Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Weather At Its Worst

This week brought some of the most devastating weather in recent memory. Beginning on Sunday night, several destructive tornadoes ripped across the mid-west touching down in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Iowa and Missouri. At least 17 deaths were reported and perhaps more. Then on Monday, a second round blew through areas of Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee. Another 16 plus deaths were also reported. In addition, the severe weather impacted some southern states with widespread flooding.

There truly is little or nothing that can be done to protect personal property when storms of this magnitude occur. The feeling of utter helplessness must be beyond explanation. Those who do not live in areas that are prone to this kind of sudden and total destruction simply cannot fathom what it must be like to live under such an ever-present threat.

The Bible speaks to this issue when it says that, “Man is born to trouble” (Job 5:7) And Scripture speaks how the entire creation literally "groans" because of the fall in the garden so long ago. (Romans 8:22) That groaning was seen in a vivid fashion this past week by some that lost all they had – and even family and friends.

But the word of God does offer advice whether we live in Tornado Alley or in a seemingly very "safe" place. It comes through the words of wisdom in Proverbs 27:1. “Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth.” Those are wise words because they often ring true and because their source is an all-knowing God.

The other aspect of facing the uncertainties of life in a fragile world is to possess the proper spiritual perspective. This is referred to in Matthew 6:33-34. We read there, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

This one short passage deals with how to prevent worry and fear from crippling us even before any trials do strike. When God’s ways are life's driving force, we are given an amazing promise found in Philippians 4:6-7. The Apostle Paul writes, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Seeking God regularly and making prayer preeminent is how we best prepare for the storms of life – whether they come from 200-mph winds, a pink slip at the office or the results of that serious and dreaded  medical test. God has promised to guard our thoughts and provide peace when we seek Him first and foremost. Of course many Christians can, and often do, desperately seek the Lord only after some unexpected crisis has begun. And He is always faithful and fully safe to trust. But it is far better to be in close communication with Him long before any furious winds of life begin to howl.

But can the Lord really deal with any tempest in your life today? Is He really able no matter what the storm may be right now? If that is a question in your heart and mind, then perhaps again consider His divine power and supernatural ability from the account described in Matthew 8:24-27.

“And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, 'Lord, save us! We are perishing!' But He said to them, 'Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?' Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. So the men marveled, saying, 'Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?'"

If the literal wind and sea of nature obey Him, then what in our lives is beyond Him when we do the same?

Bill Breckenridge

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Proof of Christ's Resurrection

This post by David Virkler from several years ago shares timeless insights on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We are pleased to share it again.

An empty tomb and a risen Lord Jesus Christ are twin proofs that Jesus is indeed "my Lord and my God," as Thomas said (John 20:28).

How do we know that the resurrection is a fact and not merely the fictional creation of misguided hopefuls? Let’s list some reasons:

1. The disciples were surprised by Christ’s resurrection. They didn’t make it up.

2. There were multiple appearances to individuals. Christ appeared to the 11 remaining disciples, one of whom was doubting Thomas who needed compelling physical proof. A further appearance was to over 500 simultaneously, which undermined the apparition idea (2 Corinthians 15:6).

3. Jewish historian Josephus, who wrote for second century Romans, mentions that Christ’s resurrection was believed by contemporary disciples. "He was the Christ, and when Pilate at the suggestion of the principle men, had condemned him to the cross, they that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things about him."

4. No body was ever found. If it had been, Christianity would have been dead out of the starting blocks.

5. Everything believers hold sacred would be a farce according to 2 Corinthians 15:12-19. Christian preaching would be empty. Christian doctrine would be a farce. Christian ministers would be frauds. Believers would be deceived. We would yet be in our sins. The dead in Christ would have perished. We would have only the temporal and no Heaven.

6. Perhaps the best proof arising in modern times is the conversion of Charles Colson of Watergate infamy and later of Prison Fellowship fame. I once heard him personally tell this story, which is featured in a recorded message entitled "Thank God for Watergate." In it Colson says:

”The evidence is that twelve men were with Jesus. Twelve men testified that they had seen Him bodily raised from the dead. They were with Him…. After He ascended into heaven, they went about the sands of the Holy Land for forty years proclaiming that Jesus Christ had been bodily raised from the dead never once denying Him, every single one of them beaten, tortured, stoned and put in prison. Could they have done that if that were not true?

”In less than three weeks [after the Watergate scandal broke], John Dean…walked into the prosecutor’s to make a deal to bargain to save [his] own skin. … The moment he did that, everybody went flying in to try to make a deal with the prosecutor. Twelve most powerful men in the world couldn’t keep a lie for three weeks. You’re going to tell me that those twelve apostles for forty years would go about the sands of the Holy land proclaiming they had seen Jesus raised from the dead? Absolutely impossible. The Apostle Peter would have turned state’s evidence—he had already done it. … The truth is that people will give their lives for something they believe to be true. They will never give their lives for something they believe to be false. The historic evidence is overwhelming.

”If this Book is true, it challenges every single one of us to look at the most important question in life. Is Jesus Christ who He says He is? And if He is, your life can never be the same once you answer that question. And there’s only one way you can answer that question because the evidence is more powerful than any case I ever argued in all the years that I was a lawyer arguing cases in court. It’s true. Most of us spend our lives running away from it because we know that if we embrace it will change our lives."

These are amazing words from a former top presidential advisor who praises God for Watergate because it proved to him the truth of the resurrection. Believing the resurrection is vital to salvation. Romans 10:9-10 says, "That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."

Dave Virkler

Monday, April 14, 2014

Celebrating 50 Years!

This blog is a part of a larger ministry called Dedication Evangelism. Also under that banner is a radio outreach called The Word and The World.

This month, we mark a significant milestone -- The Word And The World is celebrating 50 years on the air! This is a testimony to what can happen when one person follows God's call.

When David Virkler founded Dedication Evangelism in 1961, his ministry vision included Gospel broadcasting. While holding a week of meetings in the fall of 1963, Dave was asked to speak on a daily radio program shared by the local ministerium on a commercial AM station. The opportunity piqued Dave’s interest in the possibility of seeing the vision for radio outreach become a reality. Several months later, on Sunday morning, April 12, 1964, the first broadcast of The Word And The World aired over a station in Coudersport, Pennsylvania. (Dave is pictured above making one of the early broadcasts.)

The Word And The World offers a Biblical perspective on current issues and events to show that the Bible is always relevant. Topics on the broadcast include U.S. and international news, social and moral issues, special events, holidays, and an annual year in review. Interview guests are also featured on occasion.

Our station log has grown to 60 outlets reaching 16 states and Canada (click here for a list). But what began as a radio ministry has expanded to include on-line broadcasting via our website (where 12 weeks of broadcasts are available), live streaming of stations’ programming, and podcasts. Take advantage of these listening options.

Dave (below, left) unexpectedly went to be with the Lord in January 2012, and co-host Bill Breckenridge (right) assumed the role of host and producer. The broadcast continues with a blend of insight on current news by Bill and timeless commentary by Dave.

This half-century milestone wouldn't be possible without the prayer and financial support of God’s people and the ministry partnership of many radio stations and networks. We are so grateful for the part each one has played in helping us to reach people through The Word And The World!

The first listener to send a letter declared that The Word And The World was a good program and he thought God would bless it. And He has!