Religion and Spirituality
Dr. Ravi Zacharias at Princeton University – Why I’m Not An Atheist
Defining the terms
Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities. Most inclusively, atheism is the absence of belief that any deities exist. Atheism is contrasted with theism, which, in its most general form, is the belief that at least one deity exists.
Theism is the belief in the existence of a god or gods, especially belief in one God as the creator of the universe, intervening in it and sustaining a personal relation to His creation.
Deism is the belief in the existence of a supreme being, specifically of a creator who does not intervene in the universe. The term is used chiefly of an intellectual movement of the 17th and 18th centuries that accepted the existence of a creator on the basis of reason but rejected belief in a supernatural deity who interacts with humankind.
Theology is the study of the nature of God and religious belief.
Ideology, in the Althusserian sense, is “the imaginary relation to the real conditions of existence.” It can be described as a set of conscious and unconscious ideas which make up one’s goals, expectations, and motivations. An ideology is a comprehensive normative vision, meaning that it is a set of standards that are followed by people, government, and/or other groups that is considered the “norm”.
Scriptures clearly teach us that Satan has a three-fold purpose and that is “to steal, and to kill, and to destroy” (see John 10:10). The Apostle Paul in his epistle to the Ephesians also taught us, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). Therefore, as Paul also exhorts, we should “Neither give place to the devil” (Ephesians 4:27).
From certain things that I have experienced in my life, I am keenly aware that Satan is alive and well, and that he is crafty and operates through deception. In fact, there are actually six D’s that can be associated with Satan – Deception, Doubt, Discouragement, Diversion, Defeat, and Delay. I have spent my entire life struggling with each of these 6 D’s in one form or another. Satan has tried many times to kill me by taking control of my mind, body, and even my very soul. He has relentlessly tried to defeat me in every area of my life, but I have learned that the grace and tender mercies of the Lord are far more powerful than any attack that Satan can hurl at me. It is because of the Lord’s amazing grace and His tender mercies that I am alive today, and instead of walking in the darkness that once surrounded my life, I am now walking in the glorious light of the Holy Spirit.
The Apostle Paul in his treatise to the Saints at Ephesus taught, “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11). And so, we are to put on the full armor of God, “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Corinthians 2:11).
The 6 D’s that I have mentioned are the wiles of the devil. I cannot express strongly enough the importance of not being ignorant of Satan’s tactics to defeat you. So, please put on the armor of God and live and walk in His glorious light. The reality is that you are either walking with Satan in darkness, or you are walking with Christ in the light. You cannot do both. Darkness and light cannot dwell together. It is an impossibility!
Karlyn Kay Stebbins
February 20, 2015
Karlyn Kay Stebbins’ Biography:
Karlyn Kay Stebbins is a guest writer for Morsels Of Bread. She is an addictions counselor and works in a drug rehabilitation center. She has a double major in Sociology and Psychology, and a minor in Communications. She is a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, having been baptized on 26 March 2011. Her hobbies are reading and writing. She also enjoys spending time with her son and his friends. She is also the Founder of The Conqueror Foundation and has a blog called “Reflection Pays” where she shares her insights.
With Every Beat of Your Heart
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23).
The heart is the organ that supplies blood and oxygen to all parts of the body making it one of the most important organs in the entire human body. It is about the size of a clenched fist, weighs between 7 and 15 ounces (200 to 425 grams), and is shaped like a cone. It is located between the lungs in the middle of the chest, behind and slightly to the left of the breastbone (sternum). A double-layered membrane called the pericardium surrounds your heart like a sack.
The heart is really nothing more than a pump. It is composed of muscle which pumps blood throughout the body distributing essential nutrients throughout the body and carrying away waste products to keep us fresh and comfortable. Blood is pumped away from the heart through arteries and returns to the heart through veins. If the heart ever ceases to pump blood the body begins to shut down and after a very short period of time will die. Like any other muscle in the human body, the heart contracts and expands.
Unlike skeletal muscles, however, the heart works on the “All -or-Nothing Law”. That is, each time the heart contracts it does so with all its force. It beats approximately 72 times per minute. By the end of a long life, a person’s heart may have beaten (expanded and contracted) more than 3.5 billion times, without ever pausing to rest. Infect, each day, the average heart beats 100,000 times, pumping about 2,000 gallons (7,571 liters) of blood. Like a pumping machine, the heart provides the power needed for life.
