10 REASONS TO ACCEPT THE RESURRECTION OF JESUS AS AN HISTORICAL FACT

TUESDAY, APRIL 11, 2017

By Brian Chilton

When I left the ministry due to my skepticism, one of the factors involved in my departure concerned the reliability of the New Testament documents and the resurrection of Jesus. The folks from the Jesus Seminar had me second-guessing whether I could trust what the New Testament said and if I could truly accept the literal bodily resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. In July of 2005, my life changed. I entered the Lifeway Christian Bookstore in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and read three books that changed my life more than any other book outside the Bible. I discovered Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ, Josh McDowell’s The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict, and McDowell’s A Ready Defense. I discovered that there are many reasons for accepting the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth as a historical fact.

Through the years, the evidence has increasingly mounted for the historicity of Jesus’s resurrection. This article will provide 10 of the most fascinating arguments for the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. This list is not exhaustive and my dealings with each argument is extremely brief. Nevertheless, I hope this list will provide a starting point for you to consider the authenticity of Jesus’s resurrection.

  1. The First Eyewitnesses were Women. The first eyewitnesses of the resurrection were women. All the Gospels note that the first individuals to discover the tomb empty were women. Matthew notes that “After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to view the tomb…The angel told the women, ‘Don’t be afraid, because I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here. For he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the play where he lay” (Matthew 28:1, 5-6).[1] Women were not held in high esteem. In Greco-Roman culture, a woman’s testimony was not admissible in court. In Jewish circles, it took the testimony of two women to equate that of one man. If one were to invent a story, the last people one would place as the first witnesses would have been women, unless it were otherwise true.

  1. Minimal Facts Concerning the Resurrection. Gary Habermas has popularized the so-called minimal facts argument for the resurrection. The minimal facts are those things that are accepted by nearly all New Testament scholars. The minimal facts are “1. Jesus died by crucifixion. 2. Jesus’ disciples believed that he rose and appeared to them. 3. The church persecutor Paul was suddenly changed. 4. The skeptic James, brother of Jesus, was suddenly changed. 5. The tomb was empty.” [2] These facts are nearly universally accepted by New Testament scholars, including liberals.

  1. Transformation of the Early Disciples. As noted in the minimal facts, James, the brother of Jesus, was changed from a skeptic to a believer because of the resurrection. James along with his brothers did not believe in Jesus during Jesus’s early ministry (see John 7:5). However, Jesus appeared to James (1 Corinthians 15:3-9) and James became a leader in the early Jerusalem church. His death is recorded by Josephus.[3] Paul is another example of one who was completely transformed by the resurrection of Jesus. Paul had been a persecutor of the church. After witnessing the risen Jesus, Paul became a proclaimer for the church.

  1. Embarrassing Details of the Resurrection. Historically speaking, embarrassing details add veracity to a historical claim. The fact that women were the first witnesses, that a member of the Sanhedrin (the same Sanhedrin that executed Jesus) had to give Jesus a proper burial, and that the disciples were fearful and fled all serve as embarrassing factors for the resurrection account.

  1. Willingness to Die for What Was Known. Many people will die for what they believe to be true. But no one will die for something they erroneously invented. The disciples knew if they were telling the truth. Yet, one finds that the disciples were willing to die for what they knew to be true. Stephen died by stoning (Acts 7:54-60), James of Zebedee died by the sword at the hands of Herod (Acts 12:2), James the brother of Jesus died,[4] and Peter and Paul died at the hands of Nero.[5]

  1. Documentary Evidence. The documentary evidence for the resurrection of Jesus is quite good. The historian seeks to find how many primary and secondary sources[6] can be gathered for an event to determine the event’s historicity. Concerning primary sources, the resurrection has Matthew’s account, John’s account, and Paul’s account in 1 Corinthians 15, including the additional references by James (if one accepts that James wrote the letter attributed to him) and Jude. The following are secondary sources for the resurrection: Luke, Mark, Clement of Rome, and to a lesser degree Ignatius and Irenaeus.

  1. Circumstantial Evidence. Douglas Groothius notes that circumstantial evidence for the historicity of the resurrection is “namely, the practice of the early church in observing baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and Sunday worship.”[7] Baptism is based upon the analogy of Jesus’s death, burial, and resurrection. The Lord’s Supper is a symbol of Christ’s sacrificial death. In addition, it is quite odd that faithful Jews would move their worship from a Friday evening into Saturday to a Sunday morning unless something major had occurred on a Sunday morning. The major Sunday morning event was Jesus’s resurrection.

