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August 03, 2014

Ep.825: But What if You Just Can’t See It?

Understanding and coping with our personal blind spots

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Theme Scripture: Matthew 7:4

Sometimes no matter how hard we try, there are just some things in life that we are not capable of seeing. Whether our blind spots are caused by personal prejudice or experience, ignorance, our personality type or the circles with which we associate, we all fall into the trap of blind spots. So, if having blind spots is the disease, what is the cure? While we are not in a position of being able to fix such issues, we are certainly in a position to focus on the godly, scriptural principles that can fix such issues! So, what’s better than that?

Continue Reading
 

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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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September 23, 2021

Ep.: What matters more, faith or works?

“Faith by itself, if not accompanied by action is dead” James 2:17 

“A person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.” James 2:24 

Why is it that so many Christians do not see the connection between these two very important aspects of the Christian walk? 

We believe that one reason for the “disconnect”may be the element of sacrifice that “works” involves. It is far easier to believe that faith alone is all that is needed in order to enter heaven. Although faith in Jesus’ incredible sacrifice is the Christian’s foundation, that foundation needs to be built upon by works. 

When we examine Jesus’ life we find that he had complete faith in his Father. Because of this faith he was able to endure the pain and ignominy of the cross for the purpose of ransoming the entire human race. His sacrifice was truly the greatest “work” of all time. 

If we are to have an opportunity for life everlasting, will just having faith in Jesus’ sacrifice be enough to get us into the heavenly phase of the kingdom? Absolutely not. 

The scriptures clearly teach that faith without works is useless (James 2:20). James explains, “Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.” (James 2:21-22) 

As Christians who are seeking to follow in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus and be part of the heavenly class in order to bless the rest of humankind in the future, the first step is to have faith in Jesus’ sacrifice. The next step is to do works to bring forth “fruit” acceptable to God. 

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. . . . Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.” Galatians 5:22-24

God requires that we show our appreciation for the great prize he offers us by giving all that we have to Him. Our “little” all is our human will. We set aside our own fleshly desires in order to do God’s will in every aspect of our lives. This is the “work” that is required of us. 

The Apostle Paul tells us to “offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:1-2) By giving our all to God, we are also to do “good” unto others as we have the opportunity. 

For us to fulfill the definition of a true disciple of Christ, the scriptures are clear that the Christian must not only have initial or simple faith in Jesus’ blood, but also do personal character work and remain faithful to the covenant of sacrifice needed to obtain the heavenly crown.

“Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10) 

Why do some pastors teach and many Christians believe that faith alone is all that is needed in order to enter the kingdom of heaven? Perhaps they feel that a life of sacrifice is just too difficult and will result in discouragement and failure. 

To learn more about how faith and works compliment each other listen to our series “Is It Faith or Works That Gets Us to Heaven?”

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September 22, 2021

Ep.: How do I rebuild my relationship with God?

How do you begin to regain your relationship with God?  You pray to Him.  The Apostle Paul tells us to go “boldly to the throne of grace,” to obtain mercy and find grace to help in every time of need (Hebrews 4:16).  

Through prayer you may ask God to forgive you and grant you the wisdom and spiritual strength and peace you need to move forward on your Christian walk.  Prayer is one of the greatest privileges God has afforded us.  In fact, prayer is not only a privilege but a necessity, commanded as indispensable to the Christian’s growth.  

God’s answers to our prayers are directly dependent upon our heart attitude and our complete faith in His decisions in our lives. “You ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss” (James 4:3). 

Prayers offered in harmony with the scriptural condition that we are abiding in Christ (John 15:4) are always answered, even if the answer is “no” or is long delayed. The Christian should strive to learn what God’s will is for him, rather than tell God what his preferences are. Such prayers are “asking amiss.” He should pray for development of character so that he will grow in Christ-likeness and not seek his own will, but seek the will of God.

