November 30, 2021

Ep.: What scriptures support a religious exemption from vaccines?

We have not found any scriptures that would encourage a religious exemption from vaccines.  In addition, there are no scriptures forbidding a vaccination. The COVID-19 vaccine helps people to fight the virus that has already killed between 3 million to 6 million people worldwide. The Bible encourages people to care for their health.
God provided many of the Laws in the Law Covenant to help keep His children healthy. For example, if a person had leprosy, they were quarantined from the rest of the nation so that the disease would not spread. Leviticus 13:14, “…the priest shall shut up the diseased person for seven days”. (Read Leviticus 13 and 14 for all the laws to protect the nation from the spread of leprosy.)

Mankind is blessed to have knowledge that helps us make vaccines. Daniel 12:4 (RSV), teaches that in “the time of the end. . . knowledge shall increase.” Medical advances due to the increase of knowledge have lessened our suffering.

This is a great blessing from God – not a sin. Without the COVID-19 vaccine, many more people will die. For example, when the Black Death spread through parts of Africa, Europe, and Asia from 1346 to 1353, it caused the death of 75 million to 200 million people. There was no vaccine. It killed at least 30% and up to 60% of the European population.

The COVID-19 vaccine can reduce mankind’s suffering and death. While it is not a perfect solution, it is still a blessing.

You may not like the idea of the vaccine or may not want it because of principle.  Please consider this:  As Christians, our lives are supposed to be about service and sacrifice, reflecting.  Jesus’ own thoughts, words and deeds.  Isn’t the highest principle here that of serving others with love?  Didn’t Jesus do that, even for his enemies?

Lots of people are afraid and insecure because of COVID.  What if your being vaccinated could reduce someone’s irrational fear?  What if you doing what you might not necessarily like, could be a witness to those around you of the love of Jesus? Getting vaccinated is an act of compassion for your fellow man, because this is not about ourselves, it is about others.
Please consider this perspective carefully.  If you have medical issues, please consult your doctor and make appropriate choices.  It’s a very scared and insecure world out there.  We want to do our best to bring clarity, compassion and contribution to it as disciples of Christ.
To learn more about how COVID-19 has impacted our Christianity listen to, “Is Your COVID-19 Christianity Still Being Tested?”

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November 30, 2021

Ep.: What does the Lord’s prayer mean?

When Jesus’ disciples asked him to teach them how to pray, he gave them this simple prayer as an example in the book of Luke. It says:

“Our Father in heaven…” (Luke 11:2, NKJ)

First, we must remember that God is our loving Father in heaven, the Creator of the universe.

“…hallowed be your name.” (Luke 11:2, NKJ)

To “hallow” means to honor as holy. Since God’s name is holy, we should have reverence, love, respect and awe for Him. We honor God when we tell others about His glorious plan that will bless all who will live according to his laws in His future kingdom.

“Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Luke 11:2, NKJ)

Right now, God’s will is not being done on earth. But Jesus said to pray for the kingdom, when God WILL be obeyed on earth as He now is in heaven. Many verses in the Bible describe this kingdom: the time when God will wipe away everyone’s tears, and crying will pass away.

“Give us each day our daily bread.” (Luke 11:3, NIV)

When we pray that our Heavenly Father will provide for us our daily bread, we don’t mean we just want food for our bodies. We also want food for our hearts and minds. We can receive this special, spiritual food from the Word of God – the Bible. In the book of John (6:35), Jesus said he was the “bread of life,” meaning that his words and example are the spiritual food we are looking for.

“…and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.” (Luke 11:4, NLT)

Just as we want God’s forgiveness when we do something wrong, we must also be forgiving when others commit wrongs against us and not hold a grudge.

While some Bible translations state the next line (11:4) as “lead us not into temptation,” we know “abandon us not in temptation” is a more accurate translation since James (1:13) says God tempts no one. In 1 Corinthians, (10:13) Paul says God will not permit faithful Christians to have trials beyond their ability and that He will direct the issue.

Not all early copies of the Bible add the line “deliver us from evil” or “deliver us from the Evil One,” meaning Satan. (see Luke 11:4)

So, what does the Lord’s Prayer mean? In summary, it means we should always reverence the one true God who is in heaven, and respect His holy name. In God’s kingdom, all who live according to His godly rules will be blessed. We look to Jesus’ words and examples in the Bible to serve as our spiritual food. Just as we want God to forgive our sins, we should forgive others for theirs. Lastly, when we have temptations to do wrong, we should pray hard and look for the correct way out that God might be showing us.

To learn more about prayer listen to, “Do Our Prayers Change God’s Mind?”
For more on the Lord’s prayer watch, “What Does the Lord’s Prayer Mean?”

