Biblical Q&A: "Questions and Answers" [WordDevo]12-2 thru 12-8 ANSWERS

"Seven Questions and Seven Answers; One for each day of the Week usually posted by Saturday"

 

ONE

 

Psalm 137

By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept  when we remembered Zion.  There on the poplars we hung our harps, for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”  How can we sing the songs of the LORD  while in a foreign land?

 
If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill .  May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth  if I do not remember you, if I do not consider Jerusalem my highest joy.

Remember, O LORD, what the Edomites did on the day Jerusalem fell.  “Tear it down,” they cried, “tear it down to its foundations!”

O Daughter of Babylon, doomed to destruction, happy is he who repays you for what you have done to us-he who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks.

Some call it the “act as if” principle.  Others advise us to “fake it til you make it”.  But what they’re all referring to is the fact that while you can’t control how you feel about your current circumstances, you can control how you respond to them.  And if you choose to act like your circumstances are irrelevant to your happiness, your feelings will eventually catch up.  That means  if you feel sad, you can choose to act like you’re happy, and soon you will have cheered yourself up.  If you’re a smoker and feel like you want a cigarette, you can choose to act like you don’t and before long you’ll be a non-smoker.

Some years ago I walked into the office of a prospective client during a time of economic down turn.  On the wall behind the receptionist’s  desk was a prominent sign that read, “We heard there was a recession, but we decided not to participate.”   I don’t think it was a coincidence that this company was doing better than its competitors even though they all had similar products and serviced the same market.

Lately these have come to be known as “contrary-to-feelings” choices. But there’s nothing new about them.  Paul knew all about doing this.  So when the Church at Philippi was suffering intense persecution and asked him for help he wrote back,

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:4-7)

In the midst of persecution they were to rejoice, not just when things were good, but always.  He said the way to find true peace, the peace that transcends all understanding is to be anxious about nothing,  to thank God for anything, and ask Him to take charge of everything.  And Paul wasn’t some theologian tucked away in a corner of the Temple, sequestered from the real world.  He knew something about enduring persecution.

He also knew that our attitude is a major factor in determining how things affect us. That’s why he told the Ephesians to  be made new in the attitudes of their minds (Ephes. 4:23) in order to live lives more pleasing to God.  He knew that attitudes are just habits of thought.  If we start thinking differently our attitude will change. When our attitude changes, our actions will soon follow.

We can tell he knew this because He also told the Philippians to focus on good thoughts during their bad times.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Phil. 4:8-9)

He promised that doing these things would bring them peace in spite of their circumstances.  It was good advice then and it’s good advice now.

 


TWO

 

Unquenching The Spirit

Q.  I have read in one of your previous posts that if we continually ignore or disobey the Holy Spirit’s guidance we will lose the ability to hear him. Aka Quenching the Spirit. This bothers me for obvious reasons.  If someone did indeed quench the spirit is that a permanent event or can it be restored by restoring our fellowship with God?

A.  People lose the ability to hear the Holy Spirit by persisting in ignoring His advice.  They do this because they’re afraid to yield their independence to Him.

They can regain the ability by reversing the process.  But just as ignoring Him was an action caused by a motive, the decision to begin listening again must be caused by the opposite motive.  They must be willing to yield their independence and follow His advice.

And just as it took time to convince the Holy Spirit to keep quiet, it will take time to convince Him they’re ready to listen again. His voice will be very quiet at first but will become easier to hear as they practice listening to Him and accepting His advice.

 

 

THREE

 

That’s Not Fair

Q.  I believe you just recently said that there will be three different groups of saints.  the old testament saints, the church age saints, and the tribulation saints.  You also said the church age saints will live in the New Jerusalem and that the other two groups won’t get to live there.  I know God has a perfect plan but in my human mind, I’m not sure that sounds fair.  Don’t Moses or Abraham or Noah get to live in the New Jerusalem with the rest of us?

A.  Noah, Abraham, Moses and others saw concrete, physical evidence of God’s existence on a regular basis. He sent angels to instruct them on coming events, and in other ways provided substantial support for their faith.  The Church believes by faith alone, and because of that God has chosen to bless us beyond all other human beings.  In John 20:29 Jesus told Thomas,“Because you have seen me you believe.  Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”  He was speaking of the Church.