  1. The Missing Motive. J. Warner Wallace has noted in his lectures and books that when a conspiracy is formed, three motivating factors are behinds such a move—power, greed, and/or lust.[8] The disciples would hold no power behind claiming the resurrection as history. They were running around while often being threatened by the Jewish and Roman authorities. As far as greed, they taught that one should not desire earthly possessions, but spiritual ones. Lust was not a factor, either. They taught celibacy before marriage and marital fidelity after marriage. In fact, N. T. Wright notes in his classic book, The Resurrection of the Son of God, that the disciples had no theological motivation behind claiming that Jesus had risen from the dead as they were anticipating a military hero and a final resurrection at the end of time. What motivating factors existed for these disciples to invent such a story? None! The only reason the disciples taught the resurrection of Jesus was because Jesus’s resurrection had occurred.

  1. Enemy Attestation of the Resurrection. Historically speaking, if one holds enemy attestation to an event, then the event is strengthened. When one considers the claims of the authorities that the disciples had stolen the body of Jesus (Matthew 28:11-15), the testimony of the resurrection is strengthened. The early belief that the disciples had stolen the body of Jesus is strengthened by the discovery of the Nazareth Inscription that orders capital punishment for anyone who steals a body from a tomb.[9] In addition, several refences to Jesus and his resurrection include citations from Josephus,[10] Tacitus,[11] and Suetonius[12] among others (including the Babylonian Talmud).

  1. Multiple Post-Resurrection Eyewitnesses. Finally, there is multiple eyewitness testimony pertaining to the resurrection of Jesus. Several people had seen Jesus alive for a period of 40 days. The eyewitnesses include Mary Magdalene (John 20:10-18), the women at the tomb accompanying Mary (Matthew 28:1-10), the Roman guards (Matthew 28:4), the Eleven disciples (John 21), the two men on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35), an indeterminate number of disciples (Matthew 28:16-20); over five-hundred disciples (1 Corinthains 15:6), to James (1 Corinthians 15:7) and to Paul (1 Corinthians 15:8-9). I am certain that there were many other witnesses that are unnamed.

Conclusion:

Many other evidences could be given for the resurrection of Jesus. Thinking about the methods of history, one must understand that there is a reason why American accept the first President of the United States as George Washington and not Spongebob Squarepants. History backs up the claim that Washington was the first President. In like manner, history backs up the reality of Jesus’s resurrection. Now the question is this: what will you do with such information? Some will try to ignore the event. Some will try to dismiss it. Others will acknowledge the factual nature of the event and worship Jesus as the risen Lord. It is my prayer that you will do the latter.

Notes

[1] Unless otherwise noted, all quoted Scripture comes from the Christian Standard Bible (Nashville: Holman, 2017).

[2] Gary R. Habermas and Michael R. Licona, The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2004), 48-50, 64-69.

[3] Josephus, Antiquities XX.200.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Eusebius, Church History XXV.5.

[6] Primary sources are documents written by eyewitnesses. Secondary sources are documents written by individuals who know eyewitnesses. For instance, my grandfather was an eyewitness to the biggest naval battle in World War II history. From the information my dad gathered from him, he would be a secondary source, whereas my grandfather would have been a primary source.

[7] Douglas Groothius, Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Faith (Downers Grove; Nottingham, UK: IVP Academic; Apollos, 2011), 553-554.

[8] See J. Warner Wallace, “Rapid Response: I Think the Disciples Lied About the Resurrection,” Cold-case Christianity.com (October 17, 2016), retrieved April 11, 2017, http://coldcasechristianity.com/2016/rapid-response-i-think-the-disciples-lied-about-the-resurrection/.

[9] See http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2009/07/22/The-Nazareth-Inscription-Proof-of-the-Resurrection-of-Christ.aspx#Article.

[10] Josephus, Antiquities XX.9.1.

[11] Tacitus, Annals XV.

[12] Suetonius, Lives of the Caesars-Claudius 25 and Suetonius, Lives of the Caesars-Nero 16.

Original Blog Source: http://bit.ly/2ppUPKK

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Another post of apologetic information to aid in your understanding. I hope & pray you find it of value to your growth!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy

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Why Do So Many Christians Dismiss Apologetics?

