1760 Degrees Fahrenheit

The other day my husband and I were reminiscing about our early years in St. Petersburg. Not sure why, but we got to talking about a testing lab that was there many years ago. That particular lab tested the strength of various construction materials and they always had the neatest rounds of concrete that could be picked up for next to nothing. About the size of a jumbo sized soup can, they were perfect for edging flowerbeds, walks and drive-ways. And the price was right too!

There was always a big pile of the test cores to pick through. Many of course had failed their test and were cracked or broken. But there were still many that had passed the test.

Later, as I thought about some of the times that I spent picking through the pile to find unbroken chunks to use, I wondered where all of that concrete had been used? So many places it could have been used, right there in the city where I lived and worked. Highway overpasses, sidewalks, bridges, even buildings where I may have shopped.

For each specific use, whether a building or a bridge, the strength requirements were different.

And then I thought about how much strength it takes to survive life as we grow in our faith as a Christian. I thought about how sometimes we cruise along with no apparent obstacles to suddenly be attacked from every direction. Then I thought of Ephesians 6 and remembered what the Apostle Paul said to do. . .

“Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. Stand, therefore with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. In every situation take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word. Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.”

So often we try to stand against things that are oppressing us with our own strength. But as Christians we must not forget that God, in His grace and mercy has given us weapons and protection that is far above anything that can come against us.

The psalmist said in Psalm 17 that God had tested the heart and in Psalm 66, that God tests us, refines us as silver is refined. Silver requires temperatures exceeding 1760 degrees Fahrenheit to melt. That is an extreme test!

We all can look around and see the tremendous changes that are happening in the world. Attitudes about so many things are changing by the minute. Christians in the United States have never before been faced with so much opposition and discrimination. Nor have we ever suffered severe persecution. But I know I am not alone when I say that I believe that it is coming.

Begin each day by prayerfully putting on God’s armor. It will be our only defense.

LORD of all, thank you for Your armor.  Help us to remember to put in on each morning before doing anything else.  And when the temperatures rise as we are tested and tried, give us strength to stand as You once did.  Amen.

Advertisements

Time And Space

Back before we had Google, Bing or Wikipedia, I had heard of an event that had taken place on July 20, 1969.  But having no easy way to validate the story, it sort of floated in and out of my brain without sticking.
 
But this morning someone sent me a brief reminder of that event and now with the click of a key I was able to locate the full article as published in October 1970 in Guideposts magazine.
 
Communion In Space by Buzz Aldrin
 
An Astronaut Tells of a little-known but Significant Event on the Moon
 
For several weeks prior to the scheduled lift-off of Apollo 11 back in July, 1969, the pastor of our church, Dean Woodruff, and I had been struggling to find the right symbol for the first lunar landing.  We wanted to express our feeling that what man was doing in this mission transcended electronics and computers and rockets.

Dean often speaks at our church, Webster Presbyterian, just outside of Houston, about the many meanings of the communion service.

“One of the principal symbols,” Dean says, “is that God reveals Himself in the common elements of everyday life.”  Traditionally, these elements are bread and wine—common foods in Bible days and typical products of man’s labor.

One day while I was at Cape Kennedy working with the sophisticated tools of the space effort, it occurred to me that these tools were the typical elements of life today.  I wondered if it might be possible to take communion on the moon, symbolizing the thought that God was revealing Himself there too, as man reached out into the universe.  For there are many of us in the NASA program who do trust that what we are doing is part of God’s eternal plan for man.

I spoke with Dean about the idea as soon as I returned home, and he was enthusiastic.

“I could carry the bread in a plastic packet, the way regular inflight food is wrapped.  And the wine also—there will be just enough gravity on the moon for liquid to pour.  I’ll be able to drink normally from a cup.  Dean, I wonder if you could look around for a little chalice that I could take with me as coming from the church?”

The next week Dean showed me a graceful silver cup.  I hefted it and was pleased to find that it was light enough to take along.  Each astronaut is allowed a few personal items on a flight; the wine chalice would be in my personal-preference kit.

Dean made special plans for two special communion services at Webster Presbyterian Church.  One would be held just prior to my leaving Houston for Cape Kennedy, when I would join the other members in a dedication service.  The second would take place two weeks later, Sunday, July 20, when Neil Armstrong and I were scheduled to be on the surface of the moon.  On that Sunday the church back home would gather for communion, while I joined them as close as possible to the same hour, taking communion inside the lunar module, all of us meaning to represent in this small way not only our local church but the Church as a whole.

