Pages

What is Christian Apologetcs and Why It Matters and How Do We Apply It?

Apologetics is defined as follows in the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary as of 5/23/2019:
1.  "systematic argumentative discourse (see DISCOURSE entry 1 sense 2a) in defense (as of a doctrine)"
2.  "a branch of theology devoted to the defense of the divine origin and authority of Christianity"

The term is from the Greek word used in 1 Peter 3:15 ἀπολογίαν, which is generally translated as "a defense."  From the English Standard Version of the Bible, the verse is translated to English as follows: "but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,"

Many people are afraid to witness for the sake of Jesus Christ.  They are afraid they will offend someone or that they will not know what to say.  Below, I've written some information to help you know what to say to help others understand how important salvation through Jesus Christ is.  Reading your Bible daily will help you to know the works of God.  Studying apologetics will help you prepare for further questions.



Our personal relationship with God, the Father, makes it imperative that we share the Good News of Jesus Christ at all times.  God desires that none should perish (suffer eternal death and damnation apart from Him), but that all should have everlasting life.  This requires faith in Jesus Christ.  How can people come to faith if they have not heard?  This is OUR job as Christians - ALL OF US.  To say nothing for fear of insulting someone is to potentially condemn for all eternity.  Our eternal lives are what matter above that of our temporal lives on earth.  Please take forty minutes from your day to watch this video.  I believe it will inspire you and help you to grasp the priorities God sets before us and the means to begin the work we are all to do of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with others.  Remember, when others are offended for the sake of Christ, He told us in the Gospel of Matthew to expect this.

How does one give a defense of their faith? One starts with knowing the reason for one's faith.  Our faith is not based on a feeling, but in knowing that God loved us and sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ to be born, live, suffer, die, and rise again to conquer sin and death in order that we may be reconciled to God where sin separated us from Him.  What did God do for us? His works are listed throughout the Bible.  The most important of which is summarized in John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life."

The gospel of this is: God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to save us because He loved us. The law of this: to receive this salvation, we must believe in Jesus Christ as Lord (master) and savior, not simply that He existed, but that He died and rose again to save us from our sins.

John 3:17-18 continue: "For God sent not His son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  He that believeth in Him is not condemned, but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only Son of God."

Why do we need the salvation through Jesus Christ?  As stated in Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God," yet in Romans 5:8, we see God's love for us in the verse, "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

What is required for salvation? Romans 10:9 states, "For if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart, that God raised him up from the dead, thou shalt be saved:"

Why are we as Christians supposed to do this? Isn't this "the pastor's" job? No, it is all of our job as Christians.  When reading 1 Peter 3:15, the "your" and "you," this is for ALL BELIEVERS. We are all called to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Jesus taught in Matthew 28:19-20 "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen."  In the Greek, the imperative is not "go," but "teach," or rather "make disciples  It could be stated, "Make disciples of all nations by going and baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost."

Furthermore, Jesus' last commandment recorded in Acts 1:8 just prior to His ascension to Heaven was, "... ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."

It will come down to your personal testimony, as well.  Not how you "feel," but how you know Jesus Christ to be present in your life.

Remember, God's Word will not return to Him void (Isaiah 55:11).  May God bless you as you reach other's for His sake through His Son, Jesus Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Christian Terminology

For those new to words commonly used in Christian faith, here are some words you may hear or come across in reading various translations of the Bible: Perhaps as an evangelist or apologist you may have the opportunity to help someone outside the Christian faith understand these terms.

Bible: A collection of God-inspired, God-breathed, writings that record God's work from creation  through the time of the first-generation apostles of Jesus Christ and the first century church whom they taught.

Gospel:  Good News

Angel Messenger (of God), but the root word means messenger.

Evangelist:  A messenger with the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Testament:  A covenant or promise.  The "Old Testament" (Hebrew Bible) is the promise made between God and the Israelite people which foreshadowed the coming of a Messiah.  The New Testament is the writings of the disciples, apostles, and their disciples, e.g. Luke, who give testimony of the coming of Jesus Christ and his death and resurrection.  It also includes letters written to the early churches.

Messiah:  A Hebrew word that means "anointed one."  In Greek, that is translated to Christ.  This is the one promised to the Hebrew people as their savior and redeemer.  Isaiah 53 is an example of the prophecy of the coming messiah.

Epistle:  A letter written to a person or assembly of people to further aid in instruction and teaching of God's work through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, as well as instruction on behaviors acceptable and unacceptable as Christians.

