Archived New Day Newsletters

 

NEW DAY NEWSLETTER  Vol. 15-3, May/June ‘15  

Be therefore Christ’s Ambassadors.            Terry Dodd, Editor

MINI-POTPOURRI

Sometimes, in the middle of a busy season of life, we have to snip at both ends in order to make time and life meet. Actually, that is a blessing because it is a reminder to keep first things first.

WHAT IS THE FIRST THING?

 In the May 30 edition of World magazine, Christian historian and Yale scholar Jaroslav Pelikan put things perfectly in a quote just before he died, “If Christ is raised, nothing else matters. If Christ is not raised, nothing matters.”

WHAT IS THE DUTY OF EVERY BELIEVER?

 One of my evangelical heroes, Zvi Kalisher, is quoted as saying in witness to a non-believing Jew, “We have one Father in heaven. As members of His family, we have a responsibility to one another. The Lord said, ‘When I say to the wicked, “O wicked man, you shall surely die!” and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand” (Ezek. 33:8).

TWO FINAL ITEMS FOR THIS SHORTENED EDITION

 A Sunday school classmate and friend, who Helga and I have been privileged to board for the past eight months, is a few weeks away (June 8) from defending himself in federal court against a combination of spiteful and unfounded allegations. We believe Craig will be acquitted, but we solicit your prayers for him.

I have just submitted my latest manuscript, Mirror Magic, to my favorite publisher. It is a provocative mystery/thriller about the ultimate in subliminal advertising, which includes an unlikely combination of science-fiction and strong Christian elements. Non-binding reservations accepted at this time.

 Terry Dodd

Check out my web site: terrygdoddbooks.com

 

NEW DAY NEWSLETTER Vol. 14-2, Mar/Apr ‘14

Be therefore Christ’s Ambassadors.                                               Terry Dodd, Editor

IS “CHRISTIAN SCIENCE-FICTION” AN OXYMORON?

WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SCIENCE-FICTION AND REAL LIFE?

“If science-fiction is any guide,” someone has written, “the universe must be crammed full of extraordinary worlds, each swarming with sundry creatures of every imaginable shape and size.” Real life technology, however, has begun to pull back the curtain on the planets outside the solar system. As a result, our little pale blue dot of a planet appears to be one of a kind.

What are we saying? The creation model (versus the model of life’s random beginning and millions of years of evolution) suggests that the earth alone sustains life. I and many others believe that life does not arise naturally, but exists only where God chose to create it. Someone else poses this question: Could God create life elsewhere? Certainly He could, but that isn’t the real question. The question is whether He chose to do so. God tells us in Genesis1and again in Isaiah 45 that He made the earth to be “inhabited,” without reference to any other celestial body.

BUT WHAT IF GOD HAD CREATED LIFE ON OTHER PLANETS?

Now that would raise complex questions about the Fall and the Curse. Romans 8:22 tells us that the entire cosmos suffers from the effects of both the Fall and the Curse, so would Adam’s sin spread death to other planets? If God created sentient beings on other planets do they have souls, and are they in need of salvation? The Bible clearly makes man the center of His attention, so we can be sure that no extraterrestrial creatures are made in the image of God, as we are. Therefore, they would not be the objects of God’s gracious salvation through the death of His uniquely and only begotten Son, Christ Jesus, Who came down to Earth from paradise to live and die on Earth as man, yet also being fully God. His resurrection thus offers us proof of His promise to believers of eternal life after death in God’s presence.

On the other hand, the evolutionary worldview assumes that life naturally arises wherever conditions are suitable. If this were true, then what the late Carl Sagan said of the universe, that “there must be millions of worlds with intelligent life,” would surely be true.

SO WHAT DOES THE SCIENCE (DATA) SAY ABOUT THAT PREDICTION?

It tells us that we cannot find any such evidence. For example, of the nearly one thousand currently known planets outside of our own solar system, only a very few could possibly sustain life of any type. And even those few are extremely doubtful when it comes to the right distance for the all-important “habitable” zones, the right mass, atmosphere, composition, a stable orbit, temperature, proper rotation, non-variable star brightness, tilt, tides, and other factors. And this omits reference to earth’s two critical “great lights”—the sun and moon—which, to quote the venerable Ken Ham and his Answers in Genesis institution, “these things uniquely display the Creator’s perfect provision for life on earth.” As it is further put concerning the belief in evolution and millions of years in the life of earth and the universe, such a thing “impugns the character of the Creator and Savior and undermines the foundation of the soul-saving gospel.”

SO THEN—

Let us go back to Adam having sinned against God. A payment for sin was needed. And because sin’s penalty was death, death and bloodshed were needed to atone for sin. Genesis 3:21 describes the first blood sacrifice—God’s taking of an animal’s life for clothing for the suddenly, knowingly-naked Adam and Eve—as a penalty for sin. This was a very special moment in man’s history in the sense that it points forward to the One who would die “once for all.”

Now, even if many Christians believe in “millions of years” and are truly born again, this doesn’t affect their salvation, but their example can easily be a stumbling block to others. For instance, telling young people that they may reinterpret Genesis to fit in “millions of years” sets the sad example that they can start outside Scripture and add ideas into it.

In closing with respect to dispelling any notion of the genre of Christian science-fiction somehow being oxymoronic, we see that combining the words Christian and science-fiction is not at all contradictory. In fact, the greater point is that a writer thrives on writing about anything which interests him or her and is willing to labor over the words and the effort to give it life.

Terry Dodd

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NEW DAY NEWSLETTER Vol. 14-1, Jan/Feb ‘14

Be therefore Christ’s Ambassadors.            Terry Dodd, Editor

ATTITUDES ABOUT GIVING1

As we begin the fourteenth year of the founding of this newsletter let us tackle a biblical subject that often generates more heat than light: Tithing. What do we read of giving in the Bible? If we want to cut to the chase, what is God’s attitude about sacrificial giving? We need only go to John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son.”

The New Testament teaches that we are to give in proportion to the material blessing we receive. Long before the gospel, however, Malachi (3:8-9) condemned the children of Israel for not tithing properly: “Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you!”

Earlier than that, the Torah Law was given to Moses at Mt. Sinai, in which a tithe was required. And even earlier are two specific examples: In Genesis 28:22 Jacob promised to give the LORD a tenth of all his possessions if God brought him safely through his journey. And in 14:20 Abraham gave ten percent—a tithe—after the rescue of his nephew Lot.

IN THE BEGINNING

It has been logically pointed out that tithing flows out of the pre-Fall principle of “first fruits” and honoring God as the Creator. From the original relationship between God and man, Adam and Eve were told to “be fruitful and multiply and steward the earth.” “Steward” was God’s word. After God had made the entire world in five days, He made man on the sixth and set man and woman in as the stewards of the earth.

Genesis 1:28-31 tells us that Adam & Eve were to “fill the earth, and subdue and rule over it.” Subduing and ruling imply stewardship. That assignment was given by the One who created everything; He who owns all of it. It was only after the Fall that man began to think of himself as the “owner” of anything.

REALIZATION

 I have not always tithed; far from it. For forty years I did not even attend church. For forty years I had little head knowledge of God, and zero heart knowledge. Yes, I gave minimally to various community appeals, but even when I was confronted with those supposedly facing starvation I was largely cynical, even suspecting manipulation. And even for a time after I had ceased wandering in the spiritual desert during my own forty years of rebellion—at which time God revealed Himself to me—I did not surrender myself to the tithe.

Seven years after my having come to accept Christ, my wife became deathly ill. I had retired only six weeks earlier and the part-time job with an international ministry I needed, lobbied for, and received had to be given up three months later in order to care for my wife. We realized, however, that we had been greatly blessed through nearly forty-five years of marriage and now in our time of greatest need we could hardly cut back on our giving to Him through our church. For nineteen months of her illness we thrived and grew stronger together in the LORD.

But it wasn’t until after Judy’s loss and Helga and I subsequently married that I came to fully realize that the people of God are called not just to tithe, but to give offerings beyond the tithe. The tithe is the minimum God expects from us. We became convinced that even in retirement we should tithe as a minimum and then give over and above the tithe as the LORD prospered us. And with that obedience we began to better understand the many advantages of giving.

INCREASES

Because our hearts were automatically drawn to the LORD through our giving, our intimacy with Him increased. One’s character is even increased because giving is God’s way of raising people into the likeness of His Son. And giving also gives us increase in heaven. Although it is true that “we can’t take it with us,” Scripture teaches that we can make deposits to our heavenly account before we die. And then there is the matter of our increase on earth. Proverbs 11:24-25 says, “One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed” (NIV).

As to whether we should tithe on the net or the gross income, consider that if we were to be given a raise would we want it to be on the net or the gross? Would we want our raise related to first fruits, or to left overs? Using the mobile example of a local ministry—There’s Hope for the Hungry—in which I am involved, it has supplied half-a-million pounds of food to the needy over the past ten years. The point is that the harvest, supported strictly by donation-funding and volunteer-manning, has seen more than ten thousand salvations in that same period.

God loves a cheerful giver, but ultimately everyone must do as he or she feels led by Him. May we be able to echo Job’s statement in 29:12-16: “For I assisted the poor in their need and the orphans who required help. I helped those without hope, and they blessed me. And I caused the widows’ hearts to sing with joy. Everything I did was honest. Righteousness covered me like a robe, and I wore justice like a turban. I served as eyes for the blind and feet for the lame. I was a father to the poor and assisted strangers who needed help” (NIV).

