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August 30, 2021

Ep.1193: Am I Failing as a Christian?

Defining what success and failure look like for disciples of Jesus

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CHAPTERS

[00:13:31]
Are we expected to change who we are or develop who we are?


[00:29:30]
Is my life supposed to be about everyone else or do I just need to focus on loving Jesus?


[00:46:52]
How often do I have to go to church and study the Bible?


Theme Scripture: Luke 6:27-28

So, what does it mean to be a Christian, and how do I know if I am doing it right? What happens if I am doing it wrong? Is there a clear-cut standard? Will Jesus be disappointed in me if I fall short? Am I expected to change who I am, or develop who I am? Is my life supposed to be about everyone else, or do I just need to really love Jesus? Am I in line to get everything I want, or do I have to give everything up? How often do I have to go to church? Should I pursue a career? Do I have to study the Bible all the time? While defining success or failure as a Christian is not an exact science, it is a vitally important understanding to have. As we address these questions, our objective will be to find the biblical answers that can guide us to living our daily lives in accordance with God’s will and word through Jesus.

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What are we measuring against?

To measure success or failure as a Christian, we need to understand the beginning basis of being a Christian. Jesus himself said in John 6:44 that nobody comes to him unless the Father first draws that person. Jesus also warned those who would follow him of the hardships they would face. He talked bluntly about "carrying your own cross." In those days, this would have been a horrifying image of pain and suffering. He also spoke clearly about counting the cost of a Christian lifestyle. These plain statements by Jesus simply tell us that discipleship begins with God drawing us. It continues with us answering that call with an eyes-wide-open weighing of its cost.

Now we have to live as a disciple

This is hard to do, as it touches on every aspect of our lives. So how do we measure success or failure here? Perhaps the first of many questions we need to ask ourselves is, how serious am I about being Jesus’ disciple? Measuring our seriousness can be done by observing our outward lifestyle and actions. What does who I spend time with and what I do with my time and resources say about me? The Bible gives us several markers along these lines. Our succeeding or failing as a Christian can be revealed by comparing these biblical standards with our lifestyle. Do you like what these comparative results show you?

Many of us will not be happy with what we see. Does this mean we are failing as Christians? Check out our August 30, 2021 podcast, “Am I Failing as a Christian?” for more. We delve deeply into these hard comparisons and several others as well. Most importantly, we open the door to working on where we fall short. Just because we may have lived a substandard Christian life yesterday does not mean we have to settle for it today. Join us and build an understanding of what discipleship really means so we can all clearly focus on “walking the walk” of Jesus and not just “talking the talk.”

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October 18, 2021

Ep.1200: Could an Addiction Block My Christian Growth?

Learning to identify and manage compulsive and addictive behavior

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CHAPTERS

[00:15:31]
How can we recognize the difference between compulsive thoughts and addiction?


[00:32:43]
What's it like when you finally start to turn the corner to getting healthy?


[00:47:50]
How can we make overcoming an addiction a permanent change?


Theme Scripture: 1 Peter 5:6

Life can be difficult and unpredictable. It can be full of insecurity, unexpected disappointments, and events that press and overwhelm our coping skills. All of this can bring us to places that make us want to run from our reality. We instead engage in a pseudo-reality that makes us feel better - at least for the moment. Enter the pathway to potential addictive behavior. It often begins as a subtle escape, or a convenient distraction, or a thrilling experience. Destructive addictions always end in several layers of disaster. At the top of the addiction casualty list is our character, integrity, family, friends, work associates, and often our financial standing as well. What should we look for and do to avoid or remedy the destructiveness of addiction?

Continue Reading

Party City

Nobody sets out in life with the goal of becoming some kind of addict. At least, that's what our guest Merrily said about her own life. Merrily is a dedicated Christian woman who painfully worked through her own addictions to drugs and alcohol many years ago. In telling her story, she shared how the road towards addiction looked more like a road to excitement and acceptance. Even though this road seemed to be continually headed towards “Party City,” it was littered with warnings and caution signs. The problem is, when you are traveling so fast you don’t have time to think about those signs along the way.

A perceived need or desire

Just because we are Christians we cannot relax when it comes to awareness about and protection against these kinds of things. Addictions always begin with a perceived need or desire. They are fed by compulsive behavior, which in and of itself is not always a bad thing. A compulsion can be an irresistible urge and if those urges are to righteously act in the direct service of God, then let’s go! However, we all know that such an urge is much more the exception than the rule. The bottom line is that we need to be painfully aware of the direction our compulsions are pointing us towards.

As Christians, there is much we can do to identify and destroy addictive behavior. One simple and powerful key in this fight is perspective. We need to go through each action of each day remembering who we are and what we are called to. Being a disciple of Jesus is a whole mind, whole heart and whole body commitment. Anything and everything we focus our attention on must fit within that description.

Check out our October 18, 2021 podcast, “Could an Addiction Block My Christian Growth?” for more. We follow Merrily’s inspirational story of being trapped by addiction, falling, bottoming out and recovery. Several scriptural principles are laid out to help us whether we are heading into trouble, in trouble or broken. We learn about the power of accountability and the transformational properties of contentment. Addiction is a serious and sometimes deadly issue. Join us for a stark look at its nature and the relief that is found in recovery!

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September 24, 2021

Ep.: Why did God allow Satan to harm Job?

The story of Job’s life is one that has puzzled people for a long time. Initially, Job’s initial reaction to his trying experiences was excellent. Job 1:22 says, “Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.” But, as his burdens wore on him he finally came to accuse God. He said, “ “I cry out to you, but you do not answer me; … You have become cruel to me; With the strength of your hand you oppose me…. when I looked for good, evil came to me; … My heart is in turmoil and cannot rest.” (Job 30:20-27)

God finally answered Job in chapters 38-41. He essentially said, “Job, you do not understand who I am or why I do what I do. If you did, you would know that there is a purpose in everything I do. I have gone to great lengths in creating life. I have provided a place for life to exist. Do not question my motives, just know that I am all powerful.  I am God. Trust that my reasons are pure and good.”

This is an important principle when dealing with God. We should trust that whatever He does is for our ultimate good. Like Job, we tend to be short-sighted in our view of life and why God acts as He does. But God, who is “from everlasting to everlasting,” has a different perspective. Job was a man of faith. But his faith was untested. This is an important principle and was demonstrated even in Jesus’ life. 

Jesus himself had to experience temptation and struggle. The Apostle Paul says that Jesus “learned obedience by the things he suffered”(Hebrews 5:8). Jesus certainly knew how to obey before coming to earth. But his suffering made him stronger and more resilient. It created a deeper faith that was totally unmovable.

A common illustration to describe the strengthening of faith is how steel is hardened.  It is fired under tremendous heat. This carefully supervised process actually fuses the steel at the molecular level. It becomes harder and able to endure great pressures that it could not endure before the process was applied.  That is similar to the testing of faith. When rightly supervised and endured, great lessons are learned regarding how to trust God under adversity. With each victory, the ability to endure becomes greater and the outlook of the individual changes as he goes through experiences where he needs to trust.  This cannot occur without adversity.

Though he was a man of faith, Job was a man of greater faith after his experience. He came to understand that God had not abandoned him and was able to restore his wealth and grant him 10 more children.His life has often been used to illustrate the fall of man. When God permitted Satan to tempt Adam and Eve, God was not being irresponsible. He saw that man needed to be tested. Adam failed the test and plunged the world into sin. Along with Adam, we are learning the consequences of sin. We die because we have inherited sin. Job shared in man’s fall. Like all of us, he was already condemned to death. But that is not the end of God’s plan. It is merely the world’s instructional phase.

God has the power of life. He can raise the dead and has promised to do so in His kingdom. That means that Job’s 20 children will all be brought back to life.  God’s dealing with Job was not done on a whim or a wager with Satan. God’s plan is thought-out and loving.

