March 31, 2022

Ep.: What role will the nation of Israel play in God’s kingdom?

Prophecy foretells a time at the end of this time period when all the nations will gather against Israel to battle, the city will be captured, and the LORD will deliver Israel from that sure destruction.

“By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son, indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens [through Jesus and the spiritual class of faithful Christians – See Galatians 3:29] and as the sand which is on the seashore; [the Heroes of faith, See Hebrews 11 and the nation of Israel, Zechariah 13:8  see below]…And in your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”  Genesis 22:17-18

Zechariah 14:1: “Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle.” 

Zechariah 14:3: “The people will live in it [Jerusalem], and there will be no more curse, for Jerusalem will dwell in security.”

Israel will undergo a complete change of heart after this deliverance, as they recognize Christ as their Savior.

Zechariah 12:10-11: “And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on me [“him” according to Eastern Hb mss.] whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born. In that day there will be great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the plain of Megiddo.” 

The New Covenant with its promises of blessing and character growth will be made first with the nation of Israel, and then all the families of the earth will also have this opportunity. (And the faithful nation of Israel will be a strong influence to assist all the families of the earth to be blessed, as discussed below.)

“Behold, day are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them, declares the LORD.  But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD, I will put My law within them, and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God and they shall be My people….” 

Jeremiah 31:31-33

The Jewish people will be some of the first among the nations to walk up the highway of holiness by active participation in changing the old ways according to principles of holiness. (Isaiah 35:8)

  “…I have again purposed in these days to do good to Jerusalem and to the house of Judah.  Do not fear!  These are the things which you should do: speak the truth to one another; judge with truth and judgment for peace in your gates.  And let none of you devise evil in your heart against another, and do not love perjury; for all these are what I hate, declares the LORD.”  Zechariah 8:15-16

One way Israel will be used of the Lord in God’s kingdom on earth is recorded in Zechariah 14:16. The transformed and believing nation of Israel will be used as a center of worship and an example of faith and devotion to God.

“It shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations that came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.” (Jewish Publication Society Old Testament)

The Feast of Tabernacles, also referred to as the Feast of Booths, was a celebration of how the Lord delivered Israel through the 40-year wilderness journey and brought them to the promised land.  (Leviticus 23:39-43) Israel will lead the world to celebrate the deliverance of all the human family through the wilderness of sin to the promised blessing of the kingdom on earth.

The nation of Israel will be used to be a blessing to the rest of the resurrected mankind on earth, and they will be an example of the Lord’s favor.  We expect the LORD will work through Israel as a seat of His government.

“And it will come about that just as you were a curse among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so I will save you that you may become a blessing…”

Zechariah 8:13  

“Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘It will yet be that peoples will come, even the inhabitants of many cities. And the inhabitants of one will go to another saying, ‘Let us go at once to entreat the favor of the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts; I will also go.’ So many peoples and mighty nations will come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favor of the LORD. Thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘In those days ten men from all the nations will grasp the garment of a Jew saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.'” Zechariah 8:20-23: “And many peoples will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the god of Jacob; that He may teach us concerning His ways, and that we may walk in His paths.’ For the law will go forth from Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.” Isaiah 2:3

To learn more about Israel in prophecy, listen to, “Is Israel a Thorn in the Side of the World?”

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March 31, 2022

Ep.: How can we encourage someone who is really struggling?

Here are some ideas on how you can approach trying to be an encouragement.

“For this is what the high and lofty One says, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:  ‘He lives in the height and in holiness, and also with the one who is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite.”  Isaiah 57:15

It is so powerful to know that our Holy God appreciates when we are contrite and humble—when we fail and make mistakes and we are repentant and sorry.  And he wants to REVIVE us when we are in that frame of mind.  This implies that He does not see our failures and mistakes as defining us.  He desires to revive us, to help us regain our strength and determination to live a life pleasing to Him.  He wants to encourage us!

He has given us tools to revive us in the midst of this kind of discouragement, and they all involve a refocus of our thoughts, and our thoughts are very powerful.  “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he…”  Proverbs 23:7

“Above everything else guard your heart, because from it flow the springs of life.”  Proverbs 4:23.
To guard the heart includes the idea of guarding and carefully protecting the thoughts we become attached to because heart-felt thinking really affects our lives.
Here are some possibilities of how we can refocus our thinking:

  • We can dwell on the depth of love that God and Christ have for every member of our human family (and that includes you and me!)  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…”  John 3:16  This well-known verse illustrates the depth of divine love.  God’s love was so deep and wide that He was willing to have His only begotten Son, the closest living being to Him in the universe, leave his presence in heaven and come to earth as a human being to be the sacrifice and die the death of the cross.  His purpose was so that ALL in our human family would be blessed. (Genesis 22:16-18)  And the love of the son of God was so deep and wide that he was willing to become a human being, wholly devoted to the purpose of his Father, experiencing the hostility of sinners against himself, even to the death of the cross.  (Hebrews 12:2-3, Philippians 2:8)

    In Ephesians 3:18-19, Paul talks about understanding “how wide, how long, how high and how deep his love is…though it is too great to understand fully.”   It is amazing to really think about the dimensions of divine love and realize we are loved more than we can imagine!

