The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Category Archives: Bible Help by Topic

Understanding Jesus: The Bread of Life (John 6)

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To understand many of the bizarre things Jesus says in the Gospel books, you need to start by understanding that Jesus spends a lot of time pushing people who are content with their current religious beliefs to change those beliefs.  To understand how uncomfortable this is, consider how you would react to the idea that God lies, or that He intentionally creates tumors in the brains of some babies, or that He likes Hell, or that He is the One who has helped the sadistic ISIS terrorists pull off countless torture fests without interruption.  You see, once you have an understanding of God that works for you, you’re naturally going to resist having that image changed.  And once you refuse to have your view of God changed, you will reject any new truths about Him that make you uncomfortable.  In other words, you decide that God is only going to function as your woobie—something you value only for the comfort that it gives you.  Today many Christians are in a woobie mentality with God, which is why they get very hostile to any teaching about God which makes Him seem less cuddly than a kitten.    Read more of this post

Understanding Jesus: What does it mean to be born again?

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Do you refer to yourself as a “born again” Christian?  If so, why?  Because that’s what it says in the Bible, right?  But have you ever looked up the passages in which that term is used and studied the original context?  Probably not, so let’s do it now, because it’s really quite interesting. Read more of this post

Understanding 1 Kings 13: Why Yahweh Fed His Prophet to a Lion

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If you record the phrase, “Always check with God before you accept a message as being from Him,” and then play that recording out loud on a continual loop, you’ll get a good sense of what we teach you in our material.  God is the Supreme Authority.  God is the One you’re supposed to be serving, obeying, and following, not humans. Humans lie—both intentionally and unintentionally. Humans don’t begin to have a complete grasp of truth.  Humans are very limited, foolish creatures who possess no spiritual wisdom of their own.  This means that when a human says to you “I have a message from God for you,” your immediate response should be to say to God in the privacy of your own soul, “Hey, God, this person is claiming to have a message from You.  Are they legit or not?”  You always need to ask God.  Always, always, always.  It doesn’t matter if the person talking has given you 1,000 messages before that were all legitimate.  For all you know, their next message could be pure hooey.  Humans will never be reliable sources of truth, which is why giving them your blind trust is guaranteed to lead you spiritually astray.  So no matter who is talking, no matter what titles they’re using, what degrees they’re waving, or how nice their website looks, you must check with God.  Read more of this post

Understanding Jesus: Hate Your Family & Count the Cost

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In the second half of Luke 14, we find Jesus making many extreme statements which can easily be misinterpreted to mean that He is impossible to please.  And yet when you know that you sincerely care about pleasing God, and something you read in the Bible makes you feel like a spiritual failure, that’s your cue that you’re letting demons guide your application.  Demons always lie, and when it comes to souls who sincerely care about pleasing God, their top goal is to beat such souls down into hopeless despair.  The basic strategy of demons is to constantly push a reversal truth.  When they see a soul is pleasing God, then they heap on the condemnation.  When they see that a soul is being rebellious, they heap on the encouragement.  So which group are you currently in?  You know whether you care about pleasing God or not.  If you do care, and all you’re hearing in your head is an unending refrain of how displeased God is with you, is that message really coming from Him?  Nope, it’s demons trying to sell you a reversal of truth.  Demons are very good at accurately assessing your soul’s attitude towards God.  They know who He’s pleased with and who He is displeased with.  So if you want to know the truth about how God feels about you, just listen to what demons are telling you and reverse it.  If they’re telling you that you’re a total spiritual zero, then you’re probably doing very well.  If they’re telling you that you are a spiritual superstar, then you’re probably neck deep in rebellion.  Demons always lie, and we can use their consistency to our advantage. Read more of this post

Understanding Jesus: Take Up Your Cross

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Sadism is a dysfunctional mindset in which a person takes delight in inflicting suffering on others.  We are all born with the necessary components to turn into vicious little sadists.  When someone wrongs you, and you secretly delight in seeing them suffer later on, you feel like your joy is justified because they wronged you first.  Among humans, it’s very common to pretend that sadism is not sadism as long as we’re calling it by the labels of revenge or justice.  But justice is supposed to be about keeping morals alive in your society so that order can be preserved.  The point of executing certain criminals is to protect society from their poisonous influence.  There are many ways of quickly executing a man so that he ceases to be a threat to others.  And yet in real life, human societies often refuse to use the most efficient methods of exterminating threats to social order.  Instead, we seem to take delight in coming up with ways to prolong the suffering of our victims as long as possible.  We also like to turn executions into public shows that everyone can watch.  In America, the absurdly complicated electric chair is just one big sadism fest.  Instead of instantly killing a man with a bullet to the brain, we film him being electrocuted to death and then we invite others to watch the whole thing live.  Or we go for lethal injection, in which we use toxic chemicals to make a body shutdown in stages.  We could just use one drug that works instantaneously, but instead we put together a ridiculously complicated cocktail of hard to get chemicals just to drag the whole show out longer. It’s sadistic, and sadism is sick.  Promoting sadism also has a very detrimental effect on human societies by encouraging citizens to celebrate and wallow in their basest instincts.  Read more of this post

