Evidence

In short, I didn’t become a Christian because God promised I would have an even happier life than I had as an atheist. He never promised any such thing. Indeed, following him would inevitably bring divine demotions in the eyes of the world. Rather, I became a Christian because the evidence was so compelling that Jesus really is the one-and-only Son of God who proved His divinity by rising from the dead. That meant following Him was the most rational and logical step I could possibly take.

– Lee Stroebel

 
Many people entertain the idea that Christianity, like almost any other religion, is basically a system of beliefs – you know, a set of doctrines or a code of behavior, a philosophy, an ideology.
But that’s a myth.
Christianity is not at all like Buddhism or Islam or Confucianism. The founders of those religions said (in effect), “Here is what I teach. Believe my teachings. Follow my philosophy.” Jesus said, “Follow me”(Matthew 9:9).
Leaders of the world’s religions said, “What do you think about what I teach?” Jesus said, “Who do you say I am?”(Luke 9:20)
― Josh McDowell

 

The Old Testament records the preparation for the coming of the Messiah. The Gospels record the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ our Lord. The book of Acts records the propagation of the gospel (the good news) concerning Jesus Christ. The Epistles (letters) explain the gospel and its implications for our lives. The book of Revelation anticipates and describes the second coming of Jesus Christ and the establishment of His eternal kingdom. From beginning to end, the Bible glorifies Jesus Christ and centers on Him. Its Christ-centeredness is one of its wonderful features.

– Josh McDowell

 

This is what God has done for us: He has said, “I forgive you.” But He paid the price for the forgiveness Himself through the Cross. It’s a payment that Buddha, Muhammad, Confucius, or any other religious or ethical leader cannot offer. No one can pay the price by “just living a good life.” I know it sounds exclusive to say it, but we must say it simply because it is true: There is no other way but Jesus.

– Josh McDowell

 

But Thomas, sometimes called the Twin, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, “We saw the Master.”

But he said, “Unless I see the nail holes in his hands, put my finger in the nail holes, and stick my hand in his side, I won’t believe it.”

Eight days later, His disciples were again in the room. This time Thomas was with them. Jesus came through the locked doors, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.”

Then He focused his attention on Thomas. “Take your finger and examine my hands. Take your hand and stick it in my side. Don’t be unbelieving. Believe.”

Thomas said, “My Master! My God!”

Jesus said, “So, you believe because you’ve seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing.”

Jesus provided far more God-revealing signs than are written down in this book. These are written down so you will believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and in the act of believing, have real and eternal life in the way He personally revealed it.

– John 20:24-31 (MSG)

 

HE IS RISEN AND HE IS COMING AGAIN!

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

Tomb

In the tomb

encapsulated

deceased

 

Not hearing

not perceiving

not awake

 

This is the place

for many

 

Dead

to the Way

to the Truth

to the Life

 

And God’s Spirit

comes into that tomb

and wakes the sleeper

 

and He provides a way out

 

a way out

 

And when the deceased

takes hold

of Him

 

He walks out

 

New

and Alive

 

with the risen King

 

– Susie Stewart

 

Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins.  You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God.  All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.

But God is so rich in mercy, and He loved us so much,  that even though we were dead because of our sins, He gave us life when He raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)  For He raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.  So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of His grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.

God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.  Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.  For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.

– Ephesians 2:1-10 (NLT)

 

Since we have been united with Him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was.  We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.  For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.  And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with Him.  We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and He will never die again. Death no longer has any power over Him.  When He died, He died once to break the power of sin. But now that He lives, He lives for the glory of God.  So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.

– Romans 6:5-11 (NLT)

 

Photo by Ferrell Jenkins

Risenness

A hard day, yes.  Rattled and unglued, yes.  Unable to cope, no.

How does the life-giving Spirit of the risen Lord manifest Himself on days like that?   In our willingness to stand fast, our refusal to run away and escape into self-destructive behavior.  Resurrection power enables us to engage in the savage confrontation with untamed emotions, to accept the pain, receive it, take it on board, however acute it may be.  And in the process we discover that we are not alone, that we can stand fast in the awareness of present risenness and so become fuller, deeper, richer disciples.  We know ourselves to be more than we previously imagined.  In the process we not only endure but are forced to expand the boundaries of who we think we really are.

Hope knows that if great trials are avoided great deeds remain undone and the possibility of growth into greatness of soul is aborted.  Pessimism and defeatism are never the fruit of the life-giving Spirit but rather reveal our unawareness of present risenness.

– Brennan Manning

 

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand.

– Colossians 3:1 (NLT)

 

God wanted His people throughout the world to know the glorious riches of this mystery—which is Christ living in you, giving you the hope of glory.

– Colossians 1:27 (GW)

 

I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope He has given to those He called—His holy people who are His rich and glorious inheritance.

I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe Him…

– Ephesians 1:18,19 (NLT)

 

I am with you always [remaining with you perpetually—regardless of circumstance, and on every occasion], even to the end of the age.

– Matthew 28:20 (AMP)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart