Happy Resurrection Day! Of course, it is more popularly known as ‘Easter,’ but I believe the name ‘Resurrection Day’ is more fitting to the biblical record.
Sunday, April 21, is the date in 2019 that Christians recognize and recall the truth of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead some two millennia ago.
However, also each year at this time skeptics rear their critical heads to attempt discrediting this event. Sadly, many of those same critics claim the mantle of teachers within Christianity.
One example of such was reported at a conference sponsored by the Episcopalian and Methodist denominations. One of the speakers, Robert J. Miller of Juniata College, lectured at the conference and said this,
“I don’t believe the dead body of Jesus got up and walked out of the tomb,” Miller, a Roman Catholic, similarly declared. …”We don’t find evidence that his [Jesus’] body left the tomb, that Jesus considered himself messiah or that his death would be a sort of human sacrifice to atone for sin.” Instead, Miller proposed that Jesus was to be understood as a sage.
The efforts of these critics to disparage Christian faith are morally deficient and wrong about the facts. Moreover, the goal of such people is to turn Christianity into a useful myth.
These critics also misunderstand, deliberately or otherwise, the vital nature and truth of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The Resurrection Is Vital to the Existence of Christianity
The biblical record reveals the necessity of the resurrection of Christ to the faith. There is nothing more vital to the very existence of Christianity than the actual resurrection of Jesus from real death on the cross.
The apostle Paul puts it plainly in 1 Corinthians 15.
And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.
Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. I Corinthians 15:17-20
There is no faith in a Christ who did not rise from the dead. If Jesus did not rise as He testified that He would, and as the biblical witness records, then Paul says you have a useless faith and no hope for escaping sin or its penalty.
Hope in Christ is based on His assurance of life eternal for those who follow Him, but it is an empty promise if He Himself did not rise from the grave. If that is the case, every person from the time of Jesus’ disciples until the present, dead or alive followed a false witness.
The fascinating thing about the critics of the resurrection, like Dr. Miller above, is that they inevitably try to deny what Jesus claimed and did, especially miraculously, while also claiming He was a great and good teacher or prophet. Miller himself claims that Jesus was really a “sage,” meaning a wise and good teacher and example.
These so-called “teachers” of the Word are trying to desperately hold onto the symbolism of Christ without any of the substance. That way, they can justify sinful actions and teaching by filling in their own version of ‘substance’ and claiming it aligns with the symbolic teachings of a wise sage.
Plainly put, you can’t have it both ways skeptics. One of my favorite quotes from author C.S. Lewis of “Narnia” fame comes from another work about the reality of Christianity where he makes this very salient point.
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Thus the absolute necessity of a true, actual bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from death cannot be overstated. Unless that monumental, unprecedented event really happened, every Christian should abandon the faith and look elsewhere or nowhere for God in this life.
However, we are blessed that the resurrection did happen and Jesus is truly alive today as our Savior and LORD. The evidence for this is abundant and we begin with the words of Paul in the same chapter of 1 Corinthians.
The Resurrection Is the Historic Truth, and More
The historical case for the resurrection is extremely strong and easily refutes the nonsensical blatherings of ‘academic’ doubters. Paul himself begins chapter 15 of 1 Corinthians with multiple eyewitness testimony of the risen LORD Jesus.
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 [ESV]
The key to the veracity of Paul’s writing is that Jesus appeared in person after He had died on the cross to hundreds of eyewitnesses who were alive at the time! Paul was also not the only evangelist preaching about the risen Christ at that time.
Peter [Cephas in the text] and the other apostles were preaching and teaching the resurrection as miraculous fact. The events at the cross on Friday before were well-known and Jesus’ enemies would have decimated this account if it were not true.
In the verses that follow Paul puts his and the other apostles’ character on the line. He basically says that if you find out this is a false account, then we are all false witnesses under Jewish law.
As a Pharisee, Paul would know that the penalty for committing false witness could go as high as death, [Deuteronomy 19:18-21]. In fact, all those who preached the resurrection as fact risked death from the religious and political authorities of the day.
This is the second point that gives evidence for the resurrection as a true event. The early martyrs for Christ all died believing the resurrection was real, and many of them actually saw Jesus alive after they had watched Him die on the cross!
No one risks death for something they don’t believe is true. Granted, people can and do risk life and limb for things they believe to be true but are in fact false, but that doesn’t answer the matter of the eyewitnesses.
The skeptics’ objection to this is that the witnesses saw an illusion that was really a ‘spiritual’ resurrection and not a bodily one. This means that hundreds of people all saw the identical mass illusion, which is basically an impossibility.