Posted June 14, 2016 by Sean McDowell [SEANMCDOWELL.ORG]

Why Do Many Christians Dismiss Apologetics?

SeanMcDowell.org

I love apologetics. It’s fun to teach apologetics, discuss apologetics, and offer reasons for what I believe to non-Christians who ask. Yet, quite clearly, not all Christians share my enthusiasm. Why not? Below are five common reasons why many Christians dismiss apologetics (thanks to my Twitter friends, acknowledged below).

Apologists have often failed to model gracious apologetics. Rather than blaming others, we apologists might do well to start by examining ourselves. Let’s be honest, we could probably all share a story where we failed to model the kind of evangelism and apologetics we see in Jesus, Paul, and the early church fathers. If you can’t think of a story, then you’re probably not even aware of your own blind spot! As I emphasize in A New Kind of Apologist, many Christians dismiss apologetics because they have seen apologists being arrogant, dismissive, and uncharitable to others. Many dismiss apologetics because of a bad experience.

Faulty understanding of faith and reason. Some time ago my father and I were speaking at a student conference in the southeast. Noticeably upset, a young female youth worker approached us afterwards and (essentially) said, “I wish you guys had a more biblical view of faith. We don’t need evidence. Real faith involves believing something without proof.” And then she stormed away. Sadly, this young lady had bought the idea that faith involves believing something blindly without evidence. If she were right, then apologetics would be frivolous. But the Bible both teaches and models a different view of faith. Simply put, evidence is offered to give people a confident faith (E.g., Exodus 14:31; John 20:30-31; Acts 1:1-3).

Mistaken view of apologetics. A couple years ago I spoke with an influential youth leader about the present state of youth culture. When I inquired about his views on apologetics, he quickly dismissed it, even though his own research showed that many kids were leaving the faith because they had unanswered questions. As I probed further, it became clear that he equated apologetics with a cage-match where people defend their hot-button issue without relationship or gentleness. If that is what apologetics is, then I would dismiss it too! What should apologetics be about? Dallas Willard Perhaps said it best:

Like Jesus, we are reaching out in love in a humble spirit with no coercion. The only way to accomplish that is to present our defense gently, as help offered in love in the manner of Jesus.[1]

Not being engaged in evangelism. Motivated by my friend Brett Kunkle, I have been taking high school students on apologetics mission trips for the past few years. Inevitably, whenever we meet up with atheists, Mormons, student freethinking groups, Unitarian Universalists or people of other faiths, students become highly motivated to study apologetics. Students often study theology and apologetics late into the evening getting prepared for the next day! In my experience, nothing motivates Christians to care about apologetics more than evangelism and spiritual conversations. After all, once you start sharing your faith, people will inevitably have questions about the Bible, evil, evolution, and more.

Apologetics is often motivated by fear. Something stood out to me a few years ago at an apologetics conference—virtually every speaker used the hook of “fear” to motivate people. We were told to fear changing sexual mores, the growth of atheism, the tactics of various “cults,” certain theological movements within the church, and more. While there is undoubtedly a place for healthy fear, apologetics should not simply be a reactive discipline to changing cultural mores. Rather, we ought to provide positive answers and reasons for the supremacy of the Christian faith. Insofar as we are primarily negative, apologists will fail to inspire people to stand up for the faith.

There are certainly other reasons many Christians dismiss the value of apologetics. If you want to see a few more, which were suggested by my friends on Twitter, check out this interesting Twitter exchange. Here are a few samples of their insightful feedback:

@rickwade55: Apologists focusing on true conclusions rather than on the individual they’re talking to and coming to believe.

@triciascribner: Some believe that apologetics undermines the gospel’s supremacy, diminishing the authority of the Word and of Christ.

@smlabonte: I’ve heard people say that Jesus doesn’t need us to defend him. (Not exactly what apologetics is)

@DynAggelos: some Christians think it is unnecessary since the Holy Spirit and the Word of God ultimately do the transforming of the mind.

@prashanthdaniel: I’ve been told that its pointless nitpicking, argumentative and therefore divisive, Sean. Naturally, I disagree.

Sean McDowell, Ph.D. is a professor of Christian Apologetics at Biola University, a best-selling author of over 15 books, an internationally recognized speaker, and a part-time high school teacher. Follow him on Twitter: @sean_mcdowell and his blog: seanmcdowell.org.

