Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from an Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal

Easter (Resurrection Day)
Passion Week Special - 5

Volume 3 No. 135 March 29, 2013

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Empty Tomb - He is Risen!
Empty Tomb - He Is Risen!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
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Foreword

Jesus has forced open a door that has been locked since the death of the first man. He has met, fought and beaten the King of Death. Everything is different because he has done so. This is the beginning of the New Creation; a new chapter in cosmic history has opened. ...

Bible Readings for Easter Sunday (Mar 31)

Sermons for Easter Sunday (Mar 31)

http://www.Malankaraworld.com/Library/Sermons/Sermon-for-Passion-week_Easter.htm

Christ Is Risen! He Is Risen Indeed!

I say to you this morning: CHRIST IS RISEN! I am convinced! I have faith that Christ was dead and he was buried. That I believe. But, this too I accept as true: He rose from the dead and will come again in glory. ..

Christ Is Risen, Indeed He Is Risen

The power, the evidence, the proof of the resurrection - it all begins with you and me as we embrace the Risen Christ and allow Him to do His work in our lives. May the joys of this Pascha season radiate through us all as we faithfully live in the glorious splendor of the Holy Resurrection of our Lord, God, and Savior, Jesus Christ. ...

Featured: Resurrection Day!

Below is the Paschal Homily of John Chrysostom, a sermon celebrating the glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is traditionally read aloud in many Orthodox churches on Easter morning. ...

The Jesus Movement: From Failure to Phenomenon

If Jesus was just another dead messianic leader, His following would come to nothing. But it didn't. Despite the suppressive forces of the cross, the stake, the Colosseum, the gulag, and anti-religious legislation, lawsuits, speech codes, and political correctness, the kingdom has steadily advanced in hearts of men and in man's institutions. ...Outside of the truth of the Resurrection, the phenomenon of the Church is inexplicable - a fact that, itself, is sufficient to establish that the "faith once given" was given by none other than God. ...

What We Know About Jesus and the Resurrection

The following points are almost universally agreed upon by New Testament historians regardless of belief in miracles or their position on the resurrection itself. ...

Victory over All

So much happened at Calvary's cross over two thousand years ago; but ultimately, because of Jesus, we can celebrate victory! Jesus overcame sin and death so that we can have abundant life. Because of Jesus, we have total victory over anything that would try to hold us back in this life! ...

Pascha: The Day The Lord Has Made (Psalm. 118,24)

On the day of the Resurrection, we give thanks to God who has granted us victory through Jesus Christ, our Lord, and put an end to the power of sin, which brought death to our Lord. Jesus Christ is the first who rose from the dead. He destroyed death by His death, and opened unto us the doors of paradise, and bestowed upon us the fullness of life and of great mercy. ...

Saint Gregory the Great on the Mystery of the Resurrection

 There are two lives; one of which we knew, the other we did not know of. The one is mortal, the other immortal; the one linked with human infirmity, the other to incorruption; one is marked for death, the other for resurrection. The Mediator between God and man, the Man Jesus Christ, came, and took upon Himself the one, and revealed to us the other. The one He endured by dying; the other He revealed when He rose from the dead. ...

Easter Already?

As Easter approaches, don't you often wonder why Christmas gets all the good press, while Easter is treated more like a very distant second cousin? After all, it's a commemoration of the greatest news ever proclaimed in history: Christ is alive and we are forgiven! Easter arrives with so little fanfare, we almost forget it's coming. ..

Health: Tips for Minimizing Depression

Depression can be rooted in a number of problems, and those need to be addressed - simply taking a pill is not usually effective treatment. Anger, fear and guilt can all be underlying causes, even when the person isn't aware he's experiencing those feelings. ..

Recipe: Turkey Chili Makes a Great Healthy Meal

After the long lent, it is time to indulge. Here is a recipe, developed by a physician, that is healthy and nutritious. The result is a rich, spicy red, green, and white chili loaded with good things. Try some of our spices to make a variety that is pleasing to your family.

Happiness Comes from Giving Happiness

Gaining happiness by giving happiness is a subject which requires careful thought and reflection. Happiness is not a thing, it's a condition – a state of mind. You cannot buy happiness. You have it within and must give expression to it yourself, -- otherwise you will not be happy. ...

Family Special: One Man's Number One Love

This is a man who understands that “winning scores and great reputations are meaningless in the eyes of the Lord, because He knows what we really are, and that is all that matters.” So put “devoted husband” above John Wooden's long list of accolades as greatest coach of all time, because that's who he really is..

About Malankara World

Foreword
You probably do not remember the name Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin. During his day he was as powerful a man as there was on earth. A Russian Communist leader he took part in the Bolshevik Revolution 1917, was editor of the Soviet newspaper Pravda (which by the way means truth), and was a full member of the Politburo. His works on economics and political science are still read today. There is a story told about a journey he took from Moscow to Kiev in 1930 to address a huge assembly on the subject of atheism. Addressing the crowd he aimed his heavy artillery at Christianity hurling insult, argument, and proof against it.

An hour later he was finished. He looked out at what seemed to be the smoldering ashes of men's faith. "Are there any questions?" Bukharin demanded. Deafening silence filled the auditorium but then one man approached the platform and mounted the lectern standing near the communist leader. He surveyed the crowd first to the left then to the right. Finally he shouted the ancient greeting known well in the Russian Orthodox Church: "CHRIST IS RISEN!" En masse the crowd arose as one man and the response came crashing like the sound of thunder: "HE IS RISEN INDEED!"

Excerpted from 'Why I Believe in The Resurrection' courtesy of sermons.com

It is finally Easter. The end of the Holy Lent. The day we were anxiously waiting for. Easter is a special day for all Christians. The symbol of Christianity is an empty cross, because the Bible's glorious message is that Jesus is alive today, having triumphed gloriously over sin and death. According to C. S. Lewis:

"[Jesus] has forced open a door that has been locked since the death of the first man. He has met, fought and beaten the King of Death. Everything is different because he has done so. This is the beginning of the New Creation; a new chapter in cosmic history has opened."

What is special about Easter and Resurrection?

Before Jesus died his deity had been 'veiled' by his humanity, so that, in spite of his character, his teaching and his miracles, he was in many ways no different from others. His resurrection changed everything, and his divine power over death proved that he was exactly who he claimed to be. When he invited a disciple (ever since known as 'Doubting Thomas') to examine the wounds caused by his crucifixion so as to confirm that he had indeed risen, Thomas was convinced and cried out, 'My Lord and my God!' (John 20:28).

