Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’

Love is a Verb

Posted: February 5, 2015 by liftyourvoice1 in Godly Manhood, Godly Womanhood
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agape loveValentine’s Day is right around the corner and with it a plethora of pink, teddy bears, and heart-shaped everything. On this designated day, people make a special effort to let others know they’re loved (and others desperately wait to hear confessions of love). But why must this be designated to one day? And why must it be romantic love? Can’t we love everyone everyday with God’s love, a love that’s beyond the material and commercialized? What is real love?

When I look up “love” on dictionary.com, these are the top three definitions:
1. a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
2. a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.
3. sexual passion or desire.

The Greek language has four words for love:
– eros (romantic, sexual love)
– agape (brotherly love, charity)
-philia (friendship love)
-storge (natural affection as of parents for their children, also a less common word for “love” than the first three)

If you note the definitions of “love” listed above the Greek, you’ll see that #1 could be eros or agape, #2 is philia, and #3 is eros. Also, note that love is described by other nouns, namely“affection,” a “feeling,” and a “desire.”

Is love affection, a feeling, or a stirring passionate desire? Our society portrays it as such, and it’s terrifying. I would feel utterly heartbroken if my husband told me he had strong feelings of affection or desire for me. Likewise, if my closest friends or family members said they had warm feelings for me I would cry rivers. “Why?” you ask. Because that kind of love is changeable and not based on a commitment. That kind of love says “I love you for what you do for me,” “I love you when you’re attractive,” or “I love you when you make me happy.” I’m blessed because my husband, close friends, and family love me with God’s love, agape love. Agape love is not based on performance of the receiver of love nor the feelings of the giver.

“Tell me more about this agape love,” you say. Of course! In my brief search, this is what I’ve unearthed on the topic:

“Agápe means love: esp. brotherly love, charity; the love of God for man and of man for God. Agape is used in the biblical passage known as the ‘love chapter,’ 1 Corinthians 13, and is described there and throughout the New Testament as brotherly love, affection, good will, love, and benevolence. Whether the love given is returned or not, the person continues to love (even without any self-benefit). Agape is used by Christians to express the unconditional love of God for his children. This type of love was further explained by Thomas Aquinas as ‘to will the good of another.’”

Sorry, that was long…phew! But it was so good I had to include it all. Did you notice the key words? Unconditional, wanting good for others, given without self-benefit. This kind of love is extraterrestrial. It’s from heaven above, and its existence on earth only happens when people let God fill them with this love. You have to be possessed by God’s Holy Spirit to love this way because human nature cries “me first.”

Close relationships reveal whether you’re possessed with selfish or God’s love. Marriage opened my eyes to the depth of true, godly love and my lack of this love for others. Real love hurts and doesn’t come naturally. Real love doesn’t lay down requirements or conditions. Real love forgives even when pride rears its ugly head. Real love is daily, practical, and in the little things. You know the phrase, “the end justifies the means?” Well, when it comes to love, the end is all about the means. It’s all about the in between, the small details.

Here’s some personal examples:

Love is when my husband takes the day off from work to take care of me when I have the stomach bug and have thrown up all over the bath tub. (True story. May it never happen again!)

Love is when my best friend drops off food, unasked and secretively (well she tried, I caught her), from Panera on my door step when I was home caring for my husband.

Love is when I ran my car into a bench and banged up the side door pretty badly, and instead of chiding me, my dad just hugged me and let me cry. He extended grace instead of punishment. (He then proceeded to buy a new car door for me and then paint it to match the rest of the car.)

I’m so blessed to be loved this way. And I’m reminded to love others this way, even though it is so hard. You may be thinking “Isn’t marriage about passion and desire?” Well, yes. But it can’t survive on that. A good marriage is founded on God and a commitment to one another; otherwise it will fail because people fail.

Love is a choice. Love is a verb. It’s about what you DO for others, not about what you receive.

I could write an entire book on this topic, but I’ll leave you with some food for thought: “Love is when the other person’s happiness is more important than your own.” ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

I challenge you this Valentine’s Day, and every day, to share agape love with others. Be God’s hands and feet. Be filled with His Spirit. Be love.

