October 5, 2013
I feel so alone and depressed almost every day, I am amazed sometimes that I am able to get myself out of bed and to work every day. I will explain what got me to this point. About five years ago, I began gradually drifting away from going to church. I should add that my husband and I started going to a Bible believing Christian church (both of us had grown up in the Catholic Church). I started reading the Bible and going to church every Sunday.
I believed I was born-again and that Jesus Christ was my Lord and Savior. Well, about five years ago, we began a friendship with new neighbors that moved in next door and I began to drink alcohol (which had been somewhat of a problem in my younger years). Then gradually I started missing church, not reading the Bible anymore, being more interested in fashion and material things like I had been years before.
Then what happened during this time concerns a man at my workplace, who was in a very higher up position. He began flirting with me and always giving me compliments. This went on for almost two years and finally ended up in me committing adultery with this man. I wanted to leave my husband, I had always felt even before that -- I had made a mistake marrying my husband and now I felt it even more. I began to resent him so much.
Well, my adultery with this man went on for about three years. I did think of the Lord during this time and felt tremendous guilt and I developed insomnia. I thought that if I get a divorce and I beg for forgiveness maybe things will end up okay.
Then this person eventually told me that he could not have a future with me, so I ended the adultery. I then began to start having nightmares about what I did, and horrible anxiety totally overwhelmed me. I couldn’t believe how horrible I was... I despised myself. I was sobbing tears every single day; I felt hopeless. I began asking the Lord to please forgive me and help me.
My husband would ask me what was wrong; I have never cried so much in my whole life. Finally I confessed to him what I had done. He was shocked but he forgave me.
So now, I just feel like... did I think I was saved before I committed this horrible sin, and I really wasn’t saved? How could I do that to the Lord? I am in tears now writing that last sentence.
Or is it that I am just not one of the “elect” and that’s why I couldn’t stop myself from doing what I did? I am so confused. I feel genuine repentance in my heart and I know I love the Lord, I know he died for my horrible sins. But then once in a while I have a fleeting thought of missing that person (who I thought I was in love with and not just adultery). But I immediately block out the thoughts.
They do come back and try to re-enter my mind, but I continue blocking them. I go from feeling, yes I am forgiven, to maybe I just think I am and I am kidding myself. Please help me with this, tell me what to do, I don’t feel capable of thinking straight. I am so depressed and anxious.
Thank you sincerely,
One thing I can tell you right away is you must not beat yourself up over your past mistakes. We are all sinners, and sometimes we fall harder than we think possible. Don’t let the enemy rob you of your life’s purpose and stop you from moving forward to reach the lost for Christ. It is in our weakness that we can better understand and have compassion for others.
God loves you so much that He died for you knowing full well that you would fall but He is there to help you pick up the pieces. You have confessed your sin with a contrite heart. God has forgiven you; your husband has forgiven you; you must forgive yourself.
Only the Lord knows if you were saved or not or if you were severely backslidden but at this point that is irrelevant. He kept you alive and you have now confessed your sin and it is time for a new beginning. We serve a merciful God and the last thing he wants us to do is carry around the past. That is Satan’s modus operandi, not God’s.
Everyone makes mistakes and there are plenty of saved Christians who fall into sin. It is how we handle that fall that defines our future. This is a time to get into your prayer closet and get closer to the One who loves you beyond comprehension. Please read and carefully study these Scriptures:
“‘Come now, and let us reason together, ‘Says the LORD, ‘Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool’” (Isaiah 1:18).
Blessedness of Forgiveness and of Trust in God (A Psalm of David)
“‘How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit! When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. Selah.
For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. Selah. I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide;
I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD’ and You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah’” (Psalm 32:1-5).
A Contrite Sinner’s Prayer for Pardon
“Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, so that You are justified when You speak and blameless when You judge.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me. Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom. Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness, let the bones which You have broken rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will be converted to You.
Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation; then my tongue will joyfully sing of Your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, that my mouth may declare Your praise.
For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise” (Psalm 51:1-17).
“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12).
Now with all of that Scripture to integrate into your heart, mind, soul and spirit, we must deal with the elephant in the room: Your relationship with your husband. What are you going to do with that? He has stayed with you even through your admitted adultery, and you have said that you did not think you should have married him in the first place.
Unless you come to terms with your marriage, I think you will continue to have mental, emotional and spiritual turmoil. If you do not want to be with your husband, you must face that fact. You did not say why you think you should not have married him in the first place and whether he is saved or if together you are now endeavoring to serve the Lord together.
It sounds like your husband is an exceptional person, especially since he was able to forgive you of your adultery and years of deception. You have already found out that getting involved with someone else only leads to turmoil and heartache. But God can heal your marriage. I hope that is what you want.
If not, then that opens up an entirely different set of issues which I cannot even address here since I don’t have enough information on the matter. Regardless of the circumstance, it is imperative that you strengthen your relationship with the Lord. You have confessed your sin with remorse and He has forgiven you.
Think about how you can best serve the Lord and place Him first in your life. It is in serving Him that healing comes. He can even change your heart toward your husband if you are feeling you don’t really want to be with him. So much is going on in the world today we really need to take the focus away from ourselves and do the work of evangelists. The Lord’s return is getting closer each day and it is imperative we live for Him.
It sounds like a lot of your time was spent in social activities and work. Remember, the Lord admonishes us to be in the world but not of the world. As long as we have one foot in the world and one foot in the Bible, we will have a tough time getting grounded in God’s teachings and living a godly lifestyle.
Bit by bit you drifted away from God; drinking with your neighbors, getting too socially involved at work, which of course has led to a host of other problems. All problems can be overcome with God’s intervention. But we have to want to live for Him. On any given day the world calls to use to live for ourselves. The entire culture is ME based, very contrary to what is taught in the Bible.
Please think of this time of change in your life as a time of renewal. If you really place the Lord first in your life you will never fall this hard again; you have learned a painful lesson. It is by getting deeply into the Word of God that the renewal work can be done (with the help of the Holy Spirit).
You must allow the healing to come by letting go of the past and rededicating your life to Him. The sorrow you feel will dissipate as you walk closely with the Lord each day. He will open your eyes to new possibilities. Put God first in your life. If you need to get a new job to get away from the memories of the man you were involved with, that would help a lot.
But you must deal with your marriage. Obviously many things are not right. If you are still involved with the Bible believing church you attended it might be a good idea to seek out someone there who can help you and your husband sort through your issues.
Or you can decide to let go of the past all together and not relive the problems by rehashing it all with a third person involved, and instead decide to move forward as a couple with God at the center of your marriage.
It sounds like you and your husband have been living separate lives for a long time. Between the two of you, please come to an understanding as to why you are together, and if staying together is what you both want. While you are trying to come to terms with the problems in your marriage, please make a strong effort as a couple to spend time sharing the Word of God. Spend time praying together and reevaluate how you can go forward side by side.
Find other couples you can spend time with; those who love the Lord and grow together with them. Your faith will be strengthened and you will be more dedicated to truly serving the Lord. Don’t hang out with the unsaved; they might be friendly but as you already found out, you will almost always run into problems: “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals’” (1 Corinthians 15:33).