May God continue to bless you and your family.

Terry Dodd

1 With apologies to and appreciation for Crown Financial Ministries’ Biblical Financial Study, and Wayne Clark’s Ministry in the Marketplace’s Tithes and Offerings Blog

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NEW DAY NEWSLETTER Vol. 12-6, NOV/DEC ‘13

Be therefore Christ’s Ambassadors.

Terry Dodd, Editor

THE HOPE OF GENESIS

The Book of Genesis is not only about the earliest families, but its words come from the inspiration of God Himself. Yes, literally breathed by Him to Moses, whom He entrusted to faithfully record the words of His purpose and desire to have a people set apart to worship Him.

THE STORY OF CREATION

We sometimes wonder how our world came to be. The story of creation unfolds the record of the beginning of the world, of human history, of family, of civilization, and of salvation. Within Genesis lies encouragement and hope. It is here we discover that God has a plan. Why is that important? Consider that His plan is not only for mankind, but for each and every one of us.

“BUT GENESIS IS SUCH AN OLD BOOK!”

Bingo! The Bible’s beginnings reveal the person and nature of God, the Creator, Sustainer, Judge, and Redeemer. It also reveals the value and dignity of human beings who are made in His image (i.e., like Himself), saved by grace, and used by God in the world.

Also revealed are the tragedy and consequences of sin, which is to speak of the Fall, Separation from God, and Judgment. And of equal note there is the promise and assurance of salvation through His Covenant, forgiveness, and the promised Messiah. As a result we must surely consider the outline of Genesis and what His Word, and our understanding of it, tells us.

IN THE BEGINNING (1:1-2:4)

Genesis not only tells us that the world was created by God, but more importantly, it tells us who this God is. It also reveals our Creator’s greatest desire, which is to relate to, and fellowship with, the people He created. The biblical view of creation is not in conflict with science; rather, it is in conflict with any worldview that starts without a creator. The world is not a product of blind chance and probability: God created it.

THE STORY OF ADAM (2:4-5:32)

This is the story of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, and Adam’s descendants. When Adam and Eve were created by God, they were without sin. But they became sinful when they disobeyed God and ate some fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It is through this couple that we learn about the destructive power of sin and its bitter consequences.

THE STORY OF NOAH (6:1-11:32)

Earth was no longer the perfect paradise that God had intended. It is frightening to see how quickly all of humanity forgot about God. Incredibly, in all the world only one man and his family still worshiped God. That man was Noah. Because of his faithfulness and obedience, God saved him and his family from a vast flood that destroyed every other human being on earth. His story shows us how God hates sin and judges those who enjoy it.

THE STORY OF ABRAHAM (12:1-25:18)

Despite God’s swift judgment of sin, most people ignored him and continued to sin. A handful of people, however, tried to follow Him. One of these was Abraham. God appeared to him one day and promised to make his descendants into a great nation. Abraham’s part was to obey God. Through sharp testing and an incident that almost destroyed his family, Abraham remained faithful to God.

THE STORY OF ISAAC (25:19-28:9)

Isaac inherited everything from his father, including God’s promise to make his descendants into a great nation. As a boy, Isaac did not resist as his father prepared to sacrifice him, and as a man, he gladly accepted the wife that others chose for him. It is through Isaac that we learn how to let God guide our life and place His will ahead of our own.

THE STORY OF JACOB (28:10-36:43)

Jacob did everything, both right and wrong, with great zeal. He deceived his own brother, Esau, and his father Isaac. He wrestled with an angel and worked fourteen years to marry the woman he loved. Through Jacob we not only learn how a strong leader can also be a servant, but also how wrong actions will always come back to haunt us.

THE STORY OF JOSEPH (37:1-50:26)

Joseph, one of Jacob’s twelve sons, was obviously the favorite. Hated by his brothers for this, Joseph was sold to slave traders only to emerge as ruler of all Egypt. Through Joseph (and the thirteen riveting chapters of Genesis given to his story), we learn how suffering, no matter how unfair, develops strong character and deep wisdom.

THEREFORE

. . . God tells us in the Genesis of His Word that He created all that we see and experience. He has done this so that we might worship Him and be encouraged by His plan of hope.

May you enjoy a happy Thanksgiving and a merry Christmas, and may blessings be on you,

Terry

 

NEW DAY NEWSLETTER Vol. 12-5, SEP’T/OCT ‘13

Be therefore Christ’s Ambassadors.

Terry Dodd, Editor

THE IMPORTANCE OF REVELATION

Like most, I struggle with understanding the Book of Revelation. As a result, I turn to various commentaries in looking for help. In my estimation, the Spirit of God has given Marvin J. Rosenthal (Director of Zion’s Hope) a clear understanding of the book’s prophetic revelation of Jesus Christ and what He will do at His second coming. Much of what follows (with express permission) is of his teaching, and is what I believe:

This issue, however, is merely intended to address the Apostle John’s vision of the chronology of the Book of Revelation up to the opening of Chapter 8. Now, John explains in his inspired writing that he was summoned by a trumpet to heaven to behold what was being presented. Since God the Father created the earth and all things therein, He has both the right and the power to bring to it—and to us—such consummation as described for the apostle.

CONSIDER THE SCROLL

John informs his readers that he saw a book (literally a scroll) in the right hand of God the Father, who was seated upon the throne. The surface had writing on the inside and the back and was sewn together end-to-end, and rolled up into a scroll. Seven seals were along the edge of the outside of the scroll such that all seven had to be broken in order to unravel the scroll. None of the scroll could be opened until all seven seals were broken.

John tells us that a strong angel proclaimed with a loud voice: “Who is worthy (has the right or authority) to open the book (scroll) and to loose the seals thereof.” No man was initially found worthy in heaven, on earth, or beneath the earth, causing the apostle John to begin to sob uncontrollably. Why? Because he recognized that the scroll was the title deed to planet earth. If no one was found worthy to break the seals and open the scroll the earth and all therein would remain in its sinful corrupted state; i.e., all would be lost.

KINSMAN-REDEEMER

At the moment of humanity’s greatest need, the Lamb, the LORD Christ Jesus, was alone worthy. Now, in ancient Israel a kinsman-redeemer could redeem a family member’s lost inheritance if he met these criteria: He must be a male relative. He must be willing to redeem. And he must have the redemption price. First, Jesus left heaven to come to earth to live as a man. Second, He was willing to redeem. Third, He had the redemption price—his shed blood. He came to pay a debt He did not owe because we owed a debt we could not pay. What is the point? When Jesus began to break the seals to unravel the scroll, He was beginning the process that would continue throughout the Book of Revelation of driving what we could call squatters—wicked men, corrupt nations, counterfeit religion, the Antichrist, the False Prophet, and Satan himself—off the land.

THE BREAKING OF THE FIRST SIX SEALS

The Kinsman-Redeemer begins to break the seals around the scroll. As each seal is opened, Christ the Lamb sets in motion events that will bring about the end of human history. The first four seals permit four horses and riders, commonly referred to as the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, to gallop onto the earth. The four riders are given power over one-fourth of the earth, indicating that God is still limiting His judgment. Their ride is begun during the first half (three and one-half years) of the so-called Tribulation Period. During this time both believers and unbelievers alike will be subject to man’s wrath. Not God’s wrath, but man’s.

The fifth seal commences the Great Tribulation, also called the time of Jacob’s (Israel’s) trouble, but it is the sixth seal that initiates cosmic disturbance. The sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven. This time will be a terrible purging of the earth of all that has defiled it since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden.

Just when all hope seems lost, four angels hold back the four winds of judgment until God’s people are sealed as His own (Rev. 7:1-3). Even though believers will have to undergo persecution—and many will die—God will protect them from spiritual harm. It is at this point that the rapture of the Church will take place because the Church is not appointed unto God’s wrath—”and they will gather his chosen ones from all over the world.” (Matthew 24:31).

JESUS BREAKS THE SEVENTH SEAL

Revelation, Chapter 8 opens with these words: “And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.” What does that mean? As the Old Testament prophet Zephaniah (1:7) wrote, “Stand in silence in the presence of the Sovereign LORD, for the awesome day of the LORD’s judgment is near” (NLT).

As the trumpet judgments of the seventh seal begin to fall upon the earth, this is the work of God the Father and the Kinsman-Redeemer who are driving squatters off the earth and purging it of all of sin’s defilement through the ages. It is being done by a God who is holy, holy, holy, infinite in power, and everlasting in longevity.

All who have been faithful through the ages will be singing before God’s throne. Their tribulations and sorrows are over; no more tears for sin or suffering. In fact, no more tears for death, for all believers will have been resurrected to die no more (Rev. 7:17).

Blessings,

Terry

 

NEW DAY NEWSLETTER  Vol. 12-4, July/Aug ‘13

Be therefore Christ’s Ambassadors.            Terry Dodd, Editor

RUMINATIONS ABOUT AGE

Thinking back to June’s Father’s Day and man’s longevity, Methusaleh, a father, died prematurely at the age of 969. I use the adjective “prematurely” because God’s plan for man’s lives was for much longer. Genesis tells us that Adam and Eve, His first created humans, could have had eternal physical life, enjoying a permanent relationship as God’s children. They were to live in perfect obedience to the Creator. Having failed by eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, God expelled them from the garden.  Parenthetically, neither you nor I nor anyone else would likely have done any better.