Right away question came up.  Was it theologically correct for a layman to serve himself communion under these circumstances?  Dean thought so, but to make sure he decided to write the stated clerk of the Presbyterian church’s General Assembly and got back a quick reply that this was permissible.

And how much should we talk about our plans?  I am naturally rather reticent, but on the other hand I was becoming increasingly convinced that having religious convictions carried with it the responsibility of witnessing to them.  Finally we decided we would say nothing about the communion service until after the moonshot.

I had a question about which scriptural passage to use.  Which reading would best capture what this enterprise meant to us?  I thought long about this and came up at last with John 15:5.  It seemed to fit perfectly.  I wrote the passage on a slip of paper to be carried aboard Eagle along with the communion elements.  Dean would read the same passage at the full congregation service held back home that same day.

So at last we were set.  And then trouble appeared.  It was Saturday, just prior to the first of the two communion services.  The next day, Neil Armstrong, Mike Collins and I were to depart Houston for Cape Kennedy.  We were scheduled for a pre-mission press conference when the flight physician arrived and set up elaborate precautions against crew contamination.  We had to wear sterile masks and to talk to the reporters from within a special partition.  The doctor was taking no chances.  A cold germ, a flu virus, and the whole shot might have to be aborted.  I felt I had to tell him about the big church service scheduled for the next morning.  When I did, he wasn’t at all happy.

I called Dean with the news late Saturday night.  “It doesn’t look real good, Dean.”

“What about a private service?  Without the whole congregation?”

It was a possibility.  I called the doctor about the smaller service and he agreed, provided there were only a handful of people present.  So the next day, Sunday, shortly after the end of the 11 o’clock service my wife, Joan and our oldest boy Mike (the only one of our three children who is as yet a communicant), went to the church.  There we met Dean, his wife, Floy, and our close family friend Tom Manison, elder of the church and his wife.  The seven of us went in to the now-empty sanctuary.  On the communion table were two loaves of bread, one for now, the other for two weeks from now.  Beside the two loaves were two chalices, one of them the small cup the church was giving me for the service on the moon.

We took communion.  At the end of the service Dean tore off a corner of the second loaf of bread and handed it to me along with the tiny chalice.  Within a few hours I was on my way to Cape Kennedy.

What happened there, of course, the whole world knows.  The Saturn 5 rocket gave us a rough ride at first, but the rest of the trip was smooth.  On the day of the moon landing, we awoke at 5:30 a.m., Houston time.  Neil and I separated from Mike Collins in the command module.  Our powered descent was right on schedule, and perfect except for one unforeseeable difficulty.  The automatic guidance system would have taken Eagle to an area with huge boulders.  Neil had to steer Eagle to a more suitable terrain.  With only seconds worth of fuel left, we touched down at 3:30 p.m.

Now Neil and I were sitting inside Eagle, while Mike circled in lunar orbit unseen in the black sky above us.  In a little while after our scheduled meal period, Neil would give the signal to step down the ladder onto the powdery surface of the moon.  Now was the moment for communion.

So I unstowed the elements in their flight packets.  I put them and the scripture reading on the little table in front of the abort guidance system computer.

Then I called back to Houston.

“Houston, this is Eagle.  This is the LM Pilot speaking.  I would like to request a few moments of silence.  I would like to invite each person listening in, wherever and whomever he may be, to contemplate for a moment the events of the past few hours and to invite each person listening, wherever and whomever he may be, to contemplate for a moment the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his own individual way.”
On World Communion Sunday, October 4, 1970, many Christians through the world will unite in spirit as they—each in his own church, according to his own tradition—participate in celebrating the Lord’s Supper.
For me this meant taking communion.  In the radio blackout I opened the little plastic packages which contained bread and wine.

I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me.  In the one-sixth gravity of the moon the wine curled slowly and gracefully up the side of the cup.  It was interesting to think that the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the first food eaten there, were communion elements.

And so, just before I partook of the elements, I read the words, which I had chosen to indicate our trust that as man probes into space we are in fact acting in Christ.

I sensed especially strongly my unity with our church back home, and with the Church everywhere.

I read: I am the vine, you are the branches.  Whoever remains in me, and I in him, will bear much fruit; for you can do nothing without me” (John 15:5).

END

And I only have one thing to add. . . . Hallelujah!!

