.