With time, because of man’s wholesale rejection of Him, God determined a do-over was necessary, sparing only Noah’s family of eight. Although longevity had become finite, all but one of the first ten men in the line of Adam to Noah would nevertheless live well past 800 years of age. After that point, however, mankind’s longevity dramatically changed. From the obedient builder of the Ark’s 950 birthdays, super seniority fell from Noah’s son Shem’s 600 years to Abraham’s 175 over a mere ten additional generations.

Although Moses survived to the unusually advanced age of 120 years, near the end of his life he thought to reflect on the brevity of life, sharing with us what lay ahead in that regard:

“The days of our lives are seventy years and if by reason of strength, eighty. Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” Psalm 90:10

IT IS WELL WITH ME

This year not only marks my seventy-fifth birthday, but also the seventy-fifth of both Bugs Bunny and Superman. My family heritage, of course, is much closer to the “wascally wabbit” of Looney Tunes than to the comic book’s “man of steel.” And I certainly can’t claim the name of Dodd as Jewish, unlike Superman’s Kryptonian name, Kal-El (Hebrew for “vessel of God”).

Actually, seventy-five is a near record for males in my most immediate family. My father died at seventy-four; my paternal grandfather at sixty-nine; my maternal grandfather at forty-three; and my two brothers at sixty-one and sixty-nine. One of my father’s three brothers did make it to ninety but the other two did not pass the seventy-five mark. And while I am not only in good health and my term life insurance will not expire for another fifteen years, I will not pass away either one day sooner or later than my appointed time. There is another way of putting this: Anyone who places his trust in the LORD is immortal until his work is done. Jesus said as much in John 11:7-10; and we also read of it in Psalm 91:14-16.

MY FATHER’S STORY

 My father died of Hepatitus C, contracted through tainted blood given him fifteen years earlier in Brownsville, Texas. This came about as a result of his need for a blood transfusion while we were on a golfing vacation together 350 miles south of the U.S/Mexican border in February 1975.

At that quaint and remote resort my father suddenly took quite sick from some stomach ailment. No English speaking doctors were available, so the golf pro suggested I obtain a local plant which could be made into tea from the bark of a particular tree. Such a tree could be found in the hills surrounding the golf course, if I cared to retrieve some bark for that purpose.

With vague directions I somehow managed to locate one. Said bark in hand, I brewed it into a tea in the kitchen of the golf course hotel where we were staying. Within two days, dad was feeling much better and we resumed playing golf with the pro and another friend.

Then dad again became ill. Since I had flown down from Ohio, I drove my father and mother in their car to a hospital in Brownsville for an examination. They promptly gave him a blood transfusion. Unfortunately in those days, donated blood was not routinely checked for tainting. It was from such blood that he contracted the disease which would not surface for another ten years. Five years after that, Hepatitus C took its ultimate toll.

BAPTIZED IN BATTLE

That isn’t the end of my story. At my father’s funeral I shared a World War II event about him. He had been stationed with the Third Marine Division in late 1944 on one of the South Pacific islands which had not yet been secured from Japanese forces.

Although I believe my father knew the LORD, he had never been baptized. Even though he was assigned to a Marine band unit, his company was temporarily attached to an infantry outfit in a location which was definitely in harm’s way. A number of unit fatalities had been lost to sniper fire and dad felt the need to be baptized.

To that end he contacted the company chaplain, who was a protestant. The chaplain said he would have to perform the sacrament of baptism in a nearby village’s small Catholic church. Dad wanted a witness, so he took his best friend from the band with him. The friend happened to be a Mormon.

The point of all this is to say that regardless of timing, location, or witnesses, when a believer is baptized, the process is symbolic of salvation itself; that is, the old creation dies to self and arises (as from water) as a new creation. Believer’s baptism does not save, but it is a mark of one’s salvation.

We have all known friends and family who have denied placing their trust in God and settling their eternal relationship with Christ. As the beloved Dr. J. Allen Blair once said, “What a tragedy for anyone to tell God ‘tomorrow’ when He says ‘today.’”  Everyone needs to be ready so that when our time comes to pass from this life to the next, we will go home to be with the LORD forever. So many people do not put the LORD Jesus first in their lives, thus settling for less in their lives than the very best.

UPDATE ON TWO OTHER ITEMS . . .

 My local Atlanta television channel interview on WATC-TV on June 4 (appreciatively arranged by Merisa Davis’ Author Services and hosted by producer Rick Goins) turned out very well. During a seventeen minute period I was able share both my Christian testimony and something of my new book, The Carpenter, as well as throw in a little forgiveness-relevant juggling demonstration.

Following that, my combination book signing launch-and-benefit for Northside Hospital Forsyth Auxiliary on June 8 was a success. We are thankful to Cumming Hobby Lobby which graciously provided us with no-charge display space, and for those who supported us at the event. Thirty books were sold to benefit the auxiliary (see the photo below, courtesy of friend Inga Stroud). Shown from lower left are wife Helga (trying to quiet me), yours truly, and two stalwart book purchasers, David Stroud and Jim Collins.

Blessings,

 Terry

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NEW DAY NEWSLETTER Vol. 12-3, May/June ‘13 Be therefore Christ’s Ambassadors.

Terry Dodd, Editor

In an unabashed promotional effort during my 75th birthday month I am giving over this issue of the newsletter to my just-released book, The Carpenter, the story of one first century man’s struggle with faith.

IMAGINE WHAT IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN LIKE . . .

to have lived in Jesus’ time. How would you have reacted if you had been a child growing up with him in the same small town of Nazareth? Then one day as an adult, you learned that others were proclaiming Him to be LORD and Savior to the world! After all, Jesus Himself bore witness to a prophet having no honor in his hometown.

WHAT DID JESUS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT BEING YOKED WITH HIM?

The verses in Matthew 11:27-30 are not parables. They not only come right to the point, but speak beautifully and compassionately to all those who would listen:

“All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son, except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father, except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls.For My yoke is easy, and My load is light.” NASB

The Bible tells us that “knowing” God means more than mere knowledge of Him. It implies intimate relationship. Communion between God the Father and God the Son is the core of their relationship. And here is the thing that many, including myself, have been slow to understand:

FOR ANYONE TO KNOW GOD, GOD MUST REVEAL HIMSELF TO THAT PERSON.

God has given the entire stewardship of the human world to Jesus, His Son. How fortunate we are that Christ (the Messiah) has clearly revealed God to us, along with His truth and how we can truly know Him. Jesus invites all who labor under sin and judgment (which is every one of us) to come and have their burden lightened.

The “yoke” Jesus refers to is the harnessing of two together, the mature teaching the less mature how to walk. This draws upon the reference of a heavy wooden harness which fits over the shoulders of two oxen, enabling them to pull a heavy burden. This yoking together, then, is a relationship of discipleship, with Jesus promising to carry the burden of sin and judgment which we cannot otherwise manage.

HELP US DELIVER THIS BOOK’S MESSAGE IN SUPPORT OF THE GOSPEL.

Order a personalized and autographed copy of The Carpenter today. Check or cash ($15.00 plus $1.00 sales tax, plus $3.50 S & H) to 6545 Cold Stream Dr., Cumming, GA 30040. A downloaded electronic version is also available on line from either Amazon or Barnes & Noble for a mere $2.99.

Or, if you live in the greater Atlanta area, come and pick up a copy at my book’s official launch on Saturday, June 8, from 11:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. at the Cumming, GA Hobby Lobby (at Highways 9 and 20, just off GA 400 at Exit 14).

Blessings,

Terry

NEW DAY NEWSLETTER  Vol. 12-2, Mar/Apr ‘13

Be therefore Christ’s Ambassadors.            Terry Dodd, Editor

Whether or not you have children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews, when it comes to anyone’s future, there is one issue that trumps all others. I write the following love letter to my seven grandchildren, a few of whom are old enough to grasp its message at this time. For others, there will come a time. But the message is also intended to speak to anyone who has ears to hear.

DEAR GRANDCHILD,

 This is grandpa writing, someone who loves you so much that his heart aches just thinking of you. But for all my love for you, there is One who loves you more than me, even more than your parents. That Person is God, the One who created mankind and this world in which you and I live. And the greatest hope anyone can have is trust placed in Christ for eternal life in Him. Whether you come to this belief at eight years of age, or eighteen, or even fifty-eight, there is nothing more important or reasonable than for the creature to believe in his Creator, for there is glorious life after death. Your grandfather knows that he knows this to be so.

“BUT GRANDPA, OTHERS TELL ME THIS IS NOT SO.”

 I know, dear one. Some would have you believe that you and everyone you have ever read about randomly evolved from a pack of sticky mud into intelligent, rational and exquisitely formed and functioning human beings. Common sense, however, confirms that such miraculous life is neither possible nor logical without a supernatural Creator. Without a Creator, there is no justification for moral law; no ultimate meaning in life would exist, much less life after death.

We are born sinful, with a great divide between us and God. It is this very sin that shows our need for a Savior. How do I know this? Because the Creator inspired the writing of His Words—the Bible—in which He not only tells us so, and how we are to live our lives, but that He created us for one purpose only; to know Him and to love Him. In fact, He loves us so much that He (Jesus) left heavenly paradise to come down to earth in bodily form to tell us about His love. But because we listen to our rebellious hearts, He had to give up His own sinless life in sacrifice for our sin. Then, because He was also God, he rose from the dead, demonstrating that if we believe in Him, we, too, will have life after death and live forever in the presence of God.