Yet his resurrection also proved that his death was not a defeat but a glorious victory. About a year before his death three of his disciples were given a glimpse of his divine glory and Jesus 'spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem' (see Luke 9:28-36). Nobody speaks of 'accomplishing' their death, but Jesus did. His death did not conclude his life; it crowned it. Although he was crucified 'by the hands of lawless men', his death was 'according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God' (Acts 2:23). Far from being something over which God had no control, or a knee-jerk reaction to an unforeseen crisis, it was something he had planned 'before the foundation of the world' (1 Peter 1:20).

This explains why, as he was dying, Jesus cried out, 'It is finished' (John 19:30). This was not a terrified cry of defeat, but a triumphant cry of victory. It meant 'mission accomplished', not 'mission abandoned'. Immediately prior to his arrest and execution he told his disciples, 'The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified,' and went on to say, 'for this purpose I have come to this hour' (John 12:23,27). In his death he achieved exactly what God the Father had sent him into the world to do (see John 17:4). Death did not annihilate him; it glorified him in what it achieved. - "Why the Cross?" by Dr. John Blanchard

We know that Jesus has resurrected because of the empty tomb. The portrayal of the empty tomb is powerful. We read about the women wondering who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb as it was heavy and was sealed on orders of Pilate. Then they see that the door is open and the grave is empty. Why was the door open? Jesus didn't need the door to be open to pass through it. In the resurrected body, He could pass through walls and closed doors as was revealed later. The sole purpose for the open door was for us to see that the tomb was indeed empty and believe. But there was one more clue we can get from the empty tomb that is missed by most. According to Selwyn Hughes:

What did that rolled-away stone reveal?

Well, follow the women into the tomb. Its just a large hole hewn in a rock. What do you see? Just "the place where they laid him" (Mark 16:6). All that was left were the grave-clothes.

Note that Peter saw "the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus' head" (John 20:6-7). Some scholars say that the Greek words used to describe the head-cloth signify that it still had an annular shape - that it still indicated the outline of His head.

Can you see what this suggests? He passed through it without it being unwound. This was no laborious unwinding! This was a glorious uprising! There was no possibility that the grave-clothes could have looked the way they did without a resurrection. Had the head-cloth been torn apart, the impression gained would have been quite different. It was probably this simple but tremendous fact - the fact that Jesus had clearly passed through the shroud without it being unwound - that convinced the first observers they had witnessed the miracle of resurrection.

Christianity is the only religion that can claim a Resurrected Lord - a savior who loved us so much that He was willing to die on a cross for us. But he paved the way for us to claim eternity by his triumph over His death by his glorious resurrection.

HE IS RISEN! INDEED HE IS RISEN!!

This Sunday in Church
Bible Readings for Easter Sunday (Mar 31)

Sermons for Easter Sunday (Mar 31)
This Week's Features

Christ Is Risen! He Is Risen Indeed!
You probably do not remember the name Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin. During his day he was as powerful a man as there was on earth. A Russian Communist leader he took part in the Bolshevik Revolution 1917, was editor of the Soviet newspaper Pravda (which by the way means truth), and was a full member of the Politburo. His works on economics and political science are still read today. There is a story told about a journey he took from Moscow to Kiev in 1930 to address a huge assembly on the subject of atheism. Addressing the crowd he aimed his heavy artillery at Christianity hurling insult, argument, and proof against it.

An hour later he was finished. He looked out at what seemed to be the smoldering ashes of men's faith. "Are there any questions?" Bukharin demanded. Deafening silence filled the auditorium but then one man approached the platform and mounted the lectern standing near the communist leader. He surveyed the crowd first to the left then to the right. Finally he shouted the ancient greeting known well in the Russian Orthodox Church: "CHRIST IS RISEN!" En masse the crowd arose as one man and the response came crashing like the sound of thunder: "HE IS RISEN INDEED!"

I say to you this morning: CHRIST IS RISEN! (congregational response should be: HE IS RISEN INDEED!). I am convinced! I have faith that Christ was dead and he was buried. That I believe. But, this too I accept as true: He rose from the dead and will come again in glory.

This is Easter. And to stand here on this day in this pulpit and proclaim this word. . . I cannot begin to tell you how this defines all that I am.

Excerpted from 'Why I Believe in The Resurrection' courtesy of sermons.com

Christ Is Risen, Indeed He Is Risen

By Fr. Don Hock

Christ Is Risen, Indeed He Is Risen

This powerful Paschal Greeting contains the entire essence, depth and meaning of our Christian faith.

"Christ is risen, and our sins are forgiven! Christ is risen, and death is destroyed! Christ is risen, and life is transfigured!"

We exult and rejoice in these great truths, but do they make a difference in our lives?

Is there a way to live personally as families, and as a parish in the light of Christ's Holy Resurrection?

The Orthodox Church answers these questions with a thunderous and resounding "YES"! For we believe and cling to the fact that this unheard of victory over death actually changed every thing in the world - it transforms all of creation and makes it new. The early Christians called their faith not a religion, but the Good News, because they knew and believed that this resurrection of Christ was the source of powerful and transfigured lives. Likewise, we who rejoice and celebrate today in this Paschal season experience the reality of the living Christ Who has and is making us to be alive in Him.

All the work that we are accomplishing, sharing the faith, celebrating the Mysteries of Salvation, baptizing and chrismating new Orthodox Christians, working together in various projects, sharing life with each other as one family in Christ …….this is the proof of the Resurrection in every healthy and active Orthodox Christian community throughout the world. The living resurrected Christ in our midst continues to transform us as individuals, as families, and as a network of families (our parish community) to become in even greater fullness what we already are - His Body here on earth, the extension of His Incarnation in the flesh.

This is who we are and our lives should reflect our identity. The power and presence of the living Christ should be seen in the way we conduct our personal lives - the way we pray and worship; the way we work and use our time and talents; the way we treat others and relate to them. The risen Christ should also be viewed in our families - the way parents love and care for each other and their children; the way children honor, respect and obey their parents. Finally, the power of the Resurrection should be prevalent in our parish - the way families and individuals believe the best about one another; the way we together trust God for the direction and vision He gives to His Holy Church; the way we truly love one another and see Christ in each other.

The power, the evidence, the proof of the resurrection - it all begins with you and me as we embrace the Risen Christ and allow Him to do His work in our lives. May the joys of this Pascha season radiate through us all as we faithfully live in the glorious splendor of the Holy Resurrection of our Lord, God, and Savior, Jesus Christ.

"Christ is risen! Indeed, He is risen!"

Fr. Don Hock is pastor of St. Mary's Church in Omaha, Nebraska.
Source: The Word Magazine April 1996

Featured: Resurrection Day!

by John Chrysostom

Below is the Paschal Homily of John Chrysostom, a sermon celebrating the glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is traditionally read aloud in many Orthodox churches on Easter morning.