The drinking has to go. Notice the word “spirits” tagged on every bottle of liquor. And yes, godless spirits are involved in drinking and substance abuse of any kind It is something you cannot make a part of your life and still fully live for God. Drinking, and other “pleasures” condoned by the world are all gateways to trouble and self-destruction, just the way the devil likes it. We know the devil is always looking for weak targets:
“Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
One last suggestion. If you are feeling you do not want to be with your husband please don’t make that final decision until you spend some real quality time with him, genuinely seeking the Lord together. God can change your heart to love your husband more. I don’t know of too many men who could really forgive and stay with a wife who lived an adulterous deceptive life for years,
It sounds like your husband is an exceptional person who is showing the selfless love of Christ. We need to appreciate those who stick with us. I would think very carefully before walking away from him. He has grounds for divorce but biblically speaking, I don’t see that you do, unless there is something you have not shared in your letter.
We cannot undo the past but we can make better choices today and tomorrow. Please don’t let your past mistakes ruin the rest of your life. Give your all to the Lord and He will guide you to a living a life that is pleasing to Him.
Your courage and honesty in sharing your painful downfall is evidence of your heartfelt remorse. Now let it all go. If you find yourself slipping and falling into a depressed state, get into the Scriptures and refuse to carry around what you cannot change. Read comforting passages, even out loud, and praise God for all the blessings you have. You cannot undo the past but what you can change is how you live your life today and tomorrow.
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Please don’t hesitate to reach out again; I would love to hear how you are doing in the near future.
In God’s love,
“He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sin” (Colossians 1:13-14).
September 28, 2015
I have been saved and blessed by the Lord since 1986. I have read my Bible (mostly New Testament) almost daily since then. Having said that, I was raised by a verbally and physically abusive father who destroyed any self-esteem and confidence I might have ever had.
I truly love the Lord and try to trust Him in all things and He has provided in ways that should leave no doubt in my mind that I can always trust in Him, and all the verses in the Bible (I will never leave you nor forsake you, etc.).
The problem is that I am still such a worrywart. Even though I keep repeating uplifting Scripture and praying for stronger faith, I continue to see in the news about Christians being murdered and persecuted all over the world. I have heard that the Vatican estimates that 100,000 Christians are killed each year for their faith. (By the way, I am not Catholic.)
I try and tell myself that that maybe the people called Christians that have these horrible things happen really are just professing Christians (i.e. Coptic Egyptians, Mary worshiping Catholics). I’m not judging the Coptics or those in Nigeria and the like.
I’m just trying to understand why God allows such tragedy to happen to his children when He promises to protect us, and my only explanation is that maybe they are not His children.
So my concern when I hear these stories, is that if God IS allowing these things to happen to true Christians, how do I know that tragedy won’t befall me, and my family? I love a book that I hand out to friends when trouble comes called, Comfort for Troubled Christians. I love the way purging and perfecting is described in that book, and hope it gives comfort to those I give it to. But I just keep waiting for the hammer to fall. I hate this feeling. Any suggestions?
Tragically, a large number of boys and girls are abused even by parents, both fathers and mothers all around the world. We are living in the apostasy of the last days (2 Timothy 4:3-4) and we know things will get worse. We must remember that no matter how tough things get in this life, we must look to our eternal home with the Lord Jesus.
You sound well-grounded, Jack and you can overcome the habit of worrying. Even if we suffered every day of our lives and lived one hundred years, that miniscule amount of suffering is nothing compared to living with the Creator of the universe for all eternity.
We will experience joy like nothing we have in this life. We will fellowship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit eternally. We will fellowship with the brethren forever. We will enjoy pleasures that we can’t even imagine in this life.
Although we cannot understand it, we must also remember that God has called some of His children to suffer persecution:
“For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps” (1 Peter 2:20-21).
Because we live in a fallen world tribulation exists in heavy doses. Millions of Christians around the world are persecuted every day. We do not understand why He allows His children to suffer, but when we see Him in heaven perhaps He will explain it all to us, and we will understand His master plan, and praise Him for all eternity. No one in heaven will hold a grudge against God if they endured persecution.
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation” (1 Peter 4:12-13).
When we think of how tremendously the Lord Jesus suffered, sometimes we might ask, “Why couldn’t He just talk away the enemy, after all He is God?” But even He came to this earth in the form of a man so He could make a blood sacrifice to atone for all our sins.
Some things we simply cannot understand, but that is where faith comes in. And it is faith that we must have in heavy doses in these last days.
None of us can be certain we will never face severe trials, tribulation, persecution and possibly martyrdom. None of us can ever be fully prepared for persecution. But we can burn the Bible into our minds and souls as much and as deeply as possible so if that day ever comes, we will be able to endure it.
This is why we must all be in the Word and in prayer every day throughout each day. We can always rest assured that believers who are martyred are immediately in the Presence of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23).
“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).
Jack, although you are reading the Bible and praying, I urge you to go to a deeper level and begin to truly own the Word of God by taking it in more deeply so it becomes so ingrained in you that this incessant fear and worry will be crushed.
You know the author of fear and confusion is the devil himself. When you continually look for the possibility of persecution and trouble, you are inviting trouble. The Lord taught that we should meditate on His Word, not our circumstances or possible circumstances.
And please start reading and studying more of the Old Testament in addition to the time you spend reading the New Testament. We are to study and proclaim the entire counsel of God (Acts 20:27).
You say you trust the Lord, then please let go of trying to control what is going on around you and allow Him to lead you each day. If you follow His call, and carefully pay attention to His guidance you will be as safe as anyone can ever be in this his fallen world. We must trust Him completely.
A great deal of the torture and persecution goes on in the third world countries and where dictatorial regimes are in power. So far we have been very fortunate in this country. But even here we can see that Christian persecution is growing. May God have mercy on us and spare us such tentacles of evil violence from reaching our families and loved ones.
You can strengthen your faith by having a time of family devotions a few times a week. Begin with a daily time of prayer and a short time of Bible reading. Choose a book and go through it paragraph-by-paragraph. Read one paragraph and then discuss it together. Never get into an argument over Scripture. Start with James through 2 Peter and then go through Galatians to Philemon.
You can then go through the gospels and Acts and then the Psalms and Proverbs. Later tackle Romans, the Corinthian letters, Hebrews, Jude, Revelation and the Old Testament books. The more you study the Bible with your family the longer that devotion will become. Eventually you will study the Bible for an hour or more.
As you said, it is possible that some of the Christians who are suffering persecution may not be God’s children. We cannot always know who is saved and who is not, but we can be certain that some who call themselves Christians are not truly born again:
“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 7:21-13).
Jack, you have a true love of the brethren. Trust God and pray for those who you know are suffering persecution. Pray that God gives them the strength to endure it.
You may also want to do a study of the great men of God who suffered for Him – Joseph (Genesis 3:18-41;57), Moses (Hebrews 11:23-28), Daniel (Daniel 6:16-28), John the Baptist (Matthew 14:1-12), Stephen (Acts 7:54-60), Paul (2 Corinthians 11:22-28) and many others (Hebrews 11:32-40). Remember that millions of believers who are saved after the Tribulation starts will be persecuted and martyred (Revelation 6:9-11; 20:4).
God has given you a love for the brethren that few believers have today. God bless you, Jack. You have been given great empathy for others. With great empathy comes great sorrow. Ask God to give you joy to overcome the sorrow.
