Sunday, December 1, 2013

Jesus: Liar, Lunatic or Lord


In his famous book Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis makes this statement, "A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic--on the level with a man who says he is a poached egg--or he would be the devil of hell. You must take your choice. Either this was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us."

Jesus could only have been one of four things: a legend, a liar, a lunatic--or Lord and God. There is so much historical and archeological evidence to support his existence that every reputable historian agrees he was not just a legend. If Jesus were a liar, why would he die for his claim, when he could easily have avoided such a cruel death with a few choice words? And, if he were a lunatic, how did he engage in intelligent debates with his opponents or handle the stress of his betrayal and crucifixion while continuing to show a deep love for his antagonists? Christ said he was Lord and God. The evidence supports that claim.

The Claims of Jesus

Jesus claimed to live a sinless life
Jesus could look at a crowd of people angry at his claims to share God's nature and ask, "Which of you can point to anything wrong in my life?" Even more amazing is that none of them could give a reply! No human being has ever lived a sinless life, except for Jesus Christ.

John 8:28-29 "So Jesus said, 'When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know who I am and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.'"

John 8:46-47 "Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don't you believe me? He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God."

Jesus Christ claimed to be the only way to God
Not one of several ways, but the one and only way. Not to teach the way, but to be the way to God. Nobody has ever made claims like that before and backed them, but Jesus did through his love, balanced life, and miracles.

John 14:6 "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me."

Matthew 11:27 "All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him."

No other world religious leader, such as Buddha, Confucius, or Mohammed ever claimed to be the truth, only Jesus did.

Jesus claimed to have shared the glory of God in Heaven
Jesus claimed to have pre-existed the people he spoke with. The apostle John--who shared bread with Jesus--wrote that Jesus was with God in the very beginning, and that "all things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being." (John 1:1-5)

John 17:5 "And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began."

This is a claim distorted by groups like the Mormons or Jehovah's Witnesses.

Jesus Christ claimed to be able to forgive sins
One of the reasons that the Jewish leaders were so angry with Jesus was his continual practice of forgiving people's sins. The religious leaders understood clearly that since sins were rebellion against God Himself, only God could forgive sins.

Luke 5:20-21 "When Jesus saw their faith, he said, 'Friend, your sins are forgiven.' The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, 'Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?'"(emphasis: web author)

Luke 7:48-49 "Then Jesus said to her, 'Your sins are forgiven.' The other guests began to say among themselves, 'Who is this who even forgives sins?'"

Christ claimed to be a Heavenly king
Luke 22:69 "But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God."

Luke 23:1-3 "Then the whole assembly rose and led him off to Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, 'We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Christ, a king.' So Pilate asked Jesus, 'Are you the king of the Jews?' 'Yes, it is as you say,' Jesus replied."

John 18:36-37 "Jesus said, 'My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.' 'You are a king, then!' said Pilate. Jesus answered, 'You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.'"

Christ claimed to be able to give everlasting life
Jesus didn't just tell people how they could find everlasting life, or deepen their own life experience. He actually claimed to give life himself.

John 6:40 "For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."

John 6:47 "I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life."

John 10:28-30 "I give [my followers] eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one."

John 11:25 "Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die...'"

Jesus claimed that he would die and come back to life
John 10:17 "Just as the Father knows me and I know the Father--and I lay down my life for the sheep. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life--only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father."

John 12:32-33 "'But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.' He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die."

John 16:16 "In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me."

Luke 18:31-33 "Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, 'We are going up into Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.'"

Christ claimed that he would return again to judge the world
Matthew 24:27-30 "So as the lightening comes from the east and flashes to the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man... At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory."

Matthew 25:31-32 "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep and the goats."

Mark 14:61-62 "Again the high priest asked him, 'Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?' 'I am,' said Jesus. 'And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.'"

Jesus claimed to be God
John 8:57 - 59 So the Jews said to Him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?" Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I AM." Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple.

Exodus 3:14 God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.'"

http://www.whoisjesus-really.com/english/claims.htm


In a world with so many religions, why Jesus?