Learning to love God’s way,
Larkin

My Stance on Life

Posted: January 20, 2015 by liftyourvoice1 in Abortion/Sanctity of Life, Godly Womanhood
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This week, Lift Your Voice released a podcast on abortion and the truth of a pro-life stance. Sadly, I wasn’t able to be with the LYV “crew” during their recording last week, but I was able to listen to it tonight (which I advise all of you reading this to go do as well!). I don’t have a story like Jennifer who had an abortion and struggled through the pain and guilt to find grace in God’s love. But I do have a stance on the sanctity of life that has evolved over the years.

I have always been pro-life for as long as I can remember. I grew up in a Christian home, attended church regularly, and believed God’s Word on the sanctity of human life. Though I wasn’t very outspoken about my views, I do remember an instance in high school in which I got to voice my pro-life views to the class. In government class that day, we were debating abortion. I use the word “debate” in a fairly informal way: we didn’t have out of class research to refer to or copious notes. It was more “on-the-spot.” You should know I was a wallflower in high school. I studied, I was pleasant, and I had a few good friends, but being in front of people and sharing my opinions would make my face flush red and my palms sweat. But this day in class, we were discussing abortion, and I spoke up. I remember listening to my classmates talk back and forth on the subject. “What if the child to be born is deformed or handicapped?” someone questioned. My hand quickly shot up. I remember adamantly saying that the child’s life should still be protected regardless of how healthy or “imperfect” they were. And then I said these words: “Sometimes having a handicapped child is not about them, but about you, and how it can change you for the better.” (I said something like that, though it probably had quite a few “ummm”s and “you know”s thrown in there.) I’m not sure how many of my classmates agreed with me, but I truly believed (and believe) that all children are God’s children and have a purpose in the world that He has divined from the beginning, from conception.

I don’t have any stories of close friends or family members who dealt with abortion, but I do know people who I’m sure had to face the overwhelming discovery that their child would be born disabled. When this fact is presented so nonchalantly by some doctors, abortion lingers in the back of your mind as an option. “Would this be right?” they may have wondered. Thankfully, they chose life for their baby. One of my friends is a dwarf, and I am blessed to know her. She is a blessing to her friends and family, and I cannot imagine her not existing. Thankfully, her parents chose life. For my teaching degree, I had to visit a school for children with learning disabilities. Many of them had emotional, physical, psychological, or social handicaps. And they were all beautiful children. The experience visiting the school was nothing like I imagined. It was better. Many of these children were incredibly smart and kind and had huge dreams. I asked one of the girls what she wanted to be when she grew up, and she matter-of-factly replied, “The President.” She believed it was possible. It brings me joy to know that many of the parents of those children, when faced with a choice, chose life.

Many of our greatest contributors to society were/are “imperfect” (I say this in the most earthly way, not in light of a Christian worldview). Helen Keller, a great author, political activist, and lecturer, may never had been born if her parents had been able to know before her birth that she was deaf and blind. Here is a long list of highly influential people that were believed to have had Asperger’s Syndrome (autism): Albert Einstein, Alexander Graham Bell, Carl Jung (psychoanalyst), Emily Dickinson (poet), Beethoven, Mark Twain, Thomas Edison, Van Gogh (painter), and Mozart (just to name a few). What if science, during their time, had allowed their parents to know that their child was going to be born “defective” or “different”? Would these people have even existed? How different would our society be today?

Bringing it in, a little closer to home, I think about what pro-life means to me now. I still believe that life begins at conception, but what I choose to do with that information has changed. As many of you may know, I am a happily married woman. Before my husband and I got married, we had to consider birth control options. (TMI, you may be thinking, but please, stay with me.) I attended a Christian college that seriously confronted the issue of life, when it begins, and what birth control routes can be abortive (if you believe life begins at conception). Because of this (and other health reasons), my husband and I ruled out The Pill. Other birth control options that may be abortive (meaning that they may prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterine lining) include IUDs, “morning after” pills, and the depo-provera (hormone)shot. Before I was married, I visited my doctor and talked to my GP, and one recommended the pill and the other suggested an IUD. For health and moral reasons, I said “no” to both.

