Here is a free Kindle book I was recently told of. I think it would be a great resource for any Christian who wants to dig into Christ’s Resurrection. Below is a brief description of the book and the link for download.
**As a disclaimer, any Amazon links are affiliate links, which means that if you order from the link, I get a small advertising fee at no extra cost to you.**
“This book provides an original and comprehensive assessment of the hypotheses concerning the origin of resurrection Christology. It fills a gap in the literature by addressing these issues using a transdisciplinary approach involving historical-critical study of the New Testament, theology, analytic philosophy, psychology and comparative religion.
Using a novel analytic framework, this book demonstrates that a logically exhaustive list of hypotheses concerning the claims of Jesus’ post-mortem appearances and the outcome of Jesus’ body can be formulated. It addresses these hypotheses in detail, including sophisticated combinations of hallucination hypothesis with cognitive dissonance; memory distortion; and confirmation bias. Addressing writings from both within and outside of Christianity, it also demonstrates how a comparative religion approach might further illuminate the origins of Christianity.
This is a thorough study of arguably the key event in the formation of the Christian faith. As such, it will be of keen interest to theologians, New Testament scholars, philosophers, and scholars of religious studies.”
As 2020 comes to a close, I wanted to take some time and reflect on what this year has been. Oh, and what a year it has been!!! I can’t even count all the disappointments and I won’t because nobody has time for that and it won’t change a thing.
Although it may not have been the year I expected it to be, it was still a year full of blessings and much joy. God has been faithful even through the negatives.
The world was suddenly changed within a matter of weeks beginning in March. Most of us were forced to stay indoors, jobs were lost, the economy plummeted and rose. There was an insane election, also much death but through it all God was faithful.
As much as I would like to hop on the bandwagon and bid 2020 “good riddance” I must admit that God was good to me and has been sovereign through all this.
I ask that you too look on the bright side of this year and remember that, instead of the bad parts.
Below I wanted to share a few Bible verses to help bring us hope for the new year.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
Romans 8:18 ESV
“Love the Lord, all you his saints! The Lord preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride. Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!”
Psalm 31:23-24 ESV
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,”
1 Peter 1:3 ESV
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”
As you may know by now I love listening to podcasts. I have shared two of them in the past, Sheologians and Relatable but this time I decided to focus on five short podcasts. If you are looking for a quick lesson on theology, I hope you’ll find this post to be super helpful. Most of the podcasts I will mention here are typically shorter than ten minutes, so you can catch them on your way to the store, taking out the trash or any activity that doesn’t take much time. They are quick and informative. Check out the list below:
5 Minutes in Church History
5 Minutes in Church History is exactly that, 5 minutes. In these 5 minutes, you can hear short clips informing you of various topics and characters involved in church history, from Martin Luther to C.S. Lewis. I really enjoy this one because I learn something new every time. (As I write this, I am reminded of a book I’d like to find thanks to their podcast titled The Tyger and the Lamb)
Ask Pastor John
Ask Pastor John features John Piper, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church for 33 years and author of many books including “Don’t Waste Your Life” (I did a review of this book a few months ago), answering questions submitted to him in this podcast. There have been many interesting questions that I myself have had and I’m glad John Piper is willing to answer them. Not only was he a pastor for many years and an author but he is also the founder and senior teacher of DesiringGod.org, which makes him all the more credible. So, if you have theological questions, maybe you should submit them -maybe he’ll even answer them on the podcast.
Open Book with Stephen Nichols
Open Book with Stephen Nichols is a Ligonier Ministries podcast. Stephen Nichols quickly discusses books read and studied by R.C. Sproul, founder of Ligonier, and John MacArthur, author and general editor of the MacArthur Study Bible and founder of Grace to You. In this podcast he discusses books that have shaped the way R.C. Sproul and John MacArthur think. Most segments are shorter than 10 minutes and if you are like me and love reading, it’s worth listening to, with a notebook at hand, to jot down books to buy, because we all know, you can never have enough books, much less theological books for our spiritual growth.