Disciple:  A student, from the Latin, discipulus. In this context, a student of Jesus Christ specifically, as those who heard and followed His teachings directly and those subsequently who were taught by Jesus' disciples and those of us today who are disciples of God's Holy Word, the Bible.

Apostle: A disciple of Jesus Christ who saw Him after He arose from the dead.  These apostles included more than the 11 remaining closest disciples who traveled with him. There had been 120 disciples in the upper room praying on the day of Pentecost

Sanctify, sanctification, sanctified: At the root of this is the word that we translate as "holy." By this we mean set apart, different from others, like God Himself.

Saint:  A saint is one who is a believer, one who is being sanctified or who has died as a believer.

Reconcile: to be rejoined to one from whom one had previously been separated.

Sin:  missing the mark - as shooting an arrow at a target.  In this context, we aim to be like God in His traits and in doing His will.  However, we miss the mark.  We fall short.

Justified:  a common way to explain this is "just as if I'd" never sinned against God.

Redeem, redeemed: to be bought for a price as one would pay to buy a slave to set him free.

Atonement: Paying off a debt.  This is often described as "at one ment." Through Jesus' taking on all our sins through His suffering and death on the cross, though He was Himself innocent of any sin. He paid for all our sins.  The blood sacrifice required for our sins was paid for once and for all through Jesus' atonement for our sins.

Righteous, righteousness: being right with God, aligning oneself with God and God's standard.

Begotten: to be born through a natural process, distinct from being spoken or molded into being.

Church (Greek - ἐκκλησίαν): assembly - an assembly of believers, not the building in which they meet.  The Greek word sounds like "ekklesia" and is the word from which the Spanish derive their word iglesia.

Salvation, saved, being saved: This is the ongoing process by which Christians grow toward the Creation God designed us to be through our faith in Jesus Christ and following His commands such that when Jesus Christ comes again, those believers will be raised with Him and are promised eternal life.  The converse of this is eternal damnation by which those who do not believe are condemned to eternal suffering.

Soul: An eternal component of our being given to us by God.  While our bodies die, our souls are everlasting and through our faith or lack thereof in this physical life will determine our soul's eternal state of saved or damned for all eternity.

Pentecost:  50 days after Passover on which day the  giving of God's Law to Moses was celebrated and offerings of the first fruits were brought to the temple, hence the large number of Jews from all over who had returned to Jerusalem for the celebration in Acts 2. In Hebrew, it is known as Shavuot. In Christianity, this day represents the day that the apostles received the Holy Spirit.  From that day on, they used the Holy Spirit's guidance to discern God's will through the Scriptures (Old Testament writings at first and gradually writings from the apostles), as opposed to casting lots to discern God's will and judgment.

Passover:  A memorial celebration by the Jewish people to recall the trials they had suffered as slaves in Egypt and God's faithfulness in rescuing them from slavery and ultimately in bringing the Israelites into the Promised Land of Canaan.  When God rescued His people from Egypt, He told the Jewish people to eat a feast of lamb and unleavened bread and use the blood from the ram on the doorposts of their home.  All who had this blood on their doorposts survived, but the first born sons of the Egyptians who did not died.  This caused Pharaoh to set the Jews free.  Read more of that account in Exodus 12.

The Thursday of the Passover feast was when Jesus met with his disciples to have this "Last Supper" before they went to the Garden of Olives for him to pray and his disciples to keep watch, though they fell asleep.  In the early hours of Friday morning, he was captured and taken to trial, ultimately beaten, crucified, and died by 3:00 p.m. on Friday.  Joseph of Arimathea had a tomb he had had built for himself, but went to Pilate, the governor of Judea, to ask if he could remove him from the cross before sundown that began the Sabbath - a holy day each week commanded by God as a day of rest on the seventh day of the week (Friday evening through Saturday).  Joseph of Arimathea with Nicodemus' help put Jesus in his own tomb and blocked it with a heavy stone.  On the first day of the week, Sunday, Jesus arose from the grave giving us Resurrection Sunday.  We celebrate each Sunday in worship as a mini-resurrection Sunday - a reminder that Jesus Christ is risen from the dead and is alive with God and within us through the Holy Spirit.  Read more of the gospel accounts of this here.

Martyr, martyrdom:  The original meaning of this word was simply, "witness," one who witnessed Christ's death and resurrection or one who witnessed or attested to these.  As these witnesses were often executed, the meaning changed to mean one who suffered or was executed for that faith.

