October 31, 2022

Ep.1253: How Do I Let Go and Let God?

The value of God’s timing, not ours: lessons from Abraham and Sarah

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CHAPTERS

[00:20:05]
What happened after Abram and Sarai took matters into their own hands?


[00:35:39]
How does humility expand our faith and trust in God?


[00:48:32]
How does God finally provide for the newly named Abraham and Sarah?


Theme Scripture: Psalm 37:5

"Let go and let God." This simple statement is focused on faith and trust, two fundamental challenges for Christians. We may think it’s easy to have faith, but when we are in times of difficulty, the depth of our true faith is revealed and sometimes revealed as seriously lacking. We may think that we have trust, but when pressed, when we feel like we need answers or changes or insight, our trust becomes scarce while anxiety abounds. All of this can be depressing! We can feel like we are letting God down. The good news is that we are not alone in this struggle to let go and let God. Many of God’s faithful had these same struggles. Because their experiences are recorded in Scripture, we can not only read about their struggle but see how God’s blessing worked in spite of their weakness!

Continue Reading

The promise and the problem

Way back in Genesis, Abraham and Sarah were given an amazing promise. God told Abraham to leave his father’s house and go to a new land that God would show him. Abraham listened. He took Sarah and his household and journeyed to this undisclosed location. As dramatic as this was, it wasn’t the biggest part of God’s promise. God also told him that his descendants would inherit this land. The only problem was Abraham and Sarah didn’t have any children. Worse than that, Abraham was already 75 years old and Sarah was 65! While God’s promise was powerful and exciting, it also seemed like it pushed the limits of their reality.

The proposed solution

Abraham and Sarah were classic examples of having been given a direction to follow but not understanding how to get there. Time went on and Sarah did not become pregnant. Years went by and both Abraham and Sarah became perplexed. However, their perplexity was not in relation to doubting God’s promise; rather, it was about how that promise would be fulfilled. After about 10 years with no child, they took matters into their own hands. Sarah gave her servant Hagar to Abraham, and she conceived a son.

And for us...?

This account is full of lessons and guidance for us. First and foremost, it is all about trying to do God’s will. Just like Abraham and Sarah, we sometimes run ahead of what God would have us to do. In their case the result was not fatal, but it did add lots of difficulty and stress. Why would we expect anything less?

Check out our October 31,2022 podcast, “How Do I Let Go and Let God?” for more. We walk through the 25-year account of Abraham and Sarah, beginning with the promise of having a son all the way to the birth of Isaac. What we find are striking and relevant lessons for us to apply in the here and now of our own lives. Join us as Abraham and Sarah’s experiences teach us the depth of faith and trust required to truly let go and let God!

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October 31, 2022

Ep.: Was it prophesied that Lucifer (Satan) would be cast out of heaven?

A prophecy is a prediction of a future event.  Because technically Lucifer was cast from heaven sometime before man was created, any scriptural accounting of it would be more of a reporting of what happened in the heavenly realm we would not otherwise know.

Lucifer’s rebellion is spoken of in Isaiah 14:12:

How are thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!  How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations. 

It was his misuse of power that led to his demotion and casting out from the presence of God in heaven. 

Isaiah 14:13: For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north.  I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

Since Lucifer rebelled, he has been in the role of Satan or the Adversary the devil.  He is spoken of in Scripture as “the god (or mighty one, mighty ruler) of this world.”

1 Corinthians 4:4:  In whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 

He is also identified in Ephesians 2:2 as the prince of the power of the air…the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 

Jesus described Satan’s character in John 8:44, He was a murderer from the beginning, refusing to uphold the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, because he is a liar and the father of lies.

This continued evil rulership provides a testing ground for Christians. Satan is dangerous, and his goal is to turn people away from God, so we must be careful.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8 

Satan is sneaky and deceitful. Paul says, Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.                2 Corinthians 11:14

Fortunately, James 4:7 gives us excellent advice: Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

The LORD permitted this continued misuse of power, and this continued permission of evil rulership, to help all of our human family to experience and eventually learn the devastating consequences of rebellion against God.

This lesson will be fully learned when the earthly resurrection takes place and Satan is bound, and all people are given the blessing of healing of mind and heart and the opportunity to walk the highway of holiness, the path and lifestyle that leads to holiness of character. See Revelation 20:3, Isaiah 35:4-7, 8-10

We see the jubilation on earth when this process is completed in Isaiah 14:3-7:

And it will be in the day when the LORD gives you rest from your pain and turmoil and harsh service in which you have been enslaved, that you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon

(a symbol of Satan, the rulership power influencing Babylon and all evil and imperfect governments),

and say ‘How the oppressor has ceased, and how fury has ceased!

