This article was written shortly before President Trump took office; it quotes scripture and explains why we should support Israel.
(Teacher: Lawrence O. Richards)
“Jesus took this rugged, successful commercial fisherman and commissioned him as a disciple. In fact Peter is the leading disciple. He is mentioned first on each list of the Twelve. Along with James and John, he is one of an inner circle of three. The Gospels constantly portray him as taking the lead: he asks questions, gives unsolicited advice, leaps from a boat to join Jesus walking on the sea, expresses his conviction that Jesus is the Christ, fervently affirms his loyalty, draws a sword at Gethsemane, and strikes out at those who came to take Christ prisoner. In Acts, he is again the unquestionable leader. He preaches the church’s first great evangelical sermon (Acts 2), boldly confronts the Sanhedrin (Acts 4), and first shares the Gospel with a Gentile at the house of Cornelius (Acts 10).
Christians have been divided over the meaning of Christ’s statement, “You are Peter, and on this rock I shall build My church. . . . I will give you the keys of the kingdom of Heaven” (Matthew 16:17-19). Roman Catholics interpret this as Peter’s commission to be the church’s first pope. Most Protestants, and many early church fathers, take the “rock” to be the truth expressed in Peter’s affirmation, “You [Jesus] are the Christ, the Son of the Living God” (16:16). And the “keys” are the Gospel, which Peter was the first to proclaim to mankind’s two great classes, Jew and Gentile.
Yet for all his prominence and enthusiasm, Peter was a flawed human being. Peter could call Christ “Lord” in one breath and in the next dare to correct Him (Matthew 16:22). Peter could fervently affirm his loyalty and a few hours later deny the Lord (Mark 14). And Peter could even hypocritically deal with the Gentiles and earn Paul’s rebuke (Galatians 2:11-21). How like us Peter was in his weaknesses. How we might yearn to be like him in his strengths”.
This article has a few typos, but explains and compares the verses well. https://www.raptureready.com/featured/ice/TheLastTrumpet.html
(Teacher: Billy Graham)
You should read your Bible daily. It is one of your greatest privileges. Your spiritual life needs food. What kind of food? Spiritual food. Where do you find this spiritual food? In the Bible, the Word of God. The Bible reveals Christ, who is the Bread of Life for your hungry soul, and the Water of Life for your thirsty heart. If you fail to partake of daily spiritual nourishment, you will starve and lose your spiritual vitality. The Bible says, “Desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2). Read it, study it, meditate on it, memorize it. Ninety-five percent of the difficulties you will experience as a Christian can be traced to a lack of Bible study and reading.
(photo from puzzleplus.net)
Will There Be Seasons and Varying Weather?
(Teacher: Randy Alcorn)
Some people have never thought about Heaven’s weather because they don’t think of Heaven as a real place, certainly not on the New Earth. Or they assume the New Earth will have bright sunshine, no clouds, no rain…forever.
In a passage that promises rescue, security, and no more famine or fear for His people, God says, “I will bless them and the places surrounding My hill. I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing. The trees of the field will yield their fruit and the ground will yield its crops” (Ezekiel 34:26-27).
Is rain a bad thing? No. It’s good. We’ll see trees bearing fruit on the New Earth. Will they be rained on? Presumably. Will rain turn to snow in higher elevations? Why not? If there’s snow, will people play in it, throw snowballs, sled down hillsides? Of course. Just as resurrected people will still have eyes, ears, and feet, a resurrected Earth will have rain, snow, and wind.
As I write these words on a cold December day, a strong wind is blowing. Nearly bare trees are surrendering their last leaves. A row of fifty-foot-high trees, a a stunning bluish green, are bending and flailing. It’s a powerful, magnificent sight that moves me to worship God. We’re expecting our first winter snow. The feeling of warmth and serenity here in the protection of our house is wonderful. It makes me ponder the protecting, sheltering, secure hand of God. I’ve often had similar feelings during pounding storms. Lightning, thunder, rain, and snow all declare God’s greatness (Job 37:3-6). Is there any reason to conclude that such things will not be part of the New Earth? None. Of course, no one will die or be hurt by such weather. No one will perish in a flood or be killed by lightning, just as no one will drown in the river of life.
When we live on the New Earth, could we go hiking in a snowstorm without trauma of fear or death? Could we jump off a cliff into a river three hundred feet below? Could we stand in an open field in flashing lightning and roaring thunder and experience the exhileration of God’s powerful hand? Must the New Earth be tamed, stripped of high peaks, deserts, waterfalls, and thunderstorms because these sometimes caused pain and death in this world? Nature, including variations in climate, will be a source of joy and pleasure, not destruction. If we stand amazed now at the wonders of God’s great creation, we’ll be even more amazed at the greater wonders of that greater creation.
I love the seasons, each of them. The crisp fall air, the brilliant yellows, oranges, and reds, the long good-bye to summer. The snow blankets of winter, the freshness and erupting beauty of spring, the inviting warmth of summer. Who are all those from? “God, who gives autumn and spring rains in season” (Jeremiah 5:24).
Will there still be seasons on the New Earth? Why wouldn’t there be? Some people argue that because fall and winter are about dying, we won’t experience them in Heaven because there will be no death there. I’m not convinced that seasons and their distinctive beauties are a result of the Fall. God is depicted as the seasons’ Creator, and we’re not told they didn’t predate the Fall (Genesis 8:22). The “no more death” of Revelation 21 applies to living creatures, people and animals, but not necessarily to all vegetation. Even if it does, God can certainly create a cycle of seasonable beauty apart from death.