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I was reading through many saved posts on Facebook to clear them out and thought this was noteworthy.

Hope you enjoyed it!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy

Pastor confronts West Va. middle school over student assignment to declare Allah as only true god

By Teri Webster May 19, 2018 8:44 pm [ORIGINAL ARTICLE]

This photo illustration shows a young Muslim woman praying. A Christian pastor of a student at a West Virginia middle school was upset this week after his daughter received an assignment to declare Allah as the one true god. (Ibrakovic/Getty Images

A Christian pastor confronted a West Virginia middle school this week after his daughter came home with an assignment that asked her seventh-grade class to “write their submission to Allah as their one true god in Arabic calligraphy.”

Specifically, students were asked to “practice calligraphy by copying the Arabic form of the Shahada by hand,” according to published reports. The Shahada refers to the “Islamic profession of faith that declares belief in one true God and Muhammad being a messenger of God.”

Brielle Penkoski, student at Mountain Ridge Middle School in Gerrardstown, brought the assignment home and showed it to her father, Rich Penkoski, a Christian who runs an online ministry called Warriors for Christ.

“I saw the assignment of writing the Shahada in Arabic. Their excuse was calligraphy,” he told The Christian Post. “I was like, ‘Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!’ First of all, calligraphy was invented in China 3,000 years prior to Muhammad. The fact that they were trying to get my daughter to write that disturbed me.’”

“I said, ‘That is not happening. My daughter is not doing that,’” Penkoski said. “My daughter told me that if she didn’t do the assignment then she was going to get a [detention] slip.”

Penkoski told the Post he contacted the school and was told the teacher, Katherine Hinson, gave the assignment as “optional reading.”

Penkoski said he believes the school may have changed the requirements because he complained.

“Why would they print all that out and then tell them they don’t have to do it?” Penkoski said. “When they were given a packet [on Christianity], which didn’t go into that much detail, they did have to write an essay. So you’re telling me they don’t have to do it now that I called you on it? It makes no sense and it is not consistent.”

The next day, on Tuesday, the teacher reportedly re-issued the assignment with some areas of the paperwork crossed off. Penkoski’s daughter, Brielle, told him the class was still asked to do the calligraphy assignment.

For the second time, he called school principal, Ron Branch.

Branch told the concerned parent there would be no repercussions for students who do not complete the activity for the course on world religions, the report stated.

What else is the school teaching?

This is not the first time Penkoski complained about the school’s teachings. Last year, his daughter was shown a class video about suicide prevention that featured a scene with two male high school students in bed together, the report stated.

The Berkeley County School District later said the video was not approved by the district, and the content was not approved. The Post cited other school assignments that have sparked outrage.

Is this happening elsewhere?

Seventh-graders in the Maury County School District in Tennessee were issued an assignment in 2015 that asked students to write “Allah is the only god” as part of teachings on Islam’s pillar of creed. The conservative legal group American Center for Law and Justice, indicated that more than 7,000 Tennessee residents complained about the assignment, the report stated.

Earlier this year, New Jersey students in a World Cultures and Geography class watched videos that allegedly featured Islamic propaganda and even encouraged conversion to Islam.

In 2016, a Maryland couple sued a school district claiming that it was guilty of indoctrinating students when teaching about the five pillars of Islam by “requiring” them write out Islamic statements of faith

We Get Attached To The Strangest Things

So Jonah went out of the city and sat on the east side of the city. There he made himself a shelter and sat under it in the shade, till he might see what would become of the city. And the Lord God prepared a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be shade for his head to deliver him from his misery. So Jonah was very grateful for the plant. But as morning dawned the next day God prepared a worm, and it so damaged the plant that it withered. And it happened, when the sun arose, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat on Jonah’s head, so that he grew faint. Then he wished death for himself, and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.” Then God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” And he said, “It is right for me to be angry, even to death!”  ~Jonah 4:5-9

jonah-and-the-gourd-vineA long mane can be just as emotional to cut off. (Reflections from my youth.) It was one year ago today (10/9/2016) when we had to put down our dog Bernie. Funny how you get attached to things. Jonah was attached to a gourd vine, we and many others were attached to dogs or cats, a neighbor of ours was so attached to her bearded dragon, my grandmother was attached to her parakeets. We are a species that desires to give and receive love and if we cannot receive it, we will just give it.