The LORD has broken the staff of the wicked, the scepter of rulers

Which used to strike the peoples in fury with unceasing strokes,

Which subdued the nations in anger with unrestrained persecution.’

The whole earth is a rest and is quiet;

They break forth into shouts of joy.”

 

To learn who Satan is listen to, “Who is Satan?”

To learn how to avoid Satan in our lives listen to, “How is Satan Trying to Devour Me?”

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October 27, 2022

Ep.: Is there an ultimate reconcilation?

All will be saved, but not all will inherit everlasting life. But here are more specifics:

God will have all men to be saved from the Adamic curse, for Jesus died for Adam, and thus for all who received Adam’s condemned life –thus all of humanity. Jesus “gave himself a ransom for all” (1 Timothy 2:6).

This text means what it seems to mean — everyone. Thus every person will be freed from punishment for Adam’s disobedience. Death was the punishment, and death will be remitted for every person. However, there are two distinct ages of redemption — the present Gospel Age, and the approaching Millennial Age. Distinguishing these two ages, and the purpose of each, is the key to understanding the plan of God.

The Gospel Age, from Jesus to the present, is for calling out the class sometimes symbolically referred to as the “bride of Christ”
(Revelation 19:7). Thus Paul said, in 2 Corinthians 11:2, “I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” The bride class is composed of all those faithful to Christ during the Gospel Age.

Following this comes the Millennial Kingdom of Christ. The purpose of that kingdom will be to restore the remainder of mankind — every person who has ever lived. The curse will be lifted, all wars will cease. the blind will see, the deaf will hear, the lame will walk (Isaiah 2, Isaiah 35, and many, many other prophecies.)

Every person will come to know God’s ways, His purposes, what righteousness is, and be blessed during the Millennium. Revelation 21:4 is one of the most precious texts of the Bible, describing the remarkable effects of the Kingdom.

“God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.”

However, the restoration of humanity from the curse does not mean that every person will inherit everlasting life. Most will. This remarkable opportunity will soften the hearts of people, and they will flock to the opportunity of perfect, wonderful, loving, everlasting life in a perfected world.

But not all. Satan had free choice, and he choose, and persists in, willful disobedience. For free moral beings, that is an option. And it will be an option for people restored in the kingdom as well. Some will of mankind will persist, as Satan has, in wayward evil. God does not propose to grant them everlasting life. Their lives will not be extended, they will die again, this time termed the “second death.”

We are all redeemed from the first death, by Jesus our redeemer. But there will not be a second redeemer. Thus those who willfully pursue what is wrong, and receive the declared result of disobedience, will not be brought back a second time. Second death is permanent. It is not torture, it is not anguish. Death is what it seems to be — the absence of life. It will be as though they have never been.

Revelation 21:8, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and
idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

This evidently will be a small percentage of humanity, for most will embrace the wonderful, perfected, loving, and lovely, world that will come through the Millennium. They will be grateful, helpful, and wonderfully appreciative — and live forever on a perfect earth. Meanwhile, the saints above will be part of the divine family in glory, also forever.

To learn more about salvation for all listen to, “What Does It Mean To Be Saved?”

“Are Jesus’ Ransom and Our Salvation the Same?”

“What If I’m Not Good Enough For Heaven?”

“Did Jesus REALLY Die for Everyone?”

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October 25, 2022

Ep.: Should Christians remain friends with someone with New Age beliefs?

Philippians 3:7-8 Yet all that was gain to me, for Christ’s sake I have reckoned as loss. Nay, I even reckon all things as pure loss because of the priceless privilege of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.

Sometimes there are people in our lives that are very important to us that believe differently than we do. It is ok to express that even if we don’t agree about our spiritual views, we really love them and appreciate and love them as a person.

Jesus was very loving and patient and he reached out to those who were considered “outcasts” and those who had different views. We can benefit from the principle he acted on in Matthew 9:10-13:

While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”  On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’  For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

It is important to find common ground in conversations, which could include lessons in life we are learning, appreciation of nature, etc. This principle is gleaned from 1 Corinthians 9.22:

I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some.  

We must be careful in these relationships. Different priorities and lifestyles can have an influence on us. There is an important need to guard those influences.  The principle of 1 Corinthians 15:i33  is helpful:

Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners (habits).

It is also important to remember the principles of scripture in regard to relationships when the two people are not on the same spiritual footing.

2 Corinthians 6:14: Do not come into close association with unbelievers, For what is there in common between righteousness and lawlessness?  Or what partnership has light with darkness? 

This does not mean we have no association with unbelievers, for we are to be a light to the world.

