The 700 Club with Pat Robertson


Bring It On: The Bible and the Spiritual Life


Theology

Daily Life

Prayer

 

 

I just recently watched your teaching, The Empowered Believer. There were times when I got an overwhelming sensation of joy and happiness and began to cry uncontrollably for a while. So I just prayed and worshipped even more. Is that the baptism of the Holy Spirit? Is it wrong to have these intense emotions?

The most wonderful thing in the world. Of course, it’s not wrong. I don’t know whether that was the baptism. You usually, when the baptism comes upon people, sooner or later, at least as far as the Bible is concerned, there is an expression of the release of their spirit. They begin to speak in Heavenly languages to praise God. So I think God’s power is upon you, and I just would move into what He has and keep on worshipping Him. Let the anointing of the Holy Spirit flood you.

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My husband and I have been attending different churches. Our son was going with me, but he started liking my husband’s church better. Both churches have been a blessing to our family. Maybe it’s time for us all to go to one church. What are the most important things to look for in choosing a church?

Well, the most important thing is to see do they preach the Word? Do they believe in the Bible? Do they believe in the power of God? And the next thing is do they love each other? And do they work in harmony? Do they have a heart for evangelism? And then for you, are you compatible? Are the people the kind of people that you like to see, you’re comfortable with? Because there are different types, different strokes for different folks. But the biggest thing is do they love Jesus? Do they believe the Bible? That’s more than anything else. 

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I’ve been to many different business seminars, most with common themes. One is that all humans are motivated by the avoidance of pain or the hope of pleasure. This seems to make sense. Which do you believe is the greater motivator of human beings? Avoiding punishment or receiving a reward? Does this fit with the Christian faith?

There is one thing that really motivates people, and that is to be given a high goal -- to be told they’re something special and to be praised and ennobled along the way. Any business that has its employees in fear is going to lose. If they’re afraid that if they open their mouthes, they’ll get squashed on or they’ll get insulted or embarrassed.

Obviously the Bible talks about fearing God. We’re to love God and to fear God. You walk in reverence. You don’t play games with God. If you get too familiar with God, He is going to smack you down. So you’ve got to be careful that you don’t indulge His goodness beyond what you should. But I think reverential fear is, of course, something that’s very important. You keep these things in tension.

But more than anything, what motivates me? To be told my sins are forgiven, to be told I’m a child of God, to be told God Almighty loves me, that He is with me. That’s what motivates me, not the fact that He is going to send me to hell. That’s a negative thing.

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I have a question on forgiveness. Jesus said to turn the other cheek. Doesn’t this leave the door open to being used by people? I heard someone say that Jesus said, "Turn the other cheek, but remember, He only gave you two." Is this a good way to look at it?

That isn’t very Christian. Seven times 70, somebody asks for forgiveness. There is no limit to the forgiveness you’re supposed to give to somebody. The Lord is filled with forgiveness. We want to be forgiven over and over and over again

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How do you handle those who say the Old Testament is something that we don’t live by or believe anymore, because we’re under the new covenant?

Jesus said there is not one jot or one tittle in the law that will fail to come to pass. The law was fulfilled. He lived by the Old Testament. I’ll tell you an example myself. I was reading the 58th chapter of Isaiah, and it said all this business about [how] you’re supposed to feed the poor, clothe the naked and take the homeless in. Look at all these wonderful things that happen to you. I wrote it down. This is pretty good stuff. This is Old Testament, but I’m New Testament. I said, “Well, I don’t care if I’m New Testament or not. I want to do this.” Because this was God’s eternal Word. Of course, what happened in the book of Genesis, what happened to Noah and Abraham and the understanding of all this that went on—now, obviously we’re not under the dietary laws. Jesus Christ fulfilled the requirements of the law perfectly. But nevertheless, there are certain overarching moral concepts that are clearly in the Old Testament. We don’t have to refrain from eating pork or we don’t have to go through all these feast days. They are a shadow of good things to come, according to the Bible. Jesus fulfilled them. But He respected the Bible. He said the Scriptures shall not be broken. So it’s a unit. It is one whole unit. The Old Testament points us to Jesus, and without it, we wouldn’t see the full plan of God’s salvation.

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I’ve been praying daily to be saved. How will I know that God has heard me and saved me?

There is a witness in your heart about a Holy Spirit that you’re a child of God. The Spirit bears witness with our spirit. You will find that you are filled with the love of the Lord. But have you done what He asked you to do? Did you repent of your sin? Did you turn away from sin? Did you receive Him as Savior and Lord of your life? Do you believe that He died and rose again, and are you entrusting your life to Him? If you’ve done that, and you mean it, then He says that you have been born again. But you will also have a witness in the way you live, and more than anything, the Holy Spirit will bear witness with you. You’ll know. You’ll know that you know that you know. If you do what He says, don’t worry about feeling. Take it on faith.

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Why was it that some people receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and others do not? Some people truly seek it and try to receive it, but don’t. Why is this?

