1:07: Can prayer change God’s mind or His plans for you?
Short answer: no.
There are passages where we see Moses interceding on Israel’s behalf and God repented (turned from one thing to another), but I don’t think our appealing to God will change the soveriegn will of God.
I do think He responds to His children, but I think that’s the wrong question.
Prayer teaches us more about our relationship with God than it is a questions-answer exchange.
Too many people come to God to get an outcome as opposed to a relationship with the sovereign sustainer of the universe.
What’s God like? God will bring justice for those who cry out to Him.
We have a good God who is a good judge, and He will bring justice at the proper time for His people.
6:30 The Bible talks about having faith when you pray, what if you don’t believe God will answer you when you pray?
Our faith is not contingent on God responding to a prayer. The little engine that could is bad theology.
Most Christians would say they struggle sometimes to believe God hears them. Why? We don’t get the outcomes we’d like God to give. But what I try to get back to is: a relationship with God is more at-hand than if-then theology.
We have to be careful quantifying faith. Theology is a system of trusting God at His word, not our experience. We’re all going to experience doubt in our Christian life, but the objective of the Christian life is to be faithful no matter our experience.
Do I trust God at His word?
Keep praying, because it’s about a relationship with God.
If you can face difficulties with confident assurance in Christ, that’s a pretty good indication that you’re growing in His Word and your relationship with Him
11:54 – What can we take from Paul’s words about the thorn in his side where he says “three times I’ve asked Him, and three times He replied to me: My grace is sufficient…” to help us understand prayer?
We have to have a long view of life and suffering. Part of the Christian life is learning to suffer well.
Grace sustains us, that’s what it always comes back to.
2 Corinthians 12:7-9
13:39 How will rewards and leadership work in heaven?
Christ will be King and there will be no sin nature, we’ll be serving Him.
I don’t think there’ll be a comparison of quantifying rewards, and I think being in Christ’s presence will be so overwhelming that the way we view accolades, roles, and rewards will be overshadowed.
1 Corinthians 3:13-15
17:29 – Why does God seem so different in the Old Testament compared to the New Testament?
This is an area that takes a bit of time and study.
First, the idea of a Theocracy:
God chose the Nation Israel as His people. Enemies of God’s people were also enemies of God.
In a way I can’t explain in human terms, God in His sovereignty knew these enemy people groups would always be enemies to Him and His people.
There’s a lot of war and bloodshed in the Old Testament, but the character of God is not capricious. He doesn’t enjoy seeing people die and gives every opportunity to repent.
When Christ comes on the scene, Old Testament history is a failure because they didn’t follow the theocratic design. Man’s invention of government makes matters much worse.
Christ comes the first time not to judge, but to bring the offer of salvation.
25:05 Why did God give Israel so many weird, specific laws like not to boil a young goat in its mother’s milk?
They’re not weird in context.
Consider laws as signposts: a 65mph speed limit indicates that driving at speeds higher than 65mph may be hazardous to yourself and others.
There’s something in the core of man that is prone to break the law. laws are moral guardrails. They’re good for your life. If we break them, there may be consequences.
The law also separated the Jew from the gentile populations around them, which were all idolatrous.
The problem with the law is that it became impossible to “manage.” When you look at the law no longer as moral guardrails but as if you have to do the law to be good, that’s when it gets complicated.
When it’s cumbersome or complicated, that’s more because we don’t know the history of the old testament.
29:00 Jesus says I am with you always. So why, in dire situations, doesn’t He show up corporally?
We have this picture of: God did not come through for me when…
That’s a dilemma for far too many Christian men and women. There are a lot of stories like this. The problem with that critical theology is that we don’t understand the sin condition: We are fallen creatures in a fallen context and bad things happen to us. The way we respond in faith is the issue, not whether or not God solved our problem.
His promise is to be with His disciples, enabling them to carry out the ministry He gave them: to make disciples of all nations.
Good theology aligns with what the word teaches us and what the spirit helps us understand and submit to.
He’s more interested in our faithfulness than in simply remedying our situation.
We work so hard to make earth heaven, and I don’t think that’s the objective.
We’re trying to make our environment better but the reality is, this world is not our home.
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