“BUT GRANDPA, PEOPLE TELL ME THE BIBLE IS JUST ANOTHER BOOK.”

 Well, dear one, it is true that we read its printed words. But how else would God the Creator have communicated to us our beginning and provided instructions for our lives, other than to breathe His Word onto paper through prophets, preachers, and teachers? To both create and protect the meaning of His living-life manual, He used forty different authors and three languages over a 1,500 year period with the same central theme of Jesus the Christ being the only name under heaven by which a person might be saved for eternal life in the presence of his maker.

You might well ask, “How do I come to this belief?” If so, you have asked the correct question. The only way one can be absolutely certain that when you die you will be spending eternity in the presence of God is to have a personal relationship with Him before He calls you home. And since no one knows when that time might come, whether young or old, the time to seek Him is now. God has promised that anyone who genuinely and earnestly seeks Him will find Him. 

Talk to God, dear one. You can speak to Him from your heart, just as if He were a parent and you wanted to confess your poor behavior, asking forgiveness and wanting to do better, realizing that God’s way is better than yours. You will not only come to know Him, but He will become life to you and will never abandon you in time of need or distress. That is the greatest joy in both this life and the next, and it is what I pray for you.

WHEN I WAS GROWING UP

 Just as you know more now than you did five years ago, so we all continue to grow wiser with age. Of all the wisdom we develop, however, none counts for more than our growing relationship with Almighty God. Your grandfather has a confession to make. Even though I regularly attended church and Sunday school as a child, I did not have a personal prayer life. By that I mean I never spoke to God out of my heart, rather than reciting some memorized prayer.

As a result, I did not come to know Him until one very special day at age fifty-eight, when God put it heavy on my heart that I needed Him. I did not understand that at first. I only knew that I was desperately missing something in life; in other words, you could say that I had a hole in my heart that needed filling. In my search, God drew me to His “heavenly” web site. His message went like this: “Instead of watching a movie or playing a cell phone game this Sunday, come to one of my churches and hear about the King of the universe.” I did.

WHAT HAPPENED?

 I felt God’s tug. And then, one day, during the time when I had just begun reading and studying the Bible I came across this verse in the book of Matthew: “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will acknowledge before My Father who is in heaven.” I was okay with that. But then I read the next verse: “But whoever denies me before men, I will deny him before My Father who is in heaven.” You see, your grandpa could not live with the thought that God would deny heaven to him! Who would want to be forever separated from God; even a skeptic like me?

 God thus used His Word—the Bible—to reveal Himself to me. I prayed to Him and apologized for my rebellious ways, asking for forgiveness and for His help in doing better. Obedience, you see, comes before understanding.  He not only heard my prayer, but at that very moment I became a child of God, even though I was fifty-eight years old at the time. That day became my spiritual birthday and I began to want to better understand His teaching.

My precious one, it is such a wonderful thing to know we will live eternally in the presence of God, but this will not happen merely by being good or even helpful to others. Jesus tells us that only when we tell God and others that we have accepted Jesus as both our Savior and the LORD of our lives will we have bridged the chasm between Him and us.

 Grandpa

 

NEW DAY NEWSLETTER  Vol. 12-1, Jan/Feb ‘13

Be therefore Christ’s Ambassadors.            Terry Dodd, Editor

As I was pondering a possible subject for this first edition of my twelth year of this newsletter, I got to thinking about one of those God and creation questions that confuse many. With permission from Answers in Genesis (www.AnswersMagazine.com) I have adapted some profoundly stated biblical material from an article penned in the Oct-Dec 2012 issue by Answers in Genesis founder and president, Ken Ham.

WHAT WAS GOD DOING BEFORE CREATION?

 A Christian approached Ken Ham one day and asked, “What was God doing all that time before He created the universe?” The man did not believe in a young universe as described in Genesis. When Ken asked him to explain which “time” he was referring to, he said, “Well, it doesn’t make sense to say that God has always existed and at the same time state that He didn’t create the universe until just six thousand years ago.” As Ken puts it, the man was apparently worried that God once had a lot of time on his hands with nothing to do. J

Belief in “zillions” of years of creation is really part of secular man’s religion, which attempts to explain life without God, instead of believing the true account of origins in Genesis that begins “In the beginning . . . .” There is no such thing as “prehistoric.”  History began when it was first recorded—the first verse of Genesis.

Now why is it meaningless to ask what God was doing before Creation? Because God has always existed! No matter how far one wants to go back in time, there would still be an infinite amount of “time” before God’s Creation. So even if the universe were billions or trillions of years old, you could still ask the same question. In other words, there was no time before God brought into being all of His Creation.

TIME WAS CREATED WITH THE UNIVERSE

 In other words, time is a created entity. The first verse of the Bible is very explicit: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” That is one serious absolute.  God created space, matter and time on the first day of Creation Week. Think about it: No one of these can have a meaningful existence without the other two. God created the space-mass-time universe.

Now how does that work? Space and matter must exist in time, and time requires space and matter. Time is only meaningful if physical entities exist and events transpire during time.

“In the beginning . . .” is when time began! There was no time before time was created!

THE BASIC UNDERSTANDING OF GOD AND TIME

Ken Ham instructively explains how God is separate from both time and the universe: “There was no ‘before’ before creation.” Furthermore, there was not even “nothing!” (Yes, I know that’s a double negative.) There was only God existing in eternity.

This is something we humans, as finite created beings, can never really understand. That’s why the Bible makes it clear there is always a “faith” aspect to our understanding of God. Now, biblical faith is not against reason, but such things go beyond our understanding. “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).

What did God say to Moses when he asked God who he should say sent him to lead his people out of Egypt’s oppression? “And God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’ And He said, ‘Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, I AM has sent me to you”’”(Exodus 3:14). God is the great “I AM.” He exists in eternity. He was not created.

WHAT PRECISELY IS THE BASIS FOR THIS “SIX THOUSAND YEARS” BUSINESS?

Exodus 20:11 makes it clear that the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1) and everything else (all that is listed in Genesis 1) were created in six days. Based on the way the word day is used in Genesis 1, creation had to be six ordinary (approximately 24 hour) days. Many technical and popular articles show that the context requires this meaning. 1

Now we get to genealogies of the Messiah’s blood line in Genesis 5 and 11. Adam was 130 years old when he begat Seth. When Seth was 105 years old, he begat Enosh—and so these lists continue. When one adds up all the dates and other time references throughout Scripture, then it is clear that “In the beginning . . . .” was about six thousand years ago.2

“BUT THE BIBLE DOESN’T GIVE A DATE FOR CREATION!”

No, the Bible does not. You see, if the Bible recorded that creation was six thousand years ago, then because the Bible was completed about 2,000 years ago, the creation would be 8,000 years old! The Bible, however, gives us something much better than a date. That is, it gives us a very specific history, one that allows us not only to determine the age of the universe, but also about God’s plan of redemptions from the beginning of time, including the line of the promised Messiah.

UPON WHAT DOES OUR ABILITY TO TRUST GOD’S PROMISE RELY?

Our ability to trust God’s promise of salvation relies upon our ability to trust everything He says about history, from beginning to end. If we can’t trust His claims about the past, how can we trust His promises about the future?

Thankfully, we serve a God we can trust in every detail. Though He is beyond space and time, He humbles Himself to become a man and die on the cross for our sins. He has also given us a record of this history in His Word. Why? Because He wanted us to not only know His plan, but to know that it is true.

Terry Dodd

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 NOTES:

 1   For example, free online: answersingenesis.org/articles/oect/prosecution-biblical-age

 2   See:  answersingenesis.org/articles/2007/05/30/how-old-is-earth

 

NEW DAY NEWSLETTER  Vol. 11-6, Nov./Dec. ‘12

Be therefore Christ’s Ambassadors.            Terry Dodd, Editor

A man walks into an evangelical church and says, “I’m a man of logic. Argue me into heaven.” The POD (pastor-on-duty) looks at the man, ponders the request, smiles and replies, “Okay. I’m all in. Let me start at the beginning.”1 And let us begin with the case for Christian logic.

ARGUMENT #1: FIRST CAUSE

Logic says everything must have a sufficient cause; therefore our universe had a moment of origin. Without one pre-cause, however, nothing could exist. This means that there must be another set of rules, one where there is an external, omnipotent God who Himself had no cause.

This is revealed in the Bible: Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning, God created the heaven and earth.”

ARGUMENT #2: DESIGN

The incredibly fine-tuned precision of life as we know it possible on earth cannot be due to either physical necessity or random chance, therefore it must be due to purposeful design. Our earth is at the perfect distance from the Sun, just right in both size and temperature to sustain life on our planet. Animal and plant cells show a bio-engineering design beyond the ability of human planning, including the mechanism to reproduce after its kind in infinite complexity. With respect to evolution and the fossil record, new types of animals simply appear without millions of failed attempts. Again, the Bible explains and accounts: John 1:3-4 All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.”

 ARGUMENT #3: MORALITY

 Since all human beings have a conscience of right and wrong, there must have been a prior Law-giver in the universe Who instilled this into us. Otherwise, without a governing God, we should be like animals or robots, simply taking and killing whenever we want something.

ARGUMENT #4: BEING

The innate conscience of all mankind everywhere through all human existence indicates a God-consciousness and a divine longing placed within us by the Creator.

