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Do the Gospels Contradict One Another?

We are kicking off a “Summer of Answers” here on Blessing & Truth. Which means we’re going to be asking and answering some of the most popular questions people have on the topics of the Bible, money, and prophecy. Believe me, I’m not going to be sitting here in the comfort of my home office and giving you what I think might be the best answers to your questions. No, I’m going to be culling expert advice from guys like Hank Hanegraaff, Dave Ramsey, and David Jeremiah. Not bad guys to have at your beck and call, right?

So…where to begin? Well, here’s a question from Gloria in Dubuque, IA. (Not really, but I thought it’d sound better than, “Here’s one I like!”)

Q: Do the Gospel accounts contradict one another?
A: Good question. Hanegraaff answers, “One of the most frequently cited alleged contradictions involves the female discoverers of the empty tomb… It’s first helpful to point out that the Gospels are complementary rather than contradictory. If John had stipulated that Mary Magdalene was the only female to discover the empty tomb while the other gospels claimed that more than one woman was involved, we would be faced with an obvious contradiction. Instead, the complementary details provided by the four gospel writers simply serve to flesh out the rest of the story.

Hanegraaff also states that if each of the gospel writers presented secondary details in exactly the same manner, critics would dismiss their accounts on the basis of collusion. Instead, the Gospels provide unique yet mutually consistent perspectives on the events surrounding the empty tomb.

The gospel accounts are clearly complementary, according to Hanegraaff; a consensus of credible scholarship considers the core set of facts presented by the gospel writers to be authentic and reliable; and the unique perspectives provided by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John preclude the possibility of collusion.

(I had to look up the word “collusion” to know what he meant. And basically, two or more people acting in “collusion” will try to tell the same story in order to trick or defraud someone, to misrepresent the truth.)

This answer was taken from the Collector’s Edition of the “Complete Bible Answer Book,” by Hank Hanegraaff. Next up? Sandy from Miskaugen, WI (I don’t think that’s even a real city…) asks “When is it too late to start saving for retirement?”

Do you have a question you’d like an answer for? Please send me a comment below and I’ll consult the experts on your behalf!

Hope you have a week filled with Blessing & Truth!
Mark

Gratitude Will Change Your Life!

I’m a huge fan of gratitude. It’s kind of my theme word, if I were to have one. Sarah Young wrote a great line in today’s entry from “Jesus Calling.” She said (in God’s voice): “Gratitude enables you to perceive Me more clearly and to rejoice in our Love-relationship.”

Awesome, right? How can you be truly grateful and still hold onto expectations of what you think you deserve to receive? You can’t live your life fueled by gratitude and still be arrogant and selfish. Here are some ideas of how I think gratitude changes a person.

1) Gratitude Makes A Person Happy
You can’t say thank you and really mean it without having a smile on your face. I dare you to try it! Of course, if you don’t really mean it you won’t have to smile. The truth is, it’s impossible to be grateful and unhappy. Unhappy people are driven by fear, bitterness and misery. Happy people are driven by gratitude.

2) Gratitude Makes A Person Humble
Saying thank you reveals the inner thoughts: “I’m not the source of this blessing. It came from somewhere outside of me. It’s not my fault this good thing happened.” It gives credit where credit is due. A lack of humility says: “I did it, I’m responsible for this.” Gratitude continually points at others, and God, instead of yourself.

3) Gratitude Makes A Person Hopeful
Similar to how an optimistic person is always looking for the good in things, a grateful person is always looking for the blessing in things. Every person you meet and every circumstance you encounter is an opportunity to be blessed. Everyday is a new opportunity for something beautiful to happen. It’s an opportunity to rejoice in your Love-relationship with God, as Sarah Young puts it. I love how Eugene Peterson writes it in Romans 8:15 of the Message saying life as a grateful person is “adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike ‘what’s next, Papa?’ kind of attitude.” A grateful person lives hopeful of continued blessings.

I’m curious how you think gratitude changes a person? I look forward to hearing from you…
MARK

What Makes A Hero?

The end of spring, beginning of summer, is always a huge time for sports. With the end of hockey and basketball, baseball getting into full swing, and of course, the recent excitement over soccer’s World Cup, the world is watching sports—and its players. I’ve always been fascinated to get to know some of my favorite players, especially if they are believers. That’s why I found the book “True Heroes of Sports” to be so interesting. It’s a collection of inspiring essays about different athletes and coaches, and what makes them tick.

The book talks about how being a hero is more than just about athletic ability, it’s that something more that only a few possess. It has to do with character, integrity, perseverance, and discipline. To me, it’s about heart.

I’m a big baseball fan, so I immediately flipped to the chapter about St. Louis Cardinals all-star, Albert Pujols. It talks about how he became a Christian following his wife’s lead. And his conversion gave him a profound sense of thankfulness and helps him keep perspective in the midst of his great success.

“The Lord gave me this talent and ability to be in this position,” Pujols says of his faith. “If it wasn’t for Him, I don’t think I would have been here today. Everything we have right now comes from the Lord. All the credit for the success I’ve had with the Cardinals is going to Him, every single at bat.”

“I think there are some people who look at me and say, ‘Oh man, you are awesome,’ They look at me like that, and I say, ‘Hey, I’m trying to follow my Lord Jesus.’ That’s who I’m trying to represent every day I step on the field when I cross the line. I know there are 35,000 – 45,000 people watching me play, but at the end I’m only playing for the Lord.”

A great man, with a great story. And a fantastic book for any sports lover in your life.

Blessings on you, as you swing for the fences!

Mark

Need A Little Patience Today?

Thanks so much for visiting our blog! We hope it’s a place of blessing, truth and encouragement for your week. Set your bookmark and come back often to see what we’re up to!

Have you had a chance yet to read any of Sarah Young’s “Jesus Calling?” This is an amazing devotional that is changing the way people hear from God. Yes, it’s really that profound! I believe it’s because Sarah wrote her devotionals in the voice of God, so what you read is like God’s speaking right at you, usually about something you need to hear! Don’t you love how it works that way, that whenever you’re going through something in particular, God always finds a way to speak right to your heart? God knows the innermost workings of your heart. The things you would never think about telling another person. He knows. And he cares.

For example, the word of the day, week, or even month for me right now is….patience. I know, it probably is for you too! Check out what Sarah wrote for us to hear from God from the June 21st entry:

Wait patiently with Me while I bless you. Don’t rush into My Presence with time-consciousness gnawing at your mind. I dwell in timelessness: I am, I was, I will always be. For you, time is a protection; you’re a frail creature who can handle only twenty-four-hour segments of life. Time can also be a tyrant, ticking away relentlessly in your mind. Learn to master time, or it will be your master.

Though you are a time-bound creature, seek to meet Me in timelessness. As you focus on My Presence, the demands of time and tasks will diminish. I will bless you and keep you, making My Face shine upon you graciously, giving you Peace.

It’s this kind of beautiful, inspirational writing that continues to set me right, restoring my focus on Jesus, the ultimate source of life.

Blessings to you!

MARK

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