Taking the Apostles off the Pedestal: Power Struggles in the Early Church

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Have you ever found yourself in the company of Christians whose commitment to God is so great, and whose good deeds are so innumerable, that you feel reduced to a carnal dirt clod just by being in proximity to them?  How do you feel when you’re sitting in a prayer group, waiting for your turn to speak, and some spiritual superstar speaks out a prayer that is far more eloquent than anything you could ever come up with?  Makes you want to pass when it’s your turn to pray, doesn’t it?  Read more of this post

Rethinking Genesis: Is God Really Threatened by Us?

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Joe brings your friend Rachel some flowers.  When Rachel tells you about it, she says, “Guess what?  It turns out that Joe is attracted to me just like I’m attracted to him!  Look, he brought me flowers! Obviously he is hoping to date me.”  This is Rachel’s interpretation of the flower event.  And you assume that her explanation of Joe’s motivations is accurate.

Well, later on that day, you run into Joe at a coffee shop.  You say, “Hey, Joe, I heard about how you gave Rachel flowers.  So you really like her, huh?  When are you planning to ask her out?”  Read more of this post

Taking Moses Off The Pedestal (Jude 1:9)

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The short little epistle of Jude has a lot of issues.  One of our discerning readers came across this strange little reference in Verse 9 and wisely questioned what was going on:

But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (Jude 1:9)

So what is Jude referring to here?  Is it really true that Michael and Satan got into a tussle over who ought to get jurisdiction over Moses’ earthsuit?  No, it’s not.  This legend about Moses is complete hooey.  In fact, Jude’s epistle has a lot of hooey in it, which makes you wonder what was wrong with the folks who voted to include Jude’s letter in our sacred Scriptures.  But since we’re now stuck living with their choices, we might as well use Jude’s silly book for discernment practice. Read more of this post

A Mouthy Messiah: Why the Jews in Nazareth Tried to Kill Jesus

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In Luke 4, we find an interesting sequence of events. Jesus stands up in a synagogue, reads a portion of Isaiah 61, and when He sits down, everyone’s staring at Him like He just said something shocking.  What’s that about?

Well, first realize that there wasn’t an “Isaiah 61” to the Jews because their Scriptures weren’t divided into chapters.  Isaiah’s entire book would have been one long scroll for them.  Chapters were not added to the Bible until the 13th century A.D., and verses were then added in the mid-16th century.  All of the stuff you read about in the New Testament happened during the 1st century.

Now even though there weren’t chapters, Isaiah’s book is a series of visions and speeches which are stand alone thoughts.  To understand the context of a single verse, you need to find the start of the speech that it’s a part of, and read the whole speech.  Chapter headings can actually get in the way because they make you feel like a new speech is starting when sometimes the chapter break happens in the middle of the speech.  Either way, in the case of Jesus, He didn’t come anywhere close to reading a whole speech.  He just read a few lines from the middle of a long speech.  He really wasn’t modeling a good use of context—but then again, that wasn’t His purpose.  Read more of this post

The Resurrection of Christ: Why It Really Isn’t Critical for Christians

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The fact that someone is quoted by other people doesn’t mean their statement is true or profound.  As a Chinese proverb says: “Paper lets anything be written on it”—meaning that you can write something stupid or something wise and your paper will just sit there and take it.  So will the internet.  But what about your soul?  Is your soul just going to sit there bobbing its head and automatically amening every statement that it comes across about the Christian faith?  You are not a brainless idiot, so don’t act like one.  Instead, make use of the fact that the God of all Wisdom is generously making Himself available to you and ask Him what He thinks of authoritative statements others make about Him.

In our material, we pepper you with authoritative statements, but since you’re not an undiscerning piece of paper, you should not be accepting anything we say as true until you ask God what He thinks about the things we say.  After all, we could be putting out a bunch of useless malarkey.  Sure, we claim that God is the Source of our teaching, but what is that even worth?  A ton of people claim to be passing on pearls from God while they totally contradict each other.  Titles, degrees, and claims of authenticity are utterly worthless.  God is the only Teacher you can trust, so you need to be asking Him directly for wisdom in life.  Read more of this post