ARGUMENT #5: MIRACLES

The evidence for Biblical miracles, especially those performed by Christ, is manifold, clear, and compelling. Since miracles are shown to have happened, that fact proves not only the existence of a supernatural dimension, but also the truth of Christianity. In other words, that Jesus is the Christ, our Messiah, sent to us by the God of the Bible.

 ARGUMENT #6: PROPHECY

There exists a multitude of Biblical prophecies regarding the Messiah hundreds, even over a thousand years in advance. Further, their multitude and complexity is being beyond human arrangement of fulfillment thus necessitating the existence of omnipotent and omniscient God who controls elements of the future thorough the centuries.

One could quickly list 20 such specific prophecies that prove the existence of the supernatural realm, and specifically prove the existence of the God of the Bible and of Jesus being the Messiah. The mass of these were fulfilled unknowingly by others, such as being born in Bethlehem and having his hands and feet pierced.

A short list could include being born of a virgin; being accepted by the Gentiles and rejected by Israel; being raised from the dead; and ascending into heaven and sitting at the right hand of God.

ARGUMENT #7: EXPERIENCE

For those who have experienced such, there is an inner witness of the Spirit of God which testifies to the following: God does exist, the Scriptures are true, and God cares for them. Further, they have believed in Christ and are saved, and the Spirit of God dwells within them, giving them an inner assurance of the truth. I am one of these.

ARGUMENT #8: SELF-INTEREST

At this point our visitor had said nothing as he attentively listened to the various arguments. But now, he interrupts, saying, “Thank you, but I now realize that while your arguments are strong, my will yet resists. What is in it for me to overcome my will?”

The POD thought a moment and said, “You seem to be weighing potential gain against potential loss. I know of a pragmatist in history who put forth an argument for just such a one as you. Although faith is an issue of the heart, perhaps you could benefit by his logic.2

“His reasoning went that if you choose to believe in Christ and have your sins forgiven and eternal life in the presence of God assured, here is the result: If your choice proves to be true, you will have forgiveness, purpose and a prosperous eternal life. But even if your choice proves not to be true, you have lost nothing and life has at least been made more hopeful.

“In other words, friend, if the gospel message of faith in Christ is true, but you do not accept it, you will have lost the greatest wager possible, which is your own soul for all eternity. By contrast, if the gospel message is not true, you have still not gained anything, but you will continue to live in your doubt without hope. In either case, as an unbeliever your potential for loss is immense. Therefore, the potential for gain is so large, that it is only prudent to choose for Christ. Do you see the benefit in this instance to being the ‘man of logic’ you claim to be?”

Have a meaningful Thanksgiving and a blessed Christmas,    

Terry (and Helga) Dodd

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 Adapted from Dr. Gary Cohen’s Zion’s Fire article, Arguments for the Existence of God, July/August 2012

2 Pascal’s Wager

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NEW DAY NEWSLETTER  Vol. 11-5, Sep’t/Oct ‘12

Be therefore Christ’s Ambassadors.            Terry Dodd, Editor

IS GRACE ENOUGH?

A life-long friend of mine recently shared with me something that his wife—also a good friend of my wife and I—asked him about my writing. Essentially, this was her question: “If Terry feels God has led him to write, why haven’t his books sold?” This is a reasonable question.

First, the cultural answer: Thousands of books come newly into print every year in this country. Furthermore, personal software now exists that can correct the most challenged writer’s grasp of the English language, its spelling and punctuation. Add to this the fact that with today’s print-on-demand microchip technology, anyone who has both the will and a little capital can quickly be published.

Being published, however, has little to do with the anticipation of unheralded authors’ sales expectations. Of course, there are always those few books which are very well written or have broad appeal, or both. Even so, their success requires expensive marketing. And then there is the free black ink and electronic exposure for those with sport, celebrity or political status, not to mention axe-murderers and the like. The actual writing by authors of much of the above is also often heavily supported by professional writers whose names are secondarily listed on the book cover. None of this, however, is to discount significant literary works which rival The Old Man and the Sea. Yet, for every thousand books to roll off a press, there are tens of thousands of slush manuscripts languishing in electronic ether with no mainstream publishing interest.

PERSPECTIVE

Now, if all of this sounds defensive, it is. At least it is to an extent, but it is also enlightening. With tongue-in-cheek, Garrison Keillor (of Prairie Home Companion and Lake Woebegone fame) laments the fate of tortured-genius authors like himself in light of the print-on-demand phenomenon. He is quoted as saying: “There are 14 million self-published authors in America, each of whom earn $1.75 a year from the 14 books he or she sells, six of which are to blood relatives.” I find his comment humorous and not at all deflating.

The eight books I have penned and self-published have fallen well short of anyone’s best seller list. In fact, only one has managed to break even when considering my costs for production and publication. The first book (Uncommon Influence) which I wrote in 1996 sold 1,500 copies, but it took five years to reach that mark. I personally accounted for 95% of the book’s sales as I pushed my book in traveling to my business customers in seven southeastern states. None of any of my other seven books have so far reached sales of more than 50-150 copies each. Aside from my personal sales effort in support of the above-described fiction/thriller, the biggest difference between the first title and the other seven is that all of the latter are Christian books, including four novels and three inspirational titles. Christian fiction accounts for only 1% of all fiction sales.

NOW THE SPIRITUAL ANSWER

What does the apostle Paul have to say on the subject? In 2 Corinthians 12:9, Paul addresses a very interesting and relevant aspect of his lot in life.  He talks about a” thorn in his flesh” having been given to him following some exhilarating, yet inexpressible revelations about Paradise. In order to prevent him from possibly boasting of such extraordinary illumination—though it is unlikely that he would have—God allowed Satan to buffet him with an unnamed, yet painful experience. At first, he pleaded with the Lord that the “thorn in his side” might depart from him. He prayed for such relief on three different occasions. What has this to do with our subject?

WHAT WAS THE LORD’S ANSWER?

The Lord said to him: “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” And what was Paul’s response to the Great Physician’s prescription? “I will take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

 Though our trials may be very different from Paul’s, whether physical, emotional, spiritual . . . or perhaps even something as trivial as fewer than hoped-for book sales . . . shouldn’t any of our personal “thorns” produce the same response as the apostle Paul’s? God’s grace is sufficient!

Here is the point: I believe that whether or not one feels the calling to actually use his or her God-given gifts, God nevertheless expects it. Why else would He bother to give anyone, much less every one, gifts? Whether that gift is reading, writing, cooking, or arithmetic, simply using God’s gifts to us to the best of our ability should be reward enough. I feel I am led to write on behalf of my Christian faith. For me, this is both motivational and therapeutic. And even if the journey itself is merely being obedient, is that not reward enough?

To the above reason I would also add that the writing of my first Christian novel at age 58 actually led to the Lord revealing Himself to me. And that particular book (The Foursome) fortuitously earned for me this year the Eric Hoffer Book Award for Legacy Fiction. No money accompanied the honor, and that title, too, has never been on anyone’s Best Seller list, but His grace is sufficient.

I write Christian novels and inspirational books with one primary hope. The hope is this: If even one person, whether family member, friend, neighbor, or complete stranger, should in reading the pages of one of my books, hear God’s call, then my investment of time, effort and money will have been doubly fulfilled.

Terry Dodd

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 Please check out our books, book club offer, and other features at our web site: terrygdoddbooks.com

 

NEW DAY NEWSLETTER  Vol. 11-4 July/Aug ‘12

Be therefore Christ’s Ambassadors.            Terry Dodd, Editor

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO “STUDY” THE BIBLE?

 A Christian brother recently commented to me about preferring to read the Bible (i.e., “search the Scriptures”), as opposed to reading what others (commentaries) have to say about the Scriptures. I have no argument with that position, the Bible certainly comes first. But I would like to illustrate the benefit of supplemental exegetical study of the Scriptures, that is, the unfolding of Scriptures by those well qualified in such interpretation.  Let us take an example from Galatians:

24Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. (Gal. 3:24, 25 NKJV).

Verse 24 teaches that man is not justified by law; verse 25 teaches that the law is not the rule of life for one who is justified.  Consider how the verses are more clearly explained in commentary: “The one who is justified by the grace of the LORD Jesus Christ is a Christian; the one who seeks to be justified by the works of the law is not.”

And consider the example of who and what is “an heir of God.” 7Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.(Gal. 4:7 NKJV)

The stark contrast between a slave and an heir is beautifully expressed in the Believer’s Bible Commentary: “In rabbinical schools in Israel today a student is not allowed to read the Song of Solomon or Ezekiel 1 until he is forty years old. The Song of Solomon is considered too sexually explicit for a younger mind, and Ezekiel 1 contains a description of the glory of the inexpressible God. The Talmud tells us that when a certain person under forty began to read Ezekiel 1, fire came out from the page and consumed him. What this shows is that a person under the law is not considered a man until he is forty. (The well-known bar mitzvah at age thirteen only makes a Jewish boy a “son of the covenant”—the meaning of the term—and thus responsible to keep the law.) Up to the age of forty the Orthodox man is considered a minor.” Far better to be an “heir.”

And one more example before we turn the page: 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:28).

One venerable commentary reads: “All the distinctions which the law made are swallowed up in the common grave which God has provided. Therefore, how foolish it is for Christians to seek further holiness by setting up differences which Christ has abolished.”

IS AN “OLD EARTH” BELIEF CONSISTENT WITH BELIEF IN THE BIBLE?