We are living in a time when you can believe anything, as long as you do not claim it to be true. In the name of “tolerance,” our postmodern culture embraces everything from Eastern mysticism to New Age spirituality. But as Ravi Zacharias points out, such unquestioning acceptance of all things spiritual is absurd. All religions, plainly and simply, cannot be true.

Jesus Among Other Gods provides the answers to the most fundamental claims about Christianity, such as:

Aren’t all religions fundamentally the same? Was Jesus who He claimed to be? Can one study the life of Christ and demonstrate conclusively that He was and is the way, the truth, and the life?

In each chapter, Zacharias considers a unique claim that Jesus made and then contrasts the truth of Jesus with the founders of Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism with compelling insight and passionate conviction. In addition to an impressive breadth of reading and study, he shares his personal journey from despair and meaninglessness to his discovery that Jesus is who He said He is.

“In Jesus Among Other Gods, Ravi Zacharias demonstrates that he is one of the most intellectually gifted as well as spiritually sensitive writers of today’s leading apologists for the Christian faith. Zacharias brings alive the unique power of the claims of Jesus about himself and the utter relevance of his message today for the human condition.”

 — David Aikman, author of Great Souls

http://knizky.mahdi.cz/03_Ravi_Zacharias___Jesus_among_other_gods.pdf

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaIBoARTGPk

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Path to Happiness: It is better to give than to receive.


Money may not buy you love but it might buy you happiness if you spend it in the right way, US researchers say. In studies they found that the old adage "it's better to give than to receive" is correct: spending money on others or giving to charity puts a bigger smile on your face than buying things for yourself.

 "Most people would think that if you make more money you are going to be a lot happier," said Michael Norton, a professor at Harvard Business School. "Our results, and a lot of other people's results, show that making more money makes you a little bit happier, but doesn't really have a huge impact on you. Our studies suggest maybe that little changes in how you spend it make a difference."

The researchers' work was published in the journal Science in 2008. Norton and his colleagues questioned 632 Americans about how much they earned and how they spent their cash. They also asked them to rate their own happiness. Regardless of income level, those people who spent money on others reported greater happiness, while those who spent more on themselves did not.

In a second study, the team questioned 16 employees in line for a company bonus of $3,000-$8,000. The team asked the subjects about their happiness before and six to eight weeks after the bonus, and how they spent the money. The size of the bonus did not determine how much happiness grew. Instead, the amount spent on others or given to charity was correlated with how much individuals' happiness levels had risen.

The team also gave 46 volunteers either $5 (£2.50) or $20 to spend. They instructed the participants to spend the money on themselves or someone else. Again, the altruistic group reported feeling happier whatever the size of their gift. Norton said: "So instead of buying yourself a coffee buy your friend a coffee and that might actually make you a happier person."

Professor Stephen Joseph, of the University of Nottingham - an expert in the psychology of happiness who was not involved in the study - said: "Most of the research in the past has said money isn't that important in terms of happiness. The things that are important are things to do with relationships, with other people, and things that help to promote meaning, the purpose in life. I think that's what this study speaks to."

Although the clear implication of the study is that altruistic spending will make you happier, Joseph said it would be wrong to use the research to formulate advice. "Being prescriptive about how people spend their money, even if it is for seemingly worthwhile causes, is a very dangerous path to go down. Research like this describes society - it doesn't tell us what society ought to be."

Professor Ruut Veenhoven, of Erasmus University in Rotterdam, said the study showed that the economic view of human motivation was incorrect. "This may come as a surprise for economists who have learned that humans are essentially egoists," he said. So why don't people give more money away to make themselves even happier? "Often people don't know what really makes them happy," he said. "Doing nice things to other people isn't so bad after all."

The Guardian, Friday 21 March 2008 James Randerson, science correspondent.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

How has travel changed you?


Dec. 2006: Traveling from Salta to Ushuaia, Argentina

I love to travel for many reasons. One of them is that I am more aware of my surroundings when I travel. Being in a new place opens my eyes to moments I may miss in daily life. 5 days ago I took a bus from Cochabamba to Santa Cruz in Bolivia. Yesterday I took a train from Santa Cruz to Salta in the north of Argentina.

