June 26, 2023

Ep.1287: What Does God Promise Us As Christians?

Learning who God’s magnificent promises are for and how they work

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CHAPTERS

[00:16:08]
Are God's promises to Christians a free ticket to greatness and abundance?


[00:32:18]
Has God promised to deliver us from our trials by making a way of escape??


[00:47:15]
Courage, assurance, hope, reward - what do we have to do in order to receive God's promises?


Theme Scripture: 2 Peter 1:4

As Christians, our faith in God should translate into an unquestionable loyalty and trust. If God says something will be so, it is a guarantee it will happen. While this deep faith in the word of God should bring a powerful comfort to our lives, it's also capable of bringing us serious doubts and concerns. How can this be? If God is as good as His word (and He is), then where do the doubts come from? They arise when we do not understand or misapply His Word. They arise when we ourselves stand outside of the circle of God’s protective providence and seek to claim promises not meant for us. In other words, God’s promises to Christians are only meant for true disciples of Jesus. This may sound like an excuse to some, but it is in fact a basis for how God’s favor works in the lives of His true children.

Continue Reading

The Bible is full of God’s promises.

These range from large and encompassing promises that show the end result of worldwide salvation to small yet significant promises of His watchful eye, guiding His individual followers into righteous paths. It is important to consider the magnitude of difference that we just described. God’s promises are deeply engrained in the universal events that dictate the destiny of ALL life on ALL planes of existence. This means He didn’t just create all that He created to see what would happen. It means He intentionally created with an ultimate pathway and objective in mind. When we understand God’s promises we realize that when He has an objective in mind, it will come to be. His promises of things to come are facts that have simply not yet been revealed.

On the other side of the coin, we have His promises to His faithful ones.

These are minute in comparison as He guides those who are loyal to him in very pointed and dramatic ways. When we compare the promises that cover the countless billions of His spiritual and earthly creation, guiding an individual through a unique experience can seem tiny, almost impossible. What this actually shows is the incomprehensible greatness of God. He promises things bigger than humanity’s imagination, while at the same time promising things small and private to individuals.

So, who gets to be in line for these seemingly insignificant yet amazingly powerful individual promises? Are they reserved for anyone who names the name of Christ, or is there more to it than that? Check out our June 26, 2023 podcast, “What Does God Promise Us as Christians?” for more. We take a sweeping look at how God’s promises on a worldwide scale work, and then narrow our focus down to the promises God give to individuals. What does God promise to His loyal ones anyway? Abundance? Health? Happiness? How and when are His promises fulfilled? Join us for this revealing episode on the who, how, and why of God’s promises. Give yourself a chance to see God’s character with inspiring new depth.

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Ep.: Why do pastors stray from the Bible and teach their own ideas and opinions?

In John 7:16, 17 we read, “Jesus answered them, and said, ‘My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.’” 

Jesus felt a deep obligation to make sure he was teaching the Word of God and not his own thoughts. Every Christian should feel the same. A pastor has a special obligation, not only to God, but to the congregation he leads. But there are many reasons a pastor may not be teaching the Bible correctly. Assuming that the individual is sincere and not intentionally misleading anyone, it may simply be that the Bible is difficult to understand and there are many different interpretations available to him.

When Jesus spoke to the multitudes he always spoke in parables. But when speaking to his disciples he taught more clearly (See Mark 4:34). On one occasion, his disciples asked him why he spoke to the crowds in parables and made it difficult for people to understand. Jesus answered,

“…I speak to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.”

Matthew 13:13

In other words, most people will not understand his words because they are not truly open to them.

Before God will reveal His truth, whether to a pastor or to anyone else, there must be a deep desire to know and understand His word. Church is not meant to be merely a social gathering, but a place of worship and learning. We are currently living in an age when God is selecting a bride for Christ (See Revelation 21:2). This is a special calling. In Philippians 3:14 it is termed a “high calling.” The Apostle Paul wrote, “ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:  But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty” (1 Corinthians 1:26, 27).

Once the bride is complete and the call has ended, Christ will inaugurate his earthly kingdom. It is referred to in the Book of Revelation as a period of 1,000 years (Revelation 20:6). The church will share in the “first resurrection.” But then, the second resurrection will begin and God’s plan will be clearly revealed to all mankind.

The Bible tells us that in our day most people will not understand the Bible. But in Christ’s earthly kingdom, the “knowledge of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah: 11:9).

Prophecies such as Isaiah 2:3 will then be fulfilled. “And many people shall go and say, ‘Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.’”

