September 26, 2016
It has been a blessing to read all the letters from other brethren and the sound biblical counsel that you give them. I want to share my testimony/struggle with you and maybe help another believer that may have this same struggle!
I have been a born-again believer since I was 16 years old. I am 50 years old now. The Lord Jesus saved me in March 1980 when I was living a life of fornication, lying and deception. I was so excited about my faith and my new relationship with the Lord Jesus.
I started sharing with my family and friends, of my new found faith, but I had a secret of still indulging in sexual sin with my boyfriend because I didn’t know God’s Word on fornication (since my parents lived together and were not married).
I knew a little bit about God’s Word from occasionally going to church, but I didn’t know the depth and seriousness of it. I was mentored later in my relationship with Christ by three mature believers and they helped me to understand what it truly meant to walk in faithfulness to the Lord Jesus, and what His Word required of me as a new believer.
I have been walking in love and obedience to Him since that time. Not perfectly, but by His grace and mercy.
I met some other believers and we moved to a place in Philadelphia, which I thought was a church of born-again believers who loved Jesus. Unfortunately it turned out to be a CULT and I was taught the Word of God, but there was a lot of Scripture-twisting and the most damaging of the experience was a works-salvation gospel, which I was taught instead of the true grace-salvation gospel (Ephesians 2:8-9).
The greatest part I will say of the entire experience is that I have made some great lifelong friendships with sisters who were there and have since left, and are now living for the Lord.
Today, not very often, but at times I’m bombarded in my mind and I struggle with thinking that the Lord is displeased with me—if I’m not doing some kind of work. We had a chart of works/activities that we had to fulfill every day before 12 midnight. We were working 24/7 trying to make sure we were doing some religious activity (otherwise the LORD would not be pleased with us).
If I’m not reading my Bible or something spiritual, I feel harassed and out of the will of God. My desire is to read the Bible every day so I can fellowship with my Father and know His will and commune with Him. I delight in serving Him with the gifts He has given me. It’s not a chore or “have to” mentality.
I just get overwhelmed with all of this sometimes. I continually give it to the Lord and ask Him to take this from me. I know His finished work on Calvary paid my sin debt in FULL. I know I’m saved by grace and faith alone. I just get overwhelmed with this in my mind sometimes and I’m praying for it to be removed.
I feel assured right now as I’m writing you and confident in God’s Word (no matter what my feelings say), I know they are feelings and attacks from the enemy. Would you please share some biblical counsel and suggestions?
God bless you and may the Lord continue to use you and shine upon you!!!
We are more than conquerors through Him who loves us.
Thank you for your very kind and thoughtful words. You are obviously dedicated to the Lord. He has brought you through some rough territory. The enemy is an expert at portraying himself as an angel of light, as you well know.
Too few Christians are aware of how Satan does this through other so-called Christian ministries; especially, when the approach is to lure in unsuspecting people who are genuinely seeking biblical truth. But what the devil means for harm, the Lord counters with blessings and goodness. You are a living testimony to that, today.
False religions and false teachings are Satan’s greatest method of deceiving people. You are not alone in getting caught-up in a group that may look godly initially—but then the Scripture twisting and blasphemous doctrines emerge.
One of the greatest after-effects from being involved in a cult is the brainwashing, the mind-bending indoctrination that haunts a person long after renouncing anything to do with the cult.
Many years ago I met someone whose job was to rescue people from cults. He was hired by family members who had lost a son or daughter to a cult. This man’s job was to deprogram victims who had been emotionally and mentally abused by the cult.
He was strongly grounded in the Word of God and understood the subtle tactics used by cult leaders—to confuse and indoctrinate the “flock.” The after-effects can linger on for a very, very long time. I think that is what you are dealing with (to a small degree).
The keeping busy for God tactic is a common theme in cults; works, works, and more works is a way to make a person feel like they are unworthy no matter what they do. At what point are our works enough?
Never; so this is a way to control and confuse people. This slavery that you were subjected to has a way of breaking the spirit of a person—if it were not for the Lord Jesus’ intervention at some point.
You are already doing everything a believer is asked to do. Continue to pray throughout each day as we are commanded (Ephesians 6:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:17), read, study, memorize and meditate on Scripture.
It is up to the Lord to open the door for us to do more. We serve Him by being available 24/7, as certainly you are, but as you already know that does not mean your life must evolve around any particular strict spiritual routine of trying to earn God’s love and favor.
If a church member or a neighbor needs help, we help them. When the pastor needs someone to do something in the church and we have the gift to do it, we do it. This is all we can do. God is never displeased with us if we are not doing things in the church 16 hours a day. He wants you to spend most of your time with Him in prayer and in the Word. It sounds like you are doing that, already.
The thoughts you are having that God is displeased with you, as I said before, is part of the mind bending tactics by the cult. It is not always easy to ignore the accusatory voices, but you can, with the Lord’s help. As long as you are praying throughout each day, spending time in the Word every day and are available to serve God—that is all you can do.
Consider all the nice people who are not saved but are very religious. Day after day they toil to please the Lord. But they are in bondage to their religion (as you once were, although you were saved).
In Christ we are made free, and that is what we must remember and think about. When those voices of condemnation start working on you, the best thing to do is start quoting Scripture out loud, and start praising and thanking God for His greatness. Not silently, but out loud. There is power in the Word of God and we are strengthened when we actually hear it. Jesus is the Word made flesh (John1:1-4).
It is also a good idea to find a good audio version of the Bible and play it while you are driving your car, and at home. Fill your mind with God’s Scriptures at every opportunity. But don’t use Christian media as a substitute for reading, studying and speaking the Word of God. Use Christian media resources only as an addition to worshipping the Lord and studying His Word.
From reading your letter, it is evident that you are a mature and serious believer, and a great blessing to the cause of Christ. Your involvement with the cult has given you a perspective that many Christians don’t have. Your effectiveness in reaching others is strengthened because of your experience. You bring a type of depth to your faith that can only serve to benefit others.
You are in a position to discern problematic teachings; you have developed spiritual radar that can detect so-called biblical teachings that are amiss. You have also developed a sense of identifying phony Christians with hidden agendas. You are blessed in ways that can help you minister to others—who are confused about their faith and counsel them in what truly constitutes authentic Christianity.
Because you have the Holy Spirit living within you, coupled with your experiences with false Christianity, you can overcome any doubts about the Lord being pleased with you. After all He died for you! He loved you long before you were saved. He knew you before you were born. His love for us is incomprehensible. That is what you should focus your thoughts upon.
Christ deliberately placed Himself in a position where He willingly suffered—tremendously—to bring us to a point of reconciliation and redemption. God is our abiding companion in the Person of the Holy Spirit.
Our heavenly Father wants us to pour our hearts out to Him when we are shaken by the cruel and vicious dynamics in this fallen and corrupt world. He is ever-present in our time of need. We are never alone. Lean on your Heavenly Father for comfort. Realize your great worth in the Lord’s eyes.
“For as many who are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, Abba, Father. The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:14-18).
The more you read the Scriptures that speak of the Lord’s love for you, the doubts about your good standing with Him will diminish. Healing from the type of abuse you endured comes through worshipping and praising the Lord. It is a miracle in some ways that you were able to get away from the cult.
Praise God in all things and communicate with Him all day long. Acknowledge Him in all you do as you navigate through your day. Trust in Him completely, in His Word. We are to live by faith, and that means we TRUST Him. I know you already know all of this, but it is good to be reminded and encouraged—to keep our focus on God’s lovingkindness.
By praising the Lord and offering Him a joyful heart, the accusatory voices that are causing you to doubt, will subside. You are already a champion for Christ. You have victory in Him. All the glory goes to God, and you are a benefactor of His tremendous grace. Whenever those accusatory voices fill your mind, quote Scripture and thank God for all the blessings in your life, and particularly for saving you from going down the road of destruction.
I have said this many times: When the devil knows we belong to the Lord, he is fully aware he has lost the battle for our souls. But he will do whatever possible to make us think that God does not love us, that He is disappointed with us and that we are useless to Him. Satan will try to keep us from living a productive life so we can’t reach others for Christ.
But we know greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world, and nothing can keep us from the love of God. Be encouraged. The Lord loves you deeply and sees you as a redeemed child of God, not a failed one.
The failed person is the individual who foolishly rebels against Him never admitting a need for the Savior. People like this are often hopelessly lost and tragically condemned for all eternity, because of their foolish pride.
Surely you bless many because of the wisdom you have gained. Through your struggles to get clarification regarding your faith about true Christianity, you have come out on the winning side. I leave you with one very important Scripture that I hope you will meditate on every day:
“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).
Rejoice, RP, you are in a position to minister to others from a unique perspective. Spiritual deception is running rampant, and you have gained spiritual discernment to alert others to this growing epidemic in these last days. Use all of what you have been through to God’s glory. Can you see how God has given you much to work with to help others gain a genuine walk with the Lord? Surely you are very special in His eyes.
On that day glorious when you finally see Him face to face, rest assured that He will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord” (Matthew 25:21b).
In God’s love,
“Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. The LORD ismy portion,” says my soul, therefore I hope in Him!” (Lamentations 3:22-14).
September 19, 2016
I have written to you once before about my feeling unworthy of God and am pleased to say that the Lord has gotten me out of some bad mind spaces in recent years. I have grown in my faith with him and am trying to still live out His will for my life.
I write to you for advice now because I have recently had a heavy heart concerning the lack of love in my life, and I really am desiring it. I have wanted to be married and be a godly man since I was a young teen, but no relationship ever seemed to materialize.
I am a millennial, but I reject the modern sinful notions of sex and cohabitation before marriage and embrace the godly notion of marriage between a man and a woman (preferably Christian).
I understand the reasons why God allowed my initial attractions to some women to never materialize into a commitment to marriage before (lack of maturity, not a right match etc.) but recently I am afraid that nothing of the sort will ever come to me. I keep being afraid that God will never allow me to marry due to the times in which we live.
All of the women I know whom I count as friends and relatives each seem to have a trait that attracted them to go into a relationship with the men they chose. Almost all expressed a desire to be there for their man, to be supporting and loving; but their lives do not reflect such dedication from their partners.
I do not wish to sound prideful, but most do not even look into the best interest for their loved ones over themselves as Christ commanded. I would love for a woman to feel that way about me and I about her so we can have a marriage that God says works. A marriage of submission one to another. But no woman has felt this way toward me.
God has blessed me with a lot of opportunities and growth for my business lately, and I pray he keeps but it feels shallow and empty alone. The social situation I am in now as a start-up is worse than it was when I was in college. I went from being around women and friends to being around no one at all.
I have no social life, church life (though I do have online connections to a church group), and all I do is stay at home and work. I do not consider myself that attractive and am afraid to go out and meet others (though I do not have a hard time making new friends).
My biggest fear is that the Lord does not will this for me at any point in my life, or that it will be such a long suffering wait like Abraham and Sarah for their child that I will give up before my time has come. In the grand scheme of things, what is my love life?
All I yearn is to one day exclaim for joy like Adam did when he saw Eve and say “This is flesh of my flesh and blood of my blood.” Nevertheless let God’s will be done regardless of my desires.
Thanks for your time,
The Lonely Young Christian
Dear Lonely Young Christian,
The best years of your life may very well be ahead of you. If the Lord rapture’s His Church soon, the concerns you have will not matter. If he tarries, then your heart’s desire to have the wife of your dreams with whom you can share your life could be on the horizon.
I get the impression that in due time, as you continue to grow your business and grow spiritually, if you are meant to be married—God will bring the right woman into your life. It is natural to desire a mate, but timing is not always as we want for any number of reasons.
Or sometimes the Lord calls us to serve Him without a mate. Consider the apostle Paul. In time, as you continue to seek the Lord for His will for your life, whatever is best for you will become your heart’s desire. At this time, without a doubt, your heart’s desire is to share your life with that special someone.
As you say, “It is so important to reject the modern sinful notions of sex and cohabitation before marriage and embrace the godly notion of marriage between a man and a woman (preferably Christian).
I would remove the thought “preferably Christian” and change it to “only Christian.” Far too many people get themselves into unequally yoked marital situations and live to regret it. A divided house cannot stand. You are better off remaining single than getting involved with someone who is not sold-out for Christ, regardless of how nice that person is. The Lord gives this warning for good reasons:
“Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?” (2 Corinthians 6:14-15).
It is admirable that you understand that the lifestyles led by those who cohabitate and engage in premarital intimate relations is wrong. Hold onto that precept and never compromise. You will be glad you did when the right lady appears in your life.
Sometimes we can create unnecessary limitations by placing barriers in our way. You are a child of God and in His strength you can get up the nerve to meet new people.
When we take the focus away from ourselves and truly place God first in our lives all kinds of wonderful things can happen. Loneliness is not so acute when we are busy serving the Lord. But you should never go into ministry work with the idea of doing it to meet a mate. Do it all for the Lord and He will bless you. Surely you can find people who get together and study the Bible. Look around in your community. Genuine Christians will be happy to fellowship with you.