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November 30, 2021

Ep.: Why hasn’t God destroyed our world like He did during Noah’s time?

By mentioning the flood and Sodom and Gomorrah some may think God should bring destruction on this world.  We do live in a sinful world. And the scriptures describe a time of trouble such as the world has never seen (See Daniel 12:1). However, there is much more to God’s plan than destruction.

The purpose of the coming trouble will be to rid the world of the governments and institutions of man. They will be replaced by the kingdom of God, established on this earth. (See also Daniel 2:44).

God has allowed sin for a very important reason. In God’s kingdom all humanity will be brought back from the grave (Acts 24:15). Man’s previous experience with sin will be an invaluable aid in helping each individual understand the real difference between sin and righteousness.

According to Revelation 20:4 the kingdom will last for 1,000 years. Satan will be bound and not allowed to influence anyone. The world will then be taught righteous principles and knowledge of God will fill the earth (Isaiah 11:9). It will be a kingdom of peace and blessings.

When the 1,000 years expire Satan will be let loose for a final testing of mankind. Those who prove faithful to God and to righteousness will be granted eternal life here on earth. Those who follow Satan’s lead will be destroyed in what the Bible terms “second death” (Revelation 21:8). It will be a death from which there will be no resurrection.

God has patiently waited for each generation to experience the effects of sin. In His due time everything will change and this sinful race will gradually become righteous, full of love for God and one another.

That is the goal of God’s plan and it will happen because God has promised it. To learn more about God’s plan and why He is allowing evil listen to, “Is it God’s Fault We Have Evil in This World?”

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November 29, 2021

Ep.1206: Is a Near-Death Experience a Glimpse of Heaven?

Uncovering what a near death experience is and what it is not

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CHAPTERS

[00:15:40]
How do NDEs differ among cultures and religions?


[00:30:39]
How do we account for out-of-body experiences?


[00:46:42]
What about accounts of NDEs happening while the brain is considered dead?


Theme Scripture: 2 Corinthians 12:3-4

Near-death experiences  (NDEs) are common. They have been reported from cultures and religions worldwide for hundreds of years. In this near-death scenario, there is usually a dark tunnel with a warm and calming light at the end. Often there are deceased relatives waiting in that light to receive the person going through the  experience. Sometimes the person feels and sees themselves leave their body. At Christian Questions, we have always held that the Bible teaches that death is the absence of life. Could these NDEs be shedding a different light and proof on this subject? Are these experiences showing us a gateway to the supernatural, or could they in any way be physiological? One way or another, NDEs prove something. This question is, what?

Continue Reading

Millions have reported having an NDE

The drama of an NDE is hard to match. There are so many millions of people who have reported them, and their reports frequently indicate a vivid sense of reality. People not only remember having the experience, they remember its details and sensations in extraordinary detail. Because these experiences are common throughout the world and across all religious borders, we need to pay attention to their message. As we acknowledge the commonality of such events, it is also important to recognize that all NDEs are not pleasant or peaceful. Some people are unfortunately terrorized and traumatized by what they report.

What do NDEs tell us?

Curiously, when you compare the details of these experiences, they seem to gather into categories based upon cultural or religious beliefs. One example of this is the reports that during an NDE, people see their lives panoramically flash before their eyes. While this description of a life review is extremely common in western cultures and Judeo-Christian faiths, it is entirely different in some eastern culture and religious circles.

The Hindu NDE accounts may consist of having someone read the record of the dying person’s life (called the “akashic record”). In Hinduism, a traditional belief is that the reading of a person’s akashic record occurs immediately after death. This concept is widely believed by Hindus all over India. The common western culture panoramic life review does not appear in accounts from India. So, why is this significant?

Check out our November 29, 2021 podcast, “Is a Near Death Experience a Glimpse of Heaven?” We address this core question regarding what an NDE is on several levels. First, we establish a scriptural basis for viewing such experiences. As this story unfolds, it really looks like we are dealing with massive contradictions. The Bible is specific about what death is, and the commonality of near-death experiences seems to indicate a fundamental difference between the two. When we open the door of medical and scientific evidence all of this changes. Join us as we combine biblical perspective with science, medicine and practical application and come up with a fascinating and harmonious conclusion! We also recommend Episode 1201: Can the Dead Communicate With Us?

 

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November 22, 2021

Ep.1205: How Can I Rejoice in Trials?

Discovering the profound power of gratitude in the face of adversity

If you do not have a password, please subscribe to our FREE Premium Content for the Full Edition version of CQ Rewind. The welcome message will contain your password, and a reminder will be sent each week when the CQ Rewind is available online for you to read, print, or download.