A very meaningful passage is found in Ephesians 1.

“… So abundant was God’s grace, the grace which He, the possessor of all wisdom and understanding, lavished upon us, when He made known to us the secret of His will. And this is in harmony with God’s merciful purpose for the government of the world when the times are ripe for it – the purpose which He has cherished in His own mind of restoring the whole creation to find its one head in Christ; yea things in heaven and things on earth, to find their one head in him.” Ephesians 1:7-10 

There is wisdom in everything God does. And when we may not understand His actions, we should trust that He will always have our best interests at heart.

To learn more about why God allows suffering in our lives listen to, “Does God Really Want Me To Suffer?”

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September 21, 2021

Ep.: Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?

Why would a merciful God allow the innocent to suffer?  It certainly seems incredibly cruel and unjust if we look at the situation purely from a human perspective.  First, it must be acknowledged that there is no such condition as an innocent human being.  

“All have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23  

Therefore, no one is innocent in the sense of being sinless.  Sin entered the world when Adam and Eve rebelled against God in the Garden of Eden, and mankind has been in rebellion ever since.  Sin’s effects permeate everything, and the suffering we see all around us is a direct result of that sin. 

We need to look at the big picture – the reason Jesus died on the cross, which was to redeem all humanity from the curse of sin, sickness, and death.  If God had not planned to send his only begotten Son as a Ransom for Adam, all humanity (the good as well as the evil) would have been doomed to die with no chance of redemption. 

But Jesus paid the price at Calvary, assuring us that every person who has ever lived will have the opportunity for everlasting life on earth during the Day of Judgment.  Knowing that God had a well-devised and thought out plan in place since the foundation of the earth (Revelation 13:8) helps us understand why He permits misery and death in this present evil world where Satan is the prince.  

However, just knowing and believing that a better age is coming when all will come forth from their graves to enjoy health and happiness is often not enough when a loved one, especially a child, is suffering and dying in our midst.  Our pain can be agonizing.  We earnestly pray for healing, but our prayers are not answered.  Why would God not grant our request?  

To answer that question we need to ask ourselves if we are praying for God’s will or for our own wills to be done.  It is not God’s purpose to heal during this time. We live in a time of faith and trust, not miracles.  It is not the time to be asking for physical healing for others or ourselves.  Healing will take place in the next age – the Millennial Age.  The Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:13, 

“No temptation [testing] has seized you except what is common to man.  And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted [tested] beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted [tested], he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”  

The way out or way of escape is a way to endure the pain by embracing it!  Stop fighting God’s will and He will give you the strength to bear up under the pain.  We know that our loving, merciful Father would not have us suffer pointlessly.  The suffering and pain we go through is to draw us closer to Him, so that we will cling to Him.  

Jesus said, “In the world you shall have tribulation” John 16:33 

No matter how severe the storms of life, we have an anchor in Christ.  In times of despair and sorrow we reach out to Him and He is always ready to comfort and uphold us.  As we experience His comfort through trials, we are then able to comfort others in the same way (2 Corinthians 1:4).

How we respond to suffering is determined by the genuineness of our faith.  If our faith is genuine, we will come through the testing.  

“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These are come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” 1 Peter 1:6-7

 Therefore, we are to consider it pure joy (James 1:2), knowing that the trials prove that we are children of God.  “Blessed is the man that endures temptation [testing], because having been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12).

Lastly, God allows suffering so that we may focus our minds on the kingdom of heaven and the world to come. The Bible continually exhorts us to not get caught up in the things of this world.  Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36).  The sufferings we endure, which seem so terrible, “are not worthy to be compared with the coming glory to be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).  

Should we pray for the healing of a child?  We can ask that the child be healed ONLY if it is God’s will to do so.  But, if it is not His will, we should not get discouraged.  Instead, we should ask God for strength to bear the outcome.  The death of the child is not the end of the child.  The child will come back in the next age.  