To fill the void in your life please find some creative ways to reach others for Christ. Out of your devotion to Him, you will not feel so alone. We all need a sense of belonging and we also must trust the Lord to do what is best for us. I can tell you from the many letters I receive most marriages are in trouble. Some (many) are in serious trouble.
If you would reconsider how you perceive your situation, you might just find that you are more blessed than you realize. Outside of your business obligations you can give all of your time to the Lord. You are in the perfect position to spend time taking your faith to a deeper level, delving into steadfast Bible study, and reaching others for Christ.
A godly woman who loves the Lord is attracted to a man who is devoted to Christ; a godly woman desires a man who is well-versed in the Scriptures. Could you lead a future wife in Bible study and devotions? Are you prepared to place God first in that relationship?
Dear friend, the Lord Jesus understands your heart more than anyone else. Pay attention to what He might be trying to communicate to you. Do you trust Him? Do your really trust Him? No one can replace the love of Christ. The church at Ephesus comes to mind:
“But I have this against thee, that thou didst leave thy first love. Remember therefore whence thou art fallen, and repent and do the first works; or else I come to thee, and will move thy candlestick out of its place, except thou repent” (Revelation 2:4-5).
Even though that church had many strong believers who fought the good fight (1 Timothy 6:12), some slowly fell away and left their first love—the Lord Jesus. Eventually that church closed its doors. Never allow yourself to place anything or anyone else before the Lord. Use this time as a single man, wisely.
Be sure you are sold-out to your first love, the Lord Jesus—and trust Him to guide you and create the reality in your life that honors Him. Give the Lord your all first, and only get involved with a woman who loves the Lord and places Him first in her life. The best marriages I have seen are those based a mutual love and devotion for Christ, while working together in some sort of ministry for Him.
If you are living day-to-day thinking you have lack in your life, you will struggle with discontent to your own detriment. Faithfully mediate on the Scriptures and you will be strengthened. Accept Christ’s gift of deep abiding fellowship and walk with Him in a new more determined way. He can renew your mind and change you perception from the lack you feel in your life and fill that void with His abundant joy.
You sound like a very wonderful young man with a lot to offer the Lord and to the world. Ask Him to guide you and pray for wisdom and patience. You still have plenty of time to get married. Resolve to trust completely in Christ for your life’s purpose and yield your will to His will for you. We know that God sovereignly works all things according to His will:
“In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:11-12).
The Lord also sovereignly planned what shall come to pass and he carries out His plans:
“Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things which have not been done,
saying, ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure’” (Isaiah 46:10).
You are in an ideal situation. You have not corrupted yourself by getting involved with relationships that would take you away from Christ. You are self-sufficient with your business and you are healthy. You are blessed!
Count all your blessings and always be grateful for everything the good Lord has given you. In this country sometimes we forget just how blessed we are, and take our lifestyles for granted. An attitude of gratitude is so important; it shows our Lord how much we appreciate Him.
Hold on to your virtue and trust that whatever the Lord has in mind for you is His best. Let Him be your best Buddy and think of your life as a great adventure with blessings upon blessings. Give Him your all. Start your day with praising the Lord and get excited about even the smallest blessings.
“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-17).
Dear friend, I wish you the very best. Please keep in touch and let me know how you are doing as time passes, and always keep this Scripture in mind:
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
In God’s love,
“Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness Delight yourself in the LORD; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He will do it” (Proverbs 37:3-5).
September 12, 2016
I am writing because I have a dilemma. I accepted Jesus as my Savior when I was 11 (I am now 44) and have been following Him ever since, was baptized as an adult. I am now a mom with three young children (10, 8, 4), and I am married to a Catholic man (he does not attend church anymore because he is “disgusted with the changes.”
He attended so we could be married (he made a very big deal about being married there) and then again so our two older children could be “infant baptized.”
I have been bringing them to a Christ-centered and Bible believing church. I have invited him several times to church usually because of something to do with our children. Well, fast-forward to now—my older children have been going to church and Sunday school with me to AWANA, where I teach and to Christian school all their lives.
Both kids have accepted Christ as their Savior and have asked to be baptized. I keep praying for my husband.
Our church is offering a Believer’s Baptism next month and both kids have asked to be baptized and I believe that they are mature enough to make that decision. So my daughter asked her dad if he would come to our church because she wanted to be baptized. He proceeded to yell and scream at all three of us:
“You were already baptized as babies and you do not need it again, and your mother has disregarded my religion and beliefs.” He went on to say that he wasn’t going to step foot in a Baptist church. Well he made both kids cry, and he said a few other things and I got the kids off to bed, reassuring them they could be baptized if they want, and told them I would talk to him again about it.
I am not sure what I need, just a listening ear or advice. I have been reading your RR column since it started and I enjoy learning what others are going through and how you have helped them and in turn helping themselves.
I know I have support from my family for my kids and of my husband's sister (she left the Catholic church after fifty years). She accepted Christ as her Savior and was baptized about a year ago. I do not think I am wrong for wanting my children to grow up with God and Jesus as then center of their lives, not Catholicism.
I guess I am wondering if I am guiding my children in the right direction, please help if you can.
Your sister in Christ,
The best thing you can do is to keep praying for your husband’s salvation and for peace in the home. It sounds like your children are getting good Christian teaching. But they are about to learn more about the growing pains of life considering that their father does not want to participate in the things that are important to them.
It does not sound like your husband is going to get involved in anything to do with Christianity at this time. At least he has allowed them to attend a Christian church and school. That is a huge plus. You are not wrong in wanting to raise your children the way you are.
But now you are facing the consequences of marrying a non-Christian, which we are cautioned not to do (2 Corinthians 6:14). But I am sure you did the best you could at the time you decided to marry him, and perhaps did not fully understand that we are not to be unequally yoked.
Sadly, the spiritual imbalance in your marriage is prevalent in many marriages today. The best suggestion I can give you is to try to explain to your children that their father is not doing this to hurt them, but that he is quite confused about who God really is.
Maybe you could ask their aunt, who is the former Catholic, to speak with your children and try to give them moral support. Perhaps she can attend their important functions along with others in your family. As their mother, it is important to show Christian love toward their father and not show a lot of anger and disappointment.
It sounds like you are doing a great job raising your children and that they love the Lord. You are in a challenging situation but we serve a great God, and we know He can calm to storms of life. Your efforts will reap many blessings for all of you.
As far as the water baptism, it is not a requirement for salvation. But it is admirable that your children want to be baptized to publically show love and allegiance to the Lord. But they may have to wait until they are older if their father is so strongly against it right now. If his only gripe is that he refuses to get involved, then it might be all right to go forward with the Believer’s Baptism event without him.
Perhaps your husband’s redeemed sister would be willing to carefully speak to him, to see if he might accompany your children when they get baptized. If she cannot get through to him, I think you should drop the idea of trying to get him to participate.
A lot can change with time, especially with fervent prayer. Be grateful that you have been able to raise your children as Christians thus far without much opposition.
Our mighty Lord and Savior is surely looking out for your entire family. My prayer is that this situation will make your husband think more about why he himself does not attend a Catholic church. It sounds like he’s outnumbered in the household with a Bible believing family!
May the Holy Spirit get to your husband soon and open his spiritual eyes so he will come to know the real Jesus of the Bible. Never give-up on your husband; keep praying and believing for his salvation and for peace in your home.
In the meantime, continue being the wonderful wife, mother and believer that you are. Your faithfulness is evident; you are a tremendous blessing to your family. I wish you all the very best.
In God’s love,
“Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven” (Matthew 18:19).
September 5, 2016
Your “Dear Esther” column has been such a blessing, thank you for everything you do.
I am reaching out with something I have been struggling with as a Christian. While raised Catholic, I became born-again while a teenager (I’m now nearing 30-years-old) and attend a non-denominational, biblical-driven church.
I moved to Chicago after graduating college and met my now-husband who is originally from there. We relocated to my home state (in Florida) and both love our new home.
After visiting for the first time, my mother-in-law informed us she is moving here after retirement. This has me concerned. She has a very strong, dominating personality and can be overwhelming.
She visits a couple of times a year and her trips wipe us out; she has an abundance of energy and once she arrives, she has us going non-stop telling us where she wants to go/eat/see. When we try, to establish compromise, she gets upset and acts very childlike.
She has on occasion started yelling and getting nasty when she doesn’t get her way (toward my husband, never me). My husband is very patient -- loving and level headed and stays above the fray when she lashes out. I have a calm, reserved demeanor so her loudness and abrasive manner is difficult for me to handle. I am always respectful and nice but it’s a challenge to say the least.
She is also a devout Catholic who regularly says she is going to convert us back to the Catholic Church and snatch our kids and baptize them once we have them. She insists on always going to her Catholic Church and makes us feel guilty and refuses to come to ours.
We have had (while my husband was present) several conversations about Christianity, and most recently about Israel and their claim to the land. She was saying that most Jews that now live there do not have true Jewish roots and are “pretenders” if you will. And, they are “hard/tough” people.
I quoted Scripture saying how Israel is their God-given land and they are His chosen people and as Christians we should be their biggest supporters and advocates. She then said (much to my surprise) that “The Bible is just a collection of stories compiled by men.”
I couldn't believe that and said, “It’s God’s living Word and it would be impossible for the prophets in the Bible to 100 percent accurately predict the birth, life and death of Jesus, among numerous other examples that are continuing today, if it wasn’t the truth.
My husband does establish boundaries but she tends to bulldoze them and push and push until she gets (enough of) her way. She has been divorced for 25 years and has no desire to meet anyone else. I find it very difficult to be around her for an extended amount of time. We went on vacation together; it was exhausting and my nerves were shot.
I’m worried our marriage will struggle if she moves; she’ll have no support system as she has in Texas and will be a constant presence. My husband and I have a wonderful marriage and get along great. But navigating her demands is taxing and causes stress.
Is it wrong to not encourage her to move here? It’s not like she consulted us in the first place. My husband has said she could help us out once we have kids but I’ve never seen her function in a supporting, helpful manner. She always takes full control and it’s her way or the highway. She can be very sweet and generous but she’s a force to reckon with. She is always welcome to visit, but I am not sure I could handle her full time.
I pray for strength and grace and would greatly appreciate your third-party opinion. I fully believe we are in the end-times and part of me thinks we may not have many years left, but nonetheless I would love your advice. I don’t want to blindly walk into a situation without first thinking through what it could mean for everyone involved.
Thank you for the kind sentiments. I am glad you are blessed by the column. You sound like a very considerate, fair and thoughtful person and no matter how things evolve, it will be all right.
In the secular world it is said that money and in-laws can be the biggest problems in a marriage. Since we have Jesus those matters can be dealt with in a way that goes beyond our natural thinking.
I feel for you. Are you saying that your mother-in-law wants to move in with you and your husband or move to Florida into her own residence very near the two of you?
If at all possible it would best if she had her own home if she does move to your area. From what you are telling me it sounds like the lady is very domineering and this is where your husband will have to “handle” her (even more than he is now). I know you already know this but remember, we are talking about HIS mother. He is never going to see it completely the way you do.
From reading your letter, I think your biggest leverage with your husband and your mother-in-law is your Christian faith. I have one suggestion that would be very non-threatening to your marriage relationship. (I would not mention why you are doing this.)
First, you can say you want to understand more about the Catholic deception for yourself. You don’t have to announce this -- simply start reading and learning more about the Catholic Church. Share with your husband what you are reading. I pray your husband will take an interest in learning more, and then from understanding more about the serious problems with that religion, he might come to the realization that his mother needs to be delivered from her false religion. The Catholic religion has many like her—I am afraid, and it is all pomp and circumstance; ritual upon ritual. Lie upon lie!
Your description of what your mother-in-law thinks of Israel, the Jewish people and how she considers the Bible only a collection of stories written by men and not inspired by God—shows she is in deep spiritual trouble.
Not only is she involved in a false religion, she is clueless about the truths of God’s Word. Hopefully in time you and your husband can enlighten her. The Lord wishes for no one to perish and it sounds like your mother-in-law needs a lot of prayer.
If you and your husband together would do an in-depth study on the serious problems with the Catholic Church to reinforce the fact that his mother is a very lost and confused soul, the seriousness of his mother’s lost condition might sink in (sink into your husband’s mind).
As the spiritual leader of your family it is his obligation to keep your family in a sound and authentic relationship with the Lord and reject ALL other doctrines. How would his mother’s false beliefs affect your children? That is something to seriously consider.
It sounds like you have a little bit of time. You are certainly in a tough position because it is always difficult for a mother/son relationship to be challenged. He can still have a close relationship with her but he needs to lay down the law regarding her Catholic faith.
You can also turn the tables on her (the guilt you mention) by pointing out clear abominations to the Lord, which she most certainly embraces as a Catholic. One of them is praying to Mary. This is a start to try to deal with your situation.
We always want to honor our parents, and the most respectful thing children can do for their parents, is share the true gospel when their parents are lost. Once your mother-in-law realizes that you and your husband are very serious about your Christian faith, that might make her back off considerably all the way around. The guilt should be on her for being involved in a very dangerously deceptive and false religion.