Today in Salta...
1. I saw an old lady giving a cup of coffee and a piece of cake to a beggar with crutches sitting on a sidewalk.
2. I observed a blue collar workers protesting and shouting at the anti-riot police protecting city hall.
3. Earlier I watched children feeding pigeons in a plaza.
4. I listened to a blind old man playing tango with his accordion while I wrote postcards to my mom and grandparents. A few tears fell as I wrote, tears of happiness and gratitude for all the blessings in my life.


All day I wandered. Sometimes with map in hand. I found museums, sights to see, but I also walked aimlessly. A times I simply observed and listened. The weather was perfect, the sun shined on me.

5. I took pictures of a pink house and a blue balcony with pots of red flowers.
6. I observed downtown streets getting empty as people went home after work.
7. My heart was saddened by the sight of a mother and her three children rummaging the trash bins for something they could use or sell.
8. Later in the afternoon I saw fashionista ladies walking the streets carrying lots of shopping bags.
9. I am thankful for having this chance to observe those moments that make up life.
10. Learning to appreciate those moments.



That's one way how travel changes us: travel opens our eyes. How has travel changed you?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Latin Americans Happiest People on Planet

The world’s happiest people aren’t in Qatar, the richest country by most measures. They aren’t in Japan, the nation with the highest life expectancy. Canada, with its chart-topping percentage of college graduates, doesn’t make the top 10. A poll released last year of nearly 150,000 people around the world says seven of the world’s 10 countries with the most upbeat attitudes are in Latin America. Many of the seven do poorly in traditional measures of well-being, like Guatemala, a country torn by decades of civil war followed by waves of gang-driven criminality that give it one of the highest homicide rates in the world. Guatemala sits just above Iraq on the United Nations’ Human Development Index, a composite of life expectancy, education and per capita income. But it ranks seventh in positive emotions. “In Guatemala, it’s a culture of friendly people who are always smiling,” said Luz Castillo, a 30-year-old surfing instructor. “Despite all the problems that we’re facing, we’re surrounded by natural beauty that lets us get away from it all.”





















































Gallup Inc. asked about 1,000 people in each of 148 countries last year if they were well-rested, had been treated with respect, smiled or laughed a lot, learned or did something interesting and felt feelings of enjoyment the previous day. In Panama and Paraguay, 85 percent of those polled said yes to all five, putting those countries at the top of the list. They were followed closely by El Salvador, Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago, Thailand, Guatemala, the Philippines, Ecuador and Costa Rica.
























The people least likely to report positive emotions lived in Singapore, the wealthy and orderly city-state that ranks among the most developed in the world. Other wealthy countries also sat surprisingly low on the list. Germany and France tied with the poor African state of Somaliland for 47th place. Prosperous nations can be deeply unhappy ones. And poverty-stricken ones are often awash in positivity, or at least a close approximation of it.It’s a paradox with serious implications for a relatively new and controversial field called happiness economics that seeks to improve government performance by adding people’s perceptions of their satisfaction to traditional metrics such as life expectancy, per capita income and graduation rates.The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan famously measures policies by their impact on a concept called Gross National Happiness.

British Prime Minister David Cameron announced a national well-being program in 2010 as part of a pledge to improve Britons’ lives in the wake of the global recession. A household survey sent to 200,000 Britons asks questions like “How satisfied are you with your life nowadays?” The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, which unites 34 of the world’s most advanced countries, recently created a Better Life Index allowing the public to compare countries based on quality of life in addition to material well-being.























Some experts say that’s a dangerous path that could allow governments to use positive public perceptions as an excuse to ignore problems. As an example of the risks, some said, the Gallup poll may have been skewed by a Latin American cultural proclivity to avoid negative statements regardless of how one actually feels.“My immediate reaction is that this influenced by cultural biases,” said Eduardo Lora, who studied the statistical measurement of happiness as the former chief economist of the Inter-American Development Bank “What the empirical literature says is that some cultures tend to respond to any type of question in a more positive way,” said Lora, a native of Colombia, the 11th most-positive country. For the nine least positive countries, some were not surprising, like Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan and Haiti. For others at the bottom, Armenia at the second lowest spot, Georgia and Lithuania, misery is something a little more ephemeral.“Feeling unhappy is part of the national mentality here,” said Agaron Adibekian, a sociologist in the Armenian capital, Yerevan. “Armenians like being mournful; there have been so many upheavals in the nation’s history. The Americans keep their smiles on and avoid sharing their problems with others. And the Armenians feel ashamed about being successful.”