Eternal Life

Friends, I must begin this with my deepest thanks to all those who emailed and/or called during these last few weeks.  I’m not sure what exactly Skip & I had, but whatever it was, it was diabolical.  I was sick first, then as I began to recover, he came down with it.  Yesterday, was one of the first days that we have been out of the house, and that was only by necessity.  So thank you all for your prayers and concern.  🙂
 
And being sick sure made me thankful for the Audio Bible and for my SwordSearcher program. . . .
 
The first five verses of John, (ch. 1) have always been some of my favorites.  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created.  Life was in Him, and that life was the light of men.  That light shines in the darkness, yet the darkness did not overcome it.”
Those verses so distinctly describe our Savior and I think of how blessed the Apostle John was to have been given such a wonderous glimpse of God.
 
So when someone tells me that they want to begin reading the Bible, I immediately think of what John wrote and it only makes sense to begin with those words, “In the beginning. . “
 
Further along in John (Ch. 17) , John has recorded for us the words that Jesus spoke, This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and the One You have sent, Jesus Christ.
Now this is not John’s first mention of “eternal life”, in fact, in previous chapters leading up to chapter 17, John has talked about eternal life many times.  But it is here, in vs. 3 of chapter 17, that Jesus tells us exactly what “eternal life” truly is.
 
Jesus knew exactly what eternal life was. He is eternal life and that truth was spelled out “in the beginning”. . . .
 
Now Jesus tells us that eternal life is knowing God, the only true God AND the One God sent, that is Jesus.
 
Jesus didn’t say that knowing God was a part of eternal life or was just included in eternal life.                                                                                                                      No, Jesus said that knowing God and knowing the One Whom God had sent WAS eternal life.
 
Truly, there are many things that included in eternal life, like forgiveness of our sins, giving up hell as a final destination in exchange for the peace and joy of heaven. 
Having God’s protection, intervention and guidance in our lives is certainly part of eternal life, as is, having a family much larger than just our own immediate kin, which is a blessing beyond measure.  And above all, having an intimate relationship with our Savior is one of the sweetest parts of our eternal life. 
But regardless of how many things one can add to the list, it is still insufficient to describe the fullness of eternal life.  I guess it’s like trying to describe the whiteness of the sun to someone who has never seen it.
Only what Jesus Christ said in that verse is adequate to explain eternal life.

This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and the One You have sent, Jesus Christ. ” 

 

When I consider all the people who I have known and do still know, I must think of their relationship to me.  Even the closest of friends can’t be there for me every time I go through a rough place in my life, but Jesus is. 
There is not one friend, past or present who can turn my heart, heal my heart, lift my heart or fill my heart.  But Jesus can.
There is not one person that I know who would not turn from me in my failure, but Jesus won’t.
 
Our eternal life should be the center of our thoughts.  It is there that our relationship with our Savior is secured. 
 
Hudson Taylor who was the founder of the first missions group to China, the China Inland Mission, once said, “The experience of most of us shows how easily communion with Christ may be broken, and how needful are the exhortations of our Lord to those who are indeed branches of the true Vine, and cleansed by the Word which He has spoken, to abide in Him.  The failure is never on His side. Lo, I am with you always.”  But, alas, the bride often forgets the exhortation addressed to her in Psalms 45:10-11, “Listen, daughter, pay attention and consider: forget your people and your father’s house, and the king will desire your beauty.  Bow down to Him, for He is your Lord..”
 
Tender plants are damaged by the frost, even large branches are torn down by strong winds.  Jesus likened believers to the branches of the true Vine.  It is up to each of us to keep our communion with our Savior intact. 
                                 
Lord God of the beginning of beginnings,
I thank You for bringing Your healing to this house.  As we savor Your Word each morning, keep us mindful of Your eternal life.
Strengthen our faith and guide us so that we can faithfully care for that tender connection that we have as branches on the true Vine.  Help us to set aside all things that might damage our connection to You.
Stir our hearts to seek You, to desire Your beauty and to worship only You.
Amen.
 

Waiting On God

In Psalm 90:10, David said, “Our lives last seventy years or, if we are strong, eighty years.  Even the best of them are struggle and sorrow; indeed, they pass quickly and we fly away.

My dad lived to be 80.  And I can honestly attest to the fact that his final 10 years were difficult.  It was during that time that he was diagnosed with Leukemia and went through several chemo treatments.

I think it was very labor intensive for him to have made it to his 80th year.  And I honestly think that if it had not been for the prodding and pleading of my mom, he would have peacefully gone on to meet the LORD much sooner.  And it was during those final years of his life that he got to the place where he didn’t like waiting in line.