Furthermore, Jesus Himself rebukes this fantasy with His actions and words after He rose from the dead.
And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them. Luke 24:38-43 [ESV]
In other pieces, I have covered more evidence for the resurrection, such as the lack of a body in the tomb and refuted the so-called “swoon theory,” which claims Jesus didn’t really die but revived in the tomb and somehow moved the stone and escaped the notice of the Roman guards.
There are numerous excellent volumes which do a more thorough job of giving proof of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. A couple of these that I recommend are Josh McDowell’s “Evidence That Demands a Verdict,” and a small but powerful book with the title, “Faith Founded on Fact,” by John Warwick Montgomery.
If one is not particularly enamored of reading detailed books, I would recommend looking up two places I use on YouTube. One is known as Inspiring Philosophy and another is the ministry of apologist Ravi Zacharias. They have been a great aid to me in my continuing study.
The conclusion is this, followers of Jesus Christ can be sure that He has risen and overcome death and the grave, and we can all rejoice in that fact! Hallelujah, He is risen indeed!
Sources: The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, Crossway Bibles, 2001
highlight of my Easter season, when I was a child, was watching the nail-biting
TV movie, “The Wizard of Oz.” I remember my tears flowing as Dorothy handed
Toto over to Miss Gulch on the bike. But today, I look at this Academy Award
Nominated motion picture in a different light. From a Christian writer’s
perspective, the underlying message and morals in this movie are phenomenal!
Let me take you for a walk down my yellow brick road…
Dorothy was a character on a soul-searching mission. She was an orphan, adopted by her aunt and uncle in Kansas, yet she appeared to have a deep-rooted longing to find a true home. Insecurities plagued her because she didn’t fit in with the older relatives, and a mean Miss Gulch wanted to take her only friend, Toto, away from her. Auntie Em became frustrated with Dorothy’s antics and yelled, “Find yourself a place where you won’t get into any trouble.” Dorothy picked up Toto and said, “Is there such a place Toto? Not a place you can get to by boat or train.”
most of us looking to fill an empty spot inside our soul – a place where there
isn’t any sadness? Always seeking, we get mixed up in wrong relationships,
addictions, and false idols. When we finally accept Jesus Christ into our
hearts, we soon realize we have everything we need daily; and it’s not a place
you can get to by boat or train.
Dorothy, like so many people, run from their problems. A tornado swept her from
safety, and she entered another world. Her only path home was down the yellow
brick road. The Good Witch of the North, Glinda, warned her to never venture
off its path for darkness loomed in every corner. What a great metaphor! We must
walk through life on God’s golden road only for Satan will quickly invade if
our guard is down. Temptations of sin can fog a mind when difficulties become
overwhelming; prayers are the answer to tackle the troubles. Seek God first
before using your own solution.
theme of the movie centers on Dorothy’s quest to go to the Emerald City; she
sought the Wizard of Oz’s help to take her back to Kansas. Along the way, the
Wicked Witch of the West and her minions attack her and her friends. This is so
like Satan trying to intervene in our life! By the end of the film, Dorothy
discovered the Wizard was a phony, a false idol if you will. She is devastated
until Glinda (her guardian angel, perhaps?) magically came to her rescue. “Dorothy,” she said, “You’ve always had the power to go back to
Kansas.” What lesson did she learn from the whole experience? A heart’s
desire isn’t any further than your own backyard (or in my case, a bible). The
love and acceptance she wanted were always at her doorstep.
moral of Dorothy’s story is God’s power makes our life fantastic for He is
greater than any physical object or place we seek on our own. As we come to
know Jesus Christ, we understand He promises to guide us because the love for
His children is eternal. When we resist the enemy, we draw closer to Him, and He
becomes our home. The solution to our problems is right under our nose.
SCARECROW AND A BRAIN
first friend Dorothy met on the yellow brick road was the happy-go-lucky
scarecrow who wanted the Wizard to give him a brain. It’s quite funny, often throughout
the movie, he acted as though he had a brain and common sense. How frequently
do we take action as if we don’t have sense? We beat ourselves up for the
mistakes we make along the way and we lose forgiveness in the shuffle of
stupidity. God forgives us our sins so why hold on to regrets? Did you ask God
to clear your heart and mind of all the clutter which pulls your progress down?