You may not be in a position where you are considering having children or the possibility of children, but that day may soon come. It really is sobering to me when I realize the impact I have on my future children. Their lives are literally depending on me and what I choose to put in my body. Cigarettes and alcohol can be detrimental, and even pharmaceutical drugs can harm a fetus in the very early stages of pregnancy. This is something I had to face as I stepped over the threshold of matrimony. How would my prescription drugs I take affect the life of my future child (planned or unplanned)? I’ve done some research, and I realize now that because I am pro-life and want the very best for my children, I will stop taking certain medications when we want to have children, even if it makes me less comfortable. I am thankful that God directed me to a Christian family doctor in our area. When I discussed my medication with him and thinking about a future family, he completely understood the importance of protecting the life of an unborn child. It was so refreshing for him to tell me honestly what he felt in good conscience I could and could not take during future pregnancies.

I know you may not be thinking about children, marriage, or medications, but I DO know that you probably think about relationships. You probably are or desire to be in a relationship one day, and you will probably be physically attracted to someone of the opposite sex. Know that the God-designed gift of sex carries great responsibility. When you make love, there’s always the potential to make life. Please, wait for marriage to enjoy God’s gift of sex. And, when you’re married, please, take the responsibility of potential pro-creation very seriously. The life of someone else depends on you, even if you may or may not know it.

Grateful for God’s blessing of life,
Larkin

When approaching the topic of the Gospel, my first thought was that this subject has been talked about extensively enough that I had nothing to add to the ongoing discussion. I felt every aspect of it had been covered. Then, upon further reflection, I was seized by the realization that I had, in fact, the opposite problem: I couldn’t narrow down what to talk about! The more I thought about the Gospel and its impact on my life and the world, the more I realized that the Gospel of Jesus Christ permeates everything. So much for feeling I had nothing to talk about. I could write an entire book!

But for the sake of time and space, I will focus on how a recent revelation of the Gospel directly affected my view of Christ, His sacrifice, and my daily life. Having been in church all my life, I could easily quote back that the Gospel means “good news,” specifically that Christ died on the cross for our sins so that we could go to heaven, and if we accept Christ into our hearts, we will be with Him in heaven one day. At age seven, I accepted Christ after understanding the basics of the Gospel and trusting Him for my salvation. I had been saved from my sins, but at seven, I didn’t fully grasp the all-encompassing breadth of salvation and the Gospel (which is OK, because Christ asks us to have child-like faith). Sadly, after nearly two decades of being a Christian, the Gospel had become a textbook answer and not a personal encounter/revelation.

This summer I read a book on grace that reignited my joy in Christ and His sacrifice for me. (I highly recommend it. It’s One Way Love by Tullian Tchividjian.) Surprisingly, I had to be prodded and cajoled by my parents to read the book. They even bought it for me. (Sometimes I get burned out on “Christian” books and feel I could better spend my time in personal Bible study rather than reading another human’s opinions, but that’s another blog topic.) But once I read the book, I truly did see my salvation and Christ’s unconditional gift in a different light. As the title suggests, the book is all about Christ’s love and grace towards us being all we need. Let me rephrase that: Because of Christ’s redeeming love, we do not need to do anything else. It’s done. Complete. Finalized. All we need to do is accept it in humble repentance.

The good news doesn’t stop with salvation. (“Hooray! I’ve got my ticket into Heaven and I’m set now.” NO!) Salvation is only the beginning of truly living. Because of the cross, I do not have to do anything for Christ to make Him want or love me any more or less than He already does, because I did not have any hand in my redemption. He paid for it, He covered it, He said “it is finished.” And because of that, I can live joyfully. Tchividjian points out that because of Christ’s unconditional love, we are free to be nobodies and do absolute nothing because He is the Somebody who did Everything. (Not that we want or should be passive Christians, but we could without condemnation.) We are free from guilt in doing things for God because they don’t affect our eternal position with Him. His Son covered it.

This all gave me great personal relief. I am a fairly Type A, planning, organized, people-pleaser kind of personality. I feel that there is always something more I should do or could do, and I hate feeling like I’ve upset someone. But Christ did it ALL for me. I am free to be a nobody who does nothing with her life. But, because I have the weight of performance lifted from me, I am inspired to do good and live holy because Christ is not keeping score.