CHAPTERS

[00:17:20]
How does Paul's letter to the Colossians give us encouragement?


[00:31:56]
How does Paul's letter to the Philippians teach us to rejoice in all things?


[00:46:04]
What can we learn from the last letter Paul wrote from prison before his death?


Theme Scripture: Philippians 1:12-13

Every Christian wants to be faithful in living their life with thankfulness. One immediate question that arises is, what causes us to be thankful? What life experiences bring us to gratitude? Most of us would answer that we feel appreciativeness when things fall into place or when a hard experience yields a righteous result. These are great times to give honor to God, but what about when the opposite happens? What kind of acknowledgment do we give to God when our opportunities are cut off for no good reason? Would we be grateful if we were singled out to have our personal freedoms to spread the gospel stripped, and we were instead literally locked in our house? The Apostle Paul was. The last several years of his life were mostly spent as a prisoner of Rome. What was his secret to rejoicing?

Continue Reading

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November 15, 2021

Ep.1204: Am I Fighting For or Against God?

Facing the things we do and think that put us in opposition to God

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CHAPTERS

[00:14:16]
Can being part of a community influence us to fight against God?


[00:30:13]
Could we be fighting against God accidentally?


[00:44:32]
What are some ways we can fight FOR God?


Theme Scripture: 2 Timothy 2:22

As a Christian, we never want to be in a situation where we end up fighting against God. Yet, we may end up in this position more often than we’d expect. To fight FOR God is to stand for His principles, His Plan and His purposes as outlined in Scripture. This sounds simple, but it really isn't. We find ourselves fighting against Him when we are misinformed or misguided and we take a stand for something that is less than godly. Sometimes we mistakenly or purposefully misrepresent God’s word or focus on motivation that is less than spiritually pure. It is easy to look at our thoughts and preferences and interpret them as “God’s will” for us and then pursue them with confidence. So, how do we know if we are really on God’s side or someone else’s in these circumstances?

Continue Reading

Are we or aren't we?

To determine if we are fighting against God is not as easy as you might think. Loving God does not automatically make us lifetime members of the "I fight for God Club."  This dilemma is aptly displayed in what we know about the life of the Old Testament prophet Jonah. Jonah was a mouthpiece of God.  He was chosen to bring God’s messages to the people and to bring them in line with the Creator’s righteous ways. Jonah was told by God (notice he was told, not asked) to preach to the city of Nineveh about their sinful ways. The end result was that Jonah DID preach but he did NOT want to.  Jonah fought for God in his mission but fought against God in his heart.

It is sooooo subtle

As odd as this sounds, this is a common challenge, as fighting against God can happen in a variety of different ways. The Bible gives us examples of the creative subtlety we as humans use to appear as spiritually-minded when we are actually going in a different direction. One example of this creative subtlety has to do with identifying and calling out legitimate issues. We can observe someone being wrong or unjust while working in God’s service. We might react to this with focus and indignation.  Perhaps we present evidence to show how it is fighting against God, and we would be right. We can and should demand change. The subtlety begins here, as the change we demand fits our personal agenda and not a higher godly agenda. We initially stood for God, only to fight against Him in our proposed solution to the problem.

Check out our November 15, 2021 podcast, “Am I Fighting For or Against God?” for more. We look at several biblical examples of how we can end up fighting against God, even when we don’t mean to. Identifying when and how we fight against God is one thing, but searching out ways to prevent it is another. Join us for some very practical scriptural tactics that can help us overcome our broken, human approach to godliness. Let’s fight the right fight!

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November 08, 2021

Ep.1203: Why Aren’t My Prayers Being Answered?

Uncovering the dynamics of what makes a prayer work or fail

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CHAPTERS

[00:11:25]
Can our prayers really change the lives of others?


[00:32:09]
How can we get our prayers heard?


[00:48:45]
What kinds of prayers are inappropriate?


Theme Scripture: James 5:16

We always say that prayer changes things - and it does. Jesus was emphatic about this and even gave us an example of how to pray in what is known as “The Lord’s Prayer.” With prayer, as with so many parts of Christian doctrine, the core value of what the Bible teaches easily gets lost in the interpretive value of our own human perspective. Because of the imperfect human part of the equation we create many questions. What about those circumstances where someone prays for what they need, and they simply don’t get it? Is the problem that God is not listening or that He doesn’t want them to have what they need? Is the problem that this person not praying appropriately? How does this lifeline to God really work?

Continue Reading

Who gets such direct access to God?