And it is a fact, that during our 70 plus years, we do an enormous amount of waiting.  I read recently that over the course of an average life span, most people spend 5 years of their lives waiting in lines for all the stuff that we think we can’t live without.

5 years!! That’s a long time!

During the Christmas holidays, we all saw people willing to spend the night in lawn chairs in front of stores in order to buy some special item.  They waited. . . .

We all seem to have a weakness when it comes to waiting for things we think we need.

But how are we when it comes to waiting on God?

David seemed to speak of waiting on God a lot.

In Psalm 25, he wrote, “Make Your ways known to me, LORD; teach me Your paths.  Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; I wait for You all day long.  Remember, LORD, Your compassion and Your faithful love, for they have existed from antiquity.  Do not remember the sins of my youth or my acts of rebellion; in keeping with Your faithful love, remember me because of Your goodness, LORD.”

And in Psalm 62, if we listen hard, we might hear David singing, “Rest in God alone, my soul, for my hope comes from Him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation,my stronghold; I will not be shaken.  My salvation and glory depend on God, my strong rock.  My refuge is in God.  Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before Him.  God is our refuge.”

As Christians we are all waiting expectantly for Christ’s glorious return.                               1 Corinthians 1 and 1 Thessalonians 1

But in the mean time we are admonished to stand, (Ephesians 6) and sometimes standing is very hard to do.  And when the Apostle Paul said ‘stand’, he didn’t just mean for us to be upright, he meant that we must continue, we must be established in the place that Christ has placed us, unmoving and resisting the enemies fiery darts, no matter how fearsome the attack.

Peter, faithful Peter saw what the winds were doing to the waves and even though he had stepped out of the boat in faith, fear overwhelmed him and he began to sink into the troubled waters. (Matthew 14)

If a man who is within an arms reach of Jesus could become fearful because of what his natural eye saw, should we expect more of ourselves?

Jesus gave Peter a slight reprimand when He said, You of little faith, why did you doubt?

But wrapped in that reprimand was also an acknowledgment of the steps that Peter had taken out onto the unknown, onto the troubled waters with just a little bit of faith.  Jesus, is not only omnipotent but omniscient and was well able to lift Peter up out of the overwhelming waves, knowing full well, even before Peter took the first step that he was going to falter.

Today, troubling times are as the waves that brought fear into Peter’s heart.  And many of those around us are being inundated by the waves of trouble.  But stand fast.

He alone is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I will never be shaken.” (Psalm 62)

“On that day it will be said, “Look, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He has saved us.  This is the LORD; we have waited for Him.  Let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.” (Isaiah 25)

Don’t forget to check out these great Bible study helps:

www.swordsearcher.com

http://www.biblegateway.com

http://www.biblestudytools.com

HE IS RISEN, JESUS IS RISEN INDEED!

Today is Easter Sunday.

What began last week as a simple sore throat has turned into a monster of a head cold. So I am stuck at home on the one morning that means more to me that all the others during the year.

Easter.

So many lovely memories attached to that day. Bright sunny Sunday’s, dressed in some frilly little dress, shiny white shoes and of course, the proverbial Easter bonnet, walking in the Easter parade at Williams Park which was the center of so many great activities back in the 50’s. If great old metal structures can have memories, that old band shell must some glorious memories or wonderful music and delightful events that were part of that city’s history, part of my childhood.

And I remember the choir that often sang the Easter morning music. They came from the First United Methodist church, the old stone church across the avenue. It had the most beautiful stained-glass windows that anyone could imagine. And that old church is still there today on 2nd. Ave & 3rd St. No.

Dressed all the white, the choir would bring a great joyful sound to the morning air. And all the kids, eager to hunt for their bounty of colored eggs and treats would sit, not so still and not so quietly I am sure. But what a glorious day.

I think the first time I ever hear this hymn, was on an Easter morning in William’s Park.

“Low in the grave He lay”

(Hear the music. . http://www.hymnal.net/hymn.php/h/123#ixzz1rSErhlGx )

Low in the grave He lay — Jesus my Savior!
Waiting the coming day — Jesus my Lord!

Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes
He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose!
Hallelujah! Christ arose!

Vainly they watch His bed — Jesus, my Savior!
Vainly they seal the dead — Jesus my Lord!   

Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes
He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose!
Hallelujah! Christ arose!

