A Touch of Encouragement

A Touch of Encouragement

Is He Really Risen?

Is He Really Risen 2.jpg
Dear Friends of A Touch of Encouragement,
My name is Brandi Harkonen; I’m one of the people who work behind the scenes to help bring you Martha’s inspirational messages each week. I’m writing to let you know that Martha hasn’t been feeling well lately, so unfortunately, we won’t have a new video to post today. Instead, we are posting a written blog from Martha so you can still have your regular dose of encouragement this holiday season when many of you are celebrating the coming of spring and either Easter or Passover. Also, if you haven’t seen her video “Easter in Black and White,” check it out. It’s a wonderful tribute to everyone who has taken the leap of faith to believe that the impossible is always possible through God.
Martha joins me in wishing you the best during this special time of year. Please rest assured Martha will be back making new videos very soon, and maybe you’ll be hearing from me again as well!

Is He Really Risen?

I was just thinking about what I could say about Easter that hasn’t been said before. I recalled the Easter Sunday when I made a choice between writing a philosophy paper or spending the first gorgeous day of Spring at a brunch and an Easter egg hunt with my friends in my last year of college. I don’t remember what grade I received for that philosophy paper, but still regret walking down that green Berkshire hill and leaving my friends behind that beautiful morning.
I remember another Easter brunch about ten years ago. I was sitting outside beside a lake with a new friend. He looked out at the families arriving at the restaurant after church and said “I’m a Christian, too, you know. I think Jesus was amazing.”
I looked up. Was? Jesus was, or is?
He shrugged. “Well, I mean, I don’t buy all that resurrection stuff, of course. That just had to be a lot of propaganda the disciples made up to keep the faith going in the early years.”
I smiled and put down my hot cross bun and said quietly, “So, you don’t believe Jesus rose from the dead.” He laughed and said “Well, come on. Nobody rises from the dead.”
That, I told him, was the point. Nobody ever had before. Nobody has since. But if one Someone did, then that’s the guy I want to know.
“Well,” he said. “I’m just not a person of faith, I guess.”
“Oh, but you are,” I said. “You have great faith. You’re putting all your faith in the belief that Jesus died on the cross and never lived again. You’re betting that a bunch of his friends decided to create a lovely fairy tale and chose to be crucified or stoned or executed horribly just to keep that fairy-tale going rather than back off and say, “hey, okay, it was just a bunch of propaganda.” You’re counting on the possibility that a successful, educated guy like Saul gave it all up to become Paul, a prisoner of Rome, just to perpetuate the myth of his face-to-face meeting with the dead man he reviled. You’re rejecting the chance that the Unseeable, Unmeasurable Energy that keeps your heart beating and your mind thinking and your love growing will somehow disappear into nothingness at the instant that your body dies. You are trusting that all you know about life is all there is to know. That’s a lot of faith, if you ask me.
In my case, my faith is pretty simple. I just trust God. I trust the answer I received when I got down on my knees and asked “Is it true?” I trust the peace I have carried with me ever since. I trust the joy I feel every Easter when I call my sisters and say “He is risen” and hear the words back “He is risen, indeed.” Maybe my faith is simple, but the best things are. I don’t believe God would make His love so complicated that only the educated philosopher could comprehend it. It has to be available to everyone or it means nothing. I think that’s called a categorical imperative. I think I wrote a paper on that once, in fact. Once, on a beautiful Easter Sunday.
By the way, the man I had brunch with? He prayed that prayer. He got his answer. He was baptized a year or so later. And then he married me.

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posted April 2, 2010 at 7:58 am

My prayers are with Martha for a speedy recovery. Jesus is with her, and always will be. Martha is the epitome of faith. She is THE most inspirational person I have ever had the privilege of being exposed to. God you bless my friend.

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posted April 2, 2010 at 8:12 am

I hope you get well soon, love your letter,GOD bless you. jim

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posted April 2, 2010 at 8:39 am

Martha, I enjoy your inspirational videos. I hope you get to feeling better soon. Our prayers are with you.

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posted April 2, 2010 at 8:51 am

I am an at home wife and mother. All my children are grown now. Only my husband and I are home. I look forward to listening to Martha’s inspirational messages. I pray that you get better Martha. You are an inspiration for many of us. I know you are for me.
My prayers are for your recovery. God is the center of my life and I can tell He is in yours too. I have had some health problems myself.So I know God will take care of you and yours. So hurry and get well. God be with you and your family.

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posted April 2, 2010 at 9:04 am

Hi Martha-I’m sorry to hear you aren’t feeling-You are one awesome lady-I watch your videos every day-I pray you are feeling better soon-Brian

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Barbara J. Warner

posted April 2, 2010 at 9:46 am

Martha, hope this finds you feeling better. You can’t keep a good woman down. I was disappointed when I read that I wouldn’t see your video, but I enjoyed what you wrote very much. That’s neat that you told us that person ended up to be your husband. You and your family have a blessed Easter, and keep up the good work. I enjoy your videos.