There are some keys that you need to know. When they were baptized in the Holy Spirit, they began to speak in tongues. It’s very hard to speak Latin and Greek at the same time. It’s very hard to speak French and German at the same time. It’s very hard to speak English and some heavenly language at the same time. People want to hold on. They want to hold on and not let go. What you need to do is to give yourself in love to the Lord. Focus on Jesus, not an experience and not the Holy Spirit. Focus on Jesus and ask Jesus. He is the baptizer in the Holy Spirit.

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Pat, why do you think we have to go through times as Christians when God feels so far away? It seems as though He removes Himself from us just when we need Him the most. Why would God want us to go it alone?

Pat Robertson

You’re never alone. He will never leave you alone. He said about the children of Israel, I think He gives us the chance to see how you’re going to behave. As long as He has got His arms around you, you know He’s there, and it’s all warm and comfortable, then how are you going to do it when you kind of get out on your own? He wants you to understand how you can live. He has never left you alone.

Terry Meeuwsen

There is a little bumper sticker I love that said, “If you feel distant from God, guess who moved?” Because God doesn’t. He’s always there.

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I know the Lord can talk to me, but how do you learn to hear His still, small voice? How do I determine if it’s God or me when it’s a quiet voice? Is there something I can do that will help me with this?

Brother Lawrence wrote a book called Practicing the Presence of God. You have to practice the presence of God. You look at Hebrews and it says, “Those who through reason of use have their senses exercised to discern good from evil.” Reason of use. This is me. This is the devil. This is God. You get used to which is God and which isn’t. You need to walk with Him. There is no substitute for practice. Reason of use, to have your senses exercised. The other thing is absorb the Bible. Let the Bible be part of you. Feed on His Word, so that the Word of God is part of your very DNA. So, when a situation comes up, the Word will already be your guide, a lamp unto your feet, a light unto your path.

 

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What happens if you make a vow to the Lord and later break that vow? Does God give second chances?

Thank God He gives second chances. If He didn't, we would all be in trouble. If you made a vow to the Lord, get yourself right with Him. Go to Him and explain what happened. He knows your frame, the Bible says. He remembers that you are dust. He has compassion for you. The one thing He doesn't want you to do is try to tough it out and bluff it out and act like nothing happened. The fact that your heart is tender, to me, is a very important thing. So you come to the Lord and say, 'I promised to do something and I didn't do it and I ask You to give me a second chance.' How many people are alcoholics and drug addicts and other kinds of addicts and go off and come back and go off and come back and finally get straightened out and get on down the road? God is interested in redemption. He is interested in blessing; He is not interested in cursing. His desire is to make you whole in Him. By all means, come before Him and acknowledge what you have done and say, 'Give me a second chance,' and He will.

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I live in an area where drugs, alcoholism, immoral behavior and despair are a way of life. Since moving here, I’ve begun drinking and lying to the woman I love. My business and personal life have declined. Do you believe there are areas under demonic strongholds? What can we do? Should we move away?

You ought to move as fast as you can. Yes, there are demonic strongholds, without question. There is no doubt about it. There are certain areas where demon princes hold sway. And this thing has obviously got hold of you. Get away from there as fast as you can. Confess and recommit to the Lord. Absolutely. But get away from there. Flee.

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I’ve found that the biggest struggle in my life is pride. It actually scares me, because I’ve heard pride is one of the worst sins. What is the best way for someone to overcome pride?

Turn it over to the Lord, and He will beat you up so bad you will get humbled. But seriously, get on your face before the Lord and consciously humble yourself. Let the Lord take care of you. From there on out, I think it all will be well.

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How much time each day should a Christian spend in devotions to God? I would like to start doing devotions, but I don't really know what to do. Would you give me some guidelines on how a Christian can grow closer to God? Thinks like what to do, where to do it, and how long.

That is a good question. I am not sure I can answer all of it in a short length of time. I have made a practice over the years to have a quiet time with the Lord. The Bible says David the psalmist said, 'Early will I seek thee.' I think you need to get to the Lord before all of the hustle and bustle of the day begins. You don't turn on the television. You don't turn on the radio. You don't start thinking of your business. You don't check your computer and read your e-mail. You get before the Lord. I believe the most important thing first of all is just to worship Him. Just tell Him how much you love Him. Just talk to Him and think about how great He is. Just meditate on Him, and then worship Him. Just adore Him and thank Him. Thank Him for everything He has done. Review in your mind the good things He has done for you, so you are thankful to Him.

So you have worship, which is how great You are, how big, how wonderful, how powerful. Then you are thanking Him. Then you can begin a systematic study of the Bible, or else you can ask Him to lead you to a passage in the Bible. You begin to read the Bible and that begins to feed your soul as you read the Bible and meditate on what it means and let it sink down deep in your heart so that He gives you something you can go on. It is like food for the soul.

