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People often write to me to ask "How can I become a Christian?"
"How can I form a close relationship with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit?"
"Is Jesus the only way?"
I answer by telling them how I personally established a relationship with each member of the Holy Trinity, and how I maintain that relationship by talking to God the Father everyday through prayers said in Jesus' name. I don't pray to Jesus directly because the Bible says to pray only to God the Father, and to do it in Jesus' name. It doesn't tell us to pray to Jesus, to angels, to Mary, to dead relatives, or to the Holy Spirit.
Given that I've learned through my former experiences in the occult in the form of spirit guides, and through subsequent work with victims of demonic harassment that there are demonic spirits who have adopted the names Jesus and holy spirit, and they are who answer prayers that are said to these two members of the Holy Trinity, if I have something I want to say to Jesus or the Holy Spirit. I tell God about it and ask him, if it be His will, to pass the message on.
I have no way of knowing whether or not God does this, and don't suppose I'll know till I'm in Heaven. But by doing this, it satisfies my need to talk to Jesus and the Holy Spirit. An example of one of my prayers of this type might be "Father, in Heaven, I thank you for sending your son Jesus to be our redeemer. If it be your will, please tell Him that I love Him and that I'm grateful for all He has done." Another example would be, "Father, in Heaven, I need the Holy Spirit to give me insight into how to answer the questions this person who sent me an e-mail has asked. Thank you in advance, and I ask you to please thank the Holy Spirit for any insight He chooses to give me. In Jesus' name, amen."
When people ask me how I can worship a God who gives us only one choice of how to get to Heaven, I reply that one choice is all we need. If there's only one way, why would I search for alternative ways?
When a parent tells a child this is the only way that a particular thing can be done, and if the child refuses to do it this way he won't achieve what he's trying to do, in a healthy family situation, the child will trust the parent and believe the parent is telling the truth. As a result of this belief, he will do what the parent said. If the child, on the other hand, is rebellious and tries to do things another way, he will not achieve his goal, and will hopefully learn from this experience.
Viewing this from a different perspective with God as the parent and us as the children, if we choose an alternative method ( one other than the one God has given us for getting to Heaven) and we die, there's no chance to learn from this experience. Our life will be over, and we will not have gone to Heaven.
When people ask me how I can be sure that Jesus is who He claimed to be, I refer to the research of Josh McDowell and Lee Strobel as presented in their books More Than a Carpenter and A Case For Christ. I don't have to do the research, because these two men have done it for me. But even beyond what I gleaned from their books, I know these things personally from my experiences working with victims of demonic harassment from around the world.
In my work with harassment victims, I've done cast aways in Jesus' name of literally thousands of demons. To me, the proof that Jesus is who He claimed to be, is clearly underscored by the fact that when addressed (by a Christian) in the name of Jesus, the demons have left! In the case of over thirty thousand cast aways, when I've told harassing demons in Jesus' name to admit they were defeated when Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected, the demons have replied, "We admit we were defeated when Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected." Sometimes they've gone on to say they hate me, they hate Jesus, or they hate the Holy Spirit. But that's just bravado and is basically irrelevant. What counts is that they have admitted defeat when commanded to do so in Jesus' name. And when commanded in Jesus' name to go, they've left! (Thank you, Father!!)
For those of you who require further proof that Jesus is the Christ, the messiah, the redeemer, and the son of God, here are some quotes taken from Josh McDowell's More Than a Carpenter, and Lee Strobel's A Case for Chritst:
More Than a Carpenter is available in both Kindle and paperback form through Amazon.
Quotes from More Than a Carpenter
P.33 "Scientific proof is based on showing that something is a fact by repeating the event in the presence of the person questioning the fact...Testing the truth of an hypothesis by the use of controlled experiments is one of the key techniques of the modern scientific method."
P. 34 "The other method of proof...is based on showing that something is a fact beyond a reasonable doubt. In other words, we reach a verdict on the weight of the evidence...P. 45 "When it comes to the manuscript authority of the New Testament, the abundance of material is truly remarkable in contrast to the manuscript availability in other classic texts...More then twenty thousand copies of New Testament manuscripts are in existence as of 2004."
P. 47: "The New Testament accounts of the life and teaching of Jesus were recorded by men who had been either eye witnesses themselves or who related the accounts of eye witnesses of the actual events or teachings of Christ.