Jonah fell in love with that gourd vine, because it protected him from the hot sun during the day while he sat there on the hill just waiting for the Ninevites to fail God. Because Jonah knew that they would fail Him, as Ninevites could not be trusted. We all tend to have trust issues with respect to others, don’t we? My suspicion is that Jonah had witnessed the travesties of the Ninevites first hand and this is why he held them in such low report. Despite God was on His side and despite God’s mandate for Jonah. He did not care, Jonah just did not want those Ninevites saved.

Jonah knew that if he had gone and warned the Ninevites and if they would listen to the message from Jonah and if they sensed sorrow in their heart that God would forgive them. God is funny that way. Jonah loved the gourd vine for what it provided him and was angered when it withered away, despite the fact that he put no work or cultivation toward its growth. We on the other hand, tend to love the animals that we adopt as pets because we give up much time to train it up to do as we desire it to do for us, or to mind us. Other animals and creatures just kind of exist and we take their motions to be a form of love or caring toward us. But God loved the Ninevites NOT because of what they could do for Him, nor what they could provide for Him, but solely because of the fact that they were one of His creations and He could be a forgiving, compassionate, and loving God.

bernieJust something we need to remember is the fact that we are God’s creation. In God’s eye we are but a speck of sand, yet He knows our names. When you look at those who have done you wrong, what do you see? Do you see an enemy or a friend in the making? One truly kills and destroys an enemy by making him your friend. While we cannot destroy another man’s soul, we can surly be the impetus of saving it through the message of Jesus Christ and by living our lives as Christ lived His life.

This is a short message today as it touched a nerve when my wife reminded me of our dog Bernie going bye-bye for the final time.

False Messiahs, False Gods, & False Saviors

Just exactly how many have claimed to be messiahs, gods, or saviors of mankind? And, for that matter, how many will claim to be so in the future? How can we come to know who it is and when He finally arrives, will we recognize Him as our God, Messiah, and our Savior?

the_antichrist

After all, you must consider the fact that Lucifer, Satan, or the Devil (your name or title of descriptive choice) was once an angel of light, the chief angel of God’s…how easy would it be to fool mankind?

Consider this, Nostradamus predicted an “anti-Christ” of sort to come out of the East.  But the East of what? Americans seem to believe it is someone out of the Middle-East and many figures over the past few decades could have been the one, but a world war was never wages and there was not any peace with Israel; which means that He was not the one. Many continue to believe it to be the Middle-East. That being said Our latest possibility is the surging of Muslim “refugees” and believers of the religion of Islam, my opinion, are pouring out of the Middle-East into the European countries, Canada and America as a whole. With the rampant reports of rape and murder of the host country by predominantly Muslim refugees, as well as, the upswing of “honor killings” it is my opinion that it is not just one person but potentially a horde of people. Much like when the Muslims were over-taking Europe between 1000 AD – 1300 AD, which spurred on several Holy Crusades.

Think of it, with the Islamic tenet of Taqiyya, a deceptive practice to further the cause of Allah. This would account for the potential for peace in the Middle-East and settle things between Israel and her neighbors as it is written in the biblical book of Revelation (specifically Revelation 13.) This would account for the potent of false peace in the Middle-East with Israel. Why would this false peace be necessary? Consider back in history when Mohammad signed a peace treaty wit the Meccans in 628 AD. It was purported, revisionist history, by Muhammad in the Qur’an that the Meccans were the first to break their treaty with Muhammad Our Prophet (peace be upon him) was forced into war when the polytheists broke their treaty.” (Qur’an 9:5) But historical accounts present a much different story:

Less than two years after making a treaty with the people of Mecca (Treaty of Hudaibiya), Muhammad returned with an army and took the city by surprise. Although this has been a traditional source of pride for Muslims down through the centuries, contemporary scholars are more apt to construct excuses for Muhammad’s action, since it contrasts with the claim that Islam is a religion of peace. [read more about the myth…]

Which was justified in the Qur’an with this As Abu Bakr, himself a military leader, put it:

“If I take an oath to do something and later on I find something else better than the first one, then I do what is better and make expiation for my oath.” (Bukhari 78:618)

Muhammad, no doubt, would have agreed:

“The Prophet said: ‘War is deceit’.” (Bukhari 52:269)

Throughout our history of this world there have been numerous people who have claimed god-like messiahship status. Yet, many of them either led others to their deaths without anything good coming of their vane deaths. Many others have led others, falsely, and bled them dry of their earnings; thus, becoming rich off the backs of so many. Others were led down a dark road in their lives, only to be used up by their supposed leader only to find out their leader was a fraud and a cheat. That is not what God wants of you!