We should pray for wisdom to see the experience from God’s perspective and go through the misery with hope because “all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).  So, even suffering is part of the “all things” that God is using to accomplish His good purposes.  God’s plan for the human race is perfect.  It is bigger than the moment.  His plan is the hope for all eternity. Let us embrace it and grow spiritually from our experiences as we encourage others through our example.

To learn more about the purpose for our suffering listen to, “My Life is Full of Suffering- Am I Cursed?”

“Does God Really Want Me To Suffer?”

(19)

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September 10, 2021

Ep.: If God loves us so much, why does He let us suffer?

Proverbs 29:18 states, “Where there is no vision, the people perish…” As awful as some people’s experiences are, we must remember that we are alive, we know how to love, and we have a wealth of experience that may someday be used to assist others.  The sun comes up every day emphatically showing us that there is renewal and that night does not last forever.  

Similarly, this past 6,000 years since sin entered into the world comprises most of the limited amount of time when evil will be permitted in this world.  The Scriptures promise us that there will come a day when sin will not be allowed to occur ever again.  It’s only purpose for being allowed was so that all of mankind will grow to hate the exceeding sinfulness of sin.  

God made us in His image, meaning we have free will, as He does not want robots, but rather, beings that can choose right and love one another and Him. Therefore, once the first sin occurred due to lack of experience in seeing its effects, God allowed man enough experience with free will to thoroughly hate evil in hopes that all will choose to be helped to learn righteousness in the kingdom when all will be resurrected from death with opportunity to live forever on the eventually perfected earth. 

Those that do not choose to learn righteousness after receiving very much assistance in doing so, will simply go to the sleep of death a second and final time since they would not be able to safely live forever with the rest of mankind that does choose to live an everlasting life of unselfishness and love for all.  God takes no pleasure in any person’s pain or death, and is not the cause of our pain (see Ezekiel 33:11).  For the time being, God causes the sun to rise on both the righteous and the unrighteous (see Matthew 5:45).  Eventually all on the earth will be righteous.

Isaiah 11:9 states regarding the kingdom,

“They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” Isaiah 11:9 

I know it may be hard for you to grasp right now, but truly, there will be a day when no one will be allowed to harm you or anyone else, and all will be able to have a loving relationship with their Creator.

Revelation 21:4 teaches of the coming kingdom, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  

Isaiah 51:11 promises, “Those the LORD has rescued will return.  They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads.  Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.” Yes, everyone will have that opportunity to be overtaken by joy!  

Although mankind suffers unjustly now, it will end.  Prior to it ending, even God’s Son Jesus was not at all spared the pain and cruelty of sin.  He willingly offered to die as the ransom price to satisfy justice for Adam’s sin and all of mankind’s sin as we are Adam’s progeny.  

Luke 22:63-65 reads, “The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him…blindfolded him…said…insulting things to him.”  

Then He was nailed to a cross and died by hanging.  

Many Christians died unjustly for their beliefs.  Many people die in wars, at birth, by murder, illness, plane crashes, car accidents, etc.  One day the individuals who killed Jesus will weep over what they have done to their Savior. One day those that have hurt you will also have opportunity to repent.  One day, when all are resurrected, those that have ever harmed anyone will recall it and have opportunity to repent.  

God loves us all.  Just like a good parent, God is loving us by allowing (not causing) a hard experience for all of us as humans.  Loving us right now is the cause for Him allowing us to see what it is like to exercise free will without following His righteous ways.

Unfortunately, most of us end up suffering at the hand of others in many ways.  We can choose to try to respond without allowing it to destroy us.   We can move on and try our best to use our experiences in a positive way and to be a light for others who will be inspired by our overcoming adversity to go on to try to live a right life in whatever circumstance we are in.  There is most definitely hope in the long run for all of us.

The Scriptures, which have survived thousands of years despite strenuous efforts to eradicate the Bible, are still here for a reason and to state the reasons for hope and all the promises of an end to sin and eventual everlasting life and joy for all people who choose it.  It’s too good not to be true, my friend.   

