Our Everything

In Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, these are the definitions of Resurrection…

1. (n.) A rising again; a return from death to life; as the resurrection of Christ.

2. (n.) Especially, the rising again from the dead; the resumption of life by the dead; as, the resurrection of Jesus Christ; the general resurrection of all the dead at the Day of Judgment.

3. (n.) State of being risen from the dead; future state.

4. (n.) The cause or exemplar of a rising from the dead.

Easton’s Bible Dictionary says this about the Resurrection of Christ…

The Resurrection of Christ

One of the cardinal facts and doctrines of the gospel. If Christ be not risen, our faith is vain (1 Corinthians 15:14). The whole of the New Testament revelation rests on this as an historical fact. On the day of Pentecost Peter argued the necessity of Christ’s resurrection from the prediction in Psalm 16 (Acts 2:24-28). In his own discourses, also, our Lord clearly intimates his resurrection (Matthew 20:19; Mark 9:9; 14:28; Luke 18:33; John 2:19-22).

The evangelists give circumstantial accounts of the facts connected with that event, and the apostles, also, in their public teaching largely insist upon it. Ten different appearances of our risen Lord are recorded in the New Testament. They may be arranged as follows:

(1.) To Mary Magdalene at the sepulchre alone. This is recorded at length only by John (20:11-18), and alluded to by Mark (16:9-11).

(2.) To certain women, “the other Mary,” Salome, Joanna, and others, as they returned from the sepulchre. Matthew (28:1-10) alone gives an account of this. (Comp. Mark 16:1-8, and Luke 24:1-11.)

(3.) To Simon Peter alone on the day of the resurrection. (See Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:5.)

(4.) To the two disciples on the way to Emmaus on the day of the resurrection, recorded fully only by Luke (24:13-35. Comp.Mark 16:12, 13).

(5.) To the ten disciples (Thomas being absent) and others “with them,” at Jerusalem on the evening of the resurrection day. One of the evangelists gives an account of this appearance, John (20:19-24).

(6.) To the disciples again (Thomas being present) at Jerusalem (Mark 16:14-18; Luke 24:33-40; John 20:26-28. See also 1 Corinthians 15:5).

(7.) To the disciples when fishing at the Sea of Galilee. Of this appearance also John (21:1-23) alone gives an account.

(8.) To the eleven, and above 500 brethren at once, at an appointed place in Galilee (1 Corinthians 15:6; Comp. Matthew 28:16-20).

(9.) To James, but under what circumstances we are not informed (1 Corinthians 15:7).

(10.) To the apostles immediately before the ascension. They accompanied him from Jerusalem to Mount Olivet, and there they saw him ascend “till a cloud received him out of their sight” (Mark 16:19; Luke 24:50-52; Acts 1:4-10).

It is worthy of note that it is distinctly related that on most of these occasions our Lord afforded his disciples the amplest opportunity of testing the fact of his resurrection. He conversed with them face to face. They touched him (Matthew 28:9; Luke 24:39; John 20:27), and he ate bread with them (Luke 24:42, 43; John 21:12, 13).

(11.) In addition to the above, mention might be made of Christ’s manifestation of himself to Paul at Damascus, who speaks of it as an appearance of the risen Savior (Acts 9:3-9, 17; 1 Corinthians 15:8; 9:1).

It is implied in the words of Luke (Acts 1:3) that there may have been other appearances of which we have no record.

The resurrection is spoken of as the act (1) of God the Father (Psalm 16:10; Acts 2:24; 3:15; Romans 8:11; Ephesians 1:20;Colossians 2:12; Hebrews 13:20); (2) of Christ himself (John 2:19; 10:18); and (3) of the Holy Spirit (1 Peter 3:18).

The resurrection is a public testimony of Christ’s release from his undertaking as surety, and an evidence of the Father’s acceptance of his work of redemption. It is a victory over death and the grave for all his followers.

The importance of Christ’s resurrection will be seen when we consider that if he rose the gospel is true, and if he rose not it is false. His resurrection from the dead makes it manifest that his sacrifice was accepted. Our justification was secured by his obedience to the death, and therefore he was raised from the dead (Romans 4:25). His resurrection is a proof that he made a full atonement for our sins, that his sacrifice was accepted as a satisfaction to divine justice, and his blood a ransom for sinners. It is also a pledge and an earnest of the resurrection of all believers (Romans 8:11; 1 Corinthians 6:14; 15:47-49;Philippians 3:21; 1 John 3:2). As he lives, they shall live also.