The Use of the Word “Heart” in Scripture
“My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever” ( Psalm 73:26).
The word heart appears in the King James Version of the Bible some 830 times – 725 times in the Old Testament and 105 times in the New Testament. As used in Scriptures, the heart is more than just the organ that pumps blood through the body. It is a metaphor for a person’s innermost core or spiritual center. When the Scriptures speak of the heart, they are speaking of the total person or one’s whole soul. God sees, tests, and searches the hidden depths of the human heart. One who has a “pure heart “lives a life that is directed and devoted totally and unreservedly to God.
In the Old Testament, the phrase “hardness of heart” not only refers to the enemies of God’s people, like Pharaoh in Egypt, but it also refers to God’s people – Israel. In the New Testament it describes not only the scribes and Pharisees, but the disciples as well. A hard-hearted person is self-centered, typically prideful, stubborn, and resistant to what
God wants to do in his life. Thus, it is deep below the surface of our lives that God begins a work of renewing grace in us. The real action is rooted deep in the heart.
In Mark 6: 45-52 we read of an account where the phrase “hardness of heart” is used in reference to the disciples. The disciples had just witnessed the feeding of 5,000 with only five loaves and two fishes and the gathering of twelve baskets full of fragments and fishes afterwards. This is the account as recorded by Mark:
45 And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people.
46 And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray.
47 And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land.
48 And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.
49 But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out:
50 For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.
51 And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered.
52 For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.
What Type of Heart Do We Have?
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings” (Jeremiah 17:9.10).
What type of heart do we have? Do we have pure hearts that seek after doing those things which the Lord has called us to do with willingness and gladness? Do we have a desire to live our lives completely directed by and dedicated to God’s will? Or, do we have hardened hearts? Are we self-centered and unreceptive to the will of God, believing that our own way is the best way?
Charles Dickens once said, “A loving heart is the truest wisdom.” And Sarah Ban Breathnach once said, “Whatever we are willing for–peace of mind, contentment, grace, the inner awareness of simple abundance–it will surely come to us, but only when we are ready to receive it with an open and grateful heart.”
Having a pure heart brings with it the blessings of the Lord, whereas having a hardened heart pronounces a curse upon one’s own life. A hardhearted person lives a life that is full of misery, disparity, and woe. This is illustrated in the case of the captivity of Judah as recorded in Jeremiah 17:1-8:
1 The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond: it is graven upon the table of their heart, and upon the horns of your altars;
2 Whilst their children remember their altars and their groves by the green trees upon the high hills.
3 0 my mountain in the field, I will give thy substance and all thy treasures to the spoil, and thy high places for sin, throughout all thy borders.
4 And thou, even thyself, shalt discontinue from thine heritage that I gave thee; and I will cause thee to serve thine enemies in the land which thou knowest not: for ye have kindled a fire in mine anger, which shall burn for ever.
5 Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.
6 For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.
7 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.
8 For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.
The Heart of the Matter
Everything that we do in life is a matter of the heart. Whatever we have a heart’s desire to do is normally what we will do, whether it be right or wrong. Our actions are governed by the type of heart that we have and the intents of that heart. The Lord judges us by the intents of our hearts. He reminds us in Jeremiah 17:9-10, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” And we are reminded in Matthew 6: 19-21, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
I leave these thoughts with you humbly in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. Amen.
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever. – Isaiah 40:7,8
One of my main goals for 2014 is to read the Bible in its entirety for the 10th time in my young life. I am pleased to say that I am well on track with the goal that I have set, and as of this writing I will have completed reading Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, and 1 Samuel. I have also read 118 of the 150 Psalms, and various portions of the New Testament.
As I read and ponder the scriptures, I am reminded of the words recorded in 1 Peter 1:24-25, “For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: but the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” I am also reminded of the words of the Psalmist when he proclaimed, “For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations” (Psalm 100:5).
Each time I read the pages of the blessed volume my soul hungers to know more of His Word which is a “a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105). And so, I strive to follow the admonition of the Apostle Paul, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15), thereby shunning “profane and vain bablings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker” (2 Timothy 2:16-17). By so doing I am able to echo the words of the Psalmist:
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Blessed art thou, O Lord: teach me thy statutes. With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth. I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches. I will medidate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways. I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word (Psalm 119:11-16).