The perfectionist in me rejoices. Often, when I have a big project, I avoid it like the plague for as long as possible because it feels insurmountable and I don’t think I can do it well. Eventually, I cave and finish it. But Christ tackled my big project of life. He fulfilled my requirements so that I’ve passed with flying colors. I’ve already passed the class of life without having finished it here on Earth because of Him. Therefore, I’m living free of expectations of myself and what is “good enough.” Christ is more than good enough. And because of that, I can live and love for Him in total abandon. Because nothing I do ultimately matters in my salvation, I’m free to truly live. I don’t have to be fearful or anxious that I’m not doing enough for God. God doesn’t condemn me. Christ’s blood covers me, allowing me to live life abundantly. We aren’t just safe from eternal damnation, but we are also free from condemnation in this life now. Isn’t that the BEST news?

PS: A quote for further pondering from Relient K: The beauty of grace is that it makes life not fair.

Living in grace,
Larkin

(I came across this post I’d written quite a few months ago, and decided it was perfect in light of starting off the New Year. What better time to take a spiritual inventory?)
Yep, how fruity are you? Are you displaying spiritual fruits, fruits of the Spirit? Here’s different categories of godly fruitiness:

Paul, in Galatians 5, made a distinction between fruity behavior and not so fruity behavior:

“19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”

Good fruit: love, joy peace, forbearance (patient endurance), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control

Bad fruit (rotten tomatoes): sexual immorality, impurity, debauchery, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, orgies

I was reflecting on this passage last night after I received some disappointing news. God has chosen to close 2 doors I was sure I could easily walk through. No, or not now, He had said. In the wake of my disappointment, a whole slew of negative attitudes and perspectives came to the surface, and I realized they were not fruity, but more like rotten tomatoes. I was seeing impatience, self-focus, jealousy, and an impure heart. I was full of pride, bitterness, and I felt like I was in the right to feel that way. It was time to take a spiritual inventory.

So that night, I pulled out the Scriptures and read Galatians 5:22. As a believer, I should be living out my life full of all this good, heavenly fruit, but my my heart did not have love, joy, peace, patience, or feelings of kindness. I was in love with my ideas for my future, with myself, and not with God and others. I was discontent and restless, not sitting in joyful peace, which God gives us despite our circumstances. I felt angsty towards others, towards myself, towards God’s plans. I was not in control (as always) and I didn’t like it. I didn’t agree with what God was doing. I don’t like not having the answers. But then I realized, having love, joy, peace, etc. in my day to day life would make me a happier person, and no one was keeping me from this fruity life but me.

Therefore, I have decided to use this “waiting” time that I did not expect, this area in which I could be moping in disappointment, to see other areas of branching out. To love on others, to practice patience, to cast my idols of my own dreams and demands before God and re-evaluate my priorities.

Are you living a fruity life?

Savoring God’s fruit,
Larkin

Don’t Be an Island

Posted: September 27, 2014 by liftyourvoice1 in Relationships/Love
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One perk (of many) with my new smart phone is the awesome Bible app I downloaded. It makes it super easy to read the Bible conveniently and on the go. Generally, when I don’t have a set plan for my Bible reading, I’ll read the Proverb that corresponds with the day of the month. So, I had my phone reading Proverbs 18 out-loud to me, and verse 1 grabbed me: “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.” Hmph, I thought. I’ve never heard this verse, or at least this verse put quite this way. Turns out, I was reading the ESV translation, which I rarely do. I switched to the NIV version, my default, and it had this to say: “An unfriendly man pursues selfish ends; he defies all sound judgment.” Is it just me, or do these verses seem to emphasize different things? The second clause agrees, that it goes against sound judgment. But the first part of the ESV states clearly isolation is not good and goes against the desires of God, for man “seeks his own desire” in being a hermit. The NIV uses the word “unfriendly.” Now I’m thinking of a mean and grouchy man when that word is used, perhaps a grouchy man that is selfish, naturally. That makes total sense. But the ESV version really made me reflect. If I isolate myself, I pursue my own selfish desires, and therefore, it is not good, for any emphasis on self detracts from God’s command to love Him and others.

