Here are clips from the best podcast episodes 2022
What were your favorite episodes of The Bible Speaks to You Podcast this year? Here are excerpts from ten of the most popular and most listened to episodes in 2022.
I hope these bits ans pieces will remind you of some of the ideas I’ve talked about this year. If you’d like to listen to the whole episode, just click on the title.
Episode 120 Jason Elam: You Are Loved and Accepted by God
Some churches need to remember that church is never the point, that people knowing God is the point. There’s that great passage in the New Testament where Jesus is asking, “What do people say about me?” Then he makes it more personal. He looks at his guys, his closest friends and says, “What about you? What do you say?”
Peter has this incredible answer, “You’re the Christ. You’re the Son of the living God.”
And Jesus says, “Blessed are you Peter, because you didn’t get that out of a theology book. You didn’t watch that on TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network). You got that… God is talking to you. And you can hear his voice. And on the rock of people hearing God for themselves, I’m going to build my church. And the gates of hell won’t prevail against it.”
That’s what we need. That’s the point. Peter, James, and John weren’t carrying around their KJV (King James Version) 1611s in Jerusalem. They had the revelation of the Holy Spirit. They could hear God speaking to them and guiding them.
God speaks to us directly
I don’t know if it was audible. I think dreams can be the language of God. We see that in Peter’s life. There are so many different ways God speaks: through circumstances, maybe through other people. For me personally, I really love it when I’ll just get a sense, a thought just drops into my mind. And then God will use somebody, usually my wife, to confirm that’s what God is saying in that moment.
God can speak in a thousand different ways. But if we read that written Word, especially those red letters [the words of Jesus], we’re going to learn the sound of his voice and we can recognize it in a culture of a thousand voices.
Now, my prayers are a lot shorter, but they end in silence. Because I want to hear what God has to say. I want to experience the presence of the Almighty in every moment.
All of our self-doubt, all of our self-hatred, all of our self-rejection issues, can be melted away knowing the One who created us, loves us more than we can possibly imagine. And is closer to us than our next breath.
God will never reject you
Really, the only thing I would say to someone listening today is that I know folks listening to podcasts, you’ve got your own pain. And sometimes nobody knows about it but you. And I just want you to know that wherever you are today, you are not alone, that you are more loved than you can possibly imagine. Not only is God with you, but James and I are, in Spirit, with you too. Because we we’ve been there. We know that pain. We know what it’s like to go through something and feel like you’re all by yourself.
And maybe you’re listening today, and you’ve had questions, and there’s not room for questions in your church, and you just feel like, God’s people may have rejected you, that maybe God has too. And I just want you to know today, that’s never been the case. God will never reject you. There’s a seat at the table with your name on it. And the meals are unlimited. So come on in and sit down and enjoy what God has created for you.
Episode 125 Can Your Prayers to End War Make a Difference?
I love this passage in 2 Corinthians,
(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 2 Corinthians 10:4, 5 KJV
The New Living Translation gives some fresh insight to this familiar passage:
We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.2 Corinthians 10:4, 5 NLT
Many ways to pray for peace
There are so many ways to pray in the face of war, and Paul, who had that incredible change of heart we just talked about, is encouraging us to use prayer as our weapon, so to speak, to combat the evil forces in the world.
At the time I’m recording this episode, I don’t know what will happen in Ukraine. I don’t know who will hear the voice of Christ speaking to their hearts.
But I do know that our prayers are effective. Jesus said that we are “the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:14)
When your light is shining, it destroys darkness. The more light we shine collectively, the more darkness disappears. You may think your little light will not make much difference, but that is just not true.
Every single light is valuable and effective. Every prayer from your heart is heard by God.
There is a promise in the Bible of a time when war will cease and peace be found on the earth.
In the last days, the mountain of the LORD’s house will be the highest of all—the most important place on earth. It will be raised above the other hills, and people from all over the world will stream there to worship.
People from many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of Jacob’s God. There he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths.” For the LORD’s teaching will go out from Zion; his word will go out from Jerusalem.
The LORD will mediate between nations and will settle international disputes. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore.
Come, descendants of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the LORD! Isaiah 2:2-5 NLT
Not just way off in the future
From one perspective, we tend to think this is a promise for a time far off in the future.