That length of time could be half an hour or an hour or two hours or whatever. I don't think this business about taking 5 minutes at 12 is very honoring to the Lord. You ought to spend at least 30 minutes in worship to the Lord.

If you want to sing a hymn, sing. If you want to speak in tongues and you have been filled with the Spirit, pray in tongues, pray in the understanding. But spend time praying and don't go through a whole rote list: 'God bless Mom and Grandmother and Aunt Susie.' Worship Him, and then if you have a prayer request, bring your prayer request to Him: 'Today, Lord, I have a big business meeting and I ask that You give me wisdom and help me.'

Bring before Him your petitions. With thanksgiving let your request be made known unto God, and the Bible says that the peace of God that passes all understanding will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

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Someone told me that when we pray, we should thank God for our blessings and if there is a specific need, we should ask for it and then assume our prayer will be answered. He said we should not continue to pray for the same thing because that indicates a lack of trust and would be "nagging" God. What do you think?

What I think really isn't important; it is what Jesus said that is important. He said keep on asking, keep on knocking, keep on seeking. He told a story about a man who pounded like crazy on the door of a neighbor to get bread to feed some guests. All of that was over and over again asking, so it is a continuing action in the Greek: keep on asking and keep on knocking and keep on seeking.

'With prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.' But you don't just do it once. Once God says yes, of course you stop asking for it, but until then, you come to Him with praise, you come to Him with thanksgiving, you come to Him with a grateful heart. You let Him know what you want and then lay hold of Him. The Bible talks about how they prayed for Peter. They really laid hold of God, and God answered. I have heard that business of if you pray once, anything else is lack of faith. That is not biblical.

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I am a born-again Christian and I know I've been forgiven for my sins. My problem is I'm afraid that I will still "reap what I sowed." I am afraid I will be punished just like David was from his sin with Bathsheba. Does forgiveness mean we don't suffer for what we've done?

You have got it part right and part wrong. First of all, David was King. Second of all, he had a guy killed. Not only did he commit adultery, which might be your problem, but he also had the husband murdered. It wasn't that he couldn't have other women. God said, 'Look, if you don't like the wives you have got, I could give you a whole lot more of them,' so he wasn’t being denied a harem. But he picked the wife of another man and had the guy killed, so it was a pretty serious offense.

Now here is the deal: When you come to Jesus, you are forgiven eternally of the sins that you have committed. The sins are washed away and they are put into the sea of God's forgiveness and they will never be mentioned again. So, eternally, you are forgiven and justified. But what about the temporal punishment for what you have done? If you commit murder, for example, you have broken the laws of the state. I cannot guarantee you, because you accepted Jesus and are born again, that you might not have to go to the electric chair or spend the rest of your life in prison because that is the temporal punishment for what you have done.

If you haven't broken any law of the state, God isn't going to come down and zap you five years later and say, 'Oh, by the way, you committed adultery five years ago and I am going to whack you now.' It doesn't work that way. The punishment against David took place very quickly. His son revolted against him. His son murdered another son. Then the whole empire was in chaos. It happened very quickly and it enfolded to the point that David was actually expelled from the kingship. So don't think that God is going to defer punishment against you and then one year, two years, three years, five years later say to you, 'Whoops! Back there you committed adultery. You stole something, so I am going to get you now.' God will forgive, and He wants you to have a clear conscience to serve the Living God. Leave that stuff in the past and forget it. God has forgotten it. Now, get on with your life.

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Scientist Carl Sagan said that he didn't want to believe, he wanted to know. How can I ever truly know that God exists?

We can know it in our hearts. I think the most intelligent thing any person can ever do is to surrender himself to God and to be filled with Him. Jesus said, "If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority." If you will surrender your will to God's, then you will know. On the other hand, if you say, "God, I am not going to do Your will until You show me Yourself," He is under no obligation to show you anything. To know is to surrender. When we surrender, we begin to know. We enter into a relationship with the Creator in which we know that we know that we know.

The great mathematician Blaise Pascal said, "At three in morning as I was praying, [and] suddenly, fire!" He said, "Oh, God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob, the world has not known Thee, but I know Thee, Father." He was a scientist, one of the greatest philosopher-scientists in the history of mankind, who suddenly ran into the fire of God and said, "I now know You."

That was a revelation from God. God reveals Himself to us as He chooses. In the meantime, we have the Scripture, the Bible, which tells us about God. We can read and believe the Bible out of faith. The apostle Paul wrote, "So faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. "45 If we expose ourselves to the Word, we will grow in faith.

God has not left Himself without a witness. The witness around us is the wonder of His creation and the inexplicable order ofit all. Certainly, we're surprised that someone like Carl Sagan would not have recognized that and said, "There must be something behind this:" But the wisdom of this world is insufficient to find God; it still takes faith.