Also, seek out ways you can help those around you who need comforting for the trials and tribulations they are going through. Pray throughout each day and burn the Bible into your soul; reading, studying, memorizing and meditating on it as often as you can.
Whatever happens in the future, we must trust that the Lord truly is our strength and our refuge. Please make Psalm 91 a part of your daily Bible study. The more you stay focused on the Scriptures, the stronger you will feel.
Trusting in the Lord will bring peace to your heart. Trust in His unfailing love. Pray for protection for your family every day and thank Him for His faithfulness and focus on all His blessings, each and every one of them.
In God’s love,
“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).
September 21, 2015
I really enjoy reading your weekly column. I have a bit of a problem and I am wondering if you might be able to help. A close friend of mine recently got saved and escaped from a lifetime of indoctrination in the Roman Catholic Church.
I spend a lot of time with her but she is still having an issue with some of the false teaching. I don’t know that much about the intricate details of Catholic doctrine. She keeps talking about purgatory; how she is still worried that she will end up there.
I told her there is no such place but she is still carrying on about it. Can you give me anymore information that could help her better understand the problems with the purgatory concept and hopefully put the subject to rest?
Thank you for your letter and your kind words. This is a topic I have studied for a very long time. I will do my best to help give you some insight into the Roman Catholic’s misleading and false teaching of the concept of purgatory.
The Roman Catholic Church holds to the position that baptism removes all previous guilt, both original and actual, so that if a person were to die immediately after baptism he would go directly to heaven. All other “believers,” except the Christian martyrs but including even the highest clergy, must go to purgatory to pay the penalty for sins committed after baptism.
The sacrifices made by the martyrs, particularly those who reflect honor upon the church, are considered adequate substitutes to avoid the fires of purgatory. Eternal punishment is cancelled by the sacraments of baptism and penance, by almsgiving, by paying the priest to say mass, by indulgences, etc., which reduce the temporal punishment for mortal sins that would have been suffered in purgatory.
In addition, even if all mortal sins are forgiven in confession by a priest and the “believer” does not perform enough good works, he will go to purgatory and remain there in torture until his soul is completely purified. The doctrine of purgatory rests on the assumption that while God forgives sin, His justice demands that the sinner must suffer the punishment due to him for his sins before he can enter heaven.
Purgatory is supposed to be under the special jurisdiction of the Pope, who is considered by this apostate church, to be Christ’s representative on earth -- who has the power to grant indulgences (relief from suffering) as he sees fit. It is exercised by the priests, within limits, as representatives of the Pope.
As St. Thomas Aquinas said, “The least pain in purgatory surpasses the greatest suffering in this life. Nothing but the eternal duration makes the fire of hell more terrible than that of purgatory.” Knowing this, it is not surprising to hear Roman Catholicism described as a religion of fear.
There is fear of the priest, fear of the confessional, fear of the consequences of missing mass, fear of the discipline of penance, of death, of purgatory and of the righteous judgment of an angry God.
Tragically, money is a huge motive behind the purgatory doctrine. It is generally held that purgatory can be shortened by gifts of money, prayers by the priest, and masses—all of which can be provided by the person before death or by friends or relatives after death.
It is astounding to me how gullible so many dear and kind people are; many who pledge their allegiance to the Roman Catholic Church. They are enslaved to a belief system that essentially erases Christ’s blood sacrifice on the Cross, and instead empowers a group of fallen sinful men to determine the eternal destiny of church members.
Even after the priest administers extreme unction and the person dies, money is extracted from the mourning relatives after death. The Roman Catholic Church in effect sells salvation for money. How many estates have been willed to the RRC? And is a poor person helpless and doomed to an eternity of purgatory because he cannot pay the church fees?
The doctrine of purgatory has become the cash cow of the Catholic Church. No one knows how long, or when, a person is released from purgatory. A question we can ask is this: If the Pope or the priest acting on his behalf really have the power to modify or terminate the suffering souls in purgatory, why do they not render service freely and willingly as “Christian” Catholics, to help humanity?
In hospitals, the doctors and nurses try every way possible to relieve the pain and misery of those who come to them. If money can pay for a soul’s release from purgatory, why does the Pope or priest keep those poor souls suffering horrible pain in the fire, if at any time either one of them could pay all the debt for those who cannot? They could easily do so from the enormously rich treasury stored inside the vaults in the Vatican bank.
Now how does all this legalistic ideology line-up with Scripture? Christ never made one passing allusion to purgatory. He said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life (John 5:24).
Jesus said this to the thief on the cross:
“Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43).
Christ’s words, “It is finished,” indicate that His payment for sin is complete.
“The apostle John wrote: “ But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John7, 9).
The apostle Paul did not anticipate a purgatory, but said to depart was to “be with Christ,” and that it would be “far better” (Philippians 1:23).
“We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8).
In answer to the question, “What must I do to be saved?” The answer is straightforward:
“Believe on the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved: (Acts 16:31). There is no reference to confession to a priest, penance, purgatory or any other thing which a religion of works attaches.
Paul said, “If it [salvation] is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace” (Romans 11:6).
Again Paul says, “Nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ, and not by works of the Law; since by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified” (Galatians 2:16).
The overwhelming amount of Scripture against the concept of purgatory (and all the rest of manmade doctrines) is one of the reasons why the Catholic Church through the ages has kept the Bible from the people. The “bible” they use is a corrupt version heavily edited by their church.
How striking is the dissimilarity between Jesus and the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church! Jesus was a humble itinerant preacher, but the Pope rides into the church on the shoulders of 12 men having Eucharist and Marianistic congresses, with priests, bishops and cardinals wearing lavish robes and jeweled mitres.
The jewels in the Pope’s triple-decked-crown are said to be worth about $1, 300,000. What a startling contrast from the words of the alleged founder of the Roman Catholic Church, the apostle Peter, who said to the lame beggar, “Silver and gold have I none” (Acts 3:6).
(The apostle Peter did not start the Roman Catholic Church. That is a huge lie perpetrated by the Roman Catholic Church by twisting Scripture.)
Peter warned against “wearing [flaunting] of jewels or gold” or putting on [extravagant] apparel” (1 Peter 3:3). Paul too, could say, “I coveted no man’s silver or gold or apparel” (Acts 20: 33).
Pagan Rome and Jewish Jerusalem had ceremonials but when Christ came He did not copy them but disdained them. He founded His Church not on a hierarchy, but a simple brotherhood of saved souls commissioned to preach the gospel to the entire world. The early church lived in catacombs for about 300 years and had no ceremonials.
Christ rebuked the Pharisees because they were particular about keeping the feasts but neglected obedience to God (Matthew 6:16). And Paul warned against manmade commandments as a mark of apostasy (1 Timothy 4:3).
The use of the Latin language in the mass is another doctrine with no foundation in Scripture. It has been stated that it is better not to celebrate mass at all than to do so in the language of the people. This is the opposite of Christ’s teachings. Christ spoke the language of His day, Hebrew.
Yet the Roman Catholic Church teaches it is sacrilege to commemorate that experience (the mass) in anything but Latin. Paul said, “But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power” (1 Corinthians 14:19).