It proved him to be the Son of God, inasmuch as it authenticated all his claims (John 2:19; 10:17). “If Christ did not rise, the whole scheme of redemption is a failure, and all the predictions and anticipations of its glorious results for time and for eternity, for men and for angels of every rank and order, are proved to be chimeras. `But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept.’ Therefore the Bible is true from Genesis to Revelation. The kingdom of darkness has been overthrown, Satan has fallen as lightning from heaven, and the triumph of truth over error, of good over evil, of happiness over misery is for ever secured.” Hodge.

With reference to the report which the Roman soldiers were bribed (Matthew 28:12-14) to circulate concerning Christ’s resurrection, “his disciples came by night and stole him away while we slept,” Matthew Henry in his “Commentary,” under John 20:1-10, fittingly remarks, “The grave-clothes in which Christ had been buried were found in very good order, which serves for an evidence that his body was not `stolen away while men slept.’ Robbers of tombs have been known to take away `the clothes’ and leave the body; but none ever took away `the body’ and left the clothes, especially when they were `fine linen’ and new (Mark 15:46). Any one would rather choose to carry a dead body in its clothes than naked. Or if they that were supposed to have stolen it would have left the grave-clothes behind, yet it cannot be supposed they would find leisure to `fold up the linen.'”

Great commentary on the hope we have because of Christ’s atonement, his shed blood on the cross, and what His death and resurrection mean to the Christian faith, everything!

In His Love,

Leslie Winston

Resurrection in the Old Testament

“I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.  And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God.  I myself will see him with my own eyes–I, and not another.  How my heart yearns within me!” Job 19:25-27

I couldn’t close out the month without this verse which is one of my personal favorites.  It’s from the book of Job, which some scholars think is the oldest book in the Bible.  It records events that took place during the time of the patriarchs, approximately 2000 BC.  There was no doctrine of bodily resurrection at this time, yet here Job is, professing his faith in it.  This could only be through God’s inspiration and is a wonderful example of how the Old Testament “informs” the New.  When I read it, my heart also years to see God.

These verses also form the basis for a couple of wonderful hymns, one written in the 1700’s, the other modern.  I love them both.  Here are the words to the old classic:

I Know that My Redeemer Lives
By: Samuel Medley

I know that my Redeemer lives!
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, he lives, who once was dead;
He lives, my ever living head!

He lives triumphant from the grave;
He lives eternally to save;
He lives exalted, throned above;
He lives to rule his Church in love.

He lives to grant me rich supply;
He lives to guide me with his eye;
He lives to comfort me when faint;
He lives to hear my soul’s complaint.

He lives to silence all my fears;
He lives to wipe away my tears;
He lives to calm my troubled heart;
He lives all blessings to impart.

He lives to bless me with his love;
He lives to plead for me above;
He lives my hungry soul to feed;
He lives to help in time of need.

He lives, my kind, wise, heavenly friend;
He lives and loves me to the end;
He lives, and while he lives, I’ll sing;
He lives, my Prophet, Priest, and King!

He lives and grants me daily breath;
He lives, and I shall conquer death;
He lives my mansion to prepare;
He lives to bring me safely there.

He lives, all glory to his name!
He lives, my savior, still the same;
What joy this blest assurance gives:
I know that my Redeemer lives!

Hymn # 264 from Lutheran Worship
Author: attr. John Hatton
Tune: Duke Street 1st Published in: 1775



My Personal Rebirth – Part 2

Well, I really didn’t have a lot more to say about this, but since I received a comment I feel it needs to be addressed.

The person who commented stated that in the KJV Bible we are told not to baptize infants. Well, that is not true. I have spoken to 5 different pastors/priests and none of them know of any verse that states that. Now if YOUR religion believes in that, that’s okay, but when you imply that it is in the Bible I require the back-up so that I can look for myself. If I am not mistaken Jesus just tells us to baptize the world, I do not believe he follows that with a disclaimer on infants or children. Now I may be wrong, but I have given the person who commented plenty of time to provide me with verification of the statement they made.

Does anyone else have a need for proof when they are told the Bible tells us to do something that we were not aware of???

Please comment and let me know. I invite all comments and discussions, even those that do not agree with me; HOWEVER, if you state that the Bible says something, be ready to back it up with Book, Chapter and Verse. Just Saying.