The word in Greek for "wisdom" is sophia, from which we get our word philosophy; phil -o-sophia, the love of wisdom. Paul said, "When the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believed."46 When Paul got into Athens, he played head-garnes with some of the local philosophers. On Mars Hill, the local gathering spot for intellectuals, Paul said, "I see that you are a very religious people, and I noticed your statue to the Unknown God. Now, the Unknown God is the one I am going to declare to you." He approached them from an intellectual standpoint, and most debaters would say that he won his points. Yet interestingly, to the best of my knowledge, he didn't win one convert from that debate in Athens. He went up the road to Corinth, and later he said, "When I got to Corinth, I was determined to know nothing among you save Jesus Christ and Him crucified."48 And there he established a thriving church, because he talked about the cross and the necessity of knowing Jesus.

You can look at the world and see the wonder of a human being, the growth of a child, and all of the processes of life. The structure and order to it all is absolutely staggering! Any honest observer must conclude, "There has to be an order in this." Yet amazingly, some people choose not to see it.

I read an article on creation in Encyclopedia Britannica that said the genetic structure in one human being was the equivalent of a library of 1000 books, 500 pages per book, with closely printed, single-spaced type--yet the person who wrote that article said chance evolution brought that genetic structure into being! How ludicrous! If he walked into any library and saw the thousand volumes of closely printed text placed nearly on the shelves, that same person would never say, "My, I guess this just happened by random chance." No, he or she would have to admit that someone put the order together and keeps it together. The order of the uni- verse is one of the strongest "proofs" for God's existence.

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Some Christians give the impression that God has given us creative power with our words. Can we really speak something into existence?

Jesus said, "Whoever says to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it shall be granted him. Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they shall be granted you." Proverbs says, "A man shill eat good by the fruit of his mouth." Your confession is extremely important, and, indeed, your words do have creative power, if they are energized by the Holy Spirit.

Throughout Scripture, we can find incidences of God speaking things into existence. For instance, if we look at the origin of this universe, it was the spoken word of God that brought it to pass. We read again and again in Genesis, "God said, 'Let there be. ..' " and it happened according to His Word. Moreover, the apostle Paul reminds us that God "gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did." He has given us the energized Word through the Holy Spirit, and with His power, amazing things can take place if we speak them into being.

Paul said, "If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." Apparently, something about confession, acknowledging verbally that Jesus is Lord, validates your spiritual experience. Power flows from the creative mind of God to the Spirit of God, to the spirit of man, to the mind of man, and to the mouth of man. God's thoughts will be transmitted by the Holy Spirit to our spirits, and if we speak them forth, things will begin to take shape and change. On the other hand, human beings simply blabbering away will not bring about anything good or creative. It is the Holy Spirit of God that must do the work. We become the instrument of His divine will, if we will yield ourselves to Him.

Jesus also said, "For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." When we stand before God in judgment, we will give account for every idle word we utter. Our words are extremely important. Scripture warns that the tongue is like a rudder that steers the ship. "Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things."

Similarly, it is a flame of Iife, and no man can contain it. When a person is filled with the Holy Spirit, and his or her entire life --including the tongue-- comes under the control of the Spirit of God, his or her speech will be affected. When a person speaks in tongues under the direction of the Holy Spirit, even though it may be in an unlearned language, it is nonetheless the spoken word.

In my experience, the way I've seen healings take place has been to speak the word, to see creative miracles, to command storms to cease. That is what Jesus did. He spoke to the waves. He said, "Peace, be still." And that is the way you deal with demons, too. You speak to the demon, commanding it to obey. When you exercise the authority of Jesus' name, and command evil spirits to be gone, they must obey. Taking authority over demons is a scripturally sound activity. It is not some hocus-pocus, mind over matter or some weird magic.

Similarly, agreeing with God's Word, and speaking to our circumstances is not a "name it and claim it" game of "let's see what we can get from God." We are not talking about magic, formulas, tricks, or games; we are talking about the power of God having real results in our everyday lives according to clearly annunciated biblical teachings.

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What does it mean for Christians to keep the Sabbath nowadays?

The Bible says that God labored for six days, and on the seventh day He rested. God didn't rest because He was tired. He ceased from His labors because He had finished creation, therefore He hallowed the Sabbath day.

When Jesus interpreted the Sabbath, He said, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath." Human beings require a day of rest. Working seven days a week with no break, followed by seven more days of work with no break will eventually destroy your mental, physical, and spiritual health. Any society that encourages people to work seven days a week, week after week, will ultimately destroy its people. We must have a day off for rest and refreshment.

Even many churches have missed this important truth. Some churches have Sunday school, two worship services, then an afternoon meeting, and an evening service of some sort. Then they have youth group, and more in the middle of the week. Although it is wonderful to have so many spiritual activities that people can enjoy, God's people must have time to rest and nurture family relationships, too. The Sabbath should be a day of rest, not more frantic spiritual activity; it should be a time to read the Bible, pray, talk to the Lord, when you have time to consider heavenly things, when you recharge your spiritual batteries. That's what keeping the Sabbath holy is all about.