But from another perspective, it’s a vision of what is already true in the kingdom of heaven, which Jesus said is at hand. We see this to the degree we let our light shine and bear witness to the light of Christ lighting up the whole world, one heart at a time.
Never underestimate the ability of your light to destroy darkness in the world. Never underestimate the power of your prayers for peace.
Episode 136 Cultivating the Mindset of Christ
There’s a term used in gardening that I love: cultivate.
Now you could argue that we don’t need to cultivate a Jesus mindset since Paul says we already have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16)
I can see the validity of that perspective. And I agree. We already do have the mind of Christ. But I must say, it’s one thing to have the mind of Christ and another thing altogether to use the mind of Christ, to think, and act, and live with the mind of Christ. That’s really what I’m talking about.
By using the mind of Christ, we don’t make the mind of Christ more Christly, we become more aware of the Christlike nature and become more like Christ. We don’t cultivate the mind of Christ, as much as we cultivate our engagement with it. You could even say, it cultivates us.
What did Jesus plant in his garden?
What kind of seeds did Jesus plant in his spiritual garden? What did he cultivate in his mindset?
The obvious first thing is love. Love for God, love for all his neighbors, and love for himself.
Yes, I believe Jesus loved himself. Not in an egotistical, look-at-how-great-I-am sort of way. But in a genuine appreciation and affection for who he was as the Beloved Son of God.
Jesus valued who he was. He loved himself.
This love for God, mankind, and himself was the most important crop in his mental garden. And there were many other related seeds he planted and tended: forgiveness, mercy, gentleness, tenderness, compassion, listening for God’s direction, doing God’s will instead of his own, being aware that the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
These are the things we need to cultivate in our spiritual gardens.
Put your prayers into action
Jesus didn’t just sit on a mountaintop all day praying and bearing witness to the truth in his mind. He acted upon the truth he bore witness to. He went to people in need and taught them how to bear witness to this truth for themselves.
Here is the example we are to follow. Yes, we need to pray. We need our private time with God. We need to cultivate our relationship with the Father. Just as Jesus did. We discover that we can uproot any ungodlike thoughts from our hearts and minds, our mental gardens, just as Jesus did. And Christ empowers us to be so conscious of the kingdom of heaven and the full glory of God’s nature that evil seed-thoughts are smothered and have not even a chance to germinate in our thinking.
And as we let past mistakes and hurts decompose, we are fertilized with the spiritual compost of lessons learned.
And what happens next? We get off the mountaintop. We get out of our prayer chairs. We go to the people who need to feel loved. And we love them. This is the mindset of Jesus.
Me: What does it actually mean to bless someone?
Pierre: Very good question. For me, in a deeper sense, it means to recognize the total holiness, the total goodness, the total sonship with the divine.
Me: So someone might be hearing that and thinking, “Yeah, well I don’t quite see that in Putin, or Trump, or Biden, or my next door neighbor, or my wife, or my teacher. How do we see past that exterior of someone who is doing things that aren’t right, sometimes to a great degree, like Putin? How do we see past all that to that holiness and oneness with God you’re talking about?
The prayer of listening
Pierre: Well, I’ve stopped asking God anything. Because in the parable of the Prodigal Son, there’s, for me, the most extraordinary verse in the whole Bible, “My son, thou art always with me, and all that I have is thine.” ALL! How can you ask someone [God] who’s given you everything?
The only way to do it is to listen, how we should be, how we should think, how we should do. To me, the only way of praying now is listening.
Me: What do you think has been the biggest blessing in your life?
Pierre: Ah! The joy of knowing we are all one with the Source. “I and the Father are one”–that every person can say that, if they know what they are saying, that all, everything, is the expression, everything, of this extraordinary Love.
Episode 146 You Are Filled with All the Fullness of God
Jesus was fully conscious of God’s fullness.
That’s why he was always able to shine the spiritual light of Truth on the darkness of disease, disability, and even death and dispel them. He fully accepted, embraced, and utilized the fullness of God in everything he thought, said, and did.
When he shined this spiritual light on a person’s problems, he was not fixing a problem. He removed it.
Is it possible for us to follow in Jesus’s footsteps? Can we embrace this same light as he did to discover who we really are as the image and likeness of God?