Every trial of faith and patience is an occasion for prayer. Every failure is an occasion for prayer for forgiveness as well as for blessing that the lesson may be deeply impressed upon us so that in the next similar experience we may lay hold upon the “grace to help” (Hebrews 4:16) promised. 

Every victory we have over our self-wills is an occasion for prayer that we stay humble and watchful for the next attack by Satan. We should also pray for opportunities to serve the Lord and for grace to use these opportunities wisely.

The Apostle Paul tells us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). 

Prayer is the Christian’s lifeline to God. 

The Apostle tells in in Romans 12:12 to “be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful [instant] in prayer.” 

What a blessed privilege to be able to lift up our hearts and minds to God at any time and in any place! Believers who come to Him never weary God. Jesus illustrated this point when he told his disciples the parable of a persistent widow, who was answered because she refused to give up. Likewise, we should pray and not give up (Luke 18:1-8).  

How do you reestablish the relationship with God that you once had?  First, you need to stop doubting that you have been saved.  Doubting is a tool of Satan. You and all of humanity will have a second chance for life everlasting either in heaven or on earth in the future because of Jesus’ incredible sacrifice.  He paid the price once for all. 

What do you do with this incredible gift of life? You pray continually.  Ask the Lord for forgiveness and mercy, for a greater measure of faith, for strength against the wiles of Satan and the allurements of the world, for guidance in life’s affairs, and for thankfulness in all matters, even hard experiences, since these experiences are allowed by God for the Christian’s spiritual development.  If you pray with thankfulness and humility, your faith will be renewed as you regain your much-needed relationship with God.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your [spiritual] requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

To learn more about prayer listen to, “Will Prayer Change Your Life?”  

To learn more about overcoming doubts listen to, “Do My Doubts Mean I Don’t Have Faith?” 

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September 10, 2021

Ep.: Why doesn’t God speak to us directly anymore like He did with people in the Bible?

God treats people differently based on the situation and the time period in which they live. In early biblical times, God understood that people needed to hear His voice directly or through angels and prophets in order to believe in His power because the Bible hadn’t been written yet. 

For example, God spoke to Noah, Job, and Jonah…and in Exodus Chapter 3, He even spoke to Moses through a burning bush!

He also used prophets to preach his message. God told his prophets what to say to the people so they could learn how to please God or be warned about something. 

Those people who lived in that early time period followed God by using their SIGHT and HEARING. Seeing powerful miracles and hearing God’s words being spoken in special ways helped them believe, and their faith was increased.

Today, in our day, we have God’s instructions for us written in the Bible. God deals with His people differently now than he did in biblical times. He wants us to follow Him using our FAITH. Hebrews 11:6 says it’s impossible to please God without faith.

What is faith? Faith is believing in things we can’t see with our eyes, but believe in because of other evidence of things we CAN see. 

For example, we believe that there must be a God when we see the beauty of nature around us and know that it didn’t happen by accident. We have FAITH that an almighty God created the wonders that we see. We have FAITH that the scriptures are the inspired word of God. We have FAITH that Jesus died so that every person who ever lived could be raised from the dead in God’s future kingdom. 

We base our faith on the evidence we see all around us, and the Bible’s teachings.

So, why doesn’t God speak to us directly anymore? Because today we live in a time of faith, and our strong faith pleases God very much. 

To learn more about how God communicates with us today listen to our series, “How Does God Speak to Us, Here and Now?”

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Ep.1188: Do We Have the Purpose of the Holy Spirit Backwards?

Distinguishing God's power from our own desires in our daily life

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

[00:14:51]
What was unique about how Jesus and the 12 apostles were able to use the holy spirit?


[00:31:31]
Can we ever decree and declare what we want to happen using the power of the holy spirit?


[00:49:32]
In what ways are we authorized to use the holy spirit?


