Religious Studies

God is not dead


clouds5 That one‘s troubles multiply daily and the list of unanswered prayers keeps growing by the minute, are not proof that God is dead–or He is a myth–or He does not care–or He is not listening. If anything, such occurrences could mean God’s timing and your timing are not in sync, or, perhaps you may have been too nonchalant in making your requests. Furthermore, the thorn you seek to remove maybe the link that keeps the chain together. In that case, God grace is sufficient for you.

We know with great certainty both from our own experiences and James’ writing in the book of the same name that the nonchalant prayer requests do not avail much: But, as James rightly puts it: “.. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16). But James did not stop there. In verses 17-18 He called into remembrance Elijah’s petition for drought and rain through fervent prayer.
Less anyone thinks Elijah was some kind of a supernatural being, here is what James says: “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit,” (James 5:16-18).

So, contrary to atheistic thinking, God is alive. He is not a myth. He cares, He listens, and He answers prayers. However, sometimes God’s people have to fight for their blessing like Jacob did. Other times it takes patience and faith like Job’s.

 

The trial you face could be a test from God


121013tragedy

Of course God tests His chosen! There is a mountain of Biblical evidence that God often uses hardship to test His chosen. Moreover, quite often those tests resemble the trials and tribulation the devil place upon you.

So, aside from the hardships that come naturally on your Christian journey, there are also more than a few difficult situations that God uses to test your commitment and resiliency. Therefore, as you navigate this narrow path, it is of paramount importance that you understand that not every trial you face is design to destroy you. The Bible says, ..”the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.” (Hebrews 12:6).

For example, Job 1: 1-3 states, “There once was a man named Job, who lived in the land of Uz. He was blameless—a man of complete integrity. He feared God and stayed away from evil. He had seven sons and three daughters. He owned 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 teams of oxen, and 500 female donkeys. He also had many servants. He was, in fact, the richest person in that entire area.”

Still yet, God allows Satan to visit terrible trials upon Job to test him. And in a short period, Job lost all his livestock.  Then a desert wind blows down his house, killing all of his ten children. And when Job did not falter, Satan double down and afflicts him with painful sores all over his body. Unable to help her husband, Job’s wife urges him to curse God and die. However, Job stays true to his commitment to God.

And in the end, “the LORD restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before” ( Job 42:10)…He lived for another 140 years.

 

Do you think Christmas is bigger than Easter?


images3MV5PW9U

Do you think Christmas is bigger than Easter?

This seems like an easy question to answer. However, opinions and contexts differ. For me, the answer is NO! And I am not the only one. Apparently, the Rev. Ray Pritchard agrees with me. Let us take a gander at what he wrote on his http://www.keepbelieving.com website.

In our society, there are two great religious holidays-Christmas and Easter. For most of us, Christmas is the bigger and greater season of the year. It is the time of year when we gather with family and friends to sing carols, decorate the tree, and exchange gifts. Christmas is the climax of the whole year. Easter? Well, for most people it is just another long weekend, another chance to get away for a few days.

Even Christians view Easter as a second-rate holiday!

Somehow we’ve gotten our thinking mixed up. If Easter had not happened, Christmas would have no meaning. If the tomb is not empty, the cradle makes no difference. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then He is just a misguided Jewish rabbi with delusions of grandeur. If Easter is not true, then Christmas was only the story of an obscure baby born in an out-of-the-way village, in a forgotten land 2000 years ago. It is Easter that gives Christmas its meaning.

Do You want proof? In all the New Testament, no major doctrinal point is ever built upon the virgin birth of Christ. Not one. It is true. It happened. But it is never discussed or mentioned. In fact, two gospels do not even say anything about it.

However, when it comes to the resurrection? That is a different story. In every part of the New Testament, it comes up again and again. Read the sermons of Acts. When the first Christians preached, they did not mention Bethlehem; they talked about the empty tomb. They never got over the fact that on Easter Sunday when they went to the tomb, Jesus was gone.

Up from the grave He arose


Matthew 27 and 28, 1 Corinthians 15:55-57

imagesV0OBB9KO

So, the Romans nailed Jesus to the cross and waited until He was dead. (they thought that was the end of the trouble maker)  Then they handed the body over to Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea. Joseph wrapped the body in a long sheet and placed it in his personal tomb which was carved out of a large rock. He then rolled a great stone across the entrance.

The Bible says on the next day, (the Sabbath), the leading priests and Pharisees went to see Pilate. They told him, “Sir, we remember what that deceiver once said while he was still alive: ‘After three days I will rise from the dead.’ So we are requesting that you seal the tomb until the third day. This will prevent his disciples from coming and stealing his body and then tell everyone he was raised from the dead!
Pilate replied, “Take guards and secure it the best you can.” So they sealed the tomb and posted guards to protect it.

But something spectacular would happened on Sunday morning. The Bible says, early on Sunday morning, as a new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb.

  • O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?
  • For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Suddenly there was a great earthquake and an angel came down from heaven, rolled the stone aside, and sat on it. The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint.

Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here! He is risen from the dead, just as He said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying. And now, go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and He is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember what I have told you.”

The women ran from the tomb quickly. They were frightened but also filled with great joy. They rushed to give the disciples the angel’s message. And as they went, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they ran to Him, grasped His feet, and worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.”

The Last Supper


Matthew 26:17-30
New Living Translation (NLT)

The Last Supper

On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to prepare the Passover meal for you?”

“As you go into the city,” he told them, “you will see a certain man. Tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My time has come, and I will eat the Passover meal with my disciples at your house.’” So the disciples did as Jesus told them and prepared the Passover meal there.
800px-Última_Cena_-_Da_Vinci_5[1]

When it was evening, Jesus sat down at the table with the twelve disciples. While they were eating, he said, “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.”

Greatly distressed, each one asked in turn, “Am I the one, Lord?”

He replied, “One of you who has just eaten from this bowl with me will betray me. For the Son of Man must die, as the Scriptures declared long ago. But how terrible it will be for the one who betrays him. It would be far better for that man if he had never been born!”

Judas, the one who would betray him, also asked, “Rabbi, am I the one?”

And Jesus told him, “You have said it.”

As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take this and eat it, for this is my body.”

And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, “Each of you drink from it, for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many. Mark, my words-I, will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new with you in my Father’s Kingdom.”

Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.