Every time I read from the pages of scriptures, I am forever amazed at how even though I have read all the passages several times, I still learn many new and wonderful things. I also find that my understanding of certain passages of scripture increases with each reading, and I have also discovered that as I enter into different seasons in my life, different passages begin to take on a whole new meaning as I learn to liken the scriptures unto myself.
There are some who may ask why I would repeatedly read the Holy Bible in its entirety. I answer their question with a question, “Why Not?” It is no mystery that I grow older with each passing year. I am as the scriptures clearly teach us, as the grass that withereth, and all of my glory (if there be any) is as the flower of the grass that soon fadeth away. The Good News, however, is that the “word of our God shall stand for ever” (see Isaiah 40:8) and “his truth endureth to all generations” (see Psalm 100:5).
I bear solemn witness and testimony that the Word of God never grows old. It is always fresh with new insights for all those who will take the time to read and feast upon its words. In the sacred name of Him whose Word is “a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (see Psalm 119:105), even the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
In my last treatise I addressed the subject of how we can be saved. In the course of that discussion I made mention of the fact that there are some who teach and believe that a person has to perform a certain number of works in order to merit receiving salvation. Then, in the summation of the subject, I stated that it is by grace that we are saved, through faith, it is the gift of God, not of works, for there is nothing that any of us could ever do on our own to merit salvation. We needed a Savior who would and did willingly give His life as the sacrificial lamb for the slaughter to atone for all of our sins – past, present, and future. He is our Advocate with the Father, and it is through Him alone that we are freely justified.
However, that still leaves a question for some concerning “works”. Are “works” a necessary part of our faith? Consider the words of James as recorded in James 2:14-26:
|14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.
24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?
26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
I believe that James is teaching us that it is good to have faith, but faith as it stands alone profits nothing. We develop and maintain our faith through our works.
For example in the Old Testament book of Genesis, in Genesis 22:1-12 we read of the account of Abraham being commanded by God to sacrifice his only son Isaac:
|1 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.
2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.
3 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.
4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.
5 And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.
6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.
7 And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?
8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.
9 And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.
10 And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.
11 And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.
12 And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.
In order to fully understand this account we must first realize what God was not doing. God was not tempting Abraham. God was not enticing Abraham to do wrong, but was testing him to see if his faith was strong enough to be obedient to His will and do what was required, and giving him, thereby, the opportunity to understand the Love of his Heavenly Father and the glory of obedience. God was not instituting or condoning child sacrifice. As seen in Deuteronomy 12:31 God abhors child sacrifice: “Thou shalt not do so unto the Lord thy God: for every abomination to the Lord, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods” (see also Leviticus 20:2-5, Jeremiah 32:35, Ezekiel 20:26, Isaiah 57:4-5).
It is important to remember that God prevented the sacrifice from actually occurring. He did not desire the sacrifice as an act of worship or for any other reason beyond testing and developing Abraham’s faith. God has the right to take human life and therefore could have authorized Abraham to take the life of his son Isaac in this particular case, but He did not. However, had Abraham decided of his own accord to sacrifice Isaac, he would have been wrong and his act would have been condemned by God.
Why then would God give this command? The point was for Abraham to come to understand that he trusted God completely and placed Him above all else, even his own son. Though God already knew that Abraham had faith in Him, it was necessary for Abraham to expand his faith through his “works”. Because of his “works”, not only God, but Abraham, his family and future generations knew that Abraham trusted God. This trust was important because it indicated that Abraham had the proper relationship with God, and thus he could benefit from God’s plans for his life.
James records that “Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God” (James 2:23).
By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, that in Isaac shall thy seed be called: accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure” (Hebrews 11:17-19).
And so we “see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only” (James 2:24).
Throughout Christendom the question of how one can be saved is addressed with great interest and concern. Many sermons have been preached from the pulpits of various denominations on this very subject. Although most will agree that faith and grace are two important key elements in the process, the role of each of these elements may differ depending on which religious denomination is addressing the subject.
There are some who believe that becoming saved is a one-time event that is as simple as believing on the Lord Jesus Christ and accepting Him in your heart. As far as they are concerned nothing more than that is required. One problem with that way of thinking is that, if not careful, a person could get the misconceived notion that they brought about their own salvation simply by displaying faith and believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, and based on that belief alone, they are now a Christian and are forever saved. But what about God’s amazing grace? What part does it play in this way of thinking?