The church used to emphasize keeping the Sabbath holy, but in recent years we have compromised. Now, government mandates dictate that we can't have closings on Sunday because this may violate the constitution. Nonsense! But these rulings are law, and as a result we have seven days a week of full-blown commerce in which people are flocking to malls, restaurants, and other places that at one time were closed one day per week. The people who have to work in the malls don't really have a quiet day of rest they can enjoy; No wonder we have so many emotional breakdowns and so much mental and physical stress in our society. We are in a selfdestruct mode, ready to implode on ourselves because of our ignorance of this simple but vital truth.

It may not be easy, but practice setting aside one day each week for essential rest, prayer, relaxation, and close communion with the Lord. The remaining six days of your week will go much better!

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In Hebrews it says that God bears witness with 'signs and wonders.' Can Satan also use 'signs and wonders' to distract us from the truth? How can we tell the difference? With the world situation so chaotic, do you think we'll see an increase in Satan's activity?

Sure, the Bible talks about the man of sin who comes with lying signs and wonders, and it also says that the time would come when it would deceive even the elect, so of course Satan is the 'angel of light.' He has been the deceiver from the beginning. He is a liar and the 'father of lies,' so of course we are going to have lies and we are going to have deception and we will have lying signs and wonders. That is why you need to be in the Word. Let your theology be grounded in the Bible and your own life filled with the power of the Holy Spirit.

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Saddam Hussein once stated that Iraq was the beginning of civilization. Is he correct? What country was Iraq in the Bible? Does prophecy fill us in on their future?

As far as we know, the civilization that we are a part of started in Ur of the Chaldees in a little area called Akkad. It is right down at the mouth of the Tigris-Euphrates Valley. We are talking about down there in Basra and that area. That's where it all started. There was Ur and Akkad and then it went up from there into Babylon and later the Assyrian Empire. These were the first of the civilizations that we currently know. Saddam, on that one, is right.

Where does it fit into the Bible? Look in Daniel. Read Nebuchadnezzar's dream about the statue he saw. I think that there is just a possibility when all of the empires of the world came about, Nebuchadnezzar was the head, but from there you have the Persians and the Greeks and the Romans and then maybe us. It started in Babylon. The Bible talks about Babylon as being the source of evil. It is used as a symbol in the book of Revelation as the mother of harlots. Read your Bible. Read Revelation and Daniel and you will see more about it.

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Pat, you referenced a highway that was being created to bring an alliance between Egypt and Syria, fulfilling a prophecy in Isaiah 19. What does this alliance mean for Israel? And do you think they should feel threatened by it, since neither of the nations is pro-Israel?

In the book of Isaiah, they’re all together. They’re one in the midst of the land. I mean, they’re all God’s people at that time. What the prophet was talking about was a time of peace where Egypt, Assyria and Israel will all live together in peace and harmony. And I don’t mean somebody’s going to set up a highway today and let Hezbollah come running into Israel. That’s not what we’re talking about. The prophet is looking at a time when God is going to bring what were the great powers of the early centuries, the dawn of history, which was Assyria and Egypt, He was going to bring them together with Israel and that they would be like one in the land. And that will come to pass one of these days, that these nations will live at harmony with Israel. That’s what the Bible says. And I believe you can count on it.

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I’m a new Christian, and I recently finished reading the New Testament. I’ve started reading some of the books in the Old Testament. Why does God seem so much harsher in the Old Testament than He does in the New Testament?

Gordon Robertson

God poured out all His wrath on Jesus Christ. That is what the Bible says. And, as a result, God isn’t angry at anybody anymore. He is extending salvation. Now is the acceptable year of the Lord, the year of Jubilee, where He extends salvation to all who will hear and respond to the story, the Good News of what Jesus did on the cross for all people everywhere for all time. Now, in the Old Testament, I think it’s a mistake to say that somehow He’s harsh. It’s just a different covenant. And Jesus said that. I’m instituting a new covenant. The old covenant with the children of Israel had to do with observing laws, rules and regulations. And when they broke those laws, rules and regulations, they broke the covenant, and they lost out on the blessings of God. But over and over again, they returned to Him. And I love some of the Psalms, where they talk in terms of “His mercy endures forever. His loving-kindness endures forever.” And you need to keep that picture in mind. God hasn’t changed. His loving-kindness endures forever, and it was in His plan and purpose to have a Messiah, to have a sacrifice for all sin for all time. And that plan was made and written out in the Old Testament. It’s a different covenant.

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The Bible says that our sins are cast as far as the east is from the west when we ask for forgiveness. If that’s true, why does Revelation say that we will have to stand in front of the judgment seat? What are we judged for, if God doesn’t remember our sins?