Some words that are used in the video:

Unitarian -  In this belief, God is one, alone.  Jesus and the Holy Spirit are not persons and aspects of God and are subordinate to God  There is no Holy Trinity.

Triune God, Holy Trinity, The Trinity: An understanding that God is one and three.  That He is simultaneously one God in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and that none is subordinate to the other.

Contend;  To fight for something, in this case our faith, with all one's might.

Why It Is Good to Have a Child Just Like YOU

My youngest child, Sweet Pea, who is twelve is just like me in so many ways.  There are ways that she is not like me that are wonderful, too.  She has always been a sharing, giving, helpful child.  She has a great sense of humor and loves to make people she loves laugh.  She hates to see anyone be sad.  She loves hugs and cuddling.  I've had to explain that some people are not huggers, so she needs to ask if she can give them a  She still loves to scrub floors - one of my favorite things to do when I was little. She loves to cook and experiment in the kitchen - taking a recipe and coming up with something new - and often better - than the original.  She takes up for people who she feels are being wronged and will stand up to most anyone to defend others.  Even when that person is me and I'm getting on to big sister for doing Sweet Pea wrong, Sweet Pea will come to big sister's aid.  I love that about her.



Even so, there are the personality quirks that are just like mine that are ones I wish she did not get.  She has mastered the eye roll.  She cannot hide how she feels - happy, disappointed, sad, angry - she wears all that on her face.  A friend kept her for a week while I was taking care of my dad.  The girls along with her daughter were going to a community activity each day that week.  She commented to me after the week, "I saw that look.  I didn't know whether to reprimand her or congratulate her on already mastering 'The Mom' look." I was laughing and shaking my head at the same time. That girl! Goodness!

A couple of weeks ago, she did one of those attitude things that 'tweens and teens have been known to do that got on my last nerve quickly.  After I reprimanded her, I was flooded with memories of times I had that same attitude with my own mom and did not comprehend at the time how truly annoying it was.  No wonder it drove Mom nuts.  I went in straight away, called Mom, told her what happened, and said, "I know I did that when I was her age.  I had NO IDEA how annoying that was - until now. I am SO sorry."  She laughed.  We talked more.  She later sent me a text that read, "I'm not sure I told you this when we were talking.  I forgive you."

Of course as moms, we forgive our children.  We have the example of a loving heavenly father who does just that for us.  That being said, I think it is good to be both Mom and Daughter.  I am fifty years old and I just called my mom to apologize for things I did 35 years ago.  It was still good to do.  It reminds me of how much I appreciate my own mom.  I think it helps my mom know that I appreciate her, too, even more as I get older with my own children and grandchildren.  That's why I think when God gives us a child that is very much like ourselves, both the good and the bad, it reminds us to:

  1. Be careful in our correction of our child's behavior.  It helps my daughter when I correct her about these things that got me in trouble when I was younger to know that the apple didn't fall far from the tree, bless her heart.  I know what it's like, which is the reason I am correcting her so she can be mindful of those attitudes to start making corrections now so they don't come back to get her in trouble as an adult.  (That eye roll thing was a doozy for me to work on as an adult.)
  2. Repent of our past behaviors that we did not recognize at the time - both to God and to the one(s) to whom we exhibited those attitudes when we were children - especially our hard-working, long-suffering mothers. God bless them.
  3. Be grateful for God's love and forgiveness of us and reside in the joy and peace He alone can give us.  That includes the peace of knowing that God loved us and helped us through those times and He loves our children just as much.  He will guide and help them - and us - as we draw closer to Him each day.
  4. It also allows us to draw closer to our own loving parents to remind them of God's love for them and that their hard work was worth all the effort, tears, and frustration that came along with the pride, joy, and laughter, but was sometimes not in balance depending on the stage of life we were in.
To be honest, I cannot even recall what my daughter did that day that annoyed me.  The slate is clean.  What I do recall is how much I love her, how grateful I am to Mom, and how much I love God for loving me enough to love me through all of those times and that He continues to seek after me.  Thank God for giving me a loving mom, even though my personality was not like hers, she loved me anyway. God is good all the time.