I agree with you that we are very close to the Rapture, especially according to Psalm 90 when we calculate generations. But we can’t be sure. We could be here longer than we want to be. Regardless of your mother-in-law’s overbearing personality, the first best approach is to go right to the heart of the matter where it really counts—the eternal life and death situation of true salvation.
Let me know if this approach might bring your husband to realize how he must be more, strict with her (in a loving way of course). If not, we will try another approach. And as I always say, prayer is the most effective tool. Please pray for the Lord to intervene in this dilemma and for your mother-in-law’s salvation.
If she really gets saved, then she might actually become a lady that you can cope with. If she rejects the salvation message and clings to her false doctrines then perhaps your husband will realize that her increased presence could be a detriment to your marriage.
You sound like a delightful young woman and your husband sounds like a special blessing. I hope you are praying together. The more time you share in the Word of God, the stronger your relationship will be. We live at a time when families are being attacked. Don’t let the devil get a stronghold in your marriage. Reaching out as you have shows you are very conscientious and trying to avoid just that.
The devil always uses weak vessels to try to undermine believers. I see your mother as that weak vessel. But keep giving your concerns over to the Lord and He surely will make a way for all of this to be resolved in a peaceful and satisfactory manner.
And as far as being concerned about her not having a support system other than you and your husband if she does move, many support groups exist for retired folks. It sounds like she can manipulate things to suit her, and that would include finding a support system and new friends in Florida—where a lot of elderly folks are retired.
Jennifer, trust that the Lord will help you with all of this. I am only an email away. Please reach out whenever you need to and I will do my best to get back to you in a timely fashion. Also, please get back to me if you have any questions about what I have said here.
Be confident that with the Lord we always have a way to resolve conflicts.
In God’s love,
“Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken” (Psalm 55:22).
August 29, 2016
I would like the thank you first for your ministry of counsel and teaching. I read a lot of your responses to different people and have been blessed by your ability to help apply Scripture to our circumstances and discern what the Lord is saying to the church today.
I’m writing to kind of get some things off my chest. I have been born-again for almost 9 years since I was a freshman in high school. Most people my age lose their faith, I found mine during this time! I have served in my local church helping in praise and worship ministry, teaching and preaching, doing what I feel God has called me to do. But that’s not why I’m writing to you.
Lately, there has been a lot going on in the world and we see the signs of the times. This excites me because I eagerly await the Lord’s return. My church preaches a lot on prophecy that many others wouldn’t dare preach because many churches don’t hold fast to the faith any longer.
However, now there is a prevalent teaching called the Mandela Effect making the rounds on different news outlets and on YouTube. The latest “finding” is that somehow through demonic power, Satan has been able to change the Scriptures. Mostly as far as I can tell they just talk about the KJV but I’m not sure.
I know in my spirit and through what the Bible says that His Word can never change. Heaven and earth would pass away before He would allow His Word to. I don’t know however, how to refute and convince people that God’s Word is true and has never changed. Let God be true and every man a liar. It has gotten so far as to convince certain leaders that this demonic doctrine is the truth.
I need discernment and guidance and how to face this to ensure that God’s truth prevails and God’s people remain in that truth. I was just wondering if you may have heard of this deception and what you feel I should do about it in my local church. It grieves me to think that we would go so far as to believe in this. Ironically, they use Scripture to support this.
Awaiting your response,
Thank you for your letter and your kind words of appreciation. I think it is wonderful that you are so grounded in your faith. God has great plans for you. We need more young men like you!
I am familiar with the Mandela Effect talk. Don’t believe it. It is the latest craze which is full of holes. People can use and twist Scripture to suit their needs. This is what all cults and false teachers do. The first time I heard about the Mandela Effect I was listening to a nationally syndicated radio show.
The host of the show had bought into the Mandela Effect “teaching” and I thought she was going to go into some sort of seizure. She sounded extremely panicked about this Mandela Effect theory. She had totally bought into it and she was misquoting all kinds of Scripture, saying when she had read some verses previously—they had different content, etc.
She also claimed that this “effect” was able to be found in other books which she opened from her bookshelf. I am not kidding when I say that I thought she was going to have a seizure; she was extremely upset, and actually believed the Scripture in her Bible had been mysteriously changed by the devil himself. (This is also a woman who claims to be a Christian but is always denouncing Israel and making excuses for the so-called Palestinians.)
This radio host obviously does not know her Bible and she lacks sound discernment.
Unfortunately, she has a lot of listeners and can influence a huge number of people all over the country. It does not take much for a false teaching to spread like wildfire on a dry Western day.
I recently read an article on this topic titled, “No CERN and the Mandela Effect Has Not Changed the King James Bible.”
Not everything in the article is biblically sound; the author is confused about the reference he makes to Gog-Magog found in book of Revelation, which I have not included in these excerpts. But the information about the Mandela Effect in the article is quite good. I will share with you and our readers some excerpts from it. You will read some examples of how words and ideas become misconstrued:
The Mandela Effect is a theory put forth by writer and “paranormal consultant” Fiona Broome who theorizes that false memories are in fact glimpses into parallel worlds with different timelines.
The phrase was coined after African president Nelson Mandela who many people claimed to remembered him dying in prison back in the 1980s. Of course, Nelson Mandela did not die in prison in the 1980s but more recently in the year 2013.
Here are some examples that Mandela Effect advocates say were “changed” when time travelers used the CERN reactor go into the past which resulted in inadvertent “changes in the matrix”:
The children’s book Berenstain Bears used to be called Berenstein Bears. Billy Graham’s funeral was televised even though as of this writing he is still very much alive. Jif peanut butter used to be called Jiffy but now it’s not.
All of this sounds silly, but this is all believed by a rapidly growing number of people who think it’s true. Many years ago a librarian said that one of her favorite kid’s books was the Berenstain Bears. The spelling then said “stain” instead of “stein. ” [The original spelling was “stain.” It was never “stein.”]
People call Jif, Jiffy peanut butter because they are confusing it with Skippy peanut butter.
Billy Graham has been in ill health for a number of years now, and his absence naturally makes people assume he passed away when in fact he has not. I could give more example but I think you get the point.
GOD’S PROMISE TO PRESERVE HIS WORD FOR ALL GENERATIONS STILL STANDS
“The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.” (Psalm 12:6, 7 KJV)
There is no machine that man can create that is capable of undoing the smallest of the promises of God, much less to go back in time and change what He Himself has preserved. So with that, let’s look at the main example where Mandela Effect advocates say CERN time travel has changed the God’s preserved word.
THE LION SHALL LIE DOWN WITH THE LAMB: Everyone knows that the Bible says that, in the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ, that the “lion shall lie down with the lamb,” right? But a quick trip to Isaiah shows that IS NOT the case. How can that be?:
“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.” (Isaiah 11:6 KJV)
The Mandela Effect people, tout this verse as the number one example of how CERN time travel has “changed the Bible.” But is it so? The answer is, of course, no it is not so. Isaiah 11 has always said it will be the “wolf and the lamb” lying down together.
The problem is not many Christians spend a whole lot of time actually reading the Bible and memorizing its passages. Isaiah rightly said “wolf” and not “lion.”
Combine that with a lack of Bible study of what God’s Word actually says, and there you have it. Revelation 5:5-6 (KJV) tells you all about the real Lion and Lamb. Jesus is both the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, as well as the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world. It makes no sense for Isaiah to have Jesus lying down with Himself. But the wolf with the lamb is Bible prophecy.
Now, we could do what we just did with all the rest of the examples given by the Mandela Effect people—to say that the King James Bible has been changed. God’s preserved word has not been changed, neither will it ever be. But there is something that has changed which I think might be the real Mandela Effect.
The amount of time that people are now spending on social media, sharing stories, memes [cultural ideas] and events from the day has skyrocketed. Slick looking satire sites with fake news, like the Babylon Bee, present satire and phony “news” but in a very convincing manner. On a near daily basis I reach out to friends who have inadvertently shared an fake article thinking it was real.
Facebook participants have watched countless times as a fake story gets shared over hundreds of groups on Facebook, adopted by thousands of people, leading to outrage over the article’s premise but completely fake at the same time. Yet everyone knows that “it’s true” nonetheless. Do you see what’s happening here?
We have become saturated in news, both real and fake, all delivered to us by the pulsing, glowing eye of our monitors, tablets and smart devices. Our eyes and brains are being bombarded by light and sounds and words. The end result being our brains are being rewired, and our sense of reality is changing. But it is not due to the CERN reactor and time travel disrupting the Matrix.
We are doing it to ourselves. Want to see how addicted you’ve really become?
Just trying unplugging from everything online, including this website, for a mere 30 days and see how you feel. See if you can even last that long. Maybe you better start off with just a week. How about 72 hours? 
Joe, people are creating their own Mandela Effect. Group think is a big problem in our society, which includes many in the Christian church. And the excessive participation in social media can become a harbinger for confusion and contribute to a distortion of reality. Social Media fosters a hotbed of opinionated information overload.
But you do have discernment, Joe, because you already know that God’s Word cannot be changed in any way, and changing it cannot hold up to biblical scrutiny. Many people inject their own ideas into Scripture; this method of Bible interpretation has been going on for thousands of years.
Injecting an idea into Scripture is called the eisegesis method of Bible interpretation, which is highly subjective and changes the intended meaning of the text itself. Using the eisegesis method means the interpreter is not led to his or her conclusions by following the text but rather inserts his or her own (flawed) ideas into it.
I hope after reading my response you will have a better idea of what is going on with the Mandela Effect, which is surely infiltrating some Christian ministries. This “movement” is also an indication that the apostasy that Jesus warned us about in the end-times is growing.
Stay close to Jesus, Joe, and you will not be affected by the false teachings that are so prevalent everywhere, today. Perhaps you can share what has been presented here with others to try to enlighten them. But remember, sometimes no matter what you say—some people cannot be reached.
Use your ministry gifts with those who are receptive to the truth and let go of those who insist on living prideful lives of spiritual blindness. Pray for them and give them over to the Lord. Only He can change people. It is His battle to fight, not yours.
God bless you for your faithfulness to the Lord’s teachings. Reach out again any time and let us know how you are doing.
In God’s love,
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
August 22, 2016
Why do you think some people don’t want to talk about the end times and the things that will take place (Rapture, Tribulation, Millennium, etc.)? I have so many family members who profess to be Christians, but don’t want to have any discussion at all about the end times. They always say the same thing—“It doesn’t matter, we just have to be ready.”
Usually, they will be the ones to begin the discussion on something biblical or spiritual, but if the conversation even drifts to the Rapture or anything else prophetic, there is an abrupt, often angry response. I am always caught off guard. I guess I shouldn’t be. I think discussing the end times makes one more “urgent” in witnessing.
You ask an excellent question. I have asked the same question myself, many times. How can anyone who loves the Lord not be interested in anything and everything in Scripture, especially things relating to these last days? Prophecy covers about one-third of the Bible.
I know a number of people whom I believe love the Lord but do not want to touch the Scriptures that point to end-times prophecy. They are very busy living their everyday lives but seem to be somewhat oblivious to the vast number of prophetic Scriptures playing out before our very eyes.
Some people have the Scriptures completely misinterpreted and don’t understand that Israel is God’s chosen nation. They think the Christian church has replaced Israel, which of course is a false teaching. Large movements are underway teaching that this world is going to get better by Christians getting heavily involved in the matters of the world, and then Jesus will return.
But that is not at all what the Scriptures teach. The Bible says the world is going to get worse and worse, the church will be removed in the Rapture before all hell breaks loose (sudden destruction) and it will take the Lord Himself to save the world at the end of the seven-year Tribulation. This world is without a doubt headed for judgment and very tough, frightening times.
I have heard a number of people even deny the truth of the Rapture because they don’t study their Bibles. At some point they heard someone considered an “authority” say that the Rapture is a fabrication. Yet these same believers seem to understand many other things about the Bible. Far too many people place their faith in mankind’s teachings and not in God’s inherent Word.
Many believers are genuinely confused. They have had little or no teaching at church from their pastors or Bible teachers on the important topic of prophecy. Many people accept anything they hear from a Bible teacher, mentor or a pastor without studying the Scriptures for themselves (as the Lord commands).
Some people may be opposed to discussing the end-times because they cannot contribute anything to the discussion. They have never studied the prophetic Scriptures; so rather than sound foolish or admit a need to learn—they would rather throw up a barrier and change the subject all together. Letting pride override an opportunity to gain wisdom and knowledge is never a good thing.
“Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).
Far too many people want to be spoon fed by others, which is a dangerous way to learn the Scriptures. Some Bible teachers and pastors do an excellent job but many simply regurgitate and repackage what they have heard all their lives from others, and do not base their sermons or teachings directly from the entire Bible. They tend to pick and choose leaving out many important Scriptures. This is how false teachings and confusion have entered the church.
Or some come up with new doctrines apart from the Bible and introduce even more confusion and false teachings, promoting their way to personal glory by insisting that they have discovered hidden meanings to some passages—“new” missing prophecies which are nothing more than hyperbole. A “wow” factor penetrates the Christian world and careful biblical scrutiny is replaced with man-invented dogma that is nothing more than speculation filled with loopholes that do not make sense.