It’s a question of who “we” is. It doesn’t say we are going to stand before the judgment seat. It said the dead and the sinners and various ones. The Lord Jesus said that you’re passed from death unto life. “He that believes on me believes that God has sent me. He shall not come into the judgment, but has passed from death unto life.” There is the bema, the judgment seat of Christ, where we are receiving rewards for what we have done in our body, or maybe punishment for what we haven’t done with the revelation. But in terms of the so-called Great White Throne Judgment, that is the judgment of Heaven and Hell for the sinners, not for those who have given their hearts to Jesus. So you use the term “we,” it depends on who “we” is. And you aren’t included in that last “we.” It’s a different “we” that is going to come before that judgment seat of the Lord.

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I’ve been trying to live a holy life. I don’t watch movies, listen to music or read anything but the Bible. My friends think I’m being too religious. They say that it doesn’t matter what I do or don’t do because I’m under grace. Am I wrong to live like this? What do you think being holy means?

The word “holy” is dedicated to God. And those who were holy, the holy things were dedicated, and the two terms were interchangeable. And it meant those things which are being consumed in the sacrifice of God. The Bible also says in Ecclesiastes, “Don’t be righteous over much.” There is such a thing as overdoing it, and it does sound like you’re overdoing it. I mean, how can you function in the world if you totally isolate yourself, unless you want to go into monastic order. And there’s some people who do that. They withdraw from the world, and they take a life of contemplation and meditation. But with us, for example, we’re in television, and how can we do appropriate television if we don’t see how it’s done. You have to have contact with the world to learn what’s happening around you and what are the important issues. And I would think if you’re getting revelations from God, if you really are closing into God and God is speaking to you, you’ve got something much more precious than you’ll ever get on watching TV or reading some magazine or book, if that’s your course. But “holy” means set apart to God. That’s what it means. But holiness does not come about from our work and our effort. It comes about from the grace of God, did you receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the working of the Holy Spirit, the miracles among you by the works of the Law, the hearing of faith. It’s faith. And faith is believing in the power of God. It’s His grace.

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I entered a dream home giveaway sweepstakes. I asked God to let my name be drawn as the winner. My wife says that’s a ridiculous prayer to pray, because everyone else is probably praying the same thing. Is it stupid to pray that way. Is it false hope to think that God might hear my prayer and let me win?

It’s not a false hope to hope that God will hear your prayer and let you win. But the whole premise is wrong. That’s not the way you get possessions in this world. There is a way. I wrote about it in my book, The Secret Kingdom. It’s the law of use. You use what’s there, and more grows. You do more and more and more of the same thing. You give and you sow and you reap and you plant and so forth. But hoping that you’ll hit the lottery or get a dream home on a draw, on a thing is false hope. And it’s not that the Lord won’t do it for you. It’s just that I think you’re building yourself up for a fall and then you can blame the Lord.

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I’m 15 and have a bad habit of cussing. I’ve recently been trying to stop, but it’s hard, because I’m around it so much at home and school. What do I need to do to stop, and will God be able to forgive me if I keep on messing up?

God will forgive you of anything, but I do think that you need to have your mind renewed. You renew your mind by the Word of God. You need to feed on the Word and let your speech be with grace, seasoned with salt. Have grace coming out of your mouth. If you are listening to the words of Scripture, your mouth will come out differently. But I know when I was a kid, I used to use some horrible language. The minute I found the Lord, it was like He just did something and cleaned it up. It was just amazing. It was a totally different thing that goes away by the power of the Holy Spirit. So, pray that the Lord will deliver you from it, but feed your mind day and night on the Word of God and in prayer. You’ll find that filthy language will leave you.

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According to Genesis, sin entered the world when Adam and Eve ate of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Why would God allow the tree to be there to tempt Adam and Eve? Does He place temptation in front of us today?

This wasn’t temptation. This was to determine. If they ate, it was evil, and if they refrained from eating, it was good. So God had to put something there to allow them to understand the difference between good and evil. It wasn’t temptation. It was, “I’m going to go by that tree, and I’m not going to eat it, and that’s good.” Day after day they would be established in obedience to the Lord. Or they’d go by and they’d say, “Well, God said not to do that, so I’d better have a taste,” and then it would be evil. But they would learn good and evil by not doing. Refraining was good. Participating was bad. They were in paradise. How else were they going to learn good and evil?

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I know that Jesus was crucified during Passover, and this year Easter and Passover are four weeks apart. Which calendar is correct, and how are those dates determined?

The Jewish calendar, in my opinion, is correct. And I think, really, if we’re going to be accurate, we should coincide with the Passover. Last year, it coincided the same time. It was a high holy day. I hate to sound so ignorant on this particular score, but I’m not sure how they figure out where Easter falls. But the Passover, the harvest festivals were determined on the cycles of the moon. So you’re looking at the time of full moon would be the time of the various feasts of the Lord. So it dealt with something more real than whatever the arbitrary dating of Easter. I don’t know. Somebody, I’m sure, will call up and say, “Hey, here it is. Don’t be so silly.” But I don’t know.

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Many people say that Jesus is a fictional character in the Bible. Are there any historical contexts outside of the Bible that mention Jesus and His life?