**As a disclaimer, any Amazon links are affiliate links, which means that if you order from the link, I get a small advertisement fee at no additional cost to you.**
Renewing Your Mind Minute with R.C. Sproul
Renewing Your Mind Minute is exactly one minute long, I kid you not. Every segment is one minute. The podcast involves Mr. Sproul, briefly introduced in my last podcast, who answers questions and provides quick insights into reformed theology. It goes through topics such as Legalism, Escaping the Wrath of God and so many others. One minute lessons from R.C. Sproul are great for obtaining quick and useful information about the Christian faith.
Simply Put is another Ligonier Ministries podcast, but rather than going through books or topics it provides definitions for theological terms we all may have heard and are learning about. It can help you increase and build your christian vocabulary. This podcast’s episodes are typically less than 5 minutes and provide insightful and simple explanations to words and terms we may have heard thrown around during sermons or at conferences -words such as theophany and imputation. Save this to your list of podcasts and check it out whenever you come across any theological term you may not understand. This podcasts’ episode list is pretty expansive and continues to grow.
I hope you enjoyed this list and have saved each and everyone of these to check out later. It is always a pleasure for me to share any tidbit of information I come across with other believers. I am by no means an expert, I am just a girl seeking to know Christ more and live like Him. If there are any other short podcasts out there, please feel free to let me know about them in the comments section below. I’d love to check them out.
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
Now that we are all hunkered down, for the most part due to COVID-19, we have more time to study, and for that same reason Ligonier has made their entire library of hundreds of teaching series free to stream!!
If there is something I consider to be a complete waste of time, energy and breath, it’s complaining, huffing and puffing at a fast-food chain because they are understaffed and not getting your order out as fast as you expected. I see this all the time. Obviously, these workers are running around trying to do at least two jobs at once and your huffing and puffing is of no use, it will not make then work faster than they are at the moment.
Don’t grow up to be that cranky old person, set in their ways who only care about themselves and what they want. Maybe it’s because I live in New York, and New Yorkers seem to be the rudest, most self-centered people on the planet (I exaggerate here) but you get the point. New Yorkers are known to be rude, they always want things their way and when they don’t get it, they huff and puff like the big bad wolf. Don’t be like typical New Yorkers, be considerate.
I was recently at a KFC waiting in line for my food, I brought up the understaffed scenario because that is exactly what was going on here. I was stuck in line in front of a man, who from the very beginning came in with a bossy and demanding attitude. He wanted to know if they had chicken tenders and he wanted his answer fast. To his surprise, he came into an understaffed KFC that had employees running everywhere and no one was getting to him as fast as he wanted, which led him to mutter under his breath complaints about how he just wanted a yes or no answer to a simple question. After getting his answer (yes, they have chicken tenders FYI) he stood in line behind me. All the while I waited patiently for my food, this man shifted back and forth and often complained that they only had 3 workers and the line was getting longer, obviously anyone with eyes can see that. He proceeded to complain about the service and even tried to engage in conversation with me as if I was going to agree with him.
There are a few things I have learned during my few adult years, here are a few of them.