Sharon, I hope by sharing this information with your newly converted friend, she will better understand how purgatory is a false teaching that controls innocent believing Catholics who ultimately worship the Catholic Church and not Christ. The purgatory teaching is a way to subjugate the parishioners, rob them blind and line the pockets of the demagoguery at the top.
I could say much more on the unscriptural teachings of the Roman Catholic Church but you have enough material here that should help your friend understand that as a blood bought born-again believer, she has nothing to fear upon death.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any more questions or concerns.
In God’s love,
“But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!” (Galatians 1:8).
September 14, 2015
I read your postings often. You give such wonderful advise based on the Bible. I have struggled with writing you because it is about a dear friend. We have been friends for a lot of years. We used to work together and we babysat each other's children. Recently, she confided in me about one of her sons.
He and his wife are having some serious issues in their marriage, which I won't go into. But they are important enough that he is very close to filing for a divorce. They have been married over 20 years. He did confide in his brother and the brother told their mother. She told me about it and I haven't said anything to anybody. But I felt really strong about sharing this with you because of the advice you share with others.
It seems that the her son is now involved with someone at his work. She is married as well and has a small child that she leaves a lot with her husband to meet with him. These things almost never end well. Her son and his wife do not have children. I find fault with this woman that he is involved with because she leaves her baby so often to engage in this secret affair.
As a mother myself, I have never seen the man that would make me put my children last. Neither would his mother. She told me she is going to approach him about this. I'm not sure that is a good idea. It would cause a division in the family that may not be repaired.
There is also a number of years between their ages. Is there any advise you can give me to pass along? She is a wonderful Christian lady and family is so important to her.
Thank you for reading this.
“Oh dear,” are the first words that come to mind. (And thank you for your kind words about my ministry).What a sad situation! The mother who is cheating is asking for trouble; so is your friend's son. Oh, the lie of fleshly desires that entrap the headstrong participants. The duo involved may have to learn the hard way. Tragically there is an innocent young child involved.
You are a wonderful friend to be so concerned. I can appreciate your burden regarding the unknown consequences for your friend if she does reach out to her son. But if she does not, I think she would not be doing him any favors. (But it is her decision to make.) To pretend all is well in order to keep peace in the family in a situation like this, would be a mistake.
Yes, your friend's son is a grown man and is responsible for his own decisions but a concerned mom always has a right to offer her opinion. If she approaches him with loving concern and not angry condemnation, then she will have a better chance of getting her son to think about what he is doing. If he gets angry, so be it. You have a high regard for you dear friend, “a wonderful Christian lady.” Then let's pray she will do what is right regardless of the fallout because staying true to God's Word must be a priority. The Lord will carry her no matter how her son responds.
Now you might also be concerned about the other son who told his mom about the cheating brother, that he might also get upset if she brings this matter out into the open -- since he confided in her. But we could remind him that his fallen brother confided in him, yet he did share his concern with their mother. So he does not have much recourse since he himself did not keep quiet about what his brother told him.
Jerri, consider this: None of us know when we will take our last breath. Your friend's son and his girlfriend are headed for a very gruesome eternity unless they snap out of it and repent. Chances are they will reject that message at the moment. But in time, when more and more complications set in they may both cry out to the Lord in repentance for their short-sighted sinful lifestyle.
Just as you or any other good mother could not leave a young child to go and have an affair, it is also important to stand by God's Word and lovingly point out the destructive road upon which the son is traveling. I am with you, the cheating mother is at great fault but so is your friend's son. In time they will have no respect for each other. The relationship is already doomed.
I suggest meeting with your friend and praying together regularly. Pray that the Lord will bring about a situation where the son and the girlfriend will be convicted of their sin and stop. This is a time when your friendship is very much needed. Be there for your friend (as I am sure you are), and let her pour her heart out to you.
When a relationship is based on sneaking around and lying, there is no lasting foundation. If your friend speaks to her son she can reassure him she will always be there for him, and it is his well being and his eternal destiny that she is concerned about as well as the pragmatic consequences he will face by living a lie every day.
I know you are concerned about the possibility of irreparable damage if your friend speaks to her son about his affair, but when we are truly in Christ we must share God's truths with our children (no matter how old they are or what cost). At the moment the devil has the cheating son and cheating mom exactly where he wants them.
A God-fearing mom can have great influence on her children at all times in life, and I would not discourage your friend from talking to her son about his situation.
One other alternative for your friend would be to invite her son to go to church with her (if she goes to a good one). If he is willing to go, he might just hear a sermon that will get to him. From what I have read the chances of him doing that are slim, but it never hurts to approach the subject.
The situation you describe is a manifestation of godless lifestyle choices where God is not a part of a person's life. Hopefully the son had some Christian teaching throughout his life from his mother and it is still buried somewhere in the core of his being. Let's hope for the best.
I can understand your concern for your friend's family situation, that it stays as trouble free as possible—but not at the expense of God's admonitions. Your friend's son has immersed himself into a deceptive troublesome lifestyle. I will pray with you that he will have a change of heart about what he is doing.
Although his marriage has serious problems, until he resolves those issues, he is still a married man. And his girlfriend is still a married woman with a young child. They should know better than to behave so selfishly.
If those two continue to engage in their affair they will eventually be faced with the deception they are living under. I do hope your friend will reach out to her son; that way she can have peace knowing she tried to help her son see that what he is doing is so very wrong, especially in God's eyes.
Perhaps an approach you can take would be to tell your friend that you stand by her no matter what, whether she reaches out to her son or not. Let her make the decision. You can offer your opinion if she asks, but let her know that it is her choice to make. If you try to push her to do something she is uncomfortable with, then I would say you are crossing a boundary line.
In today's secular sin-infested society, affairs are not even considered so terrible. After all, this has very much become an, “I'll do it my way” society. It is very possible that the two involved don't think what they are doing is wrong; it's hard to know. Regardless of what they are thinking, your friend will still have some influence over her son, even if he shows rebellion toward her.
A praying mom devoted to the Lord and her family can help turn things around for the better. If your friend does approach her son and if he gets angry and resentful, try to comfort her as much as possible. Spend time with her and read Scripture together that will reinforce God's faithfulness.
“The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry. The face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles” (Psalm 34:15-17).
No matter what happens, as long as our prayers go before the throne of God there is still a chance that the son and his girlfriend will at some time come to a point where they will have to face their sinful ways and repent. Hopefully it will be sooner than later. The damage that can be done in situations like this can be very devastating. And as you said, “These things almost never end well.”
“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16b).
When we are in Christ, miracles can happen. Although at the moment it seems unlikely that the people entangled in this mess could salvage their marriages, but it could happen. I have heard of much worse situations where marriages survived once the people involved came to a true and saving knowledge of Christ, repented and placed Him in the number one spot in their lives.
“Many plans are in a man's heart, but the counsel of the LORD will stand” (Proverbs 19:21).
It seems to me that Christ is definitely not a serious part of either marriage. If He was, things would not be as they are now. Your friend's son, his wife, the girlfriend and her husband all need to come to a realization that their marriages must be based upon biblical principles.
They all need to repent and cry out to the Lord, receive Him as their Lord and Savior, become born-again from above, and then they would all have a chance at living honest, productive, and meaningful lifestyles blessed by our merciful King. Jesus is the great and mighty Healer and He can effect positive changes like none other.