The United States was No. 33 in positive outlook. Latin America’s biggest economies, Mexico and Brazil, sat more than 20 places further down the list. Jon Clifton, a partner at Gallup, acknowledged the poll partly measured cultures’ overall tendency to express emotions, positive or negative. But he said skeptics shouldn’t undervalue the expression of positive emotion as an important phenomenon in and of itself.“Those expressions are a reality, and that’s exactly what we’re trying to quantify,” he said. “I think there is higher positive emotionality in these countries.”Some Latin Americans said the poll hit something fundamental about their countries: a habit of focusing on positive factors such as friends, family and religion despite daily lives that can be grindingly difficult. Carlos Martinez sat around a table with 11 fellow construction workers in a Panama City restaurant sharing a breakfast of corn empanadas, fried chicken and coffee before heading to work on one of the hundreds of new buildings that have sprouted during years long economic boom driven in large part by the success of the Panama Canal. The boom has sent unemployment plunging, but also increased traffic and crime. Martinez pronounced himself unhappy with rising crime but “happy about my family.”“Overall, I’m happy because this is a country with many natural resources, a country that plays an important role in the world,” he said. “We’re Caribbean people, we’re people who like to celebrate, to eat well and live as well as we can. There are a lot of possibilities here, you just have to sacrifice a little more.”



Singapore sits 32 places higher than Panama on the Human Development Index, but at the opposite end of the happiness list. And things weren’t looking good Wednesday to Richard Low, a 33-year-old businessman in the prosperous Asian metropolis.“We work like dogs and get paid peanuts. There’s hardly any time for holidays or just to relax in general because you’re always thinking ahead: when the next deadline or meeting is. There is hardly a fair sense of work-life balance here,” he said.In Paraguay, tied with Panama as the most-positive country while doing far worse than Panama by objective measures, street vendor Maria Solis said tough economic conditions were no reason to despair.“Life is short and there are no reasons to be sad because even if we were rich, there would still be problems,” she said while selling herbs used for making tea. “We have to laugh at ourselves.”

by Paul Weissentein,  Associated Press 12/20/2012 Mexico City 
HTTP://WWW.GALLUP.COM/POLL/159254/LATIN-AMERICANS-POSITIVE-WORLD.ASPX —Associated Press writers Romina Ruiz-Goiriena in Guatemala City; Juan Zamarano in Panama City; Sylvia Hui in London; Angela Charlton in Paris; Heather Tan in Singapore; Avet Demourian in Yerevan, Armenia; and Pedro Servin in Asuncion, Paraguay, contributed to this report.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

22 Ways To Be Happy !!

I believe in happiness !! This is a list I found online with great tips on how to be happy. I made some changes. I hope they inspire and encourage you to be happier !!

1. Appreciate Life
Be thankful that you woke up alive each morning. Develop a childlike sense of wonder towards life. Focus on the beauty of every living thing. Make the most of each day. Don’t take anything for granted. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

2. Choose Friends Wisely
Surround yourself with happy, positive people who share your values and goals. Friends that have the same ethics as you will encourage you to achieve your dreams. They help you to feel good about yourself. They are there to lend a helping hand when needed.

3. Be Considerate
Accept others for who they are as well as where they are in life. Respect them for who they are. Touch them with a kind and generous spirit. Help when you are able, without trying to change the other person. Try to brighten the day of everyone you come into contact with.

4. Learn Continuously
Keep up to date with the latest news regarding your career and hobbies. Try new and daring things that interest you – such as dancing, skiing, surfing or sky-diving.