The first question to address has to do with accessibility. Does anyone have the ability to communicate with God at any time they desire? Should it be a general human expectation to be able to ask God for what we feel we need or for what we want? If this entitlement were true, then we would have several apparent conclusions to recognize. Our observation is that the overwhelming majority of us see their prayers as unanswered. This would then mean that God either does not hear all that well or He is completely uncaring. A quick look at the Bible confirms that neither of these conclusions is true.

There are many scriptures that describe God as “with the contrite and lowly of spirit” (Isaiah 57:15) or “hearing the prayer of the righteous” (Proverbs 15:29). These texts are teaching us that God is a willing listener but only in some circumstances. Righteousness and humility always come to the top of the list when understanding who God will respond to. Whenever righteousness is a qualification for anything in Scripture, we know it specifically means being right before God. While our own good standing in our worldly environment is good, it lacks the godly reverence needed for God to hear us.

Who really benefits?

What about those whose prayers God does hear? Do their petitions really make a difference in their own lives and the lives of others? This is a hard question to answer. The Bible does give us many examples of those who bring matters to God seeking His intervention. These examples do indicate that God is listening and responding. So if that is the case, then exactly how does this work? If our petitions to God do bring results and changes to those we are praying about, does that mean if we don’t ask then God won’t help them?

Check out our November 8, 2021 podcast, “Why Aren’t My Prayers Being Answered?” for more. We dig into what the whole communicating-with-God equation is built upon and look into how the Bible says it works. This is a fascinating journey into an important, very popular and yet sorely misunderstood subject. Understanding prayer and following its scriptural guidelines is a life changer! Don’t miss it!

 

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November 08, 2021

VIDEO: How is the Bible Organized? (How to Find a Bible Verse)

By two main sections: the Old Testament and the New Testament. Have your kids watch this short animated video to learn more about the organization of the bible!

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November 01, 2021

Ep.1202: Is Anyone Listening to the Wisdom of the Bible?

Uncovering how true wisdom works and why it is so rare

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CHAPTERS

[00:16:45]
Why is integrity such an important part of wisdom?


[00:29:46]
If Solomon was so wise, why did it not end well?


[00:44:44]
What benefits are there to us seeking for wisdom?


Theme Scripture: James 1:5

It seems like wisdom has become old fashioned and obsolete. When I think of wisdom, I think of a thoughtful approach that is not driven by self-interest. I think of quiet observation that seeks to understand the people, the facts and the circumstances before weighing in with answers. When I think of wisdom, I think of my Grandma Helen. She lived a hard life and yet judged no one, always found a way to help and contribute and continually guided others towards their best and most integrity-filled path. When I think of wisdom, I think of Jesus. I think of his everyday life, his teaching, his obedience to his Father and his selflessness. When I think of wisdom, I don’t ever think of our day and our tech-driven, opinion-heavy and reaction-riddled approach. What happened? Where did we go wrong?

Continue Reading

Very different from intelligence

Intelligence implies the ability to acquire and process knowledge and to be able to take that knowledge and put it to good use. This is a wonderful characteristic to have as it provokes order and growth. While wisdom benefits from intelligence, it dives much deeper regarding the application of knowledge. It is both experience and maturity- based. Its application of what it has observed and processed can be an enormous catalyst for positive change. A good leader can be intelligent, but a great leader must be wise!

Jesus displayed a level of godly wisdom in his life and ministry that was rare to say the least. We can trace at least four distinct characteristics of being wise that Jesus displayed. The first of these is understanding. Without true understanding of a circumstance or a person, being wise barely has a chance to see the light of day. The problem here is that it’s far too easy to judge what we don’t understand, and this always produces unwise conclusions. Jesus taught us in Matthew 7 to beware of such uneducated judgment regarding our brother. The consequence for such an action would be to be judged with the same harshness we doled out. Wisdom needs understanding to flourish and understanding needs wisdom to be accurate.

It's rare

There are several other characteristics of wisdom that make it such a sorely needed but rarely-observed commodity in our 21st-century world. Check out our November 1, 2021 podcast, “Is Anyone Listening to the Wisdom of the Bible?” for more. We examine several important scriptural examples. There is breathtaking inspiration in watching someone like King David learn it through hardship - and then live it. There is also heartbreaking sadness in watching his son, King Solomon, attain lofty wisdom only to see it drain away when his priorities became distorted. The highest and most influential wisdom can only be grasped when we center it on the highest godly principles of Scripture. Join us for an enlightening conversation about the life-changing influence wisdom can have. It will be time well-invested!

 

 

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November 01, 2021

VIDEO: Is Anyone Listening to the Wisdom of the Bible?

Are wisdom and intelligence the same? Watch this short vlog then listen to the full podcast of the same name for more details.

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