Last week, I released my second book, “The Cross Splits the World; The Protest, The Price and The Power of The Cross of Jesus Christ”. This book born out of events that occurred as I witnessed the Cross of Jesus Christ consciously being removed from its once prominent place into the dark recesses of a Church. In this book, I considered three thoughts about the Cross of Jesus Christ in the world in which we live.
The Protest of The Cross of Jesus Christ
So just what is it that the mere sight of the Cross of Jesus Christ and the faith behind it so objectionable? What is it about the Cross that causes such turmoil among brothers that friendships and family ties are forever broken? I believe it is because of what the Cross of Christ represents; the recognition of the totality of our wickedness and the impossibility of eternity with God in Heaven without the confession of the atoning work of Jesus Christ at the Cross.
“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you,
all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” Isaiah 26:3
I was cleaning my bookshelves a while back and came across a book that I hadn’t given much thought to in many years; it is the Prayer Book of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. Let me tell you how this little 80-page book blessed my life.
It was just after Thanksgiving time in 1995 while I was working as a pastoral assistant to a Catholic Pastor in Massachusetts. He was a great priest and a great friend. However, he was also great at volunteering me for projects! (I will admit that I really didn’t mind at all)
We traveled to Boston one afternoon to visit with the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy; what an amazing ministry they have. While taking a tour of their lovely chapel, we noticed that their prayer books were a torn and tattered mess that consisted of a folder of mismatched cards and papers. Continue reading
“You have been chosen by God himself—you are priests of the King, you are holy and pure, you are God’s very own—all this so that you may show to others how God called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.”
1 Peter 2:9 TLB
In Nathaniel Hawthorns’ classic, The Scarlet Letter, we read about a woman named Hester Prynne and of her sin of adultery that is exposed at the birth of her illegitimate child, Pearl. Her particular sin was self-evident by the child she carried in her arms, and it was made more evident by the scarlet letter “A” that she was forced to wear on her chest, a public display of her sin.
As the story continues we are introduced to Mr. Dimmsdale. Mr. Dimmsdale, the “sin-partner” to Hester Prynne, carried his own scarlet letter; one he branded onto his own chest. The deep torment of his sin eventually takes over his life causing such turmoil on his physical health that he is ultimately destroyed by his guilt.
The Oracle: The Jubilean Mysteries Unveiled by Jonathan Cahn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
From the back cover – ‘To know what the future holds, know what the past is hiding.”
”This book will open your eyes to groundbreaking mysteries that will impact not only how you understand the past, but also how you can be ready for the future.”
The Oracle, by Jonathan Cahn unveils and opens up the Jubilean Mysteries to reveal times and events that have and do lie behind everything from the rise and fall of nations and empires (America), to current events of our day, the future and onward to end-times prophecies.
In this age of free and easy access to answers to our most inane questions and our deepest philosophical quandary’s, the internet, for all its faults and failings is on the forefront providing the answers. For thousands of years, lay people relied on the learned few to share their knowledge and provide us with the answers to our deepest questions. Then one day a few decades ago, the information that we relied on others to provide became readily available to all of us. Sacred texts were now available, holy texts, literary classics, rare – if ever seen manuscripts and scrolls we now ready to be accessed by anyone anywhere that wanted to see them.
It seemed as though all the answers to every question in the universe could now be found. Every question we could ever think to ask could now be answered. Today I can search and find the answer to anything I want to know. Whether I trust the “answer-er” or not, is a topic for another time.
There are several major internet search engines; Google and Bing are the two largest and most accessed. In 2018, there were 5.6 billion searches per day on Google alone. That’s a bunch of people asking a bunch of questions! So it begs the question, what are they looking for. When it comes to faith, what are the big questions that are in need of an answer? I took a look at the results from my own little blog search results to see some of what folks were asking; the results are clear. This is just a brief list of the taken from this year’s statistics.
- I didn’t want to give up my sin
- Bitter truths about rapture
- Jesus and the Cross
- What is cherished sin?
- I believe God hates me
- The truth about rapture
- God are you real?
- Am I saved because of Jesus death
“Life changes overnight for Coach John Harrison when his high school basketball team and state championship dreams are crushed under the weight of unexpected news. When the largest manufacturing plant shuts down and hundreds of families leave their town, John questions how he and his family will face an uncertain future. After reluctantly agreeing to coach cross-country, John and his wife, Amy, meet an aspiring athlete who’s pushing her limits on a journey toward discovery. Inspired by the words and prayers of a newfound friend, John becomes the least likely coach helping the least likely runner attempt the impossible in the biggest race of the year.”