We don't know how all of this will end, but the one sure thing we have is God's grace and His faithfulness. We must totally trust Him. We can deliver the message and keep praying but then we must let the Holy Spirit do the heart changing work. Sometimes it takes a lot of shaking up before a person comes to salvation in Christ, and stops living a self-destructive lifestyle.
Thank you for reaching out and sharing your heart, Jerri. God bless you for your loving kindness. Please let me know how things evolve and let's stay optimistic.
In God's love,
“The LORD is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him” (Nahum 1:7).
September 7, 2015
Thank you for your time in reading this and for your help in this matter. I have had a very difficult situation with my side of the family regarding my younger brother. We got along very well when we were little and as we got older my parents' marriage fell apart for a time.
Eventually my mother forgave my father and took him back into our home through much prayer and by God's grace. My mother was and is saved and my father believes he is but doesn't show much fruit nor cares to attend church.
The situation affected my brother and me in different ways. As we got older he became angry and took a lot out on my mom and me, at times—verbally. My parents took us to church and I became saved but not my brother. They eventually let him stop attending church when he was about 16 or so. My mom would tell me we would get along better when we were older.
I eventually got married as did he. He continued to be verbally and mentally manipulative, and it got worse. He began telling lies to family about me and believed them himself, and I began to dread attending holiday and birthday functions. I was so hurt because I am an honest person who hates lying and always wants to live honorably and at peace. It always felt like there was a lot of tension in the room -- like walking on egg shells.
I stayed away from confrontations and would feel sick to my stomach. We had a falling out at one point and I did apologize for my part in the matter. It's so important to me to forgive and be forgiven as that's what God wants. I want what God wants. It all came to a head when he called to give his wishes on my anniversary and instead lost his cool on the phone and manipulated the conversation and rehashed lies to make himself look like he was the bigger person.
I apologized to him again thinking that would help because I really wanted to make things better but he yelled at me and it just got worse. For the first time I stood up to him, and said no more treating me like that. My husband was in the room with me and I remained calm by the grace of God and I knew He was with me. That was the last time my brother and I spoke. We have been estranged for the past five years.
My husband had to set boundaries because he was tired of seeing me put through that abuse and didn't want it to hurt me anymore or our small children. My husband took a step and through much prayer, sent a letter that we forgave him and still love him -- along with the gospel message but that he would have to go through my husband first for reconciliation. He wanted to protect me as it's his rightful role as God's protector over me and our household, and to make sure my brother was genuine and sincere and not wanting to be verbally abusive and manipulative.
During that time my brother verbally abused my parents severely. He has since apologized to them (a year ago) but not to me. This has driven a huge wedge into my family. I have not been able to attend any family functions with my husband and children because my side of the family has kept inviting him these past five years.
They don't seem to understand how they are hurting me. I continue to pray for my brother and my family's salvation and that God will open their eyes to the lies he has believed about me for so long. I just want my brother back and I miss him and love him so much but he has no desire for reconciliation.
I am waiting for the day when I can give him a huge hug and tell him all is forgiven because it is. I know that he would have to be changed by God in his heart because it's so hardened.
I write this letter to you in hope that others will read it because I am sure this kind of division is happening in so many families in these last days and it's so painful. I know God is in control. I pray for wisdom and encouragement in this trial while I am waiting and not to give up hope. At times my heart becomes so discouraged.
I am sorry to hear about your complex dilemma. When I read through your letter I could sense the tremendous strain you are under. You sound like a very genuine loving person willing to let go of the past as Scripture teaches and forgive again and again. Family conflicts can be deeply painful, especially when there seems to be no end in sight.
Slanderous behavior is symptomatic of a godless controlling spirit. Tragically, this type of behavior is very prevalent. When it comes from family it is very hard to take. Wolves in sheep's clothing are everywhere manipulating people with their lies in order to gain whatever it is that they are seeking for themselves. Those who buy into the slander and manipulation lack spiritual discernment and are also spiritually corrupt and weak. Remember the old saying?: “Birds of a feather flock together.”
God knows the truth and He will balance out the scales in His own way in His own time. Our job as true believers is to stay faithful to Him and keep our integrity even in the face of adversity; when others are deviously plotting to undermine and destroy us.
“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20)
This won't be a very long missive as I can see you already have an understanding that it is God alone who can change the situation. It is a terrible feeling to feel like an outcast of sorts because others are insensitive to the depth of the problems with your brother. But it sounds like your immediate family—your husband, certainly gets it and did the right thing placing himself into a liaison position between you and your brother.
Heather, you are very blessed in that regard. I have received so many letters over the years from women who cannot count on their husbands for much of anything, I am sorry to say. Some people have large families they can interact with but many do not. When it is all said and done, even in the best of situations we must learn to stand alone; that is, stand alone with Jesus.
People will always let us down but God never will. He is our reliable and constant companion.
“But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24b).
This society has engrained in us many beliefs that are not beneficial. One of the ongoing messages is that we have to have lots of friends, great ideal families and that we have to fit our lives into the cookie cutter models of “happiness.”
But we know that there are few, if any, ideal families. And friends more often than not are friends in name only and too many cannot be relied upon. The only true joy we can nurture is our personal relationship with our precious Lord and Savior. Consider everything beyond that icing on the cake.
Because we live in the midst of this immoral deceptive fallen world, we can become sidetracked and fill our hearts and minds with negativity and despair. But the Lord has given us Himself; His Word to study and read daily.
“Jesus is the Word. Jesus came into the world as God in the flesh: “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.”
By staying in the Word of God we can better remember that this is not our true home, that all genuine believers have a future so great we cannot fully comprehend the awesome majestic glory that awaits us.
Every day, at every moment, people are passing from this life into their eternal destiny. And that eternal destination is impossible to comprehend with our finite minds. Because we are here on earth right now, everything going on in our lives can become a really big deal. (Not to say that many issues are not serious and can deeply affect our day-to-day well being.)
But in an instant, without warning, any one of us could be gone. All the more reason to cling to Jesus, keep the limitations of this life in perspective and not allow frustrations to escalate into overwhelming situations -- when we know full well that sin is rampant in this world and many people choose not to accept Christ, and instead spend their energy making life difficult for others.
Our victory in Christ is assured. We are guaranteed one day to be free of the struggles of this life. That is what we must focus on daily; our future homecoming with Christ. We must choose to be joyous despite our circumstances and count every blessing that we have.
When we take nothing for granted we can have great inner peace knowing that the One who died for us, the One who intercedes for us when we fall, the One who loves us in ways we cannot comprehend—is working behind the scenes on our behalf.
Heather, you know your prayers are so important and you know there is always hope in Jesus. Your brother could still come around and your family members may, too. But you know you cannot count on that. Try to let go of your brother and your insensitive family members; give him totally over to God.
The power of prayer is great and your fervent prayers will reach God's throne. Trust the Lord with all your heart and try your best to let go of this trying dilemma. As much as we would like our unsaved loved ones to come to salvation in Christ and behave kindly and fairly, we know the god of this world has blinded the lost.
Heather, you are one of God's precious creations and although you do not have the loving support of some of your family members, you have so much. When we have Jesus we have everything.
God bless you for sharing your heart and I am sure many of our readers will be able to relate to your situation. Always remember how special you are to the Lord. Walk forward and don't look back. Try your best not to dwell on the past; it will only hinder your peace of mind.