Complaining Usually Does Not Result In Much
I mean seriously, has constantly complaining helped any? I know there is a saying, the squeaky wheel gets the oil, however, I don’t think that applies to complaints, they fall into a constantly inquiring category. You constantly ask for the status of something and eventually, the person being questioned resolves what you want, but complaining… That’s different. As much as I dislike my job at times (I have noticed I complain every chance I get and I shouldn’t) it doesn’t make the problem go away. Complaining about the pains of my job and difficulties I face on a daily basis, is not going to get my work magically done. It just doesn’t help resolve anything so why spend our precious time in it (I am really speaking to myself here, its something I struggle with, to be honest)
“Do all things without grumbling or disputing…”
Philippians 2:14 (ESV)
Be Nice To People, It Usually Has Good Results
Have you ever heard the saying “ you catch more bees with honey” well you do! Being nice to people has never resulted in a negative way for me. Sure, not everyone is nice, some people are just plain rude and nasty but that doesn’t mean you have to be also. I had a client who disliked me from the moment he met me, I have no idea why he was just always rude to me and constantly compared me to his prior paralegal. He always found a flaw in everything I did, to be honest, I hated when he called because I knew he was going to complain about something but I picked up the phone and kindly answered every question he had, I figured I’d kill him with kindness. Well, after a year of being kind to this man who was always rude, he started calling me nicknames, like “love” and “sweetheart” (in Spanish), I was taken aback the first time, but soon after getting used to it.
It was not something I would have expected from him, by the time his case settled and everything was done, he actually thanked me for all the help I provided him, this after he had a small fit, left my office only to come back half an hour later and apologize to me because “I have always been kind to him and I did not deserve for him to have acted that way”, he asked me for a hug before he left and walked out of my life forever. I think I will remember forever, my toughest client turns nice and acknowledges my kindness, see, being kind pays off. You also get people to help you out more if you are kind to them. I can’t tell you how many times I have been kind to someone who I haven’t even met in person, and they are also kind back. A little bit of kindness goes a long way.
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
Ephesians 4:31-32 (ESV)
Admit When You Are Wrong
This is something I need to do more often than I would like to admit, especially at work. How many times have I made mistakes at my job? I have no idea. I know I wrote a blog post on this topic before, you can find the link here. I have grown so much from admitting I made a mistake, preferably, I would rather not make them in the first place but at least there is always a lesson. From every mistake I have made, I have learned what not to do and how to correctly handle a situation.
“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
1 John 1:8 (ESV)
Own Up To Your Mistakes
Also aligned with the point above, owning up to my mistakes has grown me so much. I have learned many lessons and God has humbled me every time I had to admit I messed up.
“Repent, therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out”
Learn From Your Mistakes and Keep It Moving
I have met many people who are stuck in a rut, why? Because they do not want to admit they made a mistake, it takes humility to do that and humility is not a trait that comes easy. It is the complete opposite of pride, the sin that is the root of many other sins.
“for the righteous falls seven times and rises again,”
Proverbs 24:16 (ESV)
Adulting is by no means easy, I think most of us who have entered adulthood can admit, we can relate to a young bird who is pushed off the ledge by his mother so he can learn to fly except, we hit the side of the cliff 40 times before we achieve takeoff.
I hope you enjoyed this post, feel free to comment on any of your adulting lessons below.
I had mentioned the podcast Sheologians before, I think they are great and do a good job of breaking down current events and bringing the truth of the gospel into them and today’s podcast is pretty similar. Today’s featured podcast differs in that it podcast is run by one female instead of two. It’s called Relatable by Allie B. Stuckey.
In my opinion, Allie is relatable as the title of her podcast suggest. Why is she relatable to me? Well, she is also a millennial and shares my conservative views when it comes to politics. I find myself agreeing with her almost 100% all of the time. It is so refreshing for me to come across someone out there sharing their views in such a clear and understandable way.
I find her to be an exceptionally credible source. It’s not just in the way she speaks and explains current events but also she really knows her stuff. If you listen to her podcast you will notice she studies prior to every podcast, she catches up on current events and does her research.
She is often featured on Fox News and is clear and concise when explaining her views. (She has even spoken in congress against abortion.) She is knowledgable of current politics and what is going on in America. It is not often I come across conservative believers who are openly sharing truth even when it comes to politics, who can clearly explain and put into words why we believe what we believe and why we don’t follow the crowd and current progressive ideals.
She does not waver from the gospel and always seeks to match her beliefs and thoughts with God’s truth. I really like how she brings the gospel into every podcast no matter what the topic is. Her doctrine is solid and even my husband enjoys listening to her podcast with me.