God leads us and guides us down a path where we will be be full of integrity and good character. He has given us examples of how to properly live, in all situations. He has shown us the words of wisdom that we should listen to and live by in order to be a light for others to see. That Light was and is Jesus who showed us how to act and speak and portray ourselves to others.

You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.” ~Matthew 5:14 NKJV

We, if we have listened to the words of Jesus and read all of the prophets and books of wisdom, are that light…but we must believe. We are given opportunities, sometimes daily, other times weekly, and other times sporadically interspersed throughout our lives to speak to those who truly need to hear the word of God, or a word of inspiration, something that will aid them to avert something very devastating, or potentially foolish or deadly. Believe it, or not, we are placed in key spots and positions within our lives in order to accomplish God’s pure and perfect will. And no, it is not a crap shoot…it is you accomplishing your purpose which God has created you for.

Yes, there are false teachers, prophets and messiahs on our path throughout our life. But God gave us a mind, a good one at that, with which we can compare the words of those we are listening to and compare them, as well as their actions, to the Word of God which they purportedly teach. Unfortunately, all too many of the preachers, so called, are simple opportunists and charlatans. They offer to sell you snake oil in place of that which is taught in the Word of God. Snake oil sounds good and is soothing to the ear and titillating to the senses, on a temporal basis only, but in the long run it is a long dark and dank road to nowhere fast!

God is not promising you an easy road to heaven, nor is He promising you glory, riches, and an easy life. No, it is and will ever be, in most cases a hard road to follow the Christ and His ways. But in the end, it is your soul  that matters, and if YOU follow Him closely and ardently…you will be accepted into the heavenly upon your death and your judgement.

BEWARE THOUGH! There are false teachers, messiahs, gods, and saviors around many corners, in many pulpits, in numerous schools. They are potentially EVERYWHERE!

“To whom then will you liken Me, Or to whom shall I be equal?” says the Holy One. ~Isaiah 40:25 NKJV

For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. ~2Corinthians 10:12 NKJV

Our God and Creator is not comparable to anyone else nor anything else! It is that simple. Secondly, we are not to compare ourselves to anyone else. Because all others are as sinful as we are, and therefore are not worthy of being compared to. However, we can view traits of others we cross paths with and use those traits to be better in our daily walk in life. However, our truest model that we should follow is none other than Jesus, the Christ!

For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. ~John 13:15 NKJV

For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps ~1Peter 2:21 NKJV

We have an example in Jesus to compare ourselves to and live up to, there is none other that is comparable! And there is none other who is worthy to be modeled and followed as an example! Sadly, the species of man continually tries to replace God with objects and other things. And sadly, once again, always come up short and wanting more. Me, I would love to win the PowerBall or the MegaMillions…but that hasn’t happened as of yet. But neither is that where my faith or hope lies. It is but a game of chance, nothing more. Others believe their luck will change and they will win the big payday. I knew of a man many years ago who was that way. He loved to gamble, and would not leave the casino until he lost every dime of his paycheck(s). Yes, that is right. One year it was purported that he worked every minute of overtime he could, plus at times had another job. One year he had earned roughly $120,000, but all was lost to gambling. He lost his house, wife, kids…everything. He died broke and lonely.

Be careful with whom you ally yourselves with. Whom you allow to teach you, carefully listen to what is said and taught; then compare to the biblical text. If there is a difference, question it. Compare the new answers to your questions. Be ever vigilant with the Word of God!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

DEATH comes to us all…

…but like taxes – we wait until the last minute to plan for the aftermath!

cemetary.jpg

“We are all born with a noose around our necks, and each step brings us closer to our death.” ~St. Cyprian

 Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” ~Matthew 25:13 NIV

Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,” ~Hebrew 9:27 NIV

There are other verses and quotes that discuss death, but I believe this is sufficient for our discussion.

From the moment of our birth, we are destined to die! Is that a dose of reality you never expected? When you were a child you never thought of such things. In fact, most children thought they would live forever, because watching television everything just seemed to live on and on. You almost got fashioned into believing in reincarnation, because one character in one show who was killed off mysteriously was reborn in another show. But, in reality, we know and slowly learned that things didn’t work that way. We each learned that death eventually comes to us all, one way or another.