5. Creative Problem Solving
Don’t wallow in self-pity. As soon as you face a challenge get busy finding a solution. Don’t let the setbacks affect your mood; instead see each new obstacle you face as an opportunity to make a positive change. Learn to trust your gut instincts – it’s almost always right.


6. Do What You Love
Some statistics show that 80% of people dislike their jobs! No wonder there’s so many unhappy people running around. We spend a great deal of our life working. Choose a career that you enjoy – the extra money of a job you detest isn’t worth it. Make time to enjoy your hobbies and pursue special interests.

7. Enjoy Life
Take the time to see the beauty around you. There’s more to life than work. Take time to smell the roses, watch a sunset or sunrise with a loved one, take a walk along the seashore, hike in the woods etc. Learn to live in the present moment and cherish it. Don’t live in the past or the future.

8. Laugh
Don’t take yourself – or life to seriously. You can find humor in just about any situation. Laugh at yourself – no one’s perfect. When appropriate laugh and make light of the circumstances. (Naturally there are times that you should be serious as it would be improper to laugh.)

9. Forgive
Holding a grudge will hurt no one but you. Forgive others for your own peace of mind. When you make a mistake – own up to it – learn from it – and FORGIVE yourself. Seek God's forgiveness too! He already forgave us all through the cross. Go to church!

10. Gratitude
Develop an attitude of gratitude. Count your blessings; All of them – even the things that seem trivial. Be grateful for your home, your work and most importantly your family and friends. Take the time to tell them that you are happy they are in your life.


11. Invest in Relationships
Always make sure your loved ones know you love them even in times of conflict. Nurture and grow your relationships with your family and friends by making the time to spend with them. Don’t break your promises to them. Be supportive.

12. Keep Your Word
Honesty is the best policy. Every action and decision you make should be based on honesty. Be honest with yourself and with your loved ones.

13. Pray
The original list suggests meditation. I believe people already focus too much on ourselves, I suggest prayer instead. I believe God loves each of us and He wants to have a loving relationship with each of us. When we pray our relationship gets stronger and we are happier. Ultimately I believe Jesus is the ultimate and eternal happiness. Go to church to learn more about God’s love for you!

14. Mind Your Own Business
Concentrate on creating your life the way you want it. Take care of you and your family. Don’t get overly concerned with what other people are doing or saying. Don’t get caught up with gossip or name calling. Don’t judge. Everyone has a right to live their own life the way they want to – including you.

15. Optimism
See the glass as half full. Find the positive side of any given situation. It’s there – even though it may be hard to find. Know that everything happens for a reason, even though you may never know what the reason is. Steer clear of negative thoughts. If a negative thought creeps in – replace it with a positive thought.


16. Love Unconditionally
Accept others for who they are. You don’t put limitations on your love. Even though you may not always like the actions of your loved ones – you continue to love them.

17. Persistence
Never give up. Face each new challenge with the attitude that it will bring you one step closer to your goal. You will never fail, as long as you never give up. Focus on what you want, learn the required skills, make a plan to succeed and take action. We are always happiest while pursuing something of value to us.

18. Be Proactive
Accept what cannot be changed. Happy people don’t waste energy on circumstances beyond their control. Accept your limitations as a human being. Determine how you can take control by creating the outcome you desire – rather than waiting to respond.

19. Self Care
Take care of your mind, body and health. Get regular medical checkups. Eat healthy and work out. Get plenty of rest. Drink lots of water. Exercise your mind by continually energizing it with interesting and exciting challenges.

20. Self Confidence
Don’t try to be someone that you’re not. After all no one likes a phony. Determine who you are in the inside – your own personal likes and dislikes. Be confident in who you are. Do the best you can and don’t second guess yourself.


21. Take Responsibility
Happy people know and understand that they are 100% responsible for their life. They take responsibility for their moods, attitude, thoughts, feelings, actions and words. They are the first to admit when they’ve made a mistake.

22. Help others
Studies have shown that when we extend a helping hand to those in need our happiness increases. You don’t necessary need to give money, you can give yourself through volunteering at a place when your talents can benefit others.

Begin today to incorporate the above tips into your daily lifestyle and share your happiness with others !!