People are more charmed by those who know how to promote themselves and their ideas, rather than taking time to search the Scriptures themselves, and realize the ideas being bantered about are very often nothing more than personal interpretations, and not biblical truth.
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”
Many Bible colleges and seminaries do not teach Bible prophecy. They frequently teach from books and Bible concordances written by men who have overlooked the prophetic Scriptures. Discernment seems to be a real problem not only when identifying the true teachings of the Bible—but life in general. Decisions and choices are made without carefully thinking things through. The strength and depth of a person’s day-to-day relationship/walk with the Lord determines their degree of sound discernment, for the most part.
Another factor to consider is that many people shy away from talking about prophecy because of false predictions. So many people have made one prediction after another about when the Rapture will happen or that they are having visions and dreams about things, which have never transpired. I have book written in the 1800s wherein the author was convinced the Rapture was about to happen at any moment and that his generation was the last.
These false prophecies discredit the true Christian church. Rather than seeing these false teachings and predictions as part of biblical prophecy coming true, believers who do not fully study and understand the Scriptures see false prophets, teachers and their failed prophecies as only a problem for the church, and do not recognize that Bible prophecy actually coming to pass.
If the same people who shy away from learning and discussing the last days prophecies would understand that Jesus Himself said that false teachers and prophets would be prevalent in the last days—they would see that all those false predictions are a sure sign that we are living in the last days—as written in God’s Word.
Just because false predictions made by false prophets and teachers exist, it does not mean that the actual prophetic Word of God in the Bible is not correct. All it means is that some people for whatever reasons have disseminated their own ideas, predictions, perceptions and not biblical ones. On the Internet you can find dozens and dozens if not hundreds of false predictions that seem to feed upon one other.
Another aspect and I think, one the biggest reasons why some believers do not want to deal with the last days, is because they are more attached to this world rather than Jesus. Church attendance only, and perhaps some social gatherings take the place of a true relationship with Jesus Christ and spiritual growth.
A person can be a believer but never get past the early stages of their rebirth or they may not be truly be born-again. They might carry a Bible around but rarely read it. Many factors can play into why so many people want to ignore one-third of the Bible. And this is where it gets a bit dicey…
We never want to sound accusatory or wrongly judgmental, but a personal inventory of how deeply some people are committed to the Lord must come into play in this matter. Is a person truly committed to the Lord—or to his or her own agenda? Do professing believers really want Jesus to come back soon or are they too busy living lives as carnal social Christians?
I have spoken to some people who will talk about God in a general way but then when it comes to any in-depth discussions they get uncomfortable and even say, “Well, what if everyone is wrong? We have to plan our lives as if Jesus isn’t coming back soon.”
The Scriptures do teach that we need to live responsibly (to stay occupied) but that we must also watch and be alert. If someone actually states, “We must be ready,” that is a good thing but in order to be ready, we must know what time it is and what season in which we live. We are commanded to watch and be aware. Those who say, “Prophecy doesn’t matter” are wrong. It does matter, because God says so. He commands us to be aware:
“Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36).
“Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is. Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning—And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!” (Mark 13:33, 35, 37).
“So we have the prophetic word made more sure,to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:19).
Because there is a lack of sound biblical leadership in the majority of churches discipleship has not been taught. Every church should have classes in discipleship. Sharing the gospel is to be the first priority but the Lord urges that we are to study the entire Bible, and not just pick and choose from it. We are to be ready at all times to answer questions about the Scriptures, which include end-times passages.
“But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” (1 Peter 3:15).
I can identify another matter that might cause people to not involve themselves in Bible prophecy, because it is evident from websites on the Internet and material disseminated all over the world—that some teachers of Bible prophecy are not balanced in their approach to teaching the prophetic Scriptures.
Some seem to forget that the gospel is first and foremost to be an obvious part of any prophetic teaching. Instead, a salvation verse might be very briefly added at the end of someone’s lecture, book or article. Glory to God is not apparent; the work is more about the Bible teacher, author or preacher.
Some people who are rightly bothered by this type of unbalanced teaching may without meaning to, become unbalanced in their own way of accepting the Scriptures by omitting Bible prophecy all together.
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
We cannot be sure what causes people to behave in certain ways, but if a person is unwilling to learn all of Scripture, including one-third of the Bible dealing with prophecy, then they are not giving their best to the Lord. Some people go through the motions of Christianity by heavy church involvement or learning only parts of the Bible.
I am personally convinced that some professing Christians do not really believe all of what is written in the Bible. They are not truly surrendered to Christ and some most likely are not truly born-again—but outwardly go through the motions as if they are.
Whitney, we must pray that all believers will place the Lord and the entire Word of God first in their lives and come to understand that the prophetic Word of God is for encouragement—to act as a guide for the signs of the times, and a warning to us so we can be better prepared for His return.
And I agree, by understanding biblical prophecy’s urgency factor we can be a more effective witness to the unsaved by pointing out the prophetic Scriptures that far too many “believers” choose to dismiss.
God bless you for your faithfulness,
“For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4).
August 15, 2016
Let me first state that I know I am a sinner, I’ve perfected the art of sinning I guess you can say. I struggle every day with sin. I do consider myself a Christian.
Let me just get to me. I’m a 55 year old man, been married twice in my life. My first wife ran off on me with a friend of mine while I was serving in the Army overseas in Korea. We divorced in 1993, in 1999 I remarried another woman.
I know this is bad to say but, I wasn’t totally in love with this woman, but she was, and still is a wonderful woman, she really takes good care of my needs. For this, I married her, I figured as time went along, I would grow to love this woman as a husband should love his wife.
Years have passed, we’ve been married now for 17 years, just had our anniversary. But, it’s not been an easy road. I have made mistakes along the way. It has been years, 8 to be precise, since we’ve had a physical relationship. It’s just as much, if not more, my fault than hers. About three years ago, I cheated on her.
This is a shame that hangs over my head even to this day, I have a hard time of forgiving myself for doing this to her. But it just wasn’t a onetime thing, I carried on a relationship with this other woman for some time, two years I must admit.
I have fallen in love with this other woman. That’s a fact, it’s not a lustful attraction, this other woman is everything I’ve ever dreamed I’ve ever wanted in a woman. If I try to tell you the type of connection I have with her it would not even be believable.
I told my wife about the affair, I don’t know what I expected to happen. She took it pretty hard. But you know what, to this day she still stays by my side. It hasn’t been easy for her but she’s still there. I don't really know why.
My problem is this: I do love my wife. But I have read in the Bible, that we are to love our wives as much as Jesus loves the Church. Like I said, I do love my wife, but I have no passion, no desire for her. Since I’ve told her about the affair, we’ve tried to be intimate, but my heart is just not there.
Yes, I’m still very much in love with this other woman and in my heart, that’s where I want to be. But I also know how divorce is not favored by God, just as adultery, just as lying, I could go on and on of all the sins I’m guilty of. But I cannot change the way I feel.
I love my wife, I hate the thought of hurting her again, and again. I've caused her so much pain in the last year, and yeah, it breaks my heart that I have done so.
I have prayed to God, but I hear no answer. I fear that I’m so deep in sin that God has turned away from me. I’m asking God for the path I should take. The other night, my wife, who has very little family told me that she only has her mom, brother, and me in her life. I have a big family, and they are like family to her as well. I also have two grand babies by my first wife.
I ask myself, if I could probably make my wife happy for the rest of my life. I don’t know if I can ever have a physical relationship with her again, that’s a problem. But other than that, I could probably make her happy. But what about me?
Am I to spend the rest of my life being unhappy, making someone else happy? I read once that I’m responsible for my own happiness, I’m not responsible for others happiness. But I have taken responsibility for her happiness.
Does God want me to stay in a relationship for those reasons? Does He want me to sacrifice my life, my happiness for her happiness? Does God want me to be happy? Like I said, I’ll be 56 in a couple of months, I hope to get a good 20 to 30 years left out of my life. I feel if I stay with my wife those years will be shortened.
I’m lost, I’ve turned to God, but I hear nothing. I love God, I want nothing more to be a good servant to God. I want happiness in my life. I want love in my life. I want to be with a woman that I love so very much and want to share with her everything in my life.
I’m lost. I don’t know what or where to go. I pray, but hear nothing. What does God want of me? I know I have brought this all on myself. I can’t go back in time and change anything, I can’t change the way my heart feels. What is to become of me?
Thank you for reading,
Dear Miserably Unhappy,
I have read your letter a number of times, and I am left wondering what kind of commitment you have to the Lord Jesus. I don’t think any of your problems will be resolved until you decide if you want to fully serve the Lord, which means placing Him first in your life.
This would be a good time to reevaluate your position in Christ. Do you lead your wife in prayer? Do you attend worship services and Bible studies together? Do you spend time with Christian friends who take their faith seriously?
I also think it would be appropriate for you to seek out a male pastor who knows his Bible and speak to him about your concerns. Your issues would be best handled by a strong male pastor or Bible teacher.
It sounds to me like you have a decision to make whether you will die to self and live for Christ or if you will become part of the lukewarm modern Laodicean church. This is what Jesus has to say about that church:
“So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot I will vomit you out of My mouth” (Revelation 3:16).
I will remind you that this life is very temporary. Do you want to spend eternity with the Lord in a place that is so awesome, that all the “feel good” pleasures of this life cannot even be compared to? Or, do you want to live for the pleasures of this life and risk your eternal destiny?
I understand people change over the years, but I see no reason why your wife should not have your total commitment. You say you love her but have no passion for her. Do you have passion for Jesus Christ? He had passion for you when He allowed Himself to be relentlessly tortured and then hanged on the Roman cross for your sins.
Godly love is not only a feeling. Love is a commitment backed up with action, it is a choice. We choose to indulge in the flesh or we choose to be guided by the Spirit of God.
Yes, men are to love their wives as Christ loves the Church. That love is a selfless, sacrificial love. Christ put His Church and all of humanity first and sacrificed for her on the Cross. That is what He expects from a husband—to place his wife before himself.
If you are still cheating on your wife, then you are digging your own grave. You say you have fallen “in love” with the other woman. Even if you are no longer having a physical relationship with her, you are committing adultery in your heart.
Can you really respect a woman that would engage in an affair with a married man (you!)? Could this other woman really respect you knowing you are married but cheating?
If you do not want to live with your wife anymore, then you must be honest. But you must also continue to provide for her monetarily because she has done nothing wrong to warrant a divorce. Seventeen years is a lengthy time to spend with someone you don’t seem to be committed to.
I hope you will chose Christ over your own perceived “needs.” Reading your Bible and getting to a male pastor for counseling is one way to try to get on the right path.
A common mistake many people make is to see how they can fit Jesus and their “faith” into their lives. It should be the other way around. Jesus should come first, and then we automatically make better choices.
The way we live our lives reflects our relationship with the Christ. Unless a renewing of the mind takes place the flesh can take over one’s life to the point where you are right now. A true conversion reaps good fruit.
A true Spirit-filled believer has a changed life of honor and obedience unto the Lord which becomes evident for all to see. “Feelings” change to reflect the Lord’s teachings and a desire to please Him takes precedence above all else.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2).
Until we genuinely surrender our lives to Christ, and really get what that means, then life will be an ongoing rollercoaster ride. When we don’t know the teachings of Christ and truly apply them to our lives, we can get stuck on ourselves and stuck in a pattern of self-destruction. As believers, it is our responsibility to learn God’s Word.
You have expressed concern that the Lord does not answer your prayers. The Lord can and does turn away from prayers for many reasons.
“He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination” (Proverbs 28:9).
Notice in the Scripture I just cited we learn that God will not honor prayers if we turn away from the truth—by not studying His Word, and getting to know and understand it. Prayer and Bible study go hand in hand. In order to have true fellowship with Jesus, prayer and Bible study are what He asks of His followers.
Reasons for Unanswered Prayer:
1. Refusing to hear truth (Proverbs 28: 9).
2. Refusing to humble one self (2 Chronicles 7:14).
3. Forsaking God 2 (2 Chronicles 15:2).
4. Provoking God (Deuteronomy 3:26).
5. Hardheartedness (Zechariah 7:12-13).
6. Lack of charity (Proverbs 21:13).
7. Regarding iniquity in the heart (Psalm 66:18).
8. Wrong motives (James 4:3).
9. Dishonor of companion (1 Peter 3:7).
10. Unbelief (Matthew 17:20-21; 21:22).
11. Sin (James 4:1-5; John 9:31; Isaiah 59:2).
12. Public flaunting of prayer to appear holy (Matthew 6:5).
13. Vain repetitions (Matthew 6:7).
14. Unforgiveness (Matt. 6:14-15; Mark. 11:25-26).
15. Hypocrisy (Luke 18:9-14).
16. Being discouraged (Luke. 18:1-8).
17. Worry and anxiety (Philippians 4:6).
18. Doubting––double-mindedness (James 1:5-8).
Along with seeking out a good pastor, I strongly recommend that you get very serious about studying and learning the Word of God—so it becomes an intrinsic part of you. You will not be able to play games with yourself and genuinely serve the living God once you really understand His teachings. Marriage is sacred to God. So much so that He even calls His Church His “Bride.”