Oh, absolutely. He is, without question, known. We have more documentary evidence of the New Testament than we’ve got about Caesar. When I was in high school, we all studied Caesar’s Gaelic wars like it was for real. Everybody did not question whether or not Caesar was an emperor, whether he was a great general. But in terms of documents, we have it without question. Also, there are contemporary historians who noted Jesus of Nazareth. Tthe impact of Christianity was so strong. People don’t die for a myth. You just don’t die and go into the lion’s den or to go into the arena and suffer all kinds of persecution and torture for a myth. The Apostle Paul said, “The Lord appeared to 500 people, and to me later, as one born out season.” But Jesus appeared to Paul, who was writing. If Jesus died, let’s say, in 30 AD, and Paul was writing just roughly, let’s say 50-55 AD, there was no question this was contemporaneous documentation. The New Testament is as good a document as you’ll get about the world. And it seems like the more and more archeological finds we discover, the more it authenticates the truth of the Bible.

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I’ve always been taught to shut my eyes and bow my head when I pray. My husband doesn’t do this. He actually stands up and walks around when he prays. It’s very distracting to me, so I rarely pray with him. Is there a proper way to pray? Is it necessary for a husband and wife to pray together?

I think, yes, it is. “Where two of you gather together in My name, there I am in the midst.” It’s necessary. But some people love to stand up and pray. In the Old Testament they stood up, they raised their hands. There’s nothing wrong with walking around and praying. God isn’t interested in the posture of your body. He’s interested in the state of your spirit. Your Spirit is what connects with Him. And whether you’re bowed down like a bulrush, as the Bible says, that doesn’t win any brownie points with God. If your husband is really seeking God and he’s walking around praying to the Lord, you just enjoy it and pray with him and don’t get all so uptight about it. It has nothing to do with the posture of your body.

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I’ve been witnessing to this guy who kind of likes me. I shared the Gospel with him, and now he says he wants to believe in God, because I believe in God. Is that okay? Does it matter if his desire to be a Christian is based on his infatuation with me rather than God?

Gordon Robertson

Well, on the last question, yes, it does matter. If his belief in God is based on some kind of an infatuation with you, you’ve got a problem, and that isn’t a relationship that you should encourage. The apostle Paul said he desired that their faith would be based on the power of God, not the wisdom of men. Now, we get to preach the Gospel. We get to reason with people as to why we believe in Jesus Christ. But it’s that conversion moment where they really know that He is Lord, that He is risen from the dead, that is always a one-on-one between someone and Jesus Christ. We just sort of introduce. And when his faith gets based on that, then you’ve got something that you can really stand on.

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I had a discussion with a friend about generational curses. Can I be afflicted with infirmities, weaknesses and maladies as a result of the sins of my forefathers? Do I still need deliverance from these generational curses even after I’ve accepted Jesus as my Savior?

I am, frankly, not an expert on generational curses, but I do believe they exist. I believe that if somebody in your background was involved in the occult, in witchcraft, in all the paraphernalia of the occult, that thing will carry down with you and there will be spirits that will want to attach to you and bring a curse on you. And I think that has to be broken, and the best way is to renounce whatever’s there. So it wouldn’t hurt to explore it. And I also think if some ancestor did some horrible thing, maybe he was engaged in a massacre of some innocent people or something, there maybe needs to be a cleansing in your family of the evil that was done. That has certainly Old Testament justification.

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Two years ago my son was hit by a car. He’s still recovering from a brain injury, and I’m to blame for this. He called me for a ride home, and I told him I had to wait for his baby sister to wake up from her nap before I could come and get him. If I would have just left when he called, he wouldn’t have been hit. Can God forgive me if I can’t forgive myself?

I talked to a man yesterday who was in Iraq. He’s leading a protective detail, and he says, “I’ve sinned. Men under my command were killed, and I’ve sinned.” And I said, “No, you haven’t sinned. You didn’t kill those people.” And you didn’t kill your son. It’s not your fault. You had something you had to do. You couldn’t leave. So if he got hit, you didn’t hit him, and you didn’t tell him to go out in the street and take a chance. So stop being tormented by guilt. God will forgive you, but there’s nothing in this case to be forgiven of. You have your obligations, and you were torn between doing the right thing for one child and doing the right thing for the other child. You were going to do both, but events intervened. So leave that in the Lord’s hands, and don’t carry that guilt with you. Just praise the Lord and get on with life.

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I’m a sailor in the Navy, and I’ve been married to my wife for 18 years. When she heard I was coming home in a wheelchair because of a spinal injury, she decided to leave me for another guy. She was gone before I even came home from the hospital. What do I do with my anger and my jealousy?