As for rapes, beatings, murders, and all evil, none of it is right and all of it will have consequences, but not necessarily all of it in this lifetime. 

In Deuteronomy 32:35 God warns, “Vengeance is mine, and recompense…”  

In the Kingdom, all will have opportunity to repent and be educated in justice, and no more injustice will be tolerated as the permission of sin will eventually be ended.  Satan, who is the original liar, having lied to Eve in the garden by telling her she would not die for sinning, encourages sin, and he will be removed.   

Yes, God is Almighty, His plan will work in the end and sin is temporary.  

Just as we don’t judge a piece of art before it is finished and when there are still ugly, unfinished parts, we cannot judge God’s Divine Plan before it is past the permission of sin.  Scriptures tell us a day with God is as a thousand years because it is true (see 2 Peter 3:8).  He is able to wait thousands of years to allow billions to be born to fill the earth as he originally planned and to learn to hate sin and love justice so they will be able to live forever.  His ways and thoughts are far higher than ours (see Isaiah 55:8,9).  

We praise and worship Him because, as bad as many of our experiences are at times, life is a gift, He made us by choice, and His ultimate goal is for you and all of us to know Him, realize He does actually love you, and wants you to live forever.  This can all happen!  We have to try to see past current situations and remember we are promised in the Bible a kingdom that will resolve all legitimate problems.  

God does not lie (see Numbers 23:19).  Isaiah 55:11 tells us that God’s Word will be done, (therefore you will have opportunity to see brighter days).  God is not cruel, He is Love.  Love sometimes means being hands off until the due time to resolve a major problem for the purpose of an unforgettable lesson. 

God cares deeply about us and all His creation.  There is a very high purpose to all God allows for a time.  We realize this does not stop any of us having hard times.  Bad things currently happen to good and bad people.  If you are currently in an unsafe or life-threatening situation you might consider seeking local help to get out of that unsafe situation.  If many of the problems are in your past and you are currently unhappy and feeling empty, we would suggest you tell God of your sadness and ask Him to help you try to believe some of what we have shared with you so you can begin to find some hope.  He knows that so many who have suffered wrongs and He will remedy it in His own due time.   You are not alone.

 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 

To learn more about why God allows suffering listen to, “Is it God’s Fault We Have Evil in This World?”

(10)

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September 07, 2021

Ep.: Are there any comforting scriptures on dealing with guilt, death, and the future hope for general mankind?

Certainly the loss of a loved one is very difficult. God’s plan is full of comfort and hope for everyone. Jesus made that clear when he said, “Marvel not at this, for the hour is coming in which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice and shall come forth…” (John 5:28,29)

In 1 Corinthians 15, the Apostle Paul adds a powerful insight into the resurrection.  

“Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?  But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:  And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain… But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept.  For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:12-14;20-22) 

For a heart to be comforted in the message of the Bible it is important to understand why we die and how sin entered our race. But God has provided an escape from the trials and sorrows of this life.

 He said in Hosea 13:14, “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction.”  

This is a precious promise from God Himself. We can rest in these words.

We hope you are strengthened by the words of the psalmist. “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide neither will He keep His anger forever… For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear (reverence) Him.” (Psalm 103:8,9,11)

To learn more about the purpose of our sufferings listen to, “Does God Really Want Me to Suffer?”

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August 30, 2021

Ep.: Should I feel guilty that my life is so easy when others suffering?

None of us are “deserving” of the temporal blessings some of us receive. Furthermore, God does not place each and every human being in a certain place for a specific reason. We must remember that Satan is the prince of this world and, as such, sin and death rule. Life for many is not fair or equitable. Because God is not dealing with the world at this time, He has allowed evil and injustice to prevail. 

The time period in which we are living is a time for the calling out of a special people unto Christ to rule with Him in heaven during the next age (the Millennial Age). During this present age we Christians are being tested in whatever situation we find ourselves. Some are being tested with endurance due to poverty, sickness, and very poor living conditions. 