Resurrection Day!

If anyone is devout and a lover of God, let them enjoy this beautiful and radiant festival.

If anyone is a grateful servant, let them, rejoicing, enter into the joy of his Lord.

If anyone has wearied themselves in fasting, let them now receive recompense.

If anyone has labored from the first hour, let them today receive the just reward.

If anyone has come at the third hour, with thanksgiving let them feast.

If anyone has arrived at the sixth hour, let them have no misgivings; for they shall suffer no loss.

If anyone has delayed until the ninth hour, let them draw near without hesitation.

If anyone has arrived even at the eleventh hour, let them not fear on account of tardiness.

For the Master is gracious and receives the last even as the first; He gives rest to him that comes at the eleventh hour, just as to him who has labored from the first.

He has mercy upon the last and cares for the first; to the one He gives, and to the other He is gracious.

He both honors the work and praises the intention.

Enter all of you, therefore, into the joy of our Lord, and, whether first or last, receive your reward.

O rich and poor, one with another, dance for joy!

O you ascetics and you negligent, celebrate the day!

You that have fasted and you that have disregarded the fast, rejoice today!

The table is rich-laden: feast royally, all of you!

The calf is fatted: let no one go forth hungry!

Let all partake of the feast of faith. Let all receive the riches of goodness.

Let no one lament their poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed.

Let no one mourn their transgressions, for pardon has dawned from the grave.

Let no one fear death, for the Saviour's death has set us free.

He that was taken by death has annihilated it!

He descended into Hades and took Hades captive!

He embittered it when it tasted His flesh! And anticipating this, Isaiah exclaimed: "Hades was embittered when it encountered Thee in the lower regions."

It was embittered, for it was abolished!

It was embittered, for it was mocked!

It was embittered, for it was purged!

It was embittered, for it was despoiled!

It was embittered, for it was bound in chains!

It took a body and came upon God!

It took earth and encountered Ηeaven!

It took what it saw, but crumbled before what can not seen!

O death, where is thy sting?

O Hades, where is thy victory?

Christ is risen, and you are overthrown!

Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen!

Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice!

Christ is risen, and life reigns!

Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in a tomb!

For Christ, being raised from the dead, has become the first-fruits of them that have slept.

To Him be glory and might unto the ages of ages.

Amen.

The Jesus Movement: From Failure to Phenomenon

By: Regis Nicoll

By all immediate measures, Jesus' ministry was a total failure. But it wasn't for lack of effort or commitment.

At the prime of life, Jesus left his carpentry bench in Nazareth for the dusty roads of Palestine. For three years He promoted His brand, wowing crowds with miracles and captivating them with teaching. On more than one occasion He drew thousands to a remote place to see Him and hear Him. He invested Himself in the training of twelve handpicked men to carry His message to the world. But despite all of His good intentions and effort, at the time of His death, His following numbered scarcely more than one hundred individuals.

Worse, at the end of His ministry, one of his trainees betrayed Him, another vigorously denied Him, and the rest abandoned Him, leaving a handful of women to stand by and mourn as life oozed out of His scourged and nail-pierced body.

When the stone was rolled over the mouth of the tomb, Jesus was just one more in the parade of misguided leaders whose visionary movements failed to outlive them. Or so it seemed. Within two months after His death, something extraordinary happened: The Jesus Movement didn't wither and collapse, it flourished.

Numbers and Impact

Within the span of a few weeks, the small band of deserters regrouped and their ranks began to swell - first to 3000, then to 5000 (including women, their number was probably close to 10,000) - despite sustained opposition from detractors. And for 2000 years their ranks have continued to increase, making Christianity the world's largest religion with over 2 billion adherents and counting.

But it is more than numbers that make Christianity a singular phenomenon: Against every other movement, ideology, and belief system, the culture-shaping impact of Christianity is unequaled. In fact, Christianity is the seed from which Western civilization sprang up and blossomed.

It was the belief in an intelligible universe populated with intelligent beings whom the Creator entrusted to care for, manage, and enrich His handiwork, that enabled the shift from astrology and alchemy to modern science. Christian notions about equality, freedom, and man as divinely endowed being led to the Western rule of law. Sacrificial love, as taught and modeled by Jesus, inspired the establishment of the first hospitals, orphanages, and charities. And believers who took their faith into the public square, rather than leave it at the doorstep of the church, became the vanguard of the great social movements of abolition, suffrage, and civil rights.

If that doesn't strike you as strange, it should.

Screaming for Explanation

The Macedonian Empire of Alexander the Great began splintering soon after his death. Within five centuries of the assassination of Julius Caesar (the "dictator in perpetuity"), his "Eternal City" was sacked, leading to the collapse of the Roman Empire. Scarcely one century after the death of Karl Marx, the Berlin Wall fell, the rest of the Iron Curtain came down, and the Eastern Bloc was dismantled.

Yet the kingdom inaugurated by a Galilean carpenter has not only endured for two millennia, but it has grown numerically and influentially, despite being driven underground for the first 300 years of its existence, and being a target of persecution from its beginning to the present day.

How did Jesus accomplish what no other person in history ever accomplished? The phenomenon of the church is a fact screaming for explanation.

It stems from the fact that the early Christians believed, really believed, that Jesus was more than a great moral teacher or charismatic leader; they believed that he was Lord and God. Their belief was based on the testimony of 11 men who claimed to have seen something that defied scientific explanation, reason, and common sense: the risen Lord.

Singular and Unprecedented

When Jesus, three days dead, passed through the locked door of the upper room, the disciples became witnesses to a thing unprecedented in history.

Sure, there were cases of resuscitations by physicians and stories of "raisings" by metaphysicians. There were the biblical accounts of the Sidonian widow's son raised by Elijah and the Shunammite's son who was raised by Elisha, as well as Jesus' raisings of Jairus' daughter and Lazarus that the disciples were privileged to witness first hand. But never before had the disciples (or anyone else) known of a dead person rising on his own power, and in a reconstituted body. Only Jesus had done that.

Initially dazed and confused by what they had seen, the disciples soon realized that Jesus' mastery over death only made sense if He was the God He had claimed to be. The disciples became so convinced about the Resurrection (and what it meant), that barely one month after they bailed on their crushed leader, they boldly entered Jerusalem to broadcast their news to the most unsympathetic audience on the planet.

The Turnabout

The shift from jellyfish to ironman was exemplified in Peter.