Death cannot keep his prey — Jesus, my Savior!
He tore the bars away — Jesus my Lord!

Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o’er His foes
He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose!
Hallelujah! Christ arose!

~~~~~~~~~

And yes, He is risen!

And He told of His resurrection. Here are 6 verses that I found where He spoke of His own resurrection.

Matthew 16:21
Matthew 17:9
Matthew 17:22-23
Matthew 20:18-19
Matthew 26:32
John 2:19

There may be others but my eyes are failing now because of this rotten cold so if you want more I suggest you go to: http://www.biblegateway.com and look for more.

And while you’re there, look up:

1 Corinthians 15:6
Acts 1:3
Matthew 26:56

And after you have read all of those Scriptures, consider for one moment what all of it means to you!!

He Is Risen!!

UNSHACKLED

For a week I have been fighting off what seems to be a strep infection. I began last weekend with a very sore throat but has now evolved into a terrible head cold with sporadic fever and chills.  And I will add that I am a horrible patient.

Consequently, I haven’t spent much time with the computer. And wanting something to listen to, I was browsing through my collection of sermons and had a minor memory revelation.

Years ago, my work hours were generally long, finishing most nights as late as 10:30 PM. So while driving home I would listen to Moody Radio and the one program that I really enjoyed came from the Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago.

Today to my pleasure, I found that I can listen to their great stories on the WEB. Their program is called “Unshackled“. If you have ever listened to the great testimonies of folks so deep in sin, then you know how wonderful they are.

If you haven’t, now’s your chance.

Just visit http://www.unshackled.org/

They have archives of many past radio broadcasts and will have you in tears.

And don’t forget to take a look at the wonderful Bible study program at www.swordsearcher.com

Theist or Non

This is not something that I had planned on posting here.  But in looking for something relating to Judas I came across this blog “Atheist Nexus” and the first post caught my eye.  So after a bit of reading and writing I prepared a reply to “Tezzie” but when I tried to post my reply I was blocked because I am not an atheist. 

So I decided to post it here.  For anyone ever facing the same question from one who says they are an atheist, here is some valid and substantial arguments in defense of our faith in Jesus Christ.

First, here is Tezzie’s Q.  “I know the Jesus that we atheists know is most likely just a myth but I would like to find out if, and only if, Jesus did exist (the man, not the god that did miracles) would these gospel writers have actually met him? I saw a you tube video (not entirely sure which one it was) that was showing someone from the Islamic religion debunking the Christian religion. He said that none of them had ever met Jesus as they only wrote the gospel 40-80 years after Jesus’ supposed death.
Can anyone verify this for me, it would be an interesting point to make when arguing with a christian.”

And my reply:                                                                                                                       

“Before saying anything about Matthew, Mark, Luke or John, I want to mention Ignatius. Known as Ignatius of Antioch, his DOB is between 35 & 50 AD, and he died in about 108 AD (according to Eusebius of Caesarea (c. AD 263-339) also called Eusebius Pamphili, a historically proven Roman historian). Ignatius did not meet Jesus face to face, but along with his friend Polycarp (69-155 AD) were probably disciples of the Apostle John. Based on the testimony of John, these two men believed in Jesus Christ as Lord. Because if they didn’t they were insane, and nothing in any of their writings indicated that.

Ignatius was sentenced to die in the Colosseum being eaten by lions for refusing to recant his faith in Jesus Christ. And Polycarp who is recorded as saying on the day of his execution, “eighty-six years I have served Him, how then can I blaspheme my King and my Savior? Bring forth what thou wilt.” For refusing to burn incense to the Emperor of Rome, he was burned at the stake.

The reason I mentioned those two men was to, first of all, show you that there were those in those times who not only believed what they had heard and read, but were willing to die for that faith. But also, I wanted to mention Ignatius specifically because the earliest quote from Matthew is found in his letters. This being said, then considering that Ignatius died in about 108 AD, Matthew’s gospel must have been in circulation before 108 AD. But I’ll narrow it down further by mentioning a prophesy given by Jesus and recorded in Matthew 24; Mark 13 and Luke 21. Jesus prophesied that the Jewish temple in Jerusalem would be torn down, leaving not one stone upon another and that did not occur until 70 AD when the Romans sacked Jerusalem and burned the temple. The gold that was part of the structure melted down into the walls and the Romans were forced to take it apart stone by stone to retrieve the gold. (historical fact)