If you are looking for a podcast that will keep you updated with current events, politics and theology seek no further. I encourage you to check out her podcast and also follow her on social media.
Just so you know, I am not being sponsored, this is my honest opinion. It’s a great podcast.
As this year is ending, I have been striving to complete my reading challenge for this year. Every year I set a goal for myself of how many books I would like to read; this year’s goal was 16. As of today, I am 13 books in and have 3 to go. I am super excited, it has been a few years since I fully completed my goal.
The reason I am writing this post is because I want to share one of my current reads with you. This book is titled 12 Ways Your Phone is Changing You by Tony Reinke. I had mentioned it in a previous post for which books I intended to read over the summer. I must admit, I only made it half-way through that list but that is better than nothing.
Anyway, this book caught my attention a few years back when it was released. I always see how we are all, and I am including myself, sucked into our phones whenever we get the chance. We walk, we sit, we wait, we linger about all while holding our phones in our hands and scrolling through an infinite feed of new posts. I agree with the author that phones are not evil in and of themselves, but rather the way that we use our phone is what could be a problem here.
I noticed in myself, that whenever I was waiting around or in an awkward situation, I immediately reach for my phone. I know I am not the only one. I see it all the time. Mr. Reinke goes on to explain some of the reasoning as to why we behave this way.
I will talk about a few of the points he makes in the book but not too many as I would rather you check it out for yourself. Here are a few ways he mentions our phone is changing us:
1. We Are Addicted To Distraction
Remember how I just mentioned reaching for my phone while waiting, yup, I can honestly say I prefer to be distracted from the waiting so much that I reach for my phone the moment I notice there is something I need to wait for. What this does is help me lose track of time until the thing I am waiting for happens, be it waiting for the train, or waiting in line to order some food.
Sometimes to stop myself from reaching for my phone I remember a scene from one of my favorite books The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. In this book the main character finds himself in a town where the inhabitants are seen rushing back and forth through an invisible building, the explanation for this being, they were so busy looking and down and walking fast that no one stopped to admire the building and so they disappeared.
Of course, this is fiction and many loopholes can be found, but I tell myself that I must stop and look at my surroundings before they disappear. Now, of course, they will not turn invisible but with all the construction going on, it could be a familiar location that can be quickly replaced because I even take a moment to look up and see what is going on because I will rather be distracted by my phone.
2. We Become Like What We Like
This I can also personally attest to. I love books and follow many bookstagrams. I just love to see piles of books, shelves of books, all neatly organized and picture-perfect, it is one of my little pleasures. But this can also take another turn, what if we begin to follow celebrities, we like their post, laugh at their jokes and next thing you know we find ourselves relating to them more than before.
I wrote a prior post briefly touching on this. The issue with this is we can become influenced by what we are seeing and liking that we will neglect our own views and where we stand.
As Christians, we are called to be transformed by the renewal of our minds. Are we doing this often? How does who we follow affect this? Mr. Reinke also went into a similar topic in this book.
3. We Neglect Our Flesh and Blood
I love the way Tony Reinke began this chapter, he does a good job of illustrating just how detached we can be from other humans when we have arguments on the internet. It’s like that other person is less than human because we do not see their actual flesh and blood through a screen.
Isn’t it almost crazy that a took we claim to use to draw closer to family members actually does the total opposite? We tend to have a conversation online but when it comes to being in person we are distant and awkward.
The fact that we put on a persona for our friends and then find ourselves unmasked in person we feel defenseless, it is so much easier to hide when we are not in the same room. Imagine how this can affect social interactions. We would much rather hold conversations online rather that meet up in person, this is definitely a way our phone if changing us.