Shortly following his second imprisonment for preaching the resurrection, Peter was brought before the Sanhedrin for repeatedly defying their gag order. After the robed masters rail against his intransigence, Peter responds bluntly: "We must obey God rather than men!" Then, continuing in his obduracy, Peter reprises his unwelcome testimony:

The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead - whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him. (Acts 5: 29-32)

Talk about chutzpah! Especially recalling that just a few weeks prior, Peter cursed at the suggestion that he even knew Jesus. The only rational explanation for Peter's turnaround is that he really believed in the Resurrection; and the only rational explanation for his belief is that the Resurrection really occurred.

A Mistake or Ruse?

Could Peter and the other eyewitnesses have been mistaken about what they had seen? Hardly - considering that all of them remained steadfast in their belief, despite every motivation and opportunity to reconsider what had happened that Sunday morning and in the weeks that followed. Even to the point of martyrdom, an end to which all but one endured, none of the disciples ever retracted or revised their testimony.

Could the disciples have hatched the whole resurrection story for some personal gain? That was the explanation the robed masters leaked shortly after the receiving the shocking news of the empty tomb, and it is what is commonly held today among critics who spin various Passover plot scenarios. But as has been competently argued by others, while people may die for what they believe to be true, they won't die for what they know to be false.

The Test

It is not a little ironic that after Peter's saucy response to the Sanhedrin, one of their number, Gamaliel, proposed a litmus to his colleagues:

Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God. (Acts 5:35-39)

Gamaliel was right. If Jesus was just another dead messianic leader, His following would come to nothing. But it didn't. Despite the suppressive forces of the cross, the stake, the Colosseum, the gulag, and anti-religious legislation, lawsuits, speech codes, and political correctness, the kingdom has steadily advanced in hearts of men and in man's institutions.

Outside of the truth of the Resurrection, the phenomenon of the Church is inexplicable - a fact that, itself, is sufficient to establish that the "faith once given" was given by none other than God. By his own criterion Gamaliel would be compelled to agree, as would persons of any era who honestly consider the facts.

About The Author:

Regis Nicoll is a freelance writer and a BreakPoint Centurion. Serving as a men's ministry leader and worldview teacher in his community, Regis publishes a free weekly commentary to stimulate thought on current issues from a Christian perspective.

Source: All Things Examined: Breakpoint Column

What We Know About Jesus and the Resurrection
The following points are almost universally agreed upon by New Testament historians regardless of belief in miracles or their position on the resurrection itself:

• The gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) are dated between 60-90 AD; Mark is sometimes considered the earliest, dated between 60 and 70. John is generally considered the latest at 90 AD.
 

• Paul's letters are dated 40-55 AD, Acts is dated 65-80 AD
 

• Belief in the divinity of Christ is found in the earliest known Christian creeds
 

• Classical historical references to Jesus outside the New Testament: Thallos, Pliny the Younger, Suetonius, Tacitus, Mara Bar Serapion, Lucian of Samosata, Celcus; general report is that Jesus was a "troublemaker"
 

• Jewish references to Jesus outside the New Testament: Josephus, rabbinic tradition, Toledot Yeshu; general report is that Jesus was a "cult leader" and a "magician. "
 

• All of these sources treat Jesus as a real historical person; none assert that he was fictitious
 

• The four gospels differ too much in their details of the resurrection to have been deliberately harmonized; they represent four sources which are at least partially independent and two which are almost completely independent (synoptics vs. John)
 

• All four gospels tell the same essential story
 

• All four gospels explicitly speak of an empty tomb
 

• Nobody ever produced Jesus' body

Virtually all historical scholars who write about the resurrection agree on the following six points:
 

1. First century Jews expected a Messiah but did not expect a dying / rising Messiah.
 

2. Jesus died and was buried.
 

3. After this happened, the disciples were discouraged and dejected.
 

4. Soon after Jesus' burial, the tomb was claimed to be empty and some disciples had experiences they took to be encounters with a risen Jesus.
 

5. These experiences caused them to believe Jesus rose from the dead.
 

6. They started a massive worldwide movement based on the idea that Jesus rose from the dead.

No one who rejects the resurrection offers a convincing alternative explanation of what happened. Theories abound, but no single "2nd theory" has achieved any real consensus; alternative theories all have significant problems and leave major questions unanswered.

Even a prominent skeptic admits: If God exists, belief in the resurrection is philosophically rational and historically reasonable. "Atheists are quick to ridicule the resurrection because of its miraculous nature; Christian apologists are quick to point out that an a priori rejection of the miraculous is unwarranted.

"Both sides are correct within their worldview. But they have failed to argue outside of their worldview. Atheists should not be so quick to ridicule the miraculous and use a Humean attack on miracles to refute the resurrection. Unless atheists can demonstrate that theism is irrational or that the historical evidence for a material resurrection is lacking, they are unlikely to convince many theists to reject the resurrection. Similarly, Christian apologists need to recognize that, until atheists are shown that theism is plausible, atheists will continue to regard the resurrection as a highly implausible event.

"I think it is rational to both accept and reject the resurrection. I think there are strong historical arguments for the resurrection (a lá William Lane Craig), but I also think there are good reasons to reject such arguments. I realize this may sound like a cop-out to some, but I think it is quite reasonable, especially when the issue of prior probability is taken into consideration. " -Jeffrey Jay Lowder, The Historicity of Jesus' Resurrection, 1995 (Infidels. org)

The question is: What interpretation of these historical facts best explains the sudden origin of early Christianity, belief in a risen Christ, and the explosive growth of the church, even in the face of severe persecution?

Bestselling author & former atheist Anne Rice describes her return to Christianity, based on extensive Biblical scholarship

©2006 Coffee House Theology

Victory over All

by Joel Osteen

Today's Scripture

But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 8:11.

Today's Word

This coming weekend, we will celebrate the resurrection of our precious Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. So much happened at Calvary's cross over two thousand years ago; but ultimately, because of Jesus, we can celebrate victory! Jesus overcame sin and death so that we can have abundant life. Because of Jesus, we have total victory over anything that would try to hold us back in this life!

No matter what stronghold, sin, addiction or bondage has held you captive in the past, today you can be free. When you receive Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you receive His power. Sin can't hold you back any longer because when the Son sets you free, you are free indeed! (See John 8:36.) It all starts by believing and receiving this promise and then building faith by hearing the Word of God.

Today, if you don't know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, there's no better time to get on the road to victory! Receive Him, receive the truth, and let it transform every area of your life!

A Prayer for Today

Heavenly Father, thank You for giving me victory! Thank You for Your Word which is life and healing water to my soul. I choose to set my heart and thoughts on You, knowing that You are empowering me to overcome in every area of my life in Jesus' name. Amen!