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Rosalie Ralabate-Stearns

posted April 2, 2010 at 10:51 am

Hope you are feeling better soon Martha! What a wonderful story! How blessed your children are to grow up in a home with such wonderful beliefs. May you & your beautiful family have a Blessed & safe Easter! Get well soon!

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posted April 2, 2010 at 12:41 pm

Martha, praise God. I’m wishing you well, get better soon.

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posted April 2, 2010 at 12:54 pm

Martha, so sorry to hear you aren’t feeling well. May Jehovah-Rapha, the God who is your Healer touch you in a mighty way and restore you to a place of health and wellness. You are such an inspiration to all of us who are blessed to view your videos and all the work you have done in the past. Thank you for opening your heart and life to us and sharing yourself so openly. Rest peacefully and know that you are loved and being prayed for.

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betty ware

posted April 2, 2010 at 2:36 pm


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posted April 2, 2010 at 3:04 pm

So sorry Martha that you aren’t feeling well. May God’s healing touch be upon you. Have a happy Easter. Thank you so much for your sharing with us. Your videos and words bring joy to my days; and sometimes conviction to my heart.

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posted April 2, 2010 at 3:05 pm

Hi Martha
I am really sorry you are not feeling good,I know the Lord will see you through this.
My Prayers and thoughts are with you and your family.You are a great insight for people
and you bring alot of joy to us.Wishing you a joyfull Easter and get well soon .!!!!!
Take Care God Bless You [Angie]

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posted April 2, 2010 at 3:56 pm

Hello Martha: Thank you for your blog today it always helps me when I listen to you or read your blogs. I’m sort of searching right now with spiritual and religious beliefs and then I push the button on your video and you help me with whatever I was thinking about. I wish you peace and health and happiness. thank you Kathy

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Bill Wilson ACT Australia

posted April 2, 2010 at 8:05 pm

Sorry to read that you are ill,I pray that the healing power of the Holy Spirit will be with you . I find from my experience with cancer and heart surgery that if God brings you to it, He will see you through it I am sending love , prayers and a blessing from “down under, Regards to you and yours , your brother in Jesus Billw

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Dyan Raymond

posted April 2, 2010 at 10:33 pm

Dear Martha,
No one likes to discuss their illness with strangers, but could you at least put our minds to rest. I’m concerned and would like to know that you will soon be better. I pray that you will be back to the norm, full force! We need you and love you!

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posted April 3, 2010 at 10:52 am

My prayers are for a speedy recovery and more engery for all your love for HIM!
I just happened upon your sight and so greatful for the privilge of re-connecting with the one who wrote TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL! I pray for a speedy recovery! My God continue His blessing on you!

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posted April 3, 2010 at 10:56 am

Thanks for the WEB SITE, I’ve just stumbled upon! It is a great way to connect with Belivers in our Lord Jesus Christ! And thank you for your inspirational Videos! May God’s healing power be upon you!

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Lola Griffin

posted April 3, 2010 at 10:58 am

I pray that you have a speedy and blessed recovery. I look forward to hearing from you each day. You are my inspiration for the day. This Easter, as we go to the cross I thank God for the gift of my life. I have been so blessed, and He continues to bless me each day.
You are making a difference not only in my life, but in the lives of so many. This is your gift, your calling, and we are so blessed to have you with us each and everyday.
Happy Easter Martha.

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posted April 3, 2010 at 7:39 pm

Martha I am so sorry to hear you are feeling “under the weather” but your persistence in blessing us even when not quiet up to it is amazing and unforgetable. Thank you and when this passes, you will rise again too. . .always know what a blessing you have been in my life.

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Kathy Lehky

posted April 3, 2010 at 8:55 pm

Hi Martha,
Hope you’ll be feeling better soon. You are in my prayers daily. Have a happy Easter.
Miss and luv ya,

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Lucy Saldana

posted April 4, 2010 at 3:24 am

Martha, I’m so sorry that your not feeling well, and hope you have a speedy recovery.
I want you to know that I really look forward to listening to your inspirational message’s
God has given you this wonderful gift of sharing these wonderful word’s with us, I am really blessed that you have come into my life.You alway’s make my day, You are an inspiration to me, listening to you make’s me forget
about my bad time’s, and I’m so happy your beautiful word’s alway’s give me such comfort.
Get Well Soon, and God Bless You Alway’s.
Happy Easter for you, and your loving family.
Lucy Saldana

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posted April 4, 2010 at 8:28 am

Paul said without the resurrection, we are all a sorry bunch. I believe though after examining the facts of his death and resurrection that Jesus truly is alive today. Yes, we have to have faith, but our faith is really a “thinking mans faith.” After all, what other book in the whole world gives predictions of events and not one single one is found false?
Yes, Jesus is alive and his word; the Holy Bible is true.
God bless you Martha. I’m believing God for your healing.

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posted April 4, 2010 at 10:20 pm

Hello Martha……..I just would like to say that I love your words of encouragement. I will have witdrawls as if I were addicted to something. You bless me every day and I don’t want to be without seeing your sweet face and hearing your words that come fresh from the trone. God bless and keep smiling.