Once you really begin to absorb the Scriptures, and once a person is truly born-again by the Spirit of God, his or her perception of this earthly life will change. I pray that will happen for you and that you will realize this “love” you have for the other woman should be abandoned.
In the book of Revelation we learn about the Seven Churches that Jesus specifically addressed.
The Ephesian church was initially a good church but there came a point where their love for the Lord weakened. They had left their “first love.” Jesus commended the believers of Ephesus for their work and their patience. He applauded them for not tolerating evil teachings and for courageously calling out evil men who claimed to be apostles.
Faithful believers in the Ephesian church did not allow false apostles and false teachers to mingle with them. They were fundamentalists who held fast to the truth and did not compromise their relationships with the Lord.
Even though the Ephesian church had many strong believers who fought the good fight (1 Timothy 6:12), some slowly fell away and left their first love—the Lord Jesus.
“But I have this against thee, that thou didst leave thy first love. Remember therefore whence thou art fallen, and repent and do the first works; or else I come to thee, and will move thy candlestick out of its place, except thou repent” (Revelation 2:4-5).
The churches of today would do well to emulate the forthright convictions of the Ephesian church members who did not leave or fall away from their commitment to Jesus.
As leaving one’s first love for someone new, a death blow is dealt to a relationship; the same is true of our relationship with the Lord. Many Christians leave their first love of Jesus by becoming distracted by the “pleasures” of this world and become too “busy” with work, family, hobbies, entertainment or other interests.
Instead of putting Jesus first, many believers place Christ last in their daily lives. When we leave our first love (the Lord), our testimony is greatly weakened or destroyed all together. A going through the motions “Christianity” replaces an authentic relationship with the living Savior.
The believers in the church of Ephesus had not totally left their first love, but their service to the Lord had become impersonal, ritualistically formal and perfunctory. (Sounds like your attitude toward your wife.) Their dedication and devotion to the Lord had fallen to a very low level, and the Holy Spirit was no longer in control.
Jesus urged and commanded the assembly of the Ephesian church to remember from where they had fallen and to repent. If they did not do as Jesus admonished, He promised that He would remove their church. Sadly, they did not repent and the light of that church went dark some time later.
Is Jesus first in your life? Is He your first love? If you find you are losing interest in Him and are no longer as committed to Jesus as you once were, reconciliation can begin today. If you recognize that you have been slipping away from the Lord, He can—without a doubt, restore your love for Him; and bring joy to your marriage by understanding His precepts and living for Him.
All you have to do is cry out to Him and resolve to walk with Him and not away from Him. Jesus promised to never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). All believers should do the same for Him.
I hope you will think carefully about my suggestions and that you will take the steps necessary to heal your life and your marriage.
No one is guaranteed tomorrow. Any one of us could take our last breath at any moment. Please think about that.
I wish you and your wife the very best.
In God’s love,
“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies” (Proverbs 31:10).
August 8, 2016
I know that God forgives and forgets our sins, but how do we? If our sins or decisions in life have caused others pain, how do we forgive ourselves and move on? If those people do not want to even hear an apology, what are we to do? I also worry that I have hurt their spiritual walk when I think of the verse that says we need to forgive or God won’t forgive us.
I would never want to put anyone in that position but fear my past decision has done just that. I feel this is keeping me frozen in guilt and hindering my witnessing about God’s love and saving grace to others. I know time is and we are nearing the Rapture so I’m trying to get the word out, but feel I’m in a battle with my past. Any suggestions?
Self-forgiveness is one of the hardest things, especially for those who are truly growing in the Lord and take their faith seriously. No relationship can evolve without forgiveness and repentance. Once we are saved and understand the enormous struggles people have in this corrupt world, our compassion should grow—along with the desire to please the Lord and love others. It certainly sounds like you have reached that point.
The first thing we can do is try our best to make right the wrongs we have inflicted upon others. If you hurt someone in any way, go to them and apologize and then make restitution. Once you do that you will find it much easier to forgive yourself. If the person you wronged does not want to hear an apology from you, you can write your apology and mail it to them. Making an apology is important whether it is in person or by mail.
“Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23-24).
By attempting to communicate by whichever method seems most appropriate, you will have said what needs to be said and you can move forward. Pray that the Lord will touch the person you are trying to make amends to, and that He will give that person a sense of acceptance.
If the person ignores you or refuses to accept your apology, then you must rest assured that you have done your part. Everyone makes mistakes and it is those who make a point of trying to make reparations, they are doing the right thing and honoring the Lord.
Jesus commanded us to forgive others in the Disciple’s Prayer (Matthew 6:12). Once we do that there is nothing more we can do. We cannot change a person’s heart, attitude or make anyone love us. In our walk with the Lord we will meet many people.
Some are sincere and devoted believers and some are not. Those who carry anger and malice in their hearts toward others are either spiritual infants or unsaved. How a person responds and treats another says a lot about the condition of their relationship with the Lord. As I have said many times, we cannot change people but God can.
On this earth there is not one person alive who at some time has not offended another. As far as hindering a person’s spiritual walk, once we have apologized and made our amends we have done our part. We are not responsible for how a person responds or acts.
Keep in mind that the devil and his demonic armies are experts are making us feel guilty and want to keep us feeling emotionally paralyzed so we don’t share the gospel and become useless to God.
Don’t let this happen to you. As long as you have reached out, repented and done everything you can to address any harm you may have brought upon others, then you are not guilty. It would be beneficial for you to focus on some Scriptures dealing especially with forgiveness.
This guilt you are feeling is essentially crossing over into the area of fear. Fear can totally immobilize us.
“For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15).
We need not fear when God is our helper:
So we may boldly say: “The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5-6).
It sounds like you know in your head that the Lord has forgiven you—so please take that to heart as well, so you can fully receive His blessings. Also, moving forward has to do with trust. Do we really trust the Lord to work in a situation after we have done everything humanly possible?
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
The Lord is always faithful. His mercies are new every morning:
“Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I hope in Him!” (Lamentations 3:22-24).
We are to always place our hope and trust in the Lord. When we mediate day and night on His Word we will no longer be pulled to and fro. In Him we are new creations and by His stripes we are healed. What a marvelous and awesome God we serve. In Christ we are made free, we are no longer enslaved to the past or the ways of the world. The Lord tells us to let go of the past:
“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you” (Philippians 3:12-15).
Regardless of the circumstances (the details will vary and differ), our best and only solution is to take the Word of God and use it as He has instructed us to, and day by day in God’s strength—through His grace—He will heal us from whatever ails us.
My struggling friend, you are not alone. At times we all struggle with various issues and the answer is always the same. We must wholeheartedly trust the Lord that He will intervene and take care of every last detail. Our job is to stay faithful to Him and grow in His Word.
Let the Holy Spirit take over and give you the peace you need. The peace of God comes through praying in faith and studying His Holy Word. Praise Him and thank Him in all things. The more you praise and worship the Lord the more at peace you will be.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
Keep your mind focused on Him and not on the present or past circumstances, and you will be strengthened:
“The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You. “Trust in the LORD forever, for in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock” (Isaiah 25:3-4).
Please take great comfort knowing that Christ died for the very reason you are grieving, for your self-guilt and remorse, for all the sin in our lives—that is why our great Lord and Savior died on the cross in our place. He does not wish for us to go through life bogged down by our past mistakes.
I will leave you with some Scriptures to encourage you, verses relating to forgiveness. Please study them: Isaiah 1:18, 44:22-23; Psalm 32:1-2, 32:5, 103:12; Colossians 1:13-14; Ephesians 1:7-8.
Decide today to let go of the past, you cannot change any of it. Begin today to give your all to the Lord and He will set you free from the chains that are keeping you from living fully in His joy.
God bless you and strengthen you. Keep reaching out to Him. His comfort, His merciful and forgiving heart is always near. Don’t let the enemies of God steal your joy.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:1).
In God’s love, Esther
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).
August 1, 2016
I am a relatively new believer in Christ having just accepted him as my Lord and Savior this past August. The Rapture Ready website actually led me to Christ after having been raised a Catholic all of my 16 years of life.
As such, I am feeling the pull between the varied opinions on Scripture. I have given up my false Catholic beliefs based on these Scriptural proofs found on the Rapture Ready website and feel most pulled to believe the pre-millennial and Pre-Tribulation Rapture point of view.
I feel a bit trapped in that I am the only one my family that I know of to have actually been spiritually born-again and to have been saved by Jesus Christ. I don’t have another person with the same beliefs to talk to and to go to for support. I feel myself fighting in my head against this world, the flesh, and Satan.
Satan keeps planting doubt in my head and telling me that Jesus won’t come, there isn’t any Rapture, and that God doesn’t exist. I know in my heart, that Jesus is coming and He is my Lord and Savior who died for my sins on the cross, that Rapture will happen, and that God does exist and that He is a loving God.
It is just so hard keep positive and to know the truth. Therefore, I am writing this email to you for comfort and encouragement. I also have a few questions. One of the things claimed by the Catholic Church is the presence of Jesus’ body and blood in the wine and bread in communion.
My priest usually cites the times in the Gospel of John when Jesus says, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat of the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life and I will raise them up on the last day” (John 6:53-54).
From what I read on this topic on the Rapture Ready website about this topic is that this is meant to be taken metaphorically, but I am confused, because the Rapture Ready website holds to interpreting Scripture literally, where applicable.
If this is not meant to be taken literally, what tells you this and what does this passage actually mean? Another question is which Day of the Lord is referred to in the many references to it in Scripture? The Pre-Tribulation Rapture and pre-millennial doctrine seem to refer to multiple days of judgment and comings of the Lord.
This point was addressed in an anti-dispensationalist article I was reading and it was something that confused me before then, too. Another thing the anti-dispensationalist article said was that the Pre-Tribulation Rapture and pre-millennial doctrine promotes multiple ways of salvation and multiple judgment days, something the author says disproves this doctrine based on what he has found in the Bible.
So, like I mentioned before, the ideas laid out on the Rapture Ready website seem to fit and feel right in my heart, but I need encouragement. I ask for links to articles proving these ideas and for you, to pray for me.
I also ask for a connection to somewhere that I will be able to correspond with fellow believers, if such a thing exists. I will continue to pray to the Holy Spirit for discernment and to Jesus, that he may still my soul, and show me the way.
Thanks for your help.
May the Lord come soon!
I am glad you reached out and that you found salvation in the Lord by reading the information on Rapture Ready. It is wonderful that you are serious about your faith and asking important questions. You sound very mature for your age.
I would ignore the article you mention that tries to discredit the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. Sometimes Rapture Ready has some articles that are simply there to show the opposing views of others.
The Day of the Lord is in reference to the Tribulation. The Day of the Lord begins with the Tribulation years. At the end of the seven-year Tribulation Jesus returns with His saints and judges the nations at Armageddon.
There is only one way of salvation, through Jesus Christ alone, and there is one judgment after the Rapture for believers (Bema Seat judgment) when believers give an account of their lives face to face with Messiah Jesus.
The judgment seat of Christ does not determine our salvation. We know that was resolved forever by His sacrifice on the cross on our behalf (1 John 2:2 and John 3:16). The sins of all born-again believers are forgiven, and they will never be condemned or judged for them (Romans 8:10).
At the judgment seat of Christ rewards will be given to believers based on how steadfastly and faithfully we serve Him (1 Corinthians 9:4-27 and 2 Timothy 2:5). Much later, after Christ’s 1000-year millennial reign on earth, there is another judgment for the unsaved (the Great White Throne judgment).
Phillip, it would be a good idea to stop reading anything that has to do with challenging the Pre-Tribulation Rapture or your faith in general. Biblically, the Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church is the correct view.
The Rapture will happen (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17, 1 Corinthians 15:50-54). God cannot lie and He has promised to remove all true believers before the Day of the Lord. The Day of the Lord is in reference to the Tribulation.
Jesus comes once in the Rapture (in the clouds when all true believers meet Him in the air. But the next time, He comes directly to earth at the Second Coming— at the end of the Tribulation followed by His saints on white horses—when all the nations are gathered together at Armageddon, when they literally try to fight against Him and try to destroy Him, but they will instead be destroyed (Revelation 1:7, 19:11-16; Zechariah 14:3-4; 2 Thessalonians 2:8).
Satan plants doubts in the minds of all believers. Now that you are saved he will work constantly to try to trip you up and weaken your faith. The best antidote to his bullying is to get deep into God’s Word.
“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
Every believer at some point has doubts, even if it’s for a moment. Study the passages in which it is prophesied that in the last days (our time)—there will be mockers who will claim Jesus will not return (2 Peter 3:3-4). The biggest mocker is Satan.
The best way to circumvent the attacks of Satan is to read, and study the Bible every day, and pray as often as possible. Memorize as much Scripture as you can and carefully meditate on the Word. It sounds like you really need to connect with some other believers in your area.
Have you looked into any Christian churches near your home? Or would that be going against your parents’ wishes?