If a believer feels they are being called to be part of the bride of Christ, he or she has a personal responsibility to study God’s word for themselves. If the pastor is not teaching the Word correctly, it should be addressed with kindness. But if not corrected in time, the believer has an obligation to find a place where understanding the Bible is the focus. It is important to remember that a pastor’s work should never take the place of individual responsibility to study and serve God.

To learn more about spiritual leaders listen to,

“Have You Lost Faith in Your Spiritual Leaders?” 

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June 19, 2023

Ep.1286: Does Patience Really Matter?

Uncovering a deep and life-changing facet of Christian patience

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CHAPTERS

[00:13:38]
What is scriptural forbearance and why do we need it?


[00:29:32]
How can we tell if we are properly developing forbearance?


[00:44:16]
How do patience and self-restraint help us to stand firm for Christ?


Theme Scripture: Ephesians 4:1-2

Patience is one of the most understated yet powerful characteristics any human being can have. Most of us think of patience as simply waiting things out – it’s raining and we can’t start the game until it stops, so let’s be patient. While this is one true facet, biblical patience goes much further. The Bible teaches us the kind of patience one needs when going through a hard and perhaps painful experience. This kind of patience adds a factor of endurance to the necessary waiting, as one needs to bear a burden or discomfort for a time. Interestingly, the New Testament adds yet another dimension to the kind of patience we as Christians are supposed to have. As we shall soon see, this kind is all about self-restraint. The question is, am I personally and truly living a life of Christlike patience?

Continue Reading

Patience in the Love Chapter

1 Corinthians 13 is commonly called the Love Chapter. It is the Apostle Paul’s very complete and inspiring treatise on what selfless love is and how it works. The very first description of selfless love in verse 4 begins with “Love is patient…” It’s easy to look at this “patient” description and think it means that love is willing to quietly wait for things. While this is a nice thought, it does not nearly capture what this particular word means.

Patience as a fruit of the spirit

We encounter the same issue when we read about the fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5:22-23. The fourth characteristic on this list of God’s spirit affecting our lives is also “patience.” Here we can easily think that God’s spirit is expressed in us when we learn to quietly wait. Again, nice thought, but it simply doesn't capture the depth of the word.

This word means to forbear, to have self-restraint, and goes way beyond quietly waiting. It is also different from the kind of biblical patience described as perseverance, which means bearing up under a heavy or hurtful burden for a long time. When we simply wait or bear up under stress, we are usually responding to the circumstances that surround us. These responses are important and necessary qualities of our Christian character. However, forbearance is a response to our own reactions and not to what is happening around us. It is the disciplined restraining of me - my thoughts words and deeds - even when I have a right to react.

Check out our June 19, 2023 podcast, “Does Patience Really Matter?” for more. We dig into several examples of how forbearance works. What we find are powerful examples of the role self-restraint should play in each and every Christian life. This particular aspect of patience is not something most of us practice naturally or even gracefully. Yet, it is spoken of as a central part of our Christian lives. Join us as we uncover this Christlike character attribute and learn how to rely on it in every part of our Christian experience!

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Ep.1285: When Jesus Prayed, “Thy Kingdom Come” What Did He Mean?

Digging into the deep, broad and scriptural meaning of God’s kingdom

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CHAPTERS

[00:15:01]
Why does a time of trouble happen before God's kingdom can be fully established?


[00:30:56]
What will be required of the resurrected mankind?


[00:46:50]
What will be the conditions of the newly resurrected world?


Theme Scripture: Isaiah 11:9

The Lord’s Prayer in Matthew chapter 6 is perhaps the most commonly quoted teaching of Jesus. This prayer is simple and pointed in its focus. “Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.” This beginning teaches us not only to acknowledge God as Father but to hallow, to reverence, His very name. The next phrase is also simple, perhaps too simple, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.” Many take this as a two-part statement. First hoping for God’s kingdom and then hoping for God’s will to be done on earth. But is it actually two parts? Is this a petition of hope for two different things, or is it a petition for one glorious and often forgotten part of God’s plan, His kingdom on earth? The entire Bible shouts out a resounding answer to this question!

Continue Reading

Are these the same thing?

It is easy to get very confused when we look into Jesus’ words regarding the kingdom. After John the Baptist had been put in prison, Jesus announced the “kingdom of heaven is at hand.” In Matthew’s rendering of the Parable of the Mustard Seed, Jesus speaks of the kingdom of heaven being like a mustard seed, but in Luke it reads the kingdom of God is like a mustard seed. Then in the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus teaches us to pray for God’s kingdom to come. So, is it the kingdom of God or the kingdom of heaven? Is the kingdom at hand or is it coming?