Likewise, others are having their characters tested as to how they react spiritually and cope with all the advantages of a highly material and increasingly immoral society. For some, this may be a very difficult test. 

They are admonished in Revelation 3:17.

“You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing. But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.’” Revelation 3:17

Here we learn that God is more concerned with spiritual poverty than with physical poverty. However, it is important to remember that both classes are being tested, albeit differently, so that each may prove faithful and worthy to be part of the Heavenly Body of Christ. 

In the next age when Christ’s kingdom is set up on earth, blessings will flow to all humans. During that time, sin, sickness, poverty and death will disappear forever. But for the present, there is injustice and inequality. Rather than feeling guilty for the advantages you have you might want to ask yourself what you are doing with all the tools and opportunities you have.

Are you striving to put forth the Gospel message to those with a hearing ear? Is your life an example that others wish to emulate? Are you seeking to help those you know are in need? There are so many opportunities for service that God has provided for those of us who are privileged to have a life of ease. Ask the Lord in prayer for guidance in your quest to perfect your character as you take advantage of these opportunities.

To learn more about why God allows suffering listen to, “Does God Really Want Me To Suffer?”

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August 30, 2021

Ep.1193: Am I Failing as a Christian?

Defining what success and failure look like for disciples of Jesus

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CHAPTERS

[00:13:31]
Are we expected to change who we are or develop who we are?


[00:29:30]
Is my life supposed to be about everyone else or do I just need to focus on loving Jesus?


[00:46:52]
How often do I have to go to church and study the Bible?


Theme Scripture: Luke 6:27-28

So, what does it mean to be a Christian, and how do I know if I am doing it right? What happens if I am doing it wrong? Is there a clear-cut standard? Will Jesus be disappointed in me if I fall short? Am I expected to change who I am, or develop who I am? Is my life supposed to be about everyone else, or do I just need to really love Jesus? Am I in line to get everything I want, or do I have to give everything up? How often do I have to go to church? Should I pursue a career? Do I have to study the Bible all the time? While defining success or failure as a Christian is not an exact science, it is a vitally important understanding to have. As we address these questions, our objective will be to find the biblical answers that can guide us to living our daily lives in accordance with God’s will and word through Jesus.

Continue Reading

What are we measuring against?

To measure success or failure as a Christian, we need to understand the beginning basis of being a Christian. Jesus himself said in John 6:44 that nobody comes to him unless the Father first draws that person. Jesus also warned those who would follow him of the hardships they would face. He talked bluntly about "carrying your own cross." In those days, this would have been a horrifying image of pain and suffering. He also spoke clearly about counting the cost of a Christian lifestyle. These plain statements by Jesus simply tell us that discipleship begins with God drawing us. It continues with us answering that call with an eyes-wide-open weighing of its cost.

Now we have to live as a disciple

This is hard to do, as it touches on every aspect of our lives. So how do we measure success or failure here? Perhaps the first of many questions we need to ask ourselves is, how serious am I about being Jesus’ disciple? Measuring our seriousness can be done by observing our outward lifestyle and actions. What does who I spend time with and what I do with my time and resources say about me? The Bible gives us several markers along these lines. Our succeeding or failing as a Christian can be revealed by comparing these biblical standards with our lifestyle. Do you like what these comparative results show you?

Many of us will not be happy with what we see. Does this mean we are failing as Christians? Check out our August 30, 2021 podcast, “Am I Failing as a Christian?” for more. We delve deeply into these hard comparisons and several others as well. Most importantly, we open the door to working on where we fall short. Just because we may have lived a substandard Christian life yesterday does not mean we have to settle for it today. Join us and build an understanding of what discipleship really means so we can all clearly focus on “walking the walk” of Jesus and not just “talking the talk.”

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May 03, 2021

Ep.1176: Does God REALLY Want Me to Suffer?

Putting our personal sufferings into context with God’s plan

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

[00:13:48]
Does believing in Jesus change our suffering?


[00:31:50]
Are dedicated Christians promised a different kind of relief through their sufferings?