Matthew 5:14-15: You are the light of the world.  A city located on a hill can’t be hidden. People don’t light a lamp and put it under a basket but on a lamp stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.

One of the best ways to be a light can be to have a loving and respectful attitude toward others, and to show interest in them and their lives.  These principles suggest having sanctified thinking in regard to the degree of involvement we have with unbelievers.  How encouraging it is to remember the breadth of the love of God in Christ Jesus. There is a special future blessing in store for those who are not believers. The sacrifice of our Precious Lord Jesus has such far reaching effects.1 Corinthians 15:22:  For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive.

We see the amazing breadth of the outcome in Christ to bless ALL the families of the earth through the kingdom in heaven for faithful Christians and the kingdom on earth— the opportunity for all the rest of the human family to be blessed and to know Christ and to walk a lifestyle that leads to holiness and happiness on earth forever. See John 5:28-29; Isaiah 35:5-10

We want to remain a strong example of truth and righteousness because that light may be important as the day gets darker. Find wholesome common ground in your relationship outside of spiritual things, but since the treasure of your heart does not line up with our friends, it is likely the relationship will not remain as strong as perhaps it once was and might naturally or intentionally drift away. Maybe in time you are able to offer a “word in season” (Isaiah 50:4) of true comfort and peace. Be honest with any discussion of New Age beliefs makes you extremely uncomfortable and that you are not interested in having anything to do with its slippery slope.

To learn more about how Christianity and Pagan beliefs are different listen to our series, “Can Christianity and Paganism Work Together?”

To learn more about what we should do for unbelieving friends watch our short animated video, “What if your friends don’t believe in God?”

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October 24, 2022

Ep.1252: Is It a Sin if I . . .? (Part IV)

Understanding Halloween’s roots and weighing our participation in it

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View Series

CHAPTERS

[00:14:24]
What Pagan beliefs influenced our modern-day Halloween?


[00:29:18]
To many, Halloween is a fun time for family and friends. Is that wrong?


[00:50:32]
What scriptural principles can we put in place to decide in good conscience what we will do?


Theme Scripture: 1 Corinthians 8:9

Candy, costumes parties and fun! The Halloween season with all of its excitement and trappings is upon us. On top of the fun and the sugar rush, this is a time of year particularly specializes in seeking to be horrified as another form of entertainment. The party-like atmosphere is generously sprinkled with murder, mayhem, zombies and apocalyptic events - all in the name of thrills. Because of this anything goes approach, Halloween has become an absolute favorite holiday. The question is, should we as Christians celebrate this day? After all, its origin is firmly rooted in Paganism. Its practices are firmly rooted in over-the-top behavior. Is it a sin for Christians to celebrate or have anything to do with Halloween?

Continue Reading

Samhain was an ancient Gaelic celebration deeply rooted in Pagan beliefs

It took place at the time of harvest and was one of four seasonal festivals. While Samhain was a celebration of harvest time, it was also believed to be a time when the veil between the spirit world and our physical world was thinnest. Their belief was that spirits - both good and evil - could cross over into our world. While these ancient people anxiously waited for communication from dead relatives, they also feared the wickedness of the vile spirits that could cross over as well. People dressed up as evil spirits and carried carved-out lit turnips as a way to fend off these evil influences.

Fast forward many centuries to today and it is easy to see how the roots of our present-day Halloween celebrations originated with Samhain. Looking back into history through a Bible-based perspective, we see that all of their beliefs regarding the spirit world were untrue. Their beliefs were superstitions that logically developed as the age-old questions about life and death needed some kind of explanation.

Should we participate in the activities of this day?

With this brief view of Halloween’s origins in hand, the question arises as to the propriety of we as Christians celebrating such a holiday. Knowing what we know now, is it wise and spiritually healthy to be engaged in something with such dark origins? As you might imagine, many Christians have many differing perspectives on this question. Some of us say that these origins - and the blatant modern-day satanic aspects - essentially condemn anything connected with Halloween as inherently evil. Others say that their celebrations have absolutely nothing to do with that history or the "evil" side of the day. They say their Halloween is all about kids, having fun by dressing up, family bonding and candy. Which is it?

Check out our October 24, 2022 podcast, “Is It a Sin if I... (Part IV)" where we ask about celebrating Halloween. We dig more deeply into Samhain’s history and look at the present-day perspectives from both sides. Most importantly, we build our discussion upon some very sound New Testament scriptural principles. The Apostle Paul helps us step back, consider and decide how to approach this kind of issue. Join us and then explore the rest of this Sin Series. We share no tricks or treats, but we do share scriptural answers!