Did you diligently pray for forgiveness?
the end of the show, it’s quite ironic the Wizard actually did not fulfill the
scarecrow’s wishes. He only gave him a diploma of higher thinking. This character
simply lacked self-confidence. The Scarecrow sought a higher power to confirm
he could be smart. Little did he know, confidence comes from a relationship
with Christ. Yes, we must be secure in God’s Word and not in our flesh. He
gives us hope in times of adversity.
THE TIN MAN AND A HEART
second character who befriended Dorothy was the rusted Tin Man. He wanted the Wizard
to give him a heart, hence emotions. The Wizard of Oz told him “a heart will never be practical until it is
made unbreakable.” The Tin Man
quickly learned what a broken heart was when he said goodbye to Dorothy.
hearts is a common thread among humanity. We have to trust God has a better plan
for our life, thus healing us from the inside out. He replaces the feelings of
rejection and abandonment with a sense of renewal. All we have to do is pick up
the Bible and allow His words to soothe our soul. Once we connect with Jesus,
everything changes and nothing or no one has the same power over us again. God
forms a shield to protect our innocence.
THE COWARDLY LION AND COURAGE
to Emerald City, the Tin Man, Scarecrow, and Dorothy trotted arm-in-arm.
Suddenly a large curly-haired lion jumped out from behind a tree and tried to
scare the trio. The ferocious lion growled and snapped at them until Dorothy
slapped him. “You should be ashamed
of yourself!” The lion quickly retreated behind his own tail and cried.
Throughout the movie, his fear reared its ugly head. Could the great Wizard
give him courage?
experience scary situations in life – perhaps bullying, roadblocks, and other
fear factors. Hard times are unavoidable, but we can count on God to pick us up,
dust us off, and help us through these failures. An important message from this
is Satan instigates fear. My favorite saying is, “Where there is fear, there is
no faith.” Let us rely on God for strength to conquer our personal battles for
He is always in control and will not abandon us. Be of good courage for the
Lord is with us every step of the way!
OUR CHRISTIAN WALK
The Wizard of Oz, though not written with religion in mind, can teach us about our Christian walk with God. We should examine our relationship with the Lord and strive, every day, to be more like Him. Draw on the intelligence of our brain; maintain a heart open and sincere and pray for the courage to stand up for our belief. If we stray along the way to the Emerald City, known as heaven, our Lord Jesus Christ will be there to lift us up. Just as Dorothy had to “learn it for herself,” our journey helps us grow to be the best Christians we can be for eternal salvation. Everything we need is in the power of God, not the ruby slippers.
The next time you watch this excellent motion picture, look for the hidden Christian parables – you will be amazed at how many you’ll witness!
Today is the day to exploit my messages from God. I think it is important to summarize and discuss the last three week’s blogs – The Stars Are Lining Up, The Ides of Suspicion, and What If Christ Came to Rule the White House. Every single person, most of all Americans, need to understand these words because readers may have missed the point. My thoughts are strong on the severe condition of this world and the End Times nearing, so I must expand upon my words of hope and faith.
It doesn’t take a scholar to read the Book of Revelations and comprehend the forecasts within it are Bible predictions. History does and will repeat itself again. I began this mini-series with the Ides of Suspicion because Julius Caesar laid the groundwork for the first-ever democratic nation. He thought it was the only fair way to protect the middle and lower-class people. A coup of his envious and stubborn Roman senators, however, killed him. Their belief was a dictatorship could financially harm them and give Caesar too much power over the Roman empire. Why is Caesar’s death important to the United States? Our country, also was established on democracy. We have the freedom to elect our own President and practice social equality. But, today, we are witnessing a shift of events, repeating history. Our government and its citizens are in conflict. Senators are stubborn and deeply rooted in ungodly practices. Many Americans turn their back on the Declaration of Independence, religion, and the symbols which formed this great nation. It is a sure sign America will not be long before it implodes for this country was based on Christianity – not atheism or agnosticism. A civil war, just as the Roman empire suffered after Caesar’s death, cannot be denied as a future event by US citizens.
My blog, The Stars Are Lining Up, addresses bible prophecies being fulfilled before our very eyes. The breaking of the seven seals (Revelations 6-8) possibly marks our beginning era of the Great Tribulation. Countries, including the US, are seeing a significant increase in war, natural disasters, economic troubles, starvation, and genocide. The Laws of God are severely broken, and it marks the beginning of the end for mankind. As I mentioned earlier, history repeats itself through the Bible. Our Lord is merciful and loving but is also vengeful and fierce when we do not live and abide in His word. Do you remember the story of the Canaanites in the Old Testament? God ordered the Israelites to “save alive nothing that breathes” in Canaan because of their filthy life. They worshipped other gods and practiced sexual inappropriateness; they sacrificed children and boasted of their evil practices. God obliterated a whole nation for their failure to heed His words. As we study this story, one must ask, could God be sending us an angry message today? Forest fires are wiping out entire towns, earthquakes are causing mass destruction, and tidal waves and record-breaking rainfalls are obliterating whole towns. How many more signs of His fury can we see around us?