Overcomer by Chris Fabry
“What do you allow to define you?”
With the upcoming release of Overcomer – the movie – slated for later this month, I decided to read the book. Rarely does any book capture my attention like this one did. Even more rare does any book evoke an emotional response from me, as this one did.
It is difficult to write this review without spoilers, so I will only give my thoughts and impressions of the story and leave the reader to embrace the goodness and pursue their own journey of overcoming.
The Book is divided into 4 parts (The Coach, The Question, The Answer, and The Voice) that will take the reader through a year long journey of 4 distinct characters – John the Coach, Hannah Scott, Barbara Scott and T-Bone (aka Thomas Hill). Through these rich and relatable characters, we are reminded that sometimes God’s plan for our life doesn’t always follow what we want for our life.
We are privileged to journey through this particular year as these characters come to terms with disappointment at the loss of what was, disillusionment of what is coming, apprehension and trepidation of our expectations of ourselves and our lives and the burdens we all carry, both real or self-imposed.
“For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of the archangel and with the [blast of the] trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain [on the earth] will simultaneously be caught up (RAPTURED) together with them [the resurrected ones] in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord!” 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 AMP
In theological terms, the word RAPTURE is defined as: “the experience, anticipated by some fundamentalist Christians, of meeting Christ midway in the air upon his return to earth.”
While the exact word “RAPTURE” does not occur in the Bible. The term comes from a Latin word meaning “a carrying off, a transport, or a snatching away, or caught up. The concept of the “caught up” or the rapture of the church is clearly taught in Scripture.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 tells us that at God’s command, with the voice of an Archangel and the trumpet call of God, believers that have already died (the dead in Christ) will rise from their graves. Then the believers still alive on the earth will be “caught up” in the air with the dead in Christ to meet Jesus in the air. Together we will be taken to be with the Lord. These believers – both the dead and alive are called the Church.
“Now I say this, believers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit nor be part of the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable (mortal) inherit the imperishable (immortal). Listen very carefully, I tell you a mystery [a secret truth decreed by God and previously hidden, but now revealed]; we will not all sleep [in death], but we will all be [completely] changed [wondrously transformed], in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at [the sound of] the last trumpet call. For a trumpet will sound, and the dead [who believed in Christ] will be raised imperishable, and we will be [completely] changed [wondrously transformed]. For this perishable [part of us] must put on the imperishable [nature], and this mortal [part of us that is capable of dying] must put on immortality [which is freedom from death].” 1 Corinthians 15:50-53 AMP
“As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.”Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, Who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you to Galilee; you will see Him there, just as He told you.’”Mark 16:5-7
“He is not here; He has risen! Remember how He told you, while He was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’” Luke 24:6-7
“He is not here; He has risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay.” Matt. 28:6
“He was buried, and He was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.” 1 Cor. 15:4
The crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ stand as the distinct crucial event in all human history that underpins and validates the claims Jesus Christ made about Himself – that He is the Son of God sent to take the sins of the human race upon Himself, so that all who believe on Him will have eternal life. These events are the foundation for the hope of the human soul.
”Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
Sin wearies the flesh; it causes sickness and death in our soul. Bit by bit our sinful behavior destroys all that is, or was, good within us. Sin begins to cause our hearts to harden. Left unchecked, it destroys our peace, causing guilt, sorrow and shame. Sin consumes the mind and thoughts – weakening and darkening the soul.
With it comes fear and dread that our scandalous behaviors will eventually be exposed; knowing full well what will be left in its wake are shattered families and devastated innocent childhoods. Uncovered and exposed, the sins in our lives lead to death – perhaps not physical our death, though that is entirely possible, but certainly spiritual death. Most of all, unrepentant sin in our lives can shut down a relationship with God our Father.
Many years ago, I met a blessed Christian woman, Tanya, whose life mission was to minister to men on death row in some of the toughest prisons in our country. She asked me to take a look at the “mug-shots” of these men taken when they were arrested. She asked me concentrate on their eyes. I was troubled at the lack of light reflecting back from those eyes. It seemed as if death had already taken place, any light that may have been in them had been long ago extinguished, snuffed out by the magnitude of their sin.
Matthew 6:22-23 (Voice) tells us that “The eye is the lamp of the body. You draw light into your body through your eyes, and light shines out to the world through your eyes. So if your eye is well and shows you what is true, then your whole body will be filled with light. But if your eye is clouded or evil, then your body will be filled with evil and dark clouds. And the darkness that takes over the body of a child of God who has gone astray—that is the deepest, darkest darkness there is.” Continue reading