There are others who teach that not only do you have to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, but that “the deal” is not solidified until you have stood or knelt at their church altar and repeated a “prayer of salvation” that is led by the officiating authority. This way of thinking could almost lead one to believe that regardless of their faith, and regardless of God’s grace, it is the prayer that brings about the real salvation.
Still, there are others who teach and believe that salvation is wrought through works. They believe that you must do enough good works to merit being saved. But who determines the amount of “works” that you have to do, and which “works” are acceptable and which ones are not?
And what happens after one is saved? There are those who teach and believe that once a person is saved, they are always saved. There is absolutely nothing that could contravene their salvation. This teaching opens up a virtual door and gives a person a poetic license to go through life doing whatever he wants without ever having to be concerned about consequences for his actions, because after all he is saved and already has his seat reserved in Heaven.
The truth of the matter is that “there is none righteous, no, not one” for “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” and we are “justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (see Romans 3:10,23,24). We are further taught in the Book of Mormon, in 2 Nephi 9:41:
O then, my beloved brethren, come unto the Lord, the Holy One. Remember that his paths are righteous. Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name.
It is true that through the process of repentance God will forgive us of our trespasses, but let us not forget that there is one sin that if committed will not be forgiven and that is blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. We learn of this in Matthew 12:30-32:
He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad. Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.
What is “blasphemy against the Holy Ghost”? From my study and understanding of the scriptures, I believe that “blasphemy against the Holy Ghost” occurs when a person willing rejects Jesus Christ’s offer of salvation – His free gift of eternal life – and thus, rejects forgiveness from his sins which was wrought through the atonement of Christ for all mankind. If a person does not accept the free gift, he cannot be forgiven. If a person denies the entrance of the Holy Spirit into his life in order that he may be sanctified, he cannot be cleansed from unrighteousness.
The Master Himself offers further commentary for greater understanding and clarification in the preceding verses recorded in Matthew 12:22-29:
Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, this fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: and if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.
So, how then can we be saved? Is it by faith alone? Is it by faith and grace? Is it by works alone? According to the scriptures we are saved by grace, through faith.
For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (2 Nephi 25:23). [emphasis added]
And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work (Romans 11:6).
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:4-9). [emphasis added]
Therefore, should we exclude “works” altogether? If not, what role do our “works” play in our salvation? Doesn’t James teach us that “faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone” (James 2:17)? We will discuss that topic in detail in a follow-on article.
For now, the summation of our present discussion is that we are saved by grace, through faith, and not by works or any merits of our own. Grace is the unmerited favor of God – meaning that God did something for us that we rightfully did not deserve. God sent His only Begotten Son , Jesus Christ, into the world to become sin’s last sacrifice – the sacrificial lamb for the slaughter. His Son willingly and lovingly accepted what He was sent to do, and He who knew no sin, became sin for us. He paid a debt that He did not owe and one that we could not pay on our own.
That amazing grace was a free gift from God which we accept through our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. That gift of grace was exemplified through the Atonement when our precious Savior was crucified on that cruel Roman cross on Golgotha’s lonely hill. When He cried “It is finished!”, the work that He had been sent to do was finally complete, and the gulf that existed between a sinful man and a loving Heavenly Father was bridged providing a way for us to return home to the loving arms of the Father who awaits us.
I welcome your thoughts on this matter.
The drawing above tells an amazing story in several ways. The gentleman who drew the picture is Joe Castillo, an internationally known artist, author, and storyteller. He is a native of Mexico City, Mexico and grew up in a bi-lingual home surrounded by art and the rich culture of the international city. His artwork has been sold worldwide and has touched the lives of countless thousands.
He developed a fervor for using art to tell stories during his teen years, and even created his own comic book series, regularly combining one art form with another. He later moved to Florida where he attended Ringling School of Art and graduated from Florida Bible College. He began his venture in the business world by founding The Advertising Library, an agency based in Knoxville, Tennessee. After a 20-year stint in the advertising business, he decided to return to school and received a M.A. in Biblical Studies and M. Div. from Asbury Theological Seminary.
The “Face of Christ” was conceived as a live performance “chalk talk” in which Joe draws the picture as he tells the story. This drawing is one of his most sought after pieces of artwork around the world, and has sold over one million images on prints, plagues, and greeting cards. “But the true story behind the drawing is a personal drama of bitterness, despair and ultimately, forgiveness and restoration.”  Joe relates the full story of his personal spiritual journey in his book titled The Face of Christ.