Perhaps you can convince your parents that you are mature enough to seek out fellowship with other believers in a way that does not sound threatening or disrespectful. It is important to remain very respectful of your parents and others despite a difference of opinion.
I have a friend who came to Christ at your age (16). He grew up in a very strict Orthodox Jewish home. His parents learned of his conversion and gave him an ultimatum; to either renounce his faith in Christ or leave home. As a true born-again believer he would not renounce his faith in Christ, so he left home. The Lord has used him in a mighty ways ever since. (In fact he has your same first name.)
I am not even remotely suggesting you leave home. Of course you should not, but I am very much encouraging you not to let the opinions of the unsaved, including family members stop you from living for Christ and growing in your faith. Stand your ground with love and not anger or resentment.
Pray for your unsaved family members and friends. Right now you feel alone but you really are not alone. You have the Holy Spirit living within you and you are a new creation in Christ. The Lord will give you the strength to deal with whatever opposition comes your way. Rely on Him for everything in your life.
The Catholics’ claim that when Jesus said you must eat His body and drink His blood to have eternal life is absurd.
If you think John 6:53-54 is to be taken literally then no one could ever be saved. No one ever ate the body of Jesus and no one ever drank His blood while He lived. When He died His body was placed in a tomb and three days later He rose bodily from the tomb. No one ate of His body or drank of His blood after He rose from the dead.
It is obvious that His statement was metaphoric. Even Catholic priests will admit that no one has ever eaten of the literal body of Jesus and consumed His blood.
Instead they claim that the wine is transformed into the blood of Jesus and the wafer (host) is changed into His body (transubstantiation) when the priest utters the magic words: “HOC EST ENIM CORPUS MEUM” (This is My body) and “HIC EST ENIM CALIX SANGUINIS MEI” (This is My blood).
Did Jesus mean His followers must eat bread and drink wine that is magically transformed into His literal body and literal blood? Or, did Jesus mean the Bible is His body and confession of sin is drinking His blood?
Remember, Jesus is called the Word (John 1:1, 14; 1 John 1:1; 5:7; Revelation 19:13). He also repeated the truth that Man is not to live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Deuteronomy 8:4; Matthew 4:4). It is obvious that eating the body of Jesus means to study His Word.
When we confess our sins we are in essence “drinking” the blood of Jesus. Jesus cleanses us of our sins when we confess them (1 John 1:9). What cleanses us of our sins? His blood, see Ephesians 1:7; Revelation 1:5, 5:9). Drinking His blood is the act of confessing our sins.
God does not give His children the power to live a holy life by a magical custom of eating a wafer and drinking wine.
He gives us that power when we daily study His Word as He commanded us to (Deuteronomy 6:6-7; John 5:39; Acts 17:11; Romans 15:4; 2 Timothy 2:15) and when we confess our sins to Him directly, not a priest or anyone else (1 John 1:9, 1 Timothy 2:5-6)).
Remember, that the Catholic lay people do not drink wine during communion. They only eat the wafer. If the Catholic interpretation of John 6:53-54 is correct the hierarchy has condemned all Catholics except the priestly class to eternal damnation.
Catholic priests say Catholics need to eat the wafer to have the body of Jesus in them. This is unnecessary since Jesus literally lives within all true believers and so does God the Father and the Holy Spirit (John 14:23; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16; 1 John 4:12-13).
The idea that believers in Jesus must eat a wafer that is magically transformed into the body of Jesus to have Him present is a severe rejection of the truth that He lives within all true born-again believers 24/7.
What every person needs is to become born-again by the Spirit of God, which does not involve repetitive never-ending rituals orchestrated by a priest or anyone else. The Catholic hierarchy rejects the clear teaching that God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit spiritually live within all true believers.
Instead they added the idea of eating the wafer to get Jesus inside them. This is a very dangerous idea because it denies the truth in the Scriptures and adds a ritual that has nothing to do with Christianity.
The idea of eating flesh to get the essence of Jesus inside of you is a warped and ancient pagan idea. Many ancient cultures believed and practiced cannibalism. Other pagans believed that they would absorb the power of animals when they ate them. Many of the native, American Indian tribes believed this.
The belief that eating a wafer which has been transformed into the literal body of Jesus to get Him inside of you—is a variation of this pagan practice. It is has nothing to do with the Bible.
We also know that Jesus would never tell anyone to eat human flesh and drink human blood. That was strictly forbidden by the Mosaic Law (Leviticus 17.12; Deuteronomy 12:16, 23-24). If Jesus meant people must eat His flesh and drink His blood He contradicted Himself.
Notice that after Jesus made His declarations cited in John 6:60-65, many of the people who were following Him, left (John 6:66). He made it clear that it is the Spirit of God who gives eternal life and not works of the flesh. When Jesus asked the twelve if they would leave Him also, Peter made his great confession saying:
“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and have come to know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (John 6:68b-69).
Consider this Phillip: The Catholic Church holds to the doctrine of transubstantiation while no Protestant denomination believes in it.
Only a small number of Protestants believe in consubstantiation which teaches that the bread and wine remain bread and wine, and it “spiritually” become the body and blood of Jesus.
If the Roman Catholic Church is right about this doctrine and ALL Protestants are wrong in not believing it, does this mean ALL Protestants as—the Council of Trent declared are anathema and are not saved? The Bible teaches only true born-again believers are saved.
The Council of Trent (1545-1563) declared in the canons of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist:
If anyone denies that the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained in the sacrament of the most holy Eucharist, but says that Christ is present in the Sacrament only as in a sign or figure, or by his power: let him be anathema.
The Catholic doctrine of the Eucharist is wrong, and the Protestants got it right, as they did with numerous other doctrines—such as salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone apart from works (Ephesians 2.8-9). I would trust the Bible over declarations made by men, especially those who have hidden-agendas outside of serving the Lord.
“But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:4-7).
Always consider the source when you are sizing up a situation. In the Christian church we can find sin and hypocrisy. Jesus warned that this would happen, especially in the last days. But the Roman Catholic Church has had so much controversy, specifically a long history regarding the abuse of young boys/men.
Considering this one thing alone, anything they declare as an absolute should be carefully scrutinized. Nowhere does the devil get more mileage than by using false religious systems to fool people and take them away from the true God of the Bible.
We are living at a time of tremendous deception. Phillip, please stay in the Word of God (not the Catholic “bible”) and you will see that you are on the right road. Count your blessings a thousand times—that you have been freed from the confines and heresies of the Roman Catholic Church. Read primarily the New American Standard, the New King James or the American Standard (1901) versions of the Bible.
Jesus Himself declared the truth about communion when the bread and the wine are used, to be in remembrance of Him, not a matter of these substances becoming His literal body!
“And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you” (Luke 22:19-20).
It is a dangerous practice to take single Scriptures from the Bible out of context. The Scriptures must be interpreted with careful consideration of other verses in relation to one another. Here is a great teaching to memorize and use when you are studying your Bible, as taught by the late great biblical scholar, David L. Cooper. The Golden Rule of Interpretation:
When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore, take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate content, studied in the light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths, indicates clearly otherwise.
By using this method of Bible interpretation we can quickly assess that John 6:53-54, is to be taken “otherwise” and not literally. Phillip, the more you study the Word of God, the confusion and doubts you are having will dissipate.
We should always keep in mind that every passage in the Bible is empowered by the Holy Spirit and has only one primary meaning. However, there may be many applications. Every doctrine found in the Bible is absolute. No doctrine can have two or more correct meanings. It is always the responsibility of every believer to diligently study the Scriptures so he or she has the correct understanding of every doctrine and passage in the Bible (2 Timothy 2:15).
The greatest teacher is the Holy Spirit. As we let Him have more of us, more of our commitment and time, and as we allow Him to renew our minds and grow as believers with pure hearts, He will guide us and teach us:
“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you.
These things I have spoken to you, while abiding with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” (John 14:16, 25).
I am praying for you, especially that the Lord will bring some like-minded true believers into you’re your life. Keep calling out to Him and pray for protection every day from the evil forces that want to keep confusing you. Many youth outreach programs exist at good churches. See if you can connect with some other Christians in that way.
The Holy Bible is the best place to get your information, but I do recommend the following material since you asked for some resources. Check them out the books at Christian bookstores or on the Internet. I have also provided some important the Internet links for you:
A Woman Rides the Beast: The Roman Catholic Church and the Last Days, Dave Hunt.
Queen of All: The Marian Apparitions’ Plan to Unite all Religions under the Roman Catholic Church, Jim Tetlow and Roger Oakland.
The Gospel According to Rome: Comparing Catholic Tradition and the Word of God, James McCarthy.
Faith Undone, Roger Oakland. This book exposes the dangers of the emergent church movement grounded in age-old mystical approach; a highly deceptive teaching leading to Roman Catholicism and interfaith perspectives pointing toward the coming one world ecumenical religious system of Revelation 17.
http://www.justforcatholics.org/ - A great website, especially good for Catholics with the focus on salvation and other Catholic-related issues; also good for Protestants.
http://www.religiouscounterfeits.org/nas.htm - A very interesting, very informative site on religious counterfeits and New Age deception, including the Catholic connection to the New Age god of pantheism.
Phillip, Jesus has overcome the world and He is coming soon. Serving Christ is not about keeping rituals but about a personal ongoing relationship with Him. He is there for you in every moment of your life.
I will continue praying for you. Pray that the Lord will bring some true, dedicated believers into your life. He knows your needs. Connecting with others who are strong in the faith is very important. I am only an email away and I look forward to hearing from you in the future. Never hesitate to reach out.
In God’s love,
“For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (1 Timothy 2:5-6).
July 25, 2016
I look forward to reading your wonderful column every week. Can you give me some hope for the future? With everything that is happening in this world I am beginning to feel somewhat paralyzed emotionally. Innocent people all over the world are getting hurt.
I am really afraid what might happen to me, and my family. I have two children, ages 12 and 14. They are starting to feel nervous and afraid about going to even basic school events at their Christian school worried that something could happen to them.
I do try to reassure them that everything is all right but honestly it is all getting too unsettling. I do read the Bible but I cannot seem to get past this fear. Everyone in our household is saved except my husband. He watches TV all night after work and doesn’t have much to say about world events.
He doesn’t think anything unusual is happening in the world and laughs off Bible prophecy and thinks the Bible is about as reliable as an old phone book. I feel the burden is on me to help our children feel safe.
Our great and blessed hope of course, is Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, the mighty King and Creator. The day is soon coming when He will take His rightful place on the throne of David and will be literally reigning and ruling over a rejuvenated planet Earth. This is something to keep in mind each time you and your children feel hopeless and scared.
Everything seems to be getting out of control all around the world but God promises to return and dramatically change this fallen world, and all believers are to be partakers of His coming millennial kingdom.
Before all hell breaks loose, before the Tribulation begins, all true born-again believers will be lifted-up to glory and safety by the Lord Himself in the Rapture. After the seven-year Tribulation we will return with Him and his holy angels and assist Him with His 1000-year millennial reign.
It is not unusual to be feeling stressed and scared considering the state of affairs in this wicked world. Our flesh is weak and if we give in to fear then we could surely become incapacitated from hearing and seeing the news reports.
But all genuine born-again believers are indwelt with the Holy Spirit. The Lord has promised never to leave us or forsake us. We are His children and He is our Protector. We can take comfort in knowing that wherever we go and whatever we do the Lord is with us, guiding us and ministering to us.
It is our job as believers to stay in prayer and communicate with Him—by quieting our minds so we can discern His will and guidance for our lives.
We know that the devil prowls around like a roaring lion like seeking whom, he can devour (1 Peter 5:8). He does this by leading his demonic armies into acts of aggression and terror in the spiritual realm, which is manifested outwardly in the physical world.
Perpetuating fear is always the devil’s doing but when we belong to Christ, we are covered by His blood sacrifice and the devil is defeated. Satan will always try to harass believers but greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world. So whenever you and your kids start feeling fearful, say these Scriptures out loud:
“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
Please keep reading your Bible and consciously make an effort to take your reading and Bible study to a deeper level. I strongly suggest reading the Scriptures aloud. There is something about hearing the Word of God out loud as it penetrates deep into our hearts and minds. You can do this with your two children every day. Take turns reading the Scriptures to each other.
In the book of Revelation Jesus repeatedly says: “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches.” Clearly, He wants us to listen to His words and take them to heart. No matter what happens in this life we are promised these crowns for our faithfulness:
The Incorruptible Crown (1 Corinthians 9:25; Crown of Rejoicing (Philippians 4:1; 1 Thess. 2:19); Crown of Righteousness (2 Timothy 4:7-8); Crown of Life (James 1:12; Rev. 2:10); Crown of Glory (1 Peter 5:4).
Each time you hear and read God’s Word you are feeding your faith. The more you read and study, the more your faith will grow, and the less anxiety you will feel about today and the future.
Encourage your children to get very involved with you and other believers in Bible studies—reading the Lord’s faithful promises. Believers need not be slaves to fear. We don’t have to be afraid if God is our Helper.
“For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father” (Romans 8:15).