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posted April 5, 2010 at 2:08 am

So, lets think of it another way for a minute…what if jesus had not died on the cross and lived but in a drug induced stupor, not from the drink he requested. There is a curious incident recorded in the Gospels that may be explained by this hypothesis: while on the cross, Jesus complained that he was thirsty. A sponge soaked in vinegar was placed on the end of a long reed and held up to him. But far from reviving Jesus, the drink from this sponge apparently caused him to die. This is a curious reaction and suggests that the sponge was soaked not in vinegar, a substance that would have revived Jesus, but rather in something that would have caused him to lose consciousness—some sort of drug, for example. And there was just this type of drug available in the Middle East.

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posted April 5, 2010 at 2:17 am

In my point of view, those times didnt really have the most knowledgeable doctors and it is possible that whoever, if anyone, examined him to make sure he was lifeless, was wrong and he was very much alive. Albeit wounded, as he had a spear to his side after recieveing the “vinegar” or whatever concoction he was given, which the gospels also mention and they mention blood came out from the wound. Now this is also a curious statement in the bible as a dead body does not bleed…only through gravity…meaning, if he bled from his side, there must have been a heartbeat. Maybe not a known fact during those times, which means that person was alive and had a beating heart…whatever the concoction was that he was given may have just drugged him temporarily while he was taken to the tomb where he supposedly “rose” from the dead.

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posted April 5, 2010 at 2:38 am

Now, for my final point…we are all logically thinking adults here. Ever heard of the game telephone? A group of people sit in a circle, the first person whispers something into the ear of the person next to him, and it is passed on throughout the circle in the same way with whispers…by the time it gets back to the original person, what was said is totally off from what was originally whispered,and everyone has a good laugh. We have to remember, this man died over 2,000 years ago…thats a looong game of telephone. Furthermore, faking a death is not hard if your surrounded by, for lack of a better word, ignorant bystanders and if it had not been done before, it would have certainly seemed like a miracle…that is if the facts are still straight over the millenia, which in my opinion, is close to impossible especially if the books have been translated and re-translated from language to language. I know most of the people who will read this will probably be infuriated because I have potentially and inadvertently popped a bubble of faith, if you will, and have taken a bit of the security blanket, which by the way is completely manmade. Let me also add, the ones who get infuriated are the closed minded individuals who are not willing to concede and look at things from a different perspective, are completely convinced they have the truth and im pretty sure no one in this world was alive to witness first hand what actually took place in this story. I dont seek problems, I just like to think of myself as a logical thinker. Let the bashing begin.

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posted April 5, 2010 at 2:56 am

I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ. Faith… must be enforced by reason… when faith becomes blind it dies.
Mohandas Gandhi

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posted April 5, 2010 at 6:38 am

2 Timothy 4:3 “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions”
…Which is exactly what is happening on this thread. The Creator of this universe manifested Himself into the womb of a virgin,was born as Emmanuel(God with us) and lived an absolute sinless life and was murdered,crucified innocently without committing one offense towards God’s law. He then arose from the dead three days later and ascended to the throne. The acceptance of this as truth is the sole atonement for salvation. Without this belief and baptism you will perish. This is fact.

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posted April 6, 2010 at 6:27 am

Im sorry, maybe I did come off wrong by expressing my opinion or suspicion by looking at things from that point of view. I do realize the story of the resurrection is a story that brings much inspiration and hope for millions of people worldwide. I also hope I didnt come off as an atheist or someone who does not believe in god, because my faith in god is strong. I will go ahead and share a personal testimony with anyone who is reading this. In Febuary of 2006, I had a problem where the potassium in my system had reached a critical level because I had been having issues with my kidneys. My heart stopped, not for a couple of minutes but for an hour. Doctors told my family to start making funeral arrangements. I was clinically dead, no blood going to your brain for a couple of minutes has the very likely potential to render you a vegetable. Doctors worked on me for around 30 minutes, so im told. They then proceeded to tell my family I didnt make it and they should start preparing funeral arrangements. They were astounded when I came back and my heart started beating on its own…after an hour. Being doctors and “knowing” how the human body works, they told my family I would never be able to speak again much less walk again. It is now 2010 and I am living a normal life…house, wife, three kids, yada yada. The thing everyone asks me is do you remember anything…well yes and no. I do remember being in a very brightly lit place, white, bright white. I remember feeling a peace that I had never felt before or since. I remember feeling as though my great grandmother was there to greet me. She passed when I was 10. But the thing I remember most is feeling the presence of god and knowing he was there. It is not my faith in god which is lacking, it is my faith in man that lacks. For man to keep a story straight for that long is an exercise in futility and may have some details missing or reworded, maybe not intentional. So again, it is not my faith in god im calling into question, it is my faith in man.

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posted April 15, 2011 at 10:00 pm

So sorry to hear rhat Martha isn’t feeling well. She and her inspirational words has been a major source of inspiration in my life. Her words sooths my soul, gives me comfort and guidance. My best wishes for a speedy recovery.Looking forward to her healing videos and Thanks Brandi.

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