WHAT ABOUT THE UNITED STATES?
Let’s visit the most powerful nation on earth and founded on Christian morals and the Bible. I’m sure many do not believe this to be true, but again, Satan works wonders in a foolish mind. I wrote the blog, What If Christ Came to Rule the White House because it is time for US citizens to realize their life, as they know it, is walking a fine line. Our government is in turmoil, just as the days of Julius Caesar. Laws pass approving abortion, talks of socialism is an everyday discussion, and our highest officials practice shady dealings. US citizens lack respect for the leader of our country, dwelling only on past indiscretions. Even the voting system is faulty. All countries have corruption, but our founding fathers built the United States to be a leader of the world. Today, it hopelessly flounders in front of our future generations because of greed, lack of belief in God, and poor morals. What does it take for people to see without God, there is no existence?
they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for
of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. 2 Peter 2:19
Roman Empire was once the greatest and most influential nation in the world.
Its demise was the corruption because man was not created to rule himself; only
by the word of God. History, once again, is staring down the neck of the United
States. Our country, the most powerful and barbaric on earth, is about to have
a close encounter with God, our Maker. Lucifer has lounged here for thousands
of years, in the lap of luxury, but not much longer.
upon a time, God placed His only son, Jesus Christ, on earth to teach the truth
of His kingdom and to save lost mankind. But, in this cruel world, even Jesus
was a hunted man. When Augustus Caesar took over Rome, he knew a Savior was
coming, and he elected the Three Wisemen to go find this great Messiah. He even
placed a tax levy to force the pregnant mother, Mary, to come forward. But, God
intervened and redirected Joseph to take Mary, and the baby Jesus, to the only
country which Rome did not rule – Egypt. The lesson to learn is God always
protects the innocent from harm. He is the great Overseer of our nations,
governments, and life; His son, Jesus, was crucified to save our sins.
God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the
world through him. (John 3:17)
as God sees His beloved people failing to flourish, once again, He will gather
His army into battle for one last time. Christians, this is a war we can win
with faith and prayer! As God takes His fury out on the corrupt nations of this
world, He promises to protect His anointed children – it requires the belief in
Him. Live by the Laws of God and turn away from evil. Fight for God’s word
because even in the face of death, we will be winners.
As for those who are not believers, Christians will pray for your salvation because – weren’t we warned?
Here are 5 tips to improve yourearly morning workouts, along with the benefits of early morning workouts, and a quick 30 minute workout you can do with no equipment.
Why Early Morning Workouts Are Great
Exercise in the morning provides a wide range of benefits that offer physical and mental gratification:
Strength training exercise can boost metabolism for up to 48 hours so doing your workout in the AM is a great way to jumpstart your metabolism.This elevated metabolism will ensure you are burning calories throughout the day.
Exercise also promotes endorphins in the brain, which can elevate your mood and start your day off on a positive note.More so, your sense of accomplishment from knowing you have your workout done before you even start your workday will elevate your mood and keep you from stressing over it later if something unexpected arises. According to research, exercise significantly increases mental capacity and exercising in the A.M. can allow you to harness that increased brainpower.
5 Tips For Better Early Morning Workouts
1. Pre-Plan Your Pre-Workout Meal
If you find that you have more energy eating something before your workout, planning your pre-workout meal the night before can be helpful. Research has shown more calories tend to be burned with some fuel in your body before a workout. However, each individual knows his own body best, so finding out what works best for you is essential.
Eating a small to medium sized meal may provide ample energy for your workout without the bloated feeling that comes with larger meals that can affect performance. A great way to kick start your daily meal plan is to make a shake the night before. A healthy pre-made smoothie is versatile and can provide ample fuel to power you through a workout.
Human sleep cycles follow a daily cycle called circadian rhythms. Using an alarm clock, establishing meal times, and even routine workout times are all cues that reset our rhythms. People who consistently exercise in the morning teach their body to be most ready for exercise at that time of day.
Go to bed 30-45 minutes earlier so you can stay on your normal sleep schedule. This will ensure the 30-45 minutes it will take you to get your warmup and workout done in the morning won’t come at the expense of adequate rest.