Yes, of course. And Paul gives us hope on this point. He says,
I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Ephesians 3:14-19 KJV
Paul is saying that when Christ dwells in our hearts, that when the foundation of our lives is love, God will no longer be a mystery, but we will understand God, not through human knowledge, but spiritually. We will know and experience Christ’s love. And we will be filled with all the fullness of God.
We will be filled with all the fullness of God
Let that soak in for just a moment.
To the human mind, to the old self, from a material perspective, this is impossible. A material mindset cannot perceive things of the Spirit.
But to the new way of life that Jesus invites us to embrace, it is not just possible, it is a spiritual fact, established in the kingdom of heaven for all eternity.
Not humanly, not materially, but spiritually, you already embrace and include and are filled with all the fullness of God. As the image and likeness of God, you reflect God’s entire nature.
Episode 149 You Are Here for Such a Time as This
God has given you a place in this world to bring light instead of darkness, love instead of fear, hate, and indifference, truth instead of deceit.
You are here for such a time as this
But how do you know what God wants you to do to bring healing to the world? What is your specific contribution to make? Well, I certainly don’t know how to answer that question for you. I’m still working on it for myself.
But I’ll share a pattern I’ve seen repeated over and over.
Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. Seven or eight years ago a woman came to my weekly Bible study at the federal prison near my home. Even while she was still incarcerated, she was planning to create a non-profit organization to help women readjust to society and find purpose in their lives, when they got out of prison. She knew she would need help, and that gave her the idea of how she could help others. And that’s exactly what she has done.
Some people call this turning your mess into your message.
The struggles and challenges you have faced and overcome may be just the area of life where you can help others with those same challenges.
God is preparing you
This was a very conscious choice on her part. Sometimes however, God prepares you for something, but you’re not even aware of it until years later when you see how God led you to a specific situation or experience.
When I started conducting weekly Bible studies at the Federal Prison, I had no idea where that would lead, but The Bible Speaks to You Podcast is a direct product of those years of preparing Bible lessons and interacting with people who wanted to understand the Bible better and follow Christ in their lives.
How do you figure this out for yourself? Well, I’m not sure that you always can know how your words and actions may be part of something bigger than the immediate situation you’re involved in.
Esther knew what she was doing would have an influence on all the Jews of her day when she persuaded King Ahasuerus to allow the Jews to defend themselves on the day they were to be destroyed. (See Esther 8:11, below) But she had no idea how far reaching the effect her courage to go to the king would have thousands of years later.
So how do you know where you need to be and when? It’s really the spirit of humility in your heart and the willingness to go wherever and do whatever God guides you to be and do. When you’re following God’s guidance, you will be where you need to be in a given time frame and you’ll bring healing to the situation.
Episode 153 Where Does Your Self-Worth Come From?
Your self-worth, your value as a child of God, doesn’t come from anything you do, say, or achieve. It’s not based on how much money you make, how successful you are in business, with your family, or at church. It doesn’t depend on where you’re from or where you went to school. It’s not about your physical appearance. Or how famous you are. Or how many followers you have on Social Media.
That may be the way the world evaluates your worth. All too often we go along with that approach. We look at the external things in our lives and think these are the measure and proof of our self-worth.
True self-worth comes from understanding who you are a s child of God. It’s really that simple. Then, whatever the circumstances you can value who you are.
The more I think about it, the more I’ve realized that our sense of self-worth comes from how we see ourselves, how we identify ourselves.
How do you see yourself? How do you identify yourself first and foremost? Is it all those external things I mentioned earlier, your education, your job, how much money you have, and all that stuff?
How does Jesus see you?
Or do you see yourself the way Jesus did? He was talking to people in the crowd, but he was really saying it to you and me as well. Jesus said,
You are the salt of the earth…You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. Matthew 5:13, 14 NLT
Paul emphasizes this point when he says,
For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night. 1 Thessalonians 5:5 NLT
Do you see yourself as the light of the world, the salt of the earth? In Bible times, salt was a very valuable commodity because it was used to preserve food. And there’s no way to calculate the value of light. It’s priceless.
You are right now the child of God, made in God’s image and likeness, of infinite value and worth.
Episode 157 How to Find Inspiration when You Feel Uninspired
Ever been in the doldrums?
Have you ever had one of those days when you just felt down in the dumps, uninspired, and nothing seems to get you out of the doldrums? You sit there praying and it just seems like words? You try to read and study your Bible but even your favorite stories and verses seem empty and flat? You try to find inspiration but nothing works.