It would seem to me that if this had already happened when Matthew mentioned the prophesy (Matt. 24:1)  or in Mark or Luke from a second-hand report of the prophesy, or from John who would have known of the prophesy, perhaps even heard Jesus say it, one or the other of them would have mentioned the destruction of the temple. That would have been significant news of the day. But no where in any of the gospels is that mentioned.

If the gospels were merely fabricated, wouldn’t you think that the perpetrators of the spurious writings would have added into them, anything historically significant in order to substantiate them?

So this is solid evidence that the gospels were penned before 70 AD.

Both Luke and Mark were disciples of Paul that is sure. They had never seen Jesus. But as far as their gospels are concerned, I would compare their authorship to the likes of any historical work, penned by someone who though not alive at the time the history presented itself, wrote based on facts reported by those who had been there.

Luke, who also penned the Book of Acts, did not mention in his gospel or Acts, Nero’s persecution of Christians in 64 AD (historical fact). This was significant news in the world, but specifically in Christendom, were the deaths of James in 62 AD, Paul in 64 AD and Peter in 65 AD, none of which is mentioned by Luke. Luke was a doctor of sorts and all of his writing indicates a person of good education, very perceptive and detail oriented. So based on all of that, it is obvious that the book of Luke and Acts were penned before 62 AD.

And as for John, well, if you have time and are so inclined, google John Rylands papyrus fragment 52 which is a fragment of John’s gospel dated to be about 135 AD. it contains portions of chapter 18, verses 31-33, 37-38. Considering that the fragment was found in Egypt, it would have taken quite a while for the papyrus gospel to have reached Egypt. History relates that John was born in about 6 AD making him about 9 years younger than Jesus. According to Polycarp’s own words, he was taught by John. If Polycarp was born in about 69 AD, when Polycarp was 15, John would have been about 63 years old. How old John was at the time of his exile is not quite sure, but the event is historically factual to have occurred during the time of the roman Emperor Domitian (According to Tertullian) who reigned from 81 AD until his assassination in 96 AD. He is historically a persecutor of the Christian church. And upon his death, it is likely that John was freed from exile though he may not have left Patmos immediately. John would have been about 90 years old by then.

When he did leave, it is likely that he returned to the area near Ephesus and lived out the rest of his life, living to the age of about 94 or 95.

So yes, Tezzie, you can honestly say that Mark and Luke never met Jesus which makes their faith in Him as their Savior and LORD even more remarkable. The funny thing is, I find it rather odd that those who speak of second-hand knowledge in regards to Jesus Christ, are quick to believe second-hand reports of other individuals. For instance, and I know this will date me as being sort of old, but I once met Frankie Avalon. Got a kiss on my cheek in fact. And he was a looker for sure. I had all of his records. But I know many a woman who never saw him in person, let alone heard him sing in person, who will swear by their own mother’s life that he was the cutest thing since sliced bread. Do you get my drift?

Yes, for nearly 2000 years millions of people have believe in Jesus Christ. They never saw Him or heard Him yet thousands, perhaps millions, even today are willing to die for their faith.

If the New Testament was all a contrived bit of fantasy, how could it have survived for that long? How could it be that prophesies that were written more than a thousand years before His birth have been fulfilled by Him?

Many scholars estimate that there are nearly 300 prophesies that foretold of His birth, His death and His resurrection. Most anyone would have doubts if there had been only a few but when they can be listed from the OT and shown in the NT, to consider them to be contrived is really farfetched. It’s as doubtful as someone saying that the lunar landing in 1969 was a hoax. Considering how many people would have had to be in on the hoax, it is ludicrous to even think that. One or two people may be able to keep a secret, but considering the hundreds of people involved in the launch, the landing, and the return to earth, that would be a real test of secrecy. And the same goes for the NT.

What do we do with all those who say that saw Jesus after His resurrection? Were they insane?  Were they bewitched or in a trance? Or were they just so simple-minded that they fell for the hoax?

I don’t know if you are a guy or a girl but I will suggest that if you want to disprove the NT, read it. Don’t take what anyone else has to say about it, especially someone of Islam. Their hatred of the Jews makes them a very risky and unreliable witness!

I wish I had come across this blog a couple of years ago, as it is, it is likely that you will never read my reply. But if by chance you do, I pray that you will have the same open mind that those who do not believe accuse believers of not having!!”

Don’t forget to take a look at the remarkable Bible study software at: SwordSearcher http://www.swordsearcher.com/