Theme Scripture: Galatians 5:16

The call of Christianity is unique. It is a call to sacrifice and humility, a call to the subduing of one’s own will in favor of God’s will. While there are many noble purposes in this world and many humble and dedicated people, a Christian is called to the ultimate purpose of eventually reconciling the world back to God. Even more unique than that, Christians are called to become a "new creation," based on the indwelling of the holy spirit. This is a grace-based privilege and something we need to have a clear understanding of, as well as the deepest respect for. Why does God’s holy spirit dwell within His chosen ones? What does it do for us, and more importantly, what doesn’t it do for us?

Continue Reading

God’s spirit is of paramount importance in Scripture and is revealed in the Bible’s second verse as the power that drove creation.

As we progress through the Bible, two things become clear:

  1. God's power appears often
  2. The way it functions definitely changes as the Bible and God’s plan progress.

This is an important factor in determining how the holy spirit works now in our day.

Trace how God's power functions in human beings -
How has it changed over time?

God’s spirit is directly spoken about in relation to people once in Genesis and once in Exodus.  The first is Joseph when Pharaoh - of all people - remarks that God’s spirit must be in him. Joseph had just miraculously interpreted a forgotten dream of Pharaoh’s. In Exodus, a craftsman named Bezalel is plainly proclaimed by God to have His spirit. God’s purpose in this was for Bezalel to craft furniture artwork and embroidery for the Tabernacle. These two examples give us a good insight into how God’s spirit affected humans in the early days. God’s power was essentially loaned to those who needed to do very specific things for Him.

Once Jesus comes on the scene, the role of God’s power working in humanity changes dramatically. The fact that the spirit rested upon Jesus in the form of a dove just scratches the surface regarding the spirit’s role. Jesus was filled with the spirit. He taught, he reasoned, he healed and he raised people from the dead because the power of God dwelt within him.

Interestingly, the apostles also had similar experiences as a result of the spirit dwelling in them. Does this mean we should be having the same experiences? Check out our July 26, 2021 podcast, “Do We Have the Purpose of the Holy Spirit Backwards?” for more. We follow the patterns laid out by the Scriptures to show us what God expects of us in these End Times. We also observe what the Bible reveals we should expect from God’s spirit. The fascinating thing is, the biblical answers may be surprising. Join us and see!

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Ep.1183: Who Successfully Challenged Jesus?

Fitting the tenacity of a woman into the principled teaching of Jesus

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

[00:12:11]
How did the Syrophoenician woman challenge Jesus?


[00:26:04]
Was Jesus condescending or encouraging to her?


[00:41:36]
What pattern of blessing is revealed for us in the account of this unnamed woman?


Theme Scripture: Matthew 15:25

To “challenge” Jesus and succeed is not something you hear about every day, so let’s clarify what we are talking about. Jesus was a speaker of God’s word and a doer of God’s will. Inevitably, challenging this would be a futile effort. When we say “challenge” we mean not following an expected pattern. There were a few instances in the ministry of Jesus where someone did not exactly follow Jesus’ set patterns regarding healing and they were blessed anyway. On this episode, we investigate another unnamed woman of the Bible. The Syrophoenician woman spoken of in Matthew 15 and Mark 7 was one of these people. This unnamed Gentile woman did not accept a seeming denial from Jesus when she asked for her daughter to be healed. Jesus complied with her insistence and she was blessed.  What was her secret and what can we learn?

Continue Reading

Jesus was her only hope

Jesus had ventured into the non-Jewish territory of Tyre and Sidon to rest. After he entered a house in which to find that rest, a loud and emotional woman showed up, begging and yelling to see Jesus. Her daughter was demon-possessed and she was at her wits end. She knew Jesus unexpectedly coming to her hometown was the one chance she had to rid her child of this evil experience. She wasted no time and expended all of her desperate energy to get his attention.  He just had to help!

But it wasn't the time for the Gentiles

There was a significant challenge that stood between this woman’s pleading desire and her daughter being healed. They were Gentiles. Jesus came to be the Messiah of the Jewish nation. He came to fulfill the Jewish Law and be the deliverer of the Jewish people. The woman and her daughter were not scheduled to receive the Messiah’s blessings just yet.