Research also suggests that morning exercise improves sleep so getting into a good routine of an earlier bed time might not be an issue.Exercise in the morning can help to set the body clock for a day of activity and a night of sleep, while exercise at night can potentially push back the sleep part of the sleep-wake cycle. In one recent experiment women who exercised in the morning averaged a 70% better nights sleep versus non exercisers.
3. Set Everything Up The Night Before
Whether its pushup blocks, a jump rope, bands, or your workout attire, make sure everything is laid out before you go to bed so you won’t be scrambling the next morning. This will save you crucial moments and give yourself the peace of mind that you don’t have to rush your workout. Knowing you have made sufficient preparations will ensure a worry free sleep and stress free morning.
Another great option is to create a new playlist the night before or start your workout with a new song you really enjoy and look forward to hearing. This will help you get out of bed in the morning and get those energy levels fired up early in the morning.
4. Perform A Longer Warm-Up
Your body temperature is naturally lower in the morning and the last thing you want to do is open yourself up for injury. When you begin to exercise, your body undergoes a number of changes such as an increased blood flow, increase respiration rate, and an increased amount of oxygen delivered to muscle cells. In order to ensure these bodily changes respond properly you should gradually prepare your body by performing an adequate warm-up.
Benefits of a solid warm-up:
Prepares your nervous system for the impending exertion of exercise
Heightens your mental acuity
Loosens up your joints and muscles for the prevention of injury
Allows your heart to gradually adjust to the increased activity, thereby increasing the blood flow and sending the proper amount of oxygen and nutrients to your body’s cells.
Perform at least 5-10 minutes of muscle activation and dynamic flexibility movements to get your blood pumping and mentally prepared for you morning workout.
5. Start With Exercises You Enjoy And Recruit A Partner
You’ll be more likely to get out of bed and into your workout if you perform exercises you enjoy. Whether it’s a brisk run, yoga sessions, or a bike ride, perform a morning workout you appreciate to ensure you will stick to a routine and not come to dread that morning alarm. Recruiting a partner can also help with consistency. A pre-arranged workout time with a partner will force you out of bed and take the option of “going back to sleep” out of the equation completely.
Sample 30-Minute Early Morning Workout
The following workout should take you only 30 minutes and require no equipment. It’s a great option if you are on the road on a business trip, or don’t have time to run to the gym.
Have you ever asked why God gives some people power?
By power, we are talking of political power, intellectual power, financial or economic power, physical power, language power, talent etc.
God gives people power for a divine purpose.
But when they fail in that divine mission, there is disaster.
He does not give you power so that you work against him.
He gives you power so that you work with him as a partner in creation; to take the world a step or steps towards its destiny.
And the destiny of the world is excellence – heaven; when good will overcome evil and everybody will enjoy.
If you use the power God gives you to promote evil instead of good, you are using it for the wrong purpose.
It means you are fighting against God instead of working with God.
That is an abomination; an abuse of power and also a waste of precious time; seeking your doom.
Such work does not yield positive fruits. It yields Negative fruits otherwise called evil.
Some one cannot arm you and you turn to use the very arms against him.
Often, people are deceived to think that people do this and get what they want; and go free.
They only appear to get what they want; and also only appear to go free. They don’t. The problem is we always see only one side of such people. They have a down side which makes them not as enviable as they look.
We have seen how people in high positions who abused their power paid dearly for it. That is the point.
If God blesses you with power of any sort, use it only for the glory of his name. You will be blessed.
If use it to work against Him, you will pay for.
Do you know some people who used their power to work against God’s plan for humanity and paid dearly for it? Please, share!
To get a grip of power,
We humans fight;
A fierce fight, indeed!
A tooth-and-nail fight;
Zigzag mostly it goes;
And threatens human life;
This dangerous fight
Is to get control
Of the keys
That unlock the golden door
That to opportunity leads;
If power must come under control;
This merciless fight
Is not at all for the weak
But the strong
And lion hearted souls
That know no fear,
As at times with daggers
The fighters fight;
All they want
Is to grip power
And have it under their
What you love is where
Your heart is;
If you love power,
In money is your heart;
If you love money,
In money is your heart;
If you love material things,
In material things
Is your heart;
If you love God,
In God is your heart;
If you love people,
In people is your heart;
If you love boozing,
In boozing is your heart;
If you love men or women,
In men/women is your heart;
If you love earthly things,
In earthly things
Will your heart be.