If you are involved in good church or have some other Christian friends make a point of meeting together to encourage one another. Instead of watching and listening to news reports spend that time immersed in the Word of God, listening to sermons and reading spiritual books. Write out some encouraging Scriptures for your children on nice sheets of paper each day and place them in their backpacks.
Text them or email them during the day with encouraging Bible verses to help keep them grounded in God’s Word. Reassure them that they are not alone and that God is with them. Fill your home with beautiful Christian songs of praise and worship. Ask your children to help pick out some favorites, and if you can afford it, take them to a Christian bookstore or browse the Internet together and add let them choose some new CD titles that they can listen to and call their own.
What we fill our minds with is very important. I am reminded of a song often taught to young children. Since the Lord tells us we must be like a child to enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:13), these lyrics are wonderful for anyone to contemplate on:
“Oh, be careful little ears, what you hear For the Father up above, Is looking down in love, So be careful little ears what you hear.
Oh, be careful little eyes, what you see, For the Father up above, is looking down in love, So be careful little eyes What you see.
Oh, be careful little mouth, what you say, For the Father up above, Is looking down in love, So be careful little mouth what you say.
Oh, be careful little hands, what you do For the Father up above, Is looking down in love, So be careful little hands What you do.
Oh, be careful little feet where you go For the Father up above, Is looking down in love, So be careful little feet, Where you go.
Oh, be careful little mind what you think For the Father up above, Is looking down in love, So be careful little mind, What you think.
Oh, be careful little heart what you love For the Father up above, Is looking down in love, So be careful little heart, What you love.” 
Caroline, keep communicating with the Lord throughout each day and teach your children to do the same. No matter what happens in this world, we have eternity with the Lord to look forward to.
We cannot be shielded from all the bad news and negativity but we can keep it all in perspective in relation to Scripture. As we see things get more and more absurd, rest assured that the Lord’s return cannot be too far off.
As far as your husband is concerned, pray for him faithfully and ask the Lord to remove the spiritual blindness from his eyes, heart and mind. And be grateful that your kids are able to go to a Christian school which shows he must not be totally against the faith, but of course that won’t get him into heaven.
Praying for our unsaved loved ones is so important and very powerful. Ideally, it would be wonderful if you could lean on your husband, but God will carry you and strengthen you as you continue to reach out to Him.
God bless you!
“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust” (Psalm 91:1-2).
July 18, 2016
I love your site (column) and have learned so much and really want to thank you for being there for those of us who need direction and answers. I would like to know your thoughts on mean-spirited Christians and them going to heaven. I have known two people in my lifetime who have mentally and physically harmed me. Yet I know they are saved Christians and will be in heaven with me some day.
I need help in understanding how these folks can profess to be such loving people, yet I know they have treated me with such disregard and evilness. One I have, thru the grace of God, been able to forgive and move on from. The second is still in my life and daily has a smile for me in front of folks, but I know the truth behind the smile.
I believe in forgiving and moving on but constant interactions are making my life miserable. I have no current way to distance myself from this person. I am daily in prayer and asking the Holy Spirit to walk with me so I can make it thru another day. Please share your thoughts as to Bible teaching and what you think about Christians who do not treat others, as you would have them treat you.
Thank you so much for your time and love!
I am very sorry to hear your have been treated so badly by those who think of themselves as Christians. What you describe is a huge issue in the Christian church today, and it is a most disturbing problem. Today the Lord is separating the tares from the wheat and I expect in time some shocking revelations will take place as some situations come to light that do not belong in the Body of Christ.
An aggressive hatred can be found emanating from some “Christians,” which is anything but Christian. Those who profess Christ but are back stabbers, gossips, slanderers, and liars will be seriously accountable to God. But sometimes I wonder if such people have a “Hillary Clinton syndrome” thinking they can get away with everything that go against God’s commands.
Remember the Lord warned that in the last days many will have a “form of godliness” but are not true Christians. Many of these phonies are so far away from having a genuine relationship with God that they believe their own contrived delusions; some are even dedicated to trying to ruin the lives of true believers—somehow gaining some sort of sick satisfaction from bad-mouthing and abusing others. This type of deliberate immoral behavior describes evil at work.
[Jesus said,] “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; avoid such men as these” (2 Timothy 3:1-5).
Week after week I get similar letters where believers are desperately seeking a good church, wondering where the true Christians are and why so many people are treated so antagonistically and rudely by those who call themselves Christians. Not only are we living in the apostasy (falling away from the faith) we are also living at a time when in the Church is very prevalent.
When Christians do not treat others well, a number of probabilities exist. Just because some claim to be Christians does not mean that they are truly saved, and that we will see them in heaven. Hypocrisy is a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc. that one does not really possess.
It is most important to forgive under all circumstances. When hypocrisy is a chronic issue with certain people, it is also best to part company if at all possible, and pray for them. If you can have a calm rational conversation with such a person, it is good to try to come to some type of understanding and point out the problems.
But it may be wishful thinking to expect someone to own up to the mistreatment of others and their fraudulent persona, if you already know that person cannot be trusted. Forgive others in your heart but don’t allow yourself to be abused, either.
Kathy, from what you say in your letter, it sounds like whoever it is displaying non-Christian traits (the person you cannot get away from), is playing God for a fool if he or she thinks you can be mistreated and not be held accountable. The good thing is that you can see through this person’s facade.
It is always best to come from a place of love even when you know you are being deceived. It is natural to feel outrage and defend yourself when injustice first comes to light. But then give the entire situation over to the Lord and He will deal with the evil behind such situations.
Since you cannot get away from the troublesome person who is slandering you, the best thing to do is keep your conversation and interaction to a minimum. Prayer can change things and even phony Christians can come to repentance; never give-up hope. Smile, be cordial but keep an emotional distance between the two of you.
This can even be done on a daily basis if need be. Let the Lord be your anchor. He will lead and navigate your way when forced to deal with someone you know does not have your best interests at heart. You have God’s favor Kathy, because you belong to Him. Those with hidden motives are an abomination to the Lord:
“Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who deal faithfully are His delight” (Proverbs 12:22).
When we use the term “phony” or “fake” Christian, let’s clarify that a bit. We are either saved or we are not. If the Spirit of God does not reside within us, we do not belong to Him. When I say “phony” or “fake” Christian, I mean someone who professes to be a Christian, even shows some outward signs by perhaps getting involved in a church or ministry but their heart condition is not right—they are not truly born-again by the Spirit of God even if they claim to be.
When we are truly saved and consistently surrendered to the Holy Spirit we can recognize traits in others that do not ring true. As believers we should always pay attention to those inner promptings or warnings.
The worst types of so-called Christians are those who make disparaging statements against other true believers—claiming that the “Holy Spirit” is leading them to believe and say slanderous things about another. (So now they have God on the side of their evil agenda!)
But it is clearly their own delusion to support their convoluted thinking about someone or something. Or worse, cover-up their own devious agenda and corrupt character; this type of behavior usually stems from jealousy, lies perpetrated by unethical individuals, and the of a genuine solid relationship with Christ.
People like this are tragically playing on the wrong team. Apparently they do not take the God of the Bible seriously or else they would realize that they are doing nothing less than acting as Satan’s representatives, paving their own way to hell.
These phonies have no discernment because they have a dishonest relationship with God, or the “discernment” they think they have is wrong all together because they are not truly walking with the Lord. Disparaging statements fabricated by these devious individuals are always assumptive judgments founded on nothing but personal envy, hatred, or stubborn prideful arrogance.
Perhaps you have called out someone on their lack of authenticity, and he or she didn’t like it. Now you have become a target of their rage. Sadly, these dynamics exist not only in the world, but have infiltrated the Christian church.
The majority of believers are very sincere God-fearing folks. It is the rotten apples that make a bad name for the rest of us. These people are playing a dangerous spiritual game with their eternal fate.
[Jesus said,] “For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock” (Acts 20:29).
As we mature in the Christian faith our personalities must show signs of ongoing spiritual growth—such as genuine kindness that does not mercilessly judge others irrationally or instigate conflict by making false accusations. How a person speaks to, and treats others is a strong indicator of their relationship with the Lord.
If our relationship with people is not right our relationship with the Lord is not right, either. Any number of people can tell you they love the Lord (or you) all day long but if that love is not evidenced by their actions and demeanor, then their genuine position in Christ is highly questionable.
A truly saved person’s heart should yearn to spend time with the Lord and please Him, and that relationship with the Lord will translate into treating others with sincere kindness and respect.
Beware of “Christians” who can help you get ahead in your chosen field or solve a personal dilemma, but choose not to; yet proud as a peacock they stand before the world professing Christ blowing their own horn of importance (even pretending humility).
“So then, you will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7:20).
We are to be new creations in Christ and not living recklessly in the flesh:
“Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:16-17).
Our salvation does not depend on works, but if the spirit-man is bitter and angry then the Spirit of God cannot do the renewal work necessary. Only the Lord knows who is truly saved, and since we are all prone to sin until the day we die we must be careful not to confuse a fallen brother or sister with one who is an outright phony.
We can rely on Scripture to guide us to the truth. We know faith without works is dead (James 2:17). We know that when we are born-again and saved we are indwelt with the Holy Spirit and our actions and words are reflective of God’s teachings.
“However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness” (Romans 8:9-10
[Jesus said,] “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them (Matthew 7:15-20)
The Old Testament prophet, Daniel, predicted that there would be an abundance of hypocrites in the end-times, as the cost of faith could be your life or loss of a job, “friendships” or anything that non-Christians might find offensive about one’s faith in Christ.
“Now when they fall they will be granted a little help, and many will join with them in hypocrisy. Some of those who have insight will fall, in order to refine, purge and make them pure until the end time; because it is still to come at the appointed time” (Daniel 11:34-35).
Hypocrisy goes way back in time. When Cain and Abel brought offerings to God, Cain was being a hypocrite by pretending to love God by bringing offerings to Him (but God pointed out his hypocrisy). Hypocritical professing Christians are also very symptomatic of these last days.
In fact one of the major complaints against Christians is that so many are hypocrites. The Bible clearly teaches that those who practice hypocrisy really aren’t Christians at all, but will be judged to be non-believers and sent to hell, and later into the lake of fire. Jesus warned that many would fall away although they would claim to be His disciples at the White Throne Judgment:
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS’” (Matthew 7:21-23).
In the following Scripture Jesus is furious over those who present themselves as the righteous in public but inside, their hearts are wicked. Jesus is pointing to the phony rhetoric that comes out of the mouths of the false worshippers.
[Jesus said,] “You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you: ‘THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME. ‘BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.’”
Some people are all about playing games, competing for power and control just like the rest of the world—thinking that they are above accountability to God. A strong case could be made for those who are even deluding themselves into thinking they are doing work for the Lord but are really living for their own selfish gain (adulation, fame, peer acceptance, popularity, etc.). A life of pretense and compromised living by a “believer” is something that cannot be taken lightly.
When the intentions of the heart are not genuinely of the Lord, of course the Lord knows the truth and those people will have to answer to Him. Another thing to consider is that some people are truly not well, and are deeply disturbed.
They have mental and emotional disorders that are somewhat disguised in their common day-to-day interactions, but when chronic meanness and ungodly character erupts often enough for discerning folks to notice, then something is truly amiss.
When you recognize again and again that some people are not really sincere by the things they say and do, you can be sure that their motives are very questionable. Some people who profess Christ as Savior, but clearly show signs of habitual meanness may get into heaven on the basis of insanity (because of a serious mental/emotional illness) and are not in their right minds and cannot control themselves.
But only God knows the truth about such individuals. How He will judge them we cannot know for sure. Some might enter heaven only because they are too mentally or emotionally ill to fully grasp the gospel message and live by God’s precepts. But we can only speculate. However, this world is so cursed that far too many people know exactly what they are doing when they behave badly.
Some people will excuse very bad behavior and stubborn prideful arrogance by calling such dynamics, a “sin factor.” Well, that is true but only to a point. When a person is guilty of stirring up trouble and trying to undermine others, sin is a huge problem.
But when the troubling behavior is an ongoing deep-rooted condition repeatedly creating conflict and divisiveness, then the problem is even more serious.
I would call it a salvation problem or a very serious, fatal backslidden condition. Sin without repentance equals a fallen brother or sister or a person who is not saved to begin with. Unless a backslidden person genuinely repents he or she may very well face a very bleak eternal future:
“For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame” (Hebrews 6:4-6).
The Lord has given us enough information in His Word so we are not fooled by those involved in the Christian life but have hidden agendas and dark motives. He is also a merciful God and will judge each person justly. (Unlike the way many professing Christians unjustly judge others.) But God is not a push over who will tolerate spiritual mutiny at the expense of the good character of others and His holy name.
We can take great comfort in knowing that God is not mocked and when wicked people try to cause trouble, we can count on the Lord to make things right. If not necessarily in this life, but in our eternal lives when we will be free of this cursed earth and its evil attributes.
So be of good cheer, Kathy. Despite the nasty person you must deal with, our redemption draws closer each day. All those who spitefully use us and hurt us will have King Jesus to answer to.