So, what happens next? Several things of great impact. The woman does get to talk to Jesus and he does heal her daughter, though it was not a simple path to get to that resolution. Who is the real hero in this exchange? That depends on who you talk to  We believe the woman showed heroic faith in Jesus, and he rewarded it with heroic and miraculous healing. Some say it is just the woman who was the hero because she “straightened Jesus out.” They say that Jesus showed bias against her, even racism.

Who is right? Was Jesus bigoted in his approach to her? Why would anyone even say such a thing? Check out our June 21, 2021 podcast, “Who Successfully Challenged Jesus?” for answers. We look at the entire account in its context. Then we follow this woman’s hysterical introduction and observe how she responded to Jesus with extraordinary faith and conviction. We learn why Jesus said the things he said to her. This is much more than a story of somebody being healed by Jesus. It is a practical lesson that teaches us how to take our own raw desperation before our Lord to find the answers and comfort we seek.

 

 

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Ep.1171: How Did Jesus Prepare His Disciples for His Death?

Absorbing Jesus’ focused teaching on the night before his death

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CHAPTERS

[00:16:31]
How did Jesus refocus the attention of his disciples in the face of imminent tragedy?


[00:30:50]
How did Jesus give his apostles hope for the future?


[00:43:14]
What were Jesus' parting words of comfort?


Theme Scripture: John 16:33

If you were going to die tomorrow, how would you spend your day today? Jesus faced that very serious question 2,000 years ago. His answer was obvious. He would spend that entire evening with those whom he was closest to. He would prepare them, teach them and encourage them, for what was coming would be shocking and horrifying. The world of the disciples would be shattered, and he wanted them to be as ready as their imperfect minds could allow them to be. What he taught them that night through his words and actions was extraordinary. Even though it is not possible for us to get our arms around the depth of Jesus’ compassion, wisdom, love and clarity of mind, we are going to try anyway. What we find is pure spiritual inspiration.

Continue Reading

Final insights before the crucifixion

The Gospel of John, Chapters 13-16 are a unique view into the heart and mind of Jesus the night before he was taken to be crucified. They represent a detailed recounting of the several hours that Jesus had with his most faithful disciples in the upper room and beyond. John began writing his record of these events with a specific introduction. He told us that Jesus knew it was his time to die, and even more significantly, he told us Jesus knew he was going back to the Father. How could he know he was going back to the Father when he had not yet withstood the horrors of crucifixion? How could he know he wouldn’t break under pressure?

It is hard to exactly determine how Jesus knew he wouldn’t break under the pressure of the cross. It is much easier to understand what he was doing with that knowledge in final hours of freedom as a man. Jesus used these precious final hours of freedom to protect and prepare followers.  He protected them by telling them of the trials they would face in the immediate future. Knowledge is power if we choose to apply it and the disciples were given that power. Even though they all faltered, the power of Jesus’ words provided a solid foundation for them to all recover upon.

The preparation Jesus provided was epic

He knew these individuals who were with him the night before his crucifixion would be the very foundation pillars of Christianity. So, he taught them. He taught them how to be leaders when he washed their feet. He taught them what the price of Christianity was by foreshadowing their coming persecution.  He taught them how connected they were through the illustration of the vine and the branches. He taught them about the role God’s spirit would play in their everyday lives. He taught them to love one another as he loved them.

These lessons barely scratch the surface. Check out our March 29, 2021 podcast, “How did Jesus Prepare His Disciples for His Death?” for more.  No group of followers were ever given so much to work with.  Join us as we uncover their lessons and join them in being prepared!

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VIDEO: How Did Jesus Prepare His Disciples for His Death?

Jesus’ words provided a solid foundation for his disciples. Watch this short vlog then listen to the full podcast of the same name for more details.

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