Pascha: The Day The Lord Has Made (Psalm. 118,24)

By V. Rev. Joseph Antypas

Christians throughout the world celebrate the Feast of the Resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. On the day of the Resurrection, we give thanks to God who has granted us victory through Jesus Christ, our Lord, and put an end to the power of sin, which brought death to our Lord. Jesus Christ is the first who rose from the dead. He destroyed death by His death, and opened unto us the doors of paradise, and bestowed upon us the fullness of life and of great mercy. The power of the Resurrection of Christ transforms our weakness, and releases within us the dynamic of growing into the image and likeness of our Risen Lord.

The Church of the Risen Christ is not an institution with human organization; it is a new life with the Risen Lord. The light of Christ enlightens those who seek their Lord with faithfulness and with love. All faithful believers express the good news of the Resurrection every time they recite the symbol of the faith, the Nicene Creed, which declares that our Lord, Jesus Christ, after his death and burial, "rose again, according to the Scriptures." This particular expression is taken from 1 Cor. 15:3-4. St. Paul writes: "For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, that He was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures."

The prophetic message of Isaiah, Chapter 53, concerning the Suffering Servant who bore our grief and carried our sorrows, who was wounded for our transgressions, and was bruised for our iniquities, summarizes and articulates topologically the scriptural foundation of the passions and death of the Saviour, who "was numbered with the transgressors, yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors" (Isaiah 53:12).

In the same manner, we read in the synoptic Gospels (Matthew 16:21; Mark 8:31, Luke 9:22) that Jesus Christ foretold his disciples and taught them that he would suffer rejection and death, and after three days He would rise again.

Moreover, the Resurrection of Christ stands at the center of all truths, the seal of the Christian faith, and it is the dynamic power behind the emergence of the Church and the very center of all her preaching. Pascha is the cornerstone of Christian proclamation and ministry of the Gospel of Christ. The whole of Christianity is the outcome of the joy of the paschal celebration. St. Paul emphasizes that the denial of the Resurrection of Christ amounts to the denial not of one element of the Christian faith, nor of one truth among others, but of the Christian faith itself. "If Christ has not been raised," St. Paul writes, "then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain." I Cor. 15:l2ff. For St. Paul, the Resurrection is the evidence of our salvation; it binds and unites the Christian with Christ as the only hope of those who are asleep in him. "For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep" I Thes. 4:14.

The Fathers of the early Church dealt with certain aspects of this Great Feast. St. Gregory of Nyssa (+394) says that in His glorious Resurrection, Christ has emerged as God, impassable and immortal. He was under no compulsion to suffer or to come down on earth. Orthodox theology affirms this fact by calling Christ "the second Adam," by whose Resurrection the primal sorrow was absorbed in joy and rejoicing (Matt. 28.8ff.). And so, the discovery of the empty tomb, the different appearances, and the announcements of the women to the Apostles that Christ

has risen were not accidents. "For a woman was both the cause of the transgression and the herald of the resurrection. Woman who caused the first Adam to fall testifies that the Second Adam has risen," writes Basil of Seleucia (+468).

In view of such a great mystery, Byzantine iconography depicts the Resurrection of Christ in such manner that it incorporates heaven, earth, and hell as well. In heaven, the powers cry with joy to the hosts above: "Princes raise your gates, lift up your eternal gates that the King of glory may come in …" (Ps. 24, 7ff).

On earth, the Resurrection of Christ proclaims to the earth the Father's will for the universe. And in hell, the risen Christ stamps out hell, delivers all humanity and extends a liberating hand to Adam and Eve. Hyppolitus of Rome reflects on the whole picture and refers to Pascha as the common feast: invisible feast for angels, immortal life to the entire world, total wound of death, indestructible nourishment of man, sacred feast of heaven and earth, prophet of mysteries old and new, seen by the eyes here on earth and contemplated by the spirit of the heavens.

Because of the Resurrection of Christ, all men become heirs of God and participants in the divine promises, and the history of the people of God finds in Christ a total and final fulfillment. In the realization of the design of salvation in respect to man and the world, the bodily resurrection of Christ initiates a new state of man which makes him participate in the condition of the resurrected Christ. In his sermon on Easter Sunday, St. Gregory of Nazianzus (+390) writes that, "He who today is risen from the dead, will renew me in spirit, and put on me the new man, giving to this new creation (those who are born according to God), a good worker and a good master, eager to die and be resurrected with Christ." Such an invitation on the part of God means that, first, because of the hope of the Resurrection, virtue is pursued and evil is an object of hatred. "For without the Resurrection," writes St. Gregory of Nyssa, "one view will be found to prevail over all others, 'let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die' " (I Cor. 15:32). Second, the Resurrection of Christ becomes the pledge of our resurrection and regeneration. The Resurrection of Christ frees man from the alienation of sin and of death, and so regenerated man enters a new era, a new existence which enables him in faith and hope to partake in the life of the risen Christ. This "personal" participation in the death and Resurrection of Christ and its

utmost and total victory over death is seen by St. John Chrysostom (+407) as a baptismal garment and the gift of new life. On this victory over death, he writes: "Two days ago the Lord died on the cross. Today he has risen from the dead. In the same way two days ago these neophytes (converts) were held in the bondage of sin. But today they rise along with Christ. He died in the flesh and rose in the flesh. They likewise were dead in sin and have risen from sin.

Finally, the Resurrection of Christ introduces a new concept of human relations. It brings about a total transformation, and transfiguration of the whole of man opens for him a new way of life: a life that is genuine, authentic, and full of love, peace, and brotherhood. On the day of the Resurrection of Christ, all faithful believers are called to embrace one another, and because of the life-giving Resurrection of Christ, they are called to forgive one another in all things, so that they can wisely exclaim. "Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs, bestowing life."

Let us pray that God will gener­ate in us His love; may we ask our Risen Lord to grant us and our loved ones his blessings and many more good years to come.

CHRIST IS RISEN! INDEED HE IS RISEN!

Fr. Joseph is pastor of St. George, Troy, MI and on the faculty of the Antiochian House of Studies.

Source: Word Magazine April 1998 Page 4-5

Saint Gregory the Great on the Mystery of the Resurrection

by St. Gregory the Great

Given to the People in the Basilica of the Blessed Virgin Mary, on the Holy Day of the Resurrection

1. It has been my custom, beloved brethren, to speak to you on many of the Gospel readings, by means of a sermon I had already dictated for you. But since I have been unable, because of the weakness of my throat, to read to you myself what I had prepared, I notice that some among you listen somewhat indifferently.