You may even have to think of your unrepentant brother and family members as strangers so you can better detach from them emotionally. Fill your heart and mind with the goodness you do have in your life and let Jesus take care of the unresolved issues. You have to give it all over to Him.
“Not that I have already obtained it have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-14).
In God's love,
“Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love” (John 15:11).
August 31, 2015
Thank you for giving this a listening ear and being there to help. I am having a hard time with the relationship between my mother and myself. Growing up, there was a lot of strife and conflict with verbal fights between us.
It was dysfunctional and a lot of hurtful things were said on both ends (no father in the picture as she was single). To her credit, she worked hard and ensured all our needs were met as well as some wants. She is also very giving and caring to others, always rushing to someone's aid. I also have memories of the good times we had, in between the fighting and despair.
Now I am married and a mother of two. I left my hometown and created a lot of distance between us in the hope that I would heal and start my life afresh. I also hoped being away would improve our relationship as we were not sharing the same living space.
This was not to be. Every time we talk or stay in touch there is always some form of strife. I admit to having had resentment to some of the things she did in the past but after a lot of therapy and prayer I have let it go. However, I have a fear of her ruining my present happy life just to see me miserable.
I have asked God to remove this fear. I think it stems from how over-controlling my mother was even into my adult years, always trying to micro manage every aspect of my life. She is a born-again Christian and raised me to follow God so I don't understand why we have this strife between us. She says she loves me and I believe her.
In our previous mediations with a neutral party we have both repented and asked each other for forgiveness. But it's like we can't have a mother-daughter relationship that is desired. I feel, that when other people say, “Honor your father and mother” in reference to one of the commandments, they have not walked in my shoes and just expect me to roll over and let her have her way. What about: “Parents do not provoke your children?”
I am not trying to justify my actions or deflect fault. My question is: Should I take a lengthy break from her with no communication so that I can heal from this? I also don't want to talk anymore because it always leads to a fight, which is not good for either of us. My husband also thinks I should distance myself because he hates to see me hurt, and crying over this.
What is the right way to honor her as God commands? I know she is lonely, as my brother for unknown reasons has estranged himself from us for years. She misses her grandkids and I know it would make her happy to see them and hear about their development.
I live in a different country and last year when we visited it did not go well. There was a fight and also some untrue rumors that had reached my grandmother about me. The source of it was my mother because she is the one who knew the details of the situation but what was told to my grandmother was twisted and over stretched. We had an intervention with other family members where we prayed and tried to talk this out for the last time. I think we reached a mutual forgiveness point but reconciliation was not instant.
This is reflected in the strained phone conversations we have had and my refusing to accept her calls and text messages in the last two-months. I honestly want to just cut-off my mom but I do not know if it is the right decision in God's sight.
I want to please God most of all. I also need to focus on my 3-year-old and my newborn. This turmoil drains my energy. My husband also wants me to stop dwelling on this situation and just walk away from it all together.
How do I please God if it's still difficult to get along with my mother? I love her and I truly forgive her in my heart of hearts. How can two born-again Christians not get along? I also don't want to be left behind because of this issue. I am born-again and believe in Jesus.
Sometimes in life when we need or want to make a decision about something, whichever way we choose, neither solution may be ideal. The long history of contention and strife you have had with your mother certainly is a difficult one.
From reading your letter and carefully thinking and praying about your situation, it sounds like you really want to be free of this seemingly never-ending friction with your mom. Boundaries are something we should always respect with one another but some people (most often family members) seem to ignore this simple courtesy.
You can honor your mother by not getting caught-up in any more unpleasant verbal exchanges with her. I would not just cut her off cold. I suggest writing her a loving letter, a snail mail letter, not an email. Try to explain to her that you truly love her but the time has come in your life where you need all your energy to raise your two very young children.
“A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit” (Proverbs 15:4).
Tell your mom that you don't blame her or hold any animosity toward her and that you are sincerely sorry for the part you have played in all of this, but that you simply cannot continue to participate in a situation where there is so much conflict.
Since nothing productive seems to come out of your interactions together you have made a decision to continue on with your life without the telephone, texting, and emailing aspect of your communication. This way what you are doing is clearly stated in writing and cannot be convoluted.
This is not to punish her or hurt her, but it is matter of self-preservation so you can function properly and take care of your children. Tell her you cannot go on in a state of distress because of a unpleasant phone conversation, etc. For whatever reason the two of you are just not on the same wavelength and the best thing to do is to love each other from a distance through occasional letters via the traditional mail services.
You can send her pictures of the children as they grow; in fact, make some photo albums for her and mail them to her occasionally, a couple of times a year. You can send her nice greeting cards now and then. In this way you would still be honoring her but not allowing the same old negative dynamics to take over. If she does not like the decision you've made, then simply tell her that you are sorry but this is how it has to be so you can function.
The verbal arguments, and all the other undercurrent problems have taken a toll on you and you really have no other choice in the matter. You have a great responsibility to your husband and the children and cannot handle any more stress. You can also point out that these chronic negative interactions are not good for her either.
You can probably expect her to get angry once she reads your letter. If she writes back with an upsetting letter, please contact me and I will work through it with you. I do understand, and I am sure many of the readers do as well—that even the slightest communication from a dysfunctional loved one can be like driving a stake into one's heart.
So for now, take it one-step at a time. Write the letter, put a couple of recent pictures of your kids into the envelope and mail it. If she calls or texts you, you can ignore it because you have already stated your case. Then if she writes back, let's see what she says or if she makes any demands.
Remember this is your first step to taking back your life, so you will have to be a bit patient. But once you state your case, you should stick with your decision or else you might get wrangled back into the same negative interplay.
No doubt your mom did everything she could to provide for you, and for that you are grateful. But that was her responsibility. As time goes on in the future you can always do some nice things for her, but I would proceed with caution. Right now, you must make peace with yourself that you are not doing this to be unkind to her, but you are doing it so you can be a responsible parent and carry on.
The Lord knows every last detail of our lives, better than we know them ourselves. Go before Him and ask for His blessing and healing. Confess your part in the problems and ask Him to help your mother realize that she too has created this separation, which may need to continue for a very long time.
When you find yourself getting upset and feeling angry toward her for any of the injustices in your relationship, remember what Jesus said on the cross, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” On some level your mom is in a way handicapped to get past her “stuff”—whatever it is. Being a single mom must have been very hard for her. Always think of her with compassion and any angry feelings you might have will dissipate. And for you, growing up without a father has complex issues.
You can please God by kindly making the case to your mother about how this lifelong drama must end and that you are not harboring any hatred or anger toward her. You are not going to be left behind in the Rapture over this. You are truly sorry and repentant, but that does not mean you have to open yourself up as an object of verbal bantering.
Sherry, please focus on the blessings the Lord has given you: Two beautiful children, a good husband and a life that is away from the close proximity to your mom. The distance didn't help because the communication continued as it did. But now you can take a step to change all of that. Start with the letter.
If she sends back an angry reply, then you may have to take a stronger step and cut-off the communication completely. But we won't think about that quite, yet. I think you will feel better if you take this one step first before entertaining the idea of totally cutting her out of your life and that of you children for a very lengthy time.