I am not the only person who was wrongly taught that the earth is millions (even billions) of years old. Many years later, long after my undergraduate Geology major days, God not only revealed Himself to me, but led me to His book for study. It was there that I discovered the plain lessons of Genesis. If we believe what the Bible clearly teaches; that God created everything in six ordinary days and called all He had made, “very good,” then to be consistent with the Bible’s teaching we have to not only abandon evolution, but “old earth” thinking as well, as I did. Why? Because if we don’t we are rejecting God and the trustworthiness of His Word.

Think about it. Scriptures teach us that Adam was made from dust and Eve was made from his side. How hard is it to explain the gospel without referring to the origin of sin and death in Genesis? Adam and Eve were real people who disobeyed God. As Dr. Tommy Mitchell  of Answers in Genesis so eloquently puts it, “because their rebellion brought suffering into this world and death to all their descendants, Jesus Christ—as “the Last Adam” (1 Corinthians 15:45)—died on the Cross, conquering death by His Resurrection.”

Now comes the crux: If death has been here for millions of years, then it was not the result of the first Adam’s sin. The death of the Last Adam—Jesus—makes no sense. What did Jesus die for, if not to pay for the consequences of man’s sin? Mitchell points out that if a Christian believes in evolution and thinks millions of years of death are recorded in the fossil record, how can he explain the meaning of the Cross?

If a person refuses to accept Genesis 1-3, that is, Creationism and a young earth (about 6,000 years old), he not only undermines the authority of the entire Bible, but he is rejecting the very reliability of God Himself. And as the eminent professor and pastor, Richard E. Emmons, so succinctly puts it concerning evolution: “We all need some kind of compass for life, or we’re lost. God’s infallible Word is that compass. Without it, you have no foundational truth. You and I were created by God and have a responsibility to Him, and one day every one of God’s created beings will answer to Him—even those who claim they are the product of evolution.”

HOMETOWN REUNION

Combining some Midwestern vacation time with both my 55th high school graduation reunion and a public library signing for my new book, Journey with Outstretched hands, home town reporter (John Jennings) covering the “story” for his newspaper, shot the attached (word document) photo before my demonstration and talk.

What is particularly interesting in this photograph is the perfect capturing of the decal of the Christian cross on the airborne juggling pin. What are the odds of that happening?

MINISTRY HONORS AND UPCOMING EVENTS

 I have recently been blessed with recognition as the 2012 Eric Hoffer Legacy Fiction Book Award winner for The Foursome, published in 2002. Describing the novel, the awarding organization writes:

“Place an unlikely foursome on the golf course with different views on religion, add death by lightning on the eighteenth tee, and the bantering conversation of faith turns serious. With seemingly ghost-like delivery, all must face their own views of eternity. Dodd pulls in the reader from page one without being preachy or one-sided, allowing readers to contemplate their own fate. The novel is insightful, all without the reader needing to understand the game of golf.”

Sometime during the next month or so I am tentatively scheduled to appear on Atlanta TV’s WATC channel 57 show, Atlanta Live, to discuss my Christian juggling ministry and my new book, Journey with Outstretched Hands. Without Merisa Davis’ involvement this would not have developed.

The Family Christian Bookstore in Alpharetta, GA has invited me to hold a combination book signing and juggling demonstration on Saturday, July 28, from 12:00 to 2:00 P.M. If you live locally, please consider dropping by.

Terry Dodd

NEW DAY NEWSLETTER  Vol. 11-3 May/June ‘12

Be therefore Christ’s Ambassadors.            Terry Dodd, Editor

WHAT ABOUT RESURRECTION?

When the apostle Paul preached to the Corinthians the message of the risen Christ, which he had received by divine revelation, the following 150 words in eight verses offer not only the greatest possible hope to man, but they convey our only hope, for Christ is Truth:

12Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. 14And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. 15Yes, and if we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. 16For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 17And if Christ is not risen, then your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.” 1st Cor. 15:12-19, NKJV

 Every Christian should study through the entire Bible. A careful, conservative commentary like the Believer’s Bible Commentary (BBC) can also greatly enhance such study. The BBC is the commentary of primary reference for most of my biblical studies. It is conservative, Protestant, and premillennial, accepting the Bible as the inspired and flawless Word of God, totally sufficient for faith and practice. Regarding resurrection, the following is what I believe to be scripturally supported:

To skeptics of bodily resurrection, consider that if resurrection is an utter impossibility, then there can be no exception. On the other hand, if resurrection had taken place once, as in the case of Christ, his appearance in resurrection having been witnessed by more than five hundred brethren, then it can no longer be thought of as being an impossibility.

Death first came into the world by man. That man was Adam. He would have remained immortal, but through his sin of disobedience against God, death came upon all men. Why was Jesus sent into the world as a Man except to undo the work of the first man.Thus it was by the Man Christ Jesus that there came the resurrection of the dead.

WHAT IS THE PROOF OF RESURRECTION?

The resurrection of our LORD and Master is all the proof needed. True, a few others were supposedly “resurrected” prior to Jesus, but they were merely reanimated. They had to die again. Jesus, however, was resurrected from the dead with a glorified body, never to die again.

At Christ’s second coming those who have died with faith in Him will be raised from the dead (commonly referred to as the Rapture, “a coming in the clouds”). Those believers who will die during the Tribulation will also be raised at the end of that time of trouble. This does not include all who have ever died, however, but only those who have died with faith in Christ. LET US BE CLEAR ON THIS: All who are Christ’s will be raised at His second coming. At the end of the thousand-year reign of the Son of Man, God’s purposes on earth will have been perfectly accomplished; i.e., all things having put in subjection to the Son. His earthly reign will then give way to the eternal kingdom in heaven.

SWEET MYSTERY OF LIFE

 Just as a seed must fall into the ground and die before the plant can come forth, so too, the eternal life of man mysteriously springs forth from the dead. Just as I believe that each individual believer in Christ will be a distinct personality, recognizable in heaven as such, there will be differences of reward granted at the Judgment Seat of Christ according to one’s faithfulness in service. All will be supremely happy in heaven, but some will have greater capacity for enjoying heaven. And now the commercial enters the message: The bad news for unbelievers is that there will also be differences of suffering in hell; according to the sins that a man has committed.

O DEATH, WHERE IS THY STING?

 Death holds no terror for believers, because they know their sins have been forgiven and stand accepted by God through His beloved Son. On the other hand, if sin is on the conscience, death is terrible because it is the beginning of eternal punishment. Through faith in Him, we have victory over death and the grave; i.e., death is robbed of its sting.

In closing on the Truth of Christ and His promise of bodily resurrection and its meaning, let me quote Daniel Webster (1782-1852), one of the leading American statesmen during the nation’s Ante-bellum period: The Gospel is either true history, or it is a consummate fraud; it is either a reality or an imposition. Christ was what He professed to be, or He was an imposter. There is no other alternative.

__________________________________________________________________

 

My combination book launch and Northside HospitalForsyth auxiliary fund raiser on May 12 at the Cumming, GA Hobby Lobby was certainly a fun event. I juggled for most of two hours (before going home for a nap), while Helga and hospital auxiliary friend, Barbara Moran, talked to visitors, took photos, passed out Journey-imprinted book marks and wood case pencils . . . and wrote up book sales receipts for Journey with Outstretched Hands. I thank those who so graciously participated.

 My next big book event will be a book talk and juggling demonstration at the public library in Newton, Iowa on June 4, during my high school reunion weekend. Copies of the book continue to be available directly through me or  my web site, or through Yawn’s Publishing, the Heavenly Dove, or even online through Barnes and Noble.

 

 

Terry Dodd

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NEW DAY NEWSLETTER  SPECIAL EDITION

Be therefore Christ’s Ambassadors.            Terry Dodd, Editor

THE GREATEST LEGACY

 Anything handed down is a legacy. What do we want to survive us which would be of lasting value to those who follow, particularly with regard to our children and grandchildren? All things material break down with time. Only God does not change. And what we can permanently have of His is a relationship. Therefore the most valuable legacy we can leave for our children and grandchildren . . . and even for our friends . . .  has to do with our trust in Him.

Although Christian writing is my passion, the material product (my books) will eventually disappear, but the witness of my faith in the LORD (read that as Master of my life) and Savior will survive. Aside from loving people, what greater legacy is there than loving God?

BUT SPEAKING OF BOOKS . . .

 My new book, Journey with Outstretched Hands, has just been released by Yawn’s Publishing. Its official launch is set for May 12 (11:00 A.M.-1:30 P.M.) at the Cumming, Georgia HOBBY LOBBY. This will be a combination book signing and fund raiser for the Northside Hospital Forsyth Auxiliary (of which I am a member) in that $5.00 of every purchase at that event will be donated to the hospital auxiliary for scholarship funds and other special needs for the hospital community. I will also be doing some fun juggling demonstrations. Get there if you can. (-:

MAYBE YOU WOULD IF YOU COULD, BUT IF YOU CAN’T YOU WON’T . . .

. . . and YET, if you would still like an autographed and personalized copy, here’s how: Send a check (in my name, no cash or credit cards) for $14.99 plus $1.01 sales tax if you live in Georgia, plus $3.95 S & H to 6545 Cold Stream Dr., Cumming, GA 30040. I’ll mail your copy!