We either have noted, slowly, that our aunts, uncles, and grandparents we no longer with us for those special holiday gatherings. A car accident and tragedy avails itself to a neighbor, a friend, or even a classmate. Again, another empty hole in our lives whether it was a large one or a small one is (and was) for you to decide. Everyone touches our life in some small, but often subtle, way. We love them, or hate them, like them, or just fond of them…but they all add another dimension to our lives.

death

“Don’t take life too seriously. After all none of us are getting out alive anyway.”

~Jill Shalvis, Simply Irresistible

That is a cold hard fact and truth of the matter. Also, you need to give some hard thought to the matter of your afterlife. You know…after you have passed on to the next life. If you believe as many others do, death may not be the end of your troubles…it may just be the beginning of some even worse problems where there is nothing you can do to correct the outcome. Think about it for a moment, Pascal’s Wager while it does not prove God’s existence it does force one to think that if God does, in fact, exist then His judgement and promise(s) of eternal damnation also exist:

Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) offers a pragmatic reason for believing in God: even under the assumption that God’s existence is unlikely, the potential benefits of believing are so vast as to make betting on theism rational. The super-dominance form of the argument conveys the basic Pascalian idea, the expectations argument refines it, and the dominating expectations argument gives a more sophisticated version still.“(IEP, 2016)

Cheap shot at non-believer? Yeah, probably so; but even the bible tells us to:

And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.~Jude 22-23 NKJV

The unfortunate truth is this, man does not always respond to logic or facts; but man almost always responds to a fearsome problem ahead of him. Everyone knows that death is coming; hence, if it is understood that a possibility of eternal damnation is involved – that in and of itself gets a person to ponder his choices in life. There are those who say that a good and loving God would not sentence a person to Hell. Maybe so, in your world; however, God is carrying out judgement upon all of your choices throughout your life. Sin must be dealt with in a righteous manner with swift justice in mind. God does not want to send you to Hell, but your choices are what determines your eternal final resting spot. God gives you up until your final dying breath to change your ways. Yes, you understood me…I firmly believe you can change up until that final breath, your final heartbeat, your final thought.

saved

While I do believe in each and every step on this chart, it is my firm belief (biblically) that when we are Baptized in Jesus’ name, we are symbolically being buried with our sins

Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? ~Romans 6:3 NKJV

and when we rise from the water we are being resurrected with the new man, that of Christ.

But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.~Colossians 3:8-11 NKJV

But here is what cinches it for me, that one great promise from Jesus to one of the two thieves he was hung between:

Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” ~Luke 23:39-Luke 23:43 NKJV (see HUNG BETWEEN TWO THIEVES, 8/29/2016)

That was the greatest promise to a dying man. Why? you may ask…well, I will tell you:

  1. What made one thief better off than the other? Both were condemned thieves, but only one of which believed Jesus was the Son of God (believed), had remorse for his sins (repented), acknowledged Jesus as Lord (confessed), feared and revered God, and his baptism would have to be a spiritual baptism. (Most thieves would stick together, but this one sought…truly sought God’s forgiveness.)
  2. When was the thief baptized? There was no water on the cross nor would either of them be able to do any physical baptizing;
  3. By logic and reason you can surmise the following possibilities:
    1. Jesus, being God in human form (aka, the Son of God) forgave the thief his sins. Very, if not highly, probable!
    2. Jesus lied to the thief? Is it a possibility, yes; but not likely based upon scriptural and extra biblical writings.
    3. Jesus was a lunatic? Again, based upon the writings, witness accounts and the extra biblical accounts is highly unlikely because the majority of lunatics do not do things for the betterment of a society, they are more of a bane upon it.

God wants you to be His, once again! He wants you to follow His word, be renewed in the new man and the new Spirit, He wants you to cast off the old man of sinfulness. The only way to do so is to acknowledge your sinful nature, pray for His forgiveness and and a renewing of your Spirit. Jesus did, after all, promise an advocate which He would send to us after He left.

The best Sinner’s Prayer is the one you speak out to God in all truthfulness and humbleness. But you could look on the internet for one or just pray to God out of repentance, sorrowfulness, and lay your life bare before God in the name of Jesus! God Knows precisely what you need before you ever ask for anything. NEED not want!! God Bless you my friends, seeking God is a humbling experience and a prayerful life is a way of getting in touch with God through Jesus by way of the Holy Spirit.