Sometimes when I have been overwhelmed with one or more particular challenges, I tend to get a little too absorbed in the problem itself. I thrash around trying to figure out where the problem came from, and how I’m going to solve it, or even how I should pray about it.
There’s a time and a place for some of that, but I have slowly learned over many years that you can’t really solve a problem by thrashing around in it and focusing on or worrying about it.
As I just said, the first step is to turn your attention to and put your hope in God. If all you do, in trying to solve the problem, is focus on it, the problem will get bigger, or at least it will seem bigger to you, because that’s mostly what you’re thinking about.
When you do a complete 180, turn away from the problem and turn toward God, you’re on the right track to find a solution. Now, I don’t mean that you should ignore the problem or pretend it isn’t there. I’m saying to start with the solution, which is God.
Start with the solution
I’ve talked about this before on The Bible Speaks to You Podcast, the idea of starting with the solution instead of the problem.
It’s the way Jesus dealt with the challenges, or should I say opportunities, that came to him. He always turned to God first for answers.
It’s the model he gave us in the Lord’s Prayer. When you’re praying about something, do you start by telling God what the problem is, explaining it over and over, as if God needs you to inform Him of something?
Well, sometimes we do this. But that’s not how Jesus taught his disciples to pray. He said we should begin our prayers, or you could say our efforts to solve a problem, with acknowledging God’s glory, power, authority, and kingdom before we ask for anything we need.
That’s how the Lord’s Prayer is designed.
With the Lord’s Prayer as our guide, Jesus is telling us the best way to solve a problem is to start with the solution, which, of course, is God.
One of the quickest ways to put wind in your sails, to get out of the doldrums, and to find fresh inspiration in your life is to thank God for every little smidgen of good in your life.
You can even thank Him for the lessons you’ve learned from the challenges He’s helped you overcome in the past. I know, that’s not a new idea. But we forget to do it sometimes.
In fact, and it may take a while to get there, you can even look at your current challenge, or funk, and thank God right now, in advance, for getting you out of it. Gratitude is a powerful prayer, whenever it’s offered, before, during, or after the thing you’re grateful for.
Episode 159 Following Wise Women in the Bible
You’ve probably noticed, in some church circles these days, and frankly for centuries, there’s a certain attitude that would keep women as second class citizens, always in a subservient role to men. This attitude comes from a few Bible verses are often taken out of their surrounding context and then interpreted to mean something which the Bible does not actually say, especially when you look at the overall context of all the wise women in the bible, what they do, and the positions of authority they have, in the Bible.
Several years ago in my prison ministry at the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, CT, I put together a Bible study on all the women in the Bible. It was fascinating to look at the Bible from the perspective of what women were doing and what was being done to them. I always asked the class, “How do the experiences of these women apply to you and me today?” It really put things in perspective and everyone enjoyed the class.
One of the first things I realized in preparing for and teaching this class was that the Bible is full of examples when women were in charge, had great authority, were sought out by men for advice, and were chosen for important roles. These women were not subservient to men. They owned their power and fulfilled their God-given purpose by being true to themselves and to God.
Huldah the prophet
Now we’re going to talk about a woman in the Bible most people have never heard of. Her name is Huldah. She was a prophetess during the reign of Josiah, King of Judah for 31 years.
Josiah was a good king and purged Judah of idol worship and other pagan practices. In year 18 of his reign, at the age of 26, (do the math; he became king at age 8) he focused on repairing the Temple, which Solomon had built approximately 337 years previously.
Hilkiah the priest found the Book of the Law of the LORD that had been given through Moses. 2 Chronicles 34:14 NIV
The Book of the Law refers to the book of Deuteronomy.
Hilkiah told Shaphan, the king’s secretary, he found the book. Shaphan took the book to King Josiah and read it to him. Josiah tore his clothes in repentance because of all the ways the people had broken the laws of God found in the book.
Josiah then commands those present,
“Go and inquire of the LORD for me and for the remnant in Israel and Judah about what is written in this book that has been found. Great is the LORD’s anger that is poured out on us because those who have gone before us have not kept the word of the LORD; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written in this book.”