PP. 48-49: "2nd Peter 1:16 We were not making up clever stories when we told you about the power of our lord Jesus Christ and His coming again. We have seen His majestic splendor with our own eyes. 1 John 1:3 "We are telling you about what we ourselves have actually seen and heard, so that you may have fellowship with us, and our fellowship is with our Father and with His son Jesus Christ." John 19:35 "This report is from an eye witness giving an accurate account. It is presented so that you can also believe." Acts (written by Luke) 1:3 "During the 40 days after His crucifixion, He appeared to the apostles from time to time and proved to them in many ways that He was actually alive. On these occasions, He talked to them about the kingdom of God." Acts 4:20 "We cannot stop telling about the wonderful things we have seen and heard.
P. 49 "After examining just six eye witness testimonies (Matthew, John, Paul, Peter, James, and Jude), apologetics professor Lynn Gardner concludes that in comparison to the evidence of other literature of antiquity, we have far better sources for our knowledge of Jesus of Nazareth. This close proximity of the writers to the events they recorded gives extremely effective certification to the accuracy of eye witnesses. Their memories are still vivid."
P. 57: "I can trust the apostles testimonies because 11 of those men died martyr's deaths because they stood solid for two truths: Christ's deity, and His resurrection. These men were tortured and flogged, and they finally suffered death by the cruelest methods then known. Peter, originally called Simon, was crucified. Andrew was crucified. James, son of Zebedee, was killed by the sword. John, son of Zebedee, died a natural death. Philip was crucified. Bartholomew was crucified. Thomas was killed by a spear. Matthew was killed by the sword. James, son of Alphaeus, was crucified. Thaddeus was killed by arrows. Simon the zealot was crucified."
"If the resurrection had not happened, obviously, the disciples would have known it. I can find no way that these particular men could have been deceived."
P. 58: "The apostles wrote and other disciples spoke as actual eye witnesses to the events they described."
P. 61 "While Jesus was growing up and engaged in His ministry, James didn't believe that His brother was the son of God...But something happened to James...James became a leading figure in the Jerusalem Church and wrote a book, The Epistle of James. He began it by writing 'James a slave servant of God and the Lord Jesus Christ.' Eventually James was stoned to death on orders of Ananias, the high priest...Was James deceived? No. The only plausible explanation is what we read in 1 Corinthians 15:7 "Then after Christ's resurrection, He was seen by James. James saw the resurrected Christ and believed."
Quotes from A Case for Christ
In his book "A Case for Christ," Lee Strobel tells the story of a Jewish boy turned Christian. Please bear with me, as this will be an extremely long quotation:
Referring to Louis S. Lapides, M. DIV., TH.M.: "Lapides earned a bachelor's degree in theology from Dallas Baptist University as well as a master of divinity and a master of theology degree in Old Testament and Semitics from Talbot Theological Seminary. He served for a decade with Chosen People Ministries, talking about Jesus to Jewish college students. He has taught in the Bible department of Biola University and worked for seven years as an instructor for Walk Through the Bible seminars. He is also the former president of a network of fifteen messianic congregations."
Looking back on Lapides younger days, Strobel quotes him as saying, "I'm Jewish...I can't believe in Jesus." A couple of pages later, Strobel continues: "A pastor spoke up. 'Do you know of the prophecies about the messiah?' Lapides was taken off guard. 'Prophecies?' he said. 'I've never heard of them.' The minister startled Lapides by referring to some of the Old Testament predictions. 'Wait a minute,' Lapides thought, 'Those are my Jewish scriptures he's quoting. How could Jesus be in there?'
"When the pastor offered him a Bible, Lapides was skeptical. 'Is the New Testament in there?' he asked. The pastor nodded. 'Ok. I'll read the Old Testament. But I'm not going to open up the other one,' Lapides told him. "
"He was taken aback by the minister's response: 'Fine,' said the pastor. 'Just read the Old Testament. and ask the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of Israel, to show you if Jesus is the messiah. Because he is your messiah. He came to the Jewish people initially, and then he was also the savior of the world.' "
"To Lapides, this was intriguing information. Amazing information. So he went back to his apartment, opened the Old Testament to its first book Genesis, and went hunting for Jesus among words that had been written hundreds of years before the carpenter of Nazareth had ever been born..."