[00:44:50]
Why would Christians suffer if we are supposed to be so blessed?


Theme Scripture: Matthew 11:28

Let’s set the record straight right from the start. As Christians, God does NOT want us to suffer! Having said that, we know He does want us to learn and grow and mature. This means he will permit us to suffer and will use it as a tool to serve our eternal welfare. Now, what about the rest of the suffering experienced by everyone else? The answer is essentially the same – it is part of the permission of evil, which will be an eternal lesson for all. While these are good lessons, how do we cope with our individual suffering here and now? There are two groups of people who are suffering that we want to talk to today. There are those who may know of and appreciate Jesus and there are those who have dedicated themselves to follow him as his disciples.

Continue Reading

In Matthew 11:28 Jesus famously invites all who are "weary and heavy-laden" to come to him so he can give them rest. While this invitation is comforting and encouraging, understanding it requires a deeper look. The first thing we notice is that it is an open invitation. Jesus had just finished talking about how those with power and influence tended to reject his teaching and miracles. He thanked God that the beauty of the salvation he was bringing was so readily received by the everyday people.

I am exhausted!

To be weary and heavy-laden means you are exhausted and overburdened. This simple description fits so many of us here and now. Even though our world is amazingly advanced, stress and suffering are rampant.

We are:

-challenged with physical things like illness and aging

-burdened with financial stresses like job loss and too much month at the end of our money

-pressured with social conformity and political unrest

We face emotional traumas like broken families, severed relationships, and loneliness.  Our struggles include psychological things like depression, anxiety, phobias and mental illness.

Because we know that our time in Christianity is not a time of healing, how can Jesus give us rest? What can he possibly do for us with physical healing off the table? Check out our May 3rd 2021 podcast, “Does God Really Want Me to Suffer?” for more. We look carefully into what Jesus can do for whom. The bottom line here is that there are two different answers as to what Jesus will do for us, depending on our relationship with him. In both cases, there is really good news.

So, does God REALLY want us to suffer? The answer is no! That being said, the next logical question is then why doesn't He take our suffering away?  The responses here are bigger than a one or two-line explanation. More than that, they are very encouraging and uplifting as well. If you are suffering in any way and are looking to God and Jesus for relief, please join us for this important conversation. Seeing our suffering with biblical understanding can absolutely help us to cope!

 

 

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March 22, 2021

VIDEO: Does Being a Christian Have to Be Difficult?

Modern Christianity is a far cry from original discipleship. Watch this short vlog then listen to the full podcast of the same name for more details.

(1)

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March 22, 2021

Ep.1170: Does Being a Christian Have to Be Difficult?

Examining what discipleship is and what it is not

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

[00:13:24]
What does it mean when Jesus told us to deny ourselves?


[00:30:21]
Was Jesus trying to scare people away when he told us to take up our cross?


[00:45:42]
What are the benefits to being a lifetime follower of Jesus?


Theme Scripture: Luke 9:23

21st century Christianity can be confusing. With all of the denominations and interpretations and approaches to Scripture it is hard to fathom they all claim to represent the same thing. So, what is the bottom line? Is being a Christian - a true Christian - a difficult way of life, or is it a privileged way of life? Does following Jesus place demands on you that are unreasonable to the average person? Or does it promise and deliver some kind of abundance that the average person would notice? Does Christianity fundamentally change you? Or does it help you be the best person you think you can be? Is following Jesus an exclusive calling of those who would do the hard work? Or does it work by way of general knowledge and discovery? Let’s see how Jesus describes what following him looks like and what it produces.

Continue Reading

Compare

As we look at Christian life here in the 21st century, it is easy to notice a significant difference in how it works when compared to 1st century Christianity. Now we have sweeping individuality available in our churches. Now we are encouraged to find a church that suits us, that we are comfortable with. Back then, you became a Christian because you became a believer in Jesus and his sacrifice, and it was all about truth and salvation. Now our Christianity is easily focused on fitting into our comfort zone of service or praise or worship or giving. Back then, Christianity was focused on fitting the varied disciples into the mold of living for Christ. In short, modern Christianity is a far cry from original discipleship.