Hilkiah and those the king had sent with him went to speak to the prophet Huldah, who was the wife of Shallum son of Tokhath, the son of Hasrah, keeper of the wardrobe. She lived in Jerusalem, in the New Quarter. 2 Chronicles 34:21, 22 NIV
The King asked a woman for spiritual advice
King Josiah, the mightiest man in the kingdom, turned to a prophet, a woman named Huldah, for guidance. The king asked a woman for spiritual advice.
There’s a lot more to the story, which I encourage you to read for yourself. I’ll have links to both accounts in 2 Kings and 2 chronicles in the show notes page on the website.
The point I want you to remember is that a powerful man asked for and obeyed the wisdom of a woman.
Guys, if there is a spiritually wise woman in your midst, do not hesitate to ask them for help or guidance.
Episode 161 You Are Already Complete
When we look at things from the perspective of what’s true on earth, we see all sorts of problems, challenges, good and evil warring with each other, and evil sometimes appearing to be winning.
But when we look at things from the perspective of what’s going on in the kingdom of heaven, the view is very different.
We see what Jesus saw. We see wholeness and completeness. We see pure love and peace and the supremacy of good.
You are complete in Christ
So how does all this apply to you and me? How can we bear witness to the truth of our own completeness in the kingdom of heaven and bring that to light here on earth?
Well, there may be lots of ways to approach this, but I like to start with getting a better sense of the nature of Christ and his relationship to God.
Paul says in Colossians,
For in Christ lives all the fullness of God…. So you also are complete through your union with Christ… Colossians 2:9, 10 NLT
Christ represents the fullness of God. All God’s fullness is in Christ. This isn’t just a Bible verse we need to memorize and quote. It’s a deep spiritual truth that we need to ponder over and over, and let it sink down into our hearts.
When you truly embrace this idea that Christ embodies the fullness, the full nature, of God, then, as verse 10 says, “you also are complete through your union with Christ.”
To the degree we are conscious of, and live in relationship with, Christ, we become conscious of our completeness, which is in and from God.
I hope you enjoyed these excerpts from the podcast episodes of 2022. I wish you all the best for 2023.
James Early, the Jesus Mindset Coach, is a Bible teacher, speaker, and podcaster. He conducts Bible workshops online and in person. His focus is on getting back to the original Christianity of Jesus by embracing the mindset of Christ in daily life. Contact him here.
Matthew 16:16, 17 NLT
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being.
18 Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.
2 Corinthians 10:4, 5 KJV
4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
2 Corinthians 10:4, 5 NLT
4 We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.
5 We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.
Matthew 5:14 KJV
14 Ye are the light of the world.
Isaiah 2:2-5 NLT
2 In the last days, the mountain of the LORD’s house
will be the highest of all—
the most important place on earth.
It will be raised above the other hills,
and people from all over the world will stream there to worship.
3 People from many nations will come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
to the house of Jacob’s God.
There he will teach us his ways,
and we will walk in his paths.”
For the LORD’s teaching will go out from Zion;
his word will go out from Jerusalem.
4 The LORD will mediate between nations
and will settle international disputes.
They will hammer their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will no longer fight against nation,
nor train for war anymore.
5 Come, descendants of Jacob,
let us walk in the light of the LORD!
1 Corinthians 2:16 NLT
16 …we have the mind of Christ.
Matthew 4:17 KJV
17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Luke 15:31 KJV
31 Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.
John 10:30 KJV
I and my Father are one.
Ephesians 3:14-19 KJV
14 I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
Esther 8:11 NIV
11 The king’s edict granted the Jews in every city the right to assemble and protect themselves;
Matthew 5:13, 14 NLT
13 You are the salt of the earth…
14 You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.
1 Thessalonians 5:5 NLT
5 For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night.
Ephesians 2:10 NLT
10 we are God’s masterpiece
2 Chronicles 34:21, 22 NIV
21 “Go and inquire of the LORD for me and for the remnant in Israel and Judah about what is written in this book that has been found. Great is the LORD’s anger that is poured out on us because those who have gone before us have not kept the word of the LORD; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written in this book.”
22 Hilkiah and those the king had sent with him went to speak to the prophet Huldah, who was the wife of Shallum son of Tokhath, the son of Hasrah, keeper of the wardrobe. She lived in Jerusalem, in the New Quarter.
Colossians 2:9, 10 NLT
9 For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.
10 So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.