POSTTHUMOUS DEDICATION

 Sad to say, a close friend who helped me with several elements of this book, passed away on April 9, only a few days after the publisher went to press. I posthumously dedicate this book to Greg Smith, whose love of family and strong faith in the LORD will be his enduring legacy to family and friends. I was privileged to speak at his memorial in sharing some of what he meant to me and the nineteen (now eighteen) Men of the Way Bible study group:

1st Corinthians 13:8 reminds us that love never fails. I never failed to see in Greg not only his love of the LORD, but a great compassion for others. In fact, I was always struck by his personal relationship with Him whenever I observed his emotional demeanor in speaking of his many blessings from God. The really Good News is that he is safely home.

TALKING WITH GOD

 Founder of the Glad Tidings Radio Ministry, Dr. J. Allen Blair, writes about prayer needing no proof, only practice. He tells of a very successful evangelist who came to the United States some years ago. Whenever Leonard Ravenhill preached, the Holy Spirit moved upon hearts and many lives were transformed. Ravenhill attributed a large share of his success to his preaching to his companion, a red-cheeked, twinkly-eyed Irishman; not that the Irishman himself had special powers, but rather the fact that he was a man of faith who knew how to talk with God.

As Dr. Blair tells it, the audiences saw little of Irish Tom, for as sinners and backslidden Christians squirmed under the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, Tom was kneeling and talking to God in his Irish brogue in an adjacent room. Undoubtedly, Ravenhill’s messages would have been blessed without Tom’s fervent prayers, but surely not in the same measure.

The point of this is that we would worry less and be able to exercise greater faith if we were to take the time we should to wait on the LORD. We call on the LORD when we have urgent needs, but many of us have not gotten serious about the God-given privilege of prayer other than in the midst of a pressing emergency when we cry out, “God help me!”

Consider the marvelous New Testament promise we have in John 15:7, If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. NKJV.

 Terry Dodd

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NEW DAY NEWSLETTER Vol. 11-2 Mar/April 2012

Be therefore Christ’s Ambassadors.          Terry Dodd, Editor

“HOW DO I KNOW JESUS LOVES ME?”

I have been asked the above question a number of times over the past month or so by various members of the senior citizen cardio/aerobic fitness class I attend several times a week.  Such questions are prompted by the t-shirts I always wear to the workout. They are boldly screened on both the front and back with the Star of David and the words “Jesus Loves You” in its center. The shirt is a trademark product of my Hebrew Christian friend, Steve Kaplan, who takes the message of Jesus (Yeshua) to both Jews and Gentiles to and fro on earth. This past week an interesting conversation took place between myself and a Gentile acquaintance as our class assembled for the morning’s workout. It began with his question:

“WHY DO YOU WEAR THAT T-SHIRT?”

My friend then quickly posed several additional questions: “Do you especially like the shirt itself, or are you making a point? What makes you think Jesus loves me?”

I said, “The Bible tells me so.”  “How do we know that’s true?” he countered.  I answered his question with another question: “Who created man?”  “I don’t know,” he said.  “Well,” I responded, “it wasn’t himself. It was God, the Creator.”  “Oh. I might want to talk with you about that, but I don’t want to get into an argument.”

I considered that a further invitation and said, “The thing is, God didn’t leave it up to us to figure out. He gave us the skinny; first through the prophets and then through the Person of Christ.”  “How do we know that?” came the standard defense.  “The Bible tells us so. And as for the record of witnesses, they are plentiful; not merely to His birth, but to His crucifixion, His resurrection (the basis of Christianity), and even to His ascension into Heaven.”  “Well, I was baptized once because they said it was necessary to get into heaven.”

“Actually,” I said in sympathy with his comment, “baptism is not required for salvation, but it is a marker for belief. But neither a church, nor words, nor baptism will save you. Only what is in your heart, which means having a personal relationship with God. Salvation does not come through the head, but through the heart. You have to genuinely believe.”

At that point our conversation ended because the class had begun. There will be more conversations to come. On another occasion, a new Jewish acquaintance in the same class made the following comment to me in the locker room following our workout.

“MY FRIEND JUST WENT TO THE ‘FIDDLER’S GREEN’”

My friend then explained that his Irish friend had just passed away. I said, “I’m not familiar with that expression, but it’s important to know that death is not the end of life. The Bible is very explicit about that.”  I said, “You have a Bible at home, don’t you?” He said he did. I asked him to do me a favor: “Read the twelve verses of Isaiah in the Old Testament.” He said he would.

The next time I saw him I asked him if he had read the chapter. He said he had. I asked: “Who do you think those verses are referring to?” He said, “Good Jewish people.” I shook my head and smiled in saying, “No, sir. The text refers to some One, to a Person, to Him, to Yeshua (Jesus), to the Messiah.” He didn’t want to talk further at the time, which was fine with me. There will be more conversations to come.

On yet another occasion before the day’s workout had begun a different classmate whom I had never before met suddenly stopped me as I was passing her in the hallway. She said:

“NO, HE DOESN’T!

She was obviously referring to my “Jesus Loves You!” t-shirt.  I smiled at her and simply countered with, “Yes, He does.” She again said, “No, He doesn’t!” I repeated my statement once more before adding, “The Bible says so.”

She said, “Not mine! I’m Jewish.” I picked up the pace by first asking her name and then using it in saying, “He loves you as much as He does me. When you get home today, read Isaiah 53 from your own Bible and you’ll see what it has to say about the Messiah and His chosen people.” I have since been helping her by regularly collecting her exercise chair, weights, and stretch band in trying to out-love her.

SO, WHO DO YOU THINK JESUS IS?

Acts 4:12 speaks for me: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no outer name under heaven given to man by which we must be saved.” And exactly how much does God love us? John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

But wait a minute; does that mean there is no salvation through works? That is exactly what it means. We cannot save ourselves.  And why would we need to when Jesus has already done all the work. Believers are allowed to go into heaven justified (“just as if I had not sinned”) because Jesus gave up His life on earth for us. What does He want from us? He expects obedience. He wants contrition; broken heartedness for our sin; confession and repentance.

I speak to some of the above in my new book coming out sometime in April/May. The title is Journey with Outstretched Hands. It is a 275-page chronicle of my nearly two-year ministry of juggling and Christian humor delivered to assisted living facilities. During one episode, after I had packed up and was leaving, a memory care resident suddenly began running after me down a long hallway. He crashed himself and his walker into me, my equipment and a tech standing at the locked doorway. Was it merely an impulsive dash or a Steve McQueen-like attempt to break out? My fun is in the telling; yours will be in the reading.

Terry Dodd

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NEW DAY NEWSLETTER Vol. 11-1 Jan/Feb 2012

Be therefore Christ’s Ambassadors.                         Terry Dodd, Editor

RESOLUTION/PREDICTION/PROPHECY

With the coming of each New Year, many of us make certain resolutions about things we would like to happen, such as weight loss. At various times people even make predictions about certain things they either hope or think might happen (such as who will win a political nomination ). No one today, however, actually makes predictions with infallible accuracy, which is otherwise known as prophecy.

God’s Word, however, is true in everything it says. I have been blessed to have visited the Answers in Genesis display in the Creation Museum near Cincinnati which illustrates God’s truths involving prophecies fulfilled, science confirmed, and history confirmed. The following are condensed versions of a few of those truths. (Reference 2009 Answers in Genesis-USA).

PROPHECIES

FULFILLED: God warned Adam and Eve that they would die if they ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. As a result of their disobedience, they eventually died, as God said (Genesis 2:17).

FULFILLED: God warned Noah about a global Flood that would destroy the world, and it came as God said (Genesis 6:17).

FULFILLED: The prophet Isaiah promised that a ruler named Cyrus would rise to power in Persia and rebuild Jerusalem, and he did . . . more than two hundred years after Isaiah prophesied it (Isaiah 44:28).

FULFILLED: The prophet Daniel foretold the swift rise of Alexander the Great and the division of his empire into four parts, and it happened . . . two hundred fifty years later (Daniel 7:6).

FULFILLED: The Old Testament prophets made over 60 predictions about Messiah’s first coming, and all were fulfilled . . . four hundred years later in the person of Jesus of Nazareth (Micah 5:2).

FULFILLED: Over 500 Bible prophecies have already been fulfilled.

SCIENCE

CONFIRMED: The Bible claims the universe had a beginning. Philosophers and scientists rejected that claim for over 2,000 years. Now astronomers believe the universe had to have had a beginning.

CONFIRMED: The Bible claims that all humans are “one blood.” Some biologists argued that different races descended from lower animals. Today, genetics has verified that there is only one human race.

CONFIRMED: The Bible claims that God created animals “after their kind.” Since the nineteenth century, many biologists have argued that animals evolved from other, very different animals. Today, biology confirms that creatures reproduce within their own kind.

CONFIRMED: The Bible claims that God destroyed the earth in a worldwide Flood. Nineteenth-century geologists argued that rocks were formed slowly. Today, geology confirms that many rock layers were deposited catastrophically by water.

CONFIRMED: The Bible implies that most animals were buried quickly as a result of the worldwide Flood. Nineteenth century paleontologists argued that animals were buried slowly. Today, paleontology confirms that animals were buried rapidly.

CONFIRMED: The Bible claims that God created a number of human languages at the Tower of Babel “according to their families.” Nineteenth-century linguists argued that languages evolved over a long time, one by one. Today, linguists recognize languages fall into distinct “families” of recent origin.