Does this mean that Christianity, which we will call discipleship, is a hard and unyielding mold we are forced into? Not at all! Make no mistake, there are difficult mountains to climb and challenging changes in character to accomplish. But these formidable tasks should not be allowed to overshadow the magnitude of blessing opportunity and growth that discipleship floods us with.

Peace, joy and overcoming

When Jesus tells all who are weary and heavy laden to come to him for rest, he means it. His promise is to show us how to navigate our world by leaning on him for grace, strength and inspiration. The Bible promises peace, joy and overcoming to those who become Jesus’ disciples. There are Scriptures that promise our highest needs being met and being led through our crises. Who wouldn’t want all that? Still, discipleship is a steep and narrow pathway.

How do we put these two seeming extremes together and make sense of following Christ? Check out our March 22, 2021 podcast, “Does Being a Christian Have to Be Difficult?” for answers. We walk through the hardships of discipleship and match them with its blessings and privileges. What we end up with is a clarity of purpose and a straightforward understanding of the why behind it all. Following Christ is not for the faint of heart, but it is the most blessed decision you can ever make!

 

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April 13, 2020

Ep.1121: Jesus is Raised! How Does That Change Me?

Finding strength in the disciple’s challenges after Jesus was raised

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CHAPTERS

[00:14:09]
When grieving or uncertain, do we accept Jesus told us he would be with us always?


[00:26:58]
Do we ever think we are no longer in God's plan because of our bad choices and failures?


[00:40:23]
What do we do when we still doubt even though everyone else seems to be confident?


[00:53:43]
What did the sacrifice of Jesus do for non-believers?


Theme Scripture: Luke 24:5-6

Easter Sunday is a widely celebrated holiday. It is a day that represents life. For Christians, it represents life in its highest form because it is about the resurrection of Jesus. It is far too easy to lose the deep meaning of Jesus’ sacrifice and victory in the commotion and fanfare of Easter eggs, the Easter Bunny and Easter chocolate. As Christians, we know Jesus’ resurrection was a world-changing experience, but was it a personal, life-changing experience for me? How does the fact of Jesus being in heaven again with God affect me every day? To trace the kind of changes his resurrection can have on us, we need to look at the kind of effect it had on some who were there and experienced it first-hand. What did they see? What did they change?

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Being a witness to the most sensational events in human history has to have an impact! Never in the experience of mankind had anyone ever been killed, raised from the dead and come back as a being with spiritual powers. Further, no one else had ever walked among others and then was raised to heaven before many witnesses. In this episode, we highlighted the experiences of a few who were there for the whole thing. They were followers of Jesus, they saw the crucifixion, they heard about the empty tomb and they had encounters with the risen Lord. In a very short period, their faith went from shattered to sure.

The road to Emmaus

Just one of theses examples is the account of the two disciples walking to Emmaus on the day Jesus’ tomb was discovered to be empty. Sad and confused, they walked that seven-mile trek and tried to piece together the crucifixion with their dashed hopes for the future. As the story relates, a stranger observed their sorrow and began to walk along with them. He shared prophecies and reasoning that helped then to see these events as God’s will. We know that this stranger was Jesus himself, but their eyes were initially shielded from that truth. Once they found out, their lives were changed!

What about me?

Even though I wasn’t there to physically witness these events, I am here now to be a spiritual witness to these things. What kind of changes can I see in myself as I embrace the reality of Jesus being raised? He is now at the right hand of God, so where does that put me? Has my life been clearly and outwardly transformed as a result of what I see?

Check out our April 13, 2020 podcast, “Jesus is Raised. How Does that Change Me?” for more. We continue to break down the story of the road to Emmaus as well as several others. How did Jesus ease his followers into acceptance of his miraculous resurrection? How did they grow and respond as a result? And again, what about me? How can I daily learn to live Jesus’ resurrection?

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