So, contrary to my usual practice, I shall for the future make the effort during the sacred solemnities of the Mass to explain the Gospel, not through a sermon I have dictated, but by speaking directly to you myself.

So for the future it shall be the rule for me to speak to you in this way. For the words which are spoken directly to sluggish souls awaken them more readily than a sermon that is read to them; moving them by that touch as it were of authority, so that they listen with more attention. I am not, as I well know, competent to fulfill this office: but let your charity make good what my ignorance denies me. For I have in mind Him Who has said: Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it (Ps. LXXX. ii). We all have in mind a good work , and it will be perfected by His divine assistance (II Tim. iii. 17). And also, this great solemnity of the Sunday of the Resurrection gives us a fitting occasion for speaking to you: for it would indeed be unfitting that the tongue of our body should be silent in the praises that are clue this day; that day on which the Body of our Author rose again from the dead.

2. You have heard, Beloved, how the holy women who had followed the Lord came to His tomb, bringing with them sweet spices, so that with tender affection they might tend Him in death Whom they had loved in life. And this tells us something which we should observe in the life of our holy Church. And it is important we give attention to what here took place: to see what we mint do to imitate them. And we also, who believe in Him Who died, truly come with sweet spices to His tomb, when we come seeking the Lord, bringing with us the sweet odour of virtue, and the credit of good works.

But these women who came bringing sweet spices beheld angels. And this signifies that those souls who, because of their holy love, come seeking the Lord, bearing the sweet spices of virtue, shall also see the citizens of heaven. And let us also take note of what it means that the angel is seen sitting on the right side. For what does the left side mean but this present life; and the right hand side, if not life eternal? Because of this it is written in the Canticle of Canticles: His left hand is under my head, and his right hand shall embrace me (Cant. ii. 6).

And so, since Our Redeemer has now passed over beyond the mortality of this present life, tightly does the Angel, who had come to announce His entry into eternal life, sit at the right side . And he came clothed in white: for he was announcing the joy of this our present solemnity. For the whiteness of his garments signifies the glory of our great Feast. Should we say ours to His? That we may speak truly let us say that it is both ours and His. For this day of our Redeemer’s Resurrection is also our day of great joy; for it has restored m to immortality. It is also a day of joy for the angels: for restoring us to heaven, it has filled up again the number of its citizens. On this our festival day, and His, an angel appeared, clothed in white robes, because they are rejoicing that because we are restored to heaven the losses their heavenly home had suffered are now made good.

3. But let us hear what is said to the women who came? Be not afraid! As though he said to them: Let them fear who love not the coming of the heavenly citizens. Let them fear who, steeped in bodily desires, have no hope of belonging to them. But you, why should you fear, meeting your own? Matthew also, describing the appearance of the Angel, says of him: And his countenance was as lightning, and his raiment as snow (Mt. 28:3). Lightning awakens dread and fear, the white radiance of snow is soothing. For Almighty God is both terrifying to sinners, and comforting to those who are good. Rightly then is the Angel, the Witness of the Resurrection, revealed to us with countenance like the lightning, and his garments white as snow: so that even by his appearance he might awaken fear in the reprobate, and bring consolation to the just.

And rightly also, for the same reason, there went before the Lord’s People in the desert, a column of fire by night, and a column of smoke by day (Ex. xiii: 21, 22). For in fire there is fear; but in the cloud of smoke the comforting assurance of what we can see: day also meaning the life of the just, and night the life of sinners. Because of this Paul, speaking to converted sinners, says: For you were heretofore darkness, but now light in the Lord (Eph. v. 8). So a pillar of cloud was set before them by day, and a pillar of fire by night: because Almighty God shall appear mild of countenance to the just, but fearful to the wicked. Coming to judge us, He shall comfort the one by the mildness of His countenance, and terrify the other with the severity of His justice.

4. Now let us hear what the angel says. You seek Jesus of Nazareth . Jesus, in the Latin tongue, is saving ; that is, Saviour . Then however many were called Jesus, by name, not because of the reality it means. So the place is added, to make clear of what Jesus he is speaking: Of Nazareth . And to this he adds the reason they seek Him: Who was crucified . And then he goes on: He is risen, he is not here . That He was not there was said only of His Bodily Presence; for nowhere is He absent in the power of His divinity. But go , he continues, tell his disciples and Peter, that he goeth before you into Galilee .

Now we have to ask ourselves, why did he, speaking of the Disciples, single out Peter by name? But, had the Angel not referred to him in this way, Peter would never have dared to appear again among the Apostles. He is bidden then by name to come, so that he will not despair because of his denial of Christ. And here we must ask ourselves, why did Almighty God permit the one He had placed over the whole Church to be frightened by the voice of a maid servant, and even to deny Christ Himself? This we know was a great dispensation of the divine mercy, so that he who was to be the shepherd of the Church might learn, through his own fall, to have compassion on others. God therefore first shows him to himself, and then places him over others: to learn through his own weakness how to bear mercifully with the weakness of others.

5. And well did he say of Our Redeemer that: He goeth before you into Galilee; there you shall see him, as he told you . For Galilee means, passing-over . And now our Redeemer has passed over from His suffering to His Resurrection, from death to life, from punishment to glory, from mortality to immortality. And, after His Resurrection, His Disciples first see Him in Galilee; as afterwards, filled with joy, we also shall see the glory of the Resurrection, if we now pass over from the ways of sin to the heights of holy living. He therefore Who is announced to us from the tomb is shown to us by crossing over: for He Whom we acknowledge in the denial of our flesh is seen in the passing over of our soul. Because of the solemnity of the day, we have gone briefly over these points in our explanation of the Gospel. Let us now speak in more detail of this same solemnity.

6. There are two lives; one of which we knew, the other we did not know of. The one is mortal, the other immortal; the one linked with human infirmity, the other to incorruption; one is marked for death, the other for resurrection. The Mediator between God and man, the Man Jesus Christ, came, and took upon Himself the one, and revealed to us the other. The one He endured by dying; the other He revealed when He rose from the dead. Had He then foretold to us, who knew His mortal life, the Resurrection of His Body, and had not visibly shown it to us, who would believe in His promises? So, becoming Man, He shows Himself in our flesh; of His own will He suffered death; by His own power He rose from the dead; and by this proof He showed us that which He promises as a reward.

But perhaps some one will say: Of course He rose: for being God He could not be held in death. So, to give light to our understanding, to strengthen our weakness, He willed to give us proof, and not of His Resurrection only. In that hour He died alone; but He did not rise alone from the dead. For it is written: And many bodies of the saints that had slept arose (Mt. xxvii. 52). He has therefore taken away the argument of those who do not believe.

