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    Quick Link -Commentaries and News Releases============

    C O M M E N T A R Y!

    First sent out on April 6, 2001

    Dear Friends,

    Easter is a very special time for me. As you might already be aware, I was born in Baghdad, Iraq. During my childhood there were no Easter bunnies and Easter egg hunts. What there was in my childhood was political upheaval with armed men and tanks in the streets as well as attending Catholic school during the week and Catholic Church on Sundays. In 1969, when I was 12 years old, we escaped from Iraq with my mother and my brother to America as legal immigrants. We did not know whether we would ever see my father again because we did not know whether he would be able to leave Iraq. His work in the American embassy as a translator had already put his life at risk, and at that time Saddam Hussein, was gaining more and more power each day. God was merciful to our family and my father was able to join us six months after we arrived in the United States.

    I did attend church here in America, but church was ritual and a set of do’s and don’ts. Honestly, I did not want anything to do with that kind of religion and I stopped attending church with my parents. Then at the age of 15, I noticed that something had happened to my brother. My brother who is 16 months older than me, was invited to church by a young lady, which he liked. He went, and then he started to change. Becoming easier to live with, at 15 and 16 that is a big deal.

    He kept inviting me to go to church with him. Finally, I told him, “Noel, I will go to church with you once and then you will leave me alone about it.” I went with him to a Sunday service and it was so different from what I expected. I found myself attending other services on my own. Eventually in August of 1972, I attended a meeting for young people. There they had singing and so on and the speaker talked about God and about having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. He encouraged us, if we wanted to know more about having such a relationship to speak with a counselor. I did just that. I learned that day what the bible clearly says. I have included a common outline of the explanation called The Roman Road because of its numerous references from the book of Romans in the Bible. The page numbers are those that are in The Christian Life Bible, which is the version of the Bible we use in the study I lead.

    The Roman Road:
    01. Romans 3:10 (Page 1130) –As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one;
    02. Romans 3:23 (Page 1131) – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
    03. Romans 5:12 (Page 1133) – Therefore just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned,
    04. Romans 6:23 (Page 1134) – For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
    05. Romans 5:08 (Page 1133) – But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
    06. Romans 10:09-13 (Page 1140) – “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scriptures says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
    07. John 3:36 (Page 1053) – “he who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
    08. John 6:47 (Page 1060) – “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.”
    09. I John 5:12 (Page 1053) – “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

    Join me in praying.

    "God, Thank you for revealing to us in your inspired word that we have all sinned and fallen short of your glory. Thank you for telling us that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Thank you for telling me that if I confess with my mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in my heart that you raised Him for the dead I will be saved. Lord Jesus thank you for telling me that he who believes in Me has everlasting life. I want to thank you for what you did on the cross for me and I accept you as my Savior and Lord. Help me Lord Jesus to make you Lord and Savior of my life. Amen." (If you prayed this prayer, would you please let me know?)

    I prayed a prayer similar to the one you just read. I saw some very immediate changes in my life. I started to become more patient, more kind, more forgiving because just as I had started to learn then, that I had put my faith in Jesus Christ and He as He had promised to send the Helper, the Holy Spirit to help me in my Christian life. For the first time in my life, I did not just have a set of do’s and don’ts but a relationship where Jesus Christ promised in John 14:16, page 1075 where He says: “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever.”

    The Helper that Jesus Christ talked about is the Holy Spirit, also known as the Holy Ghost. The awesome part of the Christian life is that once we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, we can have the Holy Spirit help us live the Christian Life. He can help us have victory over temptations. He can help us have victory over uncontrolled anger. He can help us toforgive people that have wronged us. I have said He can, because, it is up to us to allow Him to do that.

    That is why Easter is so important to me. Easter is when I get to celebrate Jesus coming out of that grave. Showing that He had power over sin and death. Jesus was given the death penalty of that day, crucifixion, and then after the Romans were convinced he was truly dead he was buried. Still the local political power of the day was worried about his followers and according to Matthew 27:62-66, page 981 “..the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate, saying, ‘Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise.’ Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead.’ So the last deception will be worse than the first.” Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard. Now in those days if the guard failed to do his job the punishment was death, so they were not going to let anyone take that body, but, they couldn’t stop Jesus from coming out.

    We know the Jesus came out of the tomb because of what the eye witnesses say: (Matthew 28:1-10, page 981), “Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men. But the angel answered and said to the women, ”Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. “He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.” So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word." After that there were many eyewitness accounts of people who saw Jesus and touched Jesus, including the women who saw the angel.

    Matthew 28:11-15, page 981, tells us what happened to the guards, “Now while they were going, behold, some of the guards came into the city and reported to the chief priests all the things that had happened. When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, saying, ‘Tell them, ‘His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept.’ And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will appease him and make you secure.’ So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day”.

    Honestly, my friend, I do not know whether you have ever really read The Roman Road, that I shared with you earlier in this letter or if you have ever actually heard the details of how Jesus Christ rose from the dead and why for us Christians, Easter is a special time. If you have read this before, I hope this was a good remembrance. If you have not read this before I hoped it helped you to know why Easter is such a special time for us Christians.

    Frankly, if you have never prayed a prayer like the one at the end of The Roman Road, all of this is just a great story to you. Maybe you are like so many I have talked to before that have told methat they have been around Christians and Christianity all their lives but that they themselves have never prayed a prayer similar to the one above. If you have never prayed a prayer like that, I would like to invite you to do so right now. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, I would like to invite you to pray that simple prayer.

    Jesus Christ Himself said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and open the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:20, page 1297)

    As I have said so many times: “Jesus Christ is not like the A.T.F., the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. He does not just kick your door down, he knocks. You are the only one that can open the door and allow Him to come into your life.” Just like I told my father on his death bed, it is the very best decision, the very best gamble you can make in your life, that is to accept Christ as your Savior and Lord. Will you do that right now? I hope your answer is yes. If you prayed that prayer, please contact me, and let me know that you did so. Or, if you had previously prayed either this or a prayer similar to this please let me know when you had done so that we can rejoice with you and send you some material if you wish.

    I want to thank you for taking the time to read this very special Easter greeting from me to you.

    God Bless You and God Bless America.



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