"'Pretty soon,' Lapides told me, 'I was reading the Old Testament every day and seeing one prophecy after another. For instance, Deuteronomy talked about a prophet greater than Moses who will come, and whom we should listen to. I thought - Who can be greater than Moses? It sounded like the messiah - someone as great and as respected as Moses, but a greater teacher and a greater authority. I grabbed ahold of that and went searching for him.' "
"As Lapides progressed through the scriptures, he was stopped cold by Isaah 53: With clarity and sprcificity, in a haunting prediction wrapped in exquisite poetry, here was the picture of a messiah who would suffer and die for the sins of Israel and the world - all written more than seven hundred years before Jesus walked the earth."
"Isaah 53 3-9,12 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces. He was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds are we healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way, and the lord has laid upon him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent. So he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment, he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants, for he was cut off from the land of the living. For the transgression of many people, he was stricken. He was assigned a grave with the wicked and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth...For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."
"Instantly, Lapides recognized the portrait. This was Jesus of Nazareth: Now he was beginning to understand the paintings he had seen in the Catholic Churches he had passed as a child: the suffering Jesus; the crucified Jesus; the Jesus he now realized had been 'pierced for our transgressions' as he 'bore the sins of many.'
"As Jews in the Old Testament sought to atone for their sins through a system of animal sacrifices, here was Jesus, the ultimate sacrificial lamb of God, who paid for sin once and for all. Here was the personification of God's plan of redemption."
"So breath taking was this discovery that Lapides could only come to one conclusion: it was a fraud. He believed that Christians had rewritten the Old Testament and twisted Isaah's words to make it sound as if the prophet had been foreshadowing Jesus. Lapides set out to expose the deception. 'I asked my step-mother to send me a Jewish Bible so I could check it out myself," he told me. 'She did, and guess what? It said the same thing. Now I really had to deal with it.'"
"Over and over, Lapides would come upon prophecies in the Old Testament: more than four dozen predictions in all. Isaah revealed the manner of the messiah's birth (of a virgin), Micah pinpointed the place of his birth (Bethlehem), Genesis and Jeremiah specified his ancestry (a descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob from the tribe of Judah, the house of David), the psalms foretold his betrayal, his accusation by false witnesses, his manner of death (pierced in the hands and feet, although crucifixion hadn't been invented yet), and his resurrection (he would not decay, but would ascend on high); and on and on. Each one chipped away at Lapides' skepticism until he was finally willing to take a drastic step. 'I decided to open the New Testament and just read the first page. 'With trepidation, I slowly turned to Matthew as I looked up to Heaven, waiting for the lightning bold to strike!'"
"'Matthew's initial words leapt off the page. 'A record of the geneaology of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.'"
"Lapides eyes widened as he recalled the moment he first read that sentence. ..Son of Abraham, son of David - It was all fitting together.
"'I went to the birth narratives, and thought - Look at this. Matthew is quoting from Isaah 7:14. The virgin will be with child, and will give birth to a son. And then I saw him quoting from the prophet Jeremiah. I sat there thinking - You know? This is about Jewish people. Where do the gentiles come in. What's going on here?
"'I couldn't put it down. I read through the rest of the gospels, and I realized this wasn't a handbook for the American Nazi party. It was an interaction between Jesus and the Jewish community. I got to the book of Acts, and - this was incredible! - They were trying to figure out how the Jews could bring the story of Jesus to the gentiles. Talk about role reversal!'"
"So convincing were the fulfilled prophecies that Lapides started telling people that he thought Jesus was the messiah. At the time, this was merely an intellectual possibility to him, yet its implications were deeply troubling. 'I realized that if I was to accept Jesus into my life, there would have to be some significant changes in my life. I'd have to deal with the drugs, the sex, and so forth. I didn't understand that God would help me make those changes. I thought I had to clean up my own life on my own...'"
The rest of Lapides story can be found in Lee Strobel's A Case for Christ, available through Amazon in both Kindle and paperback format.
I hope this answers the questions that many Jewish people and Agnostics have asked me regarding the deity of Jesus, and why God gave us only one choice, if we want to go to Heaven.
Even the demons recognize that Jesus is the key to eternal life. This is a direct quote from demons who admitted they were defeated when Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected: " We are doomed, and we’re more angry and scared than you can begin to understand...We have the remainder of time, and that’s it. Then we burn. Do you have any understanding of how much that makes us hate humans who can have eternal life?”
Available though Amazon in Kindle format, soon in paperback
This fallen angel’s emotional outcry was to me a validation of what the Bible tells us in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
Psalms 100::4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful to him, and bless his name.