Overall, I highly recommend this book, I will not give more details about it because I would really like you to read it on your own and come to your own conclusions. This book helped me see some of the unhealthy ways I was using my phone, it is a real eye-opener. We should keep in mind who our Savior is and how we can live our lives to honor Him. If our phone usage does not draw glory to Christ, we may need to reconsider how we use this technology He has given us.
I hope you enjoyed this brief review and really encourage you to check out this book, you can find a link in this post to purchase the book on Amazon. *I am an Amazon affiliate so I may get a small fee for any purchase you may make but this will be of no effect to the price you pay.* Thank you so much for checking out this post, see you next time.
I recently came across a photograph of a rather well-known celebrity. Although relatively new to fame, she has a tremendous influence on many young people. In this photo, she was endorsing a certain candidate for the upcoming 2020 U.S. Presidential Election.
My initial thought was, who would take this seriously? However, I soon came to the realization that, in all honesty, many would. Many would gladly, perhaps even blindly, support someone as significant as a presidential candidate simply because one of their favorite celebrities (sometimes “celebs”) suggested that they should.
Why is this? Well, for one, and a relatively recent factor in terms of our modern election cycles, is the reality and influence of social media. Prior to the advent of social media platforms, we did not have very direct and personal access to our favorite stars. We instead, relied on television, tabloids, and radio to find out what they were up to. But not anymore. Today, because of social media, we can see what our favorite celebrities had for dinner, where they got their hair done and what kind of exercise they do at the gym.
It seems almost as if they are our friends. We feel a sort of closeness to them, even to the point where we esteem their opinions as highly, if not higher, than our very own.
Now, I am not resolved to conclude that it is inherently wrong to follow celebs on social media. In fact, if I were to say that, I would be no more than a hypocrite, as I too follow a few of my favorite actors and singers on platforms such as Twitter and Instagram. Rather, what I would like to persuade you to do, is to engage in a close examination the following points, particularly with regard to politics, voting, and celebrities.
1. We Are Not The Same
Celebrities, although they may seem to share much in common with us, at the end of the day, are not like us. Why? For one, they are wealthier than us. That fact inevitably plays a role in all of this. In my case, the income differences between the celebs I follow and myself are on completely different levels, in fact, hardly the same spectrum. But why is this important? Well, when it comes down to celebs and who they may choose to help, rich people often tend to look out for themselves and their own interests. Sure, they may say that they are looking out for minorities and the disadvantaged, but do you really think a commercial artist, who brags about making my year’s salary in a week, genuinely cares about me? I would say no. Many celebs would stop at little to preserve, maintain and perpetuate their social status. In today’s especially polarized political climate, this often translates to endorsing politicians who suit their needs. These politicians are even regarded as a means to their ends and visa-versa. I’m not going to presume that all celebs engage in this or that their motives are completely devoid of sincerity. However, in cases where celebrities advocate for a specific politician, we should take care do our own research and thus intelligently determine whether or not our values and beliefs line up with theirs. We should do this before being wooed by the shout-outs and photo-ops or merely because of the fact that our favorite artist likes them. Some celebrities have impressive business sense and are very credible but we may never know whether or not they have a hidden agenda.
2. Celebrities Can Be Bought
Coming from a Dominican background, and understanding how corrupt a country’s politics can be, I am no less convinced that here in America we are equally as susceptible. And this will tie in with my last point concerning our ability to discern a celebrity’s motives, or any public figure for that matter. We need to seek out the truth and be wary of the possibility of being swayed in any given direction. Odds are, the person advocating for that cause is being paid to get you to conform to their ideology and hop on to their political bandwagon. Don’t give in to the hype based on what you see at first glance. Do yourself a favor and some conduct some research so as not to be deceived.
“Whoever hates disguises himself with his lips and harbors deceit in his heart; when he speaks graciously, believe him not, for there are seven abominations in his heart; though his hatred be covered with deception, his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.”