You will surely see those who are truly redeemed, those who are “new creatures in Christ” in heaven. As far as those who show little or no heart for repentance and claim to be Christians, but have two-faced double-dealing characters, I would not hold my breath.
While the Lord is separating the tares from the wheat, reach out to others with the gospel while there is still time. The more we focus on the Lord and His promises of glory, the less the mean-spirited agendas of others will be of any significance. And always remember you are already victorious in Christ, and nothing anyone tries to do to you in this life will take you away from Him and your fantastic eternal future.
God bless you Kathy!
“But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy” (James 3:14-17).
July 11, 2016
I am wondering if you could provide a glossary of words with their definitions. I often run into in articles that I have to look up but then I have to also determine if I agree with them.
While it may seem easy for most, I often get confused because of the wealth of information on the Internet that it may take me an hour or more to see if my understanding is correct.
In addition, I meet so many people with different views that it would be helpful to have a safe place to reference things quickly when I need to or because I have simply forgotten.
Thank you so very much for bringing God glory in all that you do!
“A man who is intimate with God will never be intimidated by man.” —Leonard Ravenhill
Thank you for your kind sentiments. It is my blessing to be of help, even in the smallest way. You are not the only one who finds many interpretations of Scripture and varied definitions of biblically related text— to be the cause of much confusion.
As much as the vast avenues of information can be a tremendous blessing, some of the dynamics that go on remind me of a “Wild West” high-stakes gambling showdown where a potpourri of self-styled, self-anointed “spiritual” and Pop Christian “gurus” put down stakes (their websites, blogs, etc.), vying to win the big pot (adulation, fame, glory, money).
This Wild West showdown has prompted many non-Christians to dismiss the authenticity of the Bible. Misinformation on the Internet, in books and various printed mediums is widespread. This is a real problem in the Church and the only way to overcome it is to study our Bibles as much as possible—so whenever we hear or read something we will be better equipped to separate truth from fiction:
“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
“These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).
Sometimes Bible Study can seem like a daunting task in this world of instant gratification. But we must be like the Bereans of old and persevere so we are not led astray. You know that all true believers are indwelt with the Holy Spirit and He teaches us:
“As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him” (1 John 2:27).
When we use the Golden Rule of Interpretation we can be assured of using reliable sound exegesis:
When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore, take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate content, studied in the light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths, indicates clearly otherwise.
In other words, take everything literally unless the Scriptures say it is symbolic, or unless it is physically impossible for it to be literal or be fulfilled in a literal manner, with the exception of miracles.
I do have a PDF glossary linked below which you and our readers can download and print out as a reference. I hope you and others will find it to be beneficial.
Never underestimate your ability to understand Scripture. What might seem like a huge effort at first can soon become a joyous and rewarding experience, which will reap many blessings. When we study our Bibles we are spending time with the Lord. What can be better than that?
“For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12).
God bless you Debra, and reach out again if you need to—anytime.
In God’s love,
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).
Some Key Biblically
Related Words and Expressions
July 4, 2016
Your ministry is such a blessing to me. I love reading the letters and the encouragement you give back. A lot of times I can relate to a letter and it encourages me so much. Thank you!
This is why I decided to write today: I believe the Lord is coming soon by all I see going on; prophecies coming to pass and so much lawlessness is going on, so many people calling evil good and good evil. But I am beginning to feel so depressed about all that I see in the news. I cry daily because of the evil I see going on.
I know King David wrote, “Why am I so downcast oh my soul, I will yet hope in God.” This has, in the past encouraged my heart (as other psalms have) but that one has been most encouraging to me. But lately I am finding little comfort. I am tired and just want so badly to go home to be with Christ.
I pray daily for Jesus to come. I feel somewhat selfish in this prayer because I have loved ones who need salvation and I am afraid I am beginning to give up. I am a diabetic and the other day I laid down to take a nap and unbeknownst to me my sugar dropped very low while I slept and if it hadn’t been for the persistence of my dog barking and nudging me I don’t think I would have gotten up.
I felt so peaceful and if there is such a way to pass on that would be the way to go, I feel horrible for thinking like this and would never purposefully do such a thing. I don't know what to do with my days anymore.
I used to be an intercessor prayer warrior and still am but don’t wake up with the will to do so most days. I just want to sleep and I hate sounding like I’m having a pity party but I don’t want to live on this earth as it is anymore, I just want to go home. I don’t want to go out even to the grocery store, and I hate going to doctor appointments.
I love Christ Jesus with all of my heart and desire to please Him though I don’t think I am pleasing Him with these attitudes. I don’t know if you can help or not, maybe a good kick in the seat of my pants -- no, I don’t really mean that since I’ve been kicking myself enough.
I still speak up boldly and anyone that asks prayer or for encouragement of me I give it because it’s just who I am. But yet I feel like a hypocrite who encourages and speaks truth to others and yet not following my own advice.
I am asking for prayer from all who may read this. I need help although I am not sure what kind of help I need from the Lord. Also, I am married to a man who might as well be a roommate, so I am alone.
As far as he is concerned, he doesn’t want to hear about end time events and most of our conversations end with me being upset. He doesn’t want to hear me talk about anything and that hurts. He is quite content going to work, coming home and drinking until he passes out and starts all over again the next day.
Thank you and God bless you.
It is understandable to fall into a rut and feel like giving up. Today, everywhere we turn we are inundated with reports of terror, out-of-control rogue governments, danger, deceit and endless uncertainty. It seems as if the entire world has fallen into an incomprehensible and permanent condition of insanity.
But for you and me, and all true believers, we can take great hope in Jesus—our great and mighty Savior who knows the beginning and the end. Precious friend, you are stronger than you may think. The living God dwells within you and He will never let you go. He is your Rock, and His redemptive gift has enabled you to overcome the obstacles of this life.
We can all feel down at times but with Christ Jesus, even when we face tough situations we can avoid deep depression. The apostle Paul reminds us of this in 1 Corinthians 4:8-9:
“We are pressed on every side, yet not straitened; perplexed, yet not unto despair; pursued, yet not]forsaken; smitten down, yet not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).
We do not have to lose heart. The outward person is perishing, yet inwardly we are being renewed each day. Our troubles are achieving for us an internal glory that far outweigh the totality of our hardships.
It is imperative to fix our eyes not on what we can see, but what we cannot seen—which is the glory of the eternal Christ, our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1).
When we feel overwhelmed and troubled by this life and want to go home before the Lord calls us home, then we have the Scriptures to mediate upon—to strengthen and encourage us. Consider what Paul endured, yet he was sustained by God’s grace and would not allow himself to get depressed. He describes how he suffered for Christ in 2 Corinthians 11:23-28:
“Are they servants of Christ?—I speak as if insane—I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep.
I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches.
Unless we get our lives into a healthy perspective and focus on the blessings we do have, we will always be dissatisfied—even to the point of great despair, not unlike what you are expressing. It all comes down to choice; a decision. Either we decide to embrace the blessings we have and make the best of our given circumstances or give in to living a life of negativity and misery.
That may sound a bit harsh, but it is true. The choices we make each day affect everything in our lives. We can always find many things outside of us that we wish we could change but cannot. We can however, control how we approach life and how we think about things; and that is the place from which we can begin healing from external pressures and injustices.
Betty, the Lord has given you a great gift to speak to and encourage others, even while you have been hurting so much. Don’t underestimate your ability to be resilient. Use your great gift of encouragement to get through this down time and resolve not to let the wiles of the devil defeat you. We need you! God needs you!
Open up your Bible and go to the book of Ephesians chapter 6:10-23. Read it, study it, own it! Without our spiritual armor we are all vulnerable to the devil’s schemes to weaken our resolve and render us useless for the cause of Christ.
We must totally trust the Lord and know that as long as He gives us breath to live, He has a purpose for us. You may not realize how many people you have blessed with the time you took for them. Take that same time for yourself.
As difficult as it feels right now, a day is coming when all of the heartache and loneliness will be gone forever. But that time is not yet; that means we all have work to do for the Lord. Don’t look back and dwell on the past. And don’t let negative emotions rob you of your God-given potential to bring even more glory to Him. Begin today to look at your life with a new positive attitude and your healing will come more quickly.
As far as your husband’s neglect, he has taken the broad road to destruction. Pray for him, forgive him in your heart or you will suffer. He medicates himself and is oblivious to reality. This is the time for you to hold on to Jesus and emotionally let go of all the stuff that is wearing you out.
You can have joy in your life; and that joy comes from a deepened relationship with the Lord. Trust that He is with you and you are alive today—because it is His will for you. Jesus is your greatest Advocate. Hold on to Him like never before and He will pull you out of this rut. Choose to live for Him wholeheartedly by not giving into the negative inner dialogue that cause you to place disappointment over His good will for your life.
It is wonderful to reflect upon our heavenly inheritance, but until that glorious day comes, part of our destiny is to not allow the battles of this life to destroy or debilitate us. Great faith is needed so we can ward off the world’s self-destructive tendencies.
Introspection is good to a point; but focusing on things outside of ourselves by reaching others for Christ is the glue that binds us closer to the Lord, and gives us hope. Here are some powerful verses for you, Betty, to take in and make your own:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:3-9).
When you feel very distraught over the state of this world and because of the callous behavior of those around you, remember you have so much to look forward to. You are already victorious in Christ and it is your rightful inheritance to have inner joy—knowing you are free in Him.
Carry a secret smile on your heart as a quiet reminder that all is well because of what Jesus Christ did for you on the cross. Give back to Him all you can and when you do face Him one day—you will be so glad you did not give up.
“Greater love has no one than this, that one [Jesus] lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
“But there is a friend [Jesus] who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24b).
God bless you and strengthen you, Betty. Never hesitate to reach out again.
In God’s love,
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
June 27, 2016
I am 19 years old. My mother has raised me as a Christian but my father is not really a believer. I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior when I turned 17 and was very involved in our youth group at my church. My dad tells me that just because certain things are in the Bible, it does not mean they are true.
I know he is wrong but there is always a uncomfortable distance between us. How can I convince him that he is wrong? Or is it better not to say much? I have told him I think he is wrong and he gets mad.
I don’t want him to end up in hell. He thinks that hell is a myth. Sometimes he talks about Jesus as if he believes in Him but then does not accept the Bible as truth. I attend a Christian college and I feel that the Lord may be calling me to be pastor. I don’t think my father will be too happy about that. I want to be true to the Lord and also not cause conflict with my father.
Thanks and God bless you,
Thank you for writing. Your father is accountable to the Lord for what he believes, as we all are. Your concern for him is heartfelt. The best thing you can do, is continue to live your life as best you can, following godly principles.
You are not causing this conflict. This is not about you. The distance you feel is there because he rejects the very things that are so important to you and are truly life and death salvation issues. To his credit, he has not stopped you from attending a Christian college, so for that you should be very grateful.
It sounds like your father is confused like so many other people. Of course you would like him to understand that the Bible is God’s holy Word, but since he is not accepting this truth right now the very best thing you can do is pray for him. Many people have come to the Lord through intercessory prayer.
When someone is very closed to the Bible, the best thing we can do is faithfully hold that person up before the throne of God. Patience is required, but by doing this you will be actively and consistently doing the work of a prayer warrior. If you can think of yourself in that way, it will help you feel like something very significant is being done to help open your father’s eyes.
In some of my other responses I have suggested that sharing Bible prophecy is a way to pragmatically point-out-evidence for biblical truth. Sometimes even that is difficult when someone has hardened his heart and only wants to hear what he wants to hear. Since he gets angry when you tell him he is wrong, it might be best to choose your words more carefully.
Instead of telling him he is wrong, if an opportunity arises you could point out prophecies that have been fulfilled. The reestablishment of the nation of Israel is a great example. Search out as many fulfilled prophecies as you can find in the Old Testament and document them.
Tom, it sounds like you are well grounded in the Lord and have a great future ahead. If you feel the Lord is calling you to be a pastor, then everything will come together for you in that regard. By your good example, living your life true to God’s teachings, your father will see that you are very serious about your faith and there is a good chance that he may begin to look more carefully into why his son has made a choice to serve the Lord.
You could be the very catalyst that the Lord will use to break his stubborn spirit.
I am so sorry that you have this conflict with your father but we serve a great and mighty God and our prayers are heard and answered. The Lord has given you what sounds like great leadership abilities. We need young men like you to lead others.
Realize that there will be a “distance” between you and your father unless he comes to faith. This has nothing to do with you, personally, so when it gets to a point where you might feel totally frustrated with the situation, know that your father’s rejection of the Bible is not a rejection of you.
By being kind and loving toward your father, you will be setting a good example of Christian love. Never take any attacks against the Word of God by him as an attack against you. And remember what Jesus said on the cross, “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do.”
Your father is spiritually lost and does not realize the great danger he is in. This is a time to trust the Lord with all your heart and not lean unto your own understanding. The Lord knows exactly what your father needs to bring him to faith. Keep praying and trusting and rely upon your heavenly father for guidance and strength. And dare to pray for great things, as Elijah did:
“Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit” (James 5:17-18).
Please don’t hesitate to reach out again any time.
In God’s love,
“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 15:16b).