Remember – God Loves You And So Do I


Born Again by Casting Crowns


Well, today I found myself
After searching all these years
And the man that I saw
He wasnt at all who I thought hed be

I was lost when You found me here
And I was broken beyond repair
Then You came along
And You sang Your song over me

It feels like I’m born again
It feels like I’m living
For the very first time
For the very first time in my life

Make a promise to me now
Reassure my heart somehow
That the love that I feel
Is so much more real than anything

Ive a feeling in my soul
And I pray that Im not wrong
That the life I have now
Is only the beginning

It feels like I’m born again
It feel like I’m living
For the very first time
For the very first time

It feels like I’m breathing
(It feels like I’m born again)
It feels like I’m moving
(It feels like I’m living)
For the very first time
(For the very first time)
For the very first time
(For the very first time)

I wasnt looking for something that was more
Than what I had yesterday
Then You came to me and You gave to me
Life and a love that I never known, that I never felt before

It feels like I’m born again
(Feels like I’m born again)
It feel like I’m living
(It feel like I’m living)
For the very first time
(For the very first time)
Im living for the first time
(For the very first time)

It feels like I’m breathing
(It feels like I’m born again)
It feels like I’m moving
(It feels like I’m living)
For the very first time
(For the very first time)
For the very first time
(For the very first time)

This is one of my favorite songs. It captures the essence of what one feels and goes through when they come to the revelation of what it means to have a new life in Christ.

In His love,

Leslie Winston

Read more: Third Day – Born Again Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Peaceful Surrender

If you have been following our blog then you already know what a Via de Cristo weekend is. I walked on my first “pilgrim” weekend in April 2007, a week after I was baptized at the age of 33. That week of time was my rebirth, my spiritual transformation and the surrendering of my life to Christ. Christ took me from my old life and made it clear that he wanted to show me so many things about life, love, mercy, God, myself, my relationship with my husband, and most importantly His grace and forgiveness. My life since then has not been one continual “spiritual high” but one with many valleys. The difference is how I handle what life throws at me.

On my Via de Cristo weekend, God made it clear to me He gave me the gift of words for His glory…and the words started flowing. Since then I have written tons of poetry, given talks at women’s conferences on various subjects, written an article for the Lutheran Ambassador publication, and was invited to join this blog by some very awesome Christian women whom I love dearly. God has impressed it on my heart to write a book…He and I are still working on that! I never thought in a million years I would become a published author.

When I was young, I was taught children are to be seen, not heard. Being very opinionated, and vocal about it, got me in a lot of trouble as a kid. I spoke my mind and was always told I talked too much. I would start a conversation with anyone who would listen. As I got older, I felt I had to suppress my thoughts because it seemed to be more trouble than it was worth, until I was 15. My mother was diagnosed with a rare cancer, one that had already found its way into most areas of her body. She died the following year after a 14 month long battle. During her illness was when I began writing. It was the only way I could express my feelings in a positive way and one that wouldn’t get me into trouble. I would sit with my mom on her hospital bed (stationed in our family room) and read her my poetry, short stories, or whatever I was writing at the time. I still have all of those things I wrote and would read to her in a notebook.

Four years later, I was married with our first child on the way and a year and a half after that, our second child. With life as a mom of an infant and toddler, any thoughts of writing just seemed to be erased…until my Via de Cristo weekend. When I gave my life to Christ, it was a peaceful surrender, one in which I wrote a poem about just after chapel visit that evening.

Peaceful Surrender

All things are possible through God’s Son, Jesus Christ,

Who gives me the strength to get through the night.

He is here to relieve me of all worry, pain, and fear,

He helps me to be still, to seek Him and hear.

Hearing the words He whispers to me, learning to let go and being set free.

Free from the struggles we all go through, delivered from the storm with a joy renewed.

The peace that comes with surrender and the fire lit eyes on my face,

His light now shines from my soul because I have been given His grace.

Never give up on God because He never gives up on you. Remember, your life and what He created you for will be revealed in His timing. Be open to letting God transform you to be more like Him, through whatever means he shows you. We are created unique for a reason. Our transformation, our rebirth, and our spiritual journey will also be unique to whatever purpose God has for us individually here on this earth. Embrace it and know that Christ is walking along side of you always.