Of all the Old Testament dignitaries only David is called a king, but none are called Kings and Priests, as we are.  Jesus said he who is least in the Kingdom will be greater than any man who is not (Matt. 11:11), and Paul said in the ages yet to come God will demonstrate the incomparable riches of His grace through the kindness He has expressed to us, the Church (Ephesians 2:7).  It’s not supposed to be fair.  The Church is supposed to get a much better deal than anyone else.


 

FOUR

The Anti-Christ, One Person Or Many?

Q.   Why do so many people talk about the anti-Christ as if it he was one person in history.  John the apostle defined “anti-Christ” as anybody who denies that Jesus is God in the flesh. (I John 4:2-3)  That makes whole groups of people and even some religions “anti-Christ.” They were in the world then and they are in the world now!

A. You are correct in your interpretation of John’s “spirit of anti-Christ” and of the 40 or more titles given him in Scripture, “anti-Christ” is perhaps the least accurate.  Technically he’s a “pseudo-Christ” because he pretends to be the Christ.

But regardless of that, there is a person who comes on the scene at the end of the age who personifies John’s spirit of anti-Christ.  So many personal pronouns are used of him that it’s impossible to see him any other way. Daniel called him the little horn (Daniel 7:8) and the coming prince (Daniel 9:26), Paul called him the  man of lawlessness (2 Thes. 2:3), and to John he’s the beast (Rev. 13:1), but the world thinks of him as the anti-Christ.

 

FIVE

More On Hosea 6 And The 2nd Coming

Q.  Re: Hosea 6 And The Second Coming.   I too had thought that Hosea’s 2 days might mean the Lord’s second coming would be after 2000 years.  It obviously couldn’t be 2000 years after His birth, but it could be 2000 years after His Ascension, a time that has not yet come. What are your thoughts on this?

A.  The problem is the prophecy doesn’t identify the starting point.  Various suggestions I’ve received include His birth, the beginning of His ministry, His death, and the fall of Jerusalem.  Each has some merit, but who knows which, if any, is the correct one.  And then there’s the issue of the calendar changes I mentioned before.  I think it’s much better to keep thinking in the general sense rather than try to pin the prophecy to a specific day.  By doing that we can see we’re well within the time frame indicated by the various suggested starting points, and our time on Earth is surely coming to a close.

SIX

Storing Up Treasure In Heaven

Q. In several of your articles and answers to questions, you’ve suggested that by putting all our resources to work for God’s benefit in this life, we’ll be creating greater benefit for ourselves in the next life.  What exactly do you mean by that? 

A. When you net it all out, whatever wealth we’re given here is intended to be passed along to further the Lord’s work here on Earth.  The conditions are that we give without expectation of repayment, but out of gratitude for what we’ve already received.  When we do that, three thing happen;

1. The generosity of our giving will be matched by the generosity of God’s blessing to us in the here and now (Luke 6:38)
2. Giving generously in the present will bring us the resources to be even more generous in the future (2 Cor. 9:11)
3.  Our unselfish giving here will result in treasure of some nature being stored up for us in heaven for our use when we get there. (Matt. 6:19-21)

No one knows exactly what this treasure will be, since everything will be so much different there than it is here.  We just know that these are promises from God who cannot lie.  Like it is with everything else where the Lord’s concerned, we just have to exercise our faith and take the first step to get things started.

SEVEN

Storing Up Treasure In Heaven

Q. In several of your articles and answers to questions, you’ve suggested that by putting all our resources to work for God’s benefit in this life, we’ll be creating greater benefit for ourselves in the next life.  What exactly do you mean by that? 

A. When you net it all out, whatever wealth we’re given here is intended to be passed along to further the Lord’s work here on Earth.  The conditions are that we give without expectation of repayment, but out of gratitude for what we’ve already received.  When we do that, three thing happen;

1. The generosity of our giving will be matched by the generosity of God’s blessing to us in the here and now (Luke 6:38)
2. Giving generously in the present will bring us the resources to be even more generous in the future (2 Cor. 9:11)
3.  Our unselfish giving here will result in treasure of some nature being stored up for us in heaven for our use when we get there. (Matt. 6:19-21)

No one knows exactly what this treasure will be, since everything will be so much different there than it is here.  We just know that these are promises from God who cannot lie.  Like it is with everything else where the Lord’s concerned, we just have to exercise our faith and take the first step to get things started.

 

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