And let no one say: No man can hope that that will happen to him which the God-man proved to us in His Body; for here we learn that men did rise again with God, and we do not doubt that these were truly men. If then we are the members of our Redeemer, let us look forward to that which we know was fulfilled in our Head. Even if we should be diffident, we ought to hope that what we have heard of His worthier members will be fulfilled also in us His meanest members.

7. And here there comes to mind what the Jews, insulting the Crucified Son of God, cried out: If he be the king of Israel, let him come down from the cross, and we will believe him . Had He, yielding to their insults, then come down from the Cross, He would not have proved to us the power of patience. He waited for the little time left, He bore with their insults, He submitted to their mockery, He continued patient, and evoked our admiration; and He Who refused to descend from the Cross, rose again from the sepulchre. More did it matter so to rise from the sepulchre than to descend from the Cross. A far greater thing was it to overcome death by rising from the sepulchre, than to preserve life by descending from the Cross.

And when the Jews saw that despite their insults He would not descend from the Cross, and when they saw Him dying, they rejoiced; thinking they had overcome Him and caused His Name to be forgotten. But now through all the world His Name has grown in honour, because of the death whereby this faithless people thought they had caused Him to be forgotten. And He Whom they rejoiced over as slain, they grieved over when He was dead: for they know it was through death He had come to His glory.

The deeds of Samson, related in the Book of Judges, foreshadowed this Day (Judges xvi. 1-3). For when Samson went into Gaza, the city of the Philistines, they, learning he had come in, immediately surrounded the city and placed guards before the gates; and they rejoiced because they had Samuel in their power. What Samson did we know. At midnight he took the gates of the city, and carried them to the top of a hill outside. Whom does Samson symbolize, Beloved, in this, if not our Redeemer? What does Gaza symbolize, if not the gates of hell? And what the Philistines, if not the perfidy of the Jews, who seeing the Lord dead, and His Body in the sepulchre, placed guards before it; rejoicing that they had Him in their power, and that He Whom the Author of life had glorified was now enclosed by the gates of hell: as they had rejoiced when they thought they had captured Samson in Gaza.

But in the middle of the night Samson, not alone went forth from the city, but also bore off its gates, as our Redeemer, rising before day, not alone went forth free from hell, but also destroyed the very gates of hell. He took away the gates, and mounted with them to the top of a hill; for by His Resurrection He bore off the gates of hell, and by His Ascension He mounted to the kingdom of heaven.

Let us, Beloved, love with all our hearts this glorious Resurrection, which was first made known to us by a Figure, and then made known in deed; and for love of it let us be prepared to die. See how in the Resurrection of our Author we have come to know His ministering angels as our own fellow citizens. Let us hasten on to that great assembly of these fellow citizens. Let us, since we cannot see them face to face, join ourselves to them in heart and desire. Let us cross over from evildoing to virtue, that we may merit to see our Redeemer in Galilee. May Almighty God help us to that life which is our desire: He Who for us delivered His only Son to death, Jesus Christ our Lord, Who with Him reigns One with the Holy Ghost, for ever and ever. Amen.

Easter Already?
That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection. PHILIPPIANS 3:10

As Easter approaches, don't you often wonder why Christmas gets all the good press, while Easter is treated more like a very distant second cousin? After all, it's a commemoration of the greatest news ever proclaimed in history: Christ is alive and we are forgiven! Easter arrives with so little fanfare, we almost forget it's coming.

I think there are three main reasons why even Christians neglect the importance of Easter:

1. It's not interesting to the secular community.

While the entire culture is focused on gift-giving and food-filled festivities at Christmas, Easter doesn't fit as well into our society's love affair with materialism.

2. It's not connected with many family traditions.

Outside of going to church and having a nice Sunday dinner, few families have Easter memories that pass down from generation to generation. Chances are you don't have a special box containing your Easter reminders.

3. Though we like Advent, we shy away from Lent.

Perhaps many Protestants have the perception that Catholics have the corner on this particular celebration, since it is common during Lent for many Catholics to give up something desirable to commemorate Christ's sacrifice. In some cases, this may be practiced in an overly legalistic way that misses the point altogether, but I think we've recoiled from a great idea - preparing our hearts to celebrate the most precious event of our lives. I think we need to revive this time-honored tradition. Easter is the crowning point of the Christian's life - the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior. It's the sole reason for our hope and joy. Make plans now to really celebrate it this year.

DISCUSS

What would you like to do differently and better in your family's Easter celebration? Start now.

PRAY

Pray that you will be able to lead your family toward experiencing the true love, forgiveness and hope that are found in the real story of Easter.

Source: Moments with You

Health Tip: Tips for Minimizing Depression

The United States of Depression?
Psychologist Offers 4 Tips for Maintaining Balance in Difficult Times

It's no wonder nearly one in 10 Americans suffers from depression.

"Top risk factors include being unable to work or unemployed; having no health insurance; suffering from obesity," notes psychologist Gregory L. Jantz, citing a Centers for Disease Control study.

"Unfortunately, those topics have dominated headlines for the past five years. What's worse, by 2020, the World Health Organization estimates depression will be second most debilitating disease worldwide."

The author of "Overcoming Anxiety, Worry and Fear," (www.aplaceofhope.com) says these negative emotions along with sustained, excessive stress can lead to depression, which now overshadows other problems for which patients seek help at his clinic.

"Depression can be rooted in a number of problems, and those need to be addressed – simply taking a pill is not usually effective treatment. Anger, fear and guilt can all be underlying causes, even when the person isn't aware he's experiencing those feelings."

A holistic treatment approach, which may or may not include medication, helps people overcome a bout of the debilitating illness, and learn techniques to manage it themselves, he says.

People at risk of depression can work at maintaining their emotional equilibrium by counterbalancing negative feelings with optimism, hope, and joy. This is most effective if they do this holistically, addressing the four main categories of human need.

"By purposefully feeding the intellectual, relational, physical, and spiritual aspects of your life positive emotions, you can achieve balance," Jantz says.

He offers these suggestions:

Intellectual: Be aware of what you're feeding to your mind. Try reading a positive, uplifting book, and setting aside time in your day to fill yourself up intellectually with constructive, encouraging messages. Be aware of what you are reading and listening to, and seek to counter the negative input we all get with positive influences.

Relational: Think of a person you really enjoy talking to, someone who makes you feel good about yourself or someone who's just fun to be around. Plan today to spend time with that person this week, even if it's just for a moment or two. Make the effort to verbalize your appreciation for his or her positive presence in your day.