Forever your friend in Christ!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD

God is Just

All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.” ~2Thessalonians 1:5-10 NIV

Just

There is much in this passage to be mulled over; however, the message that we need to take from it is that GOD IS JUST. Not just sometimes, not just most of the time, but all of the time. His judgements are based upon His ability to view the past, the present, and see all the way into the future of mankind and thereby determine that His judgement on any particular act is just and proper based upon morally sufficient reasons. God does not make heat of the moment decisions, they are morally sound and proper decisions. Those who have been judged guilty in His eyes we so done due to the fact that the evil needed to be punished and that NOW was the time. Those who are not judged guilty were so done due to sufficient reasons and future events that either they were to play a part, or a decision they were to make; thereby, turning their life over to Christ.

Gods view1God sees all things from beginning to end as one all encompassing picture, much like a panoramic view photograph. The only difference is that this picture has every detail written in place. In comparison, we can see a snapshot of something but we, being deletion creatures, pay no attention to specific things within the content. Although, we do spend much of our energy on very specific aspects of any particular photograph. God sees it all, takes it all in, and measures everything with respect to its representative perspective, or the point of view.

In other words: God sees us how we are, right now. God sees us how we were in our past. God sees us how we will be in our future. Knowing full well what decisions we will make. Knowing what paths we will take. He sees all our right turns and wrong turns. He is with us every step of the way. He communicates with us through the words in the Bible, through the Holy Spirit which was accepted by each of us when we turned our lives over to faith under fireChrist and received our salvation.

Our faith in His judgement and His decisions is constantly under fire. We are always filled with doubts and are asking questions of ourselves which can only increase our doubt and lessen our faith; again, thereby, turning us from our confidence in God’s ability to do just what needs to be done despite what we think! We must possess such a faith that if we receive what we ask we should feel ultimately blessed. On the other hand, if we do not receive what we desire…we should also feel blessed because God is either saying, “NO!” or He is saying, “Not yet, my child!”

We are ever filled with high hopes and beliefs of wealth, carefree lives, and living a fairy tale. Guess what? Without meaning to burst your bubbles, we were promised a blessed life if we obey. But we were also promised troubles and turmoil throughout our lives.

Mortals, born of woman, are of few days and full of trouble. They spring up like flowers and wither away; like fleeting shadows, they do not endure.” ~Job 14:1-2

Let’s face, none of us are perfect; and hence, we have not honestly obeyed God and His commandments! On the other hand, if we changed our faith and belief in God to be perfect and just, then our perspective on all these things will change, as well. We would be able to see these things that happen to us as they should be and are…God’s perfect and just decision. Nothing is wrong, it simply is as it should be…HIS WAY!

Just because things are not going our way, the way we believe it should be – does not mean we are out of God’s will. Even when we are getting everything we want, this also does not prove we are in God’s will. Sometimes we are tested to see if we will fall down and get back up again. There are those other times where we are given comfort and temporal success to keep us from truly seeking God’s will. I am presently reading Billy Graham’s book “THE JOURNEY” in which he stated:

The Holy Spirit has been given to help us become more like Christ. We cannot become more like Christ on our own; we need God’s help. And He has given us His help by sending us His Holy Spirit.”

Being a follower of Christ is not for wimps or the faint of heart, it is for those who are strong in spirit and faith! When you have any doubts about God’s will for you…You, and I, are to be more like Christ Jesus! Will you fail? If you are like me…YES, you will! But you need to get back up and dust yourself off and start at it again. Much like your career at Gods view2walking. When you fell, you got back up and tried it again and again until you finally did it correctly. Then you learned to perfect it by placing your own twist on it. That same mindset was carried on into other aspect of your life: Riding a bike, talking, your physical prowess in sports, etc. This is that Spirit…of workmanship which God has blessed you with!

The only way to emulate Christ is to focus on Christ, His teachings, His interactions, and how He acted among us. This is what we need to cast our eyes on, the goal we should seek, and it should be our understood expectation for God’s will in our lives. Just think…with more of Christ in our lives there may be less war, crime, etc. occurring in this world…just a thought! Also, consider the fact that God will judge everyone who has treated you shamefully and that you responded to them in kindness and out of love. Trust and believe that God will take care of all these things. This is but another facet of our focus and faith!

May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!

MK Murphy, PhD, DD