History does repeat itself. Sometimes in its repetition we can see the heartbreak of the transgressions of the past repeated in the present with an even deeper and more insidious result. Look around you and what do you see? Shootings, stabbings, bombings, race riots, gangs, rape, murder, genocide; Black lives matter, police lives matter, all lives matter but what does it matter? Politicians lie, people lie and so many lie unnecessarily in early graves. Save the whales, save the schools, save the planet, save the children, but save them for what future? Muslims against Christians, Christians against other Christians, and seemingly the world against Judaism while the Atheists say, "I told you so." Women's rights, animal rights, civil rights, gun rights, LGBT rights - so many rights, but everything still seems so wrong. The world has become dangerous and angry. Their clamoring for peace is drowned out by the ever increasing clamor of violence. Where. Is. God? Does He hear? Does He know? Does He care? Has God completely lost control of our world?
Terrorism – it is a fearful and horrific development in our present day. The barbaric and merciless treatment of those who stand in your way simply because of their religion or country of origin has been made to be household conversation, most recently by ISIS. Does the Bible talk about ISIS? If so, what does it say and if not, then why not?
There is something about looking into the future that really fascinates us. What will things be like 100 years from now? Will cancer be cured? Will the world powers that we have today be the world powers of tomorrow? Will our reality be experienced virtually? Will we get along? Or, will the world be a scene of utter destruction caused by man-made global warming, or will it be destroyed by nuclear winter, or disease? Will an asteroid end life as we know it or will the wrath of God burn the planet and all on it to a crisp? Well, we believe biblical prophecy tells us a lot about the future and we believe that it tells us with a startling measure of detail. Stay with us as we walk down a path of prophecy and look back so we can see the future!
We live in very touchy times. Whether it is debating political positions or arguing for more of what we believe are our rights, or standing against those who want to do us harm, there are multiple ways of looking at these things. Religion is no different. Did you know that about one half of the world is either Christian or Muslim? That’s a lot of people! Kinda makes you wonder – with so many people professing to follow either of these paths, would the founders of these paths, Jesus and Muhammad, have been in agreement with one another?
For many, one of the most exciting events in life is the birth of a child. Once they are born, we really begin to understand how fragile, innocent and utterly dependent they are. If not completely cared for on a round-the-clock basis, they have little chance in life. As they grow it dawns on us that their physical dependence gives way to emotional and life skills dependence, so we must continue to rise to the challenge of parenting in an ever-changing way. At some point, the plan is for them to stand, think, act and live on their own. This is, or should be the victory of parenthood! Folks, something is really wrong...many of our children are not learning this independence! Where did we go wrong?
The Bible often tells us what is going to happen before it happens. Sometimes its prophecies are very specific and sometimes they are shrouded in symbols, but in all cases they tell us about the future. So, what is the future? Our world has come to a point where it has the capacity to destroy all living things. What is going to happen with this great power? There are several Bible prophecies that can be interpreted to not only verify this destruction but seem to graphically describe it as well! Are we headed for nuclear holocaust? Does the Bible verify such a horrible end? Is this all in God’s plan?
We all know that Jesus taught us to forgive. If your brother trespasses against you seven times in a day, Jesus says to forgive. Okay, while this may be difficult, we can see its value and strive to live up to that standard. But, but what about when someone commits a horrible crime – what about when someone guns down in cold blood, innocent God fearing people in church – at a Bible study? Is the same lesson of forgiveness relevant? Do the teachings of Jesus include forgiving those who are simply and purely evil in their actions?
Religion is a powerful thing. It wields a sword of conviction with which humanity will go to face great challenges. Depending on its purity, the results of this conviction can be very good or very bad. Religion can also wield a spear of bigotry that can be passionately thrown at a perceived enemy who is far away…unfortunately, Christianity and Islam both carry such weapons and have both been known to use them for harm. Is it possible that God is behind both of these religions?
Enemies. For some of us, naming them is easy – we can put a name and a face to them and recite the reasons we have to consider them enemies. For others, the idea of an enemy may be more related to a general group who may have a different ideology, or a different political perspective. Whatever makes someone your enemy, the question remains, how do you treat them? Jesus says to love our enemies, but is that really a practical statement? Doesn’t loving an enemy overlook and minimize the very reasons that they may justifiably be our enemies? Stay with us!
Jesus taught us about many things. He taught us how to live, what to focus on, how to be a good neighbor, how to be selfless. He taught us what the most and least important things are. He taught us the simplicity of faith and the magnificence of faith in God. Jesus also taught us about being chosen of God and all that such choosing entails. On this prorgram we will look at what Jesus taught us about the chosen nation of Israel by use of the example of a fig tree. This is a part of his teaching that rarely gets much attention…