Yes! The kingdom is all of these things and much more.

These seemingly contradictory statements were simply Jesus revealing different aspects of a complex and eternal kingdom. From the very beginning, salvation for all of humanity was in the mind of God. This was the whole reason that Jesus came and died for Adam. His presence on earth as the man Christ Jesus was the initial phase of this kingdom. It was Jesus paying the necessary price and doing the foundational work of calling disciples that enabled the door of the kingdom to open for all.

Jesus teaching us to pray for God’s kingdom to come was showing us to look forward to its full establishment. Check out our June 12, 2023 podcast, “When Jesus Prayed 'Thy Kingdom Come,' What Did He Mean?” for more. We examine further details of how the work of the kingdom’s first phase is continuing even to this day. We look at prophecies that show us how the kingdom’s developmental phase gives way to a serious time of trouble. As Bible prophecies indicate, this trouble is a necessary transition to what God’s kingdom in its full glory will look like. And what will it look like? Join us for a revealing walk through many Old Testament prophecies. They clearly describe God’s coming kingdom, and sometimes in shocking detail. Don’t miss this opportunity to get a preview of the amazing future God planned all along!

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Ep.: Can Satan be saved?

No, Satan cannot be saved. We can infer that Satan is completely unable to be rehabilitated from the unchangeable promise that he will be destroyed in Revelation 20:7-15.

We know that “God is love” (1 John 4:16) and we might think of a loving God as always being open to forgiving a sinner who repents. The case of Satan is, of course, unique.

Satan was created as a beautiful angel, close to the heavenly Father.  He tried to challenge the Almighty Jehovah.  Satan sinned willfully, with full knowledge and understanding. He knew what he was doing. In making the choice to rebel against God, he sealed his fate. 

Jesus describes this,

“…I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.”

Luke 10:18

Psalm 89:14 tells us that “Justice and judgment are the habitation [foundation] of thy [God’s] throne.”  Justice is the core of everything God is and does.  We know that God cannot make a mistake: “As for God, His way is perfect,” Psalm 18:30. 

The consequence of Satan’s sin is absolute. He will not be saved and forgiven. We think that Satan would not ask for forgiveness in any case because he and evil are one and the same. He is uniquely, absolutely, unchanging evil, responsible for over 107 billion deaths and counting, as well as heinous suffering.

God’s love was shown in giving His son to provide a ransom for all mankind born in sin because of Satan’s introduction of sin on earth in the Garden of Eden. Though God permits Satan to have power during the present night of sin, it is for the purpose of educating men so they will choose good in Christ’s future earthly kingdom. Satan will have no power then.

Revelation tells of Satan’s end – “the second death (Revelation 20:14)” in “the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10).”  This destruction for all eternity will occur at the end of the Millennium of Christ’s earthly kingdom. We are thankful for God’s complete plan to bring mankind back to the original relationship that Adam had with God before sin came to earth.

To learn more about Satan listen to, “Why Doesn’t God Just Destroy Satan?”

“Are God and Evil Mean to Coexist?”

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Ep.: What does the scripture, “For wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together,” (Matthew 24:28) mean?

The carcass refers to a freshly slain animal. In this scripture, it symbolizes Jesus’s death on the cross. Jesus is pictured as a slain lamb in Revelation 5:6 (NKJV), “And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain,…”

Who are the eagles?

The eagles (some Bibles translate this word as “vultures”) are consecrated followers of Jesus. God speaks about eagles in Job 39:27-30 (NET), “Is it at your command that the eagle soars, and builds its nest on high? It lives on a rock and spends the night there, on a rocky crag and a fortress. From there it spots its prey, its eyes gaze intently from a distance. And its young ones devour the blood, and where the (freshly slain) dead carcasses are, there it is.”

So in Matthew 24:28, Jesus’s death (the carcass) draws the eagles (Christian believers) to feed on Him.

Jesus proclaimed,

“… unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.”

John 6:53 (NKJV)

We love Jesus. The crucified and risen Christ (and all the blessings his sacrifice provides) becomes the consuming focus of our lives. And just as eagles crave food, we, Christian believers, gather together to eat the spiritual life and food of the ransom sacrifice. We receive spiritual food by reading/studying the Bible, worshiping, obeying, and developing into Christ’s likeness.

To learn more about what it means to be a follower of Jesus listen to,

“What Does Discipleship Cost?”

“Does Being a Christian Have to Be Difficult?”

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