Gluten-free, Low-carb Jalapeno Popper Appetizers

My daughter was an eager taste-tester.
These were not too spicy for her.
I am always looking for delicious appetizers as we love to entertain. I saw a Facebook post of some jalapeno poppers using wonton wrappers. I posted in a group I'm in for low-carb, gluten-free, tasty suggestions. What was the suggested solution? Why BACON, of course! I'm so grateful for a Facebook acquaintance who gave me the suggestion.



The video had no recipe, so I winged it and added a few touches of my own and made

Gluten-free, Low-carb, Jalapeno Popper Appetizers

Make these as soon as you can.  You will be so glad you did!

Supplies and Preparation:

Cutting board
Sharp knife or kitchen scissors
Mixing bowl
Mixing spoon
Mini muffin tin
Cookie sheet
Bowl to drain grease

Two tablespoons

Preheat oven to 350* F

Ingredients:

Cup:
6 strips of bacon, cut into 1/4ths (about 2" long each)
Filling:
3 ounces cream cheese or Neufchatel
1/4 cup sour cream
1 ounce cheddar cheese, shredded, plus additional for topping
1 teaspoon ranch dressing mix
2-3 Tablespoons scallions (green onions) cut into 1/8" rounds (optional, to taste)
2 large jalapenos cut into 1/8" dice, or smaller if desired, removing seeds and ribs. (optional).


The finished Jalapeno Popper Appetizers.
They are so good, they may not make it to the plate!

Procedure:

Making the cups:

Put 2 slices of bacon in each muffin tin to form an "x." Make sure to push pieces into the tins and that no excess hangs off the sides.
Put cookie sheet on bottom rack of oven.
Place muffin tin on the middle rack.
Bake at 350* F for about 25 minutes. (This will vary depending on the thickness of the bacon you use. I used a medium-thick cut of bacon this time.) You want the bacon to be close to crisp for this.

When cooked, pour grease into a glass or ceramic bowl to make it easier to drain the bacon without making a mess. Pour the grease into your bacon grease container.

You can refrigerate to use later or continue with the recipe to enjoy now.

Filling:

Combine the remaining ingredients in the mixing bowl while the bacon is cooking if using immediately. You can also make ahead, cover, and refrigerate a day or two ahead.

Using about a serving tablespoon per muffin cup. I used two tablespoons, with one to scrape the mixture from the tablespoon I scooped it into the muffin cups. If there is any left, divide it among the muffin cups, or give a bite to your spouse - or yourself. :-)

Return the muffin tin to the oven. Bake at 350* F for 15 minutes. Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes. This helps everything to hold together well to make an easier finger food. I used a fork to go around the perimeter of the popper cups to make it easier to get them out in tact.

Serve as is or with a little ranch dressing on the side.

Makes: 12 cups
Serving Size: 3 cups
Number of Servings: 4, though it could be made to be 6 if necessary
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: ~40 minutes (25 minutes + 15 minutes)
Rest Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Calories and fat content depend on the thickness of bacon used and if traditional cream cheese or Neufchatel is used.

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

After my husband and I married, one of the things our younger son and I enjoyed doing together was cooking. This was the dish we made together for all the family for his high school graduation.  This is one of his favorite, go-to recipes to make for friends and loved ones: Chicken Enchilada Casserole.

Made in a 9" x  9" casserole in this picture


Ingredients: 

Frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts (3 large ones usually are about right)
2 pkg shredded Velveeta cheese
Shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese
14 oz can of Ro-Tel or store brand tomatoes and chilis
1-2 sm cans of diced Hatch pepper chilis (optional)
Corn tortillas (18 for a 9x13 pan, 12 for a 9x9 pan) (extra if you want to make homemade chips to go with them
1/2 large Onion, chopped
Ground cumin
Oregano
Dried cilantro
Garlic powder
Salt
Pepper
Fresh Cilantro (optional)
Sour cream (optional)

Supplies

 Dutch oven or stew pot with a lid. Fill container about half full of water.
Tongs
Knife
Fork
Cutting board
9x13" or 9x9" casserole dish
Ladle