  • We can refocus on His love and amazing ability to create by getting out into nature—His creation, and reflecting on the power and love behind the diversity and the beauty of it (Psalm 8:3, 95:4-5)
  • We can refocus on kingdom blessing and personalize it.  Jesus can hardly wait to bless me, and to bless us all in the kingdom. We can imagine God saying, “Look!  I am creating entirely new heavens and a new earth!  They will be so wonderful that no one will even think about the old ones anymore!  As you wait for the reality of what I am creating, be filled with joy and unending gladness.  Look!  I am ready to create Jerusalem as a source of sheer joy, and her people, an absolute delight!  I will rejoice in this new Jerusalem and find great delight in my people.  You will no longer hear the sound of weeping or cries of distress.”  (Isaiah 65:17-19 )
  • We can refocus on gratitude.  “I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.”  Psalm 69:30  Thankfulness and gratitude are like a magnifying glass, making God and the blessings our lives bigger than the hard stuff in life.  It can help to keep a gratitude journal, making a list of 3 to 5 things to be grateful for each day.
  • We can exercise a good sense of humor and cheerfulness. “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.”  Proverbs 17:2
  • We can focus on how I can be a help and blessing to someone today. We receive such a blessing when we find ways to bless others. “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”  Luke 6:38
In general, it can help to refocus on “What is in my power” and try to let go of what is not.
To learn more about how to find encouragement in challenge listen to,
“How Can We Be Thankful After the Year We’ve Had?”
“How Can I Rejoice in Trials?”

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March 31, 2022

Ep.: How should we respond when our friends sin?

 We live “in” the world but are not “of” the world, as our citizenship is in heaven.  Here we are “ambassadors” for Christ.  In all cases, we want to be God-honoring.
There are several basic principles that come to mind.  One is found Isaiah 50:4, “The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.”
We pray that our words can bless all who hear them, but having the right word at the right time is important.  Conversely, we want to perhaps not speak in cases where our words would be either a hindrance to others or really fall on deaf ears or make them angry or mean rather than be helpful and edifying.
In all cases, we can still be a good example to them by showing Christian principles of faith, honesty, kindness, forgiveness, patience and joy. While we should not be afraid or embarrassed to tell others about Jesus or God’s wonderful future plan, we also shouldn’t force our beliefs on others.
1 Peter 3:15 says,
“…but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…”
Growing up in a Christian household,  you might be different from your friends – even those professing Christianity yet acting much differently.
There are simple ways to let others know you live by a different standard without pointing out their sin. For example if someone is using foul language you might say, “Hey!  Do you kiss your mom with that mouth?” or something similar to give them a gentle shove in the right direction.  If they keep doing it, you could say, “In all seriousness, would you mind choosing some other words?”
When they take the LORD’s name in vain – especially when combining it with swear words – it’s ok to simply ask them bluntly to stop. If they respect you, they already have an idea of your basic beliefs and should try to correct themselves around you.  This doesn’t always work, but it’s ok to take a stand.
Some of the more difficult things happen with certain conversations or actions – political, sexual (homosexual, transexual, affairs, abortion, etc.), how to use our time, how to treat people, gossiping, vices like drinking/smoking/drugs/stealing, etc.  We have to realize that for the average wordly person, their standards are much different than ours. Some would say:  What is right or what is wrong depends on what YOU think about it, not what God thinks about it.  However, we have accountability to the standards of God.
There are those for whom no amount of discussion, cajoling, teaching or preaching will change the way they think, talk or act. Over time it will be natural for us to spend less and less time with them, as we would not share common goals and would not be lifted higher by associating with them.  Us not participating in these things and offering “a word in season” here and there to nudge them in the right direction is valid. We want to have peace with all men, and we want to let our light shine as best as we can.
Sometimes we must be careful in whom we choose as friends as they might have a negative impact on US. Here is an example: A woman won a personal trainer in a contest who would come to her house to work out with her several times a week.  The trainer was very fit and she was very unfit.  By the end of the month of free training, the trainer ended up spending more time on the couch with a bag of  chips with her than her exercising.  Her bad habits rubbed off on him and not the other way around. This is the way sin works – it is very “sticky” and can easily trap us.
2 Corinthians 4:4: “Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.”

Taking a look at the Old Testament, Daniel was an amazing example who kept praying even though it was against a new law of the Medes and Persians. Not only that, but his faith and devotion to God encouraged a proud king to respect the one true God!

Darius was the king of the Medo-Persian empire. Impressed with Daniel’s character, he appointed him to be a supervisor in a very high position. Men who were jealous of Daniel tricked the king into signing a law that said anyone who prayed to anyone besides the king would be thrown to the lions. But Daniel didn’t change his habit of praying three times a day to God. Because the law couldn’t be changed, the king reluctantly ordered Daniel to be thrown into the lion’s den. Worried about Daniel, he couldn’t sleep all night. When morning came, he hurried to check on Daniel, who was alive and safe! He told the king that God had sent His angel to shut the lions’ mouths.

King Darius then sent a message out to people of every race, nation and language, saying, “I decree that everyone throughout my kingdom should tremble with fear before the God of Daniel. For He is the living God, and He will endure forever. His kingdom will never be destroyed, and His rule will never end.”

Just as when Darius’ message informed all the people in his day about God, eventually, everyone in the future will also know who God is. Hebrews 8:11 says, “Never again will anyone have to teach their neighbors or their family to know the Lord. All people – the greatest and the least important – will know me.”

Habakkuk 2:14  says, “For as the waters fill the sea, the earth will  be filled with an awareness of the glory of the LORD.“

The right thing to do varies with each situation.  Pray for discernment and that you will have the right word in season, and that you can be a positive, godly influence on all around you.  You can never go wrong acting with humility, kindness and positivity.  Those around you should have a basic understanding that you are different and will not be saying, doing or even thinking like them.  Sometimes the right thing to do is walk away.  Sometimes the right thing to do is associate with that person less and less.

Even if our friends have different beliefs or no beliefs at all, that won’t stop you from praying, increasing your faith, studying, and copying the life of Jesus as best you can. Maybe there’s a King Darius in YOUR life who will see your Christian example and rejoice because of it!

To learn more about how to avoid peer pressure from others listen to, “How Do I Overcome Peer Pressure?”

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Ep.1222: How Is Satan Trying to Devour Me?

How the Devil attempts to sabotage my Christian life

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CHAPTERS

[00:12:47]
How can we prepare for the paralyzing roar of the lion?


[00:27:22]
What if Satan attacks us through our loved ones?


[00:45:23]
How do we cope when Satan attacks us personally?


Theme Scripture: 1 Peter 5:8

Most Christians are very aware of Satan’s influence in our world today. We know he is opposed to God and His will at all turns, and as the "god of this world" (2 Corinthians 4:4), he will ferociously fight to keep all he has laid claim to. What we don’t often think about is how we as individual Christians fit into the intensity of Satan’s raging against God. The Scriptures tell us that his objective was and continues to be usurping for himself the authority that ultimately belongs to the Most High God. Anyone and anything that in any way shape or form stands in the way of Satan’s fight over his perceived authority is fair game for his unrighteous anger. As Christians, we love God supremely and seek to daily walk in the footsteps of our Lord Christ Jesus. This blessing means we are also Satan’s prime targets. What now?

Continue Reading

Satan as a roaring lion

The Apostle Peter’s illustration of Satan going about as a roaring lion seeking someone to devour in 1 Peter 5:8 is a powerful one. Peter had firsthand experience regarding the power of Satan’s attacks when he denied the Lord three times before Jesus’ crucifixion. Jesus warned Peter that Satan was after him (Luke 22:31-32) and that he had prayed for him. Jesus knew Satan would exploit Peter’s moments of weakness and attempt to reframe them as a life of failure. Satan lost that battle and as a result, Peter warned us to be watchful.

Do you hear the roar?

Lions roar for a variety of reasons. They roar to warn their pride of danger, to scare off an intruder, another lion or a predator. A lion’s roar can be devastatingly loud, and it can invoke acute fear and panic. Satan as a roaring lion is unmistakably hunting down the followers of Jesus. His objective is to stifle the work of Christ that is being accomplished through us. He will stop at nothing to intimidate, discourage, or cause us to panic in fear. He knows that his time and his dominion are both limited. What happens when you corner a predatory animal? They attack with a destroyer’s ferocity.

Satan’s attacks on the disciples of Christ can take place in a variety of ways. His typical approach seems to be to lie in wait for the everyday trials that come to us as we strive to be like Jesus. His objective is to turn those trials into traumas and to get us to focus on things other than following Christ.

Check out our March 28, 2022 podcast, “How Is Satan Trying to Devour Me?” for more. We examine four specific ways Satan as a roaring lion seeks to get into our hearts and heads. We look at several real-life examples of what it means to stand up against the lion’s roar. The Bible tells us to wear the Armor of God, but fighting Satan requires us to be armed inwardly as well outwardly. Join us as we focus on standing our ground in the battle for our Christian lives!

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Ep.1221: How Do We Keep Hope Alive?

What hope does for us and what we need to do for it to keep it vibrant

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CHAPTERS

[00:14:26]
How can we have hope when the world is so scary?


[00:32:02]
How do we find a focus that features hope?


[00:45:37]
How do we find and hold hope's highest promise?


Theme Scripture: Romans 8:25

Hope is a critical part of the human experience. Without it, our lives would be overrun with despair, doubt and difficulty. It's intertwined in every part of any experience that contains even the smallest measure of doubt. Without it, we would end up meeting the uncertainties of each day with our own internal and unanswerable uncertainties. The results would be disastrous! The fact is there are different interpretations of what this kind of optimism really is. If we place our expectations in seriously questionable ideas, circumstances or people, we will undoubtedly end up with high levels of disappointment. So, how do we keep true hope alive? For Christians, it all begins with striving to understand what biblical hope really is. Once we grasp this, we begin to see that hope in its most complete form is absolutely transformational.

Continue Reading

First and foremost, let’s establish the difference between a true hope and a wish. When we wish for something, we have an emotional attachment to whatever that thing or circumstance is to be a reality. I can be having a bad day and wish it would end. I can be short and wish I was tall. I can apply for a job that I am underqualified for and wish I would get it. None of these wishes have a direct link to the reality of my life. Developing and banking on wishes generally brings us disappointing results.

Genuine hope is different

The New Testament word for hope means "expectation." Hope  from a biblical standpoint, then, has its basis in truth and not in any emotional desire for something to be real. Biblical hope is based on things that are outside of ourselves. It is based on principles of righteousness and godliness. And it is based on the fact that God does have a plan. Biblical hope is something to aspire to because it works. It requires effort and constancy on our part, which is a far cry from the emotionalism of a wish.

With such a stark difference between hopes and wishes, you’d think we would avoid the entire wish thing and hold onto the solid expectations that hope brings. Theoretically this is doable, but practically this is challenging. It is far too easy to dilute true biblical hope with generous portions of my own desires and perspective. It's just too convenient to take sound scriptural principles and prophecies and customize them to fit my personal viewpoint.

Check out our March 21, 2022 podcast, “How Do We Keep Hope Alive?” for more. We lay out the awe-inspiring scriptures that reveal how God shows Himself to be the fundamental basis of all biblical hope. We look at the several steps needed to not only lock on to truth-based biblical hope, but also how to apply it along the way. Finally, we look at the hopelessness of our world and uncover how to be filled with hope in spite of the mess we are in. Join us! Genuine hope is something you don’t want to live without!

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Some may be familiar with the Ark of the Covenant, but what is the truth as to its purpose? Learn about the other pieces of furniture in the Tabernacle, like the Laver and Brazen Altar, and how this holy, ancient structure represents the Christian’s walk. Subscribe to our channel at ChristianQuestions.com/YouTube to never miss a new video!

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Ep.: Should the Church be involved in politics?

In an age when churches are delving deeply into politics, it is vital that the Christian understand what the scriptures say on the subject. The first and most important example we can look to is Jesus. Was he ever involved in the politics of his day? The clear answer is “No!” His only involvement was to criticize the hypocrisy he saw. His mission in life was to preach the kingdom of God and to seek out those who would follow him. When speaking of the necessities of life, Jesus said,

“Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

Matthew 6:33

As a second example we can look to the apostles. None were involved in politics. Like Jesus, Their mission was to preach and represent the kingdom of God. The Apostle Paul traveled far and wide preaching the Gospel. He described the Christian as ambassadors for Christ.” (2 Corinthians 5:20)

His only advice concerning the government is found in Romans 13:1. “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.”

By using the word “ordained” the apostle meant that God allowed the governments to exist in order to have a more orderly and safe society.  Paul is simply saying we should obey the laws of the land. He does not say we should be part of the system.

In fact, Jesus taught us to pray for a better kingdom when he prayed, “…Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10)

The Christian is to work for God’s kingdom. In our day, that means seeking those who want to give their lives in full devotion to God. Our hope and desire is for His kingdom to be fully established on this earth. That means all the governments of man will be removed. Being involved in politics is simply counterproductive to the work God desires of His people.

One only needs to study history to know that when churches become political, they simply inherit the corruption of the systems.

To learn more about our personal involvement in politics listen to, “Are We Supporting the Right World Leaders?”

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