As far as being a born-again believer and not getting along, that does sound like an oxymoron. But believe me, it happens all the time. Pride is a relentless foe and rears its ugly head even amongst many professing Christians. And only God knows if a person is truly saved.
When we are walking in the flesh we are living life giving into temptations leading to a life spattered with sin (which includes habitual verbal abuse). When we walk in the Spirit we live our lives in a way that reflects the inner workings of the Holy Spirit, Who dwells within all true believers.
We should always be conscious of how we are behaving and be careful not to grieve the Holy Spirit. We should always try our best to be a good witness for Christ to others.
A lot of people profess to be born-again Christians, yet I am continuously amazed at how many of these people are going through life as if they never made a sincere profession of faith. They are spiritual infants who are in desperate need of repentance and re-evaluation of their proclamations of faith.
I think some people will be surprised at the Judgment Seat of Christ. The motives for everything a believer does for the Lord will be judged. Some will lose their rewards because their motives for serving the Lord are insincere and self-serving (1 Corinthians 3:10-15).
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
Some professing Christians are not really saved. They are Christians in name only and will have to face the Lord at the Great White Throne judgment along with the rest of the unsaved. God is not mocked and all those who are parading around professing Christ, but blatantly defying His principles showing no good fruit whatsoever are in great jeopardy. God knows the heart intent of each person. He is merciful and just.
Since you are truly repentant and have given your life to the Lord, I urge you to grow deeper in your faith and search the Scriptures daily and be sure to have a good prayer life where you communicate with the Lord often, each day.
The stronger your prayer life becomes and the more you absorb the Scriptures, the less the cares of the world will affect you. You will be able to move on and not get caught-up in the minutia of this life, which includes chronic family problems.
I also recommend reading two articles that we have from the FAQ section on Rapture Ready. The first is: “Why Is Strife a Sin?” The second is titled, “How Important Are the Words We Speak?” 
Please keep in touch with me and know that I am praying with you. It is going to be all right, Sherry. We serve a great and mighty God who cares very much about you and all His children. Please give this entire matter over to Him and let's pray that a wonderful result will yet come out of all of this.
God bless you!
“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29).
August 24, 2015
Hi, I'm Cameron, a 17 year old in high school. I do consider myself blessed, but I have lost my faith in religion, sort of. I believe in God, but I cannot fully call myself a Christian. These past few weeks, before I sleep...I have prayed and prayed.
I do not like the thought of death but I know “to live...you must die.” I've been reading the books, The Left Behind series. It speaks about being left behind after the Rapture. Personally, I feel God has told me to not believe in Him and to stay after the Rapture to evangelize; that He is real after the Rapture.
I am anxious and nervous though, because I am young. How can I put my belief into God when I'm so very skeptical in believing in Him? Please help me.
I am so glad you reached out. By the time you finish reading this, it is my heartfelt prayer that you will understand that God is very real and in no way would He tell you not to believe in Him now and to put off believing in Him until after the Rapture. That is completely unscriptural.
It is a lie from God's arch enemy, the devil—Satan, the deceiver. He would place such ideas in your head and use the world around you to cause you to doubt. He is the father of lies.
His number one weapon against the truth, against the Word of God is promoting false philosophies and religions. Cameron, it is understandable that you do not gravitate toward religion; that is a good thing. It is a personal relationship with Christ that matters, not religion.
The devil is working day and night trying to convince you and me and everyone else that the true God of the Bible does not exist or that if He does exist, He is just one of many gods.
But please don't fall for that deadly trap. The devil wants you to think that as long as you are a nice person and do nice deeds, your eternity will be just fine. He would even like you to go to church on Sunday as long as you don't take that “Jesus” who sacrificed Himself on the Cross, too seriously.
The Bible is filled with Scripture about believing. Here is a short list:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
“God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 5:24).
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life” (John 6:47).
“Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24).
“That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
In the following verses, Jesus cautions us about Satan, the devil:
“He [the devil] was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44b).
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).
Evil and Satan are complex topics. The devil is not just some type of fictitious evil concept, or a figment of one's imagination. Satan, whose original name was Lucifer, was a marvelously beautiful angel who held a very high position. He was not created to be evil, but he became so through his own corruption.
His own pride, greed and self-importance caused him to try to replace and overthrow his own Creator—Almighty God. In the following verse you will see how Satan tried to usurp God's authority, resulting in his eviction from heaven:
“How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High'” (Isaiah 14:12-14).
Cameron, you can also see from the previous Scripture that Satan broke the first of Almighty God's Ten Commandments: “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3). Although Satan was thrown out of heaven—his first rebellion (Luke 10:18), he still has access to the heavenly domains and also roams around on earth prowling about like a roaring lion (1 Peter 1:8). But halfway through the Tribulation he will be ousted from the heavenly realms permanently (Revelation 12:7-12).
“Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. And the LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” So Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it” (Job 1:6-7).
Satan tried to overthrow God's throne. He became his own god, worshipping himself rather than the true God and Creator of the universe. God's response was to cast him from heaven down to earth. Ever since that time there has been an enormous struggle going on between good and evil, between God and Satan.
Arrogance, pride and brazen self-aggrandizing are all traits that took Satan out of God's good graces. Satan took advantage of the power God initially gave him and used it against Him. Since then the devil has stopped at nothing to try to usurp the King of the universe. He wants to destroy God's creations and cause havoc and heartache any way he can.
The same human inclination for self-importance and power later enticed Adam and Eve into sinning when Satan lied to Eve and said: “You will be like God” (Genesis 3:5). Because of the fall of Man into sin all of mankind is separated from the God of creation, the Holy God of Israel.
Mankind inherited this separated sin condition from Adam and Eve. The inclination to sin is in our spiritual DNA and only through Christ can we be freed from that deadly affliction (the Adamic nature we are all born under).
“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12).
God's way of reconciling humanity to Himself is through Christ's death sacrifice on the Cross, which paid the penalty for all of mankind's sins. Reconciliation with God and the gift of eternal life is based upon the confession of Jesus of Nazareth, accepting the only begotten Son of God, as Savior.
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation” (Romans 5:8-11).
Satan will stop at nothing to try to defeat Almighty God. He is the consummate definition of evil, shrewdly plotting to get his own way. He thrives on creating agony and total destruction. Where there is unspeakable calamity, we can find the signature of Satan. We need only tune into local and world news reports each day to learn about dark and disturbing events.
These matters cannot be explained except for the undeniable presence of evil, orchestrating one tragedy after another. Evil has infiltrated the hearts and minds of inordinate numbers of people. But in Christ we have hope and the assurance of spiritual victory. It is up to each one of us individually to accept His free gift of salvation .
Don't let Satan steal away your life, Cameron. He has your right where he wants you. Don't give him the satisfaction of surrendering your soul to him. The eternal glory of the Lord is available to anyone who wholeheartedly accepts His free gift of eternal salvation, as long as it is before we take our last and final breath.
Scripture tells us there will be those who will wait until they find themselves living through the inescapable terrors of the Tribulation to accept Christ's free gift of salvation. And that is what you are saying, Cameron. There is no guarantee you will even live that long. You could die tomorrow. People die unexpectedly every day.
Tomorrow is promised to no one. Any one of us could take our last breath today. Then it will be too late. The only way we can embrace righteousness and holiness is to be covered by the atoning blood sacrifice of Jesus. We are to believe and accept Christ today, not some day in the future.
