God does not reward sin. On the contrary, He abhors it! Satan’s first rebellious thoughts against God will result in his eventual destruction. Adam’s sin of disobedience has and continues to result in the power of sin, evil and death plaguing our world to this day. Enter Tamar and Rahab. These are two Old Testament women who both acted immorally and yet found their way into a very unusual position of God’s favor. They were two of only five women listed in the genealogy of Jesus. How can this be? Did God make an exception for them? What was it they did or didn’t do to have the privilege of having Jesus be a descendant of their bloodlines? The answers to these questions are found in the fascinating accounts and decisions of their lives.
Theme Scripture: Colossians 3:8
We all get angry. In today’s social media world, we can easily find a platform to express that anger. Our anger develops when we hear or see something that we interpret as causing fear, frustration or offense. We react to our perception, and the seeds of anger are sown and grown in an instant. Once angry, we often find it justifiable to lash out with our own brand of challenge, retaliation or defiance. Our anger has now grown from a personal internal emotion into a larger and more threatening external action which is usually destructive and not constructive. As Christians, what are we supposed to do with this human instinct? Should we allow ourselves to get angry? Both God and Jesus got angry, so does that give us permission?
Theme Scripture: Hebrews 4:12
In our last episode we deeply explored the human soul. We saw that both the Old and New Testaments clearly teach that humans ARE souls and don’t HAVE souls. We further confirmed that the Bible is explicit about the destiny of the human soul being death, as that was the irrevocable penalty for sin given to Adam at the beginning. As surprising as all this might sound, it is all verified in Scripture. We will now consider the human spirit. What is it? Is it a tangible being or is it an intangible essence? Is it a life force all of its own? Is it the same as the soul? Is the human spirit immortal, or can it die? These are complex questions. As with the soul, the answers can be found in the Bible, but only if we are careful to consider both the Old and New Testament records together.
Theme Scripture: Hebrews 4:12
Do human beings HAVE souls or ARE they souls? Do human beings have a spirit? If so, what does that mean? Or, are we really spirit beings temporarily confined in a terrestrial body? What happens when we die? Do our soul and spirit die? Do they go someplace, or do they stay together? Religions, cultures and philosophy have weighed in on these questions for untold centuries. The answers we've come up with are as varied as the peoples of this planet. How can we know who is right? If we objectively look into the Bible to define the human soul and spirit and what happens to them at death, it is possible to find concrete guidance and answers. Why take a biblical perspective? Because it is ancient reasoning written over many centuries that has proven itself historically accurate, morally sound and prophetically true.
Theme Scripture: 1 Peter 1:6-7
Nobody likes to suffer. Nobody wants pain, turmoil, uncertainty, tragedy or sickness to take up continual residence in their lives. When a Christian suffers by facing hard things in their daily experience, it is easy to look at it as punishment. We see these harsh experiences as a signal that something is wrong, and we expect them to sap the joy right out of our lives. Suffering is easily seen as having little to no redeeming value. We think that it signals that God has ceased protecting us, and that means trouble. Turns out, the Bible has a lot to say about suffering, trial and punishment. It explains in great detail the role suffering plays in our lives, and the how and why of punishments that come from God.
Theme Scripture: Mark 16:16-17
When thinking about world-altering events, there is one that stands alone as the single most powerful world-changing event in the history of humanity. It is the raising of Jesus from the dead. Many call this Easter Sunday. When this event occurred so many centuries years ago, the vast majority of the world had no idea of its significance. Today 2,000 years later, most still don’t have a clue. Jesus’ resurrection sealed the future hope of every man, woman and child who ever lived by guaranteeing them their own resurrection. Even more than this, Jesus’ resurrection also changed individual lives back then as it still does today. After the Apostle Peter abandoned Jesus in his greatest hour of trial, Peter needed the renewing power of Jesus’ resurrection. We too can falter as Peter did. How can we claim that same renewing power?
Theme Scripture: Exodus 12:50-51
In all of human history, there has never been an event with the magnitude and drama of the nation of Israel being freed from their harsh slavery in Egypt. Millions of people and countless flocks literally walked away from generations of harsh servitude. God guided them to their freedom after the 10th plague and through the establishment of the Passover. This Passover event was to be remembered and celebrated year after year for all of their generations to follow. And the whole deliverance-from-Egypt experience was mentioned countless times throughout the history of the Old Testament. Why? Why were these things such vital things to not only remember but to appreciate? It turns out that these things provide massive insights for Christians as to how God’s plan really works!
Theme Scripture: Psalms 46:1-2
Talking about the end of the world is scary. The amazing thing is that predicting it has been going on for thousands of years. Quoting a few lines from a 2009 Smithsonian Magazine article: “An Assyrian clay tablet dating to around 2800 B.C. bears the inscription: Our Earth is degenerate in these later days; there are signs that the world is speedily coming to an end; bribery and corruption are common; children no longer obey their parents; every man wants to write a book and the end of the world is evidently approaching." So, does the Bible actually tell us how the world will end? We do know it does give us prophecies that describe how the world will dramatically change. We are not piling on to the mountain of end-of-the-world predictions here; instead we are seeking to interpret world-changing events as prophesied in Scripture.
Theme Scripture: 1 Peter 5:8
Most Christians are very aware of Satan’s influence in our world today. We know he is opposed to God and His will at all turns, and as the "god of this world" (2 Corinthians 4:4), he will ferociously fight to keep all he has laid claim to. What we don’t often think about is how we as individual Christians fit into the intensity of Satan’s raging against God. The Scriptures tell us that his objective was and continues to be usurping for himself the authority that ultimately belongs to the “Most High” God. Anyone and anything that in any way shape or form stands in the way of Satan’s fight over his perceived authority is fair game for his unrighteous anger. As Christians, we love God supremely and seek to daily walk in the footsteps of our Lord Christ Jesus. This blessing means we are also Satan’s prime targets. What now?
Theme Scripture: Romans 8:25
Hope is a critical part of the human experience. Without it, our lives would be overrun with despair, doubt and difficulty. It's intertwined in every part of any experience that contains even the smallest measure of doubt. Without it, we would end up meeting the uncertainties of each day with our own internal and unanswerable uncertainties. The results would be disastrous! The fact is there are different interpretations of what this kind of optimism really is. If we place our expectations in seriously-questionable ideas, circumstances or people, we will undoubtedly end up with high levels of disappointment. So, how do we keep true hope alive? For Christians, it all begins with striving to understand what biblical hope really is. Once we grasp this, we begin to see that hope in its most complete form is absolutely transformational.