Physical: Physical activity is a wonderful way of promoting emotional health. Engage in some mild exercise this week. Take a walk around the neighborhood. Stroll through a city park. The goals are to get your body moving and to allow you to focus on something other than yourself and your surroundings. Greet your neighbors, stop at the park and watch someone playing with his dog, or cheer at a Little League game. Intentionally open up your focus to include the broader world around you.

Spiritual Support: Take some time to nourish your spirit. If you are a member of a religious organization, make sure to attend services this week. If you are not, listen to some religious or meditative music. Spend time in quiet reflection, meditation, or prayer. Intentionally engage in an activity that replenishes and reconnects your spirit.

If you are not depressed but feel anxious and stressed, have trouble sleeping or find your not content much of the time, Jantz says it's time to start taking care of yourself.

"Depression is painful and as debilitating as any other disease," he says. "Take steps to de-stress your life and to work on emotional balance before it gets worse."

About Gregory L. Jantz, Ph.D

Gregory L. Jantz has more than 25 years experience in mental health counseling and is the founder of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources, near Seattle, Wash. The Center, "a place for hope," provides comprehensive, coordinated care from a treatment team that addresses medical, physical, psychological, emotional, nutritional, fitness and spiritual factors involved in recovery. He is the best-selling author of more than 20 books, including "When Your Teenager Becomes…The Stranger in the House."

Recipe: Turkey Chili Makes a Great Healthy Meal
Nothing spells culinary satisfaction like a bowl of chili. Get all the warm, filling comfort you crave, along with the homemade nutrition your body needs, with this turkey chili recipe.

This recipe results in a rich, spicy red, green, and white chili loaded with good things. Using dried beans lengthens the cooking time to about three hours from about the one hour of simmering if you use canned beans. If you have turkey frozen from Thanksgiving or other holidays, this is the perfect chance to use it.

Chili is usually better in the days after it’s made, so it’s one of those recipes to make on a weekend day which makes dinner very easy for a couple of nights during the week.

Turkey Chili (Serves 8)

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon canola oil
2 onions, diced
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 jalapeños, seeded and chopped
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cumin
4 tablespoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 heaping teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 pounds leftover turkey, cut into pieces (try 1 pound white meat and ½ pound dark meat), or ground turkey sautéed until no longer pink
4 cups turkey stock or homemade chicken broth
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup farro or pearl barley
2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained, or 3 cups dried white beans, soaked over night and drained
1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro, chopped
Salt to taste

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over a low flame. Add the onions, garlic, and jalapeños, and cook them until the onions soften, about 10 minutes. Stir in the cumin, cayenne pepper, chili powder, and oregano. Stir in the turkey. Add the stock or broth, tomatoes, farro, and beans. Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered for about an hour. Stir in the chopped cilantro near the end of the cooking time. Season with salt to taste.

Nutrition Information Per Serving:

Calories: 344
Sodium: 282 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 35 g
Fiber: 8 g
Fat: 8 g
Trans Fat: 0 g
Saturated Fat: 2 g
Cholesterol: 62 mg
Protein: 36 g

Source: Kaiser Permanente Healthy Living Newsletter

Happiness Comes from Giving Happiness

by Ben Sweetland

Happiness comes from giving happiness. As strange as it might seem we have to have great wisdom before we can fully appreciate the truth of this statement. Hearing it usually brings to mind thoughts of doing without just so that we can help others. This, of course, is wrong. In saying that happiness comes from giving happiness, I am not approaching it in the light of charity. Very few people want charity any more than you want it. Giving happiness does not mean merely giving money to the poor. In fact, it does not often mean the giving of money at all. There are many, many things in life far more precious than money. In fact, it is frequently unwise to give money – or lend it. Instead of helping one to solve a problem, we are merely causing him to prolong his problems. The greatest help we can give anyone is to help him to help himself. But, this thought regarding happiness is not directed toward those who need help. There is an expression which sounds a bit cold, yet it is one which contains much truth. “Those who need help do not deserve it and those who deserve it, don't need it.”

Gaining happiness by giving happiness is a subject which requires careful thought and reflection. Happiness is not a thing, it's a condition – a state of mind. You cannot buy happiness. You have it within and must give expression to it yourself, -- otherwise you will not be happy.

The reason some of us are not happy is, because through certain barriers we are not giving forth that which we have within. Those barriers might be worry, fear, illness, lack, grief, etc. A feeling of insecurity will often hold one back from giving expression to happiness.

. . .

There is a psychological advantage to be gained through helping others. The more you help the bigger and more important you become. The small person will resort to knocking and unpleasant gossip in the hopes of making others look small in comparison to himself. In reality, the more he knocks the smaller he makes himself. When you meet a person who has complimentary statements to say regarding everyone, -- does that person look small in your eyes? To the contrary, you look at him as a genuinely big person.

So, seek every opportunity you have to help others to help themselves. Watch your circle of friends increase. Notice your personal power expanding. And, -- best of all, you will be happy, -- ideally so.

Source: Magic Formula. Ben Sweetland. School of Creative Psychology. Text 13. Pgs. 6-8.

Family Special: One Man's Number One Love

by Dennis Rainey

Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth. PROVERBS 5:18

He coached his UCLA Bruins to 10 NCAA basketball titles—including 7 in a row. At one point, his streak of consecutive victories stretched to 88 games, nearly double the amount—even today—of the next coach on the list. Four undefeated seasons. Nineteen conference championships. An overall winning percentage
of .813, spanning a career of more than 40 years. Only one losing season in all— his first year in coaching—with the Dayton (Kentucky) High School “Green Devils” in 1934.

And only one wife, for 53 years, until her death on this date in 1985. But for a man of John Wooden's stature and character, that's not where the numbers end. According to a Sports Illustrated article, Coach Wooden sits down every month on the twenty-first and writes his wife, Nellie, a simple love note. He tells her how much he misses her. He tells her what her life and love always meant to him. He tells her he can't wait to see her again. Then he goes to a stack of other love letters, now numbering in the hundreds, resting on her pillow and tied with a yellow ribbon. He adds the new one to the growing collection and goes to sleep on his side of the bed, drawing the same bedspread over him that once warmed the two of them together. This is a man who understands that “winning scores and great reputations are meaningless in the eyes of the Lord, because He knows what we really are, and that is all that matters.” So put “devoted husband” above John Wooden's long list of accolades as greatest coach of all time, because that's who he really is.

DISCUSS

How have you seen devoted love lived out in others who've been married for more than 40 or 50 years? In what ways do you plan and promise to show devoted love to each other into your older years?

PRAY

Pray for commitment that goes the distance and for eyes that never grow dim to what God has given you in the gift of your spouse.

Source: Moments with You

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