“For He made Him [Jesus] who knew no sinto be sin for us, that we may become the righteousness of God in Him. Behold now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 5:21, 6b).
By accepting Christ's free gift of salvation—because of Him—we are purified so we can enter into the presence of a Holy God—the holiness of heaven. I choose to believe Christ when He tells me there is a literal place that is filled with so much torment and anguish that only He can save us from it. Christ holds the key to salvation and eternal life.
There is no other way, despite what biblically illiterate people would have you believe. Avoid hell by personally receiving Him as your Lord and Savior. Blind allegiance to manmade philosophies and religions will only hurt you. Here are some Scriptural references to that horrific place called hell:
“And these [who reject Christ] will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous [believers] into eternal life” (Matthew 25:46).
“The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God” (Psalm 9:17).
“Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me you cursed, into the everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels'” (Matthew 25:41). [Jesus is speaking of the people in the final judgment.]
“But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).
Scary stuff. It defies logic. Inconceivable: “Everlasting fire; the lake which burns with fire and brimstone.” Surely these statements must be allegorical and mythological. No, that is not what the Lord says. He says this is the real condition of a real place called hell. We mortals are limited in our understanding of the broad scope of this insidious spiritual war. Trust and believe in the One who died for you.
“But God demonstrates His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.
“For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (Romans 5:8-10).
“And this is in the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:11-12).
“And He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son. In which we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13).
In the following verse Christ speaks of His death sacrifice on the Cross, the payment for all of mankind's sins, and His resurrection, as well as the fact that He holds the key to life and death:
“I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forever more. Amen. I have the keys of Hades and of Death” (Revelation 1:18).
“I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:9-10).
Cameron, you say you cannot really call yourself a Christian. You are right. In order to become a true Christian you must choose Christ and become spiritually born-again. Please believe in Christ and accept Him as your Lord and Savior; by doing so you become a true child of God, as Scripture teaches.
Recognize this dying world for what it is and the living risen Christ for Who He is. He is the way, the truth and the life. Only through Him can any of us escape the wrath that will be poured out during the soon coming prophesied seven-year Tribulation.
Only through Him can we be saved from an eternity of suffering. Please let go of preconceived ideas and lies of the devil that separate you from the living Christ and the abundant life that He wants so very much to share with you.
The devil, through the enticements of this world is trying to cleverly persuade everyone into thinking there is no need for the Savior. The devil only wants to hurt us, to rob us of our chance to have eternal freedom and life in Christ. He is playing a deadly game with a loaded gun aimed directly at each man, woman and child—never hesitating to pull the trigger.
Unless we are reconciled with Christ we are all in full firing-range of the devil and his loaded gun. When we choose salvation in Christ the devil is disarmed and we are made permanently victorious—our eternal destiny is shielded from any bullets he fires.
“You are of God little children, and have overcome them [the devil and his influences] because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
You can count on the Lord. He does not change:
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
What does salvation in Jesus Christ really mean?
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16-17).
“That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth confesses, resulting in salvation” (Romans 10:9-10).
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).
We can have a close, personal relationship with the Lord when we are born-again by the Holy Spirit and come to repentance. The spiritual rebirth Jesus spoke of is necessary in order to be saved, in order to have a personal relationship with Him, and to be able to understand the Word of God through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
“But the natural man [unsaved person] does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14).
“Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born-again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born, can he?”
Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born-again'” (John 3:3-7).
“The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
When we sincerely accept Christ and receive Him as our Lord and Savior, we are filled with God's Holy Spirit and are spiritually born-again. Water baptism is a public testimony showing we have placed our faith in Jesus. Being baptized as a child, a ritual performed by some religious groups will not get us into heaven. Neither will church or synagogue attendance.
Each person is personally accountable to God and must make his or her own decision to either accept or reject God's saving grace. God gave us free will. It is up to each of us to choose eternal life with God or eternal torment and separation from God. Choose Jesus Christ and you will be saved forever.
[Jesus said,] “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life” (John 5:24).
Christ took on the sins of the entire world through his death on the Cross to give us all the opportunity to be with Him for eternity and keep us from hell and the lake of fire (1 Timothy 4:10). He suffered for us, so we won't have to suffer an eternity of inconceivable torment. But each individual must choose either to accept Christ by following His commandment to be born-again, genuinely repenting and placing Him first. Or face an eternity of horror.
You can come to faith in Christ, and be born-again by praying a personal prayer of repentance and faith. The words you use are not important. Your sincerity and genuine commitment to the Lord is what counts. Saying a prayer, then walking away and forgetting about the Lord does not count for salvation. The sincere intent of your heart is what matters to God.
There has to be true repentance, a true change of heart; a repentant heart that will seek Him first and leave behind habits and lifestyles that are contrary to His will and His teachings.
If you are not sure what to say, follow this simple heartfelt prayer, but you must mean it with all your heart:
Heavenly Father, I accept your Son, Jesus Christ, as my Lord and Savior. I believe in His death, burial and resurrection. I realize I have made many mistakes in my life. I have been confused and deceived by the lies of this world. Please forgive me. I ask you to come into my life, regenerate me and fill me with your Holy Spirit so I can be born-again and saved by your grace. I want this to be a new beginning and to have a close, personal relationship with you. I want to learn more about you through prayer and careful Bible study. Help me to truly repent and live my life in a way that is pleasing to you. Please write my name into the Book of Life. I pray this in the Name of Jesus the Christ, the Messiah of Israel and of the world. Amen.
Cameron, please put away the Left Behind books and start reading and studying the Bible. I have shared a lot of information here to help you get started. Realize that you must take God's Word—the Bible seriously, and resolve to start a new life with Him at the forefront of your daily life. Seek out those who love the Lord and leave behind those who are the enemies of the Cross.
Cameron, please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. God loves you so very much and is waiting for you with open arms. Run to Him while you still can.
In God's love,
“And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air [the devil], of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience [the unsaved]” (Ephesians 2:1-2).
August 17, 2015
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.
I have received a number of letters lately with concerns similar to yours. If we let ourselves get overwhelmed by the circumstances around us we will lose our ability to enjoy the blessings we do have.
We are living at a time the Lord warned us about; the world is heading toward the fulfillment of the prophesied a one-world government, a one-world religion and the seven-year Tribulation period. It is not easy to see our great country turning more and more into a godless tyrannical weak-kneed nation of demagoguery.
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. We must hold on to that promise and make the most of each day. It is God's grace that can carry us when we think we can no longer stand to see another moment of corruption and the anti-God tactics taking hold.
We have God's promise that before all hell breaks loose, before the Tribulation begins, all true born-again believers will be lifted-up to glory and safety by the Jesus 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 feel stressed and scared considering the state of affairs in this wicked world; although the Lords tells us to “fear not” in dozens of Scriptures. But 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 and 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 aloud:
“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 Bible study to a deeper level. I strongly suggest reading the Scriptures out loud. 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.
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 favorite songs and if you can afford it, take them to a Christian bookstore or browse the Internet together and 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 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 Caroline; stay close to Jesus and you will be able to deal with life's trials and tribulations. Always remember, we are already victorious in Christ and this world is not our home.
“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).