God loves you and so do I,

Leslie Winston

Rebirth and Transformation

When I think of rebirth, the description that comes to mind is transformation. The Bible tells us that “Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new creation. The old life is gone; a new life has begun.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) But how do we become a new creation in Christ? Jesus gives us the instructions in Matthew 10 “If you cling to your life you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.” It begins with sacrifice. Throughout the Gospel accounts, Jesus is trying to get the message across that His presence demands a decision. Some of us will choose to follow Christ and some of us won’t. When we choose to take up His cross and follow Him, we are making a command decision and commit to striving to be more Christlike. Our decision elevates us to a higher calling, one that is not self-serving but serving others, even those who have not chosen this path. To take up our cross and follow Him means that we will face opposition and persecution just like He did. It means that we need to be ready to face suffering, and even death, for the sake of the Gospel.

After we make this decision, then what next? By surrendering our lives over to Christ, we begin to allow God access into our very being and He changes us on the inside by the renewing of our heart and mind. This begins the process of sanctification. Romans 12:2 is an awesome verse for understanding transformation. “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” (NLT)

A lot of Christians choose to eliminate worldly behaviors from their lives, which is wise. But our refusal of worldly behaviors must go deeper than that, it must be planted in our minds, allowing God to transform us into new people by changing our thinking. While abstaining from worldly behavior is good, there can still be behaviors in us such as, pride, jealousy, gossiping, covetousness, selfishness, greed, stubbornness, arrogance, lust, and vengeance to name a few, that interfere with us truly being transformed. Many Christians want to “act” like they are better than those who don’t cut out certain things from their lifestyle, but they are blind to see other areas of sin in their own lives that hinder their spiritual growth, and all too often those around them can see through the hypocrisy. People call themselves pietistic because they don’t do “this or that”, but its really is a form of legalism, a “better than thou” mentality. Piety simply means transforming your life to Christ. Sanctification is a lifelong process and starts when we make that commitment to Christ, when we are “born again”. Everyone is on different parts of their journey at different times and it is important we remember that so as not to judge another’s progress.

John MacArthur, famous author and evangelist says this…

“True sanctification begins with the renewing of your mind. You must know the Truth, plain and simple. There is no premium on ignorance in sanctification. You are not going to get there through some emotional or mystical experience. Spiritual growth doesn’t happen through osmosis- it requires the discipline of constantly putting God’s Truth in your mind. Don’t confuse childlike faith with childlike thinking. There are no short cuts in sanctification- a lack of biblical knowledge with always retard your spiritual growth. Apart from the truth of Scripture, there simply is no mechanism to restrain your sinful flesh. Legalism can’t do it. Pragmatism can’t do it. Same goes for mysticism or sacramentalism. The only certain method for true spiritual growth starts with absorbing God’s eternal Truth. Cognition lead to a second step; conviction. As you grow in your understanding of the Bible, you begin to develop convictions our of that understanding. Those convictions or beliefs determine how you live, or at least how you endeavor to live. As God’s Truth takes over your mind, it produces principles that you don’t desire to violate. That’s sanctification- it’s the transforming of your heart and your will that compels you to obey God’s Word.” MacArthur; Grace To You

Have you made a conscientious decision to allow God the opportunity to transform your mind into the likeness of Christ?  Do you soak up God’s Word like a sponge with childlike faith? If your answer is yes, I encourage you to keep learning and seeking God, keeping your eye on the prize…eternity with Him in Heaven. If your answer is no, I encourage you to choose Christ and find yourself in Him, who God created you to be. There is no time like the present because with God, all things are possible.

God loves you and so do I,

Leslie Winston


Living in Heaven

“If Miss Watson had told Huck what the Bible says about living in a resurrected body and being with people we love on a resurrected Earth with gardens and rivers and mountains and untold adventures–now that would have gotten his attention.”
Randy Alcorn, Heaven

I’ve already told you I was an English major, and I love to read.  So I had to include at least one post this month about a book.  How could I resist this quote, it’s from Randy Alcorn’s book, Heaven, and it mentions a classic, The Adventures of Huckleberry  Finn.

If you want to learn what the Bible has to say about heaven, I recommend Randy Alcorn’s book.  I didn’t agree with all of his conclusions, but it is comprehensive and for the most part, biblical.  We did a study of it several years ago at our church.

I don’t think Huck was much for book-learning, but I think he would have like to talk about heaven with Randy.

Has anyone else read Heaven?  What did you learn?  Would you recommend it?