I’ll admit. I espoused George Washington’s international policy of isolationism in my social life, summed up like this: meddling in others’ affairs or making yourself known or making a scene or being assertive was not for me. The books were safe and predictable. And so, I passed through high school with perfect grades, a few close friends, and no social life. And then college happened. SOCIAL LIFE! WOOHOOOO! It was like a drug. Where have you been all my life?! I do believe I went a little over the top my freshman year, always trying to be involved in all the dorm activities, always trying to get “that” boy’s attention (does he like me? do I like him?), finally living the “wild” (in a very clean way) life I never had. It was like I was on fire. I can’t say it was healthy, but, there is a balance. Man, should not isolate himself.

“No man is an island.” How many times have you heard that? Did you know it’s a quote from John Donne’s poem? Here’s the rest of it:

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

Donne points out that our lives are all intertwined. When one man passes, a part of someone else dies. A life touches another, ignites a soul, makes someone else come alive. It’s powerful.

You know what else is also powerful? The Trinity. God loves relationship, and He Himself is involved in the most loving, giving, and sacrificial relationship of all with the Son and the Holy Spirit, all three in perfect communion. In the beginning, He said, “Let us create…” Who is us? The Trinity. He created man and said it was not good for him to be alone, and once he had a companion and creation was completed after mankind, he said it was VERY good. Not just good.

I realized in this verse, that I am depriving others by isolating myself. Many times I have told myself and others that basically I’m doing myself a favor by not getting close to them. By not opening up my heart and who I really am. But in actuality, this is can be a cover up for my own selfish fears of being hurt. But, I am hurting other people if I do not interact with them. God commands us to love others through actions and words, to grieve with others, to confess our sins, to basically be transparent and forgiving and joyful in others’ successes.

What do I have to give? you may ask. YOURSELF. You’re one of a kind. Why would God make people so different if He didn’t take joy in that? If he didn’t find you and your individual identity important? Share a smile, kinds words, a hug. These are simple gestures that can mean so much. Once I risked deeper friendships, I learned to risk being vulnerable, and in return, people were vulnerable with me. Together, we could encourage one another in Christ. And we then had a deeper friendship. Sometimes you may feel like you’re the only one giving, but don’t grow weary of doing what’s right. God loved to the point of death. You, then, can love others past your comfort zone.

I didn’t understand true friendship til college. My parents loved me and cared and cried with me. But to have true friends is priceless. I remember when I went through a painful break-up I hid myself in my room, very distraught, and would not come out until my roommate came back. I wouldn’t talk to anyone else in the quad area we shared, I only wanted my roomie. When she came to the door, I greeted her like a blubbering leaking faucet as I garbled out the bad news. I went to hug her, then realized, she was crying! I was confused, and asked why she was crying. I don’t remember her exact words, but she let me sit on her lap and bawl my eyes out. I am so blessed to call her my friend. I didn’t need words then, or explanations or analysis of the scenario, just empathy. Her tears and comfort were more than enough.

Now that I’m out of college and married, I’ve grown to realize the great importance of anti-isolationism. My immediate family doesn’t live here. My husband is my family. My friends are my family. I am there for them, so that in turn, they are there for me. I’m always so grateful when a friend is willing to do a favor for me or when a friend truly wants to spend time with me because they honestly miss me. I love when one of my girl pals texts me and says “I miss you!” or “We need to catch up!” I love honest and open heart to heart conversations. By not having them all these years, I didn’t just hurt myself, but I deprived others of the joy and love God could have conveyed through me to them in their time of need.

Remember: Islands may seem lovely, but only if they’re vacation spots like Hawaii. Risk being vulnerable. Risk being yourself.

Learning to love,
Larkin

Proof of An Afterlife?

Posted: January 10, 2012 by liftyourvoice1 in Heaven
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This weeks topic on Lift Your Voice is “Heaven.” It is a very broad subject and I have yet to sit down and discuss with Dr. H as to how we will approach the subject as a whole. But, the inspiration for the topic this week is the book “Heaven is for Real” by Todd Burpo. I was given this book for Christmas and I read it in one day. It is an excellent book and it chronicles the true story of a Todd’s son Colton and his trip to Heaven. I would recommend this book to anyone. It is a heartwarming true story, and it can strengthen the faith of many believers.