That’s the most heartrending thing. You make a vow, “in sickness and in health, till death do us part.” And the fact that a wife wouldn’t stay with you when you had been injured in the service of your country is just appalling. So, in essence, I hate to say this, but she isn’t worth it. She isn’t worth your anger. She isn’t worth your grief. She isn’t worth your jealousy. Because anybody who would pull a stunt like that on a crippled veteran who had been married to her for that many years, there’s something seriously wrong with her, and you’re better off without her. Now, it may be that God in His goodness will heal you of this condition, and you’ll get out of the wheelchair. If not, He may bring somebody else into your life that’ll take care of you. But don’t let this thing eat you up. Forgive her, and then get on with your life. That’s all you can do.

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Is it appropriate to ask God for a double blessing just like Elisha or Elijah? Will God think I’m being selfish or something if I want more of Him and His power in my life?

Of course, not. Lust is wanting something you can’t have now. But we’re told, basically, to lust after God, “Earnestly desire the better gifts.” So God is infinite, and there’s enough of Him to go around for everybody. He can give you double and triple portions, and He isn’t diminished one bit. So, of course, ask Him for more if your heart is that way toward Him. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your mind and all your soul and all your strength.” That pleases the Lord that you lust after Him. That’s the only thing you’re supposed to lust after.

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What is the biblical viewpoint regarding circumcision? Is it still appropriate for today? I can’t see putting my sons through such a bloody, painful ordeal. Are we ordered by God to do this?

No. That’s the Old Testament. It’s the right of circumcision for the people of the covenant, the Jewish people. But the truth is, that from a health standpoint, I’m under the impression that there is a great deal of cancer of the cervix that is caused later in life with sexual relations between women and uncircumcised men. So it’s a very good health thing. Circumcision takes place in little infants. They don’t feel it. It’s not like bloody. Little kids have it done. They don’t know what’s happening, and it’s not that painful. And it heals very quickly. It’s much more practical. And from a health standpoint it’s a good thing. But no, we’re not under the commandment. We’re told to circumcise our heart, which means to get our hearts in the right. The circumcision was a sign of the covenant, which you’re set apart from God. So you need your heart to be circumcised as a Christian, but it has nothing to do with your sex organs.

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My family lost their home in Hurricane Katrina. We are a Christian family, but we’re really struggling during this time. I’ve heard of God giving people a peace that passes all understanding. How can we get that kind of peace from God, too?

I think it’s a question of trust but there is an inner peace. The world around you may be in chaos, and if you focus on the chaos, you’ll never have peace. Remember after 9/11, hour after hour after hour after hour there were pictures of those planes hitting those towers. They basically only did it once, but we kept seeing it over and over again. And, of course, little children watching that thought this was going on all the time. And how can you have peace when you focus constantly on the problem? You have to focus on the Lord, and He says, “Great peace have they who love Thy law, and nothing shall offend them.” If we focus in on the Lord Himself, we focus in on the law of God, and we rest in Him, then that peace will begin to come. “My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives unto you,” said Jesus, “but I’m going to give you My peace.” But you will not get it if you’re watching TV all the time.

 

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Im in school right now and working, so it can be really hard for me to make devoted time for Bible reading and prayer. What suggestions do you have for dealing with a packed schedule?

Start off your day with the Lord. The Bible says, “Early will I seek you, seek thee.” I recommend getting up early before the children are up, before the noise of the day. Don’t turn on television. Don’t turn on the radio. Get alone quiet with God. Get your spirit right with God. Let Him order your priorities, and then make a list of what is important and only do the top things. Let the rest of them go. That’s all you can do.

 

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How much life experience do you believe a person should have before entering the ministry for life?

Gordon Robertson

I actually think it’s not based on life experience. I think it’s based on God experience. When you look at what the Bible admonishes Timothy, “Don’t let anyone despise you for your youth.” You look at Jeremiah, where he says, “I’m young.” And God says, “No, you’re not. You’re with Me.” You look at Samuel. From a young age, God was speaking with him. And that’s the real key to are you called is do you really have a profound experience with God Almighty. And if the living God is with you, then I don’t care what age you are. You need to go out and tell people about that.

 

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I’m the pastor of a ministry to international college students. Many of my leaders want to study the Koran to be able to understand Islam. I don’t think this is wise. They’re really fighting me on this issue. I think there are plenty of Christian resources out there to get information on other religions. What do you think?

Kelly, it won’t be wrong if somebody studies Islam, but they need guided study, because somebody needs to go along and point out the incredible inconsistencies in that book. And if you have a guided study of the Koran and see how much in there is just repetitious, how much comes out of the Old Testament and the New Testament, how much is just plagiarism from the Bible, etc.?. If you will go through it with them, I think it would be a very helpful exercise. But I doubt very seriously by reading the Koran they’re going to get converted to Islam. I wouldn’t worry about it. But I think they need to see it. They need to see what is in there. Many people who are Muslim don’t know what the Koran says. And when you begin to tell them, they say, “Well, I don’t believe that.” And you say, “Well, it’s in your sacred book. It’s supposed to be holy words.” So it won’t hurt, but guided study.

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