Where a Reborn Christian Belongs

I responded to our friend, “the smart blonde” on her blog, but I have also been mulling over what I could post her that goes along with our rebirth theme.  Like our fellow blogger, many people return from a Via de Cristo/Cursillo/Emmaus weekend excited, joyful and energized.  Over time these feelings fade.  Does that mean the experience is not valid?  Is it just a way to manipulate and deceive us?

Think about the apostle Peter’s experience of the transfiguration in Matthew 17.  Jesus takes Peter and a few others to a high mountain where they see him in a completely new way:

“…His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold , there appeared to them Moses and Elijah talking with Him.” Matthew 17:2-3

As amazing as this experience was, Peter and the others were not allowed to stay there forever.  They had to go back down to daily life where all the same struggles were waiting.  When Jesus was crucified, did they begin to wonder if their time on the mountain really meant anything?  They may have.  They certainly seemed to forget it pretty quickly.  Peter even denies Christ!  However, they had seen who Jesus really was, and in the end that causes some significant changes in them.

The big thing we experience on a weekend is loving, Christian fellowship.  We focus on Christ, thereby “renewing our minds” and we receive and give  unconditional love in an accepting community.  It gives us a taste of what the body of Christ should be.

A friend of mine once said the weekend is like a honeymoon, but persevering in the Christian life with the friends we make on that weekend is like marriage.  The honeymoon is wonderful and exciting and fun — but brief.  Marriage on the other hand, takes effort and commitment.  There are peaks and valleys.  But how satisfying it is to look back years later to see how we have grown and changed and accomplished so many things together.

So, getting back to my title, a reborn Christian belongs in the world and also in fellowship with other Christians.  You don’t have to go on a Via de Cristo weekend to do this.  But try to find a small group of Christian friends, meet regularly and be accountable about sharing your faith life and struggles.  It may be a prayer group, a Bible study group, a ministry team, a couples group.  Pray together, find ways to serve together, study together.  If you do these things you will find the message of the Via de Cristo weekend is still alive and working in your life.

How do others who have made this weekend feel?  What has helped you keep the mountain top experience alive?


Absolutely Impossible

“I know the resurrection is a fact, and Watergate proved it to me. How? Because 12 men testified they had seen Jesus raised from the dead, then they proclaimed that truth for 40 years, never once denying it. Every one was beaten, tortured, stoned and put in prison. They would not have endured that if it weren’t true. Watergate embroiled 12 of the most powerful men in the world-and they couldn’t keep a lie for three weeks. You’re telling me 12 apostles could keep a lie for 40 years? Absolutely impossible.”Charles Colson

What proved the resurrection to you?  Send us your story.


Set Your Mind on Grace

In my last post, I talked about how a reborn Christian should think, and the kind of things we need to “set our mind on.”  It made me remember my Via de Cristo weekend and how it was a time of “renewing my mind.”(Romans 12:2).

 A weekend is 72 hours away from the world.  Participants (they are called pilgrims) are asked to turn off their cell phones, take off their watches and leave their electronics at home. They don’t need to worry about the time.  They don’t have to cook or clean up. There are no chores. They have three days to “set their minds” on God’s grace. 

 There are a number of talks on the weekend, some by pastors, others by lay people, but the thread holding them all together is grace.  We talk about how God’s grace is habitual, i.e., everyone in the world benefits from it (you know, rain falls on the just and unjust alike).  However, we each experience times when God acts “gracefully” and specifically in our own lives. In fact, every one of us lives a grace-filled life and if we only take the time to let this realization sink in, we will naturally want to share His grace with the world.

 In addition to hearing about grace, we experience it directly in the love of team members who give up their time to serve coffee, cook food, clean up, and take care of the hundreds of details that make up the retreat.  We meet new Christian friends who have time to share and listen and hug and laugh and sing and cry with us.

 What an opportunity!  At home we have a million things to distract us:  bills, chores, children, spouses and yes, even those worthwhile church and volunteer activities.  How often do most of us get to truly be Mary, setting at the feet of Jesus and just listening, being completely focused?

I didn’t get any new knowledge or secret insights on my weekend.  The theology is just straightforward Lutheran teaching. What I did get was a taste of “ fixing …(my) eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”(Hebrews 12:2) and some tools and suggestions to help me keep doing that.

Via de Cristo is a national organization that sponsors weekends all over the country.  You can learn more at www.viadecristo.org or email one of us at our church website www.leitersburglutheran.org.