On that topic in particular I will be discussing. For our regular listeners you will recall that we did a show on doubt several months ago. When I was younger one of my biggest doubts and worries was about the after life. It was a struggle for me, and I believe for many people still living because we simply do not know what will happen when we die. Will I see a bright light? Will it be like I’m sleeping? Will I just cease to exist? Even though I was a young believer these were the questions that graced my mind. But, thankfully as I’ve grown I trust in what the Bible says. I believe that upon my earthly bodies death I will see my Savior in Heaven and spend eternity with Him there.

But there are still doubts and doubters out there. They ask questions like what proof is there other than the Bible? We live in a culture that seeks evidence. As Dr. H often says Christianity and the Bible is not about blind faith, but about having evidence to back up what we believe. Thankfully in a book that was given to me for Christmas there is an article that tackles this very subject. The following portion of this post is taken from the book “The Complete Bible Answer Book” by Hank Hanegraaf. The title of the article is called “Is There Evidence for Life After Death?”

–IS THERE EVIDENCE FOR LIFE AFTER DEATH

Atheists believe that death is the cessation of being. In their view, humans are merely bodies and brains. Though they reject metaphysical realities such as the soul a priori (prior to examination), there are convincing reasons to believe that humans have an immaterial aspect to their being that transcends the material and thus can continue to exist after death. Christian philosopher J. P. Moreland advances several sound arguments for the existence of the immaterial soul.

First, from the perspective of logic, we can demonstrate that the mind is not identical to the brain by proving that the mind and brain have different properties. As Moreland explains: “The subjective texture of our conscious mental experiences—the feeling of pain, the experience of sound, the awareness of color—is different from anything that is simply physical. If the world were only made of matter, these subjective aspects of consciousness would not exist. But they do exist! So there must be more to the world than matter.” An obvious example is color. A moment’s reflection is enough to convince thinking people everywhere that the experience of color involves more than a mere wavelength of light.

Furthermore, from a legal perspective, if human beings were merely material, they could not be held accountable this year for a crime committed last year, because physical identity changes over time. Every day we lose multiplied millions of microscopic particles—in fact, every seven years, virtually every part of our material anatomy changes, apart from aspects of our neurological system. Therefore, from a purely material perspective, the person who previously committed a crime is presently not the same person. A criminal who attempts to use this line of reasoning as a defense would not get very far. Legally and intuitively, we recognize a sameness of soul that establishes personal identity over time.

Finally, libertarian freedom (freedom of the will) presupposes that we are more than mere material robots. If I am merely material, my choices are merely a function of such factors as genetic makeup and brain chemistry. Therefore, my decisions are not free; they are fatalistically determined. The implications of such a notion are profound. In a worldview that embraces fatalistic determinism, I cannot be held morally accountable for my actions, because reward and punishment make sense only if we have freedom of the will.

While the logical, legal, and libertarian freedom arguments are convincing in and of themselves, there is an even more powerful and persuasive argument demonstrating the reality of life beyond the grave. That argument flows from the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The best minds of ancient and modern times have demonstrated beyond a shadow of doubt that Christ’s physical trauma was fatal; that the empty tomb is one of the best-attested facts of ancient history; that Christ’s followers experienced on several occasions tangible post-resurrection appearances of Christ; and that within weeks of the resurrection, not just one, but an entire community of at least ten thousand Jews experienced such an incredible transformation that they willingly gave up sociological and theological traditions that had given them their national identity. Through the resurrection, Christ not only demonstrated that he does not stand in a line of peers with Abraham, Buddha, or Confucius but also provided compelling evidence for life after death.

-Adapted from Resurrection

For further study, see Gary R. Habermas and J. P. Moreland, Beyond Death: Exploring the Evidence for Immortality (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 1998).

Matthew 10:28
“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

(This excerpt is taken from pages 121-124 of the Book “The Complete Bible Answer Book” by Hank Hanegraaf)–

I found truth in these words and  I pray that you do as well. I also found comfort in the words of Colton from the book “Heaven is For Real.”  On page 119 Colton is talking with a man who is dying and he says these words… “It’s going to be okay. The first person you’re going to see is Jesus.”  For followers of Christ we can trust those words. And what amazing words they are. I cannot wait to see Jesus face to face in Heaven and if He truly is the first person I’ll see when I get there how grand it will be.

Brandon Witmyer–Host and Director of Lift Your Voice Ministries