Proverbs 26:24-26 ESV
3. We Need To Follow Our Own Convictions and Follow Christ
This ties in with doing our research. When thinking about making a decision as momentous as who to vote for, we ought to ask ourselves whether or not this person, party or idea should receive my vote and, essentially, my allegiance in the first place. Do they agree with what I stand for? Will they have my interest(s) in mind? Will they make a positive impact in areas of great challenge? Are they honest? Do I think they will stand firm for what they are advocating, even amidst fierce opposition, or simply bend under pressure? Does their record and conduct support any of this? These are all things we need to keep in mind when considering our future leaders. It can be so easy to support a candidate plainly because many people we like and admire are speaking well of them. But at the end of the day, we need to find out if they will truly be a good candidate given our standards. Not only that, if we are Christians, saved by grace and set apart to live for Christ, promoting His righteousness here on earth, we will line up with anything that the scriptures inform us to stand for.
“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
Micah 6:8 ESV
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
Philippians 4:8-9 ESV
For the Christian, let us always remember that God is Sovereign. Despite these days seeming more daunting than any before us, and the forces of evil prevailing day-in and day-out, God is sovereign. By the look of it, any Christian challenging the culture, speaking out against homosexuality and abortion is immediately marginalized as a bigot, a radical and ignorant individual. It may very well be that one day Christians in this land will be silenced by the law. As time progresses we may no longer be able to speak freely of our Lord and Savior, but take heart brethren, for He has overcome the world! This place is not our home and God is sovereign even in the darkest of times -just as history has clearly showcased time and time again. His justice will prevail over all the earth and if we find ourselves worried, let us cast our burdens on Him.
“Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.”
Psalms 55:22 ESV
“and we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
Romans 8:28 ESV
“The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.”
As long as we are here, let us stand for Christ even if it means going against popular beliefs. Let us not fear sharing the gospel, it is good news. It may not be the most popular message out there today but it is certainly the most important and the most beautiful. Let us remember what we have been saved from and share this great news whenever we get a chance and never let yourself be governed by the fear of man or by the sensationalism of celebrities.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
And at the end of the day, may everything we do be done to the glory of God.
Over the years I began keeping a prayer journal. It actually started shortly before a period of time where I was sick. My intent was to write down petitions both mine and for close friends. Why? Two reasons: as a form of prayer and a way to look back and see when prayers were answered.
I will admit, I am not super consistent with my prayer entries but I always enjoy looking back at all the answered prayers. I find my prayer journal pretty encouraging and wanted to give you guys three reasons as to why you should keep one too.
1. More Prayer Time
I used to set aside a few minutes before I went to sleep to write in my prayer journal. Sometimes I would write for five minutes and sometimes more. Regardless of the amount of time o spent writing, I considered it all tome I spent talking to God and honestly, is there such thing as talking to God too much? I think not! The closer we get to God the more we grow spiritually.
2. Seeing Answered Prayers
I am always encouraged and overjoyed when I look back on past journal entries and am able to see that God has answered a prayer. It motivates me to keep it up. It’s almost like keeping a log of answered prayers.
In addition to keeping track of answered prayers. I hope that one day, Lord willing, my husband and I are able to have children, my children will read it (after I have gone home, preferably) and see their mother was a woman of faith and that God was with her. It sounds a bit sappy but this is definitely one of the bigger reasons as to why I keep my prayer journal
It can help release stress. I find that pouring out my feelings into paper helps me feel better and by the time I am done writing my entry, I have been reminded of an Attribute of God, be if his sovereignty or his unconditional love, I alway feel better in the end.
Do you keep a prayer journal? If so, what are your motives? Do you enjoy it? How has it helped your spiritual growth? Let me know in the comments.
If you don’t keep a prayer journal, I hope this post in some small way may have motivated you to do so.
Have you been wanting to learn more about the Attributes of God? Well, you’re in luck. I just found out Ligonier Ministries is giving away a video series by Steven Lawson on The Attributes of God. It is absolutely free, just fill out the form in the link here.