Directions

Turn water in pot on high to boil.
Add: Coating of garlic powder 2-3 Tbs cumin 2 tsp salt 1/2 tsp pepper 1 Tbs oregano 1 - 2 Tbs cilantro 1 can of Ro-Tel 1 can of diced chilis
Cover pot and let boil.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (if baking the same day).
When water begins to boil, reduce to medium-high heat and add frozen chicken.
Cover. Set timer for 20 minutes.
When it begins to boil again, reduce heat to Low and simmer for remaining time.
Leave on Low until after the casserole is completely assembled.
Remove chicken from broth to cutting board. Dice chicken.
Use tongs to quickly (1 sec) dip the tortillas into the broth for first layer.
Add chicken.
Sprinkle Velveeta cheese and onion
Use some of the 2nd can (if using) of diced chilis
Use ladle to take some of the broth broth with some of the tomatoes and peppers from the pot to drizzle over the mixture. This will slightly melt the cheese.
Repeat for second layer.
 Dip last layer of tortillas in broth.
Top with cheddar or Mexican blend cheese and onions
Use last of the 2nd can of diced chilis
Drizzle broth including some tomatoes and peppers over the top.
If possible, let sit in the refrigerator overnight.
Bake in 350 oven for 30 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes after baking.
Top the enchiladas with cilantro, sour cream, or jalapenos, if desired.
Serve with your favorite side dishes, refried or black beans,
Tex-Mex or Spanish rice,
guacamole and tortilla chips - or our healthy option - jicama chips with salt and lime

Slice and serve. with fresh cilantro and / or sour cream as desired.

Critical Data Hack - Were You Exposed?

According to MSN's Money web site, over 770 million email accounts have been breached along with passwords.  I personally have followed the link to find that some of my information, was among some of the largest leaks and one was critical.

I am taking action and changing account information on those that have been compromised immediately.

I highly recommend using the insights they provided to find if your data was leaked and from where so you can also take corrective measures right away.  To find out if your email address and/or password were hacked, go to: https://haveibeenpwned.com/.  This page lets you check your email address first.  Next, you can select the tab "Passwords" to find out if your passwords were compromised.

If you find that your data was leaked, you can scroll down a bit and discover from where it was leaked and what level of information was included in the leak.  It could be simply an email address or worse, an email address with a password, or other more serious information like address, family information, and so forth.

To give you an idea of if you might been part of a leak, if you had any of the following types of accounts: Bitly, Disqus, Forbes, LinkedIn, and more.  However, the leak referred to in this instance with the 770 million plus accounts exposed is called Collection #1.  This leak is an compilation of over 2000 previous leaks.

What action can you take:
  • If your passwords were compromised, change them to very strong passwords immediately and don't reuse the compromised passwords for anything.  
  • If your email address was compromised, find a new one and treat it like you would if you had to change your phone number: Contact those people who need to contact you and give them your new information and omit the others.
  • Write your passwords for your accounts in a book that you keep in a safe or safe deposit box. This way you know what they are.  Paper in your home safe or in a bank's safe deposit box cannot be hacked.  (If someone did break in to either to steal information, you would also know right away unlike with hacked data.) Doing this is also important should anything happen and you were to die so that your family can get all your accounts squared away that need to be.
I cannot recommend the password managers recommended on this site as I do not have enough information about them.  Furthermore, Any online that can store your password can ultimately be hacked - and those that are known to store crucial information of that sort are the ones most likely to be targeted by hackers.


Why We Homeschool – A Reminder of Our Purpose and Calling


There are days when we, as homeschoolers, wonder if we are doing the right thing.  We each have a time when we re-evaluate this choice for any number of reasons.  Sometimes it’s just a hard day.  Sometimes it is a hard season in life.  I want to encourage you in this journey.

We do this because we love our children more than anyone else does and even though they push us, that “pushing” results in growth in us.  We grow in patience, kindness, meekness (strength under control – God’s control), mercy, forgiveness, and the ability to confess our failures and shortcomings as examples to our children when we do not exhibit these fruits.
Our children are God’s instruments to help us grow in knowledge, understanding and love for Him.  This is just what we do for our children.  Just as we "push" (challenge) them to try new things, not give up on hard things, be diligent, thorough, work on communication skills, learn life skills, do jobs completely rather than half-way, integrity, honesty, compassion - so much more than reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic.
We are creating people who will be kingdom people even as we strive for that goal ourselves each day. We fail, we confess, God picks us up, dusts us off - and sometimes dusts our pants because we need it, and loves us - and through watching us, our children learn these things.
It's not how many times they fail, or we fail, it's how many times we reach out to God for help and knowing we have a faithful, loving, Heavenly Father to help guide them and us to be the people he has in mind for us to be.
I'm sharing this as a print-out that you can put on your refrigerator, above your desk, or wherever you need this  to remind you - and for me to remind myself - of our higher purpose and calling in this adventure.  God bless you today and always! - Tammy