HISTORY

CONFIRMED: Genesis mentions the Hittite people. Finding no evidence of these people outside the Bible, historians considered this an error. Then archeologists discovered the enormous Hittite capital, Hattusa, in Turkey. So the Bible was confirmed.

CONFIRMED: The Bible says that Moses wrote the Law, but many historians believed writing had not been invented at that time. Then they discovered the Code of Hammurabi, king of Babylon, written centuries before Moses. So the Bible was confirmed.

CONFIRMED: The book of Isaiah describes an Assyrian ruler named Sargon who captured Ashdod, but no other records included his name. Most historians assumed the Bible was wrong. Then Sargon’s palace was discovered in Iraq, and the capture of Ashdod was mentioned on the wall. So the Bible was confirmed.

CONFIRMED: The book of Daniel describes the fall of the last ruler of Babylon, named Belshazzar, but secular records listed Nabonidus as the last ruler. Then tablets were discovered showing that Nabonidus had made his son, Belshazzar, co-ruler of Babylon. So the Bible was confirmed.

CONFIRMED: Archeologists have criticized many details of the Bible, but as new discoveries have come to light, literally hundreds of historical details in the Bible have been confirmed.

WHO, WHAT and WHEN?

According to Hebrews 1:2, it was through Christ that God made the worlds. Thus, Christ Jesus is the active Agent in creation. It was He who brought into being the stellar heavens, the atmospheric heavens, the earth, the human race, and the divine plan of the ages.

The law was given by God through angels to Moses, and then to the people. But the Gospel was spoken directly by the LORD Jesus Himself. Not only so, it was confirmed to the early Christians by the apostles and by others who heard the Savior.

 Terry Dodd

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Vol. 10-4 July/Aug 2011                                    Terry Dodd, Editor

Be therefore Christ’s Ambassadors.

HEARING THE GOSPEL FOR THE LAST TIME

Is there really such a thing as hearing the gospel for the last time? Could this refer to the last time an unrepentant man or woman hears something of the gospel message before passing away? Of course it could. Another, deeper way of looking at this idea, however, is of those who are still alive, yet beyond hope
of repentance. What’s that all about, you say? Hebrews 6:4 refers to a class of people who had once heard of the gospel of the grace of God. In other words, they were not in the darkness concerning the way of salvation. For example, there is
Judas Iscariot who had been enlightened, but chose to reject the light.

WHAT OF THE LESSONS & MYSTERY OF THE PARABLES?

We may wonder about the purpose of Jesus having spoken in parables. The disciples, too, wondered. Jesus explained to them that His family secrets are revealed to those whose hearts are open, receptive and obedient, while deliberately hiding truth from those who reject the light given to them. Think about the tremendous privilege the Israelites and others had enjoyed. God had actually come among them in the form of Jesus the Christ, not only teaching, but performing miracles. But did they acknowledge Him as the Messiah as foretold by the prophets? No! In their rejection they would see the miracles, but be denied the light of His teachings. They would hear His words,
but not take in the lessons.

As an example, consider the parable of the kingdom of God. What is the mystery? The venerable MacDonald commentary
describes it:

  • The Lord Jesus was rejected when He offered Himself as King to Israel.
  • A period of time would intervene before the kingdom would be literally set up on earth.
  • During the interim, it would exist in spiritual form. Although the King Himself would be absent, all who acknowledge Christ as King would be in the kingdom.
  • The Word of God would be sown during the interim with varying degrees of success: Some people would come to belief,  while others would be only nominal believers. All professing believers would be in the kingdom in its outward form, but only the genuine ones would enter the
    kingdom in its inner reality.

To the point of the mystery, there are men and women who have refused the Savior and who will never again have the opportunity to repent and be forgiven. They may hear the gospel, but it falls on hardened ears and an insensible heart. Witness the five thousand whom Jesus fed with a few loaves of bread and even fewer fish. They tasted a miracle, but did not really believe in Him, and He told them so. How bad (and sad) is that? Jesus said that if they fall away (that is, after enjoying such privileges as described above) it is impossible to renew
them again to repentance. Why? Those who commit the sin of apostasy have reached the place, to quote MacDonald, “where the lights go out on the way to hell.”

APOSTASY: A STANDING AWAY FROM

Apostasy can only be committed by unbelievers who knowingly, willfully, and maliciously turn against the Lord. This does not refer to those who are deceived or who display a careless disregard of Him, such as the average unbeliever who hears the gospel but does nothing about it. Nor does it apply to the backslider who had wandered far from Christ. The Bible tells us that the one can still be saved if he will commit himself to the Savior, and the other can be restored to full fellowship as soon as he confesses and forsakes his sin. No! Apostasy indicates a positive betrayal of Him, a joining of forces against Him, and a ridiculing of His person and work.

I have asked myself this personal question:  Between the ages of 18 and 58, was I in unbelief or was I merely backsliding? Understand that between the ages of eight and 18 I regularly heard the gospel, but had no personal prayer life beyond irregular, rote prayers.  Yes, I participated in corporate prayer, and even had my infant christening confirmed at age 12, but knowing about Jesus is not the same as having a personal relationship with Him.

Oddly, during the next 20 years, had I been asked if I was a Christian, I would have answered yes, without knowing what
that really meant. Worse, for the 20 years following that period I wandered so far from the Lord that I finally viewed myself as never having known Him. But I was seeking to fill the void in my
life. It was not until He revealed Himself to me at age 58 that I discovered what was missing in my life. I truly repented of my sins and unbelief, asking for forgiveness and accepting Christ into my heart as my Lord and Savior.

The notion of hearing the gospel for the last time certainly has to do with the wayside soil and the stony ground, but also with the degree of fruitfulness of the good ground. As Jesus so eloquently points out, productivity of the good ground for some bears thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred. If we are faithful in sharing the truth with others, then will not God reveal new and deeper truths to us, as He did with the twelve? But what we don’t use, we lose.

Terry Dodd

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Vol. 10-2, Mar/Apr, 2011

Be therefore Christ’s Ambassadors.

This is the tenth anniversary of the New Day Newsletter, which is a bi-monthly Christian publication, usually two pages in length, but always without subscription charge. Read it here and/or send us your e-mail address for automatic inclsion as part of a list provided to no other source.

WHAT TO DO IN THE FACE OF EXHAUSTING RESOURCES?

No, I am not referring to one’s dwindled 401K or the homeowner’s real estate depreciation, but to the political and spiritual bondage that continues to overflow this country’s heritage. This time is not totally unlike the desperate setting which preceded God’s breaking His four hundred years of silence with the announcement of the coming of Christ.

I don’t have any big-picture solutions, but I do know of one resource each of those of us who believe in the faithful Servant of the LORD can exhaust in addressing this national spiritual bondage: the changing of our own hearts.

In the book of Matthew, the Lord Jesus presents conclusive evidence to the nation of Israel that He was indeed the Messiah. The changing of one’s heart—then and now—is the key to accepting Christ’s message intended for everyone.

The Believer’s Bible Commentary explains what happened 2,000 years ago as succinctly as anything I have ever read: Isaiah, for example, had foretold that Messiah would open the eyes of the blind, unstop the ears of the deaf, heal the lame and make the mute sing (Isa. 35:5,6).

Jesus, by fulfilling all these prophecies, proved that He was the Messiah. Israel, by referring to her Scriptures should have had no difficulty in identifying Him as the Christ. What had happened? None are so blind as those who will not see. Is our country today so different in this respect?

Out of the LORD’s grace in providing for the continuation of the tenth year of this newsletter, I am humbled to point to two ministries He has shown me to pour my efforts into this past year, plus our exciting new Web site.

JUGGLING FOR JESUS

This juggling-and-humor-in-Christian ministry has just seen the completion of its fifth 45-minute senior living facility performance. I thank my wife Helga for assisting me in myriad small ways, as well as being ever-encouraging concerning the bigger picture. Although this “act” would never make it on America’s Got Talent, senior audiences have the much-needed grace to forgive skill-mistakes. And grace, of course, is what the Juggling for Jesus ministry is all about: a visually interesting and engaging Christian message of encouragement in and appreciation of life.

WHY DOES ANYONE  WRITE THESE DAYS?

It isn’t to make money! My pastor, Dr. Richard Lee, general editor of The Patriot’s Bible and nearly 20 other books, is quoted as saying: “You’re not going to get rich writing. Oh, if you write a Left Behind book, you’ll get rich. But if you don’t, you’ll only get left behind.” 🙂 Although I would have no objection to recovering costs, I write out of sheer enjoyment and out of what I believe is a calling to write about the LORD, our God.

UNTO THE HEAVENS

The second ministry, and one which I unashamedly promote in this issue of the newsletter, is the upcoming release of Unto the Heavens, the third stand-alone Christian novel of my sci-fi Gam’man Trilogy. Unto the Heavens follows Ultimate Encounter (2003), which followed Uncommon Influence (1994), these being the adventures of one Gam’man, Earth’s only resident extraterrestrial.

Why would a Christian want to read Unto the Heavens, a science-fiction story by a Christian author who does not believe in extraterrestrial life? Because, as Dr. Jason Lisle, Science Editor, Answers In Genesis-USA, puts it, “As a plot device, fictional extraterrestrials allow for exploration of the human condition from the perspective of an outsider.”

In this metaphor for Earth’s own evils and rejection of the Gospel, how would a faithful few fare against the minions loosed by Lucifre, given that Christ’s First Coming had not yet occurred on the planet Jun’or?

Terry Dodd