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October 24, 2022

Ep.: What is the difference between the “Great Tribulation” and “Armageddon” and what happens during them?

The expression “great tribulation” comes from Matthew 24:21:  “Then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” 

This is part of what is sometimes termed our “Lord’s Great Prophecy.” In this place, Jesus draws upon Daniel 12:1, which says: “At that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time.”

Michael is the name applied to Jesus in his pre-human experience. Therefore this is a prophecy about the closing period of the present time period, or Gospel Age, when Jesus takes authority, to bring down old institutions, and works toward the establishment of his Millennial kingdom. The expression “stand up” is one used half a dozen times in Daniel 11 to describe a king coming to the throne. Thus Daniel 12:1 describes the time when Christ begins to exercise royal authority, as he is doing presently.

The time of trouble, of a magnitude greater than any time before, began with World War I, continued with World War II, and will end with Armageddon. Thus Armageddon brings the conclusion of the time of trouble that Jesus referred to in Matthew 24.

The word Armageddon comes from Revelation 16:16. In that chapter there are seven last plagues, which span the harvest, or ending period of the Gospel Age. In the sixth plague, forces are gathered to “the battle of the great day,” termed “Armageddon” (Revelation 16:14,16). Thus Armageddon is the closing portion of the longer time of trouble.

The gathering of nations referred to is a gathering to Israel. If you read Joel chapter three, you will find this gathering of nations to Israel described at greater length. 

“Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about” (verse 12). “The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel” (verse 16).

You will find the same experience described also at length in Ezekiel 38, where a gathering of nations descends against Israel, God intervenes to deliver Israel, and thereafter the Millennial kingdom of Christ will bless not only Israel, but through them, “all the families of the earth.”

So, in brief – Armageddon is the closing episode of the broader “time of trouble such as never was” (Daniel 12:1). That broader “time of trouble” is also termed the “great tribulation” (Matthew 24:21). 
To learn more about the end times listen to, “Are We Living in the ‘End Times'”?

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VIDEO: Do people turn into angels when they die?

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October 17, 2022

Ep.1251: Is It a Sin if I . . . ? (Part III)

Examining the biblical perspective on tattoos and blood transfusions

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View Series

CHAPTERS

[00:14:32]
Is it a sin for Christians to have tattoos?


[00:30:59]
Is it a sin for Christians to receive a blood transfusion?


[00:47:22]
What is the Apostle Paul's advice about our consciences?


Theme Scripture: Colossians 3:17

Sin is a difficult thing to handle. We are constantly challenged to daily live up to godly standards of righteousness. As our social order expands into countless variations of perceived freedoms, there are many questions that need clarifying regarding what is right and wrong in God’s eyes. Today we examine two of those questions. First, is it a sin if I as a Christian get a tattoo? Opinions on this question vary to an amazing degree. Does the Bible guide us on this? Second, is it a sin of I get a blood transfusion? While this is perhaps a small issue for most of us, there are some who have very deep convictions on this matter. What does the Bible say and doesn’t say?

Continue Reading

Tattoos

Tattoos are not just normal to life, they in some ways almost seem like a rite of passage. You decide to express your individuality, so you choose a simple or complex display to put on your body. This display may or may not be visible to the world, but it is your unique signature. What could be wrong with such a thing, especially if you’re a Christian and your chosen ornamentation is a witness to Christ?

The Old Testament does speak out clearly against marking our bodies. As we look into the why of the matter, we find that tattoo-like markings were much more than personal ornamentation in ancient times. Pagan nations often used them as forced labels put upon slaves to mark them as such. They were also used by various peoples to represent spiritual or personal protection. With this background, it is easy to see why God told Israel to avoid such markings. However, do those ancient traditions have anything at all to do with our personal decision to get a tattoo here in the 21st century?

Blood transfusions

Moving on to an entirely different question, is it a sin if I as a Christian get a blood transfusion? While most of the Christian world does not have an issue with this procedure, there are millions who do. Unlike tattoos, this can be a question of life and death. Why would some denominations of Christians forbid the life saving and life preserving transfusing of blood? They claim both Old and New Testaments speak out against it. Do they? Are the majority of Christians missing an important teaching that these few claim is there?

Check out our October 17, 2022 podcast, “Is It a Sin if I…? (Part III)” for more. We get into the practical and spiritual aspects of tattoos. We look at the scriptures, discuss pros and cons and establish a baseline for thinking this question through. Regarding blood transfusions, we examine all of the scriptures cited by those who forbid this practice. By looking at context and broader scriptural reasoning, the answers to this vital issue become clear. Join